NEWSLETTER No 11

IWPR Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Comment: Kosovo Extremists Out of Control
The international community should intervene to stop the growing number of attacks on Serb civilians and their holy sites.
IWPR link Local link
By Fr. Sava (Janjic)


Michael Steiner in one of heavily damaged Serb houses in Klokot

SRSG Visits Klokot

KLOKOT, KOSOVO—Directly upon arriving in Kosovo from New York where he had addressed the UN Security Council, SRSG Michael Steiner visited the village of Klokot in the Gnjilane region where yesterday five Serb houses were destroyed in a series of explosions.

After meeting with Serb families in the neighborhood, he also went to Camp Bondsteel to visit two US soldiers who had been injured during the blasts.

He also announced he would create a Fund for Klokot, with an initial deposit of 50,000 euros. The fund would support projects of integration for people in the area.

“I came here directly from New York following the Security Council meeting where we discussed the progress we have made here….And then you see this,” he said upon his arrival at the scene of rubble.

He warned media not to “jump to quick conclusions” about the crime, as “the issue was too serious,” and that a thorough and joint investigation by UNMIK Police and KFOR had been launched. “But one thing is clear,” the SRSG said: “These acts are directed against progress in Kosovo.”

Police and KFOR will “identify the perpetrators,” he said. “We’ll take the time to do this because we want to know exactly what happened. Whoever they are, they will not distract us from our cause. The overall situation in Kosovo is getting better each month, and if people think they can slow down this progress, they’ve made an error. We’ll redouble our efforts now in all priority fields, in integration and in returns of all Kosovans who want to come back and make this a respectable society. I know the vast majority of Kosovans feel the same. The President of Kosovo, the Prime Minister as well as the people of Kosovo condemn this heinous act.”

Finally the SRSG said that, “We should use this incident to move even more quickly forward.”

ALBANIAN EXTREMISTS BLOW UP
FIVE SERB HOUSES IN KOSOVO

Two U.S. soldiers injured in this attack


SRSG Michael Steiner visited Klokot village and the US military hospital
in which two wounded U.S. soldiers are hospitalized
See the larger photos on UNMIK Photo page

FIVE SERB HOUSES IN KOSOVO DESTROYED BY EXPLOSIVE
Sources: Srna, B92, Fonet

Vitina, Kosovo - At least five Serb houses were heaviy damaged in a series of strong explosions which rocked the Kosovo Serb village of Klokot, near Vitina, on Wednesday early morning, around 6.00 a.m. This information was confirmed by the local UNMIK spokesperson for the Gnjilane region. According to the UNMIK innitial report no one of the local citizens was injured in the attack because the attacked houses were not inhabited. They were located in the part of the Klokot village which is bordering with the neighboring Kosovo Albanian village of Zitinje. Klokot village is still under blockade and investigation is ongoing. Two members of U.S. KFOR were injured in the attack.

BISHOP ARTEMIJE STRONGLY CONDEMNED THE TERRORIST ATTACKS IN KLOKOT AND THE HOLY ARCHANGELS

Gracanica July 31 , 2002 20:50

Bishop Artemije has strongly condemned the recent attack in Klokot and has expressed profound consternation with the news of an unsuccessful terrorist attack on the Holy Archangels monastery last week. "Serbs will never have peace and freedom of movement in Kosovo and Metohija as long as Albanian terrorists freely act blowing up Serb houses and holy sites three years after the war. It is the high time for the international community to see the true reality on the ground and confront Albanian extremism with concrete military and political actions. Terrorism must be stopped, perpetrators brought to justice and all citizens be given free movement and all other human rights", Bishop said to the Diocesan information service.

Information Service of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren

FOCUS KOSOVO
Focus Kosovo is published bimonthly by UNMIK Division of Public Information
Returns As The Way Ahead
Fr. Sava and Adem Demaci
Texts in Focus Kosovo Fr. Sava's text


Serb refugees in Serbia request to go back to their homes in Kosovo
In the last three years UN mission and KFOR have failed to create basic security conditions
for the normal return of Serb IDP's and refugees


Holy Baptism at Visoki Decani Monastery
July 28 2002

Visoki Decani, July 28 2002

Despite the difficulties in which Serb Orthodox Christians live in Kosovo and Metohija today the spirit of faith has never been so strong among the Serbian people.

On July 28, fifteen new brothers and sisters were received in the Holy Church through a traditional baptism in the Bistrica pond near Decani Monastery.All the cathecumens arrived that day to Decani under KFOR military escort only to experience the joy of the baptism at the historical site of Decani Monastery.

As images speak stronger than words we are inviting you to visit the photo gallery showing the scenes from this extraordinary event.

