February 14, 2004

ERP KiM Newsletter 14-02-04

Panorama: Prisoners of Peace

They are increasingly fewer in number, increasingly poorer, exposed to increasingly greater threats. This is how Serbs live in the area administered by the UN. Where the conflict with the Albanians never really ended. And where, even after Milosevic, the nightmare of ethnic cleansing is coming back. But in the reverse direction.... writes Francesca Folda in the most recent article of the Italian magazine Panorama.

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A monk from Decani Monastery, south from Pec, under escort of Italian soldiers (photo: Panorama)

"The tension is always in the air. Saturday is market day in Lipljan, when Serbs come to shop escorted by the Finnish soldiers. Or the Sunday, a UNMIK bus escorted by soldiers and police picks up Orthodox Serbs in North Mitrovica for liturgy in St. Sava Church in the Albanian part of the town. The church is surrounded by barbed wire, protected around the clock by 15 Greek soldiers. A tank is parked right next to the church" - Panorama IT

CONTENTS:

PANORAMA.IT: Prisoners of peace
They are increasingly fewer in number, increasingly poorer, exposed to increasingly greater threats. This is how Serbs live in the area administered by the UN. Where the conflict with the Albanians never really ended. And where, even after Milosevic, the nightmare of ethnic cleansing is coming back. But in the reverse direction.

Dagens Nyheter: A naive trust in a U.S. created myth about genocide
The U.S. justified the bombing of Serbia with claims of expulsion and murders in Kosovo. Such propaganda should have been questioned but this never occurred; instead, Sweden demonstrated, by its support for war, that we do not care about human rights but instead adjust to the positions of the major EU countries. The situation in Kosovo in March 1999 offered no reason for any sort of war. Sweden is critical of Bush and his Iraqi campaign while Clinton's actions are viewed with approval. However, both presidents manipulated the truth to a great extent, writes Balkans peace negotiator, colonel and OSCE representative in Belgrade Bo Pellnas.

Guardian UK: The Milosevic trial is a travesty
Terrible crimes were committed in the Balkans during the 90s and it is right that those responsible are held accountable in a court of law. But the Hague tribunal, a blatantly political body set up and funded by the very NATO powers that waged an illegal war against Milosevic's Yugoslavia four years ago - and that has refused to consider the prima facie evidence that western leaders were guilty of war crimes in that conflict - is clearly not the vehicle to do so

Epoka e re: Scandal on 15kg drugs in Rugova's office
This event is not only connected to LDK, but the person itself is an LDK official in Pristina, a close associate with the LDK spokesperson, Lulzim Zeneli, Ukë Rugova, and Ibrahim Rugova himself. The latter, is trying hard to avoid facing the citizens of Kosovo or the journalists he does not control and as a result of this, important or not, he is traveling outside Kosovo in party meetings with European or Balkans (and Serbian) sister parties, while presenting these visits in a different way in Kosovo. Our source believes that the drugs scandal is the main reason Rugova avoided facing the deputies of Kosovo and did not report about the two year work.

BETA: Oliver Ivanovic asks for help for Serb monks and villagers
"We agreed that the situation the monks are in now is alarming and that it is unacceptable that they cannot visit the Orthodox people remaining in the Prizren area," said Ivanovic.

Covic meets with Kathy Stevens, William Montgomery
Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Nebojsa Covic met on Thursday with Assistant to the US Secretary of State for southeast European issues Kathy Stevens and US Ambassador to Serbia-Montenegro William Montgomery to discuss the situation in Kosovo-Metohija and the upcoming dialogue of Belgrade and Pristina.

News from Kosovo and Metohija, Feb 12, 2004

More News Available on our:

Kosovo Daily News list (KDN)
KDN Archive

This newsletter is available on our ERP KIM Web-site:
http://www.kosovo.net/erpkiminfo.html

Serb Parlamentarian requests protection of Holy Archangel Monastery

Member of the Kosovo parliamentary presidency Oliver Ivanovic today asked for help from international administrators in Kosovo in securing relatively normal living conditions for the brotherhood of Holy Archangels Monastery near Prizren.

 
Ivanovic asked for help for the monks during today's meeting with Kosovo Ombudsman Marek Antoni Nowicki in Pristina after German KFOR discontinued providing escorts for them last month.
 
