NEWSLETTER No 16

Kosovo's Ombudsperson - Marek Antoni Nowitzky
gives his testimony, Second Annual Report, July 2002
(html file)

The situation of residents of Kosovo who are not of Albanian ethnicity remains very difficult. Many, in particular Serbs and Roma remain isolated in ghettos and face great danger should they venture out of those ghettos without armed international escorts. Their extremely restricted freedom of movement has serious repercussions on all aspects of normal life – access to employment, medical care, schools, and public services generally. The provision of public utilities (electricity, water, etc.) to these ghettos is at a much lower standard than to the rest of the population. MORE IN MS WORD, In html


October 29, 2002
Editorial by Fr. Sava (Janjic)

POOR TURNOUT AT ELECTIONS SHOWS LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN INSTITUTIONS
Until when will Mafia operate in Kosovo - Decentralization does not depend on Steiner - Political killing sours Kosovo mood - Humanitarian aid from Moswocw arrived to Kosovo and Metohija


Empty polling station in the Serbian part of Mitrovica

Info - Service ERP KIM
RENOWNED ITALIAN ACTIVIST FOR PROTECTION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE SEEKS PROTECTION OF SERBIAN ORTHODOX MONASTERIES IN KOSOVO
Sgarbi ephasis
es responsibility of KFOR for protection of Visoki Decani and Pec Patriarchate

October 27, 2002

Rome - Italian deputy-minister of culture and a member of Parliament Hon.Vittorio Sgarbi sent a letter to the new KFOR commander, Italian general Fabio Mini, proposing special protection of Serb Orthodox religious monuments in Kosovo.

"The situation in Kosovo and the unavoidable reduction of NATO forces in coming months are cause for grave concern for the future protection of the heritage of Serbian Orthodox culture and religion, especially of Visoki Decani Monastery and the Pec Patriarchate, which are of great significance for art history," wrote Sgarbi.

Sgarbi notes in his letter that many Orthodox religious monuments in Kosovo are already damaged, and in many cases irreparably destroyed. "I wish to draw your attention especially to the precarious situation in which two pearls in northwestern Kosovo, Visoki Decani and the Pec Patriarchate Monasteries, are found in comparison with well-guarded Gracanica Monastery," emphasized Sgarbi. He added that the recent attack on Serb pensioners in Pec clearly demonstrates the length of the path to reconciliation between the [Serb and Albanian] communities and the high degree of violence still reigning in Kosovo. Sgarbi expressed his hope that Decani Monastery and Pec Patriarchate will be equally well protected in future as they are now under the Italian military command.

UNMIK Police
Press Release
25-10-2002

New Arrests for Pec/Peje Disturbance

On 24th October two further suspects were arrested who had been identified as participants in the violent attack on Serb pensioners in Pec/Peje on 10th October.

Arrested are two K-Albanian youths who have appeared before an international prosecutor and have been released pending prosecution.

A total of five persons have now been identified and arrested by Police for their involvement in the disturbance.

Among those detained are suspects believed to be responsible for organising the attack and for the throwing of rocks and fire bombs.


DEREK CHAPPELL
Chief of Press & Public Information
Office of Press and Public Information
UNMIK Police Main HQ
Pristina
Tel. +381-38-504-604-5071/FAX 5073


Simulations of democracy - Kosovo 2002

UNMIK's billboard calling for elections (in Serbian)
Take YOUR PLACE at the table - decide who will represent you
Vote on October 26

Information Service of the Diocese or Raska and Prizren
Report October 24, 2002

KFOR and UNMIK Crack on Kosovo Albanian Mafia
Editorial by Fr. Sava - KFOR and UNMIK confiscate 260 tons of smuggled cigarettes - Bishop Artemije on destruction of churches - Elderly Serb beaten in Kosovo Polje - Serbian Gov't calls for elections

Nation building as a pretext of building monoethnic Kosovo
Letter to Washington Post regarding the article by James Rubin

EXCLUSIVE STATEMENT OF DR. RADA TRAJKOVIC

LET US VOTE NOW SO THAT IN SIX MONTHS WE CAN VOTE FOR OUR OWN MUNICIPALITIES!

