Projekat Rastko Gracanica-PecElektronska biblioteka kulture Kosova i Metohije
Projekat Rastko Gračanica - Peć: Istorija: The Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija

Dusan T. Batakovic

The Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija

War, International Protectorate and National Catastrophe

Original version: Eurobalkans Magazine

Table of Conntents:

  • Kosovo: Words and Things
  • Conflicts vs. Negotiations
  • Old Serbia.
  • Drafts and Proposals
  • Military Option: Exit for All Sides?
  • Illusion and Emotion: The Russian Factor
  • From Indictment to Capitulation
  • From Kumanovo to Kumanovo: A National Catastrophe
  • Spontaneous Cantonization: an Answer to Ethnic Cleansing
  • From Co-Operation to Failure
  • UNMIK and the KFOR Mission: What Went Wrong?
  • Cantonization Reconsidered?
  • Notes

  • Kosovo: Words and Things

    The very word "Kosovo" has opposing meanings in different ethnic communities in this part of southwest Balkans. For Serbs, the very meaning of Kosovo signifies above all a genuine Serbian land, the sacred territory of the "Serbian Jerusalem" whose glorious cultural and economic rise in the middle ages was brutally cut off from its European and Christian background by the Ottoman conquests. The suffering of Kosovo, heralded by the famous battle of 1389, became a reality for the majority of Serbian people by the mid-fifteenth century following final Ottoman victories. After long centuries of Ottoman rule, after the First Balkan War in 1912 Kosovo, under international settlement at London Conference (1913) became again a part of Serbia, while Metohija (now called by Albanians a "western Kosovo") was absorbed by Montenegro, another Serbian kingdom.(1)

    For the average Serb yesterday and today the word Kosovo means Holy Land from which the Serbs have been systematically expelled and persistently persecuted in the course of the last few centuries until the present day. The persecutors were primarily Muslim Albanians - legal and illegal immigrants who came to settle in different periods during the rule of Ottomans, Italian fascists, Nazi Germans or Tito's communists. Poor Albanian highlanders divided into numerous clans and families from the lean mountain slopes of northern Albania descended into the fertile flatlands of Metohija and Kosovo. This migrations happened during the series of war campaigns, but the Albanians were also resettled by Ottoman authorities or simply called to rebellion by agents of various great powers. Some migrations of Albanian clans were sometimes spontaneous settlement from highlands to rich and economically prosperous valleys in Metohija and Kosovo motivated by social needs: they searched for food and land which could be found only among local Serbs, who were of Christian faith and serfs by social status. The new Albanian settlers, mostly Muslims by faith were additionally protected by Ottoman authorities or previously settled ethnic Albanians.(2)

    In Serbian language the word Kosovo coupled with word Metohija (metoch in Greek means a church property), is the official name of the territory of the southern province of Serbia, covered with 1300 churches and monasteries scattered all over this area. However, from 1968 the word Metohija at the demands of Kosovo Albanian communist leadership has been banned for official political communication, only to be reinstated in 1990. Kosovo is by all means symbolically the most important word in Serbian historical dictionary that, after the name of Savior, and Saint Sava (the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the early thirteenth century), denotes simultaneously both the national and cultural identity of the whole Serbian people. The Kosovo tradition grew during the centuries of Ottoman rule, primarily due to the aegis of the Pec Patriarchate (1557-1766), and with time it coalesced with the popular tradition and became the axis of modern ethnic identity in the era of nationalism. The popular tradition, inspired with basic Christian values, in the form of the Kosovo oath (the oath that full freedom is won only with the definite liberation of Kosovo) was a political maxim on which the modern national ideology was built.(3) During the period of national romanticism in the nineteenth century, in all Serbian lands - but most of all in Montenegro during the rule of Bishop Petar II Petrovic Njegos (1830-1851) - the word Kosovo both with the God's name, was the expression most commonly used in everyday communication, as a proof of the living past overshadowing every aspect of the ordinary life, not only as a reminder of an onerous heritage but also as a definition of present political priorities.

    At the promotion of the book Crucified Kosovo, held on September 15 1999, in Belgrade, His Holiness, the Serbian Patriarch Paul (Pavle), the Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and Littoral and the Raska-Prizren bishop Artemije (directly responsible for Kosovo-Metohija, having his See in Prizren), understood the crucifixion as the suffering of the Serbian people and the destruction of Serbian churches and monasteries by the Kosovo Albanians after the arrival of KFOR (Kosovo Force), as one of the immediate consequences of the establishment of their complete military control over the southern province of Serbia. The book contains a long list of 70 destroyed churches, illustrated by updated photographs of Christian temples freshly turned into ruins. Some of Serbian churches destroyed after June 12, 1999, were important architectural monuments, monasteries dating from the fourteenth century, with frescoes from the late Byzantine period of spectacular artistic value and beauty. Ten years ago, during the celebration of 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo (1389-1989) an Serbian poet stressed, with express pathos, that "Kosovo is the most expensive Serbian word". He was hinting at the forgotten Serbian sacrifices made in previous periods and at the hidden persecutions against the Serbs which culminated at the time when Kosovo was fully ruled by the Albanian communists (1968-1981) and during the first years of the post-Titoist succession (1981-1987) jointly by Kosovo Albanians and federal forces .(4)

    For ethnic Albanians the word Kosovo (or Kosova in the Albanian pronunciation) is considered as a symbol of "ancient Albanian land" which directly connects the ancient Illyrian and modern Albanian ethnic community in this territory. This is a typical case of "inventing the tradition" (E. Hobsbawm) having little in common with established historical facts. In more recent times Kosova is for Albanians a symbol of Diaspora- type of nationalism which feeds on constant demographic expansion as a form of ethnic legitimization of pretensions on certain highly disputed territory. The Diaspora-type of nationalism is, also in Kosovo Albanian case, closely tied to the control over disputed territory in order to establish a new national identity and. Diaspora-type nationalism fits in harmoniously with the social motivation of poor highlanders from northern Albania who have been flooding for centuries into the fertile flatlands of neighboring countries.(5) The fact is that there is no scholarly proof of continuity between the Illyrians and present-day Albanians. This gap, unyielding void in the historical records from the sixth to the eleventh century, did not have any significant effect on the national mythology, on the establishment of the Illyrian myth as a constituent part of the Albanian national identity. Regarding Kosovo (as an allegedly Illyrian-Albanian territory) a double approach was applied: on the one hand the Illyrian-Albanian continuity (via the tribes of Dardanians) was proved, and on the other hand there were systematic attempts to "unmask Serbian myths" about Kosovo.(6)

    Due to the ideological projection constructed both by the national romantic and state controlled Albanian historiography during the twentieth century, Kosovo gradually became a symbol of "occupied ethnic territory" for the local Albanians. In the "scientific" interpretation of Albanian historians, the Serbian monasteries, erected in an extraordinarily large number in the period from twelfth to fifteenth century, were frequently built on the older foundations of "Illyrian" (but, in fact, Byzantine) churches by "occupying" Serbian rulers, kings and princes of the Nemanjic dynasty.(7)

    However, the scholarly confirmed and verifiable facts showed that, besides monumental endowments erected by Serbian rulers and Church dignitaries during the Middle Ages, numerous smaller Orthodox churches and monasteries were built by several dozens of local Serbian lords. They were usually a native nobility, land-owners, born in Kosovo, while the most of the names of villages (granted by Serbian rulers to Orthodox churches and monasteries) were most often Slav.(8) All that, however, was not considered as scientific argument for the Albanian romantic-oriented national history, a history which glosses over the gaps and retroactively establishes "historical continuity", according to Enver Hohxa's official ideological concept of Albanian history.(9)

    Hence, in the second half of 1999, under the full military and political rule of KFOR and UNMIK, such a great efforts by Albanians to destroy and obliterate in a quick, systematic action all the Serbian monasteries and churches in ethnically cleansed areas - is the attempt to erase all traces of past and present Serbian existence in Kosovo-Metohija. Even the most significant medieval churches and monasteries, constantly guarded by KFOR (The Pec Patriarchate, Monastery of Visoki Decani) in presently ethnically cleansed of Serbs, only Albanian-inhabited regions, are often shelled from surrounding hills by KLA forces or simply by local groups of armed ethnic Albanians. In contrast, the visible absence of a larger number of Albanian historical sites compared with the overwhelming presence of Serbian monuments ultimately demands the destruction of the latter so that a new reality can be justified to the local Albanians and their descendants- Kosovo as exclusively Albanian land.

    In western media, the understanding of Kosovo is far closer to the Albanian interpretation. There is even an acceptance based hopefully on ignorance, of the non-scientific theses of Albanian national romanticism. An typical approach is searching for balanced view between the two totally contradictory interpretations: although a good methodology, the choice of wrong or uneven references, between the Serbian side (which, still, most often relies on reliable scholarly knowledge) and Albanian interpretation (which is, as a rule, as far as the past is concerned, radical and contrary to scientifically verifiable facts). A mathematical choice, usually between moderate Serbian and nationalist Albanian) an only somewhat modified Albanian version of historical events.(10)

    This approach is facilitated with a following pattern. Everything that is in conflict with Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian dictator, the famous "Butcher of the Balkans", automatically becomes legitimate. Therefore from the Western perspective, the usual pattern is a simplified, mainly black and white historical interpretations of Kosovo history, including pre-Milosevic periods.. This interpretations were adapted to the prevailing Western discourse in official political approach, and were usually accepted without any serious discussion among the scholars. Here, however, one should not overlook the readiness of certain western 'experts' to offer their 'scientific' skills in geopolitics, geography and history to prepare the wider public for the upcoming redefinition of the composition and character of a certain region, which, implicitly predetermines its political future.(11) A book by Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History is a paradigmatic example of the newly created, politically correct" history. Malcolm, although clearly biased in his approach, has produced a westernized version political-nationalist mythology which "scientifically justifies" that Kosovo was through the centuries an essentially Albanian land occupied by the Serbs, and that it will be "liberated" in the immediate future.(12) Other more balances analysis from Western scholars were not, as needed in Kosovo, being taken into consideration.(13)

    The modern Western understanding of Kosovo is simple: it is considered to be a predominantly Albanian land (with about 90 percent of ethnic Albanians) which has been suffering for ten year under the rule of the Serbian minority, under the "Serbian apartheid" of Slobodan Milosevic and his regime, since 1989. The additional confusion was created with the usage of the western concept of nation which (following the model nation-state or l'Etat-Nation) is much closer to the concept of "Kosovo people", suggesting the existence of a distinct Kosovo nation. Although, such a separate nation does not exist but only peoples (in plural) of Kosovo, among whom Serbs and ethnic Albanians are the most distinct ethnic communities. Under a Kosovo people the Albanian political propaganda implies, however, only ethnic Albanians (others are by acquiescence reduced to a minority status), justifying it with an incorrect data stating that Albanians constitute at least 90 percent of the overall population in this southern province of the Republic of Serbia.(14)

    That there is no single Kosovo people nor Kosovo nation (as distinct from the one in Albania or in parts of Macedonia populated by ethnic Albanians). That the meaning of word Kosovar means nothing but an Albanian is clearly proved by the fact that the only flag that the alleged Kosovo nation is using is exclusively the state flag of Albania, and that the concept of a "Kosovar" has always denoted only an ethnic Albanian from this region. Serbs use the word "Kosovac" for Serbs from this region. Even Bernard Kouchner, the civil administrator of the United Nations in Kosovo and Metohija, had used the term "Kosovar Serb" on a few occasions, which could mean something like Albanian Serb, until the bishop Artemije warned him of the crucial difference.(15) The whole terminological confusion, with the Albanian propaganda behind it, had one single political aim: to separate the Kosovo question in the eyes of the Western opinion from global Albanian aims. from the Albanian minority problem in Macedonia and, most of all, to camouflage the ethnic, extremist and deeply discriminating concept of Kosovo Albanians in their road to 'final solution" of the Kosovo question.(16)

    Milosevic and the long-standing leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova had a kind of tacit, mutually respected agreement: Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic let self-proclaimed Kosovo-Albanian president Ibrahim Rugova to organize a parallel educational, economic, health-care and tax system. It was a system from which the local Serbian government in Kosovo took only a small cut. In return, ethnic Albanians persistently boycotted multi-party elections in Serbia and thus allowed Slobodan Milosevic to win, with about a hundred thousand Serbian and other minorities' votes, at least thirty parliamentary seats in the National Assembly of Serbia.(17) This mandates from Kosovo enabled him to went on ruling the whole of Serbia even after 1992 when his Socialist party (SPS) together with their coalition partners de facto lost an absolute majority in the Serbian electorate. (In Belgrade, for example, it was necessary to win over 80,000 votes to get a seat in the Assembly).

