November 19, 2003
ERP KiM Newsletter 19-11-03
Lord Robertson: Without the right to return Kosovo will have no future
Only a few days after the attack of Kosovo Albanians on a group of Serb returnees near Prizren the NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson comes to Kosovo to boost the process of returns and make it clear that without returns of displaced residents of Kosovo, primarily Kosovo Serbs, the Province will not have European future. The position of the Kosovo Government led by a former KLA member Mr. Rexhepi, however, still remains ambivalent. On one side Kosovo Albanian leaders verbally support returns and usually accompany the Western politicians who come to facilitate the process visiting Serb enclaves. On the other, they make no concrete actions to help ethnic Albanians understand that the future of Kosovo cannot be an ethnically clean Albanian state based on medieval clan laws and blood revenge. Finally, it seems that the West will not allow to be fooled by a double game and empty phrases. Unless the minimum of proper conditions of security and ethnic tolerance are not achieved hardly any Serbs would be able to return which will undoubtedly postpone the process of determining Kosovo's final status. Without mutliethnicity, independence of Kosovo would be nothing but a reward for ethnic cleansing and a trigger for new conflicts in the region.
Incident in Musutiste is only one among examples that the message of the West is not properly understood by the ordinary people. After all, how could anyone expect Kosovo Albanians to change their ways when they have been constantly thought by their leaders, historians and media that the reason of all their troubles are Serbs, their presence, their culture, their Christian holy sites. Although, almost all Serbs have temporarily fled the Province , Kosovo is nevertheless in perpetual state of anarchy, corruption, cultural decadence and poverty, four years after the conflict. Beside hundereds of petrol stations and auto-larje (car washing) hardly any industry works - and this is not a way towards stability, prosperity and European future. INstead of telling their own people the truth that the prosperous society is not made on smuggling and illegal activities most of K/Albanian leaders continue with their inflammatory statements against Belgrade filling ears of Kosovans with promises that the only thing which obstructs their express-way towards Europe is a lack of independence. To tell the truth , not a single of them has any idea what to do after this goal is achieved. However, the reality is regrettably much different and more bleak than it seems. More and more young Albanians decide to leave the impoverished Province which remains in claws of several clans led by former KLA warlords who divided the the territory spreading their monopole over small individual private companies, deepening social differences. For the clan leaders independence is necessary as a way to institutionally cover their illegal activities. Their own lack of political vision and concrete results in improving the life of ordinary citizens are compensated by inflammatory statements against remaining Serb and non-Albanian civilians. Like once in Milosevic's Serbia the true reality is being hidden behind victimisation, alleged Serbian conspiraces and a false conviction that Albanians are incapable of anything bad. Kosovo is the only territory in the Balkans and Europe which does not heave true political opposition and in which free criticism is usually punished with threats and occasional executions of political opponents.
Fr. Sava Janjic
Initiative for union with Albania introduced in Kosovo Parliament
Serb suspected of murder in Kosovo's village Mogila released from detention
RTK: Institutions in Kosovo work more for parties and less for citizens
INET: News from Kosovo and Metohija 15-18 November 2003
This newsletter is available on our ERP
Initiative for union with Albania introduced in Kosovo Parliament
Beta News Agency, Belgrade November 18, 2003 I
PRISTINA - The presidency of the Kosovo parliament decided today to introduce the initiative of the National Movement for Kosovo (NPK) for union of the province with the Republic of Albania.
Hydajet Hyseni, a member of the presidency from the ranks of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, announced that the initiative for the union of Kosovo and Albania is "an option that has de facto been a part of Kosovo political life" and now is "de jure on the table as an option for the future".
Oliver Ivanovic, a member of the Serbian Return Coalition (Povratak), assessed that the initiative is contrary to the Kosovo constitutional framework, which guarantees the inviolability of borders until the resolution of the final status of Kosovo, he added.
The NPK's idea, Ivanovic assessed, is destructive, especially taking into account Kosovo's "unstable political climate". Ivanovic announced that Serb MPs will not support the initiative if it is actually added to the daily agenda.
"Any change in borders will result in the destabilization of the Balkans and I fear that this may raise the level of battle readiness all around us," said Ivanovic.
Robertson: Troops to stay in Kosovo "until it flourishes"
Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur
Pristina (dpa) - NATO troops will remain in Kosovo until the aim of a flourishing multi-ethnic democracy in Kosovo is achieved, outgoing NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson said Monday.
Speaking on a farewell visit, he said the troop presence would remain even if the United Nations-required set of international standards are achieved within the deadline of mid-2005, a precondition for beginning the resolution of Kosovo's final status.
