Requiem for the murdered Serb civilians  

 
Of Kosovo Serbs and Minority Groups in
Post-war Kosovo
Truth in facts...

Bearing in mind the postulates of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948) which determines the basic rights and freedoms of every human being regardless of ethnic or religious background; the principles stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as the Security Council Resolution 1244, which requires protection and promotion of human rights of all ethnic groups in Kosovo, the safe and free return of all refugees and displaced persons as well as the ensuring of public safety and order with full protection and freedom of movement of all inhabitants the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohia is issuing the following

M E M O R A N D U M

ON THE MASSIVE AND SYSTEMATIC VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS
IN POST WAR KOSOVO

 

After the end of Kosovo war and return of Albanian refugees the repression of Milosevic's undemocratic regime was supplanted by the repression of extremist Kosovo Albanians against Serbs and other non-Albanian communities despite the presence of international troops and the UN Mission. Freedom in Kosovo has not come for all equally. Therefore Kosovo remains a troubled region even after almost one year of international peace.

Kosovo Serbs and other non-Albanian groups in Kosovo still live in ghettoes, without security; deprived of basic human rights - the rights of life, free movement and work. Their private property is still being usurped; their homes burned and looted even 10 months after the deployment of KFOR. In Kosovo today there is hardly any multiethnicity at all - in fact the reverse is true. Ethnic segregation is greater now than almost at any other time in Kosovo's turbulent history. Not only are Serbs being under pressure to leave the Province but also the Romas, Slav Moslems, Croats, Serb speaking Jews and Turks. More than 80 Orthodox churches have been either completely destroyed or severely damaged since the end of the war. The ancient churches, many of which had survived 500 years of Ottoman Moslem rule, could not survive several months of the internationally guaranteed peace. Regretfully, all this happens in the presence of KFOR and UN. Kosovo more and more becomes ethnically clean while organized crime and discrimination against the non-Albanians is epidemic.

Two thirds of the pre-war Serb population (more than 200.000 people) fled the Province under Albanian pressure. In addition, around 50.000 Romas, Slav Moslems, Croat Catholics and others had to leave Kosovo. More than 500 Serbs have been killed and nearly 700 abducted by Albanian extremists during this same period of peace. During the war around 300 Serb civilians were abducted by KLA and are still missing. At least 120.000 Serbs have lost their jobs overnight. All institutions, University, hospitals and factories were systematically purged by the KLA black robed "military police". This is a tragic record for any post war peace mission, especially for this mission in which the Western Governments and NATO have invested so much of their credibility and authority.

Despite the sincere regret for all of the suffering of Kosovo Albanians during the war, retaliation against innocent civilians cannot be justified in any way. It is becoming more and more a well-orchestrated nationalist ideology directed towards achieving the complete ethnic cleansing of the Province. The Albanian extremists are openly using violence and ethnic terror for their political goals in order to make the independence of the province a fait accompli.

The present repression against non-Albanians is carried out with the full knowledge of the Albanian leaders. Sometimes these leaders formally condemn repressive actions but in reality have not done anything to stop the ongoing ethnic violence and discrimination. Even more, some of them are instigating rage against Serbs developing the idea of collective Serb guilt and branding all remaining Serb civilians as criminals. There is much evidence that the KLA/KPC leaders bear direct responsibility for the most of the post-war crimes and acts of violence committed in Kosovo.

As soon as KFOR entered the Province KLA militias took over the power in majority of cities and towns and immediately organized illegal detention centers for Serbs, Romas and Albanian "collaborators". They began killing people listed as alleged criminals and seized a large amount of property previously owned by Serbs and other non-Albanians. KLA groups and their leaders are also directly linked with Albanian mafia clans and have developed a very sophisticated network of organized crime, drug smuggling, prostitution, white slavery, and weapons trading which makes Kosovo today a bastion of organized crime in Europe.

The strategy behind the KLA purge of Serbs was very simple - quarter by quarter of a city would be cleansed of Serbs and their property would be either burned or sold for a high price to Albanian refugees (including Albanians from Albania and Macedonia who flowed into the province through unprotected borders along with the hundreds of thousands of Kosovo refugees). The KLA, although officially disbanded is still active and their secret police are continuing their intimidation and executions. Now more and more of their victims are disobedient Kosovo Albanians who refuse to pay their "taxes" and "protection money" to extremists. The Albanization of Kosovo is proceeding in a way many ordinary Albanians did not want. The gangsters have stepped into the vacuum left by the slowness of the West to adequately instill full control over the Province. Kosovo is becoming more like Albania: corrupt, anarchic, and ruled by the gun and the gang.

Serbs and many non-Albanians still do not have access to hospitals, the University and public services, simply because they cannot even freely walk in the street. They are unemployed and confined to life in poverty of their rural enclaves out of which they can move only under the KFOR military escort. The Serbian language is completely banished from the public life. All Serb inscriptions, road signs and advertisements have been systematically removed and the usage of Serbian language in Albanian dominated areas is reason enough for anyone to be shot right on the spot. Thousands of Serb books in public libraries have been systematically burned while all unguarded Serb cultural monuments and statues have been torn down and destroyed.