    Conflicts vs. Negotiations

    The KLA (the so-called "Kosovo Liberation Army" which is a "liberator" for Kosovo ethnic Albanians only, while considered by the Kosovo Serbs and other ethnic communities, primarily an terrorist or occupying force) was a military wing of the one among many Kosovo Albanian procommunist guerrilla groups from 1970s. The KLA, organized into terrorist units, based in the rural areas filled the vacuum left in Kosovo that had opened after the Dayton agreement in 1995. According to Western sources it was a group which, in co-operation with the narco-mafia and the powerful Albanian Diaspora,(18) grew from a kernel of hard-core Marxist-Leninists of Enver Hohxa type.(19)

    Milosevic, as the main guarantor of the hard-won peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina, enjoyed after Dayton almost unconditional Western support, and became chief negotiator for Kosovo crisis. However, the growing efforts of different international mediators (ranging from the Roman Catholic mediating organization Sant' Egidio from Rome to the German foundation Bertelsmann and many other American and French non-governmental organizations)(20) demanding a solution to the Albanian issue in Kosovo were left without expected results due to the procrastination in official Belgrade, but also due to the opposition in Pristina (where Albanians demanded the return of the autonomy from 1974).

    The attempts to normalize the education of young Albanians (allowing school facilities to be used) and thus reduce inter-ethnic tensions in Kosovo did not produce the expected results: the Serbian side treated the education problem as a primarily humanitarian issue, whereas the Albanian side saw the problem of education system as exclusively connected to the status question of Kosovo.(21) There were different proposals coming from the Serbian side on a possible division of Kosovo and Metohija, as a way to the permanent solution to the problem, while, at the same time, efforts were being made to situate the problem in a wider economic-geographical context through different forms of regionalization.(22)

    The distanced, almost irreconcilable attitudes of the Serbian and Albanian side, blocked the peace efforts in which Slobodan Milosevic and Ibrahim Rugova remained entrenched in their positions. The impression of foreign observers was that it was a case of two parallel worlds where each side totally ignored or only demonized the other.(23) The so-called Kosovo Liberation Army made the breakthrough, in the winter of 1998, with its frequent ambushed attacks on the Serbian police and Serbian civilians. Milosevic's regime reacted in March 1998 with severe, excessive police measures, when police killed several dozens of Albanian civilians, while the Kosovo-Metohija Serbs, more than anyone else, found themselves in a gap, as potential victims of the growing conflict between terrorist and police forces.(24)

    The Serbian Orthodox Church, has, since 1992, severely condemning Milosevic's regime and asking for democratic solution of the Kosovo crisis. Already in August 1997, after first large-scale terrorist actions, the Church took the following position:

    "…The opinion of our Church is that the only political solution can be found in clearly defined national policy and well organized democratic Serbian state integrated with other European countries. A new democratic state reorganized according to the models of European parliamentary monarchies will create new circumstances in which Albanian people of Kosovo will be able to find a satisfactory status within Serbia. In such state they will be granted all human, national, cultural and other civil rights according to the highest European and international standards and any further insisting on secession will have no support by international community. Secession of Kosovo from Serbia would immediately produce larger scale instability in the whole region which might result with disastrous multiethnic war. Granting of any kind of autonomy to Kosovo before democratic transformation of Serbian state could also lead to an increased Serbian emigration from Kosovo. The real key for this complicated problem might be a more intensive cooperation between democratic thinking Serbs and Albanians in creation of a democratic country which would equally treat all its citizens and grant them all democratic rights. Putting aside all ethnic antagonisms would open gates for further economic and political integration in the Balkans and finally bring so long expected peace and economic prosperity to the whole region."(25)

    Through the National-Church Assemblies (Crkveno narodni sabori), presided over by the Raska-Prizren Bishop Artemije, the Kosovo Serbs attempted to impose themselves as a legitimate partner in the Serbo-Albanian negotiations which, undoubtedly, were to begin. They feared, having in mind the fate of Krajina Serbs that Milosevic would in order to save his power, eventually let them down. The democratic forces of Kosovo Serbs (the National-Church Assembly with the representatives from all Kosovo municipalities joined by, under the auspices of Bishop Artemije, also by the Serbian Resistance Movement headed by M. Trajkovic) condemned all violence, from whichever side it came. They sharply criticized Milosevic's regime, which instead of political means resorted to direct police clashes, but they also condemned the KLA (murders of Serbian policemen and of ethnic Albanians loyal to the state, abductions and murders of Serbian civilians) which showed that by terrorist acts they want nothing but - "an ethnically cleansed Kosovo".(26) First KLA started to harass, kidnap or kill isolated groups of civilians in the villages, but the number of their victims constantly grew, only to be heralded by the systematic massacres of Serbs, such as the murder of six young men in Pec, on December, 15 1998.(27)

    When it came to the escalation of conflict in the summer of 1998, after a series of severe clashes, it was clear that Milosevic would choose the war option to justify the loss of Kosovo where his police forces were no longer able to control the situation.(28) At the same time, ethnically mixed villages, in which the Serbian police had clashed with KLA members, were left either deserted or halved in number. However, only Serbs left those villages permanently, fearing to face after the withdrawal of police forces, the retaliation of the KLA supporters or simply Albanian returnees.(29) The predominance of the Serbian police in the conflict, however, left the suffering of the Kosovo Serbs almost unnoticed. The international community was focused on comprehensive Serbian police actions against the Kosovo Albanians, in which a large number of civilians also lost their lives.(30)

    Proportionally, Serbs also had a large number of casualties. In only a few months between February 1998 and the summer of the same year, over 200 Serbian civilians disappeared, in whose fate nobody showed any interest.(31) None of these civilians, among who there were women and children, were found or released, so the only conclusion is that they were all killed. Serbs went on leaving the regions of Kosovo where they were a distinct minority, while the displaced ethnic Albanians, sheltered in the parts under KLA control, waited for the right moment to return to their homes. From the talks with the US envoy Robert Gelbard, in which he warned Milosevic that the resolution of the Kosovo problem could not be infinitely delayed, but also hinted that the KLA could be put on the list of terrorist organizations, Milosevic received a signal that military means should be energetically applied.(32)

    The threat of bombing Serbia in October 1998,(33) forced Milosevic to accept the OSCE 's special Kosovo Verifying Mission that was sent to Kosovo. This outcome gave fresh impetus to the Albanians; it seems that the KLA only attempted to use this mission as a shield in the conflict with reinforced Serbian forces, as, for example, in the case of the simulated massacre in the village of Racak.(34)

    Anti-Milosevic forces at Kosovo, headed by Bishop Artemije took an balanced position stressing that there are victims on all sides, and that only mutually acceptable agreement, followed by structural changes in the system and transition to genuine democratic order. They rejected ethnic principle that prevailed in October 1998 Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement: "With serious concern the Assembly is warning the international community that in the "Milosevic – Holbrooke Agreement" the ethnic principle has prevailed. The Agreement permits constitution of the ethnic Albanian administration in Kosovo and Metohija which would eventually lead to the mass exodus of the Serbs."(35)

    Among many other conclusions form National Church Assembly, held in Pristina on November 7, 1998 here are the most significant ones:

    "…5. The Assembly firmly believes that the lasting and stable settlement between the two opposed sides in Kosovo and Metohija conflict may be found only within the framework of the radical system changes in the whole country (and not only in one part of it) and the restoration of the rule of law. The restoration of democracy and civil society in Serbia is the only way towards the lasting and peaceful resolution of the Kosovo and Metohija issue.

    6. The Assembly declares that any agreement on the status of this part of Serbia, achieved without democratic approval of all Serbians, will be regarded as void and the signatory of the Agreement unauthorized.

    7. The Assembly indicates that any political settlement of the Kosovo and Metohija conflict which would install the Albanian ethnic administration would be directly opposed to the universal democratic and civil principles on which the international community is based. Therefore, the Assembly does not accept discrimination of ethnic Albanians as second rate citizens in Serbia as well as it cannot accept that the Serbs become second rate citizens in Kosovo and Metohija, i.e.

    Old Serbia.

    8. The Assembly underlines that the solution which would establish new ethnic borders (either internal or external) would not only be in discord with the 21st century – the age of universal integration – but might cause further potential conflicts. The support of the ethnic Albanian rule in Kosovo and Metohija may only increase instability in the entire Balkans with long term negative consequences for the peace.

    9. The Assembly reminds that all previous historic experiences with the Albanian ethnic rule in Kosovo and Metohija [1968-1987] have had as immediate consequences systematic human rights violations and mass expulsion of the Serbs as well as the assimilation of the non-Albanian population (Turks, Slav Moslems, Gypsies, Goranci etc.)…"(36)

    The Kosovo Serb representatives urged that "the leaders of Kosovo and Metohija Albanians should openly condemn the violence in Kosovo and Metohija, first of all the activity of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army and other ethnic Albanian paramilitary groups," and "that international community should urgently endorse a special resolution which would prevent the militant activities form the neighboring Albania (terrorist training camps, weapons smuggling and illegal coming of mercenaries over the border)…"(37)

    But their main objection to international mediation was on the envisaged status of Kosovo province: "If, despite everything, the international community imposed and recognized the ethnic principle for Kosovo and Metohija Albanians only, the Assembly would consider organizing of the plebiscite and the establishment Serb self-governance in Kosovo and Metohija parallel with the Albanian (which would include the right of self-determination and remaining within the state and constitutional framework of Serbia) as the only democratic and legitimate means for the survival of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija and the existence of Kosovo and Metohija in Serbia."(38)

    Drafts and Proposals

    A few drafts of the future organization and status of Kosovo preceded the Rambouillet negotiations. The Kosovo Serbs followed with trepidation the development of events that foreboded the fatal outcome for Serbia, particularly in Kosovo itself. In one of the drafts composed by the American ambassador in Skoplje, Christopher Hill, there was a suddenly introduced clause that even the borders of Kosovo municipalities were not to be changed. This was understood as a direct Albanian-inspired response to the Serbian proposal for cantonization: cantons to be introduced in Kosovo and Metohija, similar to those in Switzerland, on the basis of linguistic and cultural criteria of certain areas.(39)

    The persistent attempts of Bishop Artemije, Momcilo Trajkovic and their councilors to involve the representatives of Kosovo Serbs, who were not under Milosevic's direct control, in the negotiations were blithely swept aside by both Belgrade and the international community representatives. In the end, the Kosovo Serbs suffered most, although they did not actively participate in the conflict (just a small number of them were in the police, while the majority were engaged in self-defense from the KLA terrorist attacks). None of Kosovo Serb political or religious representatives had been accepted to the official Serbian, that is Yugoslav, negotiation team. The demand of the Serbian Orthodox Church to have a separate delegation (including the Montenegrin Metropolitan of Montenegro, Littoral and Scutari, Mgr Amfilohije, the Raska-Prizren Bishop Mgr Artemije, Momcilo Trajkovic, father Sava Janjic and Dr. Dusan T. Batakovic) present at the negotiations (even as observer) was rejected, despite all the official demands from the Serbian Patriarch Pavle. The principle organizers of the Rambouillet peace conference did not accept any other delegation apart from the official one elected and sent by Slobodan Milosevic(40). Thus, the Serbian Orthodox Church, vitally interested in the protection of interests of its more than 200,000 flock and over 1,300 churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija, was left without the right to be asked in the process of decision-making.

