February 28, 2004

ERP KiM Newsletter 28-02-04

Ignoring Kosovo's reality does not lead to stability

Diocesan communique on the latest report by Xavier Solana
The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija wishes to express its serious concerns regarding the most recent report of EU high representative for foreign policy and security Javier Solana on the evolution of EU stabilization of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija. Unfortunately, this document is more likely to lead to the destabilization of the entire region than to its stabilization and unification with Europe.

Deceiving the public in self-defense, reaction to the statement by Derek Chapel
If UNMIK police and its representatives continue in the same vein, what many already see clearly will be revealed to everyone that much more quickly: that the UNMIK police presence in the southernmost Serbian province is just a smokescreen for the completion of the remaining Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija and the building of a second Albanian national state in the Balkans.


Document leading to regional destabilization, not stability

It is completely apparent that the more aggressive policy of revision of UNSC Res. 1244 on the part of UNMIK, the EU and some Western governments is the consequence of the ambivalent policy of Belgrade in the past which has been characterized by the lack of responsible statesmanship toward its own sovereign territory and its population living under a five year-long campaign of repression and violence

ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, February 27, 2004

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija wishes to express its serious concerns regarding the most recent report of EU high representative for foreign policy and security Javier Solana on the evolution of EU stabilization of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija. Unfortunately, this document is more likely to lead to the destabilization of the entire region than to its stabilization and unification with Europe.

The document effectively blazes an independent path toward Europe for the Province, which according to UN Security Council 1244 remains an integral part of the state union of Serbia-Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia. As in the past, Solana foresees basic problems obstructing the stabilization of the situation in the southern Serbian province, giving support to the complete transfer of all competencies to the provisional institutions of Kosovo and Metohija, despite the fact that they have not demonstrated minimal maturity and political responsibility toward the building of a multiethnic and democratic society. Solana's most recent report leaves the door wide open to the establishment of independent Kosovo representation in EU institutions, something that in the past has been reserved for independent and internationally recognized states. This serves to greatly prejudice the future status of the Province and endangers the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state to which Kosovo and Metohija belongs according to international law.

Furthermore, Solana claims that "progress that can be seen everywhere" has been achieved in Kosovo and Metohija. After an entire series of unresolved crimes, numerous examples of discrimination against Serbs in all spheres of life, vandalism against the Serbian cultural heritage and the heedless usurpation of Serbian state-owned property and privately owned property in Kosovo and Metohija, it is really difficult to ascertain what progress Mr. Solana refers to.

This new EU strategy is a direct threat to the sovereignty of Serbia-Montenegro and demands urgent and decisive diplomatic action on the part of Belgrade as well as a responsible and clearly defined policy toward Kosovo and Metohija on the part of the new Serbian Government currently being formed.

It is completely apparent that the more aggressive policy of revision of UNSC Res. 1244 on the part of UNMIK, the EU and some Western governments is the consequence of the ambivalent policy of Belgrade in the past which has been characterized by the lack of responsible statesmanship toward its own sovereign territory and its population living under a five year-long campaign of repression and violence.

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On the press conference of UNMIK police spokesman Derek Chappell
Deceiving the public in self-defense

If UNMIK police and its representatives continue in the same vein, what many already see clearly will be revealed to everyone that much more quickly: that the UNMIK police presence in the southernmost Serbian province is just a smokescreen for the completion of the remaining Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija and the building of a second Albanian national state in the Balkans.


UNMIK police and KFOR just observe and record crimes in Kosovo and Metohija
(Photo: Murder of Professor Basic in November 1999 - UNMIK police archive)

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ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, February 26, 2004

On February 25, 2004, UNMIK police spokesman Derek Chappell held a press conference in Pristina where he commented on media reports, especially by the Serb press, on recent ethnically motivated crimes, as well as on certain appeals for the dismissal of UNMIK police commissioner Stefan Feller. For an objective observer informed with the tragic situation in Kosovo and Metohija, this is just another cheap attempt to deceive the public for purposes of self-defense and self-justification after five unsuccessful UNMIK years in Kosovo and Metohija, at a time when the southern Serbian province looks anything but like it should if UN Security Council Resolution 1244 had been implemented which is, by way of reminder, the reason that Feller and Chappell came to Kosovo and Metohija.

And what did Mr. Chappell say at the press conference?

"The murders of two people last Thursday were tragic. Every murder is tragic for the waste of life and for the loss to the families of those killed. Equally tragic, and even more disgusting, is the cynical and self serving way that certain groups have tried to exploit those murders for their own ends."

In all this we can agree on just one thing. It truly is tragic that after five years people continue to be murdered in the middle of the road after they are ambushed for no other reason than because they are Orthodox Serbs. What can possibly be added after five years of international presence in Kosovo and Metohija. Best to remain silent, and hang one's head in shame because of the lack of ability or desire to finally do something concrete to actually improve the situation.

