Info Service ERP KIM, 20. January 2003
Uncertain fate of St.
Eliah's church in Podujevo - Albanian extremists throw two grenades
on a Serb house near Obilic - Seven Bosnian Moslems jailed for smuggling
weapons to Kosovo
is now for opening talks on Kosovo status
Jan 19, 2003 - Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic reiterated
Sunday that the time is now for opening talks on the final status
of Kosovo and dismissed international assessments that it is
still premature to talk about the final status of the province.
minister said the following in a statement: "I do not think
that it is premature or hasty to warn of the unacceptable situation
there [in Kosovo] and demand firm action towards the protection
of the rights of the state of Serbia. Quite the opposite, now
is the moment to openly discuss status issues because they are
obviously being solved in silence behind the backs of local
and international institutions".
Djindjic said that the time is now for opening talks on the
final status of Kosovo because the province is moving towards
independence. International officials reacted to the prime minister's
statement by saying that it is still too early for such talks.
minister responded with the following: "There is no doubt
that Kosovo is a de facto independent state today, just as it
was three years ago. All this time, the state of Serbia has
had no possibility of influencing any aspect of life in Kosovo-Metohija.
Any link between Serbia and Kosovo-Metohija, from legislation,
customs and tax systems, to managing state property and international
representation is systematically being eliminated. It is obvious
that international organisations aim to give Kosovo-Metohija
bodies the state powers that were taken away from Serbia."
back certain authorities to Serbia has never been mentioned.
You do not have to have ESP to figure out that this leads to
the creation of an independent state on the territory of the
Serbian province. Serbia does not have any powers or rights
in Kosovo-Metohija, nor are they stipulated in the future. These
are the facts and they are not acceptable to Serbia, and are
in violation of the official international documents,"
said the prime minister.
said that the international community invokes the UN Security
Council Resolution 1244 to justify its activities in Kosovo,
adding that the Resolution also guarantees the rights of the
motherland, including the return of a certain number of Serbian
police officers and Yugoslav Army members to Kosovo, as well
as the return of expelled Serbs.
nobody in the international community mentions the return of
the army and the police, and it is mainly demagogy when they
speak of the return of dispelled citizens," said the prime
Sava Janjic - UNMIK'S "POTEMKIN VILLAGES"
January 16, 2003
in Kosovo and Metohija much has changed for the better in the
last three years but only for Albanian community. Under UNMIK’s
rule, however, changes are only slightly or not at all reflected
in Serb areas where the 100,000 remaining Serbs are hard pressed
to see any essential improvements since the end of the war. While
it is true that many hospitals have been restored, Serbs cannot
seek treatment in them; numerous roads have been paved but Serbs
lack the freedom to travel on them; tens of thousands of houses
have been renovated but only about one hundred of them are owned
by Serbs. After the war, all mosques were repaired and many new
ones built while over one hundred Serbian churches still lie in
ruins and not one has been reconstructed; there are many new supermarkets,
gas stations and restaurants but what use are they to Serbs when
only Albanians and foreigners can safely enter them. In short,
based on his first-hand experience, the average Serb feels that
UNMIK has come to help only one community while Serbs appear fated
to live as second-class citizens on the margins of society. FULL
COMMUNIQUE OF SNC KIM AND SNC NK REGARDING ANNOUNCED RETURN OF
RETURN COALITION TO KOSOVO PARLIAMENT
Gracanica - Kosovska Mitrovica, January 15, 2003.
After receiving information that Gojko Savic and Oliver Ivanovic,
representatives of the Return (Povratak) Coalition in the Kosovo
and Metohija presidency, have already discussed the return of
Serb deputies to the parliament in the near future with Albanian
representatives, the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija
and the Serb National Council of Northern Kosovo feel obliged
and morally bound to acquaint the public with the consequences
resulting from this unilateral and extremely dangerous decision.
