Letters to JURIST
JURIST invites Serbian, Montenegrin and Kosovar lawyers, academics and others to report or comment on postwar developments in Kosovo and Yugoslavia. Send your e-mails to JURIST@law.pitt.edu.
- living in a police state [October 5]
- deja vu [September 25]
- after the rally: reflections from the leader of the Civic Alliance party [August 21]
- here we go again [August 20]
- report from the Belgrade rally [August 20]
- still divided [August 20]
- from a former assistant to Slobodan Milosevic [August 19]
- report from Orahovac, Kosovo [August 10]
- the Markovic interview again [August 5]
- more on the Markovic interview, and the return of B92 [August 3]
- ethnic cleansing of Kosovo Serbs [August 2]
- JURIST's interview with Ratko Markovic: the "bomb" explodes [August 1]
- for e-mail on law schools and law faculty in Kosovo, see Prishtina Law Faculty Appeal
- for previous e-mails, see JURIST's War Correspondence and Kosovo Calling sections...
JURIST poziva advokate, akademike i ostale iz Srbije, Crne Gore i Kosova da izvestavaju i komentarisu posleratnu situaciju na Kosovu i Jugoslaviji. Posaljite svoj e-mail to JURIST@law.pitt.edu Pisma na Srpskom jeziku su dobrodosla.
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For correspondence received by JURIST during the 1999 Kosovo war see our War Correspondence and Kosovo Calling sections. Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of their authors.
- [Tuesday, October 5] Until recently the sad truth that we are living in a police state was somehow hidden - you couldn't see much of the uniformed police on the streets. Now, you can see them all over Belgrade, day to day. If you were among some 30,000 people that were walking and protesting last week you could feel them too. And afterward the number of people coming to rallies decreased to 15,000.
After brutally beating people at rallies on Wednesday and Thursday, police has practically forbidden the marches. On Saturday they let us walk some 200m and then they pushed us out with the threat of new violence. That means that they were running to the crowd of people with batons ready to hurt whoever comes first, without difference. While running in a stampedo, fearing only not to fall and be run-over I didn't have any idea where can I go - police were in every side street and on every corner. It turns out that they stopped when we were starting to go back to the downtown square where the rallies always start and end. And then, when I stopped running too I felt the bitter feeling of humiliation and helpless anger. Here we were running like frightened kids in our own country and city without any other choice - barehanded people are not a proper force confronted with the armed police forces. But the worst thing was that I realized that tomorrow people won`t come to the rally out of anger or solidarity or simple citizen disobedience to this insane and brutal regime that is trying to kill us all before it dies itself. No, people are too tired and disappointed and depressed to riot.
In a country that is cursed by everybody in the world, that almost doesn't have any financial resources, with police forces that serve only to violate citizens and to protect the Government, what else could happen to initiate changes?
- [Saturday, September 25] September 21st, the day of the opposition rally in Belgrade and all over the Serbia, was a rainy day. After the incident that happened with Vuk Draskovic a month ago, it was obvious that he and his followers won't join the rally organized by the Alliance for Change. With rain included, that made people attending the rally less numerous. About 10.000 people were standing in the street waiting for the speeches that may give them new hope, or at least an idea of what will be the next move. But for people that are used to listening to the same speeches full of big words without meaning and made of big promises without realization, this first rally didn't bring anything new.
Speaking for myself, I'm tired of listening about our great past (Serbian) and our great future - I simply wish to hear something about today's life and how to survive it. During the rally I had that "deja vu" feeling all the time, and it made me feel sick. There were no particular goals with a particular way to achieve them, no open criticism to what all of us (Serbs) have done or tolerated to be done in our name, no mentioning of our responsibility, no calls for us to wake up and face the reality instead of living in our virtual lives that get only more depressing and hard to bear from day to day...Nobody asked us to remain on the street until something changes. Nobody told us what will be the next step for forcing present authorities to leave or to organize the elections. Too many speaches is something that hasn't had results for all these years.
I was standing there, thinking that it would be much more effective if they have put a billboard and simply shown us the pictures of what happened and how we changed in last 10 years - pictures of Belgrade in 1990., Vukovar in 1991, Sarajevo in 1992/3/4, Slavonia and Croatia in 1995, protests in 1996/97, Kosovo and Belgrade in 1998 and 1999. Only the reality caught by cameras, with no speeches at all - a sort of a requiem for what we used to be, and a sort of the zero point from which we should finally start to create something positive.
