November 14, 2003

ERP KiM Newsletter 14-11-03

Explosive welcome for Serb repatriates

Representatives of seven expelled Serbian families who visited the village of Musutiste (pr. Mushutishte) near Suva Reka (some 20 kilometers east of Prizren) to see their destroyed homes where they plan to return were welcomed by houses rigged with explosives and gunfire from the nearby woods

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija most strongly condemns the incident in Musutiste which demonstrates that Kosovo society is still not ready for implementation of standards required by the international community but remains under strong influence of Albanian ethnic extremists who orchestrate anti-Serb campaign.

SNC - Planting mines in destroyed Serb homes and organizing an anti-Serb rally in Suva Reka are not spontaneous acts of frustrated villagers but acts organized by local former KLA structures who still keep this area under their political and paramilitary control


Destroyed Serb part of village of Musutiste (Photo: ERP KIM, Summer 2003)
undestroyed houses in the background are Kosovo Albanian homes
In larger format: 
http://www.kosovo.net/musutiste.jpg


CONTENTS:

Serb returnees to the village of Musutiste near Suva Reka attacked by Albanians
Representatives of seven expelled Serbian families who visited the village of Musutiste (pr. Mushutishte) near Suva Reka (some 20 kilometers east of Prizren) to see their destroyed homes where they plan to return were welcomed by houses rigged with explosives and gunfire from the nearby woods, confirmed to ERP KiM Info-Service Dr. Rada Trajkovic, a member of the Serbian coalition "POVRATAK".

UNMIK and Milorad Todorovic condemn incident in Musutiste
Milorad Todorovic, repatriation coordinator in the Kosovo Government, said that Musutiste incident shows that Albanian leaders' calls for return are not enough and completely at odds with the situation on the ground.

Robbery in the Village of Banje - Serbs in Uniforms rob Serbs
Unidentified persons wearing uniforms stole five head of cattle from the seven-member Serbian family of Nenad Kovacevic from the village of Banje near Srbica two nights ago.

Serb Visit to Orthodox Cemetery in Djakovica Postoponed Due to Security Reasons
The visit of a group of displaced Serbs to the Orthodox cemetery in Djakovica originally planned for November 1st had to be postponed to enable better preparation of the site, including the possibility of visits to individual graves.


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Serb returnees to the village of Musutiste near Suva Reka attacked by Albanians

Representatives of seven expelled Serbian families who visited the village of Musutiste (pr. Mushutishte) near Suva Reka (some 20 kilometers east of Prizren) to visit their homes where they plan to return were welcomed by houses rigged with explosives and gunfire from the nearby woods, confirmed to ERP KiM Info-Service Dr. Rada Trajkovic, a member of the Serbian coalition "POVRATAK".

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ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, November 13, 2003

Representatives of seven expelled Serbian families who visited the village of Musutiste (pr. Mushutishte) near Suva Reka (some 20 kilometers east of Prizren) to see their destroyed homes where they plan to return were welcomed by houses rigged with explosives and gunfire from the nearby woods. According to Dr. Rada Trajkovic, Return Coalition (Povratak) deputy in the provisional Kosovo and Metohija Parliament, it was not until yesterday's visit that it was discovered that all seven houses whose owners desired to return to this Metohija village were rigged with explosives."As soon as the explosives were discovered members of KFOR returned the Serbs to the vehicles. That's when the Albanians started shooting from the nearby woods. According to our information, the Serbs were transferred to a nearby KFOR base but we don't know if any of them have been hurt or what happened afterwards," Dr. Trajkovic said in a statement for ERP KIM and other media.

The ERP KiM Info Service has learned that Serb returns were planned to the villages of Musutiste and Ljubizda, as well as several other locations in southern Metohija. The Serbian Orthodox Church is also planning to restore Holy Trinity Monastery near Musutiste and the parish church, dating back to the 14th century and completely destroyed by Albanian extremists in the summer of 1999.

Serbian Orthodox Church Strongly Condemns the Incident

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija most strongly condemns the incident in Musutiste which demonstrates that Kosovo society is still not ready for implementation of standards required by the international community but remains under strong influence of Albanian ethnic extremists who orchestrate anti-Serb campaign.

Reaction of the Kosovo Government which condemned this incident and deploring that "it would mar the image of Kosovo" does not reflect serious and responsible committment to support returns and build multiethnic society. Instead of sterile statements and laments of losing "positive image of Kosovo" PM Rexhepi and his Cabinet should rather work more on the local level to create positive atmosphere of mutual trust, confidence and reconciliation as fundamental preconditions for sustainable return of all displaced Kosovo residents.

Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija - Hard blow to rebuilding of multiethnic Kosovo and Metohija

Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija also strongly condemns the attack on Serb returnees in Musutiste. Planting mines in destroyed Serb homes and organizing an anti-Serb rally in Suva Reka are not spontaneous acts of frustrated villagers but acts organized by local former KLA structures who still keep this area under their political and paramilitary control. Tolerating such acts as the "will of the local population" will directly mean the surrender in front of ethnic Albanian extremism and nationalism. SNC KiM expects from the UNMIK police and KFOR to investigate this incident and identify organizers of the anti-Serb campaign.

