AUGUST 13, 2003

Tragic reality of Kosovo Today
funeral of Panta Dakic

Gorazdevac victims laid to rest
| 17:24 -> 19:28 | Beta

(cross in hands of the younger brother of Panta Dakic)

GORAZDEVAC -- Friday -- Kosovo's Serb community today laid to rest two Serb youths shot dead whilst swimming in Kosovo's River Bistrica two days ago.

First to be buried was Pantelija Dakic, whose funeral was attended by around 1,000 local citizens.

The funeral, in the village of Gorazdevac near Pec, was also attended by Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic, deputy Serbian Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic, deputy UNMIK head Charles Brayshaw, Kosovo Minister Nenad Bogdanovic and the majority of MPs from the Kosovo-Serb Return Coalition.

Montenegrin and Coastal Bishop Amfilohije Radovic and members of the Raska and Prizren eparchy led the service and prayer of remembrance, while representatives of international missions have already signed a book of remembrance opened in the village centre.

Bidding farewell to 11-year-old Pantelija, a school friend said the "hand of a criminal pulled the trigger and the burst of fire brought unavoidable death and snuffed out a life which had only just begun".

Wreaths were laid at the grave by relatives, friends and representatives of the Serbian Government and UNMIK.

The village, secured on all sides today by heavily armed international troops, later hosted the funeral of the second victim of the attack – twenty-year-old Ivan Jovovic.

Bishop Amfilohije said that while other Europeans harvest wheat from their fields "we are in Kosovo fields harvesting nothing but death for the last 600 years", he added that the death of the innocent is beginning once again in the province and that a warning should be heeded by minded people and Kosovo's honourable Albanian community.

Speaking at Jovovic's graveside, PM Zivkovic noted that this was the first time Serbian officials had visited Kosovo for four years, saying that the occasion for the visit was"horrifying" and only added to centuries of Serb death.

funeral of Ivan Jovic

Zivkovic: international forces failing for four years

Zivkovic said: "We cannot bring back Ivan and Pantelija, but we can all try together to make their sacrifice the last because this does not depend solely on us who have responsibility in Serbia, as we are only able to reach your village in Kosovo very rarely, and sometimes only secretly.

"The ones who took over responsibility for your safety and your lives are international forces that have failed to fulfil even the beginning of what was their assignment, even fter four years," said Zivkovic, reminding mourners that the deaths of Ivan, Pantelija and many others, served as proof that there is still a lot of illegal weaponry in the province.

Expressing hope that new UNMIK governor Harri Holkeri would prove to be a serious politician and the harbinger of a new policy towards Serbs in the province, Zivkovic called on Kosovo-Serbs to have the strength to remain and democracy-minded Kosovo-Albanians to show responsibility for Serbs in Kosovo.

Zivkovic said to Serb mourners: "The Serbian government is responsible for Albanians living in Presevo, Belgrade and Krusevac, and Kosovo authorities have to offer guarantees for your safety".The bodies of the slaughtered youths were last night released from the UNMIK Forensic Medicine Institute in Orahovac and taken to Gorazdevac in preparation for this afternoon’s burials.

After meeting Kosovo’s new governor, Harri Holkeri, who is visiting Belgrade prior to taking up his new post, Zivkovic said that UNMIK had guaranteed the safety of Serb officials who will visit Pristina, Kosovska Mitrovica and Gorazdevac.

The prime minister also announced that he had deputised Covic to attend Monday’s meeting of the UN Security Council, which will address the situation in Kosovo.

The Serbian Government has declared today a day of mourning for the victims of Wednesday’s attack in Gorazdevac.

Premier Zivkovic and Vice Premier Covic at the funeral

Zivkovic and Covic attend Gorazdevac funerals
| 15:39 | B92

BELGRADE -- Friday – Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic and Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic have travelled to Kosovo for the funeral of two Serb teenagers killed in Wednesday’s attack near Pec.

The bodies of Pantelija Dakic and Ivan Jovovic were last night released from the UNMIK Forensic Medicine Institute in Orahovac and taken to Gorazdevac in preparation for this afternoon’s burials.

