NEWSLETTER No 19

SNC KM -  REQUEST FOR FORMATION OF NEW MUNICIPALITIES
AND MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATIONS

ERP KIM Info-Service

Gracanica, February 11, 2003  - The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija has decided to begin forming new municipalities in areas of the Province where Serbs constitute a majority and encourage their unification into municipal associations. Pointing out that the situation for Serbs and other non-Albanians has remained very difficult since arrival of the international mission , the SNC KIM requested at its meeting in Gracanica on Tuesday that UNMIK allow the formation of new municipal units in the next three months in accordance with the legal provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and the Constitution Framework. The SNC KIM is asking that UNMIK define the authority of the municipalities and how they will function, as well as assisting with funding of future local organizations through its budget. UNMIK is also to draft legal regulations and define mechanisms for association of municipalities in order to achieve better and more efficient realization of municipal common interests as well as faster development of democracy and human rights. MORE

News from Kosovo and Metohija - ERP KIM Info-service Feb, 12

Other News From Kosovo and Metohija:
KIM Radio - Serbian Woman Wounded Near Pristina
B92 - Crisis Looms in Southern Serbia Once Again
B92 - Albanians Still Pursuing Declaration of Independence
SRNA - UN and KFOR Take Albanian Threats Seriously After Remi Trial

Vandalism of Cemeteries Continues:
DANAS - From Reselling Grave Markers to Digging up of Graves

EDITORIAL
Time for Essential Changes
February 10, 2003

First of all, it is necessary to define concrete mechanisms to defend the rights of the Serb community in Kosovo and Metohija, not only individual rights but the collective rights of the Serbs, which presupposes the building of institutions of Serb self-administration in areas where Serbs and other communities using the Serb language live, and where the most significant Orthodox monuments of spirituality and culture are located. The Serb community cannot afford to remain the silent observer who passively watches as others tie the noose to be slipped around its neck. Therefore, the basic condition for return and for any form of further participation by Serb representatives in Kosovo and Metohija institutions must be a clear definition of the constitutionality of the Serb community and the amendment (or change) of the existing Constitutional Framework, which needs to be realigned with the principles of UN SC Resolution 1244. FULL TEXT

The return process has been brought into question due to lack of freedom of movement, the difficult economic situation and the uncertain future of Kosovo
 

Radio B92
Pristina, February 10, 2003

Kosovo ombudsman Marek Antoni Nowicky stated that it is completely uncertain whether more massive returns of Serbs and members of other non-Albanian communities in Kosovo will occur this year as announced by the international community. He assessed that "if displaced persons do return to Kosovo, there will only be a few thousand of them". In an interview for Radio Free Europe Nowicky warned that, due to the general situation in Kosovo, the return process "has been brought into question" and explained this was due to "lack of freedom of movement, the difficult economic situation and the uncertain future of Kosovo".

Nowicky cautioned that a small number of displaced persons will return primarily to the villages "where they won't bother anyone". "According to my analysis there is no prospect for the return of displaced persons to the cities because there is no room. It's not just a question of lack of space but all confiscated property as well as all services rest today in the hands of the Albanians," said Nowicky. Another problem is lack of knowledge of the Albanian language when "Kosovo is increasingly becoming an Albanian language area," said Nowicky. "Serbs think that they will return to their Kosovo, which no longer exists. Kosovo today is different than it was in 1999 when they left it," emphasized Nowicky and pointed out the fact that Serbs are selling their property in Kosovo. "Serbs are increasingly thinking about how to leave Kosovo, while those who remain here will live on the margins of society," warned Nowicky.

 "There are some who say that, in case of independence, all Serbs will leave Kosovo. We don't know that but the fear does exist. It's a question how the Serb community would react to independence and that's why the international community, quite understandably, is very cautious. When we talk about the status of Kosovo, we should not forget that it is a part of the Balkan stability and security problem," said Nowicky.

