Sunday, December 27, 2009
PRISTINA, Kosovo -- A bomb was hurled at a car belonging to the Serbian Education Ministry early Friday (December 25th) in Mitrovica. No one was injured. According to local deputy police chief Ergin Medic, the target of the attack was a Zastava 128 with Serbian registration plates that was parked in a family's yard. Friday's attack was the second in the Serb-dominated northern part of divided Mitrovica in 24 hours. (Netpress, Tanjug, B92 - 25/12/09)
Нафта за манастире на Космету
Министарство енергетике и Нафтна индустрија Србије помогли манастирима и црквама на Косову и Метохији, допремивши 40 тона нафте.
За више од 30 манастира и цркава на Космету, којима је Косовска електроенергетска корпорација почетком септембра искључила струју, стигло је 40 тона нафте.
Извештај новинара Зорана Бабовића
Министарство енергетике и Нафтна индустрија Србије и убудуће помагаће манастирима и црквама на Косову и Метохији. Манастриру Грачаници допремили су 40 тона нафте.
"Ситуација је била тешка, залихе при крају, а финансијска ситуација лоша. Сада ћемо имати залихе за следећих шест месеци", рекла је Светлана Стевић, председник удружења "Мајка девет Југовића" из Рашко-призренске епархије.
Министарство енергетике на овај начин наставиће да помаже манастире на Космету.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
By Carsten Koall/Getty Images
UN Human Rights Commissioner Calls For Halt Of Forced Returns To Kosovo
Posted By admin On December 20, 2009 @ 2:39 pm In Europe, Governance, Public Administration, Security, Society & Democratic Renewal
“The forced return to Kosovo of people who have found shelter in European states should be halted”, said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights publishing today a letter to the Chancellor of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel.
He notes that Kosovo lacks infrastructures allowing refugees’ sustainable reintegration.
The Commissioner is particularly worried by the fact that Roma expelled from European states had to return to the lead-contaminated camps of Česmin Lug and Osterode in northern Mitrovica, where the exposure to lead has already caused serious illnesses to members of Roma families living there, including children. “These camps must be urgently closed, adequate housing provided to the families and complete lead-decontamination treatments ensured to all those affected.”
The Commissioner further stresses that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees confirmed in November that those who fled Kosovo and are still at particular risk of persecution include Serbs and Albanians in minority situations as well as Roma, persons in ethnically mixed-marriages or of mixed ethnicity, persons perceived to have been associated with the Serbian authorities after 1990, victims of trafficking or of domestic violence and persons whose asylum claims were based on sexual orientation.
“Return is not purely a technical administrative act”, added the Commissioner. “It means to receive and re-integrate returning people, including families, in dignity and security. I urge the German authorities to prevent any further forced returns to Kosovo, particularly of Roma people, as long as the situation there does not guarantee a safe and sustainable life for returnees.”
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
АПЕЛ ЗА ПОМОЋ
Епархија рашко-призренска и косовско-метохијска принуђена је да се обрати српском народу у Србији и Дијаспори за помоћ.
Вишегодишња исцрпљеност, изазвана ситуацијом и условима у којима живи и ради, доводи до све тежег функционисања Епархије и остваривања њених основних циљева.
Помоћ која је у протеклим годинама упућивана Епархији рашко-призренској задовољавала је многобројне насушне потребе српског народа на Косову и Метохији, поспешивала и охрабривала деловање и Мисију Епархије у условима ропства, прогона и затирања Српства.
Околности су, међутим, постајале све теже, економска моћ све слабија, способност да се одговори растућим потребама у све сложенијем окружењу све мања.
Проблеми са којима се, у свакодневном раду, сусреће Епархија рашко-призренска по много чему су специфични и јединствени. Захтевају особено деловање, ангажовање стручњака разних профила, оснивање тела која ће моћи адекватно да одговоре растућим и неочекиваним изазовима у све тежим условима.
Не заборављамо помоћ коју је у протеклим годинама Епархији упућивала Влада Републике Србије.
Све то данас, међутим, постаје крајње недовољно и без капацитета да покрије основне потребе деловања Епархије рашко-призренске.
Стога је Епархија принуђена да се овим путем обрати српском народу у Србији и Дијаспори за помоћ, да они према својим могућностима у временима данашње кризе, учине додатни напор и упуте помоћ, која ће омогућити потпуније и свестраније деловање Епархије.
Помоћ се може упутити преко рачуна у Комерцијалној банци. Интернет-адреса овог Апела са детаљним упутствима је:
Епископ рашко-призренски Артемије
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Belgrade - Serbia has fresh evidence of the alleged trafficking of organs taken from Kosovo Serb prisoners in northern Albania during and after the 1998-1999 conflict, its war crimes prosecutor said on Sunday.
"We have new proof that will first be presented to the Council of Europe's envoy, Dick Marty, before being made public," Vladimir Vukcevic told Beta news agency.
Vukcevic said his office had four new witnesses, but provided no further details.
"In this phase we are just proving that such a monstrous crime was committed, that there was human organ trafficking, but we are still far away from the perpetrators," the prosecutor said.
Marty, rapporteur of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, visited Serbia, Kosovo and Albania in August to investigate allegations that ethnic Albanian rebels killed up to 500 Kosovo Serbs in Albania in order to sell their organs abroad.
The claims first arose in the memoirs published last year of former UN chief war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, which prompted the Council of Europe to reopen the case briefly investigated by her office five years ago.
In her book, Del Ponte said organs were removed at a "yellow house" since identified as belonging to a family called Katuci.
Earlier this year Albania rejected a Serb request for a probe into the case on the basis of evidence and testimonies from more than 130 witnesses collected by Vukcevic.
The conflict between Kosovo guerrillas and forces loyal to late Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic left around 10 000 people dead, the majority ethnic Albanians from the breakaway southern Serbian province of Kosovo.
More than 1 900 missing are still unaccounted for in connection with the Kosovo conflict, including up to 500 Serbs and other non-Albanians.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Accords with countries in the former Yugoslavia and with Turkey that govern payments to disabled workers once employed in Switzerland would also be renegotiated, Interior Minister Didier Burkhalter said.
Switzerland pays pensions to roughly 59,000 people living abroad. About 43,000 of those are European Union nationals.
A few hundred of payments go to people in Kosovo. But abuse of the system there prompted an inquiry last year. It failed after investigators received death threats.
The government also decided that no disability payments would be sent abroad for unverifiable claims.
Monitoring safeguards should also be extended to Brazil and the Dominican Republic, Burkhalter said.
Originally created to help people injured while employed in Switzerland, the programme, which has debts of SFr13 billion ($12.7 billion), has been hit hard over the past years by the effects of changes in society and the economy.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
Sunday, December 6, 2009
With the European Union decision to lift visa requirements for citizens of Serbia (http://www.examiner.com/x-27426-Volusia-County-Foreign-Policy-Examiner~y2009m11d12-Three-Balkan-states-to-recieve-visafree-travel-to-EU) starting on 19 December 2009, many Kosovo-Albanians are now attempting to claim residence in South Serbia -- mainly in the Albaninan-majority towns of Bujanovac and Presevo. The new visa regime does not apply to residents of Kosovo who hold Serbian passports. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008.
