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Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija
Gracanica, July 13, 2000
From unofficial sources close to US KFOR it was learned that the two attackers, both Kosovo Albanians, were arrested a few hours after the attack and that the wounded Serbs have already recognized them as the men who fired shots at them. An investigation is currently in process and it is expected that the arrested persons will soon be charged for attempted premeditated murder. The same sources indicate that KFOR recognized the two arrested persons as members of the former KLA MILITARY POLICE which has been known for some time to have committed numerous crimes, especially against Serbs. This police force was under the direct command of General Ceku and Hasim Thaci, the supreme leaders of the KLA. The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija has requested a detailed report on the details of the investigation and the court process. Thanks was expressed to the US KFOR for the professional and high-quality medical care provided to the wounded, as well as for the efficient arres! t of the two Albanian terrorists.
The priests of the Gnjilane region informed Bishop Artemije that on July 7 they issued an official statement in which they publicly protested the false information published by the Albanian newspaper “Dita”. Namely, in conjunction with an article which appeared in the July 4 issue of “Dita”, a photograph also appeared in which two persons, appearing among a group of others who were termed paramilitary forces, were identified as Orthodox priests from the Gnjilane region who, according to “Dita’s” commentary “blessed the violence and forgave the sins of those who committed crimes”. The priests of the Gnjilane region claim that the persons appearing in the photograph do not look like any Serb Orthodox priest and that this is a willful attempt to compromise the Church. The Serb priests have publicly requested that KFOR and UNMIK conduct an inquiry to establish that [the pictured men] are not Orthodox priests. In addition, the Diocese has openly requested that Dr. Kouchner undertak! e urgent measures against the actions of the newspaper “Dita” which persistently continues to publish false and unproven information, naming people by name and practically issuing a “fatwah” or public death sentence against them. The opinion of the Church is that this murder attempt against a priest is a direct result of the hysteria which is being promoted by Albanian extremists through the newspaper. This type of behavior does not represent freedom of the press but the freedom of public lynching which must not be permitted.
Due to incomplete information the SNC advised in yesterday’s statement that in the car [with Father Dragan during the time of the attack] there was a second theologian by the name of Dragisa, as well as the three-year old child of Father Dragan. However, they were not in the car because they remained in the church in Klokot after service. Instead, Branko Polacevic of Vitina entered the car after asking the priest to give him a ride to his house.
1. Priest Dragan Kojic (born in 1961) in hospital at military base Bondsteel
2. Zvonko Kostic and Branko Polacevic
These two photographs are located on our website in a format suitable for publishing. In order not to unduly burden this mailing list, we have included them with our presentation. The address are:
As priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo regularly report that Albanians in several locations are gradually removing the ruins of destroyed Orthodox churches, the Diocese of Raska and Prizren will request that all ruins of our destroyed churches are better protected to prevent their complete removal and the illegal construction of Albanian houses and other buildings on church land. At the present time KFOR provides security only for intact churches and religious sites but not for ruins.
The SNC proposes the exemption of the Serb community from the fall elections and proposes that potential Serb representatives in municipalities where this is possible be nominated by the chief of the UN mission. In locations where the most basic of conditions for normal work within the framework of the municipality does not exist, the SNC proposes that the participation of the Serbs in municipal administration be realized through local offices which are currently being formed in Serb localities.
We are submitting three texts from the Albanian daily press from July 11 of this year which reveal some of the illegal activities of the former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (now the Kosovo Protection Corps) as well as the involvement of the KLA in the liquidation of Albanian politicians.
For one year now, the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija has testified and presented first-hand testimony of witnesses regarding the direct responsibility of members of the Corps and the KLA for illegal arrests, kidnappings, murders and other crimes perpetrated against Serbs since the end of the war.
At today's session of the Kosovo Transitional Council we were present at the disclosure of serious accusations against the former members and politicians of the KLA who have been publicly accused of crimes by the representative of [Ibrahim] Rugova's DSK party. Ramus Haradinaj and his brother Daut, a commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps in the Metohija region, have been publicly accused by the Albanians themselves of kidnapping, murder, rape, drug smuggling and other crimes. The representative of Rugova's party also publicly confirmed that all evidence was presented to KFOR and UNMIK in a timely manner but no measures were taken against the criminals until the most recent incident in the village of Streoc where the brothers Haradinaj were wounded while attacking the house of the brothers Musaj.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP) of Serbia is in possession of earlier information regarding the involvement of Ramus Haradinaj in a series of murders and crimes against state organs, and Serb and Albanian civilians in the region of Decani and Radonjic Jezero (Radonjic Lake) where several bodies were found of civilians who were tortured and then killed.