Blic daily, Belgrade
February 7, 2003


Rugova's army of 20,000 men


By N. Zejak

PRISTINA - Ibrahim Rugova is attempting to form a paramilitary formation in Kosovo and Metohija called the "Kosovo Shiptar Army" (KSA) /Armija Shiptara Kosova? - ASHK/. Recruitment of KSA members is in progress, "Blic" has learned from a senior level source in the Kosovo Police Service.

Our source claims that Rugova wanted to appoint Tahir Zemaj head of the KSA; however, he was killed on January 4 in Pec, only two days prior to assuming duty. The UN police and the Kosovo Police Service determined that after firing 52 shots at Zemaj from an automatic rifle, the attackers fled in a Kosovo Protection Corps vehicle in the direction of the villages of Glodjane and Ratis near Decan, the location of the former KLA headquarters. "This area is practically off-limits to the international and Kosovo police," said our source. A "Blic" source from the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP) claims that the KSA has already recruited more than 20,000 men, most of them from the areas of Lab and Bajgora, where Rugova enjoys the greatest confidence.

"We know that on January 30 in the hamlet of Miljevac, on the Pristina-Podujevo road, above the village of Devet Jugovica, the first roll call of this paramilitary formation took place. Rugova claims that this is some sort of security force and that these men have the task of protecting eminent members of the DSK, 12 of whom have been killed since the signing of the document on disarming the KLA," "Blic's" source from the Serbian MUP said.

Momcilo Trajkovic, the leader of the Serb Resistance Movement, says that the KSA is the international community's problem because "it is taking a confidence test, having established that the KLA is disarmed and demobilized".

"I believe that the UN mission has all the details regarding this incident but the problem of confronting the extremists remains," said Trajkovic. Dragisa Krstovic, the head of the Return (Povratak) Coalition in the Kosovo parliament, said it remains to be seen how capable the UN mission is of implementing Resolution 1244 which "clearly establishes there can be no other formations in Kosovo and Metohija except KFOR".


War between former UCK fractions ravages Kosovo's
prospects for peace and stability

KOHA DITORE: ANA IS PRESENT IN KOSOVO

Beta News Agency, Belgrade
February 8, 2003


PRISTINA, February 8, 2003 (Beta) - Recently in some Kosovo villages it has often been possible to see armed men wearing black uniforms and masks stopping and demanding to see the identification of local residents, writes today's "Koha Ditore".

Multiple sources confirmed for the independent Pristina daily that members of the ANA are driving through villages and stopping people, usually late at night, and demanding to see their identification, causing fear and concern among citizens in several locations in Kosovo.

The ANA appeared in public last year in Macedonia, proclaiming itself to be an Albanian guerrilla organization created as a result of dissatisfaction that the members of the now disbanded National Army of Liberation (ONA) agreed to negotiate with Macedonian authorities, thus ending the crisis in that country.

UNMIK police and KFOR officials say they have no information regarding activities by a guerrilla group or paramilitary formation on the territory of Kosovo. International police spokesman Derek Chapell stated that so far only one incident has been reported in Vucitrn municipality. Chapell also confirmed that the UNMIK police still does not have its own intelligence agency. KFOR spokesman Tony Davis said that international military forces have no information regarding the activities of such a group in Kosovo.

Officials of the Kosovo government also claim they have no information regarding the existence of illegal armed formations in Kosovo, while individuals who have had the opportunity to meet with members of the ANA are not prepared to publicly discuss it.

Macedonian media, however, recently have been frequently announcing a "spring offensive" by the ANA in Macedonia but officials of the international missions in that country, as well as Albanian politicians in Macedonia, deny this possibility.

The Democratic Union for Integration, a political party headed by the political leader of the ONA in Macedonia, Ali Ahmeti, has no information regarding the existence of the ANA.

According to "Koha" the ANA was founded as early as December 4, 1999 as a branch of the Kosovo Liberation Army with the goal of national unification of all Albanians.