After meeting Kosovo’s new governor, Harri Holkeri, who is visiting Belgrade prior to taking up his new post Zivkovic said that UNMIK had guaranteed the safety of Serb officials who will visit Pristina, Kosovska Mitrovica and Gorazdevac.

The prime minister also announced that he had deputised Covic to attend Monday’s meeting of the UN Security Council which will address the situation in Kosovo.

The Serbian Government has declared today a day of mourning for the victims of Wednesday’s attack in Gorazdevac.

On the way to the cemetery

funeral of Ivan Jovic

Prayer of Metropolitan Amfilohije

Panta Dakic

Critically wounded Bogdan Bukumiric - one of victims in the massacre of Albanian terrorists against Serb children in Western part of Kosovo and Metohija

Two killed, at least five seriously wounded in terorrist attack - Albanians stone and set on fire one of the cars transporting injured Serb children - Great unrest in Serb enclaves throughout Kosovo and Metohija - Bishop Artemije strongly condemns crime

Gorazdevac, Gracanica - Unknown persons opened machine gun fire on Serb children bathing in the Bistrica River not far from Gorazdevac, Pec municipality. According to preliminary information two Serb children were killed and at least five others wounded.

Panta Dakic (10) and Ivan Jovovic (20) were pronounced dead at Pec Hospital while Bogdan Bukumiric (15) and Nikola Bogicevic are in critical condition. Also seriously wounded were Dragana Srbljak (14), Djordje Ugrenovic (20) and Marko Bogicevic, said Sladjana Todorovic of Gorazdevac, who was with the wounded children in Pec Hospital.

Bogdan Bukumiric is scheduled to be transferred to Belgrade by helicopter during the day. According to reports from the field, Albanians stoned the vehicle of Milovan Pavlovic while he was attempting to drive some of the wounded children to Pec Hospital. Pavlovic sustained arm injuries. Local sources report that the attackers also beat the wounded child in Pavlovic's vehicle.

- The children were bathing today in the Bistrica River, some 500 meters from the center of the village, when they were targeted by machine gun fire by unknown persons at about 13.30. Three rounds were fired. KFOR and UNMIK police have not conducted an investigation at the site of the attack, although members of the UN military mission helped to get from Gorazdevac to Pec Hospital, whose staff is really trying to help the wounded children," explained Sladjana Todorovic.

Gorazdevac today is full of great unrest and fear. The nuns of the Pec Patriarchate and the monks of Visoki Decani have urgently requested KFOR to allow them to enter Gorazdevac. The sisterhood of the Pec Patriarchate could not get an escort and the Decani monks are still waiting for a positive response from KFOR to provide them with a military escort.

- This is an unprecedented crime. In Kosovo and Metohija for four years there has been no Serbian Army or police, who Albanian terrorists claimed were their enemies, and they are killing our children. In the past Serb children have been the targets of grenades and run over by cars, and now they are being perfidiously killed when they are swimming in the river - said Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren, commenting on today's terrorist attack near Gorazdevac.

The Serb village of Gorazadevac is located near Pec and security is provided by Italian KFOR troops. It is still the home of some 1,000 Serbs, half of the village population prior to the arrival of the UN mission in Kosovo and Metohija. The village has a primary school and two secondary schools, one technical and one economic. In order to obtain basics for life, residents are dependent on military and police assistance or forced to travel to northern Kosovska Mitrovica by escorted convoy.

Wounded Marko Bogicevic (age 11) in the military field hospital in Prizren.
He was visited  today by Abbot German of Holy Archangels Monastery,7792,1019652,00.html


Zagreb dispatch

Atrocity at Bistrica beach

A gunman's brutal attack on a group of Serbian children swimming in a Kosovan river has plunged the troubled region into further crisis, writes Ian Traynor

Friday August 15, 2003

With the mercury touching 40C (104F) in the blistering Balkan heatwave, the children of Gorazdevac merrily pursued their favourite summer pasttime - plunging in and out of a popular swimming stretch of the river Bistrica in western Kosovo.