    Nevertheless, in February 1999 the Serbian Orthodox church sent its delegation to Paris. They submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Quai d'Orsay) their plan for cantonization, according to which Kosovo would be organized on the basis of new criteria respecting ethnic distribution, linguistic and cultural heritage, with five cantons for the territories with majority Serb and Muslim Slav population. The number of cantons to be formed by the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija, in rural regions where they are a distinct majority would depend on their choice. The Serbian cantons, according to this proposal, would be formed 1) in the north (municipalities: Zubin Potok, Leposavic, Zvecan and a part of Mitrovica municipality), 2) in the central part of Kosovo (on the stretch from Gracanica to Lipljan, with a number of Serbian villages), 3) in the east part (Novo Brdo, Kosovska Kamenica, Gnjilane) 4) in the municipality of Strpce (under the Brezovica mountain) which would be connected with the rear of the town of Prizren and regions of Gora (the population is Goranci, and they speak Serbian), and 5) in the rear side of Pec towards Istok and Klina. Larger towns would remain under special multi-ethnic authorities, while two-house assemblies would prevent ethnic discrimination and encourage positive discrimination. Multi-ethnic towns would be bridges connecting cantons in rural regions, with overwhelming Serbian or Albanian population, into a whole, for one or two generations and by then Serbs, Albanians and other ethnic communities in Kosovo would, hopefully, learn religious, political and social tolerance of the European character.(41)

    The peace delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church also submitted its proposal for cantonization to State Secretary Madleine Albright in Washington D.C., before she left for the negotiations in Rambouillet. The official letter addressed to Madame Secretary by Serbian Orthodox Church Kosovo Peace Mission was almost prophetic in explaining what will be the immediate and long-term consequences of NATO intervention, and proposed appropriate solutions:

    "…In particular, we believe that US policy must cease to be perceived as hostile to the legitimate interests of the Serbian nation and must, instead, be directed toward the replacement of the Milosevic regime by a democratic government at the earliest possible date. The Milosevic regime, as the repeated generator of crises, cannot be relied upon to help secure a just and durable peace. However, current American policy seems to be repeating, once again, the mistakes of the past, relying on the one hand, upon guarantees given by the Milosevic regime, while holding only the Serbian nation responsible for the escalating cycle of violence. This mistaken policy, we believe, now on the verge of a NATO intervention in Kosovo province, will be entirely counterproductive for the following reasons:

    1. NATO intervention would strengthen the Milosevic regime, which will become the guarantor of an interim Kosovo implementation agreement. This would be a major setback for the democratic opposition in Serbia, which in turn would delay the necessary democratization of Serbia, a necessary precondition for a stable peace in the Balkan region. In the aftermath of a NATO intervention, whether in the form of a NATO occupation of Kosovo or an air campaign against Serbia, it is certain that the Milosevic regime would take decisive and drastic action against its domestic opponents. A NATO intervention in Kosovo would risk setting back the cause of democracy in Serbia and in the Balkans for years to come.

    2. We believe that an interim settlement in Kosovo that grants de facto rule to the Albanians would result in a complete exodus of Kosovo Serbs from the province. The proposal currently presented at the Rambouillet negotiations represents full control by the Albanians over the Kosovo administration, police, judiciary, and executive power. The recent political experience during the period up until 1989, when Kosovo Albanians were in full political control of Kosovo province, was marked by ethnic discrimination which forced Kosovo Serbs to leave the province. We have every reason to fear that the interim agreement, if implemented, would result in a repeat of that experience. These fears have found further confirmation in the driving out of large numbers of Serbian civilians from Kosovo by Albanian terrorists following the withdrawal of Serbian forces after the October 1998 Milosevic -Holbrooke agreements. Such an outcome, in fact, if not in name, would mean the definitive detachment of Kosovo from Serbia. This would mean, in effect, the change in international borders and the first step toward the creation of a Greater Albania. Such an outcome is completely unacceptable and a threat to the peace of the entire region. The ultimatum being presented to Serbia at Rambouillet is a gross violation of sovereignty that would be unacceptable to any nation.

    3. We are concerned that certain dominant factions of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), under the influence of the former communist-inspired leadership from the pre-1989 period, may present a serious danger to NATO forces if they are deployed in Kosovo. Potentially even more dangerous are forces under the influence of Islamic fundamentalists groups connected with terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. As CIA Director George Tenet stated in his testimony before the US Senate on February 2, 1999, terrorist elements controlled by Osama bin Laden are stepping up their efforts to target Americans. The presence of such radical forces in northern Albania, near the town of Tropoje, a known KLA staging area, presents a serious danger for American and NATO forces that may be sent to Kosovo. In addition, it is also possible that a NATO intervention in Kosovo would result in radicalization among the Kosovo Serbs and Serbs in general, who would see NATO as a pro-Albanian force deployed to help Albanians establish their rule over the province. We believe that it would not be in the interest of the United States nor of Serbia, nor of the inhabitants of Kosovo of any ethnicity or religion, to have NATO forces exposed to danger from radicalized elements on either side.

    In short, the proposed NATO intervention would strengthen and consolidate the anti-democratic Milosevic regime, it would unjustly lead to the loss of Serbia's ancient heartland, and it would expose American forces to unnecessary dangers. Such a course is counterproductive and unnecessary. We believe that there is an alternative course, in the form of a proposal we have presented to the French Foreign Ministry, which would encourage an equitable settlement of the Kosovo crisis without NATO intervention and the presence of American troops in Kosovo. That alternative is summarized in the proposals for cantonization of Kosovo, a step toward the localization of government in all of Serbia, as drawn up by Dr. Dusan T. Batakovic, a member of our delegation. We present these proposals to you in the hope that they will encourage a change in American policy to a more productive course from its current path which we believe will lead to an unacceptable outcome for all concerned."(42)

    The author of the cantonization plan, Dr. Batakovic, explained the legal and political aspects of the plan, and the delegation received Mrs. Albright's assurances that the project would be submitted to the negotiating parties in Rambouillet as a new possibility. According to what she said later, in the course of her visit to Kosovo, to Bishop Artemije and Mr. Trajkovic, the plan had been rejected in Rambouillet by both delegations, for their specific reasons. The official Yugoslav delegation side wanted to remain the only legitimate negotiator, while the Albanian delegation wanted the whole of Kosovo for itself, possibly without Serbs.

    After Rambouillet, the plan for cantonization was during the next stage of negotiations in Paris, defined as treason and ultimately rejected by the ruling coalition in Serbia: the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) spokesman, Ivica Dacic, and ultra-nationalist Vojislav Seselj, since it gave up 70 percent of Kosovo and Metohija to Albanian cantons' self-government. On the other hand, Albanian press tried to put this plan in context of different proposals for partitioning the Kosovo

    Military Option: Exit for All Sides?

    NATO's decision to resolve the Kosovo crisis by military action came at the moment when all the main actors in the Kosovo conflict had calculated that will be the main beneficiary of the war. In the eve of their fiftieth anniversary celebration in Washington, Atlantic alliance needed a sparkling military victory in Kosovo. The Kosovo campaign was to be the latest twentieth century success of "the most successful military alliance in the history of the world." Officially, NATO war against Yugoslavia had five initial objectives: 1) safe return of Albanian refugees, 2) withdrawal of all Serbian forces from Kosovo, 3) NATO military control on the ground, 4) extended autonomy for Kosovo and 5) multiethnic democracy gradually introduced. NATO added two more objectives afterwards: overthrowing Milosevic and no commitment for ground troops.(43)

    For Serbs Kosovo has a special emotional and political meaning, which was skillfully manipulated during the previous decade. Milosevic has chosen bombing of Serbia in order to give up Kosovo after heroic resistance (as Prince Lazar in 1389), since he could not control the future developments in Kosovo anyhow. Milosevic probably calculated that he could later say to Serbian public: you have seen that I have tried everything, but we had no chance against such terrible odds. The Russians, who, it seems, promised him more efficient political and military support also, to some extent, manipulated Milosevic. Therefore he thought he could gain more by accepting air strikes rather than to capitulate without any resistance. The Kosovo Albanians, encouraged by tacit US support for the KLA option (KLA leaders actually promised to Washington to be a kind of ground troops during the coming NATO air campaign), considered that a limited suffering of civilians was necessary in a struggle to "earn" a new status for Kosovo. The Kosovo Albanians had obviously learnt a lesson from the previous wars waged in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia where the decisive changes in relation to Yugoslavia occurred only after comprehensive military operations which, due to the suffering of civilians and a high level of destruction, inevitably attracted media attention and full international mediation.(44)

    NATO bombing against FR of Yugoslavia that started on March 24, 1999 strained the Serbian-Albanian relations in Kosovo to their maximum. The ethnic Albanians were openly rejoicing at bombs falling on Belgrade and other towns in Serbia. In response, the Serbian police and paramilitary forces immediately started the mass expulsions of ethnic Albanians from both urban and rural zones. They were first expelled from Pec towards neighboring Yugoslav republic of Montenegro, and then from other parts of Kosovo-Metohija into Albania and the FYR Macedonia. Paramilitary and irregular police forces of Milosevic's regime expelled more than a half of the total Albanian population from Kosovo-Metohija, while many Albanian civilians were robbed, some (perhaps in thousands) murdered, many houses burnt, whereas the conflicts with the KLA were quickly resolved: the Albanian paramilitary forces, apart from small pockets in Drenica and Lab area were crushed and pushed into the mountain slopes towards the Albanian border.

    According to well-informed sources, the expulsion, as a short-term retaliation, was conceived by Milosevic himself, who entrusted special irregular and regular police forces with the job of ethnic cleansing. Suddenly, but only for a moment, the Serbs became the majority population in Kosovo-Metohija. According to the verbal testimonial of a monk in Prizren, ethnic Albanians were shocked by the manner, efficiency and speed of the expulsion: a medical doctor from Prizren openly admitted to a mentioned monk: (Serbs) did to us what we had been preparing for you"… Regular army and police spent a larger part of the war hiding from NATO bombs. In other parts of Serbia, where the scale of the destruction of civilian targets together with a larger number of civilian casualties constantly grew, there could be neither enough knowledge of nor enough understanding for the protection and political interests of the Kosovo Albanians who were equated with NATO and seen as the main cause of the cataclysmic suffering of the whole country.

    Two weeks later and after a poor Russian public political resistance to the NATO attacks, Milosevic suddenly changed his tactics and ordered that all Kosovo Albanians, who were hiding in the forests, should return to their homes. A larger group of Albanians hiding in the mountains returned to Podujevo and to other parts of Lab area. Following the old Titoist recipe of "brotherhood and unity", Serbian TV, the main electronic media under Milosevic's control persistently tried to prove, with long propaganda coverage of this and similar events, that a significant part of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo were not against Yugoslavia and that the KLA did not have the support of the majority Kosovo Albanian population.

    At the same time, Milosevic undertook all necessary measures to protect efficiently the Albanian political leaders who remained in Kosovo. Albanian leaders expected that, after a few days of air strikes, NATO attacks would bring about the desired result and open the border to NATO forces. Ibrahim Rugova and Fehmi Agani, the president and the main ideologist of the Kosovo Democratic League (LDK), were under the supervision of special police forces, and special attention - in a way even more discrete than in the case of the LDK leaders, as was learnt from well informed sources - was given to the protection of a political dissident and former spokesman of KLA Adem Demaci and the editor of Albanian daily Koha Ditore Veton Surroi, two influential political and public personalities previously very close to the KLA. They, unlike Agani who escaped the police control and protection, survived exclusively due to the permanent, more or less visible protection of Milosevic's police in Pristina itself.

    The protection of police forces to the people who did not hide their separatist intentions and plans, was not, of course, motivated by humane reasons, but a favor to be returned if needed, for the sake of justification of one of the possible political options that Milosevic counted on. The much publicized meetings between Milosevic and Rugova in Belgrade, at the time when there was a danger of NATO recognizing an independent Kosovo and Hashim Thaci, the KLA political leader, as a legitimate representative of the new state, showed that this practice with adequate police protection, pays off many times, although in the short term, but this is, as a rule, the only time scale, that Milosevic counts on in his tactical assessments.(45)

    Illusion and Emotion:
    The Russian Factor

    The relations between the West and Russia over the Kosovo crisis were, in many ways, reminiscent of a little re-run of the cold war, when the two blocks, for their own reasons, supported different sides in a conflict, which actually served to reveal and sort out the problems in the two super-power's relations, in this case a reinvigorated NATO and the remnant of a super-power. Milosevic seems to have calculated on Moscow's mediation.(46) His brother, the ambassador to Russia, probably himself misled by promises from the Russian opposition, assured Belgrade that Russia would stop NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, primarily with military threats expected to come after the internal pressures on Yeltsin's regime.

    In the first month of bombardment, numerous representatives of Russian patriotic, neo-communist and communist opposition passed through Belgrade, but their support to Serbs never amounted to more than verbal encouragement to the "Slav and Orthodox brothers" to persevere in their resistance, and, sometimes in symbolic participation in music concerts (e.g. Sergey Baburin and Genady Seleznyov) which, in order to spite NATO, were organized in all major towns of Serbia. Seleznyov, the president of Russian Duma, moreover, promised to Milosevic that Russia will not leave alone their Serbian brethren. (47)

    The vows of the traditional Russian-Serbian brotherhood and eternal, natural political alliance between the two peoples, in spite of great response from the Serbian public, and to an extent in Russia as well, brought no tangible results. Even the spectacular attempt of the Yugoslav assembly (granted, without legitimate representatives from Montenegro) to carry out a speedy vote, under NATO bombs, and pompously pronounce the accession of the FR Yugoslavia to the existing political union of the Russian Federation and Belarus is hardly worth mentioning, except in a symbolic sense. At the time, the Serbian public was denied the information that the ratification of such an agreement would take at least a few years, and that the decision on the accession to the Russian-Belarus union had no other effect, except psychological, least of all military or political.

