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Vol 2, No 19
15 May 2000
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News from Kosovo
All the important news
since 6 May 2000

Llazar Semini

Hunger strike for Albanian imprisoned closed

A nine-day hunger strike to protest against the imprisonment and disappearance of Albanians in Serbia since last year's war ended on Sunday (7 May). The strike, launched by nine people supported and by scores of others in Pristine and other towns after some days of protest, paralysed life in the capital Pristine. Those on hunger strike wanted the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to take concrete steps for the release of the imprisoned. The organisers complained that UNMIK head Bernard Kouchner did not pay proper attention to them. They said the problem was a political one. "That problem has not remained unsolved only because of the Belgrade regime but also from the international politics," a statement from the Citizen Council of Protests said. On its side UNMIK made a statement on Wednesday asking Belgrade to immediately release Albanian prisoners. The United Nations Security Council will nominate a special envoy to deal with the case. According to the International Red Cross, there are still 1252 Albanian prisoners in Serbia and several thousand have disappeared.


Commission on victim identification created in Kosovo

Kosovo's Interim Administrative Council decided to create the Victim Recovery and Identification Commission that will play a key role in identifying missing persons who died during the recent conflict in Kosovo. It will recover, identify and dispose of the remains of bodies of war victims in co-ordination with the work by the International Criminal Tribunal of former Yugoslavia.


A former KLA commander killed in Prizren

Ekrem Rexha, a former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and now an United Nations Mission in Kosovo official in the western Kosovo town of Prizren, was shot to death on Monday by two gunmen outside of his home on his way to work.

Rexha, 39, was head of the Department of Environment and Safety of the Prizren Administrative Board, for which he was highly commended by UNMIK head Bernard Kouchner in a public statement. UNMIK said they are intensifying the investigation to find the killers.


A murdered Serb in Viti sparks ethnic unrest

The killing of a Serb civilian in the southeast town of Viti raised tension between the Serb and Albanian communities in Kllokot during the past few days. Small groups of Serbs reacted angrily in a sign of protest. They blocked the road and occupied some Albanian-owned houses. They also threw hand grenades to such properties. At least four Albanians have been injured. Consequently, the US-led Multinational Brigade East was obliged to dispatch troop reinforcements to the communities alongside UNMIK police.


Border friction between Kosovo and Macedonia

Macedonia has built a check point deep in Kosovo territory causing a friction with KFOR and the Kosovo Protection Force (TMK). A similar incident happened last year as well.


Kosovo population registration continues very slowly

The international efforts for the registration of the Kosovo population are still feeling the lack of the people's will result in a slow process. Out of 120 points opened around Kosovo about 33,000 people have so far registered, with only a few hundred of those registered being Serbs, who allegedly stick to their Belgrade decision to boycott registration.


TMK commander awarded by former NATO counterpart

Former NATO commander Wesley Clark awarded General Agim Çeku, head of the Kosovo Protection Force (TMK), a medal "for his personal and professional evaluation." The medal was handed over to Çeku by the Spanish KFOR Commander General Juan Ortuno.


Kosovo Albanian leaders agree for return of displaced communities

Kosovo Albanian leaders have agreed to an UNMIK-brokered plan for the return of the displaced Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities to their home in Kosovo. The plan calls for a series of confidence-building meetings between the communities inside Kosovo and in neighbouring countries. The plan aims at the return of some 30,000 displaced Roma, Ashkalijas and Egyptians. It seems the UNMIK is carrying out a test for the return of a greater number of Kosovo Serbs at a later stage.


Work at Kosovo gravesites has resumed

The gathering of evidence on war crimes restarted in Kosovo after a winter break. An International Criminal Tribunal of Former Yugoslavia forensic team has started to work at the first site in Gjakove. Another team, from Britain, arrived earlier this month. They will be joined by two other teams from Sweden and Austria later this month. "We expect to complete work at 300 identified gravesites across Kosovo," said spokesman Paul Risley.


The European Agency for Reconstruction provides aid for Kosovo power sector

The European Agency for Reconstruction decided to award EUR four million to put in place a new management team for the Kosovo power sector. Due to lack of care in the last decade, Kosovo's power system has continuous problems, causing power cuts especially during winter-time when it was more heavily used for heating.

Llazar Semini, 12 May 2000

Moving on:



Focus: Croatia
Dejan Jović
Tuđman's Convenient Death

Dragan Antulov

Sharon Fisher
EU Hopes

Đurđa Knežević
Gender Politics

Mirjana Domini

Zoran Ferić
New Literature

Jurica Pavičić

Sue Bagust

Borko Špoljarić
Music Days

Ivo Goldstein
The Yugoslav Conflicts

Zoran Pusić

Igor Nobilo

Mladen Vedriš
The Economy

William A Everett
Contemporary Music

Anna Maria Gruenfelder
The Church

President of Croatia
Stipe Mesić

Croatian Deputy PM
Goran Granić

Vesna Pusić, Croatian People's Party leader

Vlado Gotovac, Liberal Party leader

Brian J Požun
Tito Revival

Oliver Craske
UK Looks East

Jan Čulík
Roma and TV

Mel Huang
Latvian Victory

Elke de Wit
Klaus Krämer

Culture Calendar:

Ustaša Legacy

PR and Extremism

Czech Republic