Michael Steiner adopts key Serb demands after all, opening the road to decentralization of Kosovo and Metohija

The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija headed by Bishop Artemije expressed support in last night’s statement for the decision to participate in municipal elections in Kosovo and Metohija in accordance with the recommendation of the state leadership. It is necessary to emphasize that this decision was not made due to an improvement in security conditions. On the contrary, the position of the Serb people in this region remains exceptionally difficult and we do not see any essential improvements. Nevertheless, the new development which was of decisive significance in making the decision to participate in elections was Mr. Steiner’s statement of two days ago in which he publicly expressed support for the idea of centralization, the creation of new municipal units and elections within a timeframe of six months for new municipal councils, which are some of our most critical conditions. MORE

Other news from the Info Service of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren
for October 23, 2002

Information Service of the Diocese or Raska and Prizren
Report October 22, 2002

Serbs will vote for decentralization
Serb National Council supports elections as a way towards decentralization - Fr. Sava - Importance of decentralization - UNMIK police confiscates 260 tons of smuggled cigarettes from Kosovo Albanian mafia


COMMUNIQUE OF SERB NATIONAL COUNCIL
SNC KM gives support to elections only as a way towards decentralization of Kosovo and Metohija

The security situation for the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija is extremely difficult and basic conditions for democratic and free elections still do not exist. Nevertheless, the majority of the participants in yesterday's meeting is convinced that by yesterday's statement UNMIK head Michael Steiner opened the path to te process of decentralization of the Province and the realization of the legitimate right of national communities to local, regional and national self-government in Kosovo and Metohija, in accordance with the principles of the European Charter on Local Self-Government. MORE

President Kostunica and Vice Prime-minister Covic

SERBIAN GOVERNMENT

Kostunica, Covic call on Kosovo Serbs to take part in local elections

http://www.serbia.sr.gov.yu/news/2002-10/22/326398.html

October 22, 2002

Belgrade, Oct. 22, 2002 - Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica and Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Head Nebojsa Covic met Kosovo Serb representatives in Belgrade late Monday to discuss the forthcoming provincial election.

Participants in the meeting discussed UNMIK Head Michael Steiner's statement on the steps he intends to take in the decentarlisation of Kosovo after the local provincial elections, and assessed that his statement clears the way for a certain, but insubstantial progress towards receiving guarantees for local self-government, read a statement issued by President Kostunica's office.

They also agreed that the remaining Serbs in Kosovo and the ones who were forced to leave the province should take part in the October 26 local elections, particularly in locations offering adequate security and institutional conditions. Serb participation in the local authorities in Kosovo depends on creating an appropriate concept of decentralisation, to be drawn up immediately after the elections.

The participants in the meeting reached the tough decision to call on the local Serb population to go to the polls hoping that the international community will make additional efforts of securing conditions for a massive return of displaced persons and recognition of human rights in Kosovo-Metohija, read the statement.

Information Service of the Diocese or Raska and Prizren
Report October 22, 2002

Serbs will vote for decentralization
Serb National Council supports elections as a way towards decentralization - Fr. Sava - Importance of decentralization - UNMIK police confiscates 260 tons of smuggled cigarettes from Kosovo Albanian mafia


Michael Steiner today at the press conference at UNMIK HQ in Pristina, Oct 21
UNMIK chief offered his proposals for the decentralization of Kosovo Province

Steiner Promises Decentralization of Kosovo
Serbian leaders request additional guarantees

STILL NO DECISION ON PARTICIPATION IN ELECTIONS

Belgrade, October 21, 2002
19:20

Kosovo Serb leaders have delayed a decision on voting in local government elections until tomorrow. Serb political representatives say they are seeking guarantees that Kosovo Governor Michael Steiner’s proposal for the establishment of ethnic sub-municipalities will be implemented. A six-member delegation of Kosovo Serb leaders is scheduled to meet Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica and the head of the Kosovo Coordination Centre, Nebojsa Covic.