"We agreed that the situation the monks are in now is alarming and that it is unacceptable that they cannot visit the Orthodox people remaining in the Prizren area," said Ivanovic (BETA News Agency, Belgrade, Feb 12)

 


PANORAMA.IT

6/2/2004  

http://www.panorama.it/mondo/capitali/articolo/ix1-A020001022890

Prisoners of Peace

They are increasingly fewer in number, increasingly poorer, exposed to increasingly greater threats. This is how Serbs live in the area administered by the UN. Where the conflict with the Albanians never really ended. And where, even after Milosevic, the nightmare of ethnic cleansing is coming back. But in the reverse direction.

by Francesca Folda

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(photo: Serb Orthodox nuns guarded by KFOR at Devic monastery, ERPKIM photo)

Miliana is 11 years old. Often she is in class by herself because her only classmate is not able to get to the schoolbus escorted by the police. There is no other way to get to the Serb school in Obilic, a small enclave located a few kilometers from Pristina. Until 1999 there were over 900 Serbian-speaking students here; today there are only 45. Almost all of the school's windows are protected by metal gratings. The others are broken by the hail of stones coming from Kosovar Albanians now living in the area, once largely Serb. Since the end of the war, a total of 29 Serbs have been killed in this municipality alone. The most recent victims (a father and mother in their eighties and their 53 year-old son) were attacked on June 3 of last year: bludgeoned to death, stabbed, emasculated and set on fire in their own home.

Kosovo 2004: The area the UN was supposed to turn into a truly multiethnic society has de facto become a UN protectorate governed by 7,000 international officials of the interim administration of the United Nations (UNMIK) with security provided by 50,000 peacekeeping troops (KFOR).

But Kosovo officially remains a province of Serbia, although the ethnic Albanian population still aspires to independence. The UN is preparing its withdrawal without being able to say with certainty that it has won. There are no more mass murders, mass graves, destroyed and torched villages. But one ethnic group is still the target of discrimination, living in fear, having neither jobs nor freedom of movement. Only the roles have been reversed in the test of strength between the Serbs and Albanians. And this time it is under the eyes of the international community.

Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo are divided on everything, not just by language and religion. Today they even use different license plates and currency. The Albanians have enthusiastically embraced the rule of UNMIK, named boulevards after Bill Clinton, adopted the euro and changed their vehicle license plates. But non-Albanians still use license plates and documents issued by Serbia, as well as the Belgrade currency. Many of them live on monthly subsidies of 80 euros, in dinars, provided by the Serbian government to heads of households so that they do not leave the area.

When Slobodan Milosevic began his campaign of discrimination against Albanians in Kosovo, there were about 300,000 Serbs here. They held important positions in public institutions, schools, hospitals and factories. After the fall of the regime under NATO bombs, they fled to avoid reprisals by the UCK, the Albanian army of liberation. Before NATO military forces assumed control, the violence of some paramilitary Serbs was repaid in kind: revenge, executions, desecrated Orthodox cemeteries, torched homes. Today the Serbs in Kosovo have been reduced to a third of their number: many of their homes have been destroyed or usurped by Albanians (if they were purchased at all, it was for a pittance.)

Ivan, an electrotechnical engineer, lives in Obilic: for 11 years he worked in one of the two thermoelectrical facilities there, which provided a large part of ex-Yugoslavia with electricity. There is certainly no work for him among the Albanians. Ivan supplements his income from Belgrade by working as an interpreter for the carabinieri; in the spring, he will leave the house where he was born to move to Serbia, There, his wife and newly born son await him: in Pristina, namely, there is no hospital where Serbian children can come into the world, too. Even his house will end up in the hands of Albanians. In this part of Obilic, a new process of ethnic cleansing is being completed under the eyes of the UN.

Everything except returns. The UN has foreseen a plan for returns of those who can be considered Serb refugees of the last Balkan war. Formerly over 2,000 Serbs lived in five villages in the valley of Osojane. Today there are 300, concentrated in two villages for reasons of security, with 136 of them still housed in portable buildings because their own homes have yet to be rebuilt. "But young people prefer to remain in Serbia or to emigrate to Europe," Sonja Vucovic, a young teacher, tells us, "because they have no future here. Only 10 percent of the Serb population have jobs, working in the fields is dangerous and there is no freedom of movement even to sell agricultural products".

In Suvi Lukavac near Istok 21 houses were recently rebuilt for as many Serb and Roma families who returned under the protection of Spanish KFOR. But the repatriation process is not simple: it can take as much as two years from what is called the "go and see" visit (the first arrival of heads of households to their abandoned villages) to their return into habitable homes. It is also necessary to prove legal ownership of the land on which the destroyed and sacked houses are located.

This bureaucratic slowness is compounded by never placated ethnic hatred. In 2002 there were 136 murders in Kosovo. Thirty of the victims (or 22 percent) were identified as Serbs (even though Serbs represent only 10 percent of the population). In August 2003 the worst scenario of all occurred: shots from a Kalashnikov were fired on a group of Serb children playing by the river in Gorazdevac. Two boys dead, four wounded. International officials rushed to cancel the return of 200 Serb refugees scheduled to take place in a few days.

