1. Diocese of Raska and Prizren deeply hurt by behavior of U.S. KFOR
2. Association of Independent Journalists of Serbia protest against
mistreatment of journalists in Kosovo
3. Ivanovic: Split decision on Kosovo Serb vote
4. Council of Europe - High Commissioner on human righst publishes a
report on the situation in Kosovo
DIOCESE OF RASKA AND PRIZREN
DEEPLY HURT BY BEHAVIOR OF U.S. KFOR IN KLOKOT
It is unacceptable for KFOR troops to beat unarmed people
Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren is deeply hurt by the
rough behavior of U.S. KFOR troops in the Serb village of Klokot following
the recent crime by extremists leading to the death of Svetlana Stankovic.
It is absolutely unacceptable to apply force against unarmed civilians
who were only trying to return to their homes, deeply embittered because
of the attack. Especially pathetic was the humiliation of two Serb women,
Radmila Dimic and Dobrila Milenkovic, who were, according to their own
statement, kept handcuffed for serveral hours. Klokot residents confirmed
to the representative of the Church that the U.S. soldiers beat the
Serbs using sticks and feet.
We are also concerned
regarding information by the Independent Association of Journalists
of Serbia (NUNS) that Radio Television Serbia (RTS) reporters who filmed
the incident in Klokot were reportedly abused and kept for two hours,
handcuffed, in the mud.
behavior on the part of U.S. KFOR troops is undermining their moral
reputation and the trust of the Serbs in peacekeeping forces. We therefore
appeal that this incident be thoroughly investigated and that measures
are taken to prevent similar excesses from reoccurring.
It is quite incomprehensible
that KFOR troops are blocking the Serb village and abusing its residents,
including the family members of the deceased woman, instead of seeking
the perpetrators of the most recent attack against the Serbs. A similar
situation occurred following the recent attack by Albanian extremists
in which five Serb houses were blown up in July. Kosovo Albanian extremists
have killed no fewer that 12 Serbs from the village of Klokot since
the end of war despite the presence of KFOR forces. Despite claims that
the security situation in the region is improving, the Serb people live
in increasing uncertainty, especially after the recent incident in Klokot.
Regrettably, this is not the first time that Albanian extremists plant
land mines in Serb fields. The claim that the mine remained in the field
from the war in 1999 is unfounded because the field has been regularly
cultivated by Stankovic family since 1999 and no explosive devices were
found in this area after a thorough KFOR search. That is one reason
more why the residends of Klokot were shocked by the reaction of peacekeepers.
PROTEST BY INDEPENDENT ASSOCIATION
Unacceptable behavior towards journalists
October 18, 2002
The Independent Associationa of Journalists of Serbia (NUNS) addressed
a protest letter yesterday to UNMIK head Michael Steiner regarding the
arrest, abuse and threat of imprisonment of Radio Television Serbia
(RTS) reporter Zarko Joksimovic and photographer Boban Sekulic by US
KFOR troops in the village of Klokot despite the fact that both possessed
In the letter NUNS states that Joksimovic and Sekulic were in the village
of Klokot for the purpose of filming a report regarding the death of
Svetlana Stankovic. It advises Steiner that there is no justification
for forcing the two men to lie for two hours on the wet earth while
handcuffed with 20 rifles pointed at them before they were expelled
UNS emphasizes that the public is justifiably awaiting an investigation
of the incident and emphasizes that UNMIK's task "is anything but
the violation of human rights of residents of Kosovo and Metohija, and
the human and professional rights of Joksimovic and Sekulic".
Split decision on Kosovo Serb
October 19, 2002
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Saturday – The Serb member of the Kosovo
Parliament’s joint presidency, Oliver Ivanovic announced today
that Kosovo Serbs will vote in the province’s local government
elections in only five municipalities.
In most municipalities, including the segregated town of Kosovska Mitrovica,
Serbs will boycott the elections.
Ivanovic blamed the international community for the boycott, saying
that Serbs in the province were still unable to exercise their national
and collective rights.
He called on UN governor Michael Steiner and UNMIK to proceed with their
plan for decentralised administration of the province and to call new
elections in six months in municipalities which had been reorganised
Serbs would certainly vote in such elections, if they were provided
with adequate protection, said Ivanovic.
