following four texts were written by a young Belgrade journalist
Lidia Kujundzic who risked her own life to reach the isolated
Serb community in Prizren and speak the truth about the suffering
Serb people in Kosovo. The articles were translated by Snezana Lazovic
one of the main moderators of the Kosovo Daily News List.
KOSOVO and METOHIA
Maria Filipovic, a Serb woman driven away from Prizren
by extremist Albanians
now found a refuge at the Prizren Orthodox Seminary
in Prizren, report from Prizren
by Force, Christmas dinner with Mr. Kouchner
4. We are
Protecting You, Interview with Gen. Reinchard
5. Let us
Change the Government, interview with Bishop Artemije
Issue 2559, January 13, 2000
COMMUNION IN PRIZREN
the city where the last Serbian king once held court, since
Christmas, when two elderly ladies were killed on their way to church,
only one elderly man and four monks remain
on the pedestrian island in front of the sports auditorium
"Boro and Ramiz", Nebojsa Lekic asked himself if, eight months
would have believed it if someone had told him that on the streets of
Pristina, the city of his birth, he would be afraid to utter a single
word in the Serbian language. Standing on the same pedestrian island
the same time, Canadian Bernard Santiage [sp?], an UNMIK policeman,
wondered if he would await the Serbian New Year in his base in Gracanica
or on the same pedestrian crossing in the midst of traffic chaos.
one abides by the law here. Everyone just pushes. Whenever I come to
Pristina, I get the impression that I am driving the wrong way on a
way street," says Santiage.
UNMIK policeman was somewhat worried by the fact that two Serbs were
standing in the middle of Pristina and felt a strong wave of relief
they all entered the KFOR Press Center together. The reporter, who had
to pull out his "magical" KFOR press card in order to work
because of which this whole event was taking place, could not at first
understand why half an hour later, Santiage, a policeman, refused to
stop his jeep in front of the former building of the Automobile
Association which now housed the command of the Kosovo Protection Corps.
will not work; I will arrest you if I have to but you cannot do
this," responded Santiage to the reporter when he asked him if
just stop for a minute to ask if it would be possible to arrange an
interview with Agim Ceku, the commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps.
Since the threat of arrest did not seem serious, the reporter insisted
and the policeman resisted. However, it was pointless that the KPC was
non-military organization which Bernard, the head of UNMIK, had
established for the good of all the residents of Kosovo. The policeman
remained unyielding. "Even I was not comfortable when I went there
first time, while you probably would not get out alive," said Santiage.
"You must understand that among them there are several maniacs
psychopaths." This was a sufficiently convincing explanation, the
reporter gave up and the policeman could remove his right foot from
the same day one of the five remaining families who had been under
KFOR protection from some time moved from Building 17 in the Suncani
Breg settlement in Pristina. Since they were not being attacked, KFOR
troops withdrew on January 5; only one hour later, the Todorovic family
received an anonymous telephone threat that if it did not immediately
leave its home, it would not have the opportunity to see the dawning
the next day. Dusan Ristic, a retiree and member of the Serbian National
Council, reported the incident to KFOR.
Dimitrijevic advised me that two more families from that
building are preparing to leave Pristina. I asked the people from KFOR
to do something right away to help those people, but apparently they
have done nothing," says Ristic, adding that he did not understand
KFOR representatives asked him for the first and last names of each
person when they could get all information from their own soldiers.
road to Prizren
comparison with the situation in Pristina, the everyday life of the
remaining Serbs in Prizren is unbearable. The Albanians killed two
elderly ladies who on January 7 headed to Christmas liturgy. In Prizren
where the last Serbian king once held court and ordered a pipeline to
constructed from which wine flowed from Velika Hoca to his chambers,
only one eighty year-old man remains, while in the monastery of St.
Michael the Archangel approximately 20 members of a Dutch KFOR battalion
guard four monks around the clock.
dawn on January 3, NIN's reporter sat on a frostbitten sack of
potatoes tossed on the floor of a jeep parked in the courtyard of
Gracanica Monastery. At the same time, members of the Greek battalion
were helping Father German to add to it a sack of onions, carrots and
sewing machine. This was the beginning of the journey from Gracanica
Pristina to Prizren. A few minutes later the "band" was bumping
frozen road toward Pristina where an armored transport vehicle and UNMIK
was supposed to be waiting. As the Greek armored transport vehicle was
late because of the uncleared road, UNMIK policeman Jimmy Strutt (sp?)
could not contain himself.
look at them. They're as incompetent as the Serbs," said
though the Greek officer did not speak English very well, he
understood perfectly what Strutt had said. He did not respond to the
"insult" because he knew that the road to Prizren was long,
shipment of money was attractive booty for many outlaws looting around
knows, we may need the help of these Americans," was all that
it was the UNMIK policemen who needed help when, upon leaving
Stimlje, they flew off the icy road. While the Greeks, with the aid
tug, bailed out the Americans, the monk and the journalist stood by
road looking into the courtyard of a hospital for the mentally ill who
stretched out their arms to all passerby in the hope that they would
give them a few cigarettes. When they got a cigarette, the patients
would turn toward the Albanian flag fluttering on the flagpole in the
middle of the courtyard and blow it kisses.
the street in Suva Reka - if that undulating surface of mud, ash and
ice which not even KFOR bulldozers could scrape aside can be called
street at all - complete chaos reigned. Not only did all types of
vehicles crowd and overtake each other but bicyclists rode across
pedestrian crossings diagonally. Four pedestrians (two of them armed
members of the Kosovo Protection Corps) were having a quiet discussion
as if they were standing in some park and not in the street. A cigarette
salesman, not older than nine years, almost fell in through the
half-open window of the UNMIK jeep. In several seconds he managed to
articulate, in a strange mixture of Albanian, English, German and other
languages, all the brands and prices of the cigarettes he was selling.