The SNC KIM and the SNC NK were among the first to support the
entry of Serb deputies in the Kosovo and Metohija parliament at
the end of 2001 in order to essentially improve the position of
the Serb people, enable the return of expelled Serbs to their
home and stop the process of secession of Kosovo and Metohija
from Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by working
through public institutions and under the auspices of UNMIK. Unfortunately,
after a year of participating in the work of the parliament not
one of these three fundamental goals has even begun to be realized.
The Serb people continue to be exposed to unbridled discrimination,
violence and repression. The Return Coalition has failed to justify
its own name since the strategy for return of expelled Serbs has
basically been a failure and the Province is increasingly getting
the contours of an independent Albanian state.
It is for this very reason that the members of the Coalition made
the completely justified decision to withdraw from the Kosovo
and Metohija parliament in November of last year. Therefore, the
reason for this decision was not only the discriminatory attitude
of the Albanian deputies and personal insults but the absence
of basic, functional mechanisms through which the Serbs can realize
their vital interests through public institutions. The parliament
and municipal institutions, in the absence of real mechanisms
for the protection of the interests of all citizens regardless
of their ethnicity, have become open instruments of institutional
repression which is being carried out against the Serbs, sadly,
with the full tolerance of UNMIK. Despite their personal efforts,
for a year our deputies represented only a window dressing of
non-existent multiethnicity and democracy. As such they unwittingly
served to enable Albanian political forces to present Kosovo institutions
as their great success. What is more, thanks to the presence of
Serb deputies in the parliament, senior Albanian representatives
have used public institutions as a springboard for complete secession
of the Province from Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
in violation of all provisions of UN Security Council Resolution
1244. We claim with full authority that no Serb representative
has the mandate to support such a narrowly nationalist strategy
leading ultimately to the disappearance of the Serb people from
As representatives of the Serb people who have fought for Serb
interests for years, we feel morally obliged to acquaint our people
with the fact that under these conditions the return of Serb deputies
to the parliament would mean direct support for Albanian separatism
and the secession of Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia and the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia. Those who have made this decision will
inescapably face direct moral responsibility for it before their
people and before the judgment of history. Reaching such an decision
without broad-based support among the people, the representatives
of the Church in this region and the most significant political
forces representing the people will finally result in the end
of the Return Coalition which will no longer represent anyone
with the exception of a handful of people who believe they can
make fateful decisions on their own and in the name of the people.
BISHOP ARTEMIJE, chairman of the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija
MILAN IVANOVIC, chairman of the SNC North Kosovo
FOURTH CHRISTMAS BEHIND THE WIRE
- SPECIAL REPORT
- Dec 20th, 2002
Christmas in Kosovo Under Siege
BBC Web Site
CHRISTMAS BEHIND THE WIRE
Kosovo in Christmas time: Christian holy sites and cemeteries
still under threat of Albanian extremists
In the time when Christmas is celebrated throughout Europe as
a feasday of peace, tolerance and hope, in the UN administered
province of Kosovo Christian Orthodox communities still live
under virtual siege, surrounded by unabated hostility of local
Moslem Albanians. Despite official claims that situation in
Kosovo has greatly improved since the deployment of UN Mission
and the peacekeeping troops, the reality for everyday Serbs,
especially isolated monasteries, is essentially unchanged. Kosovo
is still a society in which Orthodox Christian Serbs do not
enjoy the minimum of freedom and live in their besieged tiny
enclaves in constant fear of Albanian extremist attacks. In
the latest series of attacks, last month, one church was blown
up and another seriously damaged by local Albanians. More than
100 Serbian churches, demolished after the war, still lie in
ruins and no one dares rebuild them because there is a fear
that they would be blown up next day. While destruction and
desecration of Christian chruches and cemeteries continues,
Orthodox clergymen fear that Kosovo is drifting more and more
apart from the tradition on which Western civilization is based.
For them a society in which Christian values and culture are
targeted on a daily basis can hardly hope of normal integration
in the European sturctures and gaining credibility of the democratic
to justify attacks on churches, Kosovo Albanian leaders keep
unjustly accusing the Church of supporting the nationalism.