The Serbs who remain in major cities are in the worst situation of all. Out of 40.000 pre-war Serb population in Pristina today there remain only 300 elderly people who live in a kind of house arrest. They cannot go into the street without military protection and only thanks to KFOR soldiers and humanitarian organizations do they receive food and medicines, which they are not allowed to buy in Albanian shops. Almost all Serb shops are now in Albanian hands. In other areas Albanians are greatly pressuring Serbs to sell their property under threats and extortion. Those who refuse usually have their houses torched or are killed as an example to other Serbs. Grenade attacks on Serb houses; on few remaining Serb shops and restaurants force more and more Serbs to leave Kosovo. If this repression and persecution is continued unabated it is likely that soon most of the remaining Serbs will also be forced to flee Kosovo.

Kosovo Serb community led by the Serb National Council has strongly condemned the violence committed by the Milosevic regime during the war but has also many times protested to the UNMIK and KFOR authorities because of terror and discrimination carried out by extremist Kosovo Albanian groups and their leaders. Nevertheless moderate Serb leadership has agreed to participate in the interim UN led administration but only as observers and under concrete conditions. The participation of the Serb representatives will be continued only if the situation for the Kosovo Serb population is improved.

We are obliged to conclude that so far the Security Council Resolution 1244 has not only been implemented but all most important human rights charters and conventions have been blatantly violated under the very protectorate of the United Nations Mission. This seriously compromises the World's Organization as well as the NATO led military forces, which have essentially failed to prevent the counter repression and revenge attacks by Kosovo Albanians after the war. One year after the war Kosovo is still ruled by apartheid.

In order to improve the security situation in Kosovo and the position of the Serb and non-Albanian population we demand the following:

 

1. UN Security Council should make a thorough reassessment of the results of the Kosovo Peace Mission and insist that immediate concrete measures are taken by UNMIK and KFOR to ensure peace, stability and full respect of human rights for all inhabitants as required by UNSC Resolution 1244. Serbs and other discriminated ethnic groups must be granted full freedom of life, work and movement, the right to have regular medical protection as well as the right of elementary, middle and high education in their own language.

2. Immediate measures must be also undertaken to locate and free all Serb and non-Albanians who have been abducted by Albanian extremists since spring 1998 until now. As much as we support the freeing of the Albanian political prisoners from the prisons in Serbia proper we insist that the issue of the missing Serbs must be urgently resolved too. Kosovo Albanian political and military leaders must give concrete contribution to this process.

3. UN Security Council should request from the UNMIK, KFOR and the Albanian political leaders to remove all obstacles, which prevent return of displaced Serbs, Romas and Slav Moslems. The Serb owned property must be restituted according to the principle of inviolability of the private property. The return of the displaced persons to Kosovo is one of the imperatives of the UNSCR 1244 and it cannot be observed only in respect to the Albanian refugees. Without the process of repatriation, the Serb community in Kosovo will not be able to participate in the political process of the Province.

4. Beside investigation of the crimes committed by Milosevic's regime the ICTY should immediately launch an investigation of crimes committed by the members of the KLA and other armed Albanian gangs during the war and in the post-war period.

5. With absence of conditions for the return of over 300.000 non Albanian expellees and a presence of a couple of hundred thousand illegal Albanian citizens in Kosovo it is evident that there are not even the basic conditions for civil registration and municipal elections. Therefore the participating in the registration and elections in the situation with two thirds of Serb population out of the province is regrettably impossible for our community at the moment. Without the freedom of life there cannot be free elections.

6. In order to ensure the long term survival of the Serb and non-Albanian population in the conditions of severe ethnic discrimination and organized intimidation it is essential to create a political framework for the functional self-rule for the Serbs and other non-Albanian groups in Kosovo. The Agenda for Coexistence, which has already been agreed with the UNMIK authorities, may serve as a basis for such a process. SNC remains strongly opposed to division of Kosovo as well as to the changing of internationally recognized borders.

7. In the situation of absence of viable democratic institutions in Kosovo and the continuation of the repressive and totalitarian rule of Belgrade regime in Serbia proper it is not possible to resolve the final status of Kosovo for the time being. Nevertheless this situation must not be used to cut all links between the Province of Kosovo, Republic of Serbia and FRY and thus create the basis for unilateral proclamation of independence. According to the international law, Resolution 1244 and the Helsinki Final Act the sovereignty of FRY cannot be changed without the consent of the legal FRY authorities and the Security Council, especially in the situation when all non-Albanian population is in danger to collectively leave the province before the rule of apartheid and the terror of Albanian extremists. One year after the war it is evident that the Albanian leaders have failed to demonstrate sincere commitment to the principles of a democratic civil society and the respect of basic human rights of non-Albanian population.

8. Security Council should make a strong appeal to UNESCO, which has failed to pay any attention to the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Serb cultural and religious heritage in the post war period. All medieval religious monuments must be immediately proclaimed the world heritage and thus be protected by the authority of the United Nations.

In Gracanica, April 28, 2000

 

Bishop Artemije Radosavljevic
Dr. Rada Trajkovic
Momcilo Trajkovic
Fr. Sava Janjic
Randjel Nojkic
Dragan Velic
Dusan Ristic