The Commissioner for Human Rights
publishes a report on the situation in Kosovo
human rights situation in post-war UN administered Kosovo
Gil-Robles has just released a report entitled ''Kosovo : the human
rights situation and the fate of persons displaced from their homes''.
The report was prepared in response to Recommendation 1569 (2002) of
the Parliamentary Assembly on the ''Situation of refugees and internally
displaced persons in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia'' and is based
on the findings of two visits in the region.
"The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, Alvaro Gil
Robles required in a report on Kosmet to urgently implement an investigation
on crimes which, as quoted, were executed over the Serbs and other non-Albanians
in the province following the creating of the UN Mission.
Robles stated in an analysis made for the Parliamentary Assembly of
the Council of Europe, that the victims and their relatives were interrogated,
and rarely were any steps undertaken to shed light on the crimes. This
undermines the confidence of ethnic minorities in the protection of
KFOR and UNMIK, as well as their objectivity, the report quotes. Robles
pointed out the problem of missing persons was not solved and that the
expelled Serbs did not return to Kosovo and Metohija.."
The full text of the report: KOSOVO - THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION
is available in PDF format at:
c. Investigations into crimes committed in the beginning of
the international mandate
52. “Post-war Kosovo was characterised by a climate of impunity:
crimes were not investigated and criminals went unpunished”29.
The victims were mostly ethnic Serbs and Roma, as well as Albanian Kosovans
suspected of collaboration with the Serbs. We have read and heard numerous
reports, including by international personnel, of serious crimes, including
murder, arson, assault, that were committed during the first few months
of the international presence30, sometimes in front of international
personnel. When victims or their families came to report to KFOR, their
depositions were frequently heard, but rarely acted upon31. Indeed,
only very few successful investigations into such serious crimes committed
in retaliation have been reported to date. This has gravely undermined
the ethnic minorities’ trust in the protection offered by KFOR
and UNMIK, as well as in their impartiality.
53. It is urgent that serious investigations into crimes committed against
minorities since the beginning of the international administration of
and responsibility for Kosovo in June 1999, including abductions and
disappearances, be given a higher attention by the police and the judiciary,
than they have to date. Investigations should take place by all available
means, and make use of the declarations that have been made over the
years to KFOR, UNMIK, and all kinds of other authorities (the ICTY,
the OSCE, various embassies, etc.)32. To me, this appears to be the
only way in which the confidence of the minorities in the non-discriminatory,
fair and efficient functioning of the international administration of
Kosovo can be regained. Also, as UNMIK’s Office of Returns &
Communities rightly points out, “full reconciliation [between
the communities] cannot take place in the absence of accountability
for past crimes”33.
p. Places of worship and cemeteries
The fury of destruction has not halted before places of worship and
cemeteries in Kosovo85. While some mosques are being repaired and quite
a number of new ones have been and are being built, mostly with the
help of Islamic countries, orthodox churches and cemeteries of ethnic
Serbs are either totally destroyed or severely damaged and I have not
seen reconstruction work underway. In addition, many of the orthodox
churches that could be used, are simply closed in order to protect them.
It seems to me highly desirable to set signals by starting reconstruction
and repair of orthodox churches and cemeteries and by trying to protect
those that have not been destroyed in a manner which allows worshippers
to enter them, especially in the very centres of the cities.
b. Security and Policing
45. The most important challenge for policing in Kosovo is security,
especially the security of the ethnic Serb and, to a lesser extent,
the ethnic Roma, Egyptian and Ashkalie minority. All observers agree
that the situation is still far from satisfactory, although it has much
improved. Serb Kosovans by and large can still not enjoy their freedom
of movement in Kosovo. They are confined to their KFOR protected enclaves
or to the region of North Mitrovica where they are
the majority population. Only very few multi-ethnic localities exist.
When they leave their enclaves, ethnic Serbs and Roma are felt to need
police or KFOR escorts. This puts a terrible constraint on their lives
as regards their access to public services (schools, health care, social
services, administrations, … ) and their private lives (visiting
friends, relatives … ). The majority of elected Serbian Kosovan
representatives use armed escorts all the time.
Service of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren
Kosovo and Metohija