NEWSLETTER No 13

Why Kosovo Serbs Still Live in Isolation
A Report Based on Testimonies of Serbs from different
parts of Kosovo and Metohija

Local Albanians Try to get hold of
Monastery land misusing court and law


Decani Abbot Fr. Teodosije asks protection from the institutional repression
of an Albanian court in Decani

Decani Monastery, August 15, 2002

Abbot Teodosije sent yesterday a letter to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG), Mr. Michael Steiner, asking his urgent intervention and protection of the Monastery from the institutional repression by the Decani Municipal Court and Municipal authorities.

Visoki Decani Monastery therefore considers the decision of the Municipal court in Decani as overt institutional repression against the last remaining Serb community in Decani Municipality and a provocation to the international authorities in Kosovo and Metohija. Supporting the right of local Kosovo courts to adjudicate land issues concerning the property of religious communities and former socially owned enterprises would make a dangerous precedent which would inevitably result in legal disorder and usurpation of large tracts of Serb owned land', said Fr. Teodosije in his letter to the SRSG. MORE

YUGOSLAV GOVERNMENT - DECISION OF THE MUNICIPAL COURT IN DECANI IS ILLEGAL AND REPRESENTS AN ACT OF REPRESSION
The Government expressed serious concern that UNMIK has not reacted to such an illegal act


Yugoslav Government - before today's session, Aug. 15 2002

Belgrade, 15 Aug (B92) - The Yugoslav Government has condemned a ruling by the Decani Municipal Court on disputed land adjacent to the Decani Monastery.
The land was part of 800 hectares originally nationalized at the end of World War Two. The Serbian Government was returning two parcels of land amounting to 23.45 hectares to the monastery in 1997.

The Decani Court this week reversed that restitution in a ruling, which the Federal Government today described as "a repressive measure directed against the remaining Serbs in Kosovo".

The government also argued that the court's decision was in direct contravention of US Security Council Resolution 1244 and expressed serious concern that the UN Administration in the province had not reacted to this "illegal act".

 

Albanian Extremists Clash With U.N. Police and KFOR in Decani


UN armored vehicle in Decani town after the clash with Albanian demonstrators in which according to local sources more than 40 demonstrators were injured. So far the mos serious clash between the KLA supporters and UNMIK/KFOR
Decani, August 15, 2002

40 Persons Injured In Decani Protests

15 Aug (Free Serbia) - A clash between demonstrators and members of KFOR and UNMIK police occurred today during protest of Albanians, who blocked Pec-Decani road.

Special UNMIK police forces used tear gas and rubber bullets and a mass fight between demonstrators and UNMIK police followed. Several hundred Albanians, mostly former KLA members, blocked at noon the main road Pec-Decani. They demonstrated against arrest of Daut Haradinaj and ten other former members of KLA, now activists of Kosovo Protection Corps, as well as the issuing of indictment against president of Alliance for Kosovo Future Ramush Haradinaj, who was, by the way, born in Decani.
Protest went without incidents for first half an hour. Italian KFOR soldiers secured it. In KFOR headquarters in Pec it has been confirmed to Tanjug that someone threw a stone at KFOR soldiers at 12.30PM. One soldier has been slightly injured and transferred to military hospital in Pec. Then the special squads of UNMIK police intervened using tear gas and rubber bullets. A mass fight arouse between demonstrators and UNMIK police officers.

Director of health center in Decani Hilmi Shehu said today that 40 persons were injured in conflict between UNMIK police and demonstrators who blocked major road Pec-Djakovica today early afternoon. UNMIK speaker Andrea Angeli said a little earlier to Beta agency that a KFOR member and a demonstrator had been injured. UNMIK speaker said that 'a number of persons were taken into custody'. As we learn unofficially, several demonstrators have been arrested. They protested against arrests of Kosovo Protection Corps members and KLA high ranked officers.
Albanian sources from Decani report that the police have banned the demonstrations in center of Decani. They allowed it to take place in the city park. Demonstrators did not accept that and accused police that it provoked the incidents. UNMIK stated that special units of Spanish KFOR intervened because demonstrators blocked the main road. All roads to Decani that had been blocked for few hours are unblocked since 3PM. The situation in Decani is still tense but a little more peaceful.


U.S. soldier wounded in the Albanian terrorist attack in Klokot, July 2002


Kosovo - Between Serba and Albanian
(left) a Serb in a traditional national dress with a sword
(right) Albanian mafioso with a kalashnykov (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Status of Kosovo and Metohija
Independent Kosov would be a destabilizing
factor for the Balkans

Kosovo: Time for the Hard Decisions, July 29, 2002

Proponents of independence for Kosovo need to consider what the
long-term consequences would be of establishing yet another state in the
region based on the national aspirations of one constituent ethnic
group. Several disturbing questions arise. What would the effect of an
independent Kosovo be on Montenegro? More critically, how could Bosnia
survive as a unitary state if Kosovo gained independence? If Albanians
in Kosovo were eventually permitted to hold a referendum on
independence, what justification would there be to prevent Serbs and
Croats in Bosnia from holding referendums as well?