    Other sources confirm that champagne was opened in the Russian general headquarters when the first NATO bombs fell on Serbia, not because a military victory could have been expected, but because of a new opportunity, in the form of the external crisis, to make Yeltsin and other levers of Russian power change their approach to the Army. Bearing in mind the fact that, at that moment, the popular Yevgeniy Primakov was at the head of the Russian government, it was hoped that his intervention on the behalf of Serbia, supported by the Russian Army, lower house of the Parliament (DUMA) and pro-opposition public opinion, would have enough influence on the West: it was even expected that the moment would come for the Russian missiles to turn their heads towards Germany again …

    Russian president Boris Yeltsin, however, quickly dismissed Yevegniy Primakov and appointed Victor Chernomyrdin as his official intermediary in the Kosovo crisis. That, as an implicit favor to the West, was politically favorable only for V. Chernomyrdin's political career. Although inexperienced in diplomacy, Chernomyrdin started his pre-election campaign for the presidential position with slow and unhurried consultations throughout Europe and in China. As the key negotiator to the resolution of the Kosovo crisis, Chernomyrdin tended to present himself to the Russian public, who had known him primarily as a businessman dealing in gas, as an authority on world affairs and a statesman with the instincts of a full-bred diplomat. The Russian mediation, after Chernomyrdin's frequent and fruitless trips to European capitals, ended in the final acceptance of the early German plan for the resolution of the Kosovo crisis which has been adopted almost to the letter.(48) This plan, produced by German diplomats on behalf of the G-8 after the first weeks of the bombardment already was submitted to Milosevic in June 1999 as a joint ultimatum by the Finnish president Marti Ahtissari and by Chernomyrdin. This ultimatum implied the establishment of a NATO protectorate in Kosovo with a token Russian participation, as in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in its implementation.(49)

    From Indictment
    to Capitulation

    The issuing of indictment against Milosevic for war crimes in Kosovo contributed significantly to the decision of the Yugoslav president, who deserted by Chernomyrdin and Yeltsin and pushed into a corner, to accept speedily a total capitulation in Kosovo-Metohija, under the condition that the new protectorate, under NATO military command, formally covered by the UN mandate, should not extend to other parts of Serbia which remained under his control. According to the military technical agreement signed in Kumanovo, Kosovo is placed under the KFOR (NATO-led) military protectorate and under the formal authority of the United Nations civil administration (UN Resolution No 1244).

    The agreement, which was clumsily presented to the public as a victory, was in fact a document on total and irrevocable capitulation, in content significantly more unfavorable than the project from Rambouillet and later from Paris. The military-technical agreement from Kumanovo gives de facto all power to NATO-led KFOR; article V says: "The commander of international security forces (KFOR) is the ultimate interpreter of this agreement and safety aspects of the peace solution which the agreement contains. The decision of the KFOR commander is binding to all parties and persons."(50)

    From Kumanovo to Kumanovo:
    A National Catastrophe

    The acceptance of the military-technical agreement in Kumanovo, in June 1999, had, in a political sense, a multiple meaning. Firstly, Serbia, which had won Kosovo in the very same place, after a military victory in the First Balkan war (in the famous battle in Kumanovo, end of October 1912, the Serbian Royal Army liberated Kosovo and the Vardar Macedonia, having routed the more numerous Ottoman troops) was now obliged to lose Kosovo definitively and in the same way as a part of its territory. Secondly, the agreement in Kumanovo gave, as stressed above, all the power to the NATO commander of KFOR troops. This was to show the Russians that their active participation was far less counted on than was the case in the negotiating process, when Chernomyrdin managed to impose himself as an unavoidable intermediary does, if not in finding a solution, then at least in making the proposed solution accepted. NATO's full control in the envisaged protectorate was of essential significance for its leaders, bearing in mind the level of frustration in Brussels caused by the unexpectedly resolute defense of the reformed Serbian-Montenegrin army, followed by small losses in military weaponry (only a small percentage of the total military equipment).

    After a systematic action by NATO bombers against mainly civilian infrastructure in central and northern Serbia (power plants, refineries, fertilizer factories, freeways, railways and bridges) the public morale, after the massive destruction following the last weeks of May 1999, faced with the end of civilization, gradually deteriorated and eventually collapsed, a less than few weeks before the Milosevic's capitulation in Kumanovo, and so Milosevic was able to offer relief in the form of capitulation with the fig leaf of a UN mandate. Serbia faced the similar situation in which the German Imperial Army found itself at the end of the World War I: the army, undefeated, firmly in trenches, resolute to fight on, the front lines firmly controlled, and all of a sudden, politicians sign the capitulation.

    Milosevic congratulated to the army, and hiding behind UN resolution which formally left Kosovo inside Yugoslavia, proclaimed victory over NATO. Milosevic addressed to the army which has a significant role in Serbian society. Serbian tradition learns that they should see themselves as valiant warriors who win and defend their freedom when attacked with fury and full sacrifice. Praises to the army were followed by Milosevic's praise to the revived UN role in the final stage of the Kosovo crisis, forgetting that it was precisely the UN (that is the Security Council on behalf of the UN) that established the Hague International Tribunal, where his indictment is being prepared (although still not publicly read in the courtroom) for war crimes in Kosovo- Metohija.

    The last Serbian illusion referred to the role of Russia in the crisis resolution: the sudden take-over of Pristina airport by Russian forces, which arrived in Kosovo from the Bosnian battalion via Belgrade before NATO forces, had only a symbolic meaning. For Russia it was an attempt to create an impression at home that she had regained a position of a great power in international relations, whereas among the Serbs in Kosovo, and particularly in Pristina, the arrival of the symbolic number of Russian parachutists was welcomed with unprecedented ovations, as a real victory within a hollow victory promised by Milosevic; this was the last Serbian illusion about the scale of Russian influence. The reality, however, immediately proved to be different. The Russians limited themselves to remaining at and around the Pristina airport at Slatina, while the vastly superior NATO-led forces in KFOR were taking over five separate sectors. After the efficient and complete withdrawal of Yugoslav military and police forces from Kosovo province, NATO-led KFOR troops settled their headquarters in Pristina and established their full protectorate in Kosovo.

    Russian troops were left without the expected separate sector of responsibility in the north of Kosovo, the region with majority Serb population, which was coveted by most Serbs as a protection measure, but rejected as an attempt at division and a renewal of the cold war both by NATO and the ethnic Albanians. The journalists' questions as to what kind of division it would be since Kosovo is a part of the FR Yugoslavia were met with a confused silence or some unconvincing explanations.

    After that the UN interim administration (UNMIK) was established, all the Serbian power, not even formal any more, was left totally deprived of legitimacy. The masses of Serbian refugees leaving Kosovo in huge numbers, replaced the Albanian returnees who rushed immediately, without waiting for a NATO approval, from Albania and Macedonia back to Kosovo. A dangerous and maybe a deliberate precedent was made in this envisaged military-political vacuum: the Yugoslav border (that is Kosovo border) with Albania and Macedonia stayed totally open for weeks and maybe even months. This allowed unhindered passage not only to Kosovo Albanians, but also to Albanians from the two neighboring countries with the opportunity to indulge in thieving and murdering without any control. If it is borne in mind that northern Albania is not only the poorest corner of Europe, but also the center of drugs traffic for the whole of Europe, the region with the proportionally largest number of gangs, both narco-mafia and arms dealers, it is easy to imagine the scale of crime that swept over the plains of Kosovo and Metohija, where Serbian houses were plundered, set on fire or simply occupied one after the other.(51)

    For weeks numerous empty trucks, most often rented, kept arriving from northern Albania, filled with goods and valuables from the plundered or deserted Serbian houses, and the whole process was accompanied by a new wave of ethnic cleansing, this time directed against the Serbs, facilitated by the more or less indifferent approach of KFOR who were just taking up positions and settling down. Hence it was very easy, under the pressures of armed Albanians, and not only those from the so-called KLA, to submit the unarmed Serb civilians to all kinds of violence: from rape and robbery to expulsion and murder. Since Metohija (the plain between Drenica, Istok, Pec and Prizren) had a smaller percentage of Serbs than a Kosovo proper, and since it is geographically closest to Albania, the first blow of the united forces of Albanian returnees and Albanian bands from the north of Albania landed on the local Serbs who were ethnically cleansed within a matter of days.(52)

    Although a significant number of Serbs from Pec, Prizren, Djakovica, Istok, Klina and villages in the wider surroundings of these towns left their homes and started withdrawing with the Army, fearing cruel Albanian retaliation, nearly half of the Serbs in Metohija believed that KFOR would protect them and Albanians leave them in peace (since they took no part in the persecutions of Albanians) and decided to stay in their homes, a decision for which many of them paid enormous price - a large number of women, including under age girls and old women were raped, whereas most men were kidnapped, tortured and eventually killed. The inhabitants of some small Serbian enclaves, the villages of Gorazdevac near Pec and Velika Hoca near Prizren, including a few hundred civilians surrounded in Orahovac, organized a kind of self-defense and later KFOR positioned its forces there in order to separate the two conflicted ethnic communities. Returnees, who were forced by Milosevic's regime from the central part of Serbia back to Metohija were immediately killed; Italian troops, part of KFOR, started guarding the largest monasteries, Pec Patriarchate and Visoki Decani, which Albanians were preparing to destroy, only after the repeated warnings of the Metropolitan of Montenegro Amfilohije Radovic.(53) As stressed by the Western press, "at the Patriarchate of Pec, another ancient bastion of Christendom near Kosovo's border with Albania, handful of Serbian priests, nuns and laity have holed up under the protection of Italian troops. The clergy are kept busy burying the dead and rescuing icons, relics and bells from the 40 or so churches that have been damaged or destroyed by vengeful Albanians."(54)

    The celebration of 610th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, June 28, 1999, proved to be the most sad event for the Serbs, who being under comprehensive wave of retaliation by Kosovo Albanians, and still unprotected by KFOR, were facing an exodus. The Serbian Patriarch Paul with several Bishops visited the famous battlefield accompanied with heavily armed British KFOR soldiers. The Patriarch Paul and Bishop Artemije warned the western government that "if nothing is done in the nearest future, we are seriously afraid that all Kosovo Serbs would be forced to leave the province."(55) As observed by British reporter, "In practice. It is harder and harder to survive as a Serb - or, some would say, as anyone but an ethnic Albanian - in Kosovo."(56)

    The biggest massacre took place on July 23, in the village of Staro Gracko few miles from Lipljan where 14 Serbian peasants were killed while working in their fields. "Black Friday: in Staro Gracko, as stressed by the press, made illusions on successful KFOR mission almost hollow.(57) Although Louise Arbour and Bernard Kouchner promised an efficient investigation into the massacre of innocent civilians, the perpetrators have not been found.(58)

    Only the Church remained with the Serbian people in Kosovo- Metohija in the most difficult time: both low and high officials of Milosevic's regime from the province were the first to leave Kosovo with their families, while a significant part of the civilian Serbian population left their homes with the army and the police forces, fearing ruthless retaliation. In the first three months of KFOR administration in Kosovo, from approximately 220,000-250,000 Serbs living in Kosovo-Metohija, over 150,000 of them moved further up north in inner Serbia (Romas, i.e. Gypsies and some Muslim Slavs, whose houses were also burnt or occupied by ethnic Albanians also left the province which became NATO protectorate).(59)

    The documentation, received from church sources in Kosovo, gives the data on the number of Kosovo Serbs in bigger cities before and after the arrival of KFOR:

    - Gnjilane: Of 25,000 Serbs the number fell to 5,000

    - K. Mitrovica: Of 27,000 the number fell to 15,000 Serbs

    - Kosovo Polje: Of 20,000 the number fell to 10,000 Serbs

    - Pec: Of 12,000 in the municipality the number fell to less than a hundred Serbian civilians in the town

    - Pristina (the town itself): Of 30,000, the number fell to 500-1000 persons

    - Prizren: Of 5-6,000 in the town, the number fell to 600 Serbs.(60)

    At least half of them left after threats, attacks, murders and looting by the Kosovo Albanians: the Serbs were ethnically cleansed first in larger towns where they were a minority (in Pristina the number of Serbs has fallen about forty times since the arrival of KFOR, from nearly 40,000 to 1,000), whereas the Serbs from Prizren and Pec disappeared almost completely, the only ones who remained were too old to travel. The Serbs in Prizren and Urosevac were exposed to similar persecutions. The sorrowful picture of a new wave of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and Metohija this time from Serbs took place in all parts of Metohija (which, after the adopted Albanian terminology, is called 'western Kosovo" in Western sources) where Serbs, unlike in Kosovo itself, were a distinct minority.(61)

