NEWSLETTER No 27


Instead of confession Rugova requests from the Pope anti-Serb alliance!
(photo: Mr. Rugova with the Pope amidst the scenes of destroyed Serbian Orthodox churches and desecrated Christian cemeteries in Kosovo

EDITORIAL BY FR. SAVA JANJIC, December 24, 2003

ERP KIM Info-service
Rugova woos to Vatican in order to hide Kosovo's bleak reality

During his recent visit to the Vatican Kosovo (Albanian) President Ibrahim Rugova
requested support for Kosovo's independence from the Pope John Paul II. The attempt to draw Pope John Paul II himself into his plans for the secession of Kosovo and Metohija further complicates the already complex situation in the southern province of Serbia and seriously jeopardizes already fragile interreligious relations.

Although he has never publicly condemned destruction of more than 100 Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo after the end of armed conflict in 1999 and never visited any Orthodox church in the Province (in which, by the way, more than 90% of the cultural-historical heritage belongs to Serbian Orthodox tradition) Ibrahim Rugova persistently tries to involve the Roman Catholic Church in his political machinations. His trump card is the tiny Roman Catholic community in Kosovo led by Bishop Marko Sopi who under pressure of Moslem majority refused to participate in the R. Catholic Bishops' Conference of Serbia and Montenegro, to which Kosovo officially belonged, and requested his "diocese" to be under special jurisdiction of the Holy See. (FULL TEXT)

Communique of the Council for Kosovo and Metohija of the Holy Synod of Bishops

Information Service of the
Serbian Orthodox Church
Belgrade, December 23, 2003


The Council for Kosovo and Metohija of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, chaired by His Holiness the Serbian Patriarch Kyr Pavle, met on December 23/10 [according to the Gregorian and Julian calendars, respectively], 2003 in the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade, and deliberated the latest conditions in the southern Serbian Province. The Council ascertained that the state of life security, human rights, freedom of movement and work, Serb returns, protection of the Church and people's Holy Shrines and property has remained unchanged, regrettably in the negative sense, during these more than four years that Kosovo and Metohija has been under the administration of the International Community.

The Council shares the great concern of the Serb community and the Serbian Church in Kosovo and Metohija as a result of the imposition of UNMIK's standards for Kosovo and Metohija (without acceptance of the Serbian positions on those standards), which completely ignore [UN] Security Council 1244 and pave the way for the complete Albanization and secession of Kosovo and Metohija, thus opening a Pandora's box of further expansion of the ultranationalistic idea of a "Greater Albania" which, if realized in phases, would bring lasting instability and unavoidable conflicts throughout most of the Balkans and in Europe. The Serb side in Kosovo and Metohija is asking for clearly measurable and concretely verifiable achievements and a timetable for their implementation, not just for declarative "standards". This means, first and foremost, the effective realization of the return of expelled and displaced persons to Kosovo and Metohija comprising no less than two-thirds of the total. Furthermore, the Council demands respect for individual, human, national and property rights, the protection of the Church and people's, and cultural heritage of the Serbian people and the Republic of Serbia, the return of illegally usurped property, the re-examination of the speeded up process of privatization, etc.

The Council reminds that the Serbian Orthodox Church has published its "Memorandum on Kosovo and Metohija", a document humane, honorable and presented in Christian fashion on the real problem of Kosovo and Metohija. The "Memorandum" is supported by the Serb community in Kosovo and Metohija, the Republic of Serbia and the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, as well as by respected and wise individuals in Europe and the world.

The Council also reminds that the Republic of Serbia has presented its "Declaration on Kosovo and Metohija", which has been supported by the Serbian Church as well as by the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The Joint Coordinating Center of Serbia-Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia led by Mr. Nebojsa Covic has just issued a Resolution on the Protection of Serbian National Interests and Rights of the Republic of Serbia in Kosovo and Metohija (consisting of seven points and dated December 17, 2003), which has received the support of the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, and consequently also has the support of this Council.

For, as the Bishop of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija Kyr Artemije stated:

"The Serb people in this region desire a free and dignified life but cannot accept, in exchange for Serbia's sovereignty, offers of abstract 'minority rights' in a society Kosovo Albanians are tailoring exclusively according to their needs and interests. The document 'Standards for Kosovo', which does not mention the sovereignty of Serbia and Montenegro and the essential elements of UN Security Council 1244, fundamentally prejudices the secession of the southern Serbian province and as such must be urgently revised in order to be acceptable for the Serbian side, too.