This is not the only time UNMIK was forced to back down. On December 10 of last year 26 Serbs from Klina, a town in central Kosovo, were escorted by KFOR troops to their village early in the morning in attempt to move into a larger house without a roof so they could gradually begin rebuilding their homes. As soon as the news spread, some one hundred Albanians gathered in front of the house, carrying iron bars and stones: they reject any resettlement by Serbs until they have certain news of their relatives who disappeared during Milosevic's persecutions. The result? The Serbs were forced to flee a second time (together with KFOR) from the village that once was theirs. A UN defeat.

"This so-called NATO peace in Kosovo only means that the war is under control, not that there is indeed peace," writes Italian journalist Marilina Veca in her book, "Kosovo Lost". "As soon as KFOR leaves, the conflict will resume," comment many ordinary people from both ethnic groups. It seems that the international community is losing time by putting off the one political decision everyone is waiting for: whether or not Kosovo will be independent and whether or not Serbia will at least be given the northern part of the contested and divided town of Mitrovica.

Renamed "Mitrosalem" by international observers, it is the Jerusalem of the Balkans, where the peoples are united only by two bridges. There are almost no contacts. International mediation attempts have all failed. So has the big multiethnic market, inaugurated on April 12, 2002, in the middle of the Cambronne bridge. The very next week, the stands were empty; no one showed up to sell their goods. Many claim that the Belgrade government is boycotting the cohabitation of the two sides. But there are still groups of extremists from the disbanded UCK such as the Black Eagles (now dedicated to organized crime) which constantly threaten and terrorize not only Serbs but also Albanians who are labeled as traitors.

Positive signs are few and contradictory. The Kosovo Police Service (the new multiethnic police promoted by the UN) has assumed control of some check points on the main bridge in Mitrovica. But international intelligence sources warn of harassment when Serb vehicles are stopped in less symbolic places. In Mitrovica, in the north part of town, the so-called Three Towers, huge buildings of reinforced concrete, are being built, where families from different ethnic groups live together in the same place. But in Pristina Serbs live in only one building, which also accommodates foreigners working for the UN.

The tension is always in the air. Saturday is market day in Lipljan, when Serbs come to shop escorted by the Finnish soldiers. Or the Sunday, a UNMIK bus escorted by soldiers and police picks up Orthodox Serbs in North Mitrovica for liturgy in St. Sava Church in the Albanian part of the town. The church is surrounded by barbed wire, protected around the clock by 15 Greek soldiers. A tank is parked right next to the church.

Religion is the reason why Serbs will not give up Metohia (the land of monasteries). It is the central part of Kosovo, the cradle of the Serbian church since 1200, when the first Serbian Orthodox patriarch was crowned. Pec can be compared with the Vatican: a monumental monastery where a priest, 24 nuns and six laymen are presently living like prisoners. In order to receive pilgrims or shop, they must book an escort with the Italian KFOR contingent. The same is true of the 30 monks of Decani Monastery.

Father Andrei confesses: "We are not cloistered monks but we are accustomed to the monastic life. Serb families, on the other hand, live secluded in their home and wait for our visits to receive food and sacraments. Like a patient who can breathe only with the help of an apparatus, we need KFOR and the carabinieri in order to survive." He is not suffering from a persecution complex, either. Since the end of the NATO bombing, 116 churches in Kosovo (an area the size of the Abruzzo) have been destroyed or torched.

"Keep the law and order and the legality, promote the respect of the human rights, assure the refugees in their houses in Kosovo sure and unconditional return": this is the UN's mandate. However, on January 22 Kosovo prime minister Bairam Rexhepi was forced to remind his people: "I do not support the principle of multiethnicity. But even if we do not love each other, something we cannot be forced to do, I ask that we respect one another (Serbs and others) and that we avoid attacks." Don't call this "peace".

translation S.I.B.

The most recent attacks

The most serious instances of violence against Kosovo Serbs from 2002 to today.

October 10, 2002: Two UNMIK employees wounded as they were escorting a Serb convoy bound for Pec: An Albanian crowd threw stones and Molotov cocktails at them.

November 16, 2002: Three hand grenades thrown at the Orthodox church in Istok.

November 30, 2002: Four men reported being threatened by the Black Eagles for opening shops in the center of Pristina.

February 8, 2003: Four Serbs wounded after a hand grenade is thrown in Mogila (50 km from Pristina.) UNMIK police arrests a 26 year-old Albanian.

February 13, 2003: An explosion destroys the shop and the car of a Serb from Kosovska Kamenica in the U.S. KFOR area of responsibility.