"The force structure may change, the number of combat soldiers may in the future be reduced. We will never reduce the effectiveness of the contribution that we give to providing the safe and secure environment,"
"If that can be done with fewer troops, then it will be done, with fewer valuable troops, which are desperately needed elsewhere. But a robust presence to deal with challenges will remain."
At the moment there are around 21,000 NATO and non-NATO troops serving in the NATO-led KFOR force.
Robertson, who was British defence secretary at the time NATO intervened in Kosovo, urged local leaders to achieve the complete halt of the inter-ethnic violence.
He also urged continuation of direct talks between Pristina and Belgrade on technical issues of mutual interest, which began in October in Vienna.
"People here are interested in warmth and food, reliable transport, and their children being educated. You cannot eat a constitution," he said.
Since a bloody war in 1999 and subsequent NATO intervention against Yugoslavia, ethnic Albanians who make up the vast majority in Kosovo, insisted on discussing independence first.
Belgrade insists on retaining sovereignty over Kosovo as well as security for Serbs and returning refugees.
Under international pressure, Belgrade and Pristina tentatively began talks last month in Vienna and have set up working groups to discuss issues such as persons missing since the 1999 war, the return of refugees, transport and energy.
Kosovo has been under a virtual UNMIK and KFOR protectorate since 1999, but is still plagued by ethnic violence. Following the Vienna meeting, Holkeri said that standards come before talks on the status. The standards are due to be evaluated in 2005.
Kosovo fate "not linked to status of Serbia-Montenegro"
Beta News Agency, Belgrade
Kosovo fate "not linked to status of Serbia-Montenegro" | 11:32 | Beta
BRUSSELS -- Tuesday - Responsibility for the final status of Kosovo lies with the UN and cannot in any way be linked to the future of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said last night.
Speaking after a meeting of the European Union's Council of Ministers, Solana brushed aside suggestions that the possible end of the state union in 2005 would hinder the planned launch of negotiations on Kosovo's status.
He told journalists that the EU merely supported the resolutions and policies of the UN Security Council.
UN appears to have overcome reluctance to prosecute Albanian militants
By Tanja Matic in Pristina (BCR No 468, 13-Nov-03)
The international community has signalled that it intends to pursue Kosovo Albanians suspected of killing Serbs during and after the 1999 conflict, something it has so far been reluctant to do.
This move is certain to outrage the majority Albanian community, which sees itself as the victim of Belgrade aggression, and views as heroes the fighters of the former Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, under suspicion for many of the murders of local Serbs.
Analysts say that the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, has so far been reluctant to pursue Albanians suspected of war crimes, in case this inflamed local tensions and led to public unrest.
However, the past fortnight has seen clear indications that this apparent policy is changing.
A November 11 meeting in Belgrade between UNMIK representatives and Serbian state bodies discussed ways in which the latter's services in the protectorate could aid current investigations into crimes committed against the Serb minority - one of the problems that UNMIK and The Hague have faced has been collecting adequate proof and persuading witnesses to come forward.
Vladimir Bozovic, head of the justice and human rights section in the Coordination Centre for Kosovo, who attended the meeting, told IWPR that the UNMIK judiciary had shown interest in receiving Serbian judicial documents which could prove that certain crimes had been committed in the protectorate.
"I think UNMIK has recently intensified its investigations into crimes committed against Serbs, but we expect even more from them," Bozovic told IWPR after the meeting.
According to UNMIK police figures, a total of 271 Serbs were killed and 650 went missing during, and shortly after, the Kosovo war - Belgrade claims the latter figure is closer to 1,300. Attacks on the minority are still a daily occurrence in the protectorate.
To date, three war crimes processes have begun against Kosovo Albanians - two in local courts and one at the Hague tribunal.
All three are for crimes allegedly committed by Albanians against their own people - civilians suspected of collaborating with the Milosevic regime.
The Serb authorities have often accused UNMIK of bias towards the Albanians, but this has been robustly denied.
However, observers believe that the UN body has deliberately delayed tackling the problem of Albanian violence against Serbs.
Many put this down to a desire to avoid conflict with the majority population - which is far from ready to face the issue.
Only a small number of Albanians acknowledge that members of their community persecuted the Serb minority.
Dukagjin Gorani, director of the Centre for Human Rights at Pristina University, said, "Albanians find it very hard to believe that some of their people could have killed civilians. Whatever the case, someone murdered those Serbs, and I doubt it was KFOR."
A former KLA fighter told IWPR that he knows there were many Serb civilian victims - especially after the conflict ended. " It is better that evidence against those who committed the crimes is revealed as soon as possible, to stop the criminalisation of the entire KLA," he said.