"The claim of some international and domestic 'preachers' that Serbia with Kosovo and Metohija cannot be a part of Europe and the world is untrue and tendentious. In fact, it is without Kosovo and Metohija, and with the open process of territorial disintegration which the secession of the southern province would inevitable entail, that Serbia would commit her historical suicide and the Serbian people would lose its deepest historical roots, which represent the foundation of its religious and national being."

The Council of the Holy Synod of Bishop is astounded by the partiality of responsible factors of the International Community toward the Albanian community in Kosovo and Metohija. Through their behavior, they are ignoring the Serbs and other people and communities that have lived there for centuries. The Council is also concerned by UNMIK's inactivity with respect to shedding light on numerous crimes (especially the murder and kidnapping of Serbs and others), as well as the destruction and desecration of Serbian Church and people's Holy Shrines (the latest instances of renewed desecration of the church in Susica, attacks on the church in Pristina and a bomb explosion in the church in Urosevac).

The Council also notes with regret that there is increasingly greater anti-Serb and anti-Orthodox activity on the part of the Roman Catholic Church in Kosovo and Metohija, through which Ibrahim Rugova is attempting to draw Pope John Paul II himself into his plans for the secession of Kosovo and Metohija, thus further complicating the already complex issue of Kosovo and Metohija.

The Council for Kosovo and Metohija appeals to responsible persons in the International Community, concretely, to UN high representative Mr. Holkeri but also to the United Nations and the Security Council, to demonstrate their fundamental human honor, impartiality and humaneness to all residents of Kosovo and Metohija equally, and that they refrain by their hasty solutions from making the tragedy of Kosovo and Metohija even more difficult today, in the near future and long term; therefore, that they do not impose unilateral and unjust solutions that will become a source of new and unforeseeable unrest and inhumanity in this region.

On the eve of parliamentary elections in Serbia, the Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church appeals to the conscience and conscientiousness of all political parties in Serbia, as well as in Kosovo and Metohija, that in fighting for a democratic and free Serbia in Europe and the world they under no circumstances succumb to proposals or threats; that they refuse to accept a Serbia crippled without Kosovo and Metohija; that they subordinate their party interests to the interests of the People and the Fatherland; that they do not manipulate the unfortunate Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija nor displaced Kosovans scattered throughout Serbia; that they remain at the level of the Kosovo oath, in the name of which the great leader Karadjordje began the liberation of Serbia two centuries ago.

We call our brothers and children in oft crucified but always resurrected Kosovo and Metohija to peace and harmony, to love and humanity toward all, wishing them even in this difficult situation in which they await Christmas and the New Year, the joy of the shepherds of Bethlehem and the light of the Star of Bethlehem of the Divine Refugee sheltered in a cave - Christ the Savior of every human being, all peoples and all of creation.

Toys and freedom

(photo: Kosovo Serbs received toys from an Italian Carabinieri in the village of Gornja Brnjica in northern Kosovo on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2003. Italian Carabinieri delivered Christmas gifts that were donated by the Charivaris Diocese in Genova, Italy.)

On the occasion of the forthcomming Christmas holidays Italian Carabinieri delivered gifts to Serb children in central Kosovo enclave village of Gornja Brnjica. The gifts awere donated by the Charivaris Diocese in Genova, Italy.

Despite this wonderful gesture of solidarity and love of the Italian people the tragic reality in which Kosovo Serb children live today continues. For more than four years young Kosovo Serbs, many of whom, had to leave their homes in major cities and find refuge in the neighboring village enclaves do have not known the joys of childhood.

All they know is that they cannot go to their old schools, walk along streets they used to walk, go to hospitals and live the ordinary life of other children in Europe - just because they are not Albanians but Serbs. The irony is even worse because the Province in which all this happens officially belongs to Serbia and Montenegro in which Serbs are majority population. However their country is not able to help them and change the rule of ethnic discrimination which permeates all spheres of Kosovo's everyday life. The Province is the only territory in Europe today where rights of others are so brutally denied and endangered only because of their ethnicity, Christian religion and language.

Young Serbs and their parents cannot understand that in four years no Kosovo Albanian group, youth organization or political party ever publicly expressed their protest with such treatment of non-Albanians. All they can see from KFOR transporters or buses in which they travel that any sign in Serbian is obliterated by black spray and that it is dangerous to leave the vehicles because they can be killed or beaten.

In the forthcoming Christmas holidays again we remember those who are the greatest victims in post-war Kosovo and the tragedy of which continues despite presence of the UN Mission and KFOR.