These stories serve to illustrate what Kosovo is like today. Conflicts between wild clans, criminals and KLA "veterans", kidnapping of women and a white slave market, drug and weapons smuggling, threats and other acts of violence are everyday events especially in the western part of the Province which has become identical with the anarchy of northern Albania, ruled by bands and mafia. The recent attacks on the monastery of Decani and Gorazdevac are only parts of the mosaic of violence which is occurring with almost no impediment in the presence of KFOR forces and the UN mission.
Zeri on page five carried the story of Sadik Musaj, who claims to have thrown a grenade at the Haradinaj brothers, who he said came with about 40 people to attack his family.
"It was about 0100 hours, I was at that moment in the bathroom. One brother was awake, while the other part of the family was asleep. They came with 10-15 vehicles, there were 7-8 jeeps and other vehicles. One jeep had Tirana license plates; there was also a red Audi. There were about 40 people. They came from all directions through both gates and over the wall. Ramush Haradinaj was the first, accompanied by Daut, Lieutenant Idriz Balaj, Faton Mehmetaj, the self-proclaimed chief of security for Dukagjin area. A brother saw them from inside and told us to wake up because we are surrounded by the KPC. I was only half-dressed and I came out the door. Ramush directed the laser weapon at me and told me: 'Don't move or you and your family will be liquidated,' then Daut and the Lieutenant reacted and together with Faton Mehmetaj and Bekim Zekaj, they surrounded me."
"I considered myself dead, but I knew that someone from my family was killed, because the automatic weapons hit the windows. At the moment I had revolvers and automatic weapons on my head. I took the grenade the Lieutenant held in his hand, and he was left with the ring. I quickly went backwards, Bekim Zeka (Daut's bodyguard) directed his weapon at me. I removed his hand quickly; the bullets hit the wall and I jumped quickly on the other side, I hided behind the car and threw the bomb. It was a matter of seconds. The bomb exploded near the chair and from its explosion Ramush, Daut and others were wounded, who are probably being treated privately. Then there was a lot of firing from automatic weapons and different arms, and another bomb exploded. All this lasted two hours. My brother jumped from the stairs and scuffled with one of them, took his automatic weapon. He had a revolver in his hand and after a scuffle he luckily escaped. Then they started to withdraw. Later they withdrew the wounded with much difficulty. During all this time, the firing never stopped from both sides. Then, I came to the street to stop somebody to inform KFOR and UNMIK. First came UNMIK and later KFOR. This lasted from 0100 to 0300 hours. When people from UNMIK came, they verified the event, saw the blood of the wounded and somewhere they found the official permit of Ramush. After the search, they verified the blood was theirs and that we were attacked in our yard," said Musaj.
As for the reasons of this attack, Musaj explained: "My brother, Sinan Musaj, was a member of the Bukoshi Army. KLA members abducted him together with Rexhe Osaj, Bashkim Balaj, Rame Idrizi and Vesel Muriqi on 24 June of last year. Only Vesel managed to escape from Ratish. He made detailed statements to UNMIK and KFOR on who made the 'arrest'. After the event, we immediately informed the Italian Carabinieris, KFOR, UNMIK, and political parties. KFOR investigated, for example in Ratish. They checked a couple of wells, even experts of The Hague were there. After the 'arrest' of these soldiers, among them our brother, these families went to Ramush's father, including our father and uncles, but Ramush's father said he was not interested, and that 'if you have any business, you should address my sons'. He said that nobody asked him for these things. We were at Ramush's family two days before the event, and he didn't want to speak about this case. Our elders told Ramush's father that our sons were fighting against the Serbs and it is not important whose soldiers they were. Our brother, Ismet Musaj, was in Dubrava prison, where he was wounded during the Serb massacre when 160 people were killed, and then he was in Pozarevac prison, from where he returned a month and a half ago. We were all in Switzerland and contributed with money and other things. During the war our father and one brother were here. At this time, when we could hardly wait to be liberated, Ramush Haradinaj comes and attacks us at one in the morning, in the presence of ten women and children".