The only thing that gave me some small (very small) hope was a call for us to come every day to new rallies. Maybe if it lasts long enough some miracle will happen. Or maybe the leaders of the Alliance will figure out how to motivate people to act and protest in any or every possible way. Maybe they will formulate goals and create some new energy. If our presence on the streets will help to inspire any of that, fine, here we go again...
- [Saturday, August 21] I found the rally very successful. It showed that people in Belgrade are willing and ready to embrace serious political change. It proved that the majority of more than 75% of our overall population supports our first demand, and that is that Mr. Milosevic has to leave his position.
On the other hand, the rally also showed how deeply divided and self-oriented some of the opposition leaders are. Messages from the speakers were mixed and different.
[Re: Goran Svilanovic's reported departure from the rally after a speech by Vuk Draskovic, leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement:] It was not Mr. Draskovic's appearance that made me step down. On the contrary, I looked forward to seeing all opposition leaders there, as I previously stated. I stepped down because after Mr. Draskovic came on, being there suddenly became not very pleasant . Bodyguards of different parties start arguing and pushing each other just behind my back. I was there with my daughter (8) and did not want to have her frightened or even injured. At that moment I decided to step down but wanted also to warn these guys to behave themselves. They did, and in a minute everything was OK at the meeting and I was happy about it.
I was not expected to speak and the rally could continue.
The Alliance for Change held a press conference yesterday. We announced the organization of an Alliance rally in Belgrade on September 21st, at the latest. In the meantime we shall continue with rallies all over Serbia. We are currently planning to organize rallies in Paracin, Smederevo, Vranje, Pozarevac, etc. At the press conference it was said that we expect to see whether the parliamentary parties will sign the political agreement on a transitional government proposed by Group 17. This means we shall wait to see if Mr. Milosevic is willing to step down as proposed. We do not expect this to happen, and we believe that it will be necessary to continue our activities, including a new Belgrade rally with rallies all over Serbia at the same time, plus a blockade of railroads and highways, with strikes.
I believe in elections and believe that the majority of population will support the opposition. Milosevic and Seselj [leader of the Serbian Radical Party] cannot win elections this time. What is necessary is to have all political groups agreed on the terms and conditions of the elections. Basic electoral rules and regulations have already been prepared by Yugoslav NGOs and these should be accepted by everyone. Elections have to be open and verifiable from within the country and abroad. Elections of that kind we have never had before. We don't want to repeat "Milosevic's elections", with all their tricks and fraud, any more. He has to leave to make possible both a transitional government and the subsequent elections.
President, Civic Alliance of Serbia
- [Friday, August 20] While we were walking with the crowd of people to the rally organized by the Treaty for stability in Serbia, my friend was complaining about the heat. A guy next to us said : "That's nothing. Soon, it is going to burn", and we all laughed. Full of mixed feelings - joy, hope, skepticism and doubts, we found our place among 100.000 people waiting for the first Belgrade opposition event after the famous 96/97 protest. I must admit that my heart was beating with excitement, even after I realized that it's all the same old story - same number and the consistence of people as any time before. I felt like I could say :"Hi, guys! Nice to see you AGAIN! We were together for 10 years, so we'll probably be here in next 10 years, too."
The fact that rally wasn't largely supported by people that haven't become "professional rebels" against this regime, or youngsters, made me feel a little bit stupid, and confirmed my theory that through the summertime people will continue to act like crickets, not thinking about the winter at all.
OK, here we were, same old pals, but at least something was happening!, I thought.
My favorite speaker was a young and brilliant economist Mladjan Dinkic, member of the G-17 group and one of the authors of the Treaty for stability in Serbia. Basically, he called for a Government of experts and Milosevic`s resignation. But he also said that people who are seeking for changes are those to count, not the parties and their leaders, and that supporting the rally means supporting your own life. He added that at this moment we will need 40 years to get back where we were before Milosevic. ( that's good news - I'm going to be around 70 then!)
During the speech of Zoran Djinjic somebody threw up the tear-gas, but fortunately I didn't get much of it.