Many Kosovo Serbs will not be celebrating Christmas in their homes this year either

Serbian Unity Congress (U.S), ERP KiM Info-Service
December 2003

Breaking with the centuries old tradition of celebrating the Nativity of Christ in the cradle of Serbian civilization and the historic seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Kosovo Serbs for the fifth consecutive Christmas remain either displaced outside the province and unable to return, or restricted to isolated islands within, lacking basic freedoms fundamental to life such as movement. During this the most joyous of seasons, Kosovo Serbs driven from the province worship far away from their homes hoping desperately for a return, while the few Serbs who remain within will worship fearfully under strict KFOR protection gradually losing hope in any equitable peace.

As you gather to celebrate this holiday season, traveling freely from home to home visiting your loved ones, remember those who cannot. Keep in mind the Kosovo Serbs among them those who have perished, those whose struggle is survival, and those who continue to light the way and gleam hope into the hearts of others.

Bishop Artemije: We do not need "minority rights" in exchange for Serbia's sovereignty in Kosovo and Metohija

Communiqué of Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija following the appeal of Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija head Dr. Nebojsa Covic


Serbian Orthodox Diocese of
Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija

Press Release

Gracanica Monastery, December 18, 2003

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija firmly supports yesterday's appeal by Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija president Dr. Nebojsa Covic, which he addressed to all political parties participating in elections for the Serbian parliament and election list primaries, calling on them to sign the Resolution on the Protection of Serbian National Interests and Rights of the Republic of Serbia in Kosovo and Metohija.

The proposed text of the Resolution with its seven articles is a document around which all political factors in Serbia should rally and unite, thus sending a clear message to the domestic and global community that the development of democratic processes in Serbia is not equivalent to the territorial cutting up of her state territory and renunciation of Kosovo and Metohija but their preservation as an inalienable part of Serbia.

The Serb people in this region desire a free and dignified life but cannot accept, in exchange for Serbia's sovereignty, offers of abstract "minority rights" in a society Kosovo Albanians are tailoring exclusively according to their needs and interests. The document "Standards for Kosovo", which does not mention the sovereignty of Serbia and Montenegro and the essential elements of UN Security Council 1244, fundamentally prejudices the secession of the southern Serbian province and as such must be urgently revised in order to be acceptable for the Serbian side, too.

The claim of some international and domestic "preachers" that Serbia with Kosovo and Metohija cannot be a part of Europe and the world is untrue and tendentious. In fact, it is without Kosovo and Metohija, and with the open process of territorial disintegration which the secession of the southern province would inevitable entail, that Serbia would commit her historical suicide and the Serbian people would lose its deepest historical roots, which represent the foundation of its religious and national being.

After all these difficult wartime and post-war years, it is completely clear that if the Albanian nationalists realize their dream of an independent and Albanian Kosovo, the long-term survival of the Serbian people and preservation of our legitimate cultural and historical rights in this region will be impossible. The battle for the preservation of state sovereignty and the establishment of a just society for all citizens of the Province, regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation, is therefore the only path to preserving the multiethnicity of Kosovo and Metohija as an integral part of a democratic and multiethnic Republic of Serbia and state union of Serbia and Montenegro.

Therefore, the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija strongly appeals to all political parties participating in the upcoming elections for the Serbian Parliament to demonstrate their national and political responsibility before their citizens and, regardless of existing political differences, to sign the proposed Resolution. We also call on the signatories of the Resolution to remain true to the principles they have publicly upheld and confirm their words with appropriate actions when, in the near future, they become members of the new Serbian Parliament.

Let us show the world that Serbs know how to unite on issues of vital interest of the people and the state! Let us show that the future of Serbia, the state union of Serbia and Montenegro and the entire Balkans does not lie in the creation of an ethnically pure Albanian Kosovo and further destruction of its Christian heritage, which represents the foundation of European civilization and culture.

To the same extent that we ourselves respect our state and its sovereignty, we will be respected by the entire democratic world as a serious state based on law.

+ARTEMIJE
Bishop of Raska-Prizren and
Kosovo-Metohija

L'Espresso (It): In Kosovo the Orthodox Church is under siege

In Kosovo today, the Orthodox Serbs are a besieged and endangered minority. Of the roughly 250,000 who fled following NATO's military intervention, only a few thousand have returned. Together with the 130,000 who remained, they are herded in restricted zones and kept under constant threat. Power rests in the hands of the Muslim Kosovar Albanians. The future status of the region is uncertain.

Original text in Italian:
http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,41994,00.html


English translation
http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,41995,00.html  or
http://www.balkanpeace.org/hed/archive/dec03/hed6151.shtml

L'Espresso (Italy), December 16, 2003

by Sandro Magister

To worldwide indifference, more than one hundred churches have already been assaulted and destroyed. Others are defended by NATO soldiers. The role of the Vatican and the growth of Islamic extremism

(photo: For more than four years Decani Monastery monks can travel only under KFOR escort)

ROMA - During the last week of November, two more Orthodox Christian churches were attacked and damaged in Kosovo - in Gornja Brnjica, and in Susica. Neither was protected by KFOR, the military force under NATO command that maintains order in the region.