Eshref Duraku is one of the disappointed applicants from Kosovo. "Coming from Gnjilan, in southeast Kosovo, he had no prior connection to Southern Serbia but says a man from Bujanovac agreed to register him at his own address as a subtenant. 'My only goal was to get a Serbian passport to use the right to travel without a visa regime,' he admits. 'I wanted to visit relatives in Austria and find a job there.' He did not succeed. Police in the nearest big town in Southern Serbia, Vranje, denied his request for permanent resident status in Bujanovac" (http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/analysis/24161/). The Speaker of the Bujanovac Assembly, Jonuz Musliu, says he is not concerned about the plight of born Kosovars who want to apply for residence in Serbia simply to have a Serb passport.
The majority of applications have been turned down by the police, who cite "...Article 4 of the Act on Residence and Dwelling. This defines residence as a place where a citizen is accommodated with an intention of staying for good. 'Article 5 of the same act says that when changing residence, citizens are obliged to submit correct data.... Having in mind that a lot of requests for a change of residence have been submitted lately - not with the intention of permanent residence - in order to prevent registering fictitious addresses… the competent authorities are entitled to decide whether a person has filed a request in order to get a job, get married or something similar, and if the conditions have not been met, the request will be denied....'" (http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/analysis/24161/).
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
BELGRADE -- Some EU member-states will very soon join the investigation into the fate of the kidnapped Kosovo Serbs, a Belgrade daily writes.
The case, known also in the media as the Yellow House, after a house in northern Albania where the victims were allegedly held before being murdered, was picked up last year by the Serbian War Crimes Prosecution.
The prosecution believes that hundreds of Kosovo Serb civilians were kidnapped by the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1999, to be taken to neighboring Albania and murdered for their vital organs, which were later sold in the black market.
Now, the newspaper says, it has emerged that after the 1999 NATO attacks on Serbia, four Czech citizens also went missing in Kosovo. According to this, it is suspected that they too became the victims of the human organ trade in northern Albania.
Serbian investigators will soon visit some of the countries in the region where the potential witnesses are, according to the report.
“Recently, the border police discovered several men transporting drugs,” the daily’s source close to the investigation said.
One of them had 30 kilograms of heroin in his possession, while the other carried five. The third, it turned out, was a human trafficker. Police immediately placed them all in custody.
"As time went by," said the unnamed source, "they started talking, and said that the drugs were being trafficked from Kosovo to the EU market. During the interview, some names popped up that were mentioned before in the human organ trafficking case. To us, that meant that a connection had been established, and that we got ourselves new witnesses – two, it appears, immediate witnesses."
But the source could not say where the witnesses were or when they might be interviewed regarding the case, and explained that the reason for the secrecy was also their safety.
“We found out that their bosses and accomplices in Kosovo left them high and dry and that they were on their own now,” the source said.
According to unofficial information, however, one of the witnesses has confirmed the location of a mass grave where about 20 bodies of the victims had been buried.
The investigation about these crimes has expanded beyond Serbia's borders.
The Foreign Ministry is currently working to establish connections with European institutions that would help the domestic investigators interview potential witnesses by means of bilateral cooperation.
Meanwhile, War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukčević would not comment on the daily's report, saying only, "It's true that we have new findings. But, the investigation is ongoing. We expect to have a much clearer picture by the end of the year."
UN court hears Serbian challenge to Kosovo
* Non-binding, advisory opinion due in several months
By Aaron Gray-Block and Reed Stevenson
THE HAGUE, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Serbia told a U.N. court at the start of hearings on Tuesday that Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence was a "flagrant violation" of Serbia's territorial integrity and undermined international law and order.
Serbia, Kosovo's former ruler, rejected the declaration and called on the International Court of Justice to give an advisory opinion on its legality.
A decade after NATO bombing ended a two-year war between Serbia and ethnic Kosovo Albanians, Serbian ambassador to France Dusan Batakovic told the court "Kosovo is the historic cradle of Serbia and ... one of the essential pillars of its identity."
The envoy told the 15-judge panel in The Hague on the first day of oral hearings he hoped the court's ruling would provide scope for talks with Kosovo about its future status and contribute to "peace and stability".
"This opportunity on no account should be wasted," he said.
The United States and most other Western nations have recognised Kosovo's independence, but Serbia rejected it, as did its ally Russia, which fears it could set a dangerous precedent for separatist movements.
Observers say a ruling in Kosovo's favour would lead more countries to recognise its independence, while an adverse opinion could push it into negotiating a settlement with Serbia.
Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 63 countries, 22 of them European Union member states, but it will need many more before it can become a full U.N. member state.
The court is due to hold nine days of hearings and to give its non-binding but influential opinion in several months. (Editing by Tim Pearce) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +31 20 504 5001; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))
Monday, November 30, 2009
Monday , November 23, 2009
BELGRADE, Serbia —Serbia has opened its biggest military base in a tense area near the boundary with Kosovo, amid protest by local ethnic Albanian leaders.
Officials say the base will help secure peace and stability in the region which was the scene of an ethnic Albanian rebellion in 2000-2001. Some 1,000 troops will be based there.
President Boris Tadic said during the opening ceremony Monday that the facility also will help boost the fight against rampant organized crime.
Local ethnic Albanian leaders say stepping up military presence in the ethnically-mixed south of Serbia amounts to "militarization" and "occupation."
The area has been tense since the 1998-99 war in Kosovo when a NATO bombing forced Serbia to pull out of the province. Kosovo declared independence last year.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
2009-11-19 10:58 PM
Friday, November 13, 2009
Haradinaj accuses Government that it coexists with the mafia (Koha)
The paper reports that in its closing election rally in Prizren, AAK leader Ramush Haradinaj said he will be the next Prime Minister of Kosovo and accused the current government led by Hashim Thaçi of coexisting with mafia and corruption.
“Mafia and the government are coexisting together, two years after independence,” said Haradinaj. “What I am telling you are not words to get to power or words to win over your votes but explanations about the real situation in the country. These are also explanations by international mechanisms.”
In a different article, the paper quotes Haradinaj as saying that the Thaçi Government is involved in corruption together with mafia groups.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Karadzic Trial Exposes Discrimination by UN War Crimes Tribunal
Radovan Karadzic is being denied the same pre-trial preparation time that the Tribunal has afforded to high-profile non-Serbian defendants.
by Andy Wilcoxson
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The Trial of former Bosnian-Serb president Radovan Karadzic by the UN war crimes Tribunal in The Hague is a disgrace. It will go down in history with the Stalinist show trials of the Soviet Union and the British Star Chamber.
On September 3rd Karadzic asked the Tribunal to delay the commencement of his trial for ten months so he could prepare his defense. If his request had been granted, his trial would have started on July 3rd 2010.
The Tribunal denied his request and ordered that the trial commence on October 26, 2009, just one week after the Prosecution filed a "marked-up" version of the indictment.
Radovan Karadzic entered the Tribunal's custody on July 30, 2008. The October 26th start date only gave him one year and three months to prepare his defense ahead of the trial -- which is substantially less preparation time than the Tribunal has given several high-profile non-Serb defendants.