    Parallel with persecution of the Serbian civilians, the target of the Albanian retaliation were numerous Serbian Orthodox monasteries, ranging from medieval Byzantine-type monuments to the more recent churches erected in the sixteenth century and later, until last decade. Over 70 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries were first plundered, and then either totally destroyed or desecrated and damaged to the extent that they are impossible to repair. One third of these churches were high-ranking cultural monuments dating from the medieval period with invaluable frescoes or remains of frescoes (St. Marko Koriski church and monastery in Korisa near Prizren, monasteries Zociste near Orahovac and Devic in Drenica, Church in Petric, Bogorodicna crkva (Our Lady church) in Musutiste, Sveta Trojica (Holy Trinity) near Suva Reka, St. Archangels monastery near Kosovska Vitina, Sveti Jovan Krstitelj (St. John the Baptist) church in Samodreza near Vucitrn, several more recent Serbian cathedrals build in Djakovica and Urosevac etc).(62) As stressed by Western observers "…this demolition cannot be just 'revenge' – NATO's usual excuse for the destruction under its auspices. You do not just fill with rage and spend days gathering explosives to blow up churches. This is vandalism with a mission."(63)

    This "vandalism with a mission" is, undoubtedly an integral part of every standard practice of ethnic cleansing: the stones of the destroyed churches are taken to other places in order to erase all the traces of Serbs once living there. The Pec Patriarchate and, somewhat less, monastery of Visoki Decani are still today occasionally shelled from the surrounding hills. Metohija, apart form several hundred Serbs still living under siege in Gorazdevac is ethnically cleansed part of Kosovo-Metohija province. Even more dangerous is the pattern of albanization of Serbian monuments. Many "Albanian intellectuals" and "historians" are advocating simply 'takeover' of the Serbian monuments as Albanian ones, as they, for example, Bogorodica Ljeviska (Our Lady of Ljevisa), had been turned into mosques during the Ottoman domination.(64)

    The results of the ethnic cleansing would be even more extensive if the representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church had not stood up to protect the Kosovo Serbs. On June 15, 1999 the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church made a public call for Milosevic's resignation and the formation of the national salvation government. At the beginning of July 1999, Bishop Artemije met with the Albanian representative, under the supervision of the UN interim administrator (Sergio Vierra de Melo), to agree on how to halt the wave of violence against Serbs and the establishment of tolerable relations between the two highly antagonized ethnic communities. The Albanians, however, abused the joint statement of July 2, 1999, in which, among other things, Milosevic's regime was condemned. The same day they celebrated the anniversary of the illegal proclamation of the "Kosovo Republic" in the streets of Pristina and other parts of the province, a celebration followed by another wave of violence against Kosovo Serbs.

    Serbian signatories accepted cooperation tending, to avoid a further spiraling violence and to bind the Albanian side - primarily the KLA which remained the only armed military ethnic group - to prevent violence against Serbs and other ethnic groups which started immediately after KFOR came into the province.. But the Albanian practical moves, contrasting the agreed measures forced the Serbian Orthodox Church representatives, from the Metropolitan Amfilohije to Bishop Artemije, to distance themselves from the Albanians.

    Bishop Artemije and Mr. Trajkovic sent a letter to the temporary chief of UNMIK Sergio de Melo in which they accused Thaci of heading "celebration and unrest in Pristina", only two hours after signing the agreement. On this occasion the monuments to Serbian writers Vuk St. Karadzic and Petar II Petrovic-Njegos were demolished, and soon after, a new, unfinished Serbian church in Pristina was blown up. Asking the UNMIK chief to "call the representatives of KLA to submit the full details about the arrested and kidnapped Serbs without any delay ", they stressed that they had "clear indications that camps for Serbs are still existent in Kosovo. Who runs them and how long they will go on existing are the questions to be answered by the KFOR representatives. It was also demanded that the "crimes committed by different armed Albanian formations against the Kosovo Serbs be fully investigated by the Hague international tribunal for crimes in the territory of former Yugoslavia, and not by local Kosovo courts"(65).

    Instead of formal promises more energetic measures on the ground were asked for, which would force the leaders of the KLA and other Albanian paramilitary and irregular police formations to suppress the waves of violence which, with the rhythm of five to ten Serbs killed every day, with systematic expulsions from certain regions and accompanying destruction of sacred buildings, continued with the unrelenting force.(66)

    In its new statement from July 5 the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox church stressed that it expected "international forces to stop as soon as possible the terror tactics used against the Serbian, Muslim and Roma population by KLA members and other groups of Kosovo Albanians and those from neighboring Albania which are using KFOR as a shield for the total ethnic cleansing of the Serbian people. We also expect the honorable members of the Albanian people to stand up to the revenge and retaliation carried out by some of their compatriots these days against innocent people. All crimes committed from either side in the course of this tragic civil and ethnic conflict must be brought up before unbiased international courts, so that divine and human justice can be satisfied."(67)

    The continuation of violence, however, forced the Serbian Orthodox Church to try again to answer the present burning questions to their believers. In the statement issued after the Episcopal consultation it was stressed that they supported "all democratic and patriotic forces in our country and their demands for radical and speediest possible changes in our society, starting from the formation of the temporary transitional government and the preparations for immediate elections". The KFOR and UNMIK representatives were, however, requested by Serbian Orthodox Church to stop the terror and total ethnic cleansing of Orthodox Serbs and other ethnic minorities, perpetrated in their presence and, as stressed by the Church, under their auspices. If the Yugoslav government is to be blamed for previous evils that took place in Kosovo and Metohija, the international forces, which have taken over the power and thus the full and undisputed responsibility for security in Kosovo and Metohija,(68) are responsible for the present crimes, the planned and systematic destruction of the Serbian people and their centuries-old holy places, churches and monasteries and whole villages and regions. The persecution did not diminish. Serbs fought back, by erecting barricades, by demanding that the disappeared and kidnapped be released (who were as a rule killed), in spite of all this 11,000 Serbs were expelled at the time from Obilic alone. At the same time, systematic attacks on stronger Serbian enclaves in Kosovo went on, so the village of Dobrotin in the immediate vicinity of Lipljan also became a target for shelling, besides Serb-inhabited areas of Obilic and Kosovo Polje.(69)

    Spontaneous Cantonization: an Answer to Ethnic Cleansing

    A part of Kosovo-Metohija Serbs, deprived of secured corridor for passage to central Serbia, found temporary shelter in the neighboring enclaves with a Serbian majority, and thus in a very short time Kosovo (without Metohija) became spontaneously cantonized in the manner very similar to the cantonization map created by the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Renewal Movement from Kosovo long before the beginning of the war. From the five cantons on the map of the proposed cantonization (see the map enclosed) only the Metohija canton does not exist, whereas the other four are now reinforced with the influx of new Serbian arrivals. The largest and most significant concentration of Serbs, in the north of Kosovo, encompasses the largest Serbian enclave, stretching from Kosovska Mitrovica (one fifth of the town with a Serbian majority, the northern part across the river Ibar) and Zvecan to Leposavic and Zubin Potok. Thanks to, primarily, French troops of the KFOR forces, the "reunification" of Kosovska Mitrovica did not happen, that is, the local Serbs were not totally expelled as they were from other Kosovo towns, so that their houses and flats could be taken over by the Albanians. KFOR forces boasted of having reduced the scope of violence against Serbs in other places, forgetting to clarify the main reason for this: the cessation of violence against Serbs was not the result of the reinforced security of certain sectors but primarily of the fact that the Serbs had almost disappeared from those regions.

    Nevertheless, spontaneous cantonization has kept, at this moment, around 90-100,000 Serbs in the four separate zones: 1) north, which spreads to the north of the river Ibar and Kosovska Mitrovica, to which came the citizens of the region around Vucitrn; 2) central, which encompasses the territory between the village of Gracanica and town of Lipljan with tens of Serbian villages, to which came some citizens from Pristina and neighboring villages 3) the region from Kosovska Kamenica to Gnjilane, where the Serbian majority from a part of Gnjilane is finding shelter; 4) in the zone of Strpce with the Brezovica mountain where some of the Serbs from Prizren and surrounding region fled from violence and persecution. After the arrival of KFOR, the cantonization plan (which would be implemented, in a revised variant, with the approval of the UN), which envisaged the preservation of special ties between the Serbian zones (or cantons) in Kosovo and the state of Serbia was explained to Serbs who greeted and supported it massively at all their meetings in Kosovo. The support to the cantonization project also came from most opposition democratic parties in Serbia, which saw it as their duty to support the efforts of Bishop Artemije in raising the question of the protection of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija.(70)

    From Co-Operation to Failure

    Remaining faithful to the principle position that multi-ethnic Kosovo should be preserved and that bridges of trust should be re-built, Serbs authorized Bishop Artemije and Momcilo Trajkovic to represent them in the Kosovo Interim council presided over by Bernard Kouchner, on behalf of the UN, where ethnic Albanians are represented by the representatives of the KLA, LDK and other political groups. The key question for Serbs was the security issue: the Kosovo Interim Council, however, discussed only the questions concerning Albanian security and humanitarian problems, whereas Serbian proposals concerning the similar needs were either ignored or openly rejected, by the UN administrator or Albanian representatives.(71)

    UNMIK and UNHCR representatives in Kosovo during the first months were operating with completely inaccurate number of remaining Serbs, giving the top figure of 30,000. Only after frequent and energetic protests from Bishop Artemije, the number was officially raised to reasonable number of approximately 97,000 on September 11, 1999.(72) The persecutions of Serbian civilians and systematic destruction of churches was not, however, halted. Although all the representatives of the international community, from Xavier Solana to Bernard Kouchner said that the revenge policy in Kosovo was totally unacceptable, almost nothing has been done to stop systematic persecution of Kosovo Serbs.(73) The only exception turned out to be a muscle action of French troops and policemen in Kosovska Mitrovica area, where they successfully halted ethnic Albanians to repeat the persecution of Serb with taking over their property followed, a pattern already applied in other parts of the province.(74)

    The Serbian members of the Kosovo Interim Council witnessed that their justified demands, completely in accord with the proclaimed aims of both military and civil mission - were more or less diplomatically ignored, particularly the key question of efficient protection of Serbs. In order to raise security issue as a priority, they repeatedly broke off co-operation with UNMIK as a sign of protest against accelerated ethnic cleansing taking place before the very eyes of KFOR and UNMIK. The representatives of both military and civil administration just shrugged their shoulders, complaining about their inability to protect every single individual, stressing that they were understaffed, etc. But, the main problem for the Serbian representatives was that all the attacks against Serbs, instead of being qualified as a calculated plan of ethnic cleansing, were described as incidents, and there were even those from among the international representatives who tried to justify the understandable desire for retaliation among ethnic Albanians after great crimes committed, on behalf of the Serbian side, against them before and during NATO bombardment.(75) A journalist Veton Surroi made the only exception on the Albanian side. He dared to condemn the systematic violence against Kosovo Serbs after June 1999 in his article "Bells of Shame" qualifying this Albanian persecution practice as a form of fascism.(76)

    The Bishop Artemije, who had been condemning violence on both sides for years, warned that it was the duty of KFOR and UNMIK to provide effective protection for all Kosovo Serbs, and condemned the fact that greater persecutions with more devastating results happened under the international protectorate than during the war with NATO or even under Milosevic's rule. One ethnic cleansing, as stressed the Bishop, was substituted with another a fact for which, to the surprise of democratically and pro-western orientated Serbs, the international community somehow showed their full understanding. M. Trajkovic warned that only the extremists on both sides can claim their victory: KLA which proclaimed as their goal an ethnically cleansed Kosovo and Milosevic who, before the Serbian public again, gets new proof that the international community has been deliberately undermining general Serbian interests, rather than as publicly claimed, fighting the non-democratic Serbian regime represented by Milosevic.