Kosovo Serb leaders announced last week that Serbs would not participate in Kosovo's local elections unless UNMIK accepted the project of decentralization of the Province. Kosovo Serbs see decentralization as the only way to protect long-term interests of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija. Serbian Orthodox Church strongly supported the requests of the Serb political leadership and refused to support elections without precise guarantees that UNMIK will establish a system of local, regional and national self-government in Kosovo and Metohija and thus protect Kosovo Serb community from ethnic discrimination and Kosovo Albanian repression.

Yesterday (Oct 20) Kosovo Serb expert group submitted to Steiner the latest plan on decentralization which encapsulates the most important elements of the decentralization project (see above) and offers some practical suggestions for new municipal units

The latest Serb proposal on decentralization (Oct 20, 2002)


BISHOP ARTEMIJE speaks for Blic, Oct 17
I would be despised if I called on people to vote


Why are Kosovo Serbs Concerned
Two recent analyses of the Kosovo impasse before the local elections
by Fr. Sava Janjic (fully edited versions)

ONE REALITY FROM TWO WINDOWS
Simon Haselock, UNMIK's Information Director and Fr. Sava,
Serbian Orthodox Church

IWPR, Simon Haselock: Kosovo Serbs are making progress, Oct 17

Comment:

Fr. Sava: No essential improvement in the life of Kosovo Serbs, Oct 20

No one can deny the progress UNMIK has made in some fields, which deserves sincere commendation. The problem from the Kosovo Serb point of view, however, is that these positive changes have hardly affected the everyday life of Kosovo Serbs, who still live an isolated life in their enclaves without basic human rights and freedoms, particularly in Albanian inhabited areas. The best evidence of the prevailing Kosovo Albanian view of society can be seen in Kosovo’s cities which remain almost completely without a Serb population three years after the war simply because Serbs do not feel safe there, nor can they hold jobs and have a normal family life in hostile surroundings. MORE

Veleri Kunin: Everything is wonderful in Kosovo?

Under the auspices of OSCE and the UN civil mission, municipal, presidential and parliamentary elections have been held here. That is, all essential government structures have been created in Kosovo. The fact that these government structures were created on a foundation of Albanian nationalism is something European officials care little about and speak about even less. They do not talk about it because if they did they would have to remember quite a few fairly uncomfortable facts. If nothing else, they would recall that thousands of Serb homes and about 70 Orthodox churches and medieval monasteries, many of them from European and world culural heritage lists, still lie in ruins. MORE

Information Service of the Diocese or Raska and Prizren
Report October 19, 2002 - evening edition

Church deeply hurt by the behavor or the U.S. KFOR
Protest of the Association of journalists - Serbs split on vote decision - Council of Europe - Human Rights situation in Kosovo


Abbot Teodosije of Visoki Decani Monastery

NEW PRESSURES ON VISOKI DECANI MONASTERY
Members of Kosovo Police Service prevent normal food procurement

Decani, October 19, 2002

In the early morning hours, Fr. Teodosije Sibalic, the abbot of Visoki Decani Monastery, who was transporting food for the monastery was stopped by members of the Kosovo Police Service and customs at the Rozaje-Kula administrative checkpoint and exposed to verbal abuse and provocations in the presence of members of Italian KFOR responsible for accompanying his vehicle from the checkpoint to the monastery. Visoki Decani Monastery and the Pec Patriarchate have been living in complete isolation for the past three years and the monks are not able to procure food nearby but are forced to travel to Montenegro and other parts of Serbia in order to meet the basic needs of the monastery. Despite the fact that the monks of Decani and sisters of the Pec Patriarchate always travel with a Italian KFOR military escort their vehicles have been stoned on numerous occasions.