Everything was going fine till the moment SPO`s representative was announced. Since I couldn't clearly see what's happening on the stage, I was confused for a while before I realized that Spasoje Krunic (announced speaker) can't speak because of the SPO`s supporters who were yelling for Vuk Draskovic to come out. The trouble was that after Draskovic's decision to join the rally, two days before the event he cancelled putting Spasoje Krunic on the list of the speakers. (Another conflicting decision he made in past two years while he was trying to flirt with Milosevic and remain his image of the main opposition leader). Draskovic was always supported by Belgrade and he was expecting the same. But, what happened was completely unexpected.
The majority of people started to whistle and yell: "Go away! Traitor! Call for Milosevic to fall!" I couldn't figure what do I feel while being surrounded by people reapetting angrily "go away!" I guess what I felt was a kind of sadness an the buried hope. I do think that Vuk deserved what he got, especially because of his relation to the rally itself. You can't sit on two chairs forever, saying "I`ll come...no, I won`t... Yes, I will...definitely not...", and then just appear, after realizing that so many people came anyway. People felt offended and reacted with passion and anger.
Still, it wasn't the time and place for arguing among ourselves and proving the old joke about "where there are three Serbs - there are four parties". Despite everything Vuk has or hasn't done, it was not him who brought us there, it was Milosevic.
I wonder why Draskovic couldn't be more clever, and why couldn't he keep his word and stay home, or, even better, come there at the first place without making fools of us and, finally of himself. Anyway, the damage was done and after the incident Vuk`s supporters left the rally. I guess that now the opposition is going to fight among themselves again. I guess that it's not much likely that they will stand together on some future rally in September, or whenever. If I let myself be ironic, I could also guess that I'm going to stay a professional rebel for the rest of my life.
While leaving , two guys were commenting they should definitely try to find the way to go abroad - wherever. What we all felt was bitterness and disappointment. What most of us will do is to join the future rallies, as the only way to try to fight for our lives, as Dinkic said. 1.900,000 of Belgrade people stayed home today. Will the cold, dark winter change anything? - it's for future to show.
- [Friday, August 20] I have been there before the meeting started and somehow there was large enthusiasm on the faces of the people they were quiet. But I [went back in the evening] and by the end I have been to listen Draskovic for some time. I did not know that he will speak, because he has cancelled his speech earlier but he changed his mind. The noise and bad speakers were constantly cut with the whistling of the angry people on the regime but some of them were angry on Draskovic accusing him for the treason. He had earlier during Protest 96/97of the citizens for Milosevic voting irregularities had failed to use the anger of the citizens to the peak and to culminate it to some result. This time I could hardly hear and understand what he was talking as the public was in mood and they have responded to his calls but seems that some have protested as they have been unhappy with him. He was speeking seems in great style but somehow he must do and score somethning more than to entertain the masses... My impression is that he can lit the crowd but if he does not make some miracle soon he will be blown off the stage. The good speech only is not what the public wanted. But after the meeting lot of present there were thinking that the atmosphere amongst the people willing to request the changes exists.
- [Friday, August 20] The general feeling here is that the Serbian opposition is still too divided to be a serious threat to the regime, while on the other hand we as a people haven't developed an alternative civic movement (we were investing all our energy in the opposition over the past decade). This Treaty for Stability in Serbia is a first attempt to do something out[side] of the political parties. But there is not enough time before winter strikes hard, so we still need unity among the opposition, support by the church and a wide movement of the people. Meeting those conditions may be impossible, which is why many fear that some kind of spontaneous violence is inevitable. As one guy told me yesterday at the rally, "things will speed up when people start feeling hunger and winter".
- [Thursday, August 19] [Editor's note: in the 1980s the author of the following letter was an assistant to Slobodan Milosovic, then President of Beogradska Bank, the largest bank in Yugoslavia. In the interests of timeliness, this submission is posted as-is in its original English, without stylistic or grammatical changes. A corrected version will be posted as soon as possible.] The current situation in FR Yugoslavia is more difficult than ever since 1990. However, it has never been so close to the end of totalitarian regime, lead by the war crimes indicted FRY President Slobodan Milosevic and his wife Mirjana Markovic, leader of the post communist organization JUL. Inside the country nobody to day mentions the war crimes indictments by Hague Tribunal but all stress the failures and leak of the expected results in economy, decrease of the quality of living and working, censored freedoms of press and media, catastrophic war policy and incompetent diplomacy. It indicates political, social and economic changes not before to long.