June 3, 2003: Three members of the family Stolic (including two octogenerians) are killed during the night in the Serb enclave of Obilic: once slaughtered, their bodies were disfigured and set on fire in their own house.

August 2003: Two Serb boys aged 11 and 20 were killed by gunfire from a Kalashnikov as they were playing next to the Bistrica River in Gorazdevac. Four other children were wounded.

August 31, 2003: A man is killed by a hand grenade in the Serb village of Cernica. Serbs complain that assistance arrived too slowly in order to avoid saving his life.

December 10, 2003: The return of 26 Serbs to Klina under the supervision of the UN fails as a result of public disorder. One hundred Albanians welcome the Serbs by throwing stones at them. In less than two hours the Serbs are taken to another, protected enclave.

 



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Critical views from Sweden five years after NATO bombing of Serbia

http://www.dagensnyheter.se/

Dagens Nyheter, Stokholm: A naive trust in a U.S. created myth about genocide

Balkan peace negotiator Bo Pellnas offers a new perspective on the NATO bombing of Serbia:

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Stockholm
February 8, 2004

The U.S. justified the bombing of Serbia with claims of expulsion and murders in Kosovo. Such propaganda should have been questioned but this never occurred; instead, Sweden demonstrated, by its support for war, that we do not care about human rights but instead adjust to the positions of the major EU countries. The situation in Kosovo in March 1999 offered no reason for any sort of war. Sweden is critical of Bush and his Iraqi campaign while Clinton's actions are viewed with approval. However, both presidents manipulated the truth to a great extent, writes Balkans peace negotiator, colonel and OSCE representative in Belgrade Bo Pellnas.

In the shadow of the Iraqi war, we are left to wonder about how human rights are interpreted when the political winds change direction. Our government has adopted completely opposite positions on the NATO bombing against Serbia and the U.S. war in Iraq. The war against Serbia was considered acceptable, despite the fact that it was not supported by a UN resolution. In the case of the war in Iraq, the Swedish government opposed it because of the lack of a UN mandate.

In order to be able to assess the reasons that led to the NATO bombing of Serbia, it is necessary to take into account the immediate causes. First of all, we can conclude that Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic did not commit worse crimes than Saddam Hussein. Despite war crimes and other serious human rights violations, it appears that Milosevic is being accused of less.

The prelude to war probably began as early as 1995 in Bosnia, when Serbs killed several thousand Muslims in Srebrenica. Perhaps the U.S. already decided at that time to get rid of Milosevic.

As well, the EU's patience with Milosevic was at an end. But first it was necessary to use Milosevic in order to a get to the Dayton agreement [the Dayton-Paris Accords] on Bosnia. After that, Milosevic became fair game.

The hunt began in the fall of 1998, when the U.S. forced him to accept a large OSCE observation mission in Kosovo. The mission, headed by U.S. ambassador William Walker, whose past probably had links to the CIA, also included representatives of France, Norway, Russia, Great Britain and Germany.

Viewed externally, it looked like a normal peacekeeping force. However, hidden within was a comprehensive U.S. intelligence cell of 50 to 70 people incorporated into the headquarters, regarding whose aims and activities on the ground we can only speculate.

I am personally convinced that since the fall of 1998, the U.S. has been working with and supporting the Kosovo Albanian guerrilla UCK [KLA]. It was seen as a possible future ally on the ground. Of course it was difficult for the peacekeeping mission to maintain peace in the region when the mission's leadership was actively supporting the guerrilla force.

In the next phase, in February 1999, the Serbs were forced to take part in negotiations at Rambouillet, where the Kosovo Albanians, to everyone's surprise, rejected the proposed draft agreement on the future of Kosovo. Two weeks later a second round of negotiations was held. By then the Albanians had apparently learned their lesson and they immediately signed. Both rounds of negotiations were headed by U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright. The Serbs were given the choice of unconditional acceptance of the text or facing a war against NATO. The manner in which the negotiations were conducted made war inevitable.

The predefined goal of the Clinton administration – to secure an agreement through coercion – reminds us of Bush's position on Iraq. Milosevic's arrogant refusal, to put it mildly, to sign the agreement demonstrated that he had been surrounded by "yes men" for a long time and lost touch with reality. Perhaps he hoped that the Russians would stop the attack on Serbia by a veto in the Security Council.

The new negotiations in Paris were unsuccessful and the OSCE observers left Kosovo. Their withdrawal could have been interpreted as further pressure on the Serbs and as signal to NATO to blow the whistle. The observers began their evacuation on March 20, 1999. By March 21, not one was left in Kosovo. NATO began bombing on March 24 without a Security Council resolution. The first refugees, relatively few in number, arrived at the Macedonian border on March 26. They begin arriving in great number only on April 1-2.

