Information Service

November 01 , 2002

Student bus escorts discontinued
SNC of Kosovo and Metohija strongly protests against decision of UNMIK and KFOR

30 October 2002

Approximately 1,200 Serb students who live in enclaves in central Kosovo have not attended school for the past 10 days because of safety considerations after the discontinuation of escorts for transportation to their schools. The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija issued a statement yesterday saying that despite appeals to UNMIK and KFOR international peacekeepers have nevertheless decided to discontinue all student bus escorts, claiming that the security situation has improved significantly. However, the safety of students who live in enclaves and who go to school each day in this manner is by no means guaranteed because attacks continue to occur on the ground. As a result, a silent exodus of Serbs continues before the eyes of the international community, whose mission has failed to ensure freedom of movement.

Powerless to admit their own defeat, the leaders of the international community have decided to discontinue escorts for Serbs and their children, the SNC statement says. The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija once again calls on the international community to re-examine its decision to discontinue escorts for student buses because as a result of their decision, more than one thousand students in the Province are sitting in their homes instead of in the classroom. The SNC urges and warns UN officials not to play with the lives of Serb children and deny them the right to a worry-free childhood and an education, which is one of the postulates of human rights.

KPS police abuses medical workers

October 31, 2002

Early this morning upon its return from Kosovska Mitrovica the three member medical team of the Simonida Emergency Care Center in Gracanica was taken to the police station in Vucitrn and verbally abused by members of the Albanian Kosovo Police Service in the presence of UN police. Namely, their ambulance was stopped not far from Vucitrn at 1:30 this morning as they were returning from Mitrovica Hospital, where they had taken a Roma (Gypsy) woman who was choking as the result of a tumor, Dr. Milomir Cosic told Radio KIM. Anesthesiologist Dragan Ivanovic, a nurse, the ambulance driver and the son of the patient were forced to get out of the ambulance and taken to the Vucitrn police station where they were detained and threatened until 6:30, when they were released. The whole incident occurred in the presence of UN police who did not intervene despite KPS police accusations that the Simonida ambulance had been used to transport Serb terrorists, said Dr. Cosic, adding that the whole incident had been planned beforehand. As a result of the incident a complaint has been sent to the international community and all relevant factors in Kosovo and Metohija. Dr. Cosic, who is the oldest anesthesiologist in Kosovo, said that he had never seen a similar situation during his many years of practice because in medicine assistance is rendered to all people in need regardless of nationality. "I have worked on four continents and never seen anything quite like this. This is an unprecedented act which must not be allowed to happen anywhere in the world," said Dr. Cosic.

Kosovo should be decentralised with respect to Resolution 1244

October 30, 2002

Belgrade, Oct. 30, 2002 - Coordinating centre for Kosovo-Metohija Head Nebojsa Covic said, after meeting with UNMIK Head Michael Steiner, that they would pick up talks on Kosovo's decentralisation with respect to UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and UNMIK's authority in the province.

"I have to be an optimist and believe that we will see some progress in the coming days," said Covic, adding that he was pleased that the talks on decentralisation in the province would be continued.

Covic said that the October 26 local elections were boycotted "in one location" in Kosovo, adding that the local Serb community was expected to vote in larger numbers.

"A number of temptations are ahead of us, but if we join our efforts in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and UNMIK's authority, I believe that we will see better results," said Covic. "A donors' conference for Kosovo will be held next week. That's progress."

Steiner reiterated that Kosovo Serbs did not boycott local elections except for "one location in northern Mitrovica" despite guarantees offered in his seven-point plan, ensuring "safety, a solid mechanism preventing over-voting, and economic prospects." He said that Kosovo should be decentralised in line with the current constitutional framework and European standards, adding that the solution would be found "in Kosovo, with legitimate leaders."

Information Service of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren
Kosovo and Metohija