The American who paid two marks just to get rid of him asked everyone
stop as soon as the convoy left Suva Reka so that he could wash his
hands in the snow after touching the impetuous cigarette salesman.
people would make stew out of us if someone ordered them to,"
the streets of Prizren there are many automobiles. The Germans have
brought some order to the traffic by drawing arrows with fluorescent
pink car paint on the houses in the outskirts of town indicating the
direction of traffic. All traffic in Prizren moves in one direction,
American policemen, who had had quite enough of what they called
their "Kosovo adventure" (their six-month mission to Kosovo
coming to an end), remained in Prizren for coffee at the UNMIK
headquarters while the rest went to the monastery of St. Michael the
Archangel. Father German graciously showed the guests the ruins of the
monastery built in the fourteenth century, as well as the recently
renovated residence hall and chapel. In the chapel there is a new
iconostasis made in the monastery of Decani. One of the masters who
worked on the iconostasis is Father German, who dreams of finding a
piece of rosewood approximately 20 centimeters in diameter. Returning
with Father German to the monastery was a cross made in the sixteenth
century which is probably the oldest and most valuable artifact in the
monastery at this time. The cross was taken to Belgrade to find out
the relief of the anonymous master could be protected from wear.
cross was made from a single piece of wood and it is priceless,"
says Father German, adding: "Today there are chisels and tools
which one can carve (if one has a gift) anything, but the secret of
cross is in the wood. Our forefathers transmitted its secrets by word
mouth and today no one knows how this piece of rosewood from which the
cross was made was treated."
state of the remaining Orthodox churches in Prizren and the diocese
seat "occupied" by KFOR could not be determined. The Greeks
did not want
to take "unnecessary risks" in Prizren and to wander through
foot is not something the reporter dared to do.
general Klaus Reinhardt, the commander of KFOR, repeated almost
daily that the Serbs in Kosovo are safer than they have been for months
and that many are slowly returning to their homes, lieutenant colonel
Henning Philip (sp?), general Reinhardt's spokesperson, sweated on the
main square in Musotiste while three reporters spoke with the deputy
"mayor". The reason for his concern was the fact that the
reporter is standing encircled by fifty-odd Turks and Albanians, and
recording in a notebook, in Cyrillic script, impressions of the
incinerated town of Musotiste where, prior to KFOR's arrival, more than
5,000 Serbs lived.
general on a white tank
a few houses were destroyed during the period of NATO's campaign,"
says Nehmet Morina, the deputy "mayor" of Musotiste who declares
to be a member of the Turkish minority (even though he does not know
single word of the Turkish language) and adds: "We have not had
with the Albanians because we are similar, and for years we have
suffered the same trials." When asked if the Turks in Musotiste
problems with the Serbs, Morina said that he only remembered his
grandfather's stories from the time of Aleksandar Rankovic. Although
lieutenant colonel Philip is not a coward, it was not easy for him to
hide his distress when confronted by the Serbs of Orahovac who held
nothing back in criticizing the members of the Dutch KFOR battalion.
we have more problems with the Dutchmen than we have with the Albanians,"
says Mihajlo Cosic, smelter, adding that all men capable of
bearing arms have been declared to be war criminals and that during
course of the previous week only, 13 Serbs who attempted to leave
Orahovac were arrested. Even on Christmas Eve the Serbs were not allowed
to leave the city, because the Dutch were afraid that some might use
"the cutting of the yule log" [a Serbian Orthodox religious
Christmas Eve] as an excuse to flee from the city in which there is
least one bomb attack every Friday. M.B., who recently had a baby in
hospital in Orahovac and was subsequently tossed into the street by
Albanians, was unable to leave Orahovac and the Dutch refused to
transport the mother and child to the Serbian part of the city because,
according to locals, "she had not pre-arranged an escort."
why the woman didn't have her baby elsewhere, Cosic replied: "She
to but the Dutch wouldn't let her take her other children with her.
would not leave her children."
Orahovac there are more than 400 children who one month ago started
school, without any textbooks or notebooks. Their school has no toilet
and the children are forced to go home whenever they need to use the
toilet. Although Orahovac does have one physician, he cannot do much
help his neighbors because he does not have even the most basic
medicines nor the equipment necessary to perform blood tests.
children, none of them older than 12 years, have contracted yellow
fever, and three have tuberculosis," says Golub Kujundzic, a member
the Church National Council in Orahovac, adding that tanks of clean
water only recently began to arrive in Orahovac, and that the Orahovac
Serbs were forced to drink "spring water" which was neither
nor chemically treated.
these poor people, who waited for several months for the Russians
to enter Orahovac and "free" them, told him of their suffering,
lieutenant colonel Philip promised not only to relay everything to
general Reinhardt, but to return before the end of January, together
with Bishop Artemije and general Reinhardt, and to help them - to the
extent that it was possible.
would be most welcome by all of us. But take note, sir, that
events can take a different turn," said Ljubinko Majstorovic (whose
name is on file with the editors), adding: "We cannot survive much
longer under these circumstances; when we have had more than enough,
will not wait for the general on the white tank (Yugoslav Army general
Pavkovic) any longer. We will fight to free ourselves of this
enslavement even if it we all must perish."
by S. Lazovic (January 16, 2000)
is an opposition weekly published in Belgrade
Children of War
Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia, December 16 1999
most recent report of the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) about human
rights in Kosovo confirmed that children were not only
witnesses and victims, but also perpetrators of
Roma [Gypsy] girl Sara (name and
surname known to physicians in the Institute for
Mental Health in Belgrade) from Pristina has after
more than two weeks finally arrived to the
Post-traumatic Center in the Center for Mental Health
in Belgrade. The girl hadn't spoken a word for weeks.