Since the war ended with the defeat of the Serbs in 1999, more than one hundred Orthodox holy places have been assaulted and destroyed in Kosovo, many of them going back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Earlier, while the Serbian army of Slobodan Milosevic had control of the region, it is calculated that 212 of the 560 Muslim mosques in the area were damaged or razed.

In Kosovo today, the Orthodox Serbs are a besieged and endangered minority. Of the roughly 250,000 who fled following NATO's military intervention, only a few thousand have returned. Together with the 130,000 who remained, they are herded in restricted zones and kept under constant threat. Power rests in the hands of the Muslim Kosovar Albanians. The future status of the region is uncertain. Formally, Kosovo remains an autonomous province of the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro, but resolution 1244 of the United Nations defining its status also refers to the Rambouillet accords of 1999, which appeal to the principle of self-determination of peoples in outlining the definitive arrangement of the area. And the overwhelming Albanian majority has enlisted this point in its bid for independence.

The destruction of Christian churches is part of this plan - or, at least, that's what the local Orthodox community fears. "Either destruction, or transformation into museums," specifies Fr. Sava Janjic, vice-prior of the monastery of Decani.

This monastery is one of the masterpieces of medieval art in Kosovo, an historic cradle of Serbian Orthodoxy. It is occupied by 35 monks, many of whom have entered during the last twelve years, in a complete rebirth of monastic life. During the war, they were lavish in their defense of the Kosovar Albanians, threatened with ethnic cleansing by Slobodan Milosevic's army. But today, it is the monks who are under constant threat. The Italian soldiers of KFOR ensure the defense of the monastery. The monks may not venture beyond the security fence to visit their faithful unless they are accompanied by an armed escort. The condition of the other 25 monasteries and churches under KFOR protection is similar. Among the most precious holy places - and the ones most at risk - are the patriarchate of Pec, the monastery of Gracanica, and the cathedral of the Mother of God of Ljevisa, in Prizren.

(photo: Christian churches under constant protection from Muslim Albanian extremists, Budisavci)

Artemjie, the bishop of Raska and Prizren, the highest Orthodox authority in Kosovo, laments "the inexplicable silence of Christian and democratic Europe in the face of such grave crimes committed against a Christian and European people, which the Serbian people is." And he accuses the Vatican of having been "amply implicated in the events" that produced the current situation.

Fr. Sava specifies that an authentic smear campaign has been unleashed against the Serbian Church: "The schools teach the theory that we did not build most of the Orthodox holy places in Kosovo, but that Roman Catholic Church did, and that they do not belong to us."

There are approximately 65,000 Catholics in Kosovo. "We have excellent relations with the Muslims, and the government treats us well," a spokesman for the apostolic administration of Prizen told the Norwegian news agency for religious liberty "Forum 18."

But there is a more disquieting reality behind these words. All throughout Kosovo, new mosques and Koranic schools financed by Saudi Arabia are springing up, and the influence of the Islamist currents is growing.

This is confirmed by the dangers incurred by Muslims who convert to Christianity.

These dangers were almost nonexistent in the past. Islam is generally weakly rooted in the Albanian population, and is accompanied by weak social controls.

But now extremist groups have appeared. And life has become difficult for those who convert. Last May 11, in Gnjilane, a convert was brutally beaten and threatened with death as a "traitor."

The ones most targeted are the converts to the evangelical Churches, which are the most active in the missions. Many of the newly baptized are forced to keep their conversion hidden even from their loved ones.

The Catholic Church has chosen to keep a low profile and not to proselytize, and thus it feels Islamic pressure less. The moderate Muslim leader Ibrahim Rugova recently said that he has come to know the Catholic faith better and that he respects it a great deal.


Fr. Miron in front of the Urosevac Serbian Orthodox church which was
attacked by Albanian extremists last Friday evening

Fr. Miron: We respond to Albanian grenades with prayer and firm determination to remain at home

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija "responded" to the bomb attack two days ago on the Church of St. Uros in Urosevac with Holy Liturgy served today, on the patron saint's day of the Holy Emperor Uros, in the church.

ERP KiM Info-service
Gracanica, December 15, 2003

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija "responded" to the bomb attack two days ago on the Church of St. Uros in Urosevac with Holy Liturgy served today, on the patron saint's day of the Holy Emperor Uros, in the church.