But the reality was quite different. The Church was in the front
row of opposition against the former Milosevic's regime and
gave constant support to the democratic opposition. It is true
that Church forstered traditions and culture of the Serbian
people but this has been a legitimate role of the Church throughout
the centuries, especially during the Ottoman (Turkish) occupation
when the Church preserved Christian identity of Serbs despite
prevailing islamization. Such was the role during the communist
period too, especially in Kosovo where communist authorities
did not allow a single new church to be built and branded Christianity
as the enemy of state. With more than 90% of cultural treasures
in Kosovo belonging to the Orthodox Christian tradition, Serbian
Orthodox Church will always have special role in guarding these
values which are the heritage of Europe and the cultured world.
Clergymen like Bishop Artemije, always knew to make a clear
difference between Milosevic's ateist-nationalism and genuine
Christian Orthodox tradition.
hopes that the world will finally hear the cry of the oppressed
Christians and make additional pressures on Albanians and their
leaders to stop with their attacks and acts of intolerance.
These words may serve just as a humble reminder to all those
who will celebrate the Christmas in the peace and safety of
their families that there is one place in Europe of the 21st
century in which Christmas can be celebrated only under the
military guard and in which Christmas hymns will not be heard
in many ruined churches and villages. Thousands of Orthodox
Serb children will spend this Christmas again in refugee camps,
far away from their homes in Kosovo to which they cannot return.
the bleak reality, for Orthodox Christians Christmas will nevertheless
be the feastday of spiritual renewal and hope in the Lord. As
always in times of sufferring the Church experiences spirital
vigor and intensity of faith which are much stronger and genuine
than in times of ease and comfort. This is exactly what the
Lord told us by chosing to be born in a humble cave of Bethlehem
rather than in a palace of Rome or Alexandria.
ERP KIM Info-Service
(We are enclosing a report by BBC)
Orthodox Bishops from US and Canada Condemn
Violence against Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija
photo: Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical
Orthodox Bishops in Americas, S.C.O.B.A
of the S.C.O.B.A. Resolution
requests the United Nations authorities and NATO peacekeeping
forces in Kosovo to strengthen measures to protect all vulnerable
religious property and shrines in Kosovo, and not only those of
This is not way towards civilized Europe!
Ruins of a Serbian Orthodox Church destroyed by Kosovo Albanian extremists
after the arrival of KFOR and UN Mission
MINI - ONLY MULTIETHNIC
KOSOVO CAN BE PART OF EUROPE
Pristina, December 23, 2002
KFOR Commander, Italian general Fabio Mini said today that only
multiethnic Kosovo can become a part of Europe and that return
of displaced persons will be priority for international institutions
in the next year.
"Multiethnic Kosovo is the key for European integrations.
Believe me, there is no Government in Europe which would like
to see here monoethnic society", said Mini on the New Year's
meeting with journalists in Pristina.
In Kosovo, added KFOR Commander, there is not progress which we
wanted to see because there is a high level of crime. He said
that for many politicians personal interest is more important
than interest of Kosovo. According to the Blue Sky Radio from
Pristina, Mini said that in this year there were 60 murders in
Kosovo, many attacks on UNMIK personnel and Kosovo police and
that around 2.000 persons were arrested for illegal possesion
cities there are hardly any members of minority communities,
and those who remained live isolated under KFOR protection,
said Mini adding that since 1999 around 3.500 persons had returned
to Kosovo, mostly to enclaves. In this way members of minority
communities remain marginalized, he said.
Mini emphasised that out of 32.000 Serbs which had lived in
the region of Pec prior to the conflict only a little bit more
than 1.000 remained. At the moment there are 200 Serbs in Pristina,
275 in Gnjilane, 90 in Prizren, 17 in Urosevac, 10 in Djakovica.
They are all under KFOR protection.
sent his message to the Kosovo institutions and citizens that
return of the displaced persons is the priority for the international
community in year 2003.
this society does not take responsibility for such a small number
of minority community members, that means that it is not ready
for Europe", said the Italian general.