Then, Sara started talking and spent hours and hours
in conversation with physicians, but was still unable
to tell them what happened in the house of her parents
in Pristina at the end of July.
members mobilized Roma by force to participate in
demonstrations. They exerted pressure in all
conceivable ways, and the Roma hid counting that the
Albanians wouldn't touch women and children," says Dr.
Oliver Vidojevic, child psychiatrist from the
Post-traumatic Center for Children and Youth and the
leader of the team for the protection of children and
youth from maltreatment and neglect.
Seen As Told
and her twelve-year-old sister Marija were alone
in the house when about twenty young Albanians (none
of them older than 19), who claimed to be members of
the KLA police, broke down the main door, which was
locked. They started shouting and breaking everything
in the house, looking for Sara's and Marija's father
and brothers. Since they found no men in the house,
they started to kick the girls.
"Then two Albanians threw Sara on the floor and tore
her clothes off," says Dr. Vidojevic. He adds that
Sara would have been raped had Marija not saved her.
Marija grabbed a pan full of hot water from the cooker
and poured it over the rapist. The young man started
to scream, as well as the other two who were holding
Sara down. Scared members of KLA immediately ran away.
"The elder girl was in shock, unable to do anything,"
younger sister, Marija, was sufficiently collected
to help her sister, instead of running away. The girls
immediately left to the household of their uncle in
Skopje and thereby avoided a revenge of their
torturers, who instead burnt their deserted house
Danijela and her younger sister
Jasmina from Suva Reka did not manage to get away from
three armed young men (17, 18 and 22 years old) in KLA
uniforms. They let them go after a gang rape that went
on for four hours.
most recent report of the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe about human rights
in Kosovo, published on December 6, confirmed that
children were not only witnesses and victims, but also
perpetrators of crimes. During July and August 1999
young Albanians (14 to 20 years old) committed more
than 30 bomb attacks in Lipljan only. The number of
children, above all Albanian children, who
participated in bomb attacks, maltreatment and
persecution, prompted American president Clinton to
appeal to the Albanians, above all parents and
students, to be more tolerant towards other ethnic
groups that live in Kosovo.
appeal prompted recently Bernard Kouchner,
the chief UN administrator for Kosovo, to state that
children are the future of Kosovo and that one of "the
most alarming trends" documented in OSCE reports was
"the increase of the participation of minors in
violations of human rights in Kosovo", which is the
consequence of the ten-years of systematic "policy of
apartheid" carried out in Kosovo by the Serbian
the first OSCE report "As Seen As Told"
dealing with violations of human rights in Kosovo
until June 16 (the deadline for the demilitarization
of KLA) clearly indicated that "according to evidence
the Albanian population in Kosovo was mostly the
victim of human rights violations". However, the
report does clearly show (although that isn't
specified anywhere in the report) that non-Albanian
children (up to 18 years of age) did not beat up
elderly, threw bombs etc. According to OSCE report,
the Albanians suffered the most during the bombardment
of Yugoslavia by NATO forces when Serbian forces
(Police, Army and paramilitary troops) systematically
verifiers, who between March 20 and June 16 were
not in Kosovo, established based on interviews with
2700 Albanian refugees in Macedonia and Albania that
during the bombardment the most endangered categories
of population were young, military age male Albanians
who were, as the OSCE report states, frequently killed
as "terrorists" only because they were young and
Albanian. Appendix 3 of the second OSCE report states
that out of 225 bodies of ethnic Albanians exhumed
from mass graves, 15 boys and 5 girls were also
identified. There is almost no mention of mass graves
of Serbs in the OSCE reports.
The OSCE report does not make it clear whether Serbs
or ethnic Albanians were buried in mass graves found
near the villages of Ugljare (the Gnjilane
Municipality) and Pogradje (the Gnjilane
Municipality), discovered on July 23 and 24. It is
only stated that members of the Democratic League of
Kosovo reported the locations of the graves and when
the forensic experts exhumed the graves it turned out
that none of the corpses found in the grave were
circumcised. Remains of Ivan Atanasov from Malisevo,
Dorde and Zoran Zdravkovic from Glogovac, Stojan Pekic
from Vitina, Slobodan Stevic from Klokot and Dragan
Tomic from Ranilug were identified. All of them were
abducted on July 10 1999. The remaining corpses were
not identified. Villagers from the village of Glogovac
informed the Church-People's Council in Gnjilane that
a minor, Sejda N. from the village of Stublina, Mustaf
Mustafa, "the commander of KLA in that region", a
minor, Ibrahim, and his uncle Zahir from Kisno Polje,
Ali Trstena from the village of Slakovica, Naman
Naziri and Jahir Shabani from Gadis, and Sadik Qerimi
from Zegovac all participated in the abduction. The
council from Gnjilane informed OSCE, but the
information (for unknown reasons) was not included in
the reports published by this organization.
the OSCE report does not mention the bomb attack
on the video club "Asterix" which took place on August
23 1999 in Gnjilane.
boy, about fifteen years old, in black trousers,
green T-shirt and a baseball hat turned backwards,
threw a hand grenade through the door," says Vitomir
Vasic, a member of Church-People's Council in
Gnjilane, adding that six persons were wounded in that
to my own estimate, I would say that out of
estimated 160,000 people who have left Kosovo [since
the arrival of KFOR troops], more than 40 percent are
children under the age of 20. All of them are
traumatized to a certain extent," says Dr. Vidojevic,
adding that in Serbia there is a whole network with
more than 100 stations which assist children and the
youth. However, so far, neuro-psychiatrists,
psychologists, and special teachers had no missions to
Kosovo and Metohija since it is currently impossible
to travel there.
and Not Found
from Vranje say that during the
last five months they have seen many individuals who
had been running away from "the Albanian terror" in
Kosovo. Very few of them sought treatment for their
children. Albanian children were also in refugee
columns, but none of them were taken in as patients by
the Institute for Mental Health.