    Through a revised cantonization draft, which would be implemented in full co-operation with UNMIK and KFOR, Bishop Artemije and M. Trajkovic tried to create an inter-space which would allow Serbs - of whom there are still about 90 to 100,000 in Kosovo - to survive this critical phase, to keep their national identity and their language and save their endangered cultural heritage. General assessment among Kosovo Serbs was that the only realistic hope to halt ongoing ethnic cleansing was their revised plan for cantonization. This plan was first rejected by Kouchner and then by leading European foreign ministers of Germany and France, Joschka Fischer and Hubert Vedrine. The European ministers justified their rejection by the claim that the cantonization plan would allow a division of Kosovo although, according to the basic idea and due to the scattered Serbian enclaves on the ground, the cantonization project reminded more of a leopard skin than a clear-cut division.(77) Moreover, in the view of the Serbian representatives, the cantonization project was the viable plan that prevents the development of the two trends deeply in contradiction to the basic values of European democracies. It prevents Kosovo from becoming mono-ethnic through systematic ethnic cleansing operated by Kosovo Albanians, and defends the right to multicultural society to all ethnic groups, including the right to the preservation of cultural heritage, some of which - as the Serbian medieval art and architecture - belongs to the world cultural heritage.(78)

    On September 18, 1999, the Bishops' synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church issued a strong warning statement in which it demanded that, respecting the UN Charter and general values of Christian and entire modern civilization, the representatives of the international community (UNMIK and KFOR including other NGO's), should halt the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo Serbs in the Kosovo province and stop the evil wave of systematic destruction of Serbian churches and monasteries.(79)

    The Serbian representatives in the Kosovo Interim Council were, however, left without a counter-proposal of the international community that would efficiently protect the Serbian people and their monuments in ethnically cleansed Metohija and in Kosovo proper, while, at the same time, all proposals of the Serbian side were, as observed by all independent analysts, cynically ignored or rejected.(80) After many failed attempts to have some of their proposals accepted, feeling unable to help their people in Kosovo-Metohija in an efficient way the representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Serb National-Church Assembly (although they enjoyed up to 90 percent support of Kosovo Serbs), decided to withdraw from the Kosovo Interim Council. In this way they refused to serve, as Serbian representatives as a formal cover for UNMIK plans, which, as was assessed, were deeply contradictory to the basic interests of the Serbian people and the Serbian Orthodox church in Kosovo-Metohija. During the same period, under UNMIK authority, all other important institutions in Kosovo-Metohija, after the expulsion of Kosovo Serbs (some exceptions in Kosovska Mitrovica area only) became ethnically purely Albanian. The Serbian representatives considered that the absence of basic protection of endangered Kosovo Serbs was not, as explained by representatives of the international community, the lack of soldiers within KFOR troops and proportionally small number of international policemen. They noticed the obvious absence of political will among those among those in leading NATO states who are to decide upon the future of Kosovo.

    Bishop Artemije, the protector of Serbs and ethnic Albanians alike, before and during NATO air strikes, although open to cooperation, found out that the representatives of international community. The UNMIK and KFOR, were either unwilling or unable neither to guarantee a short-term protection to Kosovo Serbs. Apart from tiny part of Kosovska Mitrovica and northern (Zvecan, Leposavic and Zubin Potok) area, the full political responsibility of UNMIK and military control of KFOR proved to be inefficient and unwilling to match chaos and KLA-orchestrated violence against the Serbs. In contrast, all the Serbian proposal were ignored or refused, although were usually dealing with basic security issues. Therefore, after three months of unsuccessful attempts to obtain the minimal protection of Serbs and their property in Kosovo-Metohija, on September 22, 1999, Bishop Artemije, together with Momcilo Trajkovic decided to definitively leave the Kosovo Interim Council. The immediate reason was the formation of "Kosovo Protection Corps", after only formal disarmament of the KLA (in fact, as noticed by foreign correspondents, only old and disused guns were handed in). Kosovo Protection Corps was created, from, as expected, ethnic Albanian (KLA) members only. This legalization of mono-national Albanian police and army forces fitted in with ambiguity on future Kosovo status, announcing that, an independent Kosovo, cleansed of Serbs, should be recognized in a near future. Bishop Artemije and Trajkovic stressed, on that occasion, that in return; "Serbs in Kosovo are fully justified in asking for the realization of the demand for cantonization and the creation of the Serbian Protection Corps."(81)

    After three months of suffering under the KFOR and UNMIK authority, the position of Serbs, according to the statement of Raska-Prizren Bishopric, is still dramatically deteriorating. In his public statement Bishop Artemije underlined that the results under the UN and KFOR protectorate are devastating: nearly 200,000 Serbs left Kosovo (percentage higher than that of Kosovo ethnic Albanians during the NATO bombing) and that over 350 Serbian civilians were killed, over 450 disappeared,(82) while thousands of Serbian houses plundered and burned, or both, and that more than 70 churches and monasteries razed. Bishop stressed that all this has happened after the war was over and after all Serbian military and police forces left Kosovo. This wave of ethnic cleansing against the Serbs happened under full responsibility of nearly 50,000 soldiers and other members of international peace keeping forces.(83) Serbs were, practically, expelled from all multi-ethnic regions and forced to live in ad hoc created areas, as stated by the Bishop Artemije, Indian-like reservations or Jewish-like ghettos. The Serbs are also denied their basic human rights and the right of freedom of movement, education, work and health care. Among older Serbian citizens of Kosovo it did not go unnoticed that in the World War II, after the first wave of violence in 1941, the level of Serb protection was in some areas significantly better than KFOR protection operating on behalf of the United Nations.

    The policy of "double standard" often underlined by the Serbs is quite visible in the KFOR slow and unmotivated search for Serb victims of terror and violence. In search for mass graves of the Albanian victims the OSCE experts, on various occasions, opened graves in which they discovered only Serbian victims.. They, for instance, found a Serbian mass-grave in the village of Ugljare with 13 Serbian corpses from a nearby village, Ranilug, but the KFOR representatives in Gnjilane tried to diminish the significance of this discovery, refusing to specify whether the victims of the massacre were of Serbian nationality.(84)

    Nothing has changed since the Kosovo Serb representatives warned on UNMIK and KFOR forces. Serbian Orthodox Churches had been still destroyed, and persecutor of the Serbs unpunished. As witnessed by journalist of The Independent two months after Bishop Artemije and Trajkovic protesting against the persecution of the Kosovo Serbs, left Kosovo interim Council the ethnic cleansing is still l'ordre de jour for Kosovo Albanians: "The postwar "ethnic cleansing" of Kosovo's Serbs appears to be nearing completion as armed Albanians continue to murder and kidnap the tiny minority of Serbs who remain in the province more than five months after NATO troops arrived – in the words of their UN mandate – "to ensure public safety and order". Of Pristina's 40,000 Serb population, only 400 are left. Statistics from the Serb church and a human rights group in Pristina suggest as many as 316 Serbs have been murdered and 455 more kidnapped, many of them killed, since NATO's arrival. If these figures bear any relation to reality –and most are accompanied by names and dates – then the number of Serbs killed in the five months since the war comes close to that of Albanians murdered by Serbs in the five months before NATO began its bombardment in March. Most Serb victims died in the first two months after NATO's entry, but house-burning and murder continues. […] But since neither NATO nor K-For will admit that a conflict continues under their control in Kosovo, albeit a largely one-sided one in which the Serbs are the principal victims, war crimes tribunal officials cannot investigate the killing of Serbs. This means their murderers have only the largely impotent UN police force to reckon with. No wonder, then, that minority groups continue to flee Kosovo. The 300-strong Croat community at Letnice were preparing to celebrate their 700th anniversary in the province but left en masse last month for Dubrovnik. And this week, the president of the tiny Jewish community in Pristina, Ceda Prlincevic, left for Belgrade after denouncing "a pogrom against the non-Albanian population". He had left Kosovo, he said, "with only the Talmud".(85) Similar assessments were made by other Western correspondents traveling through Kosovo during the last months of 1999.(86)

    UNMIK and the KFOR Mission: What Went Wrong?

    The UN and KFOR mission in Kosovo-Metohija can be judged on two levels. Officially the whole military operation started in order to prevent ethnic cleansing and humanitarian catastrophe. The fact that hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians, expelled during the NATO bombing, managed to return safely to Kosovo-Metohija is only one side of the coin. If the KFOR and UNMIK mission claim that they has been successful, then there must be an unknown, hidden agenda that is significantly different from the one that is publicly proclaimed and which is based on the UN resolution No 1244.

    Compared with solemnly proclaimed principles and values of the European Union, USA and UN, the international mission in Kosovo-Metohija is an almost total political failure: the practice of ethnic cleansing, this time against Serbs, has not been halted, on the contrary it has received new impetus. Serbian or, as the euphemism goes, "non-Albanian cultural heritage" has been systematically destroyed, while Milosevic is still in power in the rest of Serbia. Further on, impoverished and mafia-controlled Albania has not been stabilized, the FYR Macedonia is, moreover, additionally destabilized; if Kosovo is taken from FR Yugoslavia, Macedonia is expected to federate into ethnically-based pro-Bulgarian and pro-Albanian parts. The whole region, from the global security perspective, became less stable after June 1999, jeopardizing any international attempt to achieve a long-term stability within democratic environment, free-market economy and full protection of human rights.

    The "Berlin Wall" between Serbia and Albania has been pulled down, but it seems that, as far as Albanians are concerned, everything is being done for a new one to be erected, this time between Kosovo province and the rest of Serbia.(87) The broader geopolitical impact of this kind of policy will have far reaching effects not only for Serbs who are left again to disappear from the territory they inhabited for nearly a millennium. The other possibly devastating consequences are the following: the attempt of Albanian nationalist to destabilize and divide the FYR Macedonia could be probably followed by a civil war in Albania between the Muslim-dominated north and Orthodox-oriented south, areas sharply divided by culture, customs and views on the country's future. Unconditional support of the international community to the national cause of the "Kosovars", that is of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo-Metohija has, in turn, strengthened the previously seriously shaken power of Slobodan Milosevic in the rest of Serbia.

    Cantonization Reconsidered?

    Policy-makers should, therefore, taking into consideration recent developments in Kosovo, pledge themselves to ensure, at first place, an unbiased and highly efficient protection for all ethnic groups in Kosovo, including the respect of their differences and rights to their own languages and cultures, with the efficient protection of their respective cultural heritage. The lack of multicultural practice, democratic political culture and inter-ethnic tolerance, will impose the interim solutions: the mentioned rights should be preserved by the establishment of some form of temporary security zones, or priority security zones, cantonization, or some similar form of interim internal territorial reorganization in the coming period, in order to protect the human rights of each ethnic community. This could secure simultaneously a self-rule for ethnic Albanians in their areas, but also badly needed protection of Kosovo Serbs and a kind of self-rule on their territory. All measures concerning status issues should, apart from well-known Albanian demands, meet the basic demands of the Kosovo Serbs: to preserve a special political ties with Serbia and Yugoslavia, as a first step towards surviving and avoiding a total national catastrophe. Return of the all refugees, as a basic demand of international community should be another step in confidence-building process. The Kosovo issue rest, however, directly tied to the further democratization of Serbia, which will, hopefully, have stabilizing effect in the whole region.


    * Ass. Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade University.

    1 D. T. Batakovic, "Srbi i Albanci: istorija, sukobi, perspektive" ("Serbs and Albanians: History, Conflicts and Perspectives"), Hriscanska misao, ono.4-8. Belgrade, Valjevo, Srbinje 1997, pp.17-21.

    2 For more information see: Radovan Samardzic et allii, Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji (Kosovo and Metohija in the Serbian History), Srpska knjizevna zadruga, Belgrade 1989; see also: Savremenici o Kosovu i Metohiji 1852-1912 (Contemporaries on Kosovo and Metohija 1852-1912), edited by D.T. Batakovic, Srpska knjizevna zadruga, Belgrade 1988.

    3 Cf. Dusan T. Batakovic, The Kosovo Chronicles, Belgrade: Plato 1992, passim

    4 The most comprehensive picture of the period is given in a scrupulously conducted scientific survey: Ruza Petrovic and Marina Blagojevic, The Migrations of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohija, the Results of a Scientific Survey Conducted in 1986, Demografski zbornik, No 2, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade 1992 (Serbian original of this book was published already in 1989 without D. T. Batakovic's historical survey included into slightly shortened English editions ).

    5 Dusan T. Batakovic, "Kosovo i Metohija:istorijsko nasledje i geopoliticka ogranicenja" (Kosovo and Metohija: Historical Heritage and Geopolitical Limitations), Kosovo and Metohija: Challenges and Answers, The Institute of geopolitical studies, Belgrade 1997, pp. 361-388.

    6 Cf. typical example: Ali Jakupi, "Origins and Motives of Serbian Myths in Kosovo" Eurobalkans, no. 34-35, spring/summer Athens 1999, pp.21-27.

    7 See my book for further explanation: D.T. Batakovic, Kosovo i Metohija. Istorija i ideologija (Kosovo and Metohija: History and Ideology), Hriscanska misao, Belgrade-Valjevo 1998. And also, the second printing of my book from 1993 in French: D.T.Batakovic, Kosovo. La Spirale de la Haine, L'Age d'Homme 1998, 105 pages.