Today Mini condemned the murder of Trajan Trifunovic from Cernica
village, near Gnjilane. Trifunovic was killed near his house
yesterday by machine gun fire.
Serb National Council Meeting, Gracanica, Dec 21, 2002
from left (Marko Jaksic, Dr. Rada Trajkovic, Dr. Milan Ivanovic, Bishop
NATIONAL COUNCIL COMMUNIQUE
Proclamation against participation in the
Kosovo Protection Corps
National Council KM admits with regret that the security situation
for KM/Serbs is still very grave. Instead of improvement and
calming of the situation, attacks on the Serb community continue.
In the recent period more than 20 attacks on members of the
Serb community occurred and several churches and cemeteries
were destroyed or desecrated. The Council condemns criminal
behavior of K/Albanian extremists and requests from the UN Security
Council and NATO to make an urgent plan for security of the
Serbian community in Kosovo and Metohija, including the return
of the part of Yugoslav army and police, which is granted by
the UN SC Resolution 1244 (Annex 2.6) and Kumanovo agreement
(I.4). The SNC appeals on the Governments of Yugoslavia and
Serbia to support this initiative.
Council KM will not accept independence of Kosovo and Metohija
and is against any change of borders. Beside Belgrade authorities
it is also necessary to include representatives of KM/Serbs
and the Orthodox Church in the process of resolution of the
final status of Kosovo and Metohija.
Serb National Council KM supports decision of the POVRATAK Coalition
not to participate in the work of Kosovo Parliament because
of discriminatory policy against KM/Serbs. We request that the
Parliament and other institutions in Kosovo and Metohija should
return within the framework of the UN SC Resolution 1244. Serb
representatives do not have a mandate from their constituency
to support institutions which work on independence of the Province.
LATEST PLAN FOR TRANSFORMATION OF KOSOVO PROTECTION CORPS LEADS TO
FORMATION OF KOSOVO NATIONAL ARMY
Protection Corps is nothing but continuation of the KLA
and is incompatible with the standards of democratic society - SNC
from the SNC Report:
International community has finally recongized that
the Kosovo Protection Corps which was created from the former
KLA (UCK) and placed under direct control and funding of NATO
and UN is directly responsible for many post-conflict crimes
aganist Serbs, Roma and moderate Albanians and that it is necessary
that perpertrators of these crimes should be punished.
The report mentions involvement of KPC structures in extremist
attacks in South Serbia and Macedonia as well as its connections
with organized crime. At the same time when this happened the
Corps received ample international funding and NATO training.
First "cleaning" of the former KLA was achieved by
its "transformation" into the Kosovo Protection Corps
in Sep 1999. Now when this organization has been deeply compromized
in a series of post-war crimes there is a plan for a new "cleaning"
which should give credibilty to an organization which in its
core has always remained on the positions of ethnic Albanian
nationalism and extremism. After many attempts to hide this
truth from public and futile attempts to attract some Kosovo
Serbs to its ranks in order to present it as multiethnic structure,
it is finally evident that this expensive internatinal undertaking
has completely failed. It is now quite evident who is responsible
for crimes and violence in Kosovo after the conflict in 1999
and this can no longer be ignored.
2. The idea of transformation and building of new moral
credibility for the KPC by creating of "Kosovo Safety and
Security Council" is directly opposite to the basic requirement
of UN SC Resolution 1244 because the issues of territorial security
and border protection which are presently under authority of
KFOR and UN Mission are planned to be gradually given into the
hands of local Albanian led forces which would be armed by military
weapons (long guns). At the same time another important
requirement from the Resolution 1244 is ignored and that is
the return of a contingent of Yugoslav army and police to the
borders and around the most important patrimonial sites. It
is quite obvious that this plan is nothing but an attempt of
creation of Kosovo National Army which is one of the main prerogatives
for independence of the Province.