"Ethnic Albanians who live in Belgrade and have lost a
family member were among my patients. At first they
are ill at ease, but when they realize that we treat
them professionally, just like any other patient,
everything comes to its own place," says Dr.
from the Clinic for Neurology and
Psychiatry of Children and Youth did not have many
patients from Kosovo, having in mind the total number
of refugees, but that does not mean that the children
do not have difficulties and problems.
are facing difficult existential problems and
are used to long-term suffering, so that they do not
notice problems of children and do not bring them to
see a doctor since they believe that the children will
get over their troubles if they provide them with
enough parental guidance," says assistant professor
Aneta Lakic, neuro-psychiatrists at the Clinic for
Neurology and Psychiatry of Children and Youth.
most children do not immediately show
symptoms of posttraumatic stress. Ten-years-old Igor,
an old patient of the Institute for Mental Health, has
held steady although he knew that his brother was
burned alive by a cluster bomb, until his mother
collapsed unable to control pain because of the lost
Marija who saved her sister Sara was
not brought to the Past-traumatic Center in Belgrade,
even though she was a victim and has become volatile
and violent in the meantime. Her parents believe that,
thanks to her temperament and age, Marija has easily
"weathered" the trauma. It is frequent that parents of
"double" refugees believe that their children who were
forced to leave homes in Bosnia and Croatia, will have
an easier time escaping from Kosovo, since "the first
time is the most difficult" and, besides, Kosovo has
never become their "real home".
there is no sense in classifying the
suffering of children, it turned out that those
children who, although wounded and disabled, survived
the death of their loved ones, show strong suicidal
tendencies. Dr. Lane Jones, a British child
psychiatrist who worked in the Drenica region, as well
as physicians who collaborate with the Institute for
Mental Health in Belgrade can testify about the
suffering of those children.
children are not sick. They have survived
extremely difficult events and their reaction is
totally normal," says Dr. Vidojevic. Asked about the
number of children from Kosovo who were admitted to
the Post-traumatic Center, Dr. Vidojevic quotes
"physician's secret" explaining that many parents
demand anonymity. "They tell us, as physicians where
they are from, but they are afraid that they would be
forced to return to Kosovo".
God Help Them
Dragoljub Stevanovic from Kosovska Kamenica
survived on October 27 an encounter with seven young,
but armed Albanians, only due to his presence of mind.
"I was coming back from a nearby village when they
accosted me. They were not old enough to shave. They
wanted to kill me, but I've been around as well. I
opened my bag and grabbed the incense thrower and
shouted at them: 'Get lost, you devils!', and they ran
away. They probably thought that the incense thrower
was a hand grenade. May God help them!".
Issue 2559, January 13, 2000
dinner with Kouchner
special representative of the UN secretary general for Kosovo and
Metohija, Mr. Kouchner, was late for Christmas dinner with the bishop
Raska-Prizren, Artemije, to whom he did not even apologize. The dinner
was not attended by any of the fifty-odd reporters who came by bus
together with Bernard Kouchner from Pristina.
your arrival in Gracanica for Christmas dinner with Bishop Artemije
an attempt to win over the Serbs to rejoin the Kosovo Transitional
bishop frequently tells us that the Serbs are not safe in Kosovo and
that is one reason, perhaps the most important reason, why the Serbs
have withdrawn from the Kosovo Transitional Council. However, the
question now is what is the most important issue in Kosovo. An
understanding must exist that it is difficult to protect every
individual and that not only Serbs are living in Kosovo. We will
continue to do as much as possible but I must say that the security
situation in Kosovo is now much better if we take into account the facts
and statistics. I know that numbers mean nothing, that people are
involved, but it good that the situation in Kosovo is gradually
improving and that all communities living here are safer and safer each
day, even those which are being threatened.
you permit the Serbs who feel unprotected to establish a Serbian
Protection Corps counterpart to the Kosovo Protection Corps which you
established without consulting with the Serbs in order to give the
so-called KLA some semblance of legality?
That is absolutely unallowable. I understand that the Serbs must be
protected but at the same time the Serbs must understand that it is
better to have a civilian defensive organization like the Kosovo
Protection Corps than an army. We cannot permit any kind of duplication
of institutions. I understand that it is difficult for the Serbs to
accept and to join the Kosovo Protection Corps or the Police Academy
from which only seven Serbs graduated recently. Of course, this number
is humorous but already the second generation has thirty enrollees who
are Serbs. Thus, despite everything, we are progessing step by step
I am truly glad that I am here in Gracanica to visit Bishop Artemije
because only together can we advance in the future and seek
reconciliation and democracy for all citizens of Kosovo. His holiness
bishop Artemije has already answered your question and the answer is:
Democracy, democracy, democracy!
democracy is truly the path you have chosen, why then did you select
Agim Ceku as the commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps when you are
aware that the Serbs are extremely disturbed by the fact that it is
nothing more than a transformation of the so-called KLA, to begin with?
Would it not have been wiser to choose some who has not been compromised
as the commander of the KPC?
is not a political conference for reporters and I have no intention
of answering that question. It is common knowledge that in all countries
where the UN has been involved up to now, the effort is made to
transform armies into civilian defense organizations and that Kosovo
no exception. We have made progress because people who until recently
were killing each other are now living next to each other in relative
peace. Battles have raged here for years, we are surrounded on all sides
by mass graves, murderers... But life goes on in peace, as well, while
at the same time we cannot forget everything that has happened here.
task is to change the mentality of those who live here and all of us
should take part in this effort, even Mr. Ceku, who was indeed involved
in events here which recently ended. He simply must be included, now
in the future. Looking at the future of all ethnic communities in Kosovo
and Metohija, the same strategy which the UN has used in Lebanon,
Nicaragua, which I personally implemented in San Salvador, must be
applied. Simply put, the Serbs must understand that they are no
exception and that they must live in peace together with the Albanians
and all other ethnic groups. If necessary, we will make them do this.
by S. Lazovic (January 16, 2000)
Issue 2559, January 13, 2000
ARE PROTECTING YOU
Klaus Reinhardt: The Serbs' desire to form their own defense
corps is as unrealizable as the return of the Yugoslav army and police
to Kosovo and Metohija
the film city near Pristina movies are no longer being shot; this is
now the site of the main command of the multinational forces which have
the task of bringing peace to Kosovo and Metohija. Early on Christmas
Eve, German general Klaus Reinhardt, the chief commanding officer of
KFOR, agreed to an exclusive interview with NIN.