Gorazdevac is a Serbian village among an overwhelming Albanian majority in the United Nations-run province. The splashing children, too, were Serbian, several dozen of them.

On Wednesday afternoon a man with a Kalashnikov machinegun suddenly started spraying the water with bullets. Pantelija Dakic, 11, and Ivan Jovovic, 20, were killed. Another four children were seriously wounded. The rest fled in panic.

"About 50 of us were taking a swim when we heard one, two, three machine gun bursts. I saw children falling around me, and then felt strong pain in my arm and knee," one of the wounded told the Belgrade newspaper, Vecernje Novosti.

The murderous attack is extreme, even by the vicious standards that still prevail in Kosovo four years after a war that ended with Nato forces driving brutal Serbian occupying forces out of the province and left the Albanians under an international protectorate.

The murders also come at an extremely delicate time in the protracted wrangling over what will become of Kosovo, with the Albanians insisting on full independence, the Serbs demanding that Kosovo enjoy a form of home rule within Serbia, and the international community playing for time.

Murders and armed attacks are a weekly occurrence in the streets and villages of Kosovo, with the minority Serbs still clinging to an existence in the province particularly under threat from roaming bands of Albanian thugs.

childrens' clothes and bycicles remained on the river bank
after the massacre

A few days before the beach killings, an Albanian gunman shot a Serb man in the mouth while he was fishing. An Indian UN policeman was killed by an Albanian sniper in a road ambush 10 days ago, the first UN policeman to be murdered since the war ended in 1999.

And just beyond Kosovo's border in the Presevo area of Serbia proper, where Albanian militants are on the prowl, a series of incidents in recent weeks points to trouble ahead.

The Bistrica beach atrocity is assumed to have been the work of an Albanian gunman although the perpetrator is still at large. The attack on the children was exceptionally brutal. Predictably and understandably, Serbia is in uproar over the crime.

The Serbian government declared today a day of mourning for the victims. An emergency session of the country's supreme defence council was hurriedly convened to debate the crisis.

"We are not here to announce war or military messages," said Svetozar Marovic, the head of state of the new loose union of Serbia-Montenegro.

Angry Serbs blocked roads in Kosovo and in southern Serbia. The Belgrade government demanded that the UN security council meet to discuss the matter.

"Kosovo is descending into a catastrophe," said Nebojsa Covic, the Serbian deputy prime minister responsible for Kosovo, who said the murders constituted "a continuation of ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo".

The Serbian foreign ministry declared the murders were part of a planned and coordinated campaign of terror aimed at Kosovo's destabilisation.

UN and Nato officials in Kosovo deplored the murders as an act of barbarism. Kosovo Albanian leaders also condemned the killings, but perhaps a bit more hesitantly than they might have.

"We are shocked that someone in Kosovo could do such evil," Ramush Tahiri, a senior Kosovo Albanian official, told a Belgrade television station. "Dark forces who bear ill intent towards Kosovo are probably behind it."

It remains to be seen what impact the murders will have on the wider effort at conciliation and resolving the curious status of Kosovo, currently a diplomatic and political limbo.

Earlier this week the Serbian prime minister, Zoran Zivkovic, laid out Belgrade's claims with a declaration on Kosovo that is to be adopted by the Serbian parliament after the summer recess. It is a wish list instantly scorned by the Kosovo Albanian leadership, with fat chance of becoming reality.

Serbia's sovereignty and territorial inviolability extends to Kosovo, the declaration asserted, and promised that once human and ethnic minority rights are secured for the Serbs in Kosovo, the province will also be afforded substantial autonomy.

This is essentially a return to the status quo ante of the 1980s before the indicted war criminal, Slobodan Milosevic, abolished Kosovo's autonomy and established a police state there. It is utterly unacceptable to the Albanians who have since been through a war to secure independence along with the other peoples of former Yugoslavia.

Besides, the Zivkovic demand presupposes that the loose union of Serbia and Montenegro, established earlier this year, will survive while most analysts view those chances as remote.