Kosovo-Albanian KLA commander, and former Kosovo Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj had two years to prepare his defense before his trial started. He entered the Tribunal's custody on March 9, 2005 and his trial began on March 5, 2007.
Ante Gotovina, a high-ranking General in the Croatian military, had two years and three months get ready. He entered the Tribunal's custody on December 10, 2005 and his trial commenced on March 11, 2008.
The chief of staff of the Bosnian-Muslim military, Rasim Delic, had two years and four months of pretrial preparation time. He entered the Tribunal's custody on February 28, 2005 and his trial began on July 9, 2007.
There is no explanation, other than anti-Serb discrimination by the Tribunal, why Karadzic shouldn't be entitled to as much pre-trial preparation time as Delic, Haradinaj, and Gotovina, but he didn't even ask for that much time. He was more than reasonable in his request, and the Tribunal was totally unreasonable in its refusal to grant it.
If Karadzic's request for additional time had been granted, he would have had three weeks less preparation time than Haradinaj, three months less than Gotovina, and four months less than Delic. Karadzic could have justifiably asked for even more time since he is facing far more numerous and more serious charges than the Tribunal ever leveled against Delic, Haradinaj, and Gotovina. None of them were accused of genocide.
At least Karadzic fared better than former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic who only got seven and a half months to prepare a defense before his trial started, but that's just further proof that the Tribunal discriminates against Serbs and extends preferential treatment to non-Serbs. Milosevic entered the Tribunal's custody on June 29, 2001 and his trial began on February 12, 2002.
The Tribunal's intransigent refusal to allow Karadzic adequate preparation time has forced him to resort to nonviolent civil disobedience. Karadzic is refusing to participate in the trial proceedings until his defense is ready.
Rather than acquiescing to Karadzic's reasonable request for preparation time, and affording him the same preparation time given to high profile non-Serbian defendants like Delic, Haradinaj, and Gotovina, the Tribunal announced that it will further degrade Karadzic's rights by imposing a defense lawyer on him against his will.
In its November 5th ruling the Tribunal stated that Karadzic had "substantially and persistently obstructed the proper and expeditious conduct of his trial by refusing to attend the proceedings until such time as he considers himself to be ready despite this Chamber's decision, upheld by the Appeals Chamber, that he has had sufficient time to prepare."
Article 21 of the Tribunal's Statute gives an Accused person the minimum guarantee of "adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defense". Unfortunately, it's the Tribunal that gets to decide what constitutes "adequate". The Tribunal's assertion that Karadzic has had adequate preparation time is based solely their assertion that he has. Obviously the Tribunal feels that high profile non-Serbian defendants like Delic, Haradinaj, and Gotovina are entitled to more "adequate" preparation time than high profile Serbian defendants like Karadzic and Milosevic.
In response to Karazic's so-called "obstruction" the Trial Chamber announced that it was ordering the registrar of the Tribunal to "appoint a counsel [chosen by the Tribunal] to prepare to represent the interests of the Accused".
The Tribunal adjourned the trial until March 1, 2010 to give the imposed lawyer time to read the "many thousands of pages of documents" they have to acquaint themselves with in order to, as the Tribunal put it, "properly cross-examine the witnesses brought by the prosecution". For this voluminous task the Tribunal's ruling said, "The Chamber considers that an appropriate preparation period is three and a half months."
Even with a delayed start date of March 1, 2010, Karadzic still has substantially less preparation time than Delic, Haradinaj, or Gotovina received. He'll have three months less than Haradinaj, nine months less than Gotovina, and ten months less than Delic.
If Karadzic refuses to accept the anti-Serbian discrimination that the Tribunal is manifestly subjecting him to, and if he persists in his refusal to attend the trial proceedings until he has had preparation time on par with what has been afforded to high-profile non-Serbian defendants, the Tribunal incorporated the following threat into its ruling: "Should the Accused continue to absent himself from the resumed trial proceedings in March, or should he engage in any other conduct that [in the Tribunal's opinion] obstructs the proper and expeditious conduct of the trial, he will forfeit his right to self-representation, no longer be entitled to assistance from his assigned defense team, and the appointed counsel will take over as an assigned counsel to represent him."
Karadzic is asking the Tribunal's Appeals Chamber to overturn the appointment of counsel in his case. If they refuse, his appointed lawyer should understand that he isn't practicing law on extraterritorial ground in The Hague. He must practice under the authority of the Dutch Bar Association where no effort will be spared to have him disbarred if he attempts to represent Radovan Karadzic against his will.
The lawyer should also understand that everything he does will be subjected to immense scrutiny. Hundreds of articles will be written about his performance during the trial. Given that he only has three and a half months to prepare, it is very likely that he will be ill prepared for task before him. Every mistake that he makes, or is perceived to have made, will be written about extensively and published for the world to see. If Karadzic is ultimately convicted, the public exposure of mistakes made by his so-called "defense attorney" will be highly damaging to the reputation and financial viability of that lawyer's legal practice.
The lawyer should also understand that nobody is going to cooperate with him. When the Tribunal attempted to impose a lawyer on Slobodan Milosevic against his will, the defense witnesses boycotted the trial. They refused to testify and the trial ground to a halt. There is no reason to think the Karadzic trial won't meet the same fate. Any imposed lawyer will have a very difficult task, and he will be criticized severely if he fails to get witnesses to testify for the defense.
Only a defense lawyer who has been bribed by the Tribunal would agree to represent Karadzic against his will. The consequences of trying to represent such a high-profile defendant against their will would be worse than any honest lawyer could bear.
The Hague Tribunal is a corrupt kangaroo court; it is manifestly unjust because it discriminates against the people it puts on trial on the basis of their ethnicity. Radovan Karadzic is obviously being denied the preparation time he needs because he is a Serb, while Delic, Haradinaj, and Gotovina all got the time they needed because they're not Serbs. No effort should be spared in the cause of having The Hague Tribunal shut down, and in having its indictments and verdicts thrown-out.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Bosnia Serb leader says has quit EU, U.S. talks
Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:38am EDT
BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (Reuters) - The prime minister of Bosnia's Serb half said on Friday he would pull out of talks on constitutional reform led by the United States and European Union set to speed up Bosnia's path to EU and NATO membership.
Milorad Dodik was the first among Bosnia's Serb, Muslim and Croat leaders to reject a EU-U.S.-proposed constitutional reform package this month, calling it "unconstitutional and biased against Serbs."
Dodik then invited rival leaders to come to Banja Luka -- a town 200 km northwest of Sarajevo -- on Friday to start negotiations without international mediation. But only officials of two small parties appeared.
"This is not my defeat," Dodik said. "It's a defeat of politicians from the federation who agree to meet only in the presence of the international community. I will never again take part in any talks mediated by the international community."
Postwar Bosnia is made up of the Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat federation under the Dayton peace accords that ended the 1992-95 war that accompanied Yugoslavia's collapse.
Continued tensions between those two halves has stalled the country's progress and some fear the lingering tensions there could delay the EU integration process for the entire region.
"This is the beginning of political chaos in Bosnia- Herzegovina in which local leaders have become disoriented and the international community is losing patience," said Gojko Beric, an analyst who is the author of "Letters to the Celestial Serbs: Reflections on an Ethnic Conflict."