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ANNEX 1 - transcript of a commentary by the editorial office of Koha Ditore on the Kosovo Protection Corps and its involvement in incidents in Kosovo, p.3
The latest incident in Strellci i Eperm of Decan, besides the blood of former KLA fighter Ramush Haradinaj, left in the yard of the Musaj family a KPC identification card. UNMIK Police noted this detail in its report on the incident.
A member of what is imagined to be the Kosovo Protection Corps, had violated the security of a family.
Created and born from the KLA with much effort and negotiations, the KPC is comprised mainly of former KLA members. But since its beginnings it has been involved in a series of incidents, starting with the most banal ones - arrests because they offended KPS officers, to incidents such as in Strellc i Eperm and the surrounding of the police station in Peja.
Inertia of war, initially, then the privileges that they should have had because of the sufferings and the fighting they did, sometimes made people close their eyes to such acts. Its members were always more popular than for example, the KPS. But the reputation of this troop seems to have fallen noticeably, together with its chances to exist in the future.
Could such a KPC become a future army of Kosovo? Do Kosovars want such an army?
These dilemmas started to emerge among the Kosovars and the foreigners who are observing the present developments. Hashim Thaqi and especially General Ceku must consider these dilemmas, and the latter must think about the future of the troop under his command. They know how hard it was to create and fight to have a surrogate army named the KPC.
We know that the KPC was born of the KLA. We also know that the KLA was not born in an institutional manner and its homogeneity was with regard to Serbia and the occupying forces. It was born as a consequence of the Serb state repression; as a consequence of the ten-year-long policy of Rugova, and because of the failure of the Kosovar institutions of that time to create a genuine military force and at last, because of the political inertia of the international community with regard to the Kosovo problem.
So the KPC is a war child and maybe it is natural that it doesn't have control in the palm of its hand.
But Ceku and what has created at long last the KPC - NATO, must look how to resolve the problems that have captured it.
It cannot be tolerated that KPC members are engaged in businesses while wearing the uniform, and even less in illegal businesses, or by using their position and the might of arms. It cannot be tolerated for members of a protection force to intrude on the privacy of certain individuals. Its members cannot be implicated in political developments, even indirectly.
Otherwise, the Kosovo Protection Corps cannot be protective in any of semantic meaning of this word.
Of course, it remains for KFOR and the international police to disarm the other elements, as is the issue of the members of what is called the FARK. They are present and deeply involved in the political processes and provocations in the Kosovar area The language of Rugova should also be disarmed, who with his incapability to create a military force, now is trying to fragment it even more by speaking of his war heroes. The visit to Llap and investigations of his heroes even without knowing the names and the places they fought, is creating, in the way only he knows, the war for his heroes.
Rugova doesn't have the heroes of this war. He baptized them in 1997. Therefore he must be very careful in how he uses his vocabulary and language for them. He has the right, as all others, to create voters with his policy, but not to make a political war on behalf of the heroes.
The war in Kosovo has ended and its objective was to make Kosovars free people. To offer them equal rights and security. The KPC would have to be a paradigm of the Kosovo institutional developments, a force that would make Kosovars feel on their shoulders the weight of the taste of freedom. Not to violate it in any way. From this war we came out with different political positions, but these positions cannot be black and white. To be divided into traitors and patriots.
We would be very happy to help this troop and create the friends of the KPC, as the feeling for the army of people should be.
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ANNEX 2 - Transcript of an article published in yesterday's Bota Sot, taken from the Albanian magazine Tema, which claims to uncover secret documents of the KLA Secret Service. The paper also provides facsimiles of some documents
KLA SECRET SERVICE PERSECUTED ALBANIAN POLITICIANS
The so-called secret service of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) seems to have persecuted a list of politicians and renowned names from Albania and Kosovo, who were regarded as an impediment to its takeover of the armed movement in Kosovo. A series of documents discovered a few months ago in the house of one of the heads of the former secret service of the KLA, provide evidences of execution lists and a scheme of persecution of Albanian opposition politicians in Tirana and people close to Rugova in Pristina.
The list contains names of 15 principle authorities of the opposition in Albania, politicians, journalists and people with influence in the Democratic League of Kosovo, headed by Ibrahim Rugova.
The coded list is compiled according to precise rules of a secret service. First, the list is compiled in one copy and the following subject has a code which corresponds to pseudonyms of the monitors who are coded with the name "eagle". On the other side, the coded names of subsequent persons have a corresponding pseudonym in Albanian with a word determined by the KLA Secret Service.