In the period since I have been the chief commanding officer
of KFOR, the number of Serbs here is increasing, and more and more Serbs
are returning to Kosovo and Metohija. It is a mistake on the part of
Serbs to leave Kosovo. We have reduced violence by several times
increasing the number of KFOR troops protecting the Serbs.
In Prizren, prior to your arrival, there were several thousand
Serbs and now, keep in mind, there are no more than seven. Would people
have not remained in Prizren if they had felt truly safe?
I am not here to look after the Serbs exclusively but also to
ensure the survival of the 15,000 members of the Bosnian minority,
30,000 Turks and as many Roma. That is almost the same number as the
number of Serbs remaining in Kosovo and that is why we must treat all
ethnic minorities the same. We are trying to create a multiethnic Kosovo
where everyone will feel safe.
In the attempt to create a multiethnic Kosovo, KFOR, for example,
will not permit the Serbs to leave Orahovac and is protecting as many
30,000 Serbs in Urosevac. The situation in other cities in Kosovo is
similar; would it not appear to the Serbs that they are living in urban
For me multiethnicity is the attempt to ensure the survival
of the minorities in Kosovo. However, that is very difficult at the
present time because if we are providing protection for convoys of
people going from Orahovac to Mitrovca or Strpce, they are being
attacked and do not have freedom of movement. We are convinced that
time we will create a situation in which the minorities and the
Albanians will begin to work together. We all need changes to occur,
what I can provide is that all citizens of Kosovo feel safe. If we can
convince the minorities to remain here and if we convince people that
"in the long run" they must live together, then we have multiethnicity.
But what if that is not the case?
I know that we cannot make every hospital multiethnic even
though we have tried. We cannot make Serbian patients come to Albanian
hospitals. It is clear to me that the Serbs are afraid that they will
not receive adequate medical treatment in those hospitals but we must
insist on multiethnicity, that is, on its implementation first and
foremost in those places where the Serbs represent a compact community
such as, for example, in Mitrovica. That is precisely where we must
insist that multiethnicity be implemented and it would be best if we
began with the hospital.
Why are beginning to implement multiethnicity precisely in the
hospital in Kosovska Mitrovica when you know well that that hospital,
together with the one in Kosovo Polje, is the only medical institution
where the Serbs in Kosovo can go to receive treatment with confidence?
We must start somewhere and I was of the opinion that my idea was humane
because a hospital is a place which should serve all people
regardless of whether they are Serbs, Albanians or belong to some other
Would it not be more logical to start with, for example, the
hospital in Pristina?
One cannot be everywhere at the same time. You must have one example
and if it is successful, it should then be applied in other
regions. Unfortunately, this example was not a good one and it fell
through, even though the majority of the staff told me that they would
be happy to treat Albanians like they did earlier.
Did the doctors in Mitrovica Hospital also tell you that they will
allow Albanian doctors to return to the hospital only when the Serbian
doctors who were forced to leave are returned to their places of
Someone has to make the first step; however, the Serbs in
Mitrovica Hospital were not prepared to do this. My idea is to open
Pristina Hospital and the university to everyone, as well, but we can't
do everything at the same time. Mitrovica was selected precisely because
we have both Serbs and Albanians living next to each other.
Is Mitrovica not a divided city in which Albanians and Serbs both
live in their respective parts of the city?
Yes, it is and the hospital is right in the middle and it
would be good to get the Albanians and the Serbs together. I don't think
that this humane idea was foolish; it should not have failed nor can
tolerate the fact that it did not succeed.
Nevertheless, many Serbs not only believe that the idea was foolish
but experienced the attempt to "open up" Mitrovica Hospital
as a direct
If the Serbs think that making the further work of the
hospital possible is a provocation, then that is their problem and they
would do well to think seriously about this.
You are planning to visit Orahovac with the bishop of
Raska-Prizren, Artemije, toward the end of January. Is this as a result
of your wish to see for yourself how difficult life is for the Serbs
there and do you think that the Serbs are sufficiently cooperative?
Political cooperation between the Serbs and UNMIK fell
through only because the Serbs rejected the possibility of participating
in a common effort but I hope that the Serbs will soon see the error
their ways and continue cooperating. I have good cooperation with the
Serbian National Council and I meet frequently with Bishop Artemije
Mr. Trajkovic, as well as with other Serbian administrators. I try to
find a common language with them, to recognize their wishes and to
implement them to the extent that it is within my power.
One of the wishes of the Serbs is to have their own defense corps
which will protect them in areas where they represent a compact
community. Will you grant their wish?
We have a Kosovo Protection Corps and there will be no other
corps in addition to it. It is, as you know, a civilian defensive
organization which will not protect the borders, will not be empowered
to act in matters of internal security and will not implement laws.
creation of a Serbian defense corps would only make the situation in
Kosovo worse and probably would contribute to a growth in the level
violence. If the Serbs were to form forces to protect them from violence
then we would have to allow not only Albanians but all the other
minorities to do the same, and that would not be a good thing.
Therefore, we will not allow the Serbs to establish their own corps,
matter what they think.
You said that the Kosovo Protection Corps is a civilian
organization but in Prizren I saw four armed members of the KPC. How
you explain the fact that they are nevertheless armed?