POVRATAK Coalition: No participation in institutions which
ethnic intolerance and the idea of ethno-centric Albanian state in
HIGHEST KOSOVO INSTITUTIONS WITHOUT SERB REPRESENTATIVES
DEPUTIES IN THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION FOR AGRICULTURE AND
FORESTRY LEFT KOSOVO PARLIAMENT
Serb representatives in Municipal Assembly of Lipljan
say that they will not attend sessions because of ethnic discrimination
Gracanica, December 16, 2002
Service ERP KIM received today information from the chief of
the POVRATAK coalition Dr. Rada Trajkovic that Sokol Djordjevic
and Bogoljub Milosevic, Serb deputies in the commission for
agriculture and forestry, left Kosovo Parliament and said that
they would not attend Parliament sessions as long as discrimination
of Serb deputies by the Kosovo Albanian majority continues.
decision of the POVRATAK coalition that they would boycott Parliament
sessions because of intolerance and discrimination demonstrated
by the Parliament speaker Nezhad Daci and other Albanian representatives,
the last two members of the Coalition who attended sessions
of parliamentary commissions demonstratively left the Parliament
today. Before them the same incident occurred when Randjel Nojkic,
Serbian representative in the commission for transport and communications,
left Parliament after his request written in Cyrillic script
was rudely rejected by the Commission chairwoman Edita Tahiri
(K/Albanian). In solidarity with his colleagues the only Serb
minister in the Kosovo Government Mr. Bogdanovic left the Government,
which is now without any Serb representative.
Djordjevic and Milosevic left the session of the parliamentary
commission because the chairman of the Commission Tom Hajdaraj
(K/Albanian) refused to accept their request with amendments
only because it was written in Cyrillic script and because the
Province is referred as Kosovo and Metohija (traditional Serbian
name of the Province). Sources in the POVRATAK Coalition claim
that such behavior is absolutely unacceptable and that it is
an example of open violation of the right of Serb deputies to
use their own language and script, which is granted by the Constitutional
At the same
time it was confirmed by the ERP KIM Info -Service sources in
Lipljan that newly elected Serb representatives in the Municipal
Assembly decided not to attend Assembly sessions as long as
they are exposed to systematic humiliations and discriminations
by K/Albanian representatives.
come in the time when a two-days conference on Integration of
ethnic communities in Kosovo is held at Brezovica in organization
of the Foundation for the open society.
On the question
of ERP KIM Info Service to comment the statement by the Kosovo
Prime Minister Rexhepi that "the future of Kosovo depends
on integration of ethnic communities in Kosovo society",
Dr. Rada Trajkovic said that: "such statement is diametrically
opposite to Albanian behavior in Kosovo and Metohija Parliament
and municipal assemblies in which prevails spirit of intolerance
and ethnic exclusivity. Serb community is even more discouraged
to integrate in Kosovo society as long as Kosovo Albanians have
such a narrow and ethno-centric vision of future. Representatives
of the Security Council quite rightly said after their visit
to the Province that Kosovo and Metohija would "face a
bleak future and self-isolation as long as minorities are oppressed".
That repression is visible in the recent time primarily in Kosovo
institutions which become stages for display of ethnic Albanian
nationalism and are far from becoming forums for normal and
democratic exchange of opinions and views", concluded Dr.
terrorists with bombs against women and children of Pristina
KLA (UCK) is still operating in Kosovo through organized crime and
terrorist groups - Investigation of the bomb attakc close to finding
links with KLA terrorists, claims K/Albanian press in Pristina
DITORE - Kosovo Albanian Daily, Dec. 16, 2002
SUPPOSED TARGET OF ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT
AFRAID OF FORMER UCK
leading Albanian daily in Pristina reveals that the latest bomb
attack in Pristina, in which 30 people were injured, might
be an action by the mebers of the UCK who try to intimidate
witnessess in the trial to the former UCK commander Rrustem
Mustafa "Remi". The story reveals that UCK
still illegaly exists despite its alleged transformation into
the Kosovo Protection Corps and official UNMIK denials that
Albanian extremism and terrorism exist at all. (ERP KIM)
so far, we are more than satisfied that this bombing was not
linked to the visit of the UN Security Council to Kosovo, but
linked to elements of organised crime. Such
attacks have no place in a modern democratic society. - UNMIK
Police Report, Dec. 16, 2002
revealing about the KLA crimes against Serb civilians
K/ALBANIAN IBRAHIM SPAHIU SENCENCED
ON SIX YEARS OF PRISON
for kidnapping and maltreating of Serb civilians in Gnjilane in 1999
December 16, 2002 - BETA
Kosovo Albanian Ibrahim Spahiu was sentenced by the Regional
Court in Gnjilane on 6 years of prison for kidnapping and illegal
detention of Serb civilians after the war in Kosovo in 1999.