    8 Comprehensive scholarly documentation with appropriate interpretations can be found in: Atanasije Jevtic (ed.) Zaduzbine Kosova. Spomenici i znamenja srpskog naroda (Kosovo Endowments: Monuments and Vestiges of Serbian People), Prizren-Belgrade 1987, see specially the contributions of Mitar Pesikan

    9 For more detail: Gabriel Jandot, L'Albanie d'Enver Hohxa, L'Harmattan, Paris 1994.

    10 Two good insights in different and essentially irreconcilable Serbian and Albanian positions on Kosovo are given in two collections of articles from a symposium under the auspices of European mediators: Kosovo: Ger Duijzings, Dusan Janjic, Skelzen Maliqi (eds.) Kosovo-Kosova. Confrontation or Coexistence, Peace Research, University of Nijmegen, Political Cultural Centre 042 1996; Thanos Veremis and Evangelos. Kofos, (eds.) Kosovo. Avoiding Another Balkan War, ElIAMEP, University of Athens, Arthens 1998.

    11 In French speaking countries, Michel Roux, a geography professor at the University of Toulouse, is a supporter of the most profilic pro-Albanian position : M. Roux, Les Albanais en Yougoslavie. Minorite nationale, territoire et developpement, Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris 1992.

    12 Noel Malcolm, Kosovo. A Short History, New York: New York University Press, 1998, 492 pages. See a review by Aleksa Djilas in: Foreign Affairs, September 1998, ("Imagining Kosovo; A Biased New Account Fans Western Confusion"). The president of the "Kosova government" in exile , Bujar Bukoshi; as observed by some British experts; distributed Malcolm's book as the "real scholarly" approved "truth" about Kosovo. Others, somewhat less aggressive form of pro-Albanian interpretation of Kosovo history, although not totally marked by anti-Serbian approach, is the book by a British political scientist and journalist Miranda Vickers: M. Vickers, Between Serb and Albanian. A History of Kosovo, Hurst £ Company, London 1998, 328 pages. The book has, however, been withdrawn from sale due to the unauthorized quotations taken from different books in English, including several extracts from my book, all of which were not appropriately marked by footnotes: D. T. Batakovic, The Kosovo Chronicles, Plato, Belgrade 1992. Cf. also a review of Malcolm's and Vickers books by Tim Judah, "Will there be a war at Kosovo", The New York Review of Books, New York, May 14, 1998, pp. 35-38.

    13 "Proceed with caution in Kosovo, Newsday (New York, NY), June 14, 1998, p. B05, by Susan L. Woodward.

    14 D. T. Batakovic, "Kosovo-Metohija in the 20th Century: Nationalism and Communism", Eurobalkans, No 30-31, Athens 1998, pp. 21-27.

    15 A Western press, including the most important magazines, for instance The Economist of London or International Herald Tribune are regularly using the same phrase: "Kosovar Serb".

    16 Cf. the legal documentation: Kosovo: Law and Politics. Kosovo in Normative Acts before and after 1974. Helsinki Committee for Human rights in Serbia,, Belgrade 1998 (bilingual Serbian-English edition).

    17 In 1992 election, SPS, Milosevic's Socialist party won 13 mandates in the Pristina constituency with only 42,396 votes, while Vojislav Seselj, his coalition partner won additional five mandates with 18,735 votes,while other six were dispersed to a smaller parties. During the next elections in 1993, Socialist party of Serbia won 21 mandates, while three other ones were distributed among Seselj (2 mandates) and opposition coalition DEPOS (1 mandate). (Cf. Srbobran Brankovic, Serbia at War with Herself. Political Choice in Serbia 1990-1995), Sociolosko drustvo Srbije, Medijum, Belgrade 1995, pp. 299-304.)

    18 "Minorité albanaise et géopolitique de la drogue", La Dépeche internationale des Drogues; Paris, No 57, juillet 1996; still the best account is to be found in: Kiro Nikolovski, "Come nasce la 'dorsale verde' ", Il Triangolo dei Balcani, Limes, No 3, Roma 1998, pp.15-27.

    19 Stefan Lipsius, "Bewaffenter Widerstand formiert sich", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurt, March 4, 1998; Christophe Chiclet, "Aux origines de l'Armée de libération du Kosovo", Le monde diplomatique, mai 1999, Paris 1999, pp. 6-7.

    20 See my article on possible solutions of the Kosovo question within the initiative of a German foundation Bertelsmann: D.T. Batakovic, "Kosovo-Metohija Question: Origins of a Conflict and Possible Solutions", Dialogue, vol. 7, No 25, Paris, printemps 1998, pp. 41-56 .

    21 The Milosevic –Rugova agreement, signed under the auspices of Sant' Egido organization, never came into effect due to different interpretations : "Nasa Borba, Belgrade, 3rd and 4th September 1996. Find the review of different initiatives with the accompanying documentation in: Stefan Troebst (ed.), Conflict in Kosovo: An Analytical Documentation, 1992-1998, European Centre for Minority Issues; Working Paper No 1, Flensburg , May 1998.

    22 Dusan T. Batakovic, "Progetti serbi di spartazione", Kosovo: Il triangolo dei Balcani, Limes, No 3, Roma 1998, pp.153-169. It is worth looking at the discussion "Kako resiti kosovsko pitanje" ("How to solve the Kosovo issue "), in Knjizevne novine which published the discussion of the following participants: D.T. Batakovic, Slobodan Samardzic, Dragoljub M. Popovic, Zoran Lutovac, Zorica Radovic, Sreten Ugricic and Miodrag Perisic; no. 973, May 1, 1998. and no. 974, May 15, 1998.

    23 See the analysis: Parallel worlds, Institute for War & Peace, MEDIA FOCUS 3 London, December 4, 1998.

    24 "Kosovo Serbs live in fear of future", Chicago Tribune, February 22, 1999 by Tom Hundley; See also Crown prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, "Kosovo is Only Part of the Problem in the Balkans", International Herald Tribune, February 20-21m 1999

    25 "The problem of Kosovo", August 1997, Taken from internet site:

    26 See also, Roberto Morozzo dellla Rocca, "Le chemin de la guerre", Hors-série, Golias/Limes, été 1999, pp. 33-41. with details on the American policy towards Kosovo and the relation of the American administration towards the KLA.

    27 "Krvava bajka na pragu Patrijarsije" ("Bloody tale on the threshold on the Patriarchate"), Glas javnosti, Belgrade, December 17, 1999, p. 1. On Milosevic's fatal policy see the interview of Dusan Ristic of the Serbian Resistance Movement in Glas javnosti, of December 23, 1998, p.3.

    28 Cf. "Serbia: Democratic Alternative", Special Report by US Institute of Peace, Washington D.C. June 1998, p. 7

    29 "In Two Months 186 Serbs Left Villages around Podujevo", Vecernje novosti, November 20, 1998, by M. Kikovic

    30 Predominantly pro-Albanian interpretation of the events in the report of the International Crisis Group: The Kosovo Spring. The International Crisis Group Guide to Kosovo, Brussels 1998, On Serbian attitudes pp. 77-82 see also: D.T. Batakovic, "Kosovska kriza: izazovi i ishodi" ("Kosovo crisis: challenges and outcomes"), Knjizevne novine, No. 971, Belgrade, April 1, 1998, p. 1.

    31 Cf. "White Book" of the Yugoslav authorities: Terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija and Albania. White Book, Belgrade, September 1998.

    32 D. Anastasijevic "Gorka sargarepa", Vreme, February 28, 1998, pp. 17-18.

    33 Nasa Borba, October 8, 1998, pp. 1-2

    34 See Danas, January 18, 1999, p. 1: "Posle obracuna snaga bezbednosti i OVK u selu Racak kod Stimlja Vlada Srbije odobrava svet o{tro osudjuje akciju" ("After the clashes between the police forces and the KLA in the village of Racak: the Serbian government approves, the world severely criticizes the action." )

    35 Taken from Internet site:, Assembly was held in Pristina, November 7, 1998.

    36 Taken from Internet:

    37 Ibid.

    38 Ibid, Pristina, November 7, 1998.

    39 See Hill's interview "Mi ne stvaramo tre}u republiku na Kosovu" ("We are not creating the third republic in Kosovo") in: Danas, Belgrade, December 4, 1998, p. 4. and also "Tre}a republika ne bio poremetila odnose u Jugoslaviji" ("The third republic would not upset the relations in Yugoslavia") an interview with Christopher Hill, Blic, Belgrade, December 4, 1998, p. 3. Documentation of the international community on Kosovo: The international community and Kosovo . The collection of relevant documents, Helsinki committee for Human Rights in Serbia, Belgrade 1998.

    40 "Zasedao vanredni Arhijerejski sabor Srpske pravoslavne crkve. SPC ipak u Rambujeu ("The extra-ordinary session of the bishop union of the Serbian Orthodox Church. "The Serbian Orthodox Church In Rambouillet, After All") Blic, Belgrade February 6-7, 1999, p. 2; "Crkva jo{ ~eka Vedrinov odgovor" ("The Church Still Awaiting Vedrine's Answer") Glas, Belgrade, February 6-7, 1999, p. 2

    41 The cantonization project prepared already in September 1998, after Halki meeting of Bertelsmann group for Kosovo was first published as full text in Sloboda (Liberty), the fortnightly of the Serbian National Defense in America: D. T. Batakovic, "Kantonizacija Kosova i Metohije", Sloboda, Chicago, no. 1737, December 10, 1998, pp. 1-2. Later the same project was presented to wider audience by D. T. Batakovic in Belgrade, through the Institute for geopolitical studies (Glas, Belgrade, December 3, 1998, p.3 ('Dvodomna skupstina i veto predsednika") and afterwards republished in Knjizevne novine and Hriscanska misao. (Democratic party of Belgrade has previously, without author's approval, presented Batakovic's plan as its own accepting all proposed provisions: "Srpski kantoni", Blic, Belgrade, November 28-29, p. 3.)

    42 Full text available on site: and

    43 "A bungled war", The Economist, London, May 8, 1999, p. 11.

    44 See a rather critical analyses of the Kosovo crisis development and NATO operations in: Ignatio Ramonet et Alain Gresh, "La nouvelle guerre des Balkans" Le monde diplomatique, Manière de voir No 45, mai-juin 1999.( a collection of previously published articles).

    45 "Milosevic i Rugova pripremaju sporazum o Kosovu" ("Milosevic and Rugova Preparing For an Agreement on Kosovo"), Danas, Belgrade, April 9, 1999, p. 1.

    46 See a characterstic reasoning by Predrag Simic: "Rusija je kljuc" ("Russia is the key"), Borba, Belgrade, December 10, 1998.

    47 "Bezumni rat NATO protiv SRJ ugrozava medjunarodni mir. Predsednik Milosevic primio predsednika DUME Seleznjova" Danas, Belgrade, April 9, 1999, p. 4. Cf. highly contesting view of Serbo-Russian relations and their historical friendship: François Bonnet, "Russie et Serbie : une histoire des faux frères", Le Monde, Paris, le 23 avril 1999, p. 14.

    48 "No end in sight", The Economist, London, April 17, 1999, p. 51.

    49 For Russian expectations at the last stage of the Kosovo crisis see: Konflikt v Kosovo: novii kontekst formirovania rossiiskih nacionalnih interesov, Moskovkii centr Instituta Vostok-Zapad, Moskva juni 1999 g., pp. 4-30, with analysis writen by S. Romanenko, P. Kandel, A, Moshes, D. Danilov. V. Baranovskii. Cf also on Chernomyrdin: "Diplomacy: amid the rubble" The Economist, London, May 22, 1999, pp. 53-54; "Breakthrough in Kosovo?" The Economist, London, June 5, 1999, pp. 47-48.

    50 See a text by Kosta Cavoski, "Porazavajuca pobeda" ("Devastating Victory"), Hriscanska misao, 5-8, Valjevo 1999, p. 17.

    51 See a text from the Paris daily Le Figaro, republished in Serbian translation in: Blic, Belgrade, August 28, 1999, p. 8: "Heroinski put pod kontrolom Albanaca. Figaro otkriva spregu kosovsko-albanske narko mafije i OVK" ("Heroin route under the Albanian control. Le Figaro reveals the union between the Kosovo-Albanians, narco-mafia and the KLA").

    52 "Potpuni nestanak Srba samo pitanje vremena" ("The total disappearance of Serbs is just the question of time"), Danas, Belgrade July 21, 1999, p. 2. (by R. Marojevic)

    53. Svetigora, Cetinje, no. 87, p. 29, a statement by the Montenegrin metropolitan Amfilohije to "Radio Svetigora", interview of June 20, 1999.