The Kosovo Protection Corps has three thousand active members and two
thousand reservists; we have given only two hundred of them the right
to bear arms and they are the ones who will be body guards in the future.
This may appear strange to you but believe me that it is a
necessity in this land where there are too many arms to begin with.
two hundred licenses to bear arms is the best indicator that the Kosovo
Protection Corps is not an army, like the KLA was, but a civilian
If you want the Serbs to be involved in the Kosovo Protection Corps
and if you want it to be a multiethnic civilian organization, then why
is it headed by Agim Ceku, the former commander of the KLA, who has
compromised in the minds of the Serbs not only by campaigns in Kosovo
but in Croatia as well?
Does anyone exist at all in Kosovo and Metohija whom the
Serbs would not consider to have been compromised? Everyone who I work
with has been compromised in some way.
Why don't you ask the Serbs whom they would not consider to have
The accusations which you have just made against Mr. Ceku are incorrect...
Is it not is a known fact that even the Hague tribunal is
considering whether to conduct an investigation of Mr. Ceku?
Carla del Ponte was here and we asked her whether she had
anything against Ceku, to which she replied that she did not. Until
reverse is proven true, I will consider Agim Ceku to be an innocent
I need evidence in order to be able to accuse someone and if such
evidence were to be found, believe me, my people would immediately
arrest Mr. Ceku.
The question was not whether Mr. Ceku should be arrested but why a
man like him is heading the Kosovo Protection Corps?
Because the idea to transform the KLA into a civilian
organization, that is, into a protective force, is not a bad one and
am truly happy that Mr. Ceku agreed to be the commander of the KPC.
meet frequently and I can tell you that he is a very honest man and
pleased that he has accepted his difficult and, one could say,
When do you think that the right conditions will exist for the
return of the Yugoslav army and police to Kosovo and Metohija?
First of all the Yugoslav army and police will never return
to Kosovo in any great number because only a few hundred of them have
been foreseen to return. When that will be I cannot say because that
issue is being resolved at higher levels by the ministers of the
countries of the international community.
Not long ago Yugoslav general Pavkovic announced that he would soon
return to Kosovo. Is KFOR prepared, in the even that this should occur
without the permission of the international community, to meet the
Yugoslav Army head on and in that kind of situation is it possible that
fighting could occur?
It would not be wise for the Yugoslav army to enter Kosovo by
force because I am in command of 50,000 well-trained and equipped
soldiers who are practicing the defense of Kosovo every day. If this
could occur, KFOR would intervene, while politically this would mean
that Serbia would again wage battle with all NATO forces.
Would president Milosevic's departure from power have a positive
effect on the situation in Kosovo and is it a necessary condition for
the improvement of the situation of the Serbs in Kosovo?
We cannot foresee this because it would depend on the
elections and who the potential replacement for Milosevic would be.
Do you think that the Serbian opposition has the power to replace
The majority of Serbs in Kosovo, and it appears in Serbia as
well, is preoccupied with everyday survival and does not think a lot
about what is going on in Belgrade itself. Everything connected to
Milosevic and his party has direct repercussions in Kosovo but since
are here, the effects of his actions have weakened. The problems
existing here must be solved and it is in the interest of KFOR to help
What needs to happen in the year 2000 for you, as the chief
commanding officer of KFOR, to be satisfied?
I would be happiest if the Serbs and the Albanians stopped
talking about the past, if they showed more appreciation for the present
because without this there is no vision for the future. One must be
practical. I would like the people in Kosovo to become more tolerant,
for the violence to stop and for them to attempt to live together. I
know that it is difficult but we will do everything possible for this
be realized as soon as possible.
by S. Lazovic (January 15, 2000)
Issue 2559, January 13, 2000
US CHANGE THE GOVERNMENT
bishop of Raska-Prizren, Artemije
the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija to survive and stay it is necessary
to change the government in Belgrade led by president Milosevic as soon
as possible, says Bishop Artemije, adding that the people have the
strength to do this.
bishop of Raska-Prizren, Artemije, arrived on January 5 from the
monastery of Sopocani to celebrate Christmas in Gracanica with his
congregation. For longer than an hour he waited for KFOR accompaniment
at "Gate Five" in Bujanovac; it never came. He was interviewed
while sitting in the dark at the dining-table in the patriarch's
chambers in the residence hall of Gracanica Monastery.
difficult is life for the Serbs who have stayed to live in the
cities of Kosovo?
the cities there is a very small number of Serbs remaining and their
lives are far more difficult than the lives of Serbs in big enclaves
such as Gracanica, Kosovska Mitrovica. In Pristina there are now barely
300 old people who are afraid to leave their apartments; in Pec, two
women remain, and the situation in the other cities in Kosovo is not
much better. We can say that there are hardly any Serbs left in the
cities and where there are some of them, their lives are difficult.
is primarily to blame for the present situation in Kosovo?
blame are Slobodan Milosevic and his colleagues who are leading this
people and state. Milosevic's regime during the past ten years has done
nothing to resolve the question of the status of Kosovo and Metohija;
has done everything to get us into the situation in which we are now.
well, since the Yugoslav Army and police have withdrawn from Kosovo,
has done nothing to help the Serbs here survive and stay; it has even
gone so far as to call those remaining in Kosovo traitors and
the Serbs in Kosovo are traitors and lickspittles, who then are the
every man judge for himself whether the patriots are those who are
protecting their hearths and their holy places in Kosovo or those who
left everything without a second thought, leaving their people to the
mercy of Albanian gangs, extremists and terrorists. Those people fled
from here with money and wealth which they looted from Kosovo.