Beric said further dialogue involving the leaders and international community is badly needed to break the political deadlock but that constant bickering between rival leaders does not leave much reason for optimism.
Parliamentary party leaders offered various reasons for rejecting Dodik's invitation to talks and many cast doubt over his plan by insisting on international presence.
"I've just tried to ensure that local politicians get together and try to agree on some issues that would speed up the European path," Dodik told a news conference. "That is something the international community wanted us to do."
The U.S. and EU-proposed reforms package included measures to end Bosnia's status as an international protectorate and constitutional changes to help make it a credible EU and NATO candidate.
The leaders of the main ethnic and opposition parliamentary parties subsequently rejected it for different reasons and the talks on Bosnia's future mediated by EU and U.S. senior officials ended without breaking the stalemate in the country.
(Additional reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Adam Tanner)
Monday, October 26, 2009
25 October 2009 | 11:24 | Source: Tanjug
STARO GRACKO -- An AP mine was removed from a village cemetery, after local Serbs from Staro Gracko in Kosovo reported finding in on Saturday.
Kosovo police, KPS, told Tanjug news agency that KFOR's teams disarmed the device found at the Orthodox cemetery.
Serbs from Staro Gracko were prohibited from visiting the graves of their loved ones for several years because of "danger and suspicion" that there were explosive devices there, reports said.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
BELGRADE, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Serbia and Russia agreed here on Wednesday to establish a joint humanitarian center in the southern Serbian city of Nis for immediate response to emergencies such as fire, floods and earthquakes.
Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister IvicaDacic and Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu signed a plan on the center's initial stage of development.
Later, the two leaders told a joint press conference that the center should serve the entire region and offer quick and efficient support in case of emergency to other countries in southeastern Europe.
The center was planned to be a well-equipped logistic base and Nis was chosen for its airport and infrastructure, Dacic said, adding that the center would have all necessary capacities to tackle emergency and natural hazards that often hit the region.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Serbia on Tuesday opened new possibilities to fortify bilateral overall cooperation and served to prove their satisfactory political and interstate relations, Dacic said.
The center, comprising a joint anti-mining center, would be formed before 2012, Shoigu said.
A conference would be held in Belgrade next February on the formation of the center. Besides Serbian and Russian representatives, officials from Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia and Montenegro would also attend the conference, he said.
Russian forces helped these countries with emergencies, such as putting out fires, almost every year, so the opening of the center would facilitate their rescue and relief efforts, Shoigu said.
Signing the plan was a serious step toward implementing the agreement on cooperation in humanitarian response to emergency situations, natural disasters and technological accidents, which was signed on Tuesday during Medvedev's visit in Belgrade, he added.
21 October 2009 | 13:24 | Source: B92
SKOPJE -- Macedonian officials have refused to explain their decision to establish diplomatic relations with Kosovo.
Future relations between Serbia and Macedonia have been called into question after Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić criticized Skopje’s decision.
The Macedonian Foreign Ministry’s official position is not to comment on Belgrade’s reaction to the decision to establish diplomatic relations between Macedonia and Kosovo or to Jeremić’s statement.
The opposition notes that the government’s decision to stay quiet is in keeping with the current practice that the government "always subtly applies when it comes to sensitive subjects that could jeopardize its reputation."
“The president and the foreign minister should explain to parliament why diplomatic relations are being established now and in this manner. Macedonia, which is planning to build its international reputation based on a consistent policy, should not behave so erratically,” said Vlado Buchkovski, a former Macedonian prime minister and leader of the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM).
“I am sure that this decision is connected to the most important question—the name dispute,” he added.
Meanwhile, former Macedonian Foreign Minister Slobodan Chashule hopes that the Serbian government, which, in his opinion, is demonstrating increasing maturity, will realize that this was the only possible way to address the matter of the"Macedonian-Kosovo border".
“The Macedonian government had no other choice, as it was essential to our country for Kosovo to accept the border we signed with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its successor, Serbia, as a state obligation,” he said.
Chashule said that it had to be made clear that Macedonia was not changing the border agreement, which he himself as foreign minister had submitted to the UN in 2001.
Serbia supplies electricity to northern Kosovo
PRISTINA, Kosovo -- Serbia is supplying northern Kosovo, including the northern part of divided town of Mitrovica, with electricity after the Kosovo Electric Corporation (KEK) disconnected the region from its grid Monday (October 19th). Serbian officials said they intervened to avoid a humanitarian crisis, adding this is a temporary solution provided from the Novi Pazar power line. KEK disconnected the Serb-dominated region from its network citing the risk of overload. The company had previously warned that it would cut service due to non-payment of bills. The government said Tuesday that Serbia's interference is a result of the lack of rule of law in northern Kosovo. (Koha Ditore, Express, Kosova Sot, Zeri - 21/10/09; Klan Kosova, Kohavision - 20/10/09)
Establishing diplomatic relations with Kosovo not priority of Montenegro
21 October 2009 | 21:19 | FOCUS News Agency
Podgiorica. Establishing diplomatic relations with Kosovo has not been priority of Montenegro government but the issue would be included in the agenda of the next period, the ruling Democratic Socialist Party, Serbian Politika newspaper online edition informed. Speaker of the party Rajko Kovacevic said that “Montenegro co-ordinates its decisions with its European partners,” but refused to point when the country would establish diplomatic relations with Pristina.
The issue on establishing diplomatic relations between Montenegro and Kosovo has risen after Macedonia and Kosovo have signed several days ago agreement on the demarcation of Macedonian-Kosovan border, the edition writes.
BELGRADE, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Serbian health authorities have confirmed the country's first death from the H1N1 flu virus.
The 46-year-old woman died in a hospital in the city of Kragujevac, about 80 km south of Belgrade, the state-run Tanjug news agency said on Wednesday, quoting local health officials.
The woman, suffering from severe pneumonia, was admitted for treatment on Oct. 5. She was initially diagnosed on Sept. 29 but refused hospitalisation, the report said. (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Alison Williams)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
РАС - Међународна српска организација жали што је дошло до немогућности управљања нашим досадашњим интернет доменом и због свих непријатности које је због тога доживео ико од наших пријатеља. РАС верује да је дошло до напада на наш сајт али уверава јавност да се успешно носи са тим проблемом да бисмо сачували законитост нашег рада и поверење јавности, које је РАС од самог оснивања организације вредно градио. Ускоро ћете моћи да поново посетите РАС на новом и унапређеном сајту. Све промене се чине од стране РАС-а да би се очувао интегритет организације, њен легитимитет и њена функционалност, дух тимског рада, да би се следиле прописане процедуре и да би се постигао наш заједнички циљ да се ради за добробит нашег народа.
Germany to repatriate thousands of Kosovo refugees
German and UN KFOR troops still ensure security in Kosovo
A deal to be signed soon between Germany and Kosovo will pave the way for the return of thousands of refugees, many of them Roma, who fled the Balkan wars of the early 1990s.
The German interior ministry has said that a repatriation agreement for Kosovo refugees would be signed within weeks. A ministry spokesman, Stefan Paris, said in Berlin on Wednesday that the accord to be signed with the government in Pristina met all international standards for handling refugees and that all humanitarian aspects had been considered in the decision.
