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Kosova Daily Report #1605, 98-11-06

Kosovo Information Center: Kosova Daily Report Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Kosova Information Center <http://www.kosova.com/>

Kosova Information Center
KOSOVA DAILY REPORT #1605
Prishtina, 6 November 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Rugova's Press Conference
  • [02] FOCUS: Flawed Agreement Allows Milosevic to Spurn Hague Tribunal's Mandate over Kosova
  • [03] Shooting Incident in Suhareka Friday, Casualties Feared
  • [04] Serbs Spray With Fire Albanian Communities in Malisheva Thursday Night
  • [05] Armed Serb Civilians Harass Albanians in Prishtina Village
  • [06] Serb Army Opens Artillery Fire in Western Kosova Thursday
  • [07] Serb Army Arrests Albanians Working in Their Estate in Hani i Elezit
  • [08] Serb Military Court Indicts 7 Albanians for Gunning Down Army Officer

  • [01] President Rugova's Press Conference

    PRISHTINA, Nov 6 (KIC) - "I saw huge destruction there", Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, the President of the Republic of Kosova said today speaking about a trip he made last week to central Kosova, Malisheva and Rahovec areas, accompanied by U.S. envoy for Kosova Chris Hill and the American KDOM.

    During a press conference in Prishtina, Rugova said that he saw there, however, signs of life, people keen to return to their homes and property. "People should be offered greater security, specially by the OSCE and other international institutions".

    The President thanked the people for their kind reception offered during his trip to the countryside this week.

    Touching on the current situation in Kosova, Rugova referred to it as highly volatile, citing the huge presence of Serbian military and police forces as the key factor.

    President Rugova denounced the Serb show political trial of a number of young Albanians in Peja, as well as the continued detention by the Serb regime of Lutfi Haziri and a number of other leading local LDK people in Gjilan.

    Rugova reiterated his position that the best solution for Kosova is its independence, with all guarantees for the local Serb community, and an interim stage international protectorate pending a lasting solution.

    The President thanked the world leaders who have been engaged over Kosova, and pressed for a "permanent international protection of the people of Kosova".

    "We are working on an interim settlement for Kosova, and the negotiations on it should be well-prepared", Rugova said, in reply to a question whether the Holbrooke-Milosevic or the Hill draft plan would be the starting point for such negotiations. "The best solution for Kosova, for Serbia itself, as well as the entire region, is independence for Kosova", the President reaffirmed.

    The important thing is that Albanians driven from their homes have started returning, Ibrahim Rugova said, in reply to comments by a journalist that the international community is talking about this return while "80 percent of the houses in south-western Kosova" have been destroyed, as she put it. "The displaced people will receive the support of the Kosovar and international institutions", the President said, without offering details as to what the support would consist of. People should return before winter sets in indeed, and start repairing what can be repaired, he added. "The people are here in Kosova very resilient, hardworking". I saw people sowing wheat, but also harvesting what was left un harvested [because of the summer Serb offensive], the President said.

    Rugova said he had a "positive attitude" to the ongoing meetings between the Albanian political forces in Kosoova. "We want to reconstruct the Government of Kosova, including in it all forces", he said, adding that some of them were not in agreement about this so far. "We hope to have this completion of the Government [of the Republic of Kosova] on the basis of the Constitution and the democratic order."

    A foreign journalist asked Rugova whether the new police force in Kosova, being discussed by him and Hill, would reflect the actual ethnic make-up, namely be 90 percent Albanian, or something less than that be acceptable. "We have started working on the building of the Kosova police, which, naturally enough, should be constituted on the basis of the ethnic structure, in which Serbs and other are represented".

    President Rugova said there was need for a "modern police, which would not only protect the State, but also the people and their property".

    Prior to 1989, Kosova had a 4,500-strong police personnel, in which there were Albanians, Serbs and others, the President said. "The new, modern police should be supported by the international community".