As many times in the history of the Church it has been proved that wherever there is suffering the Church is spiritually stronger and Christians firmer in their faith. PHOTO GALLERY


ALBANIAN TERRORISTS PLANNED TO DETONATE 9KG OF EXPLOSIVES AT THE CHURCH CELEBRATION

UNNAMED SOURCE CLOSE TO KFOR AND UNMIK CONFIRMED THAT A DEVASTATING TRAGEDY WAS AVOIDED AT THE HOLY ARCHANGELS MONASTERY JUBILEE ON JULY 26

Gracanica July 31, 2002

Unnamed but credible source close to highest KFOR and UNMIK authorities confirmed to the Serbian Orthodox Church today that KFOR soldiers have found 9 (nine) kg of explosives behind a large rock on a hillside above the Monastery of the Holy Archangels, close to the old Monastery tower of Visegrad. The military experts apparently believe that the explosives were activated by a mobile phone. Not all the explosives were detonated, otherwise the rock could have rolled into the monastery grounds and cause casualties among the congregation and the Bishop who were praying only 100 meters away.

This information from official circles has confirmed the fears that a very serious terrorist attack was planned during the celebration. Informal reports in the last few days received from the individual local MNB South sources were indicating that the explosives have been found (at least 4kg and that only a few hundreds of grams actually detonated). It is absolutely difficult to understand that KFOR has not searched the grounds around the monastery before a celebration in which 1000 Serbs would participate. It is equally surprising that KFOR authorities have not issued an official statement yet and the incident was not even mentioned in regular public News Update for July 28. It appears that no investigation is ongoing. At least the Church has not received any official assurance that this incident would be properly investigated. Many in Serb community see this as running away from responsibility.

Information Service of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren

First Serb Returnees Came Back
To Bicha Village


Bicha, July 30, 2002

On July 29th first 14 Serb returnees came back to their deserted village of Bicha, near Klina, after three years of refugee life in collective IDP's centers in Serbia proper. On their return the Serbs found their homes looted and destroyed, their forests and fields usurped by K/Albanians and their cemeteries desecrated. Nevertheless, full of fresh enthusiasm first 14 Bicha pioneers gathered today at the ruins of their old church and celebrated the first Holy Liturgy which was served by Fr. Stefan from Decani Monastery. Nuns from Pec Patriarchate came with Italian escort and brought food for the returnees.

The village is currently under military protection of Spanish KFOR. Italian and German Governments have allocated special funds for the reconstruction of Serb villages in this area. UNHCR has already placed five tents in Bicha village and the reconstruction of Serb homes is about to begin soon.

Full report from Bicha village

text in Serbian (cyrillic, encoding Cyrillic Windows 1251)


650 JUBILEE AT THE HOLY ARCHANGELS
MONASTERY NEAR PRIZREN

A grenade exploded 100 m from the monastery church

Gracanica, July 26, 2002 17:00

More than 1000 Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija as well as those who temporarily live as IDP's on the territory of central Serbia and Montenegro took part in today's celebration which marked 650 years since the foundation of the Holy Archangels Monastery, 5 km. south from Prizren. The holy liturgy was served by His Grace Bishop Artemije with priests and monks of the Kosovo and Metohija Orthodox Diocese. With this celebration at the Holy Archangels the action of the Church: Let us rejuvenate our holy sites with prayer has continued.

FULL REPORT


Bishop Artemije at the memorial servica in Staro Gracko

Three year anniversary of the massacre in Staro Gracko

In front of the memorial monument to the massacred Serb villagers in Staro Gracko, near Lipljan, several hundreds of Serbs attended the memorial service which was served by Bishop Artemije and his clergy.

"We are still waiting for the human justice to speak. Despite promises of the international community that the perpertrators of this crime will be brought to justice, nothing has happened so far", said Bishop Artemije. "Nevertheless, if the human justice is delayed, the Divine justice will come in time and the truth about this crime will be brought to the light of day. Despite all this you have remained on your land, in your homes, and that is our victory. That is what we owe to those who were killed because their sacrifice will never be in vain or misused", said the Bishop to the gathered people.

On this day in 1999 Albanian terrorists murdered 14 Serb harvesters from Staro Gracko village. The youngest among them were Novica Janicijevic (18) and Sasa Cvejic (25). Beside local Serbs from Gracko the memorial service was attended by Dr. Rada Trajkovic, the leader of the Serb Coalition "Povratak", Dragan Velic, Randjel Nojkic, Momcilo Trajkovic as well as representatives of the local and international authorities who came to Staro Gracko with their police escorts.

The ceremony was held under the heavy security provided by the Finnish KFOR.

Related sites:

TIMES Harvest Massacre Blamed on Kosovo Guerrillas, July 26, 1999

Harvest Massacre at Gracko Village
(caution - this page contains photos of disturbing contents)


Serbs express their bitter dissatisfaction
because the perpertrators have not yet been found

BISHOP ARTEMIJE REQUESTS FROM UNMIK CHIEF
ASSISTANCE IN RECONSTRUCTION OF DESTROYED HOLY SITES
July 21, 2002 Gracanica

Church will strongly insist on reconstruction of Zociste Monastery

Bishop Artemije, the spiritual leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija has written a letter to SRSG Mr. Michael Steiner requesting his support for reconstruction of the Serb Orthodox holy sites destroyed or damaged after the war in 1999. FULL TEXT

"We strongly believe that this is our undeniable right which is granted by all international human rights charters and the UNSCR 1244", Bishop said in his letter to the chief of UNMIK Mr. Steiner


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