The German government came forward with the announcement following a parliamentary question raised by the Left party, which has expressed concern that minorities are discriminated against and persecuted in Kosovo. Many of the refugees are Roma, also known as Gypsies.
Once signed, the agreement would stipulate that Kosovo in principle accepts all people holding identity documents, or who had previously lived in the region, according to a report by the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
UN recommends voluntary returns
Tensions remain between ethnic Serbs and Kosovo Albanians
Currently, there are more than 14,000 officially registered refugees from Kosovo living in Germany, including 10,000 Roma, all or whom are required by law to leave the country once their home region no longer presents a danger to life and limb.
The German interior ministry has pledged to apply for a maximum of 2,500 repatriations to ensure that Kosovo is not overburdened by a sudden influx of returnees. Last year, 900 Kosovars returned to the region. Similar programs have been carried out in the past for refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The ministry says that ethnically-motivated violence in Kosovo has declined significantly since the breakaway Serb province gained independence in February 2008, and is therefore encouraging people to return by paying them 750 euros ($1,120) plus travel expenses.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, after visiting the region earlier this year, has said that Kosovo was still susceptible to ethnic tensions and that living conditions were poor. The agency has recommended that refugees return on a voluntary basis only.
Editor: Nancy Isenson
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Macedonia embroiled in encyclopaedia row
Published: Tuesday 13 October 2009
EU candidate country Macedonia has removed a controversial encyclopaedia from libraries after the manual triggered furious reactions from EU members Greece and Bulgaria as well as neighbouring Kosovo and Albania. The reason behind the removal was strong pressure from the US and the UK, diplomats told EurActiv.
In April 2008, Athens vetoed Skopje's invitation to join NATO, arguing that the name 'Macedonia' could lead Skopje to make territorial claims over Greece's own northern province of the same name (EurActiv 04/04/08).
A nationalist backlash followed in the small country of 2.5 million, which former US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrook famously called "a hole in the middle of nothing".
As a result of this situation, Macedonia still finds itself unable to start accession talks with the EU, despite the fact that it received the status of candidate country as early as December 2005.
Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has repeatedly warned that the unsolved 'name dispute' with Greece could negatively affect Macedonia's EU agenda. Meanwhile, UN-sponsored talks to solve the dispute are making no progress.
Following angry reactions, including the burning of the Macedonian flag in Kosovo, the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Art (MANU) recently decided to remove its recently published two-volume, 1,671-page work, the 'Macedonian Encyclopaedia'.
The work has managed to offend most of Macedonia's neighbours. Greece, which is pressing Macedonia to change its name because it coincides with that of the northernmost Greek province, considers that Skopje is misappropriating large chunks of its ancient history.
Similarly, Bulgaria considers that Macedonia is cherry-picking heroes and glorious episodes from its 19th and early 20th century struggle against Ottoman domination.
But those most offended this time were the Kosovars and the ethnic Albanian population of Macedonia itself, as MANU refers to ethnic Albanians as "settlers" who came to the country in the 16th century and to Albanians as 'Shiptari' or 'Planinci', which has derogatory connotations. The Albanians are widely recognised as the descendants of ancient Illiryan tribes, who settled in those lands in approximately 1,000 BC.
The authors also claim that the ethnic Albanian movement in Macedonia, the National Liberation Army, was trained by US and British special forces in 2001, and that ethnic Albanian leader Ali Ahmeti, now leader of the Democratic Union for the Integration of Macedonia, is suspected of war crimes. In fact, Ahmeti has never been indicted. Both the US and UK embassies have rejected the information as "false" and "ridiculous".
Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha called the book "absurd and unacceptable" and complained of "identity based on the forgery of history".
Bulgarian and Greek leaders kept a low profile, but according to diplomats, the encyclopaedia has infuriated both Athens and Sofia.
The Bulgarian Embassy in Skopje issued a statement saying that the content of the Macedonian Encyclopedia had the single purpose of collecting political dividends.
"It is unacceptable for a country aspirant for NATO and EU membership to resort to terminology typical for the ideology of the Cold War era," the statement says.
Skopje, meawhile, was apparently less concerned about the reactions in Athens and Sofia. The ambassador of an EU country told EurActiv that in fact it was pressure from the USA and the UK which convinced Skopje to back down and remove the book from the shelves.
MANU published a press release promising to convene an extraordinary assembly that will focus on reactions, remarks and suggestions related to the encyclopaedia.
If you would like to react to this article, please click here .
Former Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski, who holds a Bulgarian passport, strongly criticised the MANU encyclopaedia, calling it "an absolute rehabilitation of communist power and Macedonia's communist period". Georgievski was categorical in saying that the authors of the work are pro-Serbian and that their main aim is to prevent Macedonia from joining NATO, and to complicate the country's EU accession process.
"The encyclopaedia is anti-Bulgarian, anti-Albanian, anti-Greek and pro-Serbian in its basis. All of the personalities in the time of communism are presented as positive. The encyclopaedia not only rehabilitates the communism period but also Macedonia in the time of royal Yugoslavia," Georgievski noted, speaking to the Focus news agency.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Serbia to launch genocide counter-suit against Croatia
Monday, 05 October 2009
Serbian government is set to file a counter-lawsuit to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Croatia alleging genocide during 1991-95 war.
Serbia will sue Croatia for war crimes and ethnic cleansing committed against the Serb minority during the 1991-95 war in Croatia.
The government and expert team representing Serbia in The Hague-based court are collecting the necessary papers to file the lawsuit.
"I may confirm that we possess evidence for 10 lawsuits and we can win them all. The case is practically closed, and now we just need to prepare the evidence to establish the genesis of war crimes committed on Croatia's soil," an unnamed official of Serbian foreign ministry said.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Serbia seeks summit of developing nations
By SLOBODAN LEKIC (AP) – 1 day ago
UNITED NATIONS — Serbia is proposing to host a summit of the 120-member Nonaligned Movement, which has angered the United States with its opposition to the invasion of Iraq and its support for Iran and Cuba.
Serbian President Boris Tadic invited on Friday leaders of nonaligned countries to meet in the Serbian capital of Belgrade to mark the movement's first summit held at the same venue in 1961.
At the time, Serbia was part of the Yugoslav federation whose leader Josip Broz Tito played a founding role in the organization.
Yugoslavia broke up in 1991. None of its six successor states is a member of NAM, and Tadic said that Egypt should chair the meeting.
"My country is the largest successor to a founding member of (NAM)," Tadic said in an address to the U.N. General Assembly. "That is why I have proposed that the 50th anniversary of the Nonaligned Movement be celebrated in Belgrade."
During the Cold War, the grouping of developing nations sought to steer a neutral role between the Western and Soviet blocs. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the movement — comprising diverse nations such as Cuba, Jamaica, India, Egypt, Indonesia, and Venezuela — adopted a critical view of the U.S and the developed world in general.
NAM has been sharply critical of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and has expressed support for the governments of Iran, Cuba and Zimbabwe. It has repeatedly condemned Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and the attacks on Gaza and Lebanon.
Earlier this month Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, dismissed the movement as "outdated."
Serbia has been at odds with Washington over America's recognition of the independence of Kosovo — a Serbian province that broke free of Belgrade after a brief war 10 years ago.