At the same time in realization of the Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan (KSIP), recently presented by the U.S. Undersecretary Grossman it will be important to introduce certain sanctions for those municipalities in which municipal leaderships openly opose to establishing of the safe surrounding for all communities, particularly the return of displaced Serbs and other non-Albanians.

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UNMIK and Milorad Todorovic condemn incident in Musutiste

Milorad Todorovic, repatriation coordinator in the Kosovo Government, said that Musutiste incident shows that Albanian leaders' calls for return are not enough and completely at odds with the situation on the ground.


Pristina, Kosovska Mitrovica, November 13, 2003 (Beta)

UNMIK most strongly condemns the incident that occurred during today's visit by displaced Serbs to the village of Musutiste near Suva Reka, UN spokesperson Isabella Karlowicz told Beta news agency.

"The right to return is a priority for all of us and of key importance in the achievement of standards" requested of Kosovo by the UN Security Council, said Karlowicz.

On the eve of the visit of seven Serbian families who wanted to visit their property and learn more about conditions for return, an explosive device was planted in an already destroyed home belonging to displaced Serbs from Musutiste, which members of KFOR managed to remove before it was activated.

The displaced families were then taken from the location where the explosive was found but came under attack by local Albanians while entering into the vehicle. No one was hurt in the incident.

The Albanians also organized a protest gathering in Suva Reka where they demanded that Serbs not be allowed to return to the municipality. A KFOR source told Beta news agency that today's visit by Serbs had been announced, as well as that the Albanians of Musutiste had said they would oppose it.

According to the UNMIK spokesperson, today's incident represented "a sad exception to our experience to date".

"More than 200 Go-See visits have been successfully organized throughout Kosovo with the support and participation of local authorities in Kosovo. Those visits took place in safe and dignified fashion, without incidents," she noted.

Visits to abandoned homes and properties are "a key component of the open and transparent process that supports the sustainable returns of the minority population to their homes".

Ms. Karlowicz reminded that in July Kosovo Albanian political leaders called on displaced persons to return to Kosovo and have supported reconciliation between the communities. "All citizens of Kosovo [sic] need to respond to this," she said.

Milorad Todorovic, the joint ministerial repatriation coordinator in the Kosovo Government, said that Musutiste incident shows that Albanian leaders' calls for return are not enough and completely at odds with the situation on the ground.Todorovic called on KFOR and UNMIK to find and punish the perpetrators.

"The determination of the displaced is such that incidents will not prevent them from returning," he added.

The village of Musutiste alone was home to about 4,000 Serbs before the war. Today there are none left. Displaced persons from this village live primarily in the vicinity of Belgrade.


Ruins of the church of the Most Holy Mother of God Odigitria in the village of Musutiste.
The church, which was the pious endowment of Serbian nobleman Jovan Dragoslav and his family, was constructed in 1315. It was one of the pearls of Serbian Byzantine architecture from the reign of King Milutin at the beginning of the XIV century. The church was blown up by Albanian extremists headed by local KLA leaders. Precious frescoes dating back to the XIV century, icons and the entire church inventory were also destroyed. Text and photographs documenting the tragedy of this holy shrine may be found at http://www.kosovo.net/odigitria.html Only five kilometers further Holy Trinity Monastery, also from the XIV century, was completely destroyed http://www.kosovo.net\strojica.html


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Robbery in the village of Banje - Thieves in uniforms rob Serbs

Unidentified persons wearing uniforms stole five head of cattle from the seven-member Serbian family of Nenad Kovacevic from the village of Banje near Srbica two nights ago.

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Kurir daily, Belgrade
November 12, 2003

Kosovska Mitrovica - Unidentified persons wearing uniforms stole five head of cattle from the seven-member Serbian family of Nenad Kovacevic from the village of Banje near Srbica two nights ago. Kovacevic reported that he observed two men in uniform in his courtyard during the night and consequently did not dare attempt to prevent the theft of the cattle. The incident was reported to UNMIK police. The village of Banje, home to some 70 Serb families, is the only Serb village in the Drenica region and in the last four years has been the target of constant robberies and attacks by extremist Albanians.

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Serb visit to Orthodox cemetery in Djakovica postponed due to security reasons

The visit of a group of displaced Serbs to the Orthodox cemetery in Djakovica originally planned for November 1st had to be postponed to enable better preparation of the site, including the possibility of visits to individual graves.

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ERPKIM Info-Service
Gracanica, November 14, 2003

The visit of a group of displaced Serbs to the Orthodox cemetery in Djakovica originally planned for November 1st had to be postponed to enable better preparation of the site, including the possibility of visits to individual graves. UNMIK and KFOR will plan the visit to the cemetery probably in spring if the security conditions are improved.

Deterioration of the security situation, particularly in the South-West part of Kosovo Province might have very negative consequences for the return process which is planned for the spring 2004, say representatives of displaced Serbs.


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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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The views expressed by the authors of newspaper articles or other texts which are not official communiqués or news reports by the Diocese are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Serbian Orthodox Church

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