The essential problem of to days FR Yugoslavia is not what if Milosevic goes, (in spite this is very important) but what if the post communist regime (controlled by the pro Russian circles in the FRY armed forces) remains without him and does not changes towards the rule of law, democracy and economic reforms with free market trade?
The essential changes, which by now have occurred, have transformed the common citizens mind and will. Earlier increased social pathology of behavior had been followed by the stress caused by the NATO FRY war. Preceded by NATO air strikes against FRY and in addition followed with KFOR UN Security Council legally backed up entrance inside Kosovo; the citizens non members of the ruling group of post communists regime had felt for the first time the dark prospects of the life to come with Milosevic on the top of state.
Very large war damages and losses, of Yugoslav economy, regarding infrastructure of transport communication systems, smashed bridges and railroads, burnt oil refineries and oil depots, but most of all temporarily (?) loss of the Serb political control in Kosovo, had definitely reassured the majority of population in FRY Presidents abilities to cope adequately concerning any crisis to day in this country.
Loss of political and military control in Kosovo by the incompetent policy of the ruling regime and the consequences of the NATO air strikes had awakened the majority of the impoverished citizens. They on the other hand suffer from the leak of the finances needed to pursue the changes, organized as more or less independent groups with unified basic program.
The citizens of Serbia to day see the current policy, as the serial of premature attacks on their and their familys bare lives by Milosevic ruling group. Those who share opposite views belong mostly to the members of the ruling circles, as well as to the members of the privileged groups.
The preconditions required for change of the regime have eventually appeared inside the most social structures of the society. Three major facts will decide on the change to be of Milosevic and his wife Mirjana Markovic:
The regime consisting from the slim customed hard communists (SPS, Milosevic) masked as the national socialists and ruthless right wing nationalists masked as the Serb radicals (SRS, Seselj), have formed lately the coalition in the FRY Government together with ultra hard communists together with army and police officers masked as the leftists (JUL, Mirjana Markovic).
- Discontent of the people in Serbia, followed by the will to change their conditions of work and life
- Russian international diplomatic and Balkan strategic support to Milosevic policy in order to block advancement of NATO, and
- Loyalty of the special police brigades of Serbia Ministry of Interior Affairs and FRY Army highest decision making circles, to Milosevic personally
The most important persons, members of the three mentioned organizations, they have ever had; now are installed on power, controlling the federal government in this country. The statement of the Serbia Prime Minister that in Serbia there is no room for terrorists (who wish to overtake the political power) indicate the sharp course of the regime towards the protesters and changes to be. It has been followed by Mirjana Markovic statement that the political power in this country can be overtaken only by elections and not in any other way, meaning that the three partners in coalition by now have still the force to forge any elections in which they will appear to be the winners. Even in spite that they can not count on the votes from Kosovo which usually has been widely abused because the Kosovars (Albanians from Kosovo who abstained from voting inside what they said was Serb government rule. For instance, the President of Serbia M. Milutinovic has got enormous number of votes from Kosovars, which had installed him as the President of Serbia in spite that Kosovars did not participated in voting).
The coalition between the post communists and rightists nationalists indicate that decision by FRY President Slobodan Milosevic and his wife Mirjana Markovic had been done in favor of use of the brutes violence against the citizens by the police special brigades loyal to the regime.
No doubt, too, that recent reconstruction of the Federal Government indicates decision that any protest or demonstration against Milosevic regime will be responded by the police forces brutes action. The regime police, as seen, during the citizens protests in 1996/97 had exercised such precedence. The clash with the citizens wishing to make the changes may very likely have the causalities in large proportions.
Those policemen, to face their countrymen using the force on the streets of the cities, are the veterans from various battles and in some cases suspected for ethnic cleansing. They are well knowledgeable in use of many forms of violence. The head of the Ministry of Interior of Serbia Vlajko Stojiljkovic, has been indicted for war crimes on the territory of ex SFR Yugoslavia, too, by the Hague Tribunal. Born at the same village in Serbia as Slobodan Milosevic and Mirjana Markovic, it is expected that he will remain loyal to FRY President as well as the Chief of the Army Staff General Dragoljub Ojdanic. That does not include the majority of the high army personnel and troops.