Mr Zivkovic's gambit, following the assassination in March of his predecessor, Zoran Djindjic, is also aimed at building electoral support among Serbian nationalists, a move which will inevitably produce a parallel hardening of nationalist positions on the Albanian side.

blood of Ivan Jovic (19) who was killed at the spot by Albanian terrorists

On the fringes of the European Union summit in Greece in June, it was announced that the Serbs and Kosovo Albanians were about to embark on their first negotiations since the end of the war. The talks, initially to deal with low-level and administrative matters, were to open last month. They did not. The talks are now expected to begin within a couple of months.

The murders, the thuggery, and the political posturing highlight the problems enveloping these negotiations and the challenges facing the former Finnish prime minister, Harri Holkeri, who has just been appointed the new UN chief in Kosovo after months of backroom sniping and manoeuvring between the Americans and the Europeans.

Mr Holkeri has not even taken up his new post yet. Wednesday was the first day of his first reconnaissance visit to Kosovo, the day of the Bistrica beach atrocity.

Serbs transporting wounded attacked by Albanian hooligans in Pec - Albanian medical staff refused medical assistance

"Somehow we managed, with a KFOR military escort, to get to Pec Hospital but once there we were mistreated even by the physicians, who refused to give immediate assistance to the wounded boys," said Jandzikovic, who returned to Gorazdevac without his vehicle, together with KFOR.

Radio B92
Beta News Agency, Belgrade

August 13, 2003

GORAZDEVAC - Gorazdevac local Rajko Jandzikovic, who was, after today's attack on Serbs, transporting the wounded to the hospital in Pec together with Milivoje Pavlovic, stated that they were attacked near the farmer's market in that city by a group of Albanians using their fists and stones.

A group of young people bathing in the Bistrica River near Pec was targeted by machine gun fire in which two people were killed and six wounded.

"Near the farmer's market our Opel Kadet with Zrenjanin license plates ran out of fuel. I went to the KFOR checkpoint some 50 meters away to ask if they would give us a liter of fuel but the Italian soldiers turned us down, despite the fact that I speak Italian relatively well," said Jandzikovic.

"We were then attacked by a group of young Albanians - with fists and stones - while members of the Kosovo Police Service nearby failed to react," he added.

Jandzakovic said that "there were two boys in the car fighting for their lives" and added that he does not understand "what is happening to people."

"Somehow we managed, with a KFOR military escort, to get to Pec Hospital but once there we were mistreated even by the physicians, who refused to give immediate assistance to the wounded boys," said Jandzikovic, who returned to Gorazdevac without his vehicle, together with KFOR.

His shirt is soaked with blood and there are several bruises on his face.

Scene of the crime against Serb children on the Bistrica River.
Terrorists opened fire on the swimming children from the opposite bank.
Children's clothing, bicycles and other articles remain strewn nearby


Fr. Sava (Janjic)

Yesterday's crime against the Serb children of the village of Gorazdevac near Pec has deeply shaken all Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and throughout Serbia and left behind it a numbing pain and an awful feeling of helplessness. The brutality and cowardice of this terrorist act have cast a dark shadow over the entire previous UN mission and KFOR, who in the more than four years of their stay in Kosovo and Metohija have not even managed to protect the Serb population living in militarily protected enclaves, let alone to secure a normal life for all throughout the territory of the Province.

After all, this crime is not just some "isolated incident" committed by anonymous extremists. The massacre of innocent children in Gorazdevac is first and foremost a shocking indicator of the real situation in Kosovo and Metohija that the majority of UNMIK and KFOR representatives, together with Albanian political leaders, are persistently attempting to hide from the global public in order to rationalize their own failures. For months international representatives have been shouting from the rooftops how the security situation has improved, how the Serb security problem is "all in their frustrated minds" and how a contemporary European society is being built in Kosovo and Metohija. However, when they themselves begin to believe their own lies, a crime occurs that reveals a completely different reality.