    Our position, as well as the position of the international community, has been all along that negotiations should be well- prepared if they are to yield results, Rugova said in answer to a question.

    "I will meet with Adem Dema^i [the U^K political representative] in days to come", President Ibrahim Rugova said, asked by reporters whether he would indeed meet with Dema^i, as today's Albanian press in Prishtina announced.

    [02] FOCUS: Flawed Agreement Allows Milosevic to Spurn Hague Tribunal's Mandate over Kosova

    Impunity. This is what the new diplomatic dogma is all about when it forges the dilemma: Peace or Justice?

    PRISHTINA, Nov 6 (KIC) - The first thing analysts noted when aspects of the Holbrooke-Milosevic deal on Kosova were made public last month was that the issue of the Hague Tribunal and its eventual investigation of war crimes in Kosova had been sidelined.

    There was a tacit agreement of the two men to do this, others, more cynical observers, said.

    This was apparently a huge concession to Milosevic, alongside the Western deal to allow Milosevic to keep 25,000 occupying troops - military and police - in Kosova while presenting it as a major breakthrough, a pulling out of Serbian troops. Withdrawal of troops, pulling out of troops from Kosova, in plain English should have meant having them out of Kosova. This is how everybody understood it. Not the West, which knew it had made a flawed agreement and was eager to sell it as a masterpiece of diplomacy.

    'FRY' has blocked a planned trip to Kosova by U.N. war crimes chief prosecutor Louise Arbour, a spokesman for the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia said on Thursday.

    "Yugoslavia has not given the necessary visas to investigate in Kosovo. They will not allow an investigation in Kosovo," the spokesman told Reuters. Arbour had intended to travel to Kosova later this week.

    The spokesman said Yugoslavia continued to reject the Tribunal's jurisdiction in Kosova, despite several resolutions by the U.N. Security Council asserting the court's powers there.

    "There have been numerous allegations, specific and credible enough to require further investigations," Arbour told a news conference earlier this week. Alleged atrocities included summary executions, wanton destruction and plunder, she added.

    Arbour had planned to travel to Kosova with Deputy Prosecutor Graham Blewitt and a team of around 10 investigators, Reuters said, adding that she had written to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on October 15 seeking assurances that all necessary visas would be issued.

    On Wednesday, she asked Yugoslavia's ambassador to The Hague to press her case in Belgrade and rejected Yugoslav government assertions that tribunal investigators should not be allowed to operate independently in Kosova.

    "I assert unequivocally the entitlement of my investigators to conduct confidential investigations without having to share it with any government authority," she said.

    The International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia was set up by U.N. resolution in 1993 to prosecute war crimes in the territory of former Yugoslavia, part of which is Kosova.

    Peace or justice?

    We will seek solutions, not justice, a key U.S. diplomat involved with Kosova was quoted as saying early autumn.

    Peace or justice? is now the question, according to this newly- engineered diplomatic dogma, whose answer should be 'peace'.

    Peace yes, but without justice, if impunity becomes the acceptable norm, then it is deadly peace.

    If Milosevic gets away with his crimes in Kosova, as he has done with atrocities he had masterminded in Bosnia, and is even rewarded with arrangements that allow Belgrade any powers over Prishtina, we will have a deadly peace in Kosova. Hopefully, a short-lived one.

    [03] Shooting Incident in Suhareka Friday, Casualties Feared

    PRISHTINA, Nov 6 (KIC) - The LDK chapter in Suhareka, a town 50 km south of Prishtina, described the situation in some parts of the municipality as highly volatile today (Friday).

    Heavy firearms shooting was heard at around midday today in the area between villages Samadraxha and Opterusha. Eye-witnesses told the LDK office in Suhareka that there were casualties, including fatalities.

    By mid-afternoon, the KIC could not confirm reports about wounded or killed people in the reported incident.

    A Serb police unit has been deployed in the Lubovc neighborhood at Grej^ec village since Thursday morning. At around 17:00, Serbs opened machine-gun fire in the direction of Albanian houses in the village, local residents said.