List no. 7, for example, is a list joining the pseudonym of a person to combinations of people who follow him. List no. 8, has only the code of the followed person, which is explained in the list no. 7. On the other side, different persons kept both lists and it as very difficult for different persons to know everything about the list.
In the list coded as "List no. 7", the pseudonyms of the persons of the subjects are given. For example, Ibrahim Rugova "the scarf", Sali Berisha "Zani", Azem Hajdari "the democrat" etc. This list was given to people who were following them, but not the complete one? The complete facsimile was signed by Bislim Zyrapi, chief of KLA Secret Service.
At least three persons from that list were executed, while another was heavily wounded. The reasons might not be directly linked to this activity, but at least in two cases, in the murder of Enver Maloku and journalist Ali Ukaj, it seems that this mysterious illegal organization is involved. Documents which came to our office from sources close to persons who on behalf of KFOR confiscated a house of a senior KLA official in Pristina, make believable the assumptions that this organization was getting even with its political opponents in Kosovo, where Enver Maloku and Sabri Hamiti were the main ones. In addition, the murder case of Ali Ukaj, one of the first KLA activists who didn't accept the KLA to be taken under the control of the Albanian Secret Services (SHIK) in Tirana, is also clear. Consequences of this policy were very grave. The Albanian resistance was weakened and the risk of an eventual civil conflict as present. The armed people, on behalf of the KLA, used military might against their political opponents, by preventing in a way, a perfect military organization in Kosovo and a serious, dignified preparation for war.
[Texts taken from the daily bulletin prepared by UNMIK's Division of Public Information]
The unity of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija has always been one of our chief priorities. Unfortunately, the disunity of the Serb people is not something new; it existed during the pre-war period when Episcope Artemije and Mr. Trajkovic, as representatives of the All-Serbian Church National Council of Kosovo and Metohija, warned that the policies of the regime were leading directly to the loss of Kosovo and Metohija and the relocation of our people from the southern Serbian Province. Numerous attempts were made to influence the regime to adopt a more constructive platform in order to preserve the unity of our country and enable the implementation of necessary political and economic reforms. Unfortunately, all requests of moderate Serbian leaders were rejected. Bishop Artemije and Mr. Trajkovic were accused of treason.
Following the conclusion of the war, we are witnesses to the catastrophic results of the policies of the regime and the inability of the international community to stop the expulsion and persecution of Serbs in Kosovo. The SNC is attempting within the bounds of existing conditions and within the framework of Resolution 1244 to do everything possible to at least enable the survival of our people in Kosovo and the return of those who were expelled until such a time as our state can be reconstructing in this region. Toward this goal, the SNC has expressed its readiness for balanced and reasonable cooperation with the international community upon which the survival of the Serb people directly depends. Unfortunately, the representatives of the regime and the Serbian National Assembly (SNS), with the support of the remnants of MUP, have begun to actively sabotage the policies of the SNC and continue to lead our people into confrontations with the international community and the Albanians. The deception of the people with promises of the return of the army and the police and the powerful media campaign have become the chief tools by means of which the Serb people are increasingly being pushed away from the existing reality into even greater isolation and self-destruction. In this period the regime has not only shown reluctance to build a constructive platform for the survival of our people and state in this region but has persistently destroyed the last threads which connect Serbia with Montenegro which threatens to leave Kosovo entirely outside the territory of FRY (according to Resolution 1244). Consequently, the Serb National Council is of the opinion that without a change in the policies of the regime and its satellite organization, the SNS, there can be no consensus with the regime on the issue of Kosovo. Every joint effort is condemned from the start to failure if the SNS is not first freed from the destructive influence of the regime.
The SNC has always been and remains ready to cooperate with a democratic state because without our state the greatest problems, such as the question of the status of Kosovo, cannot be resolved. But the present regime is not the state nor can this same regime which has brought about the disintegration of Yugoslavia credibly represent the interests of our country. Until democratic changes occur and President Milosevic is replaced, the SNC remains maximally reserved toward any form of cooperation with "the state organs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia" because they have become the private fiefdoms of the chiefs of the ruling coalition and their families.
The readiness of certain "opposition" Serbian circles in Kosovo to cooperate and the holding of round tables with the regime causes great concern on the part of the SNC but also the firm conviction that such cooperation will not yield any positive results.
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