SLOBODAN MILOEVIC FACES THE REAL CHALLENGES
It is widely believed that Milosevic suffer from loss of will and with poor ability, now, to command in direct over to him loyal army and policy units. That is why he is more dangerous than ever. Indicted for war crimes, with lost war against NATO, and looking how the bunch of young and well made pertinence on his chair emerge, he may wish to give lessons to all those who believe that he is week now. In case of mass riots and protests in FRY, the younger and more aggressive members emerging mostly from the JUL organization may replace him.
It is because the loss of Kosovo has been attributed to Milosevic diplomacy, as it is widely believed not only by the common citizens but also by the police and military decision making circles, too. The war with NATO has made almost every living person in FRY convinced that he has no military genius as for instance people here believed that late ex SFRY President J. B. Tito, proved in the W.W. II, have had. On the contrary, he proved that if he is given the army, will loose the war, if he is given the power he will make the new war and will loose it, anyway
Slobodan Milosevic rule has obviously come to the end.
It is so obvious to all, that he can not conduct his duty of office regularly, regarding the simplest contacts with Western statesmen. Nor he can travel abroad because of the war crimes indictments. He can not even travel to Kosovo. He can not even make the speech in the Federal Parliament from many reasons. One of the most crucial reasons explaining his fear from public, has been developed after Protest 1996/97, but after the NATO air strikes it had produced undesirable effects, deepening more his problems in communication with the citizens.
There are too many things he can not to do now or in the future permanently. And there are to many things the citizens need to be done now and here, by the new, better one President who can travel abroad, who can meet the other statesmen from the Western countries or the one who at least can speak often in the national parliament or travel to all parts of this country freely. In addition, off course the one can run the office on his own, not like him who looks all the time to Moscow for help, to support his rule.
The JUL, communists and revolutionary organization lead by Mirjana Markovic, wife of Slobodan Milosevic, is launching and installing the very young politicians, to top positions, who have excellent talents for communication and extraordinary well balanced and direct approach to the citizens needs. Ivan Markovic, young and flamboyant politician, handsome and virile man, one of the best pick-ups by the reformed communist organization, has been placed into the FR Yugoslavia government lately. He may rise very high to the positions, which to day seem reserved to one person, only. It is believed that he is directly backed up from the JUL top functionaries.
Still, there is no crucial element visibly to prove that Milosevic will be replaced in next few days or in future period. In spite that the end of his regime is very likely to occur soon. One crucial element is missing and is unpredictable. It depends on the manner how he will regain the confidentiality amongst the inner circles of the regime in conducting the future problems. However, it may depend on how the police forces on the street of Belgrade this evening will handle the citizens who will protest and request change of Milosevic! If any victim, as consequence of the to Milosevic loyal police violence occurs to night it may lit the flame all over Serbia, to blow him out from the stage for ever.
In the meantime the post-Bolshevik functionaries here, seem to have received the recognition from their Eurasian allies on keeping the firm opposition to military expansion of Western Allies towards the borders of Russia. Such policy, that has once in broad sense had exposed this country to the armed conflicts, ethnic cleansing, UN sanctions, etc., had made FRY and the citizens become isolated from the international community, with catastrophic consequences.
MONTENEGRO IN OR OUT
The warm reception that Montenegro President Milo Djukanovic have had in Moscow recently, indicates that by sticking to the will to protect its interests on Balkan, Russia seems more and more reluctant to see Milosevic off the power. The challenge from Montenegro nominating its President Milo Djukanovic for the top FR Yugoslavia position, eliminating Milosevic, just depicts the course of the changes soon to be.
This is not only the threat but also the realistic development of the situation, which Milosevic failed to recognize in its earliest beginnings and change it in own favor, relying to crude force of his police units and problematic political advises of his wife. She proved to be the ballast of enormous weight, blocking Milosevic to play his cheap games, which had jeopardized but temporarily prolonged his rule.
The future settlement between Serbia and Montenegro in relation to the form of union of the two republics, having unequal number of population, non-balanced economic strengths and non-identical prospects of development in future, may not cause the problems. Only, if the basic economic reforms and laws reasons prevail.