    54. Quotation from: "Sad Serb", The Economist, London, July 31, 1999, p. 41

    55 "Church warns over attacks on Serbs", Financial Times, London, June 29, 1999, p. 1 (by Harvey Morris): Cf. also: "La KFOR confrontée à la violence albanaise. Les représailles se multiplient contre les minorités serbe et rom, Libération, Paris, 29 juin 1999, p. 8 (by Didier François)

    56 "Sad Serb", The Economist, London, July 31, 1999, p. 41.

    57 "Krvavi petak u Starom Gracku" ("Bloody Friday in Staro Gracko"), Vreme, Belgrade, July 31, 1999, pp. 2-3.

    58 "Jugoslavija trazi od Saveta bezbednosti da zaustavi etnicko ciscenje na Kosovu" ("Yugoslavia demands from the Security Council to stop the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo"), Danas, Belgrade, July 26, 1999, p. 1

    59 Cf. the documentation in Blic, Belgrade, August 22, 1999. "Ne ubijaju Srbe tamo gde ih nema" ("Serbs Not Killed In the Places Where There Are None").

    60 Ibid

    61 According to the UNHCR data, from the beginning of June until the July 26, 172,061 people fled Kosovo and Metohija, 90 percent of the number were Serbs. There were 132,789 officially registered refugees in Serbia and Montenegro. 22,811 fled to Montenegro alone. (The data taken from Danas, Belgrade, July 27, 1999, p. 2)

    62 "The Serb church has issued its own list of destroyed or partly demolished buildings. Between 13 June – when NATO troops entered Kosovo – and 20 October, they say, 74 churches have been turned to dust or burnt or vandalised. The 15th-century monastery of the Holy Trinity above Musutiste, begun in 1465, has been levelled with explosives. The monastery of the Archangel near Vitina, built in the 14th century, has been looted and burnt. So has the church of the Archangels in Gornje Nerodimlje. And the church of St Paraskeva, near Pec. And the church of St Nicholas in Prekoruplje – razed and its nine 16th-century icons lost, including that of the apostle Thomas.

    The rubble of Orthodox churches across Kosovo stands as a monument to Kosovo Albanian vandalism and to NATO's indifference or – at the least – incompetence. After declaring that Kosovo must remain a "multi-ethnic society", 40,000 troops from K-For cannot, it seems, look after its historical heritage against the violence of those whom its spokesmen treated as allies in the war against Yugoslavia's President, Slobodan Milosevic, only five months ago. "

    63 The Independent, London, November 20, 1999: "NATO turns a blind eye as scores of ancient Christian churches arereduced to rubble", by Robert Fisk in Djakovica.

    64 The statement of the Raska-Prizren diocese of September 17, 1999: "Today (September 17) the representative of the Rasko-Prizren diocese, prioress Katarina Vujasin visited Prizren accompanied by the British KFOR folowing the news that the so-called Albanian national museum in Prizren wants to appropriate the most important holy objects of our Church and people in Prizren. Two days ago, a certain professor Muhamed Sukrija, the director of the newly established museum, sent a written request to the German KFOR, asking that the Bogorodica Ljeviska Church, erected by the king Milutin in the fourteenth century and the monastery complex St. Archangels with valuable remains of mosaics from the middle ages, be put under the museum's jurisdiction. With the intention of proving their historical right and the claim that the mentioned objects are a part of the Albanian cultural heritage, Mr. Sukrija brought photographs of the Bogorodica Ljeviska church from the time of Ottoman rule with a minaret, claiming that the building had been a mosque before the Serbs converted it into a church. The church itself, according to the prioress Katarina, is not adequately secured and a few days ago some Albanians had removed the barbed wire placed by the German KFOR in order to protect this valuable monument from plundering and destruction. Prof. Sukrija demands from our Church that a discussion be organized before KFOR representatives in which the Albanians will officially request their cultural monuments, which have been ostensibly taken over by the Serbs. Mr. Sukrija is particularly interested in the valuable remains of Sv. Arhangel mosaics. The representatives of German KFOR are in quandary before such demands. Unfortunately, after the physical genocide against the Serbian people in Prizren the extremists are not set on the Serbian spiritual and artistic treasure, supporting their claims with their sham-historical theories. Maybe we'll even see the day when the Albanians will attempt to appropriate the Decani monastery, which was, according to their historical books, erected by the Gashi tribe, and perhaps even the Pec Patriarchy."

    65 "Prekinuti s nasiljem ili prekid saradnje", Vladika Artemije i M. Trajkovic zapretili liderima kosovskih Albanaca, posebno Hasimu Taciju, ("Stop the violence or we'll stop the cooperation", Bishop Artemije and M. Trajkovic warned the leaders of the Kosovo Albanians, and especially Hashim Thaci), Danas, Belgrade, July 6, 1999, p. 2

    66 See Danas, Belgrade, July 3 and 4, 1999. Find the chronicle of the suffering of the Serbs of Kosovo-Metohija up to St. Vitus' day 1999. together with detailed reports in Svetigora, Cetinje, No. 87, Jovandan 1999, pp. 18-40 : "Najcrnji srpski Vidovdan. Nova srpska golgota na Kosovu" ("The worst St. Vitus' Day for Serbs. A new Serbian Golgotha in Kosovo" ). See also: Pravoslavlje, Novine srpske patrijarsije, Belgarde, "Dogadjaji na Kosovu I Metohiji" (Report on Kosovo-Metohija events), August, 1-15, 1999.

    67 Glasnik a bulletin of the Serbian Orthodox Church, No. 7, Belgrade, July 1999, p. 126. (Sin. No. 1102)

    68 Quoted from: Vreme, Belgrade, August 14, 1999, p. 5.

    69 Blic, Belgrade, September 6, 1999, p. 9, more reports from Kosovo.

    70 See Glas Javnosti, Belgrade, August 20, 1999, "Kantonizacija je vec sprovedena" ("Cantonization has already been carried out") p. 2, an interview with D. T. Batakovic; cf. also NIN, Belgrade, No 2593, August 26, 1999, "Kantonizacija ili preseljenje" ("Cantonization or departure") with a map of cantons, article by Svetlana Djurdjevic-Lukic, p. 22.

    71 NIN, Belgrade, No 2593, August 26, 1999, "Pusteni smo niz vodu" ("We are left to our own devices"), an interview with Momcilo Trajkovic , p. 23.

    72 "Igra brojki za politicke potrebe" ("A game with numbers for political purposes"), Danas, Belgrade, September 21, 1999. p. 2

    73 A statement by Xavier Solana in Brussels before his trip to Kosovo, quoted from Danas, Belgrade, September 6, 1999.

    74 "French Troops Feel Anger of Albanian Kosovars", International Herald Tribune, August 9, 1999, p. 5.

    75 A premeditated murder of 14 Serbian farmers in the village of Staro Gracko by KLA members led KFOR to try and prove in every possible way that it was a case of isolated incident and not a massacre, which caused an outrage and a big revolt amongst Kosovo Serbs. KFOR, according to witnesses, has, however, made it its practice that while Serb civilians are being killed in one part of a town, they are usually busy looking for mass graves with ethnic Albanians buried in them. (See Danas, Belgrade, July 27, 1999, p. 2: "KFOR tvrdi da nije bilo masakra" ("KFOR claims there was no massacre").

    76 Koha Ditore, Pristina, August 18, 1999 (in Albanian). According to some Albanian verbal testimonials, Adem Demaci said, before withdrawing from public life, that the Albanians had proved to be five times worse than the Serbs in committing crimes.

    77 While Hubert Vedrine warned that the cantonisation project is not envisaged by the UN resolution, Joschka Fischer admitted that "there is no safety for Serbs and Romas (Gypsies) in Kosovo", Danas, Belgrade, August 25, 1999 : "Vedrin i Fiser u poseti Kosovu" ("Hubert Vedrine and Joschka Fischer visiting Kosovo").

    78 "Kantonizacija jedina prepreka etnickom ciscenju Kosova. Medjunarodna zajednica rizikuje da propadne njen koncept multietnickog Kosova" ("Cantonisation is the only hope against the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. The international community risks the failure of its concept of multi-ethnic Kosovo"), Blic, Belgrade, August 28, 1999, p. 1 & 3.

    79 The statement of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church of September 18, 1999 : "The Synod appeals to the international community that basic principles of human rights and freedoms, which they advocate so fervently and, indeed, implement in their own countries, should be also respected in case of the Serbian people. The Synod expects and demands that the international forces in Kosovo and Metohija stop further suffering of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Serbian people and other non-Albanian population, and do everything to facilitate the return of all those who had fled the country. The Synod also expects the international community to help the Serbian people to realize their right to life in the territory in which they have lived for more than fifteen centuries. With the aim of stopping ethnic cleansing of the Serbian people and some other ethnic communities in Kosovo and Metohija – and unfortunately, all this is happening on the eve of the third millenium after the birth of his Lord, Jesus Christ, and in the presence of military and civilian forces from the countries which consider themselves Christian and civilized (KFOR and UNMIK) – the Synod has sent its protest to the United Nations, as well as an appeal to UNESCO, to stop further destruction and appropriation of Orthodox churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija and the destruction of the remaining spiritual and cultural treasure, which is not only Serbian heritage but also the heritage of the European and world culture.

    The Serbian Orthodox Church is hoping that the present suffering of all people, including our people, will soon stop thanks to the efforts of all those who carry good will in their hearts. The Church prays to God of peace and love to give us strength to endure these sufferings, and when they are finished to create the climate of mutual understanding and respect for a life in freedom and tolerance. The Serbian Orthodox Church has always worked towards these spiritual values, and it will go on fighting and sacrificing for them in future." (Statsmen taken from Internet site: Official site of the SOC is : www.spc.yu)

    80 At some stage, the chief of UNMIK mission, B. Kuchner announced the preparation of documents on the protection on the non-Albanian population, with a possibility of civilians from towns being moved to nearby zones, but this announcement has never been mentioned since. (Danas, Belgrade, August 27, 1999, "Najavljen dokument o zastiti nealbanskih zajednica" ("Announced document on the protection of non-Albanian population").

    81 Danas, September 23, 1999. p.1 "Vladika Artemije i Trajkovi} napustili Prelazni savet" ("Bishop Artemije and Trajkovic left the Interim council "), see also Blic, belgrade, September 23, 1999, p. 9.

    82 The list of kidnapped and killed Serbs in Kosovo by August 30, was published regularly in Danas, Belgrade, from the end of August to mid-September 1999.

    83 See bilingual Serbian-English publication: Crucified Kosovo. Destroyed and Desecrated Serbian Orthodox Churches in Kosovo and Metohija (June - August 1999), Belgrade 1999, edited by Fr. Sava Janjic. Revised and updated Internet edition:, and www. On the eve of the promotion of the book Crucified Kosovo, news arrived that before the eyes of disinterested KFOR representatives, another Serbian historical monument in Kosovo and Metohija had been destroyed, the Zociste monastery together with the Sv. Vraci, Kozma i Damjan church ( "The monastery of Zociste destroyed" Danas, Belgrade, September 16, 1999, p. 2)

    84 "Looking for Albanian They Found Serbian Corpses ", Glas javnosti, August 29, 1999, p. 3.

    85 "Amid this anarchy, the question has to be asked:can the shameful campaign of "ethnic cleansing" and murder of Serbs that continues under K-For's eyes still be explained away as revenge attacks, as retaliation for the mass atrocities committed against Albanians by Serb forces before and during the Kosovo war? A growing number of Albanian intellectuals,including several courageous journalists on the daily Koha Ditore newspaper, fear that the murders and dispossession of Serbs are now being organised…." (The Independent, London, November 24, 1999, "Armed Albanians take revenge with campaign of murder,house-burning and intimidation that has driven out thousands Serbs murdered by the hundred since 'liberation", by Robert Fisk in Pristina.)

    86 New York Times, August 31, 1998 :"Rebel Terror Forcing Minority Serbs Out of Kosovo ", by Mike O'Connor; "Kosovo Rebels Make Own Law", by R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post, November 24, 1999, page A1. Thursday, November 18, 1999; "NATO's reputation a casualty of war", The Toronto Sun, November 18, 1999, by Peter Worthington< cf. also: "U.N. Discovers Colonialism Isn't Easy in Kosovo", The Wall Street Journal, New York, November 2, 1999, commentary , by Max Boot.

    87. 1 The "Berlin Wall" in the Balkans of which Rexhep Qosja talked to the author of this text in 1991 during symposium in Pristina, was pulled down only to create ethnically pure Albania that will absorb Kosovo, rather than a multiethnic, democratic society within Serbia and Yugoslav federation.

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