The most frequently cited motive in justifying the war against Serbia was to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, that is, to prevent the expulsion of the Kosovo Albanians. This was cited as fact so that the mass expulsions which occurred one week after the beginning of the bombing could justify the NATO campaign and make 79 days of bombing politically palatable.

When we hear claims that the bombing was the result of ethnic cleansing, we understand that this is propaganda from which the media should have distanced themselves.

The war began on March 24 as a result of the Serbs' refusal to sign the Paris agreement and it occurred independently of the situation on the ground in Kosovo. Milosevic's evil nature, political blindness and incomprehensible stupidity all contributed to development of a false argument and NATO's subsequent justification of its intervention.

But let us be completely clear. Despite the massacre in Racak, it cannot be said that there were mass murders or expulsions going on in Kosovo immediately before war broke out. Such claims would be completely contradictory because at that time OSCE had about 1,200 observers on the ground.

(The massacre in Racak: About 40 Kosovo Albanians were killed in January 1999 in the village of Racak. Several were killed in clashes but 23 were found in a ditch outside the village.)

Clinton cunningly maneuvered the decision to war and there was general consensus among NATO and the EU. Everyone believed that an eventual resolution in the Security Council would not be supported by the Russians and that is why no one wanted to give the Russians the opportunity to influence the course of events in the Balkans.

However, during the bombing cracks appeared in NATO's resolve. The U.S. circumvented French objections with regard to target selection thus orchestrating a "two tier war": one in which attacks were organized under NATO auspices and another, where the U.S. independently carried out attacks.

Based on this, we can draw several conclusions. First, Clinton, like Bush today, similarly controlled events leading toward projected results: capitulation or war.

Second, Sweden's position was not defined by the condition of human rights but by its acceptance of the position of the major EU countries. Consensus within the EU in 1999 to attack the Serbs was as apparent as the lack of consensus in 2003 when the U.S. attacked Iraq.

Furthermore, we can observe that media in Sweden have been astoundingly uncritical. Such a pronounced desire to accept and adopt the U.S. view that the war against the Serbs is just a response to the mass expulsion of Kosovo Albanians is humiliating for at least a few Swedish editors in chief.

The chronological discrepancy between the beginning of the bombing and the expulsion should have been clearly and unambiguously elaborated. Swedish criticism of Bush serves to amnesty Clinton.

It can be concluded that the U.S. as a superpower always looks after its own interests, regardless of whether its head of state is a Republican or a Democrat.

What is common to both administrations is that they are willing to dress up the truth with their own propaganda and influence the positions of other countries in an aggressive manner.

It is worthwhile to remind ourselves that Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark, who was NATO commander in chief at that time, repeatedly provided us with completely wrong information regarding war operations during his briefings in Brussels.

It is likely that Slobodan Milosevic will be sentenced for many war crimes; in addition, he was a mafia boss who committed serious crimes even against his own people.

But the situation in Kosovo in 1999 was not one that should have motivated a war against Serbia or support for such a war, especially without a UN resolution.

As far as Sweden is concerned, we are a small country and it is therefore all the more important that we are very consistent and strict in our interpretation of human rights. Former Swedish prime minister Ingvar Carlsson, who held the position that war against Serbia cannot be waged without a UN mandate, was right.

It can be claimed that the bombing created a very strong psychological pressure on those who until then were not directly affected by war developments to change the government in Serbia.

However, at the same time, we can believe that Milosevic would have been overthrown even earlier than he was if not for the war, which consolidated his position for some time.

Historical speculation is useless but it is nevertheless enticing to contemplate the course of events if Milosevic had fallen without war, and if OSCE observers had been directly replaced by NATO or UN forces in Kosovo. The situation in Serbia and Kosovo today under the great influence of NATO is discouraging. Almost every third Serb voted in the December 2003 elections for an ultranationalist party and, despite all efforts to prevent this, Kosovo is gradually turning into a European Columbia.

BO PELLNAS


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ICTY- New methods of justice: everyone is guilty before he proves he's innocent

"Terrible crimes were committed in the Balkans during the 90s and it is right that those responsible are held accountable in a court of law. But the Hague tribunal, a blatantly political body set up and funded by the very NATO powers that waged an illegal war against Milosevic's Yugoslavia four years ago - and that has refused to consider the prima facie evidence that western leaders were guilty of war crimes in that conflict - is clearly not the vehicle to do so: (Guardian UK)

Guardian UK, The Milosevic trial is a travesty

Political necessity dictates that the former Yugoslavian leader will be found guilty - even if the evidence doesn't

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1146238,00.html

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Neil Clark
Thursday February 12, 2004
The Guardian

It is two years today that the trial of Slobodan Milosevic opened at The Hague. The chief prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, was triumphant as she announced the 66 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity and genocide that the former Yugoslavian president was charged with. CNN was among those who called it "the most important trial since Nuremburg" as the prosecution outlined the "crimes of medieval savagery" allegedly committed by the "butcher of Belgrade".