UNMIK officials confirmed to BETA news agency that Spahiu was
arrested in Gnjilane in 1999.
Press, December 16, 2002
TWO ETHNIC ALBANIANS CHARGED WITH TERRORISM
-- Monday (December 16) --Two ethnic Albanians were indicted today
by an international prosecutor for "terrorism" and inciting
racial hatred, a UN official said. Naser Azemi, 43, and Gazmend
Beqiri, 19, were specifically charged with "terrorism and
recruitment of terrorist group members," said Andrea Angeli,
a UN spokesman.
two were also charged with illegal possession and procurement
of ammunitions and weapons as well as racial hatred.
arrested this summer in two separate operations in the eastern
US military-controlled zone on suspicion of being members of
the Albanian National Army, an ethnic Albanian splinter group
which operated in neighboring Macedonia.
which runs a Web site, took responsibility for several attacks
ethnic Albanian rebels fought for six months to win more rights
for their minority before a Western-brokered peace deal ended
Angeli said the two indicted men - considered a serious threats
to public order - were active in Kosovo, but their intention
was to stir up trouble in Macedonia.
No date has been set for the trial which is expected to be presided
over by an international judge, Angeli said.
UN Security Council Delegation in discussion
with representatives of the Kosovo Parliament in Pristina, December
UNSC DELEGATION: KOSOVO
FAR AWAY FROM DEMOCRACY
Security Council warns: a bleak future and self-isolation awaits
Kosovo where minorities are being oppressed.
Gracanica, December 16, 2002
Multi-ethnicity, integration of minorities and standards before
status were the most often words of UN SC 15-member delegation
during two-day visit in Kosovo. "Kosovo will face self-isolation
if it does not meet the standards," was the message of
the Norway Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby who asked Albanians "to
take on responsibility of security of minorities and asked minorities
to integrate themselves into Kosovo society. "Kosovo still
does not have its true functional democratic institutions"
and "a society where minorities would completely participate.""A
Kosovo where members of minorities are oppressed will face a
lonely future of self-isolation," said Norwegian
Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby. The leaders of the Kosovo institutions
requested that standards and status go in a parallel way and
asked for more competencies.
On the second day of its visit to Kosovo, the UNSC 15-member
delegation being accompanied by the SRSG Michael Steiner visited
Mitrovica on 15 December. After two-hour talks with Serb representatives
in the northern part of Mitrovica, Colby told journalists that
he had "a constructive meeting with Serb representatives.
Everybody in Kosovo must have its place and part and everybody
should integrate into the new civilised multiethnic society.
Everybody will be better off in it because everybody will be
able to work and live normally. A multiethnic society would
lead to the strengthening of this region and to economic prosperity,"
said the Norwegian ambassador
YEARS OF SYSTEMATIC
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
addressed in his letter the Special Delegation of the United
Nations Security council which is visiting Kosovo and Metohija
requesting urgent measures to stop discrimination and violence
against Serbs and non-Albanians in the UN administered province
Trajkovic: Kosovo is an epicenter of terrorism in the Balkans
the most recent terrorist attack in Pristina, December 14, 2002
ORTHODOX CHURCH STRONGLY CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACK IN PRISTINA
The latest bomb attack in Pristina is directed against
peace and stability in Kosovo
Gracanica, December 14, 2002
Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija strongly condemns
yesterday's terrorist attack in Pristina in which at least 25
persons were injured. This is attack against peace and tolerance
between communities in Kosovo and Metohija and is directed to
create political instability in the Province and the region.