Most recently upon entering the Province the monks are exposed to the verbal abuse of Albanian policemen with increasing frequency. Two weeks ago a group of policemen publicly cursed at the monks and their guests. Today a similar scene was repeated when the head customs offficial humiliated the Decani abbot, demanding that he pay duties on a packet of sardines and two bags of sugar which the monastery received from donors in Kraljevo, and threatening that they would not allow him to encroach on the territory of the Province. The entire scene was played out in front of Italian soldiers who were confused and did not know how to protect the monks from this latest form of abuse. At the same time two policemen circled around the vehicle, sardonically saying: Welcome to Kosovo!

The brotherhood of Visoki Decani Monastery expresses the strongest protest to UNMIK for abuses by the insitution of the Kosovo Police Service for the purpose of ethnic discrimination and verbal mistreatment. Such behavior by individual Albanian policemen is putting a moral stigma on the entire Kosovo Police Service because the attempt is being made to prevent normal food procurement for Serb communities lacking the basic freedom to purchase food on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija by an institution sponsored by the international community. During this pre-election time when the Serbs are making their decision whether or not to participate in local elections such actions on the part of members of Kosovo institutions cause even greater bitterness for the Serb population. Therefore, Visoki Decani Monastery most decisively appeals to official authorities in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as to the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to take urgent measures to prevent institutional repression directed against the Church and the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohjia.

Information Service of the Diocese or Raska and Prizren
Report October 17, 2002 - evening edition

Serbian Patriarhcate Refutes Michael Steiner
The Communique of the Belgrade Patriarchate - An Old Serb man beaten in Gnjilane - Brutal behavior of US soldiers in Klokot - Steiner lying says Church lawyer - News on Steiner's meetings in Belgrade

INFORMATION SERVICE OF
THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

October 17, 2002

PUBLIC STATEMENT WITH REGARD TO MR. STEINER’S COMMENTS

With regard to the comments of Mr. Steiner, the special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Kosovo and Metohija, made following his meeting with His Holiness the Serbian Patriarch Kyr Pavle and members of the Holy Synod of Bishops, we wish to advise that Mr. Steiner was received at his own request, not, as he subsequently advised media, upon the invitation of His Holiness the Patriarch.

After listening to the presentation of Mr. Steiner regarding the necessity of participation in local elections and his plan for decentralization of North Mitrovica, His Holiness and the members of the Synod elaborated on the full complexity of the Kosovo-Metohija question, supported by examples, as well as expressing their serious concern as a result of the still undiminished endangerment not only of the human rights of Serbs and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija, but of their fundamental right to life, security and property. The Synod emphasized the immediate need for implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, the return of refugees and expelled persons, the finding of kidnapped persons, and protection of property.

The Holy Synod expressed its reservation with respect to participation in elections not because they are undeserving of support but because of the danger that participation in local elections will serve, under the present state of affairs, as decoration for the domestic and international public, as the participation of the Serbs in the Kosovo Parliament has largely turned out to be. With respect to the decentralization of North Mitrovica, the Synod made it known that this plan is only acceptable if it serves as a model for decentralization throughout the Province.

It is up to the people themselves to responsibly decide regarding their participation or non-participation in the elections while the Church continues to express, as in the past, its readiness to assist both responsible representatives of the international community as well as our state and transitional provincial officials in finding the best solutions for a common life in dignity of all residents of Kosovo and Metohija.


Representatives of the City of Moscow, Russian Orthodox Church and Russian humanitarian Orthodox organizations send 300 tons of humanitarian aid for Kosovo Serbs (Abbot Teodosije of Decani, second left participated in the ceremony a the Tver square on October 16th) More in English soon
Full story in Russian

Serbs in Kosovo to receive aid from Moscow 
Moscow citizens attend huge ceremony on Tverski Square to see off humanitarian aid convoy for Serb brothers in Kosovo and Metohija

Moscow, October 16, 2002

To the accompaniment of music by a military orchestra, the Moscow city government yesterday (October 16) sent 300 tons of humanitarian aid to the Serb population in Kosovo and Metohija. A formal ceremony was held on Tverski Square attended by several high digniteries of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Metropolitan Vokolamsky and Yurievsky, Pitirim; the Episcope Kaluzhsky and Borovsky, Climent; Abbot Teodosije (Sibalic) of Visoki Decani Monastery; D. Vuksanovic, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Moscow; Svetomir Stefanovic, the representative of the Joint Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija; Ivana Zigon, actress from Belgrade; members of the Moscow city government; representatives of the Duma; as well as numerous Muscovites and Yugoslav citizens in Russia.