Ethnic violence against Serb population continuing (a scene of a terrorist attack in which a Serb university professor was killed, UNMIK police photo archive)

AFP
Four Serbs injured in a grenade attack in eastern Kosovo

Saturday, 08-Feb-2003 7:20AM

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro, Feb 8 (AFP) - Four Serbs were injured by a hand grenade tossed from a passing vehicle in eastern Kosovo, an official said Saturday.

An ethnic Albanian, suspected of throwing the grenade, was arrested following the attack in a shop late Friday, Andrea Angeli, spokesman for the UN mission in Kosovo, told AFP.

The attack occured around 8:00 pm (19OO GMT) in the village of Mogila, some 40 kilometers (25 milez) south of the provincial capital Pristina.
"Soon after the incident, UN police in the province arrested a 26-year-old Albanian," Angeli said.

His identity has not been revealed pending an investigation.

Angeli said that two of the injured, aged 30 and 32, were undergoing treatment in a hospital in Vranje, in southern Serbia, and two others were released after being treated for minor injuries.

In a separate incident, also late Friday, a hand grenade was thrown at an Albanian house in the ethnically divided northern town of Kosovska Mitrovica. The roof of the house was damaged but no injuries were reported.

Ethnically motivated crime has dwindled in Kosovo in recent months but tensions between the majority Albanians and minority Serbs are still high four years after the end of the Kosovo war.

The Albanian-dominated Serbian province of Kosovo has been under UN and NATO control since June 1999.

-------------------------------------

SRNA Serb News Agency
February 8, 2003


Albanian arrested for wounding four Serbs

VITINA, February 8 (SRNA) - Today UN police arrested Gzim Azemij from the village of Mogila near Kosovska Vitina, who is suspected of throwing a hand grenade into the store of Zivorad Dimic last night resulting in serious injuries one person and lesser injuries to three others. Last night at 20,30 hours a hand grenade was tossed into the shop of Zivorad Dimic seriously injuring his son, Boban; another son, Darko, and Aca Garic and Darko Djuzic sustained less serious injuries. The injured were transferred to the U.S. military base Bondsteel near Urosevac and are not in any life-threatening danger, SRNA learned in UN police headquarters in Pristina. (end) VR


Letter of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic to the UN Security Council, NY

BOMB ATTACK IN MOGILA NEAR KOSOVSKA VITINA
FOUR SERBS INJURED, ONE SERIOUSLY


Gracanica, February 7, 2003

Today at approximately 20,30 hours unknown attackers threw a hand grenade at a store owned by Zivorad Dinic located in the village of Mogila not far from Kosovska Vitina.

The store owner was seriously injured and three other Serbs sustained less serious injuries in the ensuing explosion, which also caused significant material damage. The injured were transferred to the nearby U.S. military base Bondsteel.

According to the testimony of eyewitnesses, the attackers, who are alleged to be Kosovo Albanians, threw the grenade from a moving vehicle and quickly fled the scene of the attack.

This attack has caused great unrest among the Serb population in the village, one of the few remaining mixed Serb-Albanian villages in Kosovo and Metohija. According to the latest information, the village has been blocked off and an investigation is in progress.


Europe - beginning of the 21st century


ERP KIM Info-Service 1-2 Feb, 2003

February 1, 2003 Newsletter

IWPR: KOSOVO CHURCH CONCERNS

February 2, 2003 Newsletter

CEMETERIES IN DEPLORABLE CONDITION, DESTRUCTION OF MEMORY



ST. SAVA OF SERBIA DAY CELEBRATED THROUGHOUT KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

GRACANICA, January 27, 2003

His Eminence Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizen and Kosovo-Metohija served holy archierchal liturgy in Gracanica today in celebration of the religious holiday of St. Sava, the first Serbian archbishop. After liturgy and recitations for this special occasion, Bishop Artemije distributed St. Sava's Day presents to the children in attendence. Holy liturgy was served in all monasteries and parishes in Kosovo and Metohija, and Raska. Special celebrations will be held today in all Serb schools throughout the Province where special programs and recitations will mark the holiday of the greatest Serb Enlightener and Teacher.