"Let me underline that Serbia will continue to engage with NAM ... because we believe that international stability and prosperity cannot be consolidated without taking into the views of the majority of the global family of nations," Tadic said.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Former ICTY Official Found Guilty of Contempt
By Katherine Iliopoulos
Sunday, Sep 20, 2009
French journalist and investigative researcher, Florence Hartmann.
Florence Hartmann, a former spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, was found guilty of contempt of court by the Tribunal on September 14 and fined 7,000 Euros for disclosing confidential court decisions.
The French journalist was found to have knowingly disclosed the contents and effect of two confidential Appeals Chamber decisions rendered in the Slobodan Milosevic case, which ended prematurely when the accused died in detention in March 2006.
In her 2007 book, Paix et Châtiment (Peace and Punishment) and a subsequent article published by the Bosnian Institute in January 2008, Vital Genocide Documents Concealed, Hartmann revealed that the Appeals Chamber had agreed to grant protective measures over transcripts of meetings of the Serbian Supreme Defence Council (SDC) - which were admitted as evidence during the Milosevic trial - based on the 'national interests' of Serbia, which was being sued at the International Court of Justice by Bosnia over the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. Serbia had only agreed to supply these documents to the Prosecution and the Court on condition that they be the subject of protective measures.
The ICJ ultimately cleared Serbia of responsibility for genocide, but it did rule that it was liable for failing to prevent the genocide, thereby violating its obligations under the Genocide Convention of 1948. Hartmann wrote that many people believed that if the SDC evidence had been made available to the ICJ, it would not have cleared Serbia of responsibility for the genocide.
Presiding Judge Bakone Moloto said Hartmann had "knowingly and wilfully interfered with the administration of justice" by revealing the contents of the orders of the Appeals Chamber.
The Prosecutor submitted that the content of the decisions were still confidential at the time that Hartmann wrote about them, and the Court agreed. The Court acknowledged the Defence argument that some of what was contained in those decisions were already in the public domain. On this basis, the Defence had argued that Hartmann could reasonably have formed the view that the decisions were no longer confidential and that her revelation of 'publicly known facts' would not have posed a real risk to the administration of justice. Against this, the Prosecution argued that what information may be said to have been in the public domain was a discussion of the contents of the protected SDC documents, but not of the Appeals Chamber's reasoning and logic with respect to granting them their confidential status.
The Defence then tried to show that the disclosure of the reasoning and logic of the Appeals Chamber orders did not form part of the charges in the indictment against Hartmann and that therefore she could not be prosecuted for disclosure in that sense. The Court disagreed, pointing out that the indictment clearly stated that Hartmann was accused of disclosing the contents, purported effect and confidential nature of the two court orders - which does not exclude the legal reasoning of the Appeals Chamber - charges of which she was found guilty.
In effect, the Court found that Hartmann had revealed publicly for the first time that: "Several ICTY rulings show clearly that the ‘blacking out’ [of the SDC documents] was granted in order not to damage Serbia’s position in Bosnia’s case before the ICJ. They reveal that the ICTY judges admitted that public disclosure of the most sensitive part of the SDC minutes could have had a negative effect on the outcome of the proceedings before the ICJ. They also took into account that a genocide conviction would have had enormous political and economical consequences for Serbia".
Thus the ICTY judges in the Milosevic case agreed that Serbia’s ‘vital national interest’ in not compromising its position in the ICJ case could constitute a ‘national security interest’ relevant to the granting of protective measures at the request of a state. This logic is arguably unsound in law, and indeed Hartmann also revealed that the Office of the Prosecutor, headed at the time by Carla del Ponte, "considered that granting protective measures for the sole purpose of shielding Serbia from responsibility before another international court could be considered neither reasonable nor in accordance with the law and the ICTY rules".
Regarding the mental element of the offence of contempt, Hartmann's defence submitted that she did not have the specific intent to interfere with the administration of justice. However, the Prosecution had argued in its final trial brief that Hartmann wrote that both Appeals Chamber orders were marked 'confidential', and that with over twenty years of journalism experience, and her six years as OTP spokesperson during which time she operated within the Tribunal's confidentiality framework, meant that she must have known she was violating those court orders by disclosing their contents. The Court agreed with the Prosecution argument, on the basis of the most recent Tribunal jurisprudence, that "any defiance of an order of a Chamber per se interferes with the administration of justice for the purposes of a conviction for contempt".
In sentencing Hartmann to pay a fine of 7,000 Euros, the Court took into account that the risk of interference with the administration of justice "is real, and it is serious" because her conduct may deter sovereign states from co-operating with the Tribunal where the provision of evidentiary material is concerned. It must be noted however that this reasoning does not seem to fit well with Security Resolution 827 (1993), which imposes a legally binding obligation on all States, including the Governments of the Former Yugoslavia, to cooperate fully with the Tribunal.
In mitigation, the Court considered the fact that some information was already in the public domain, that Hartmann's book had not been a commercial success, her co-operation with the Tribunal and her lack of prior convictions.
In an interview with France 24, Hartmann's Co-Defence Counsel Guénaël Mettraux said, “It’s very likely that we will appeal, but we have not made a final decision yet. We have 15 days to decide according to court procedure.”
The case might also be brought before the European Court of Human Rights. In the defence brief, it was argued that the prosecution of the charges violates Hartmann's fundamental rights as a journalist - mainly the freedom of expression - under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. But in its judgment, the Court pointed out that under Article 10(2) of the Convention, the exercise of freedom of expression may be subject to such “formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society … for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary”. These interferences with the freedom of expression are applicable “even with respect to press coverage of matters of serious public concern”.
As a Balkans correspondent for Le Monde in the early 1990s, Hartmann had written about the discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of more than 200 people in Ovcara, Croatia. She gave evidence in 2006 before the ICTY in a case against three Yugoslav army officers accused of involvement in the mass killing. She also wrote a Case Study on Bosnia for the book, Crimes of War Project: What the Public Should Know.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
17. September 2009. | 13:42
Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said on Sept. 16 that the official list of countries that will take part in the debate on the legality of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo before the Hague-based International Court of Justice has not been unveiled yet, adding that unconfirmed reports indicate that all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council will participate.
Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said on Sept. 16 that the official list of countries that will take part in the debate on the legality of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo before the Hague-based International Court of Justice has not been unveiled yet, adding that unconfirmed reports indicate that all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council will participate.
"What we can confirm unofficially is that all five permanent U.N. Security Council members will take part in the debate, for the first time in history, just as this is the first ever debate on the legality of unilaterally declared secession," Jeremic said after a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Belgrade.
Sept. 15 was the last day for applying for the public debate before the ICJ, which will start on Dec. 1.
In the first stage of the process, written statements were submitted by 36 U.N. members and the Pristina authorities, which have a special status, as Kosovo is not a U.N. member.
In the second stage, 14 states submitted comments on other countries' statements. The Pristina authorities also have the right to orally elaborate their petition and respond to the arguments of secession opponents.
In August 2008, Serbia sent the U.N. a resolution calling on the General Assembly to ask the ICJ for an advisory opinion on the legality of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
16 Sep 2009 14:27:56 GMT
PRISTINA, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Unknown assailants hurled fire bombs at two EU mission cars on Wednesday, days after the mission signed a protocol on security and law enforcement cooperation with neighbouring Serbia.