With the blessing of Bishop Artemije Holy Liturgy was served by Fr. Miron Kosac with the monks of Holy Archangels Monastery near Prizren. After Holy Liturgy and the cutting of the "Slava cake", the monks visited the commander of the Greek KFOR contingent whose soldiers guard the Church of St. Uros and five other partially damaged Serbian Orthodox churches in their zone of responsibility around the clock. The Greek soldiers regularly clean the inside of the Church of St. Uros, washing the floors and windows. "It is truly amazing to see the care the Greek soldiers have shown toward this church," said Fr. Miron.

Greek members of KFOR also take care of the last 17 elderly Serbs remaining in Urosevac. They are under constant military protection of Greek soldiers, who also provide them with one meal a day, heating and regular medical care. The remaining Serbs in Urosevac are also cared for by the NGO "Majka Jugovica" headed by presbytera Svetlana Stevic, as well as by the medical team of the "Simonida Health Center" in Gracanica.

The Greek Commander Ltc. P. Bromis told the representatives of the Diocese with pride that the construction of Serb houses in the nearby village of Babljak, which was torched by Albanian extremists in the summer of 1999 and the entire Serbian population expelled, had already begun and that they will be ready for moving in by next summer when the return of expelled persons to the village, and probably to other parts of Urosevac municipality, too, is expected.

On behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church Fr. Miron thanked the Greek KFOR for their efforts and concern for the remaining Serbs in Urosevac and the Orthodox cathedral of St. Uros conveying warmest blessings for the forthcoming Christmas holidays from Bishop Artemije.


A scene captured by Holy Archangel Monks in front of St. Uros church
During the service the area was heavily guarded by armored vehicles and additional police forces

Devic Monastery celebrates patron saint's day of St. Joanikije in the heart of Drenica

The monastery patron saint's day of St. Joanikije of Devic the Miracle Worker was celebrated today in the monastery of Devic near Srbica now called by Muslim Albanians "Skenderaj". After the Holy Liturgy, which was served by Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral and Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren and clergy and the cutting of the slava cake, Metropolitan Amfilohije addressed the numerous believers who arrived at the monastery, in the heart of Drenica, with a KFOR escort to celebrate the Lord and his great chosen servant, Joanikije (Janicije) of Devic.


Kosovo is our Jerusalem and against those who want to
drive us away and destroy our shrines we will resist with Christian faith and prayer

Bishops Amfilohije and Artemije at the traditional cutting of "Slava cake"
after the Holy Liturgy in Devic Monastery

ERP KiM Info-service
Gracanica, December 15, 2003

(photo: Bishop Artemije distributes gifts to children at Devic Monastery. Thanks to KFOR and police escort the Orthodox faithful, mostly form North Kosovo attended the celebration)

The monastery patron saint's day of St. Joanikije of Devic the Miracle Worker was celebrated today in the monastery of Devic near Srbica, now called by Muslim Albanians "Skenderaj". After the Holy Liturgy, which was served by Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral and Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren and clergy and the cutting of the slava cake, Metropolitan Amfilohije addressed the numerous believers who arrived at the monastery, in the heart of Drenica, with a KFOR escort to celebrate the Lord and his great chosen servant, Joanikije (Janicije) of Devic.

Metropolitan Amfilohije with special words encouraged the abbess of Devic, Mother Anastasija, and the sisters who since 1998 have lived in complete isolation and under constant threat by Albanian extremists because the area around the monastery is known as a Mecca of KLA hardliners. In June 1999 members of the KLA broke into the monastery and looted it. If Fr. Radivoje Panic (now serving at the Church of St. Aleksandar Nevski in Belgrade) and the abbess of Sokolica Monastery, Mother Macaria, had not arrived at the last moment with French KFOR troops, the Albanian extremists would have completely destroyed the monastery and killed the sisterhood. Since then the monastery has been under the constant military protection of KFOR

According to tradition Devic Monastery was built by George Brankovich in the 15th century, after the Devic miracle worker Joanikije, who for some time had lived in a hollow tree not far away, cured his daughter. In World War II Albanian Nazi collaborators (Balli Combetar) burned the monastery to the ground but after the war it was resurrected from the ashes by the nuns and the late Abbess Paraskeva. To this day the monastery houses the grave of the saint, where numerous miracles and cures have taken place. The nuns of Devic are determined: "Ever since arriving in this monastery as a young girl to today we have fought a battle to preserve this holy shrine. We are certain that God and our Patron Saint will give us the strength to endure to the end," said Mother Anastasija.