Belgrade pressure is being applied on the Serbian National Council
of which you are a member as the representative of the Serbian Orthodox
Church. You are being accused of getting involved in politics. Has the
Church really gotten involved in politics or is something else going
accusation leveled by Belgrade against the Church is nothing new. I
would say that the Church absolutely is not getting involved in politics
but only demonstrating, as it has always done, its maternal concern
the people who have been entrusted to it by God and by history. The
Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija have been completely abandoned, not a
single institution of the Serbian state is functioning here, and those
who claim to have been elected by the people have left the people
without any means of defense. It is the Church which remained here to
protect the people from the attacks of various gangs, to feed it and
distribute the humanitarian aid which is coming mainly from the emigrant
community, Greece and individual towns in Serbia.
regime is attempting to create the appearance of a presence in
Kosovo. Is this helping or hurting those Serbs who remain in Kosovo?
founding the Serbian National Council we decided to suspend all
political party activities until the right conditions for political
competition were created. However, there are some people who are coming
from Belgrade and other cities in Serbia to create parallel
organizations, so called assemblies [skupstine]. They are the one who
causing division and intrigue among the remaining Serbs in Kosovo and
Metohija. Many problems which could be easily resolved if the Serbs
united are not being resolved. It should be clear to everyone that there
are not enough Serbs left in Kosovo for all the political parties who
want to profit here. What Milosevic's troublemakers are doing in Kosovo
is pure manipulation and misuse of people who are fighting here for
their physical survival.
the number and influence of those troublemakers in Kosovo great?
don't know those people; I don't know how many of them there are but
their influence is felt. One of them is around to sabotage us each and
you have a concrete example?
Gracanica we are unable to open a surgical clinic which was donated
to the Serbian people by the Greek government, even though we have all
the necessary licenses from UNMIK, only because those troublemakers
spreading rumors among the people that the state is going to build a
hospital here. We have had enough of promises from Belgrade.
withdrawing from the Kosovo Transitional Council you are also
having quite a bit of difficulty with the international factor in
Kosovo, first and foremost with Mr. Kouchner, who are pressuring you
return to the Council. Are you going to do this or do you believe that
this would be compromising for you?
I am compromised or not is not the issue, my concern is for the
fate of my people. The Serbian National Council withdrew from the Kosovo
Transitional Council on September 22 because Mr. Kouchner, without our
knowledge and any consultation, made the decision to transform the
so-called KLA into the Kosovo Protection Corps; however, our cooperation
has not ended and we have remained in contact. If we had not remained
contact, we could not do anything. At present we are not under pressure;
however, Mr. Kouchner has indicated his wish that the Serbs participate
in the further work of the Council, as well as in the new, common
administration which he created without consulting the Serbian side
(even though, during this period, Mr. Kouchner's advisor visited
Gracanica on several occasions). Until we receive concrete solutions
securing the protection of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija,
well as for the return of those forced to leave, the Serbian National
Council will not change its position.
situation in Kosovo and Metohija is exceptionally difficult, while
in Serbia there are more and more people who can hardly make ends meet.
It appears that the change of the regime may be a bloody one?
it is possible that there will be blood but not because that is
what the people or the opposition desire, but because that is what the
regime desires in order to provoke a civil war. If a civil war ensues,
whether it is between Serbia and Montenegro or just within Serbia, keep
in mind that it will be exclusively the work of the current regime and
of Mr. Milosevic, who is leading and directing it.
is your vision of our future in the year 2000?
are three things which we must do. First: we need to replace the
current regime in Belgrade and Serbia. Second. we need to replace the
current regime in Belgrade and Serbia. And third: we need to replace
current regime in Belgrade and Serbia.
by S. Lazovic (January 15, 2000)
Bishop Artemije, the monks, the nuns and other servants of the church
are helping the Serbs in Kosovo to survive the winter
By LIDIJA KUJUNDZIC
Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia, January 27 2000
is enough to meet a single monk in Kosovo to lose all preconceived notions
regarding what it is that the Church is doing in these, for the Serbs
who stayed in Kosovo, most difficult of times. Having gathered a group
of tall, young, intelligent monks around him, bishop Artemije leads
almost a nomadic life, traveling from one end of the eparchy [diocese
in Eastern Orthodox Churches] to the other, visiting people, lending
them strength and helping them in whatever way he can.
"Even though general Reinhardt has forbidden me to travel through
Kosovo without KFOR accompaniment, I am forced to do that," says
bishop Artemije, smiling just to the extent it is proper for a bishop.
performing what their conscience and dignity dictate, the members of
the Church in Kosovo respect the bishop's principle that wherever there
are people and holy sites, that is where they should be.
position of bishop Artemije is that all displaced monks and nuns should
return to their home monasteries as soon as conditions are right; those
whose monasteries have been destroyed should return to the eparchy under
the spiritual care of their bishop and spiritual leader," says
father Vasilije Delic, one of the associates of bishop Artemije, adding
that only the sisters from the monastery of the Holy Trinity near Musotiste
were forced to temporarily move to the Sumadija eparchy, to the monastery
of Josanica near Jagodina. There are approximately 100 monks, 50 nuns
and slightly more than 40 priests remaining in the eparchy of Raska-Prizren.
monks from the monastery of St. Gabriel the Archangel in Binac near
Vitina relocated to the monastery of Draganac near Gnjilane, the monks
of the monastery of the Holy Prophets in Zociste are residing in the
monastery of Crna Reka, while a part of the brotherhood who had neither
electrical power nor water in the monastery of the Holy Archangels in
Prizren found refuge in the monastery of Sopocani.
the name of God
Nevertheless, four monks have stayed in this monastery which was built
in the 14th century. I met one of them, father German, in the yard of
Gracanica monastery as he was peacefully leaning against a cold radiator
and reading an outdated newspaper. He did not seem in the least perturbed
by the fact that Dejan, a red-haired boy, was clutching a belt which
he had previously wound around the father's neck. It was, in fact, the
religious "Fathers Day", the day when all fathers must give
a gift to their "captors" in order to be "freed".
As father German had nothing to give to free himself from this apparently
uncomfortable situation, he was saved by sister Teodora, who gave Dejan
an icon of Saints Cosmo and Damian.