    Serb forces have been still manning many bases and checkpoints in the Suhareka municipality, including at Duh&l, Grej^ec, Mohlan, Reshtan, Qafa e Duhl&s and Bira^ mountains, local sources said today.

    [04] Serbs Spray With Fire Albanian Communities in Malisheva Thursday Night

    PRISHTINA, Nov 6 (KIC) - Just after 19:00 hrs on Thursday evening, Serb forces manning the local police station in Malisheva opened fire from various kinds of armament. For about 30 minutes Albanian communities in the area were sprayed with machine-gun and light artillery pieces, the LDK Information Commission of Malisheva said today.

    Shooting from machine-guns and mortars was heard overnight in Carralluka, a village only a couple of kilometers from Malisheva.

    There has been no word yet on possible casualties.

    Local sources said that there has been a growing presence of Serb forces in Malisheva over the past couple of days. The displaced Albanians returning to their homes have been repeatedly harassed and intimidated by Serb police patrols in the streets, they said.

    [05] Armed Serb Civilians Harass Albanians in Prishtina Village

    PRISHTINA, Nov 6 (KIC) - Serb residents of N&nt& Jugoviq&t (Devet Jugovic), a village about 5 km north of Prishtina, have stepped up an intimidation campaign against their Albanian neighbors.

    Armed Serbs have been roaming around-the-clock in the streets of the N&nt& Jugoviq, provoking and threatening Albanian residents in this ethnically mixed village. Albanians claimed that some of the Serbs civilians roaming armed in the streets of the village are not local villagers. They fear that paramilitary units were harbored in the village.

    On Thursday afternoon and in the evening, Serbs in N&nt& Jugoviq opened continued fire from automatic rifles, causing panic and fear amongst the Albanians, the children in particular, local villagers told the KIC.

    [06] Serb Army Opens Artillery Fire in Western Kosova Thursday

    PRISHTINA, Nov 6 (KIC) - Serb army forces manning outposts in the Kosova- Albanian border zone opened artillery fire in the direction of the villages of Zhub and Vagov& Thursday evening from 20:00 through 20:30, local sources said.

    The LDK chapter in Gjakova said Serb heavy army forces have been dug in around Zhub village. The increased Serb forces in the area have instilled fear amongst the few Albanians who returned to their villages lately.

    Sporadic shooting was heard overnight in several villages in the regions of Dushkaja and Reka e Keqe in the municipality of Gjakova.

    [07] Serb Army Arrests Albanians Working in Their Estate in Hani i Elezit

    PRISHTINA, Nov 6 (KIC) - Serb (Yugoslav) army soldiers arrested Thursday afternoon three Albanians near the Kosova-FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) border, the LDK chapter in Hani i Elezit said.

    Hazbi Shkreta, Metush Shkreta and Sefedin Shkreta were arrested while working in their estate near the border zone. They were taken to the Serb police station in the town, where they were held for a couple of hours.

    The LDK could not learn the reason why the three Albanians were rounded up by Serb soldiers.

    [08] Serb Military Court Indicts 7 Albanians for Gunning Down Army Officer

    PRISHTINA, Nov 6 (KIC) - The Serb military court in Nis (Serbia) extended the pre-trial detention for seven Kosovar Albanians to three months each.

    Adem Elezkurtaj (30), Fatmir Memaj (23), Kujtim Memaj (20), Nexhmedin Ajazi (27), Ferat Xhezairi (29), Afrim Berisha (26), and Islam Tha^i (26), have been held in detention for over two months now. The men have been accused for alleged involvement in attacks against Serb army troops in Kosova.

    Serb media said that on 28 July 1998 the defendants killed Yugoslav army officer Bojan Denic, and wounded the deputy chief of the police station in Dragash.

    Kosova Information Center

    Kosovo Information Center: Kosova Daily Report Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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