More about Devic Monastery and the life of Devic nuns: /edevic.html

A Serb woman severely beaten in ethnically mixed part of North Mitrovica

Zlata Djurovic's condition presently stable but uncertain

The second attack in a row on Serbs in the mixed part of North Mitrovica has caused unrest among them, and they have asked KFOR officials to either ensure their peace and security or to return their confiscated weapons. UNMIK police commander in North Mitrovica John Napolitano (sp?) said that the attack on the two elderly Serb women was "a horrible act". He informed the frightened Serbs that "there is evidence regarding the perpetrator of the attack and that all suspects will be questioned during the course of the day". The municipal board of the Democratic Alternative in North Mitrovica condemned the attack on Zlata Djurovic, emphasizing that "this is the last reminder to members of KFOR and UNMIK police in the region to reinforce security measures and protect the representatives of the Serbian community".

Beta News Agency, Belgrade
December 14, 2003

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA - The medical condition of Zlata Djurovic (52), the Serb woman beaten last night in her home in Northern Mitrovica, is stable but the further course of treatment is uncertain, Mitrovica Hospital physician Dr. Trajko Bogeski told Beta news agency today.

The uncertainty in the treatment of Zlata Djurovic is a result of the fact that she sustained serious injuries to the head, which were inflicted upon her by a yet unidentified attacker.

Dr. Bogeski said that the woman had a broken bone in the region of the nape of the neck, as well as multiple wounds to the head, adding that the injuries have been treated but that does not exclude the possibility of further complications.

Zlata Djurovic conveyed to a Beta reporter that she was attacked while she was getting ready to go to sleep.

"Suddenly an unknown man flew through the door of the house. His head was covered by a black cloth. He said nothing; he immediately began to hit me in the head. After the third blow, I fell," said Djurovic.

Her 80 year-old mother cried for help and a few minutes later their neighbors in the Microsettlement (Mikronaselje), a nationally mixed quarter in North Mitrovica, ran to their assistance.

Zlata Djurovic said that she had offended no one, that she and her mother lived on social assistance, and that she knows no reason why she would be a target of attack.

The second attack in a row on Serbs in the mixed part of North Mitrovica has caused unrest among them, and they have asked KFOR officials to either ensure their peace and security or to return their confiscated weapons.

UNMIK police commander in North Mitrovica John Napolitano (sp?) said that the attack on the two elderly Serb women was "a horrible act". He informed the frightened Serbs that "there is evidence regarding the perpetrator of the attack and that all suspects will be questioned during the course of the day".

The municipal board of the Democratic Alternative in North Mitrovica condemned the attack on Zlata Djurovic, emphasizing that "this is the last reminder to members of KFOR and UNMIK police in the region to reinforce security measures and protect the representatives of the Serbian community".

Explosion in the yard of the St. Uros church in Urosevac

Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija most strongly condemns Friday night's attack on the St. Uros church in Urosevac. The Diocese concludes with regret that attacks by Albanian extremists on holy shrines in Kosovo and Metohija are continuing. Since the summer of 1999 to the present day there have already been several similar attacks on this holy shrine. If the Church of St. Uros had not been under the constant protection of KFOR it is likely that it would have been destroyed like the other Serbian Orthodox churches in the Urosevac and Nerodimlje region.

Gracanica, December 14, 2003

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija most strongly condemns the Friday night's attack on the Church of the Holy Emperor Uros in Urosevac..

According to a statement by an official representative of KFOR an unidentified person threw a hand grenade into the yard of the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Uros in Urosevac lon Friday evening, at approximately 20,00 hours. The grenade fell near the Greek KFOR checkpoint manned by two soldiers; fortunately, no one was injured and apparently there is no damage to the church. The explosion damaged a KFOR vehicle parked in front of the church. The Kosovo Police Service (KPS) is conducting further investigation.

The Diocese concludes with regret that attacks by Albanian extremists on holy shrines in Kosovo and Metohija are continuing. Since the summer of 1999 to the present day there have already been several similar attacks on this holy shrine. If the Church of St. Uros had not been under the constant protection of KFOR it is likely that it would have been destroyed like the other Serbian Orthodox churches in the Urosevac and Nerodimlje region.

The Diocese would like to express its sincere gratitude to members of Greek KFOR for their dedication and efforts to protect this church, as well as for the care they have shown for the several elderly remaining Serbs who still live in Urosevac, confined to their homes for the past more than four years.

The Church of St. Uros was built between 1929 and 1933, and is one of the most beautiful Serbian Orthodox churches built between the two world wars in Kosovo and Metohija. The church once possessed a rich collection of icons and a valuable carved wooden iconostasis (altar screen) from the 19th century. In June 1999 Kodobo Albanian extremists broke into the church and looted and destroyed a part of the internal furnishings, setting a fire that damaged the iconostasis and icons. Nearby graves and monumental plates dedicated to soldiers in the Balkan wars (1912-13) have also been desecrated. Since the summer of 1999 the church has been under the permanent protection of KFOR forces.

A delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church will visit the church during the following week and serve the holy Liturgy.

For more information on the church, please see the publication Crucified Kosovo:
/ckos/ckos18.jpg

We are enclosing two official reports on this incident:

KFOR Report, December 13, 2003

A grenade exploded at the church at the op5 fixed site in Urosevac. The grenade, identified as an Albanian f1 hand grenade, exploded approximately 10 meters from the front steps of the church. The two KFOR soldiers manning the site witnessed an unidentified male walk by and throw the grenade. The explosion caused no injuries and only minor damage to the guard shack on the site. The church was not damaged. TF MP, 506th Mech, US EOD, and KPS/UNMIK police responded. The area was secured and US EOD cleared the scene. KPS is currently investigating the incident.

UNMIK Police report, December 13, 2003

ATTACK WITH EXPLOSIVE
Urosevac - 12/12 - 2000 hrs. KFOR reported that a hand grenade exploded inside the churchyard. Explosion resulted to the broken glass window of a vehicle parked besides the church. No injury was reported.

Serb returnees barely escape lynching in attempt to return to their homes in Kosovo

Klina Albanians marked International Human Rights Day by expelling 11 Serb returnees who arrived into an empty Serb-owned house with the intent of returning to their native town and reclaiming their usurped property

ERP KiM Info-Service
Gracanica, December 10, 2003

An attempt of a group of displaced Kosovo Serbs to return to their homes in Klina today ended in an attack of ethnic Albanian mob and their dramatic evacuation from the town with the assistance of KFOR. The Serbs were returned to the nearby Serbian village of Bicha where a group of 26 Serb men and women have been waiting for more than three weeks for permission of UNMIK and local Albanian authorities to return to their homes.

According to ERP KIM sources, this afternoon a group of 11 men out of 26 Serb returnees arrived by foot from Bicha to Klina town, 7 km away, and moved in an empty Serb house of Petko Pesic in order to prepare the house for the arrival of the others in the near future. Petko Pesic, the leader of the group, explained to the ErP KiM info-Service that the arrival of Serb returnees this morning was not unannounced and that it had been previously agreed with the UNMIK office for returns and the local civil administrator. "However at the meeting which we had immediately upon our arrival they told us that they cannot guarantee our security and requested from us to return to Bicha village", said Mr. Pesic.

Soon after the arrival of Serb returnees several hundred angry Albanians encircled the house with the Serb returnees inside, using threats and curses to insist on the Serbs' immediate departure from the town.

According to Petko Pesic, one of the Serbs evacuated by KFOR from Klina, the Albanians laid a real siege to his home. "There were a few hundred of them and they were exceptionally aggressive," said Pesic. Seeing that the unprotected civilians were about to be lynched, KFOR responded quickly. According to eyewitnesses, KFOR and Kosovo police officers showed up on the scene to secure the evacuation of the house. As the Serbs were leaving the house the Albanians began to stone the Serbs and the KFOR vehicles. Under the shower of rocks one Serb man, Miodrag Mazic, sustained minor injuries. While the convoy of KFOR vehicles was leaving Klina they were also stoned on several locations but there were no injured.

Neither KFOR nor UNMIK police have still not issued an official statement on the event. This is the first instance of a group return by Serbian returnees to an urban setting in Kosovo and Metohija since June 1999.

Co-minister Todorovic: The Incident shows how illusory is the verbal support for returns by Albanian leaders

According to a Beta news agency report, repatriation co-minister in the Kosovo government Milorad Todorovic, a Serb, said that the Albanian mob that gathered around the house with the a group of Serb returnees "shows how illusory is the verbal support for returns by Albanian leaders". "[Invitations to return] have nothing to do with the situation on the ground, where the members of the same political parties as those leaders are obstructing returns in a very practical and effective way," Todorovic told Beta News Agency.

Reportedly the head of the UNMIK office for returns Peggy Hicks tried several times to influence local Albanian leaders through Kosovo premier Rexhepi (pronounced Rejepi) and president Rugova in order to stop the violence against the Serbs; however, the town was in a state of collective hysteria. According to the latest information from Klina, talks between UNMIK officials, and Albanian party leaders and local government officials are in progress and will be resumed tomorrow. Serb returnees have reiterated their firm intention to return to their homes and their right to protection in doing so.

According to local Serb sources from Bicha and eyewitness statements, the KFOR and UNMIK police presence throughout the Klina area has been visibly reinforced following today's incident.