But since those heady days, things have gone horribly wrong for Ms Del Ponte. The charges relating to the war in Kosovo were expected to be the strongest part of her case. But not only has the prosecution signally failed to prove Milosevic's personal responsibility for atrocities committed on the ground, the nature and extent of the atrocities themselves has also been called into question.

Numerous prosecution witnesses have been exposed as liars - such as Bilall Avdiu, who claimed to have seen "around half a dozen mutilated bodies" at Racak, scene of the disputed killings that triggered the US-led Kosovo war. Forensic evidence later confirmed that none of the bodies had been mutilated. Insiders who we were told would finally spill the beans on Milosevic turned out to be nothing of the kind. Rade Markovic, the former head of the Yugoslavian secret service, ended up testifying in favour of his old boss, saying that he had been subjected to a year and a half of "pressure and torture" to sign a statement prepared by the court. Ratomir Tanic, another "insider", was shown to have been in the pay of British intelligence.

When it came to the indictments involving the wars in Bosnia and Croatia, the prosecution fared little better. In the case of the worst massacre with which Milosevic has been accused of complicity - of between 2,000 and 4,000 men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995 - Del Ponte's team have produced nothing to challenge the verdict of the five-year inquiry commissioned by the Dutch government - that there was "no proof that orders for the slaughter came from Serb political leaders in Belgrade".

T o bolster the prosecution's flagging case, a succession of high-profile political witnesses has been wheeled into court. The most recent, the US presidential hopeful and former Nato commander Wesley Clark, was allowed, in violation of the principle of an open trial, to give testimony in private, with Washington able to apply for removal of any parts of his evidence from the public record they deemed to be against US interests.

For any impartial observer, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Del Ponte has been working backwards - making charges and then trying to find evidence. Remarkably, in the light of such breaches of due process, only one western human rights organisation, the British Helsinki Group, has voiced concerns. Richard Dicker, the trial's observer for Human Rights Watch, announced himself "impressed" by the prosecution's case. Cynics might say that as George Soros, Human Rights Watch's benefactor, finances the tribunal, Dicker might not be expected to say anything else.

Judith Armatta, an American lawyer and observer for the Coalition for International Justice (another Soros-funded NGO) goes further, gloating that "when the sentence comes and he disappears into that cell, no one is going to hear from him again. He will have ceased to exist". So much then for those quaint old notions that the aim of a trial is to determine guilt. For Armatta, Dicker and their backers, it seems that Milosevic is already guilty as charged.

Terrible crimes were committed in the Balkans during the 90s and it is right that those responsible are held accountable in a court of law. But the Hague tribunal, a blatantly political body set up and funded by the very Nato powers that waged an illegal war against Milosevic's Yugoslavia four years ago - and that has refused to consider the prima facie evidence that western leaders were guilty of war crimes in that conflict - is clearly not the vehicle to do so.

Far from being a dispenser of impartial justice, as many progressives still believe, the tribunal has demonstrated its bias in favour of the economic and military interests of the planet's most powerful nations. Milosevic is in the dock for getting in the way of those interests and, regardless of what has gone on in court, political necessity dictates that he will be found guilty, if not of all the charges, then enough for him to be incarcerated for life. The affront to justice at The Hague over the past two years provides a sobering lesson for all those who pin so much hope on the newly established international criminal court.

The US has already ensured that it will not be subject to that court's jurisdiction. Members of the UN security council will have the power to impede or suspend its investigations. The goal of an international justice system in which the law would be applied equally to all is a fine one. But in a world in which some states are clearly more equal than others, its realisation looks further away than ever.

· Neil Clark is a writer specialising in east European and Balkan



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Scandal on 15kg of drugs in Rugova's office cause of the Special war

This event is not only connected to LDK, but the person itself is an LDK official in Pristina, a close associate with the LDK spokesperson, Lulzim Zeneli, Ukë Rugova, and Ibrahim Rugova himself. The latter, is trying hard to avoid facing the citizens of Kosovo or the journalists he does not control and as a result of this, important or not, he is traveling outside Kosovo in party meetings with European or Balkans (and Serbian) sister parties, while presenting these visits in a different way in Kosovo. Our source believes that the drugs scandal is the main reason Rugova avoided facing the deputies of Kosovo and did not report about the two year work.