The attack in the Gnjilane area, in eastern Kosovo, left one car of the European Union police and justice mission (EULEX) burned and another damaged, said Ismet Hashani, a Kosovo police spokesperson. There were no injuries.
"Inside the damaged car we found a petrol bottle that failed to ignite," Hashani said.
EULEX has condemned the attack and described it as an isolated incident.
Earlier this week, the EULEX, tasked with helping Kosovo authorities improve the rule of law, signed an agreement with Serbian police on sharing information for combating cross-border crime and trafficking.
Serbia is refusing to cooperate directly with the government in Pristina as it considers Kosovo a part of its territory.
Pristina initially rejected the agreement but later withdrew its objection after the United States, France, Britain, Germany and Italy assured the country's leaders the protocol would not jeopardize Kosovo's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
On Monday, hundreds protested in Pristina against the agreement and last month more than 20 EULEX vehicles were damaged in Kosovo's capital. Police said 20 people were sentenced to one month in jail.
The EULEX mission was deployed to Kosovo after it declared independence from Serbia last year, replacing a United Nations mission.
In 1999 after a 78-day bombing campaign ended a Serb crackdown on Kosovo Albanians, NATO deployed a peacekeeping force to patrol the area. The Western alliance maintains 14,000 soldiers there, a decade after the end of the conflict. (Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; editing by Aleksandar Vasovic)
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Serbia: Four radical Muslims jailed for terror plot
Belgrade, 8 Sept. (AKI) - A special Serbian court has sentenced four radical Muslims from a the volatile Sandzak region of the country to up to eight years in prison each for planning terrorist attacks on targets in the Balkans. The four men were sentenced on charges of terrorism, illegal possession of weapons and alleged links with unidentified foreign terrorist groups, following an eight-month trial.
Adis Muric and Bajram Aslani were sentenced to eight years each, Nedzad Bulic to seven and Enes Mujanovic was given a four year jail term. Bulic and Aslani's sentenced were delivered in absentia as they earlier escaped from police and are on the run.
The four men were arrested in police raids in 2007 in the Sandzak region, which borders Kosovo. They are from predominantly Muslim town of Novi Pazar and adhere to the fundamentalist Wahabi interpretation of Islam followed by Osama bin Laden and many Al-Qaida members.
The group formed a cell in 2007 that planned to carry out terrorist acts in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, judge Milan Ranic stated, explaining the court's verdict. The group's objective was to spread fear among citizens and to gain religious power.
The prosecution claimed the group planned to plant explosives at Novi Pazar football stadium and to kill policemen deployed there.
The group was in close contact with other Wahabis from Bosnia, Albania and Syria and had in their posession a large quantity of terrorism prosyletising materials, according to the court indictment .
The group was based in Novi Pazar and in Kosovska Mitrovica, where weapons and explosives were found.
Twelve Wahabis were sentenced in July to a total 60 years in jail for terrorism, conspiracy and planning terrorist attacks in Serbia, including a plot to assassinate local mufti Muamer Zukorlic, who the group considered to be an American spy and betrayer of Islam.
Most of those convicted were arrested in 2007 during a raid at a Wahabi training camp on Ninaj mountain in Sandzak, where police found a large weapons cache in a cave.
The group's leader Ismail Prentic was killed as security forces tried to arrest him in Donja Trnava village a month later.
The radical Islamist movement was brought to the Balkans by fighters from Muslim countries during the 1990s Bosnian war. Many have remained and are believed to operate camps and recruit young people in a bid to gain influence in Serbia, Bosnia and elsewhere in the region.
Wahabis preaches religious intolerance towards other religious groups, including moderate Muslims. Although still a small group, Wahabis are increasingly seen by officials and observers as a growing threat in the Balkan
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Phase of “Soft” Ethnic Cleansing of Serbian Kosovo Province
Sep 6th, 2009 | By De-Construct.net | In Commentary, Kosovo-Metohija Crisis
Bishop Artemije: We are Citizens of Serbia
“We are citizens of Serbia”, Bishop of Ras-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija Diocese, His Grace Artemije
Unable to carry out the final pogrom of the remaining Serbs and other non-Albanians in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija while the World Court is deliberating on the illegality of Priština’s unilateral declaration of independence, ruling Albanian terrorists, guided by the Empire’s administrators, are using other methods to finish the ethnic cleansing of the province — “random acts of violence” against the province’s Serbs, populating predominantly Serbian north with Albanians and cutting off electricity to Serbian ghettos are among the favorite means KLA thugs employ nowadays.
Last Wednesday the electricity was cut off to the 14th century seat of Serbian Orthodox Church, Peć Patriarchate and Monasteries Gračanica and Devič.
Bishop of Ras-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija Diocese, His Grace Artemije, who was forced to leave his residence in Prizren (razed in March 2004 pogrom) and was moved to Gračanica Monastery, said his diocese will not sign any “agreements” with Albanian-seized “Kosovo Energy Corporation” (”KEK”, built and owned by the Serbs, by the way, in 1960s and 1980s), which are put together to extort tacit recognition of the mafia state on Serbian territory.
“This is the latest attack against the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija,” Bishop Artemije said.
“They first cut electricity off to Serb-populated villages. Once they were broken, the monasteries came under attack. They started during past winter, when Monastery Gorioč was left without electricity. In this way, they moved us back to the middle ages, only not the dark middle ages, but the golden ones. We shall illuminate our chambers with candles and vigil lamps, like our ancestors,” Bishop said.
“If Europe believes we need to be punished, so be it,” he added.
Bishop Artemije explained the issue has nothing to do with money, or paying the electricity bills, as the Western mainstream is always happy to report.
The problem is in the agreements Priština wants to force the head of Serbian Kosovo-Metohija Diocese to sign, by which the leader of Serbian Orthodox Christians in Kosovo province would tacitly recognize illegal, terrorist state on Serbian territory.
“We want to pay the electricity, but not in a way they are demanding from us. We do not want to sign any of their papers. We are citizens of Serbia and we expect our state to help us with these problems,” Bishop Artemije said.
Friday, September 4, 2009
1,212 displaced families apply for return to Kosovo
Source: Government of Serbia
Date: 04 Sep 2009
Belgrade, Sept 4, 2009 – Serbian Assistant Minister for Kosovo-Metohija Bojan Andjelkovic said today that 1,212 families or 3,200 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have applied to return to Kosovo.
Speaking at a press conference about the completion of the return application registration and the problems of IDPs in Djakovica, Anjelkovic said that the registration process was completed between March and the middle of August and was limited to IDPs in 55 refugee centers and those who expressed a wish to return to Kosovo.
He said that the registration did not include IDPs who have private accommodation or those Serbs and non-Albanians who were driven out of their homes but remained in the province.
He said that of the total of the IDPs registered, nearly 10% or more, more than 400 individuals, belong to ethnic minorities, Roma, Muslim, etc.
Andjelkovic said that 848 housing units need to be reconstructed or rebuilt for the return of those registered this year, noting that 340 houses were completely destroyed while others can be reconstructed.
According to Andjelkovic, 240 apartments owned by Serbs and now illegally occupied by Albanians need there present occupiers evicting.