Mr. Chappell elected another strategy, however, the strategy of offense being the best form of defense. True to his usual reporting style, the UNMIK police spokesman remains ambiguous and unspecific. We would ask Mr. Chappell to indicate who are the groups that are attempting to exploit the aforementioned murders and toward what ends.

Could it be the over 200,000 expelled Serbs and other non-Albanians who have been trying for the past five years without much success to return to their centuries-old homes? Or is it perhaps the mothers, fathers and other family members of all the victims of Albanian terrorism in the past five years or those whose fate still remains unknown?

Tell us, Mr. Chappell, about the three famous cases UNMIK police have solved in the past three years so we, too, know what they are: the harvesters of Staro Gracko... the blowing up of the Nis Express bus in Livadice... the slaughter of the Stolic family in Obilic... the murder of Dragan Tonic of Skulanevo last year... the bestial massacre of children in Gorazdevac... the murders in Vrbovac... in Cernica... and all the other acts of violence against Serbs and other non-Albanians, numbering in the thousands? Tell us, Mr. Chappell, so we, too, know about your successes. Is the person who is publicly questioning what the UNMIK police has been doing during this open hunting season on Serbs gathering political points or is this being done by the person hiding the truth from the public out of self-interest?

If these massacres and crimes had occurred in a democratic country under the rule of law, governments would collapse and prime ministers forced to resign, not only police chiefs. Is it so strange, then, that Serb public opinion demands the resignation of UNMIK police commissioner Stefan Feller, who has openly demonstrated that he is incompetent to confront the campaign of open attacks against Serbs? Or is this yet another way of demonstrating that the code of honor and rule of law have no validity in Kosovo and Metohija, at least as far as Serbs are concerned. Recently we have heard reports that the Norwegian government is seeking to establish the responsibility of its troops in Kosovo who shot a stray dog; this bizarre incident has actually drawn more attention that all the murders of Serbs to date.

Unfortunately, we suspect that our rebuttal will not get a response because the only answer Mr. Chappell could come up with to all the facts and statements cited by the media is: This is a lie. There is no supporting argument, facts or evidence; Chappell's attempt is based on the attempt to convince us by repeatedly saying: This is a lie. Unfortunately, saying so is not enough to make it so. In order to verify something, it is necessary to present facts. The facts attest to a very different and tragic Kosovo reality.

This reality is not only described by the Serbs but also by others who hold the truth dear. Here is what Amnesty International said not so long ago in a report from April 2003 so we can judge for ourselves to what extent Mr. Chappell, and everyone else talking about the improvement of the security situation in Kosovo and Metohija, are right:

"After the end of the war in Kosovo, despite the efforts of the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the UN Civilian Police (UNMIK Police) to provide security and protection, members of minority communities continue to both suffer and fear assaults by the majority community on their lives and property. Their fear is reinforced by continuing impunity for both those who perpetrated violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law during the period of armed conflict, and those responsible for the abuses which have continued since the end of the war.

This climate of fear, insecurity and mistrust, exacerbated by continued impunity, has resulted in the effective denial of the right of minorities to enjoy freedom of movement in Kosovo. Additionally, those who are able to gain some measure of freedom of movement, find themselves subjected to both direct and indirect discrimination when seeking access to basic civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights…. Serbs and other ethnic minorities in Kosovo remain at serious risk of death or injury despite almost four years of peace and the presence of UN and Nato peacekeepers…. Beatings, stabbings, abductions, drive-by shootings and the use of hand grenades to intimidate and kill members of these minorities are common in the province. As the vast majority of these crimes remain unsolved, perpetrators are free to commit further attacks contributing to a climate of fear and the denial of basic human rights".

Even Kosovo Ombudsperson Marek Antoni Nowicki has expressed his deep concern regarding the effectiveness of the work of the UNMIK police because the only response he received to a request for information on the progress of the investigation of the blowing up of the Nis Express bus near Livadice was a brief note that the investigation is (allegedly) still in progress. According to Chappell, this is also a lie.

Sadly, it is no lie but the tragic and painful truth that representatives of the UNMIK police are trying to cover up. But the truth will emerge, hopefully sooner than later, and history will be the judge of all that has transpired. More importantly, so will God.
 
Until that day we urge Mr. Chappell and the other representatives of the international community to stop building their Potemkin villages in Kosovo as they bring no real benefit to Serbs or Albanians or any other resident of this martyred province, except perhaps to Feller, Chappell and the people around them. If UNMIK police and its representatives continue in the same vein, what many already see clearly will be revealed to everyone that much more quickly: that the UNMIK police presence in the southernmost Serbian province is just a smokescreen for the completion of the remaining Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija and the building of a second Albanian national state in the Balkans.
 
M.K.D.


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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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