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Epoka i re, Pristina daily in Albanian
Pristina, February 13, 2004

By "Epoka e Re" reporters

Rugova - "Balkan Gandi" involved in narco-mafia too

A high LDK official is involved in the drugs scandal. The matter is about 15kg of drugs captured by the UNMIK police. It has been several weeks now that this case is being kept in the dark, even more; the KPS spokesperson evaded us when we tried to find out.

Several colleagues-associates of Mr. Rugova have died from the gangs within or rival gangs of organized crime. However, their illegal trafficking network students, especially drugs, which is seriously poisoning the Kosovo youth, are moving ahead, but they also are facing justice, as their fathers did back in the time.

Definitely, the political motive for the murder of several drug dealers has failed to work, especially after the concise declaration of the Chief of the Justice Department, Mr. Paul Coffey, who stated that there were no political killings in the postwar Kosovo, but simply killings as a result of the organized crime.

The information on the high LDK official was provided by the internal channels of "Epoka e Re" in UNMIK. It is clear that an official close to Rugova is being investigated on a huge drugs crime, at least 15kg captured by an UNMIK police unit. Arrests were made on the close circle of the drugs owner, while, as it is understood a close associate of Rugova is defending this case. Another police and justice sector tried very hard to cover up this event, and they managed to do so for a while.

This event is not only connected to LDK, but the person itself is an LDK official in Pristina, a close associate with the LDK spokesperson, Lulzim Zeneli, Ukë Rugova, and Ibrahim Rugova himself. The latter, is trying hard to avoid facing the citizens of Kosovo or the journalists he does not control and as a result of this, important or not, he is traveling outside Kosovo in party meetings with European or Balkans (and Serbian) sister parties, while presenting these visits in a different way in Kosovo. Our source believes that the drugs scandal is the main reason Rugova avoided facing the deputies of Kosovo and did not report about the two year work.

This LDK official, who seems to have been appointed earlier to control the LDK Youth Forum, together with the President of the forum, Lulzim Zeneli, according to sources close to Ibrahim Rugova (ready to offer information in the future, too), was unlucky to escape again from the police hands. Many associates of Rugova are in prisons because of drug dealings. He is rising to be a boss somewhat different than it was believed in the beginning. An entire "intelligent" suite invented an interesting strategy "to overcome the scandal", by presenting the LDK as a victim of the political assassinations, all this also assisted by the chiefs of several newspapers and electronic media in Kosovo and a part of the outside press, especially during the days Rugova was outside the country.

Surprisingly, this strategy coincided with the scandal at the customs service, where there are many serious accusations towards the UNMIK's First Pillar led by Mr. Cady, and not forgetting the former UNMIK Chief, Steiner, who is said to be the one that concealed the dossier "customs" for anonymous reasons. Sources of the UNMIK civil administration say that the propaganda on the three (impending) political assassinations was the first greeting made to Mr. Holkeri in Kosovo as soon as he came from his trip made abroad. He cannot bypass this horrible physiological crime against the Albanian nation and others in Kosovo, especially after the Bajram Rexhepi's request to explain this case. The same UNMIK sources, under the anonymous conditions say that this entire issue, made up by the UNMIK police, will be solved and several persons will be punished.

This punishment will be unimportant to the citizens of Kosovo because all the officials are "cloaked" with immunity, therefore the easiest measure taken on this case would be removing at least three officials of the UNMIK First Pillar (the pillar for security and justice), Cady, Feller and the notorious spokesperson Derek Chappell. The latter, according to the UNMIK sources, will be removed from the present position and leave Kosovo within a few days. None of them is expected to appear before any of the courts of law, because this would involve other earlier "chainlike" deeds, especially the rigged political processes having political background This political background is similar to the latest propaganda launched by the police-like body, "Zeri", which cannot justify this political propaganda in the disfavor of certain political forces and in the function of covering an issue that is already emerging out.
It is naïve to ask so much from UNMIK, because discovering the many complots would mean an end to the UN missions, not only in the Balkans, but anywhere else in the world. Therefore, Kosovo citizens will know lots of information, but they will never see UNMIK (UN) hitting itself mercilessly. Initially, they will remove Derek Chappell from his position, while the rest will depend on the demands of the Kosovo citizens and their leaders, a number of which is fully dependent on the "handouts" given by UNMIK.

Many things depend on the demands of Bajram Rexhepi, Hashim Thaci and Ramush Haradinaj, say UNMIK sources, because the propagandistic attacks were projected against them, similar to year 2000, when the one making the victim (played this role), won the elections as well as the international pampering which enabled them to expand the criminal network and members of which presently are either in prisons or at large.


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Oliver Ivanovic asks for help for Kosovo Serb monks and villagers

"We agreed that the situation the monks are in now is alarming and that it is unacceptable that they cannot visit the Orthodox people remaining in the Prizren area," said Ivanovic.