This tragedy, therefore, is no "isolated incident" but an illustration of a shocking phenomenon and the culmination of a collective criminal mentality being nurtured and formed, especially during the last four years, in the souls of many, if not the great majority, of Kosovo Albanians. The formation of this retrograde consciousness is the outcome not only of the Albanian language media constantly fanning the flames of ethnic hatred or school programming where the most hardened criminals and opportunists are identified in the eyes of Albanian children as heroes of justice and democracy but also of an ubiquitous attitude of indifference on the part of international bureaucrats whose activity in the Province seems to have been reduced to recording crimes as they occur and feverish efforts to bail out as quickly as possible from their written off mission.

Murdered Ivan Jovic (age 19)

The UN Security Council and NATO headquarters, as well as the governments of Western countries, are constantly being sent dressed up and false reports from Pristina that talk about the great successes of the mission and the progress toward a multiethnic society. When, at a recent meeting of the North Atlantic Council, the decision-making body of NATO, KFOR commander general Fabio Mini recently provided horrific facts regarding corruption in Kosovo and Metohija institutions, especially the Kosovo Protection Corps, and informed the ministers of NATO member countries of the extent of Albanian extremism, many found it difficult to believe because they have been and still are receiving completely different information from their own representatives in Pristina.

The crime in Gorazdevac was undoubtedly committed by a sick person because only such a person could harm innocent children nonchalantly swimming in the river. However, the attack against four Serbs in Pec, including a child seriously wounded in the preceding incident, shows that the boundaries of the crime are much broader and even more serious. What kind of moral wasteland rages in the souls of the Pec residents who bestially descended on a parent transporting his wounded child to the hospital? The spontaneous reaction of the Albanians in Pec is primarily the direct consequence of the activity of Albanian institutions in the Province institutionalizing the rule of ethnic terror and violence and proclaiming crime to be the standard of justice and law. The glorification of terrorists as "freedom fighters" by the Kosovo parliament, systematic discrimination against the non-Albanian population in all spheres of life and persistent obstruction of the return of displaced persons are just some of the most extreme activities being directly implemented under the auspices of these new institutions created by UNMIK. Such institutions are not only preventing the building of a democratic society but actually systematically destroying every possibility of common life. Through their activities such institutions serve primarily as a smokescreen for criminals and mafiosi presently in the roles of leading politicians who enjoy the reputation of national heroes and saviors of the Albanian people.

During the past four years the international community has shown itself to be incapable not only of preventing Albanian ethnic violence but of solving a single serious crime. More than two months have passed since the massacre of the Stolic family and the investigation has not yet to produce a single result. The situation is similar with dozens of other crimes, the most audacious of which include the massacre of peasants harvesting their crops in Staro Gracko and the planting of explosives by terrorists on a Serb bus in Livadice. More than one hundred Orthodox Christian churches have been destroyed during the war; not one perpetrator of these barbarian attacks has been found nor is there any ongoing nvestigation. Investigations are obstructed by Albanian extremists who have scared the wits out of their more honorable compatriots and international representatives more concerned about their personal safety than the eradication of this rule of terror.

Murdered Panto Dakic (age 10)

Therefore, the question to ask is whether the international community is indeed incapable or whether it simply lacks the will to confront Albanian terrorism? UNMIK police and KFOR have at their disposal exceptionally comprehensive intelligence and state-of-the-art technical means so it is difficult to believe that they are really unable to resolve these serious crimes. The real issue is the lack of will to cast former "allies" in a negative light because this would undermine the very "legitimacy" of the peacekeeping mission itself. The revelation of the whole truth regarding the criminal activity of the KLA, systematically armed by the governments of some Western countries, the legitimacy of military intervention and the bombing of Serbian cities, towns and villages resulting the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians would be brought into question. Finally, the horrible truth would emerge that the greatest suffering in Kosovo and Metohija began as the first bombs began to fall from combat jets and that a regime that was undemocratic was simply replaced by a rule of ethnic terror and violence under the UN flag.