Bishop Artemije on St. Sava's Academy - Gracanica, January 26, 2003

SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH STRONGLY CONDEMNS THE ATTACK ON SERB REFUGEES IN KOSOVO 
Acts of inter-ethnic hatred and intolerance only drag Kosovo away from democracy and Europe

Gracanica, Sunday - January 26, 2003

A bus with a group of Serb refugees from Kosovo was stoned near Vucitrn by a group of Kosovo Albanians today. Around 200 Serb refugees,temporarily displaced in Central Serbia, visited today, the first time after two and a half years, Serbian Orthodox cemetery in Vucitrn, 30 km north from Pristina. On their way towards administrative boundary with central Serbia, one of the buses was stoned by a group of Albanians. Several windows were broken, but no one was injured. Another bus safely returned from Vucitrn to central Serbia.

Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren strongly condemns this latest attack and appeals on UNMIK and KFOR to provide safe surrounding for all citizens regardless of ethnicity and religion. As a society which is based on ethnic discrimination and the lack of tolerance towards Serbs and other minorities, Kosovo is dragging entire region away from European integration and democracy. Desecrations of Christian holy sites and attacks on peaceful visitors to the cemeteries demonstrate regrettable lack of culture and respect towards Christian values.


KFOR protection still necessary
Italian soldier in front of Visoki Decani Monastery, summer 2002

ERP KIM Info Service

KFOR INFORMS DIOCESE OF RASKA AND PRIZREN THAT IT WILL CONTINUE TO PROTECT ALL ENDANGERED ORTHODOX CHURCHES AND MONASTERIES


After announcement of decision of withdraw checkpoints near churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija, KFOR command informs Serbian Orthodox Church that current arrangements will remain unchanged

Gracanica, January 23, 2003

Today the Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren received notification from the commander of KFOR forces, General Fabio Mini, that the process of removing protective checkpoints near endangered Orthodox churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija would be discontinued until further notice. According to the notification, which was received from KFOR headquarters, peacekeeping forces will continue to protect Christian Orthodox churches and monasteries. This also applies to the Church of St. Elijah (Sv. Ilija) in Podujevo which will remain under KFOR protection.

Two months ago the Italian news agency ANSA informed the public that KFOR would protect only a few more significant historical monuments while the remaining churches would be left without permanent KFOR protection due to the reduction in the number of troops. This decision provoked a very harsh reaction by the Diocese of Raska and Prizren and at that time Bishop Artemije stated that the Church does not separate its churches into more or less important ones because they are all equal before God. At the same time, this information was interpreted as an indirect encouragement to Albanian extremists to freely continue destroying the Orthodox spiritual and cultural heritage, which has already reached unprecedented proportions throughout Kosovo and Metohija. Recently, unofficial information has arrived from UNMIK that KFOR checkpoint would be removed from the church in Podujevo, which caused additional concerns in the Diocese.

The most recent decision of KFOR that it will continue to protect Orthodox churches and monasteries according to current arrangements represents, therefore, an encouraging development which suggests that an understanding of the real situation and needs in the field has prevailed over higher strategic interests.

The deterioration of security and the increasingly larger number of armed attacks in Kosovo and Metohija confirm that a powerful presence by KFOR is quite necessary to protect the safety of all citizens. In circumstances where the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serb people are completely unprotected, KFOR remains the only reliable protection from extremism and the violence.