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Beta News Agency, Belgrade
February 12, 2004
 
PRISTINA - Member of the Kosovo parliamentary presidency Oliver Ivanovic today asked for help from international administrators in Kosovo in securing relatively normal living conditions for the brotherhood of Holy Archangels Monastery near Prizren.
 
Ivanovic asked for help for the monks during today's meeting with Kosovo Ombudsman Marek Antoni Nowicki in Pristina after German KFOR discontinued providing escorts for them last month.
 
"We agreed that the situation the monks are in now is alarming and that it is unacceptable that they cannot visit the Orthodox people remaining in the Prizren area," said Ivanovic.
 
Ivanovic also asked Nowicki for the return of security checkpoints in the villages of Banjska, Slatina and Miroc in the municipality of Vucitrn, which are inhabited by Serbs.
 
"Denying escorts for the monks in Prizren in not conducive to efforts to encourage the return of displaced persons to Kosovo," assessed Ivanovic and announced a protest would also be lodged with KFOR officials.
 
Two days ago Ombudsman Nowicki asked the KFOR commander, German general Holger Kammerhof, to return security checkpoints to the villages of Velika Hoca near Orahovac, and Banjska and Slatina near Vucitrn, inhabited exclusively by Serbs.
 
In his letter to the KFOR commander Nowicki expressed concern because representatives of these villages had informed him that the residents do not feel safe without the presence of KFOR checkpoints.
 
"I would like to draw your attention to the fact that there is no adequate telephone service or any other means of communications in these locations. If an emergency situation should arise, local residents have no way of requesting the assistance of appropriate officials," said Nowicki.

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Covic meets with Kathy Stevens, William Montgomery

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Nebojsa Covic met on Thursday with Assistant to the US Secretary of State for southeast European issues Kathy Stevens and US Ambassador to Serbia-Montenegro William Montgomery to discuss the situation in Kosovo-Metohija and the upcoming dialogue of Belgrade and Pristina.
 

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http://www.serbia.sr.gov.yu/news/2004-02/13/333130.html

Serbian Government

Belgrade, Feb 13, 2004 - Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Nebojsa Covic met on Thursday with Assistant to the US Secretary of State for southeast European issues Kathy Stevens and US Ambassador to Serbia-Montenegro William Montgomery to discuss the situation in Kosovo-Metohija and the upcoming dialogue of Belgrade and Pristina.

During the meeting, it was concluded that the US and Serbia have good cooperation on Kosovo-related issues, and that the cooperation is constantly improving, read a statement issued by Covic's cabinet.

The goal of both parties is the establishment of a multiethnic Kosovo-Metohija and safe living conditions for all citizens of Serbia's southern province, the statement concluded.


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News from Kosovo and Metohija, Feb 12

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INET News, Belgrade

Tuesday 12 February 2004


21:00 UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri's announcement that the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija will remain the partner in talks with Pristina officials until a new government is formed in Serbia does not represent an obstacle in the process of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, said UNMIK spokeswoman Isabella Karlowicz in response to statements by Pristina officials emphasizing that the role of the Coordinating Center's role is disputable due to its alleged support for Serb parallel structures.

19:40 At a meeting in Kosovska Mitrovica, representatives of the Return Coalition (Povratak) approved the text of a letter regarding the Standards for Kosovo and Metohija to be given to UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri during a meeting in Pristina tomorrow, said Coalition head Dragisa Krstovic. "The letter will outline all of our objections as well as our preconditions for participation in UNMIK's working groups for implementation of the Standards," said Krstovic. He added that the letter emphasizes the support of the Return Coalition for the stabilization of the situation in the Province, and the building of a multiethnic society.

19:20 Representatives of the Union of Serb Municipalities and Settlements in Kosovo and Metohija will meet on Friday in Belgrade with the leaders of the Democratic Party of Serbia, G17 Plus, the Serbian Renewal Movement and New Serbia, said Union president Marko Jaksic. He announced that topics of discussion will include measures that need to be implemented in Kosovo and Metohija in order to stop the process leading the southern Serbian province toward independence.

15:40 The delegation of Kosovo provisional institutions to take part in dialogue with Belgrade officials will be headed by Kosovo prime minister Bajram Rexhepi, while the working groups from Pristina will be headed by ministers in his government, reported the Albanian language Pristina press.


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ERP KIM Info-Service is the official Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren and works with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Artemije.
Our Information Service is distributing news on Kosovo related issues. The main focus of the Info-Service is the life of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian community in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija. ERP KIM Info Service works in cooperation with www.serbian-translation.com as well as the Kosovo Daily News (KDN) News List

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