Serbian Orthodox Church appeals on KFOR and UNMIK to bring the
perpertrators of this crime to justice and prays for the recovery
of the wounded.
This incident shows that situation in Kosovo is still not stable
and that extremists continue with attacks on peaceful citizens,
Christian holy sites and other values which have special meaning
for the future of Kosovo. The sad truth is that after the war
many residents of Kosovo still possess weapons and disarmament
of paramilitary groups, primarily those affiliated to former
KLA, has not been fully completed.
Increase of violence in the Province in the last several months
requests urgent reassessment of security situation and maintainance
of stronger KFOR military presence in the area.
Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija on its today's
session has strongly condemned this most recent bomb attack
which seriously threatened the fragile peace in the Province.
STILL AT THE MARGINS OF SOCIETY IN KOSOVO
Service ERP KIM
COMMUNIQUE OF THE DIOCESE
OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF HUMAN RIGHTS - DECEMBER
Serbian population in Kosovo still exposed to severe
ethnic and religious discrimination despite international presence
December 09, 2002
of the International Day of Human Rights - December 10 - Serbian
Orthodox Diocese in Kosovo and Metohija would like to draw once
again public attention on extremely difficult position in which
Serbian population in the UN administered Yugoslav province
of Kosovo lives more than three years after the end of the war
and the beginning of the peace mission. Despite international
presence majority of Kosovo Serbs experience severe discrimination
and lack of basic human rights on the daily basis. Kosovo Albanian
extremists still continue with intimidation, desecrations and
pressures on the remaining non-Albanian population in order
to create an ethnically clean Albanian society.
Serbs, who fled the province in front of Kosovo Albanian paramilitaries
after the war, are not free to return to their homes and use
their private property. More than 200.000 Serbs still live as
refugees in their own country (Serbia & Montenegro) in extremely
difficult conditions and poverty. Although UN Security Council
Resolution 1244 grants all refugees and displaced persons free
return to their homes, UN Mission and NATO led peacekeepers
have not managed to create elementary security conditions for
normal returns so far. Those few Serb returnees who returned
to Albanian dominated areas are forced to live in total isolation
without basic freedom of movement and security outside of their
tiny rural enclaves. Major Kosovo's cities remain almost completely
ethnically clean Albanian areas while thousands of Serb homes
and apartments are still occupied illegally and it is uncertain
when their owners would be able to enjoy their private property
safely. Kosovo is still far away from multiethnic and democratic
society, rule of law and order.
in most parts of Kosovo Province do not have normal access to
medical, educational and social institutions which remain mostly
dominated by ethnic Albanians. Kosovo Serbs depend on poorly
equipped village clinics and cannot safely get medical protection
in major Kosovo's hospitals in which no Serb personnel can freely
and safely work (except in North Mitrovica). Kosovo Serb children
cannot have normal education in their own language and Cyrillic
script in any urban elementary or secondary school in Albanian
dominated areas and attend classes in village schools which
lack proper conditions for modern education. After recent restriction
of KFOR escorts for Serb students many Serb children do not
attend their classes at all or are forced to leave Kosovo and
continue their education out of the Province.
3. New Kosovo
institutions are becoming more and more tools for institutional
repression of ethnic Albanians against Serbs and other minorities.
Offensive and non collegial behavior of Kosovo Albanian parliamentarians
and absence of proper mechanisms which would protect Serb representatives
in Kosovo institutions from ethnic discrimination and overvoting
are most important reasons why Kosovo Serb parliamentarians
and members of Government rightly refuse to participate in such
institutions. While everywhere in the democratic world democracy
is understood as just rule of majority with full respect of
minority rights, in Kosovo ethnic Albanians develop a special
kind of "dem(on)ocracy" which is rather a terror of
majority against minorities and their legitimate interests.