Over the past three years, Kosovo has come
to pose a significant transnational crime threat, serving as a conduit
for the trafficking of weapons, drugs, and thousands of women from
eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union who have been forced into
prostitution. An elected Kosovar government, especially one headed by
Rugova, would not likely support such activities, but probably could not
prevent them. MORE


Some optimists continue to hold out hope that an independent
Kosovo will not be a de facto mono-ethnic state. When it became clear
that Vojislav Kostunica had triumphed over Milosevic in the 2000
Yugoslav elections, a Kosovar Albanian man on the street, quoted widely
in the international media, dismissed as irrelevant whether or not
Kostunica was devoted to democracy and said that the Kosovars would not
return to Yugoslavia even if the Serbs elected Vaclav Havel, the
president of the Czech Republic, as their president. It was illuminating
that he picked the most internationally respected statesman from a
Slavic country as his random hypothetical democrat. This mindset calls
into question the kind of future that Serbs would have in an independent
Kosovo. (from Kosovo: Time for Hard Decisions)

IWPR: Analysis: Kosovo Independence Ruled Out, 14. Aug. 2002

The other option, now presented as the EU's official stance, is that the Balkans must not be partitioned any further. This option prevailed after Europe rejected Montenegro's bid for independence in March and practically forced it to sign the Belgrade agreement, obliging the country to remain in union with Serbia.

Those who oppose further fragmentation - the large European member states and joint EU institutions - fear Kosovo's independence would encourage other partitions, especially in Macedonia, where Albanians dominate the western part of the state and where armed clashes broke out a year ago.

In addition, Nicholas Whyte, director of the Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group's Balkan programme, told IWPR that Kosovo's treatment of its Serb minority "disqualified it for independence". However, Whyte suggested the protectorate would eventually gain autonomy through bilateral negotiations with Belgrade. MORE


Children are the hope of Kosovo and Metohija
Fr. Teodosije with a Kosovo Serb boy

FRY Secretariat for Religions Condemns Legal Violence of the Decani Municipal Court

Following the decision of the municipal court in Decani to confiscate the land of the Monastery of Visoki Decani, returned to the monastery by decision of the Government of the Republic of Serbia in 1997, the Yugoslav Secretariat for Religions hereby issues the following

PUBLIC STATEMENT

The decision of the municipal court in Decani annulling the decision of the Government of the Republic of Serbia in 1997 whereby the property of the Monastery of Visoki Decani nationalized in 1946 was returned represents the most striking example of legal violence before the eyes of the international community which is doing nothing to stop decisions such as this one which send a clear message to all displaced persons that they no longer have the right to return, and clearly informs remaining Serbs and Montenegrins that there can be no peaceful life in Kosovo and Metohija and that they need to leave because neither their personal safety nor the safety of their property is guaranteed.

This decision necessarily reminds us of what we thought were times long past, times when the Communist confiscated the property of the Church and the people alike without reason, and then forbade those who were forced out of Kosovo and Metohija to ever return. It is an even greater irony that all this is happening in the presence of the UN Mission which is tasked with establishing legal order and facilitating the return of the displaced and the expelled from Kosovo and Metohija.

We appeal to all relevant international organizations, especially to UNMIK, to annul this foolish and illegal decision of the municipal court in Decani which serves only to achieve the effect of further creation of negative tensions between national and religious communities which may destabilize the entire region, which certainly is not in the best interests of anyone well-intentioned and wishing to establish peace and tolerance in Kosmet (Kosovo and Metohija).

FRY Secretariat for Religions
Belgrade, August 13, 2002

Osojane, One Year Later


Osojane - August 13, 2002
- A folk-dance group from Velika Hoca
entertains the guests in the Osojane school

FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF SERB RETURNS TO THEIR HOMES CELEBRATED IN OSOJANE
METOHIJA*, A LAND BOTH HOLY AND 'CURSED'
By Rada Loncar, Vesti, Frankfurt, Aug 15, 2002

Osojane, August 13, 2002 - Exactly one year after the arrival of the first Serb returnees to Osojane village a celebration was organized in which Serbs from different parts of Kosovo and Metohija participated. The Holy Liturgy was served by Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro. After the holy service the folk-dance group from Velika Hoca displayed the rich dance tradition of Kosovo and Metohija Serbs. The celebration was organized under the strong protectin of KFOR which also escorted the guests to Osojane. The reconstruction of homes is progressing and more than half formerly destroyed houses are now under roof.

Related texts:
First returnees to Osojane
Bishop Artemije serves in Osojane church

Communion of children
Metropolitan Amfilohije communes children from Osojane

Ilustrovana Politika
Osojane: Creating Life Among Ruins

Osojane church
Service in front of the ruined church of St. Archangel Gabriel
Osojane, August 13, 2002

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