This horrible crime in Gorazdevac must become a turning point in this retrograde policy justifying crime and the beginning of facing the reality of the situation on the ground. It is high time for the sterile rhetoric and "serious concerns" typically found in press releases brimming with clichés to be replaced by clear and unambiguous qualifications. It is time to undertake concrete measures to stop ethnic violence and begin a true process leading to peace.
If the international UN mission and the new chief of UNMIK comprehend the significance of this development and actively begin to correct the mistakes made during the last four years, there is hope that one day peace and the rule of law will reign in this region. However, if the policy of rationalizing and covering up crimes while systematically deceiving the public continues, the mission will experience a complete collapse and be forced to either withdraw in complete defeat or go to the end and impose a Fascist creation like the independent state of Kosovo Albanians.

Bishop Artemije with mother of deceased Ivan Jovic

UNMIK and KFOR have nor fully investigated a single major ethnic crime against
Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, Bishop Artemije in Gorazdevac, Aug 14


Gorazdevac, August 14, 2003

Today Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren visited the Serb village of Gorazdevac near Pec, the scene of yesterday's massacre of Serb children swimming in the Bistrica River. Addressing the people gathered in protest in the center of the village, Bishop Artemije most strongly condemned the massacre of the children, saying that "this crime was committed not only by those who pulled the trigger but also by those who trained and incited them to do this and those who are hiding them from the hand of justice." "Almost every crime against Serbs remains unpunished to this day, including the crimes in Staro Gracko, Livadice and the recent massacre of the Stolic family in Obilic," he said.

Bishop Artemije called on the people to remain calm despite their pain and appealed to international representatives to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice as soon as possible.

After Bishop Artemije's speech Dr. Mileta Bukumiric read the following protest letter addressed to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on behalf of the protest initiative board:


The many years of violence against Serbs in the region of Kosovo and Metohija culminated yesterday in Gorazdevac with the unprecedented murder of innocent children characteristic only of barbarians or people who are mentally ill. Gorazdevac experienced its greatest tragedy since its founding to the present day at the beginning of the 21st century thanks to your indecisiveness or unwillingness to look truth in the eyes. Yet again in a countless series of instances your mission in Kosovo and Metohija has proven to be a failure. The international community has been shamed before the entire world because yesterday the blood of innocent children not yet old enough to wish evil upon anyone has been spilt and it has splattered you.

What else needs to happen for you to comprehend who is the victim and who are the terrorists with Fascist intentions? And how much longer will the open season on Serbs in their own land last?

It is high time for you to carry out your role in Kosovo and Metohija responsibly and carry out the responsibilities you under took before arriving here. You have no right to be a silent witness to unspeakable crimes against unprotected people and innocent children whose fate is in your hands. Tell the justice-loving people of our planet whether it is because of your powerlessness or lack of desire and intention to live up to the task you assumed and confront the terrorists and their commanders. You are responsible for the tragedy in Gorazdevac.  This form of presence here by your people, the tailors of our fate, who are supposed to guarantee our security at least within our own walls, is pointless. You are expected to be the guardians of peace and the guarantors of freedom for all ethnic communities, even the Serbs in their ghettoes in their centuries-old homes. If you cannot ensure this it would be better for you to withdraw your forces from Kosovo and Metohija and salvage the reputation of the greatest global organization. It would be better for you to leave us to defend ourselves to the best of our ability than for us to continue to rely on you and continue to perish as we have done for the past four years.

Gorazdevac, August 14, 2003
Protest Initiative Board

After the protest gathering Bishop Artemije visited the Dakic and Jovic families and expressed his sympathies. The families of the victims were also visited by Kosovo and Metohija Ombudsman Marek Nowicki and Mr. Ljubinko Todorovic, who accompanied the Bishop.

Wounded Djordje Ugrenovic (age 20) in hospital in northern half of Kosovska Mitrovica

Protesting Kosovo Serbs march holding a banner reading "Europe and America, why did you let them kill our children" in Gracanica, in central Kosovo, after unknown gunmen killed two Serbian teenagers Wednesday and wounded six other adolescents from the village of Gorazdevac, including an Albanian woman, firing on them with automatic arms while they were swimming in a river near Zahac.
(AFP/Nikola Besevic)

Candles for killed Serb teenagers in Gorazdevac, Gracanica Monastery, Aug 15