Kosovo Serbs are ready to work in institutions which would work
on full implementation of the Security Council Resolution 1244
but are not ready to act as a decoration for non-existent multiethnicity
population is almost completely unemployed and only a small
percent of Kosovo Serbs work in private sector or UNMIK/KFOR
administration. Living conditions for majority Kosovo Serbs
remain desperate and most of the people depend on humanitarian
aid. Even in distribution of international humanitarian aid
Serbs are discriminated and have received proportionally far
less assistance and aid than ethnic Albanians. This is a reason
why even those Serbs who managed to stay in their homes despite
appalling security situation are thinking of leaving the Province
and finding better living conditions out of the UN administered
province. Foreign investment in Serb enclaves is very inadequate
which is an additional pressure on already impoverished Kosovo
Old Serb in his home after the terrorist
attack in Klokot, July 31, 2002
Serbs are deprived of their basic religious rights. They cannot
normally visit their holy sites, cemeteries and attend Christian
ceremonies. With 112 destroyed or seriously damaged churches
after the war, in the NATO presence, Kosovo has become a region
in which Christianity is exposed to destruction and persecution.
Kosovo is a part of Europe in which medieval and recently built
Christian churches can be demolished with impunity because so
far not a single perpetrator of these desecrations has been
brought to justice nor any investigation has been fully completed
despite the presence of thousands of international and local
police officers. Almost all Serbian Orthodox Monasteries are
isolated and surrounded by hostility of the local Moslem Albanian
population who mercilessly destroy remaining Christian monuments
in their vicinity. Serb cemeteries in Albanian dominated areas
are either desecrated or turned into garbage lots, which unfortunately
happens with full knowledge of UNMIK and KFOR. The most important
Serbian Orthodox holy sites: Patriarchate of Pec, Decani Monastery,
Holy Archangels and Devic depend on constant KFOR presence and
would be turned to ashes by ethnic Albanian extremist without
military protection. Recent announcements of KFOR troops reduction
are creating great uneasiness among Serb Orthodox clergy because
in most of cases no security improvement has been achieved in
the last three years.
Province still remains a safe haven for ethnic Albanian extremist
and organized crime. After the war and deployment of KFOR peacekeepers
KLA/UCK led extremists killed more than 800 Kosovo Serbs, and
probably twice more "dissenting Albanians". More than
1300 Kosovo Serbs were kidnapped or abducted despite NATO presence.
At the moment dozens of mutilated bodies of Serbs killed in
the after the war are being recovered from mass graves around
Kosovo whereas not a single Kosovo Albanian has been indicted
for crimes against Serb civilians. The most important reasons
for this remain: absence of witnesses who dare testify in front
of courts as well as fears of the Mission that extremist might
target international personnel in revange. So far only several
KLA extremists were indicted for murdering other Kosovo Albanians
which once again brings to the surface the truth about the ethnic
Albanian extremists of KLA and their terrorist actions against
Serbs and their own people.
Kosovo province is under UN protectorate with more than 30.000
best armed NATO led peacekeepers ethnic repression and violations
of human and religious rights still continue. In the recent
months security situation has significantly deteriorated despite
official reports which tend to present Kosovo as UNMIK's success
story. The Province still remains a black spot on the human
rights map of the world. Despite of all aforementioned facts
the leading international human rights organizations remain
stubbornly deaf to the plight of Kosovo Serb population and
uninterested to do anything in order to bring this truth to
the public attention.
of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo which consistently
opposed any kind of ethnic violence before, during and after
the conflict in 1999 is "a voice of the crying one in the
wilderness" (Mt. 3:3). Although many will keep ignoring
our appeals, the Church will continue to bear witness of truth
with hope that eventually the truth will prevail and that all
Kosovo's inhabitants, regardless of their ethnicity and religion,
will be able to live in peace and security.
Albanian vandalism against Christian Orthodox holy sites is
continuing, Smac, summer 2002