Most of these apartments are in Djakovica, he said noting, that 228 families from Djakovica have applied to return.
Another 100 apartments should be built to house the displaced there, Andjelkovic said.
Andjelkovic announced a plan for renovating neglected or devastated Orthodox cemeteries in Kosovo, noting that 437 such cemeteries exist in the province.
There are also some cemeteries that have not been registered, including the Jewish cemetery in Pristina, he said.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
OSCE: SERBS’ PROPERTY IN KOSOVO SOLD WITH FORGED DOCUMENTS
September 3, 2009
The OSCE found a large number of cases in Kosovo where property, which belonged to the displaced Serbs, was sold without their knowledge, and most often with forged personal documents and seals. Due to their absence, the IDPs were not aware of transactions until later, reads the report the OSCE presented in Pristina. It was pointed out that the sale was conducted based on forged documents, which has led to serious violation of human rights and represented an obstacle to the return of the displaced Serbs and restitution of their property. According to records of the OSCE Commission, there are 70 cases where it is suspected the crime of the illegal residential property. Sale was committed.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Aug 25, 2009, 14:01 GMT
Pristina - Some 28 automobiles belonging to the European Union's law-enforcement mission (EULEX) in Kosovo were damaged and 21 people were arrested Tuesday during a protest in Pristina by members of the Albanian movement Vetevendosja (Self-Determination).
Vetevendosja seeks an end to what it sees as international interference in Kosovo. It has organized several demonstrations in the past against Belgrade and the international community.
'Twenty-one persons are under police custody and are being investigated,' Agron Borovci, a spokesman for Kosovo police, told German Press Agency dpa. 'Our reports say that 28 cars parked in downtown Pristina have been damaged.'
'From what we saw they turned over the EULEX vehicles in their parking lot,' Borovici added.
The EULEX vehicles were damaged during a protest by Vetevendosja against cooperation between EULEX and Belgrade.
Glauk Konjufca of Vetevendosja told dpa that three activists were injured during the protest. He accused police of using violence against them and added that 'more than 40 cars were damaged.'
EULEX condemned the damage of the vehicles.
'Whilst EULEX supports the idea of peaceful protest as an important element in any democratic society, committing criminal damage does not further the interests or the arguments of any such protestors,' EULEX said in a statement.
Kosovo's Albanian majority declared independence in February 2008 after years of international supervision. Serbia opposes independence, and Belgrade still controls the northern part of Kosovo, where the Serb minority lives.
EULEX was deployed late last year after more than 60 countries, including United States and a majority of European Union members, recognized the new state.
Kosovo and Ongoing De-Christianization
By Lee Jay Walker
His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia
The ongoing de-Christianization of Kosovo continues and unlike the past frenzy of the anti-Serbian mass media in the West, we mainly have a deadly silence about the reality of Kosovo and the continuing Albanianization of this land. However, how is it “just” and “moral” to persecute minorities and to alienate them from mainstream society; and then to illegally recognize this land without the full consensus of the international community?
How ironic it is that the same United States of America and the United Kingdom, two nations who were in the forefront of covertly manipulating the mass media; remain mainly silent about the destruction of Orthodox Christian churches, Serbian architecture, and of course the past killings of Serbians and other minorities in Kosovo.
After all, according to America and the United Kingdom the initial conflict was about human rights, democracy, and liberty. However, what about the liberty and freedom of Orthodox Christian Serbs, Gypsies, and other minorities in Kosovo? Are these minorities free in modern day Kosovo and can they move around without the fear of discrimination, persecution or death?
Obviously, vast parts of Kosovo are out of bounds for the majority of minorities in Kosovo, therefore, the answer is no and many areas which were cleansed of Serbians and other minorities remain cleansed.
According to Minority Rights Group International (MRG) which is based in the United Kingdom, it is apparent that exclusion and discrimination is rife. Therefore, minorities face a bleak future and Serbians, Bosniaks, Roma, Croats, Turks, Gorani and Ashkali Egyptians are either being forced out because of alienation or because of limited economic opportunities.
The MRG is not alone in thinking that minorities have been badly betrayed because it is clear that Kosovo remains in limbo and minorities will continue to leave because of the ongoing situation.
Patriarch Pavle (His Holiness the Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, Patriarch of Serbs) is highly respected and a man of reason. He stated the following many years ago ( http://kosovo.net ):
“This humble publication is our cry and appeal to the Christian and civilized world. It is distressing to learn that in the year of the greatest Christian Jubilee, at the end of two millenniums of Christianity, Christian churches are still being destroyed, not in a war but in the time of peace guaranteed by the international community. We hope that these photos of the destroyed and desecrated Orthodox shrines will awaken the conscience of those who are able to stop the crimes and believe that they who already stood up against one evil will not remain just passive witnesses of another evil happening now in their presence.”
“We also make our appeal to all Kosovo Albanians, who reasonably see their future in their joint life with Serbs, to resist and prevent the acts of insanity.”
“In Kosovo and Metohija there will be no victory of humanity and justice while revenge and disorder prevail. No one has the moral right to celebrate the victory complacently, as long as one evil is being replaced with another and the freedom of one people is becoming the slavery of another.”
Patriarch Pavle stated this many years ago and sadly his words of wisdom have been ignored and instead America and the United Kingdom decided to create a new world order; this new world order was to carve up Serbia and to break international law. This breach of ignoring international law ultimately had greater repercussions because the Russian Federation would support Abkhazia and South Ossetia after conflict erupted in Georgia.
Therefore, a “new can of worms was opened” and the “Kosovo model” could inspire future mayhem because it is clear that international law was rendered to be unimportant.
Like I stressed in my last article about Kosovo (Kosovo and Systematic Persecution by KLA) it is clear that all sides committed atrocities, just like what happens in all wars. Pain can be felt on all sides and sadly many innocents were killed during the various civil wars which engulfed the former Yugoslavia.
However, the Serbian story war largely untold and the same can be said about the persecution of other minorities in Kosovo. Yet what is clear is that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was involved in running brutal death camps and this even applies to the killing of people for organs.
At the same time the KLA supported the ethnic cleansing of Serbians and other minorities, and the same applies to the destruction of Christian churches, monasteries, and other historical architecture which was a clear reminder of the roots of Kosovo.
Also, the hard sell by America, the United Kingdom, and other nations who support independence, is that independence was justified on the grounds of Serbian atrocities. Yet if the KLA was found to be involved in killing civilians for organs then “the spin machine” collapses and “democracy” rings hollow.
Therefore, in one part of Europe we are a seeing the silent destruction of Serbian Orthodox Christianity and the ongoing persecution and alienation of minorities in Kosovo.
It would appear that the violation of international law is deemed to be a viable policy for both America and the United Kingdom. Therefore, important questions, for example the role of the KLA in killing innocents for organs, the rise of the KLA in such a short space of time and a host of other vital questions remain unanswered.
However, it is vital to counter this cover-up and blatant violation of international law because it is clear that murky covert acts have been implemented by higher powers. Also, the world is still divided about the future of Kosovo but why did some nations behave so hastily without the full facts, and without taking into consideration the ongoing persecution and alienation of minorities in Kosovo?