EDITORIAL
Campaign against Christianity intensifying in Kosovo
January 22, 2003

The latest initiative of the Kosovo Ministry of Education to demolish the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior in the centre of Pristina is a last drop in the three year's long anti-Christian campaign led by Kosovo Albanian extremists. While all most important Universities in Europe and the United States are proud of their University chapels, Kosovo Albanian Ministry of Education and University request destruction of a Christian church. Why? For the Pristina University, which is becoming an ethnically clean institution, with the vast majority of Moslem students, a Christian Chruch with a cross in its vicinity looks like "a pig in the mosque courtyard". FULL TEXT


SCANDALOUS

KOSOVO EDUCATION MINISTRY REQUESTS
DESTRUCTION OF AN UNFINISHED ORTHODOX CHURCH

DIOCESE OF RASKA AND PRIZREN MOST STRONGLY CONDEMNS PROPOSALS FOR DESTRUCTION OF UNCOMPLETED CHURCH OF CHRIST THE SAVIOR IN PRISTINA

Bishop Artemije: New Kosovo institutions now taking over the campaign of destroying Serb Orthodox heritage

GRACANICA
January 20, 2003

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija most strongly condemns the announcement of political officials of the Kosovo ministry of education who, according to today's writing of Pristina Albanian language dailies have launched an initiative to destroy the uncompleted Serbian Orthodox Church of Christ the Savior in the center of the capital of the Province.

"This is an unprecedented example of institutional violence against the Serb people because the new Kosovo institutions are now taking over the campaign of destroying Serbian Orthodox churches from Albanian extremist groups," Bishop Artemije said in a statement for the Info Service of the ERP KIM, adding that "under the guise of supposed democracy and law, the barbaric destruction of the remaining Serbian Orthodox churches is continuing and all this is occurring under the eyes of the democratic world".

The Church of Christ the Savior has long been a thorn in the side of Albanian extremists and their sponsors who hold offices in the highest Kosovo institutions. Construction of the church began in complete accordance with the law in 1991 with the blessing of the former Bishop of Raska and Prizren, who is now the Serbian Patriarch Pavle, and was scheduled to have been completed in 1999. Unfortunately wartime destruction brought suffering and exodus to the Serb people and the church remained unfinished. Albanian extremists have attacked the church several times since the end of the war and members of KFOR surrounded it with barbed wire and flood lights as a protective measure. The recent withdrawal of a KFOR security checkpoint in front of the church was followed almost immediately by demands to the municipal authorities of Pristina that the church be "legally" destroyed with the permission of the new "democratic" Kosovo institutions, as a building which was allegedly illegally built on land belonging to the University Campus.

In the 14th century, during the time of the Holy Prince Lazar, 11 other Orthodox churches and monasteries existed in Pristina in addition to the Church of Christ the Savior which the Turks upon conquering Kosovo and Metohija leveled with the ground and on whose foundations they built the contemporary Pirinez Mosque in Pristina. The Pristina Serbs planned for a long time to rebuild this centuries-old church but the Communist authorities refused to permit it. The license was finally obtained only in the early 1990's. The Diocese is in possession of duly processed land registry documentation and it claims that the church is built "on university land' are absolutely unacceptable.

Eventual permission by the municipal authorities for the destruction of this church will be the clearest message to the Serb people that the Kosovo Albanian government wants an ethnically pure Muslim Kosovo without Orthodox Christian churches. It is hardly necessary to state the degree to which such an irrational decision would damage efforts to establish inter-ethnic and inter-religious tolerance and cooperation.

Following the end of the conflict in June 1999 and the arrival of the UN Mission and KFOR Kosovo Albanian extremists destroyed or seriously damaged 112 Orthodox churches throughout the southern Serbian province. The most recent attacks on Orthodox churches occurred on November 17, 2002 when attackers used explosive devices to destroy the Church of St. Basil of Ostrog (Sv. Vasilije Ostroski) in Ljubovo near Istok and damaged the Church of All Serbian Saints in nearby Djurakovac. The perpetrators of these recent misdeeds, as in the case of the 110 attacks on churches before them, have not been found or brought to justice.

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