Though most of the majority community are against it, the UN now appears ready to bring KLA suspects to justice. For the first time since UNMIK came to Kosovo, an Albanian has been arrested and charged with the murder of a Serb.
Ramus Halimi was detained at the beginning of the last month in connection with the recent death of Sofijanka Jovanovic Peric, an elderly woman who had been expelled from her home in Gnjilane, and was shot dead upon her return. And on November 6, UNMIK arrested five Albanians on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Slobodan and Radmila Stolic, both aged 80, and their 50-year-old son Ljubinko, who were found dead in their burned-out home in Obilic on June 4.
They were subsequently all released, but UNMIK spokesperson Dereck Chappell claims the investigation into the deaths - which were greeted with outrage in Serbia - has been boosted by information gained during interviews with the suspects.
UNMIK has also confirmed that an investigation is underway to identify three men in KLA uniforms who were photographed holding two severed human heads - thought to be those of abducted Serb soldiers.
The wartime photo was published by Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti on November 3, and the topic was discussed at the November 11 meeting.
"We talked and exchanged information on the photographs and on identifying the terrorists whose photographs had been published in the press," Bozovic told IWPR.
One Hague tribunal investigator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told IWPR that a detailed investigation into the affair would help current tribunal probes into former KLA commanders.
"We learned that the photographs published in Vecernje Novosti had been in the hands of UNMIK for some time, and we believe the Serbian police handed them the pictures. We don't see why they didn't give them to us two years ago," he said.
Speculation is rife in Kosovo that a new indictments from the Hague is imminent, and may feature a former KLA commanders.
During her latest visit to Pristina on October 23, the tribunal's chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte reiterated that she and her colleagues are investigating several ex-KLA men and added that indictments can be expected early next year.
The arrest on war crimes charges of Fatmir Limaj, a former KLA commander and former government member, sparked widespread protests in February.
There was further controversy when UNMIK rejected Kosovo's prime minister Bajram Rexhepi's suggestion that money from the state budget be donated to a defence fund set up by Limaj's family. The government then called on the public to give money to the fund, and an estimated 300,000 US dollars has since been raised.
In addition to their refusal to accept that some ex-KLA men may be war criminals, Kosovars fear that the international community's insistence on tracking down former militants suspected of crimes may have an adverse effect on the protectorate's bid for independence.
Kosovo's final status is not set to be resolved for some time yet, and there are concerns that Belgrade could use any successful war crimes prosecution as a reason to deny the region sovereignty. Bexhet Shala, director of the Human Rights Protection Committee KLMDNJ in Pristina said, "The international community favours the reintegration of Kosovo into Serbia and the current ethnic Albanian political leaders are obstacles to that so a witch-hunt is being waged against former KLA fighters," he told IWPR.
Tanja Matic is IWPR's project coordinator in Pristina.
Mitrovica Serbs Will Protest Province Security Situation
Tanjug News Agency, Belgrade
Serb Susepected of Murder in Kosovo's Mogila Village Released from Detention
Tanjug News Agency, Belgrade
The Assembly and self-governing institutions in Kosovo do more work for the parties and less for citizens, this is the main ascertainment of the research that is realized by the Kosovo Institute for Research and Documentation, which is presented by the president of this NGO, Enver Hoxha.
RTK (Radio Television Kosovo)
The Assembly and self-governing institutions in Kosovo do more work for the parties and less for citizens, this is the main ascertainment of the research that is realized by the Kosovo Institute for Research and Documentation, which is presented by the president of this NGO, Enver Hoxha. During presentation of this researching report, Hoxha stressed lack of transparence of Kosovo and UNMIK institutions before citizens. This research is done in four ministries of Kosovo Government: in the Ministries of Trade & Industry, Labor and Social Welfare, Environment and in the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology.
“According to two-three studies, the political parties, unfortunately, stay above institutions of Kosova. Our political parties have determined the employment dynamics of the people that work in ministries. Now, these people that have been employed by political parties wonder what will happen with them during the next mandate, will they be same professional staff in these ministries or there will be changes. Now, the Parliament of Kosovo also works much more for the party and much less for people”, said Hoxha.
He said that Kosovo needs fifteen more years to complete the legal infrastructure in order to be in accordance with European standards. According to him, almost all approved laws are not being read by the deputies of the Parliament. He justifies this with lack of conditions.
Based in this accomplished research, the Kosovo Institute for Research and Documentation has offered also recommendations that enable a better governing practice. In this research is also stressed that leaders of Kosovo institutions are learning about practices of reciprocal cooperation. However, in the report of this research is said that much more should be done in order to accelerate the procedure of approval of the laws.