Serbian Orthodox Church Condemns attack on Serb returnees

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren strongly condemns attack of Albanian mob on unprotected Serb returnees, which occurred (paradoxically) on International Human Rights Day. This unfortunate event, orchestrated by local representatives of institutions headed by the local ethnic Albanian mayor Mr. Manaj (LDK party), best demonstrates the lack of readiness on the part of Albanian leaders to implement in practice what they say in their public speeches.

In a statement for the ERP KIM Info Service, Bishop Artemije once again appealed to UNMIK and Albanian institutions to "stop manipulating the public and finally turn from words to actions". "These people have returned and they should be provided with basic human rights, including at the very least the right to move into their homes, from which they had to flee in 1999, and to be able to live a dignified, peaceful and secure life."

"Is it not indicative that on the first day of promotion of Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan Kosovo Albanians in practice show that they deny the basic human rights to their Serbian neighbors", Bishop concluded in his statement.

UNMIK requested KFOR not to get involved in return process

In this entire matter, the ERP KIM is especially concerned by information received from a source close to UNMIK according to which Peggy Hicks, the head of the UNMIK office for returns, has openly requested the KFOR commander general Kammerhoff for KFOR not get involved in Serb returns nor assist returnees without explicit consent from UNMIK HQ. It is a well-known fact that it is only through the engagement of KFOR and the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija that Serbs were able to return to Belo Polje near Pec this summer.

According to many displaced Serbs desiring to return, if it is solely up to UNMIK and Mrs. Hicks, Serbs will not return to their homes in Kosovo and Metohija for the next 200 years. Local Serbs say that they still have the most confidence in KFOR and request that KFOR provides their security and not succumb to political pressures of UNMIK and some individuals who obstruct the process of returns.

Serbian Orthodox Church expresses regret
for the Mitrovica incident

Gracanica, December 8, 2003

Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija expresses its profound regret for the incident in Mitrovica in which one member of the World bank delegation was slightly injured. This was an irresponsible reaction of a group of individuals and it is not supported by the majority of Kosovo Serb population in North Mitrovica.

It is, of course, the right of Kosovo's PM to visit any part of the Province, but it would be much better if that right were enjoyed by all inhabitants of the Province despite of their ethnicity. For years Serbs from North Mitrovica cannot normally go to the southern part of the city where many of them once lived. At the same time the Serbs all over the Province remain under severe ethnic discrimination in access to public institutions (hospitals, schools), let alone restaurants.

Such unannounced appearances of the ethnic Albanian PM with his security, many of which used to be the members of the KLA, in the Northern part of the city, regrettably add more oil to the fire of interethnic tensions. Reconciliation is built on equal standards all over Kosovo Province. We can only imagine what would happen if the PM of Serbia, to which Kosovo officially belongs, decided to have a lunch in Pec or Pristina, unannounced. Instead of provoking problems for political purposes politicians should rather avoid any act that might further destabilize fragile "peace" between ethnic communities in Kosovo and Metohija.

Newsletter 05 December, 2003

Exclusive interview of Fr. Sava Janjic to the Belgrade daily DANAS (Today) - An Introduction to the revision of the UN Security Council Resolution 1244

"Autonomy can exist only in relation to a broader entity, not as an independent whole or an artificial para-state, which is in fact what UNMIK has created in Kosovo and Metohija in the past five years. Accepting the draft plan for implementation of standards without this essential provision of Resolution 1244, as a result of which Slobodan Milosevic agreed to an end of the conflict with NATO, prejudices the final status of the Province, which is contrary to the UN Security Council document. Through the gradual transfer of competencies from UNMIK to provisional Kosovo institutions (PISG) without any ties with appropriate Serbian institutions the survival of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia and Montenegro is becoming an abstraction, and with the increasing passage of time a practical impossibility."

The text in Serbian is available at the DANAS daily site:
http://www.danas.co.yu/20031205/terazije1.html#

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Why the UN mission is hiding the real situation in Kosovo and Metohija from the public

On the beginning of cooperation between Belgrade and UNMIK on the investigation of KLA crimes

Commentary by Fr. Sava Janjic
 


Results of UN/KFOR mission that Kosovo Serbs experience firsthand every day
The number of unresolved cases of attacks against Serbs since the arrival of the
peacekeeping mission in Kosovo and Metohija give rise to the legitimate question
whether the role of the UNMIK  police is to prevent and punish crimes or just to
record crimes committed by Albanian extremists and express its "sincere regrets"
(Photo: Collage of images from some of the most serious crimes committed
against Serbs  since June 1999, ERP - Click on image for larger format)

This article was written exclusively for the Belgrade daily Danas and appeared in its weekend edition of November 29-30, 2003.

full text of the commentary is available at:

http://www.kosovo.net.unmikhiding.html


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