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Vol 3, No 16
7 May 2001
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News from Kosovo News from Kosovo
All the important news since 1 May
Llazar Semini


Haekkerup may sign legal framework on his own

The UN Special Representative in Kosovo (SRSG), Hans Haekkerup, warned local politicians on Thursday that he would be obliged to sign the legal framework by himself if they would not do as he has asked.

Meanwhile, UNMIK spokesman Sunil Narula said that Haekkerup had a series of meetings with local politicians on the legal framework including meetings with Serb representatives Rada Trajković and Momčilo Trajković, and the three Albanian leaders, Ibrahim Rugova, Hashim Thaci and Ramush Haradinaj, separately.

The disagreements are centred mainly on calling the legal framework 'a constitution' and how to elect Kosovo's president.

Haekkerup will convene all the leaders in a meeting to build a consensus on the legal framework trying to convince them to sign it.


NATO steps up border surveillance in Southern Kosovo

NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo (KFOR) stepped up surveillance on the Macedonian border after eight Macedonian policemen and soldiers were killed in an ambush last weekend only five kilometers (three miles) from the Kosovo border. This was the scene of the clash between Macedonian security forces and separatist rebels of the National Liberation Army (NLA) operating in Macedonia.

KFOR troops in the area have "consequently increased ground surveillance and air surveillance with helicopters to prevent any illegal activities at the border," KFOR spokesman Axel Jandesek said.

Some additional units of the German KFOR troops are providing the increased surveillance.


SRSG condemns terrorist violence in FYROM

Special Representative of the Secretary-General Hans Haekkerup condemned "the despicable ambush and killing of security forces of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which took place at Vejče, near Tetovo, on Saturday 28 April."

"UNMIK, along with KFOR and all responsible political, community and religious leaders, have expressed full support for the democratic government and the citizens of FYROM. These attacks by armed extremists are unacceptable, outrageous and must be brought to an end. UNMIK will join with others in working closely with the FYROM government in efforts to ensure peace," an UNMIK press release said.


Two Serb war crimes suspects go on trial in Kosovo

Two Serbs accused of war crimes went on trial in Kosovo on Wednesday for their alleged role in the killing of more than 100 ethnic Albanians.

Anđelko Kolasinac and Čedomir Jovanović face war crimes charges related to massacres and the looting and burning of homes in and around the central town of Orahovac during NATO's 1999 bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, the indictment said.

Kolasinac, a village leader in Orahovac at the time of the 1999 conflict, and Jovanović, an alleged member of a Serbian paramilitary group, are two of a group of eight named in the indictment. However, the other six accused members of the group escaped from a Kosovo jail last year.

The two men denied the allegations at the start of the trial, which is being held in the southern Kosovo town of Prizren. The indictment will be presented by an international prosecutor to an international panel of judges.

The trial in Prizren comes less than a month after a Kosovo Serb man accused of helping to murder 26 ethnic Albanians during the air war was freed on 9 April. The international prosecutor, Michael Hartmann, dropped genocide charges against Igor Simić because of insufficient evidence.


And in other news...

  • The aggravation of the situation in Macedonia sent a small group of 10 ethnic Albanian refugees fleeing across the border into Kosovo. They came on foot and sheltered in some villages of the Prizren municipality, said Semih Bilbil, UNHCR deputy regional chief in Prizren.
  • The Weapon Amnesty Program began 30 April and it will last until 4 June. Persons who surrender their weapons shall not be required to give any information concerning the origin of the weapon or personal information. No questions will be asked, no personal information will be gathered and no one will be detained. UNMIK Police and KFOR will accept weapons at any station.
  • NATO's Exercise Dynamic Response, held in Albania and Kosovo, has been running since 26 April and is scheduled to run until 8 May. After the preliminary phase, the participants, from eight NATO member countries plus some from Partnership for Peace countries, are moving into brigade areas where they will work alongside the permanent forces carrying out the same sorts of operations, patrolling fixed and mobile check points.
  • The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), a member of the Interim Administration Council (IAC), celebrated its first anniversary as the highest consultative body. "One year ago we saw that Kosovo needs a new kind of politics, which would guide it toward the future. We have worked hard in this direction in order to build the AAK as a positive alternative for the future of Kosovo," Ramush Haradinaj, AAK's leader, said.
  • A seventeen-year old Serb was shot dead and an Albanian was wounded on Monday in the southeastern Kosovo town of Vitina by an unidentified gunman driving through the center of the town, NATO-led peacekeepers (KFOR) said Tuesday. Spokesman Axel Jandesek said the Serb died in the Pristine hospital, while the Albanian, although seriously injured, was not in danger, Jandesek said.
  • Isa Hajrizi, a senior officer of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), the civilian successor to Kosovo's disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), has been arrested in connection with a grenade attack on a Serbian cafe last year, which left some ten people dead and dozens injured, sparking weeks of rioting in northern Mitrovice, police said Thursday. Eight people, mostly ethnic Albanians, died in a subsequent night of rioting and revenge attacks.
  • A Kosovo Albanian refrigerator truck containing 50 bodies, including women and children, was pulled from the Danube river in April 1999 during NATO's air war against Yugoslavia, Serb daily Večernje Novosti reported Thursday. The news came from a diver from eastern Serbia. The truck was pulled from the river at Tekije, some 250 kilometers (180 miles) east of Belgrade. The report, widely picked up in the Belgrade media, appeared to be first of its kind ever to appear in the Serbian press.

Llazar Semini, 4 May 2001

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