INET: Kosovo and Metohija News
I*Net News, Belgrade
Monday 17 November 2003
20:40 UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri announced today that in the next few days a plan will be published for the implementation of standards that Kosovo should fulfill by mid-2005.
20:20 NATO secretary general George Robertson, who is visiting Kosovo and Metohija today, stated that Kosovo leaders cannot simply invite displaced persons to return but must also do more to ensure that returns actually come about.
20:00 The EU Council for Foreign Affairs advised today that mid-2005 may be the opportunity for evaluation of results to be achieved by the task groups to be set up after the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue in Vienna.
19:40 Democratic Party of Serbia president Vojislav Kostunica met today with Marcie Ries, the head of the U.S. office in Pristina, on the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, the return process and protection of the non-Albanian population, and the work of institutions in the Province.
17:00 Today the EU foreign ministers will discuss the results of the elections in Serbia, relations within the state union of Serbia and Montenegro and the possibility of its quicker accession to the EU, as well as the situation in Kosovo.
11:55 The highest voter turnout in the Serbian presidential elections was in Vojvodina (43.1%), the lowest in Kosovo and Metohija (29.4%), while the turnout in Belgrade was 34.7%, representing the lowest turnout since the reintroduction of the multiparty system in Serbia.
11:20 NATO secretary general George Robertson is scheduled to visit Pristina today as part of a farewell tour at the end of his four-year mandate. Sources in Brussels, however, assess that this will be no mere farewell visit but an opportunity for Robertson to assess the situation in Kosovo and Metohija and in the region, which will be significant during the implementation of NATO's plan for further reduction of KFOR troops, as well as of SFOR troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Sunday 16 November 2003
19:20 Danijel Milosevic, an 18 year-old Serb youth from the village of Mogila near Gnjilane, was killed today while tilling his field, reported Serb sources from the Gnjilane region. Milosevic was shot in the head from a handgun, according to the same source. Local residents of Mogila, located in southeastern Kosovo, said that several Albanians shot at the Serb youth, who was riding a tractor. Serbs from the Gnjilane region have announced demonstrations for tomorrow to protest the murder.
17:20 All 248 polling booths on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija are open, advised regional spokeswoman of the Center for Free Elections and Democracy (CESID) Milena Jaksic. The only polling booth in Pristina, which is located in the YU Program building, was destroyed during the night and consequently opened late. During the course of the day 284 persons appearing on the voting list will be able to vote there, said Jaksic.Saturday 15 November 2003
23:40 The Albanian National Army is "a loosely organized, criminal, extremist group, not a terrorist group, advised US Department of State spokesman Adam Early in Washington.
20:40 After meeting with NATO and EU officials, U.S. state undersecretary Mark Grossman advised that if standards are met, talks on the status of Kosovo, in Washington's opinion, can begin as early as 2005.
20:20 Return Coalition (Povratak) deputy Rada Trajkovic stated today that provisional institutions in Kosovo and Metohija are discriminatory and that the Province does not have parallel institutions but a parallel way of life between Kosovo Albanians and Serbs.
20:00 Ramush Tahiri, advisor to Kosovo parliamentary speaker Nexhat Daci, stated today that the measures that have been undertaken for the return of displaced persons to Kosovo are very unsatisfactory.
19:40 NATO secretary general George Robertson will visit Kosovo and Metohija on Monday, NATO headquarters in Brussels confirmed today.
20:20 Local Albanians' attack against Serb returnees to the village of Musutiste near Suva Reka is not beneficial to normalization of the situation in Kosovo nor to its future, assessed the office of Kosovo parliamentary speaker Nexhat Daci.20:00 A group of six or seven Albanians stoned employees of the local administration in Northern Kosovska Mitrovica shortly after 11,00 hours near the Three Highrises (Tri solitera) settlement. One of the targeted men, Zoran Vukosavljevic, said that the Albanians first showered them with curses followed by stones, and then fled quickly to Southern Kosovska Mitrovica.19:40 Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija head Nebojsa Covic met today with KFOR commander Holger Kammerhoff regarding the security situation in the Ground Safety Zone, along the administrative line between Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija, and throughout the Province.12:40 Several thousand Kosovo residents protested in the center of Pristina because of the current political situation, acts on the part of the provisional instiutions and UNMIK, and the position of the UN Security Council on the status of Kosovo.
12:20 The Kosovo government condemned the attack on a group of displaced Serbs attempting to visit their destroyed homes in the village of Musutiste near Suva Reka in southern Kosovo.
12:00 The Kosovo government opposes the holding of Serbian presidential elections on the territory of Kosovo, announced Mimoza Kusari, the spokesperson of prime minister Bajram Rexhepi.
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