The Russian deputy minister for emergencies, Yuri Brazhnyikov, said that the shipment to the Serbs in Kosovo included electrical generators, mini kitchens, wood and coal burning stoves, electric heaters, blankets, clothing and shoes, and food so essential for the coming winter.

The head of the Moscow government, Lyudmila Shevetzeva, emphasized that the aid was for Serbs living in a completely Albanian environment. The aid was collected through the generosity of numerous Muscovites and not one ruble was taken out of the city budget. Contributing to the collection campaign were the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian and Yugoslav businessmen, the League of Orthodox Citizens, the SNG Institute and other organizations. Almost half of the aid was collected by the "Blagovest" Center for National Assistance.

The Metropolitan Vokolamsky and Yurievsky, Pitirim, called Kosovo "a bleeding wound on the body of Europe". "The destruction of centuries-old Orhtodox monasteries and churches continues. Despite the international presence, more than 250,000 Serbs were forced to leave from their ancient homes," said Metropolitan Pitirim during his homily, expressing his joy that the Russian people are collecting aid for their brothers by faith.

Father Teodosije, the abbot of Visoki Decani Monastery, expressed the thanks of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serb people of Kosovo and Metohija to their Russian brothers and the Moscow city government, as well as to all donors on their selfless assistance and brotherly love.

The humanitarian aid convoy will travel through Bulgaria and Macedonia to reach Kosovo and Metohija at the beginning of November.

Information Service of the Diocese or Raska and Prizren
Report October 17, 2002

Steiner does not receive desired support in Belgrade
Steiner talked to the Patriarch - No desired support after all - What happened at the Patriarchate - Reactions to Steiner's visit


KOSOVO SERBS AND ORTHODOX CHURCH ARE FED UP WITH FALSE PROMISES
THEY REQUEST URGENT OVERHAUL OF UNMIK'S POLICY

Steiner in Belgrade (Oct 16) with the families of the missing people
in front of the Patriarchate

The Commissioner for Human Rights publishes a report on the situation in Kosovo
[17 OCT 2002] Alvaro Gil-Robles has just released a report entitled ''Kosovo : the human rights situation and the fate of persons displaced from their homes''. The report was prepared in response to Recommendation 1569 (2002) of the Parliamentary Assembly on the ''Situation of refugees and internally displaced persons in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia'' and is based on the findings of two visits in the region.

KOSOVO - THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION, Oct 16, 2002
Full text of the report (pdf)


The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, Alvaro Gil Robles required in a report on Kosmet to urgently implement an investigation on crimes which, as quoted, were executed over the Serbs and other non-Albanians in the province following the creating of the UN Mission.

Robles stated in an analysis made for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, that the victims and their relatives were interrogated, and rarely were any steps undertaken to shed light on the crimes. This undermines the confidence of ethnic minorities in the protection of KFOR and UNMIK, as well as their objectivity, the report quotes. Robles pointed out the problem of missing persons was not solved and that the expelled Serbs did not return to Kosovo and Metohija.. Extracts


Attack on Elderly Serbs in Pec - Reports, News, Video....

TWO VIDEO REPORTS
Ethnic Albanians Protest Serb's Return To Kosovo (Reuters Video)
- Oct 11 10:46 AM ET

Ethnic Violence in Kosovo Injures Two (AP Video)
- Oct 10 5:56 PM ET

Communique of the Serbian Orthodox Church and SNC
POLITIKA: Serbs and UN Police Stoned, Oct 12, 2002
BLIC: We barely made it out alive, Oct 12
GLAS: Three Serb returnees injured, Oct 12
AFP, UN police, ethnic Albanians clash in western Kosovo, Oct 10
AP: NATO, UN police clash with ethnic Albanians in Kosovo
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