However, even sister Teodora, who is responsible for the sale of Gracanica
monastery wine, could not "save" father German who languished
from longing to return to the monastery of the Holy Archangels in Prizren.
There was something irrational in German's wish to return to Prizren
in which no Serb (and many Albanians and Roma, as well) did not feel
is difficult for me not to be in the monastery," says father German,
for whom a short visit to his parent's home in Gornji Milanovac and
two days in Gracanica is enough to cause him to long for the peace and
uniformity of the monastic life in Holy Archangels.
father German, who spends his days in prayer, solitude and woodcarving,
father Miron Kosac, a professor of theology in Prizren, serves God in
a completely different, yet essentially the same, manner.
Miron stayed in Prizren to heal, to feed and to console a handful of
unfortunates, of whom many are Albanians and Roma. We have received
word that his neighbors from the surrounding houses have been threatening
him for days in the hope that they will force him to leave," says
father Vasilije and adds: "I personally watched how, during the
bombing, father Hariton Lukic delivered food, coffee, cigarettes and
chocolate for the children to an Albanian family in Dusanovo near Prizren
and urged these people to endure."
Hariton disappeared on June 15. Members of the so-called Kosovo Liberation
Army kidnapped him in the streets of Prizren. He is no longer alive,
although those who knew him do not dare say as much.
of the members of the Church in Kosovo (whose name is withheld because
its publication would endanger his life) says that he learned that one
of the KLA commanders in Pristina was offering 100,000 German marks
to anyone who could tell him in which Serbian jail his brother was being
found his brother, who is alive, but I cannot say where. I told him
that I do not want money, but I asked him to find Hariton - whether
he was dead or alive. And I know that that man would do anything to
save his brother. However, he could not find Hariton and I am afraid
that we will not be able to find even his body," says this priest
who, like father Radivoje Panic of Kosovo Polje, looks more like an
outlaw than a priest. The priest with the freckled eyes from Kosovo
Polje recently returned from the monastery of Devic in Drenica, alive
but with a graying beard and mustache. Although he was traveling without
KFOR accompaniment in an automobile badly in need of repair, father
Panic stopped at the monastery of Gorioc near Istok, as well.
Father Stefan Puric, who fought back in the same way as father Hariton,
was also kidnapped by members of the so-called KLA in the month of July
not far from the monastery of Budisavci. His body was not found but
the Serbian Orthodox Church unofficially learned that this monk was
tortured and subsequently killed in Istok together with several other
Serbs. It is assumed that their bodies were tossed into a pit.
"We will probably never recover their bodies, just as the bodies
of many Albanians who are registered as missing will never be recovered,"
said father Sava from the monastery of Decani who, during the bombing,
together with the other monks, hid Albanians and Roma so that the number
of the "missing" would not be greater. On the basis of what
father Sava of Decani has seen and what was told to him it is possible
to conclude that the bodies of some Albanians who were killed before
and during the NATO aggression against FR Yugoslavia were buried in
Serbia (if they were buried at all), just as the bodies of many Serbs
who were killed were buried somewhere in Albania.
the time will come when someone will have enough strength and courage
to tell the truth if all the evidence is not destroyed beforehand,"
says father Sava of Decani, adding that during the bombing there were
moments when he himself was afraid of the members of various armed formations
who in the name of the Serbian state carried out actions of which the
Serbian people will be ashamed for a long time to come.
think that now is not the right time for self-accusation, as if the
responsibility and crimes which some individuals carried out (and apparently
there were many of them in Kosovo and Metohija during the preceding
years) could be collectivized and assigned to the people as a whole.
matter how much the ruling regime tried to accuse the Serbian Orthodox
Church, and especially the bishop of Raska-Prizren, Artemije, of getting
involved in politics, it did not succeed because the members of the
Church are those who stayed in Kosovo. The Serbs in Kosovo know that
the bishop, the monks, the nuns and the other servants of the church
are helping the people to survive. To survive the winter in Kosovo and
Metohija means bare subsistence, practically without electrical power
and water, at temperatures below minus ten degrees Celsius [below 12
degrees Farenheit] in perpetual fear that tomorrow will be even more
horrible than today. In general, it is.
the politicians ran away a long time ago. If the bishop were the same,
that is, if he were a politician, he would not suffer here with us but
move his seat to somewhere in Serbia," says Nebojsa Lekic from
of the fact that general Klaus Reinhardt, the commander of KFOR, and
Bernard Koucher, the special envoy of the UN for Kosovo and Metohija,
most recently have shown considerable effort with regard to the remaining
100,000 Serbs in Kosovo, the Serbs have no faith in them because it
is not true that the non-Albanian population in Kosovo is now more secure
than it was, for example, three months ago.
bishop Artemije is a man whom both general Reinhardt and Kouchner hold
in high regard as the representative of a people will whom they need
to negotiate, even their authority was not enough to protect him on
Saturday, January 22. Bishop Artemije, Momcilo Trajkovic, the president
of the executive board of the Serbian National Council, Randjel Nojkic,
the vice-president of the executive board of the Serbian National Council
and father Sava from Decani, together with general Reinhardt and Kouchner,
flew from Pristina to Orahovac in a helicopter. The first part of the
trip went according to schedule. However, the situation quickly deteriorated
when two Jeeps belonging to the German battalion of the multinational
forces were due to enter from the Serb into the Albanian part of Orahovac.
the very entrance to their part of the city, the Albanians set a trap
for us. They targeted us with snowballs, with eggs... The first Jeep,
in which general Reinhardt rode, passed, but the second jeep, in which
bishop Artemije was, with great difficulty broke through a group of
demonstrators with placards shouting that bishop Artemije was a war
criminal," said Momcilo Trajkovic.
Translation by Snezana Lazovic (January 28, 2000)