The problem of political equality between Serbia and Montenegro as the obvious unequal partners will always jeopardize the picture of the well-balanced federation, union, or confederation. Inside that, matter, the choice between federation, con federation, or one state with provinces, is the matter of economic development and integration in European Union.
One thing is certain: Montenegro should not gain the profit from political (fictional) equality, if recognized so or Serbia may not abuse the minor political and economic strength of Montenegro on the other hand. Each of the two republics must have its own balance sheets and finances and must pay for what one buy or wants. If the administration and diplomatic service reflect separate interests of the two republics, the future of this country will once again be subordinated to Eurasian interests by preventing integration of Yugoslavia into the developed regions like EU or into the NATO.
SOCIAL ISSUES IN FR YUGOSLAVIA
Impoverished citizens, silent in their deprived roles, have in mind only one purpose to live at the moment, to prevent their families and their children, being harmed from the increased various forms of straight violence and pathology of social behavior in Yugoslavia. Organized crime inside the frames of economy, like monopolies in favor of small groups and individuals belonging to regime, as the privileged members of the ruling class, enjoy no more sympathies amongst the citizens. The old people problems had increased, the young people problems, too.
The family as the social category is under the most severs attacks one can imagine. The roles and the relations of the members of the family have drastically changed. The social pathology had harmed the family and the children particularly, who develop into the citizens with twisted ideas and purposes in life.
Unemployment rate has reached the highest proportions and jobless workers sit at their homes with poor government help that arouse laughter amongst their children. Desperation and anger are developing amongst the citizens.
The crucial statistics are out of sight to the majority of the citizens in this country relating to the fertility rate, infant mortality rate, and other data, showing precisely what is going on here. Leak of the medicines, deterring health service, delayed payments of the pensions, small and humiliating salaries, expensive food, transport and daily necessities are the results of the policy that in last 15 years had advocated in public the protection of the so called national interests. The wars inspired by that policy have been the most painful experience to the other ethnic groups on the territory of ex SFRY, but to those Serbs, as well, who were not able to counterweight post Bolsheviks policy of causing the conflicts on Balkan.
NATO air strikes had contributed to the large development of the post war traumatic psycho crisis amongst the citizens for which health security service systems were not adjusted well enough. Some children have had enormous problems as well as the elder persons.
Catastrophic rains this year, which the regime attributes to NATO air strikes against FR Yugoslavia may decrease the harvest and produce hunger or larger problems in this winter to come. The prices of food are going up and it is not yet clear if this may be game of current regime intentions to paralyze the citizens actions in favor of changes of Slobodan Milosevic or serious problem to affect the society here.
Added to it regime promises economic reforms and developments, to which no one believe a single word. Factories of lies, frauds and demonstration of force are the marks of to day life here.
In the center of the city Roma (Gypsy) children bath naked in the fountain or sleep below the shop windows in the shopping center of the city. Taxi drivers looks as if pirates and old cars make typical noise on the streets. The new and expensive cars driven by the young lads only make the citizens ask themselves: how this young man could afford himself the new and expensive car? The home lunches become less and less modest in quantity and quality. The farmers on the green market as well as the gross buyers and resellers rise the prices. (I am using the common soap for bath for my daily shavings. Can not stand the beard!). Public City transport is definitely off and private bus owners do it more or less properly, but that is not what one 2 mil city needs.
The refugees gather on Kalemegdan Park and dance the folk dances. They are desperate and destroyed. It seems that it is the only chance when they can laugh on the jokes and stories on their old home places, lost forever. Even the Croats play soccer to day better than Serbs do (Yesterday it was national team match 0 : 0 in Belgrade, where Serb players had missed many of excellent opportunities to score the goals).
The aggressiveness on the streets rises slowly but all the time. One push and the other may return the punch instead. Sharp polemics and insults have become the common behavior. Organized (by Milosevic regime) crime on the streets in convertible currencies exchange, illegal cigarettes production peddling, narcotic peddling and all forms of illegal trade make the picture rather ill and unpromising.
Inside that only one thing is positive. No one wants to work for Milosevic anymore! He has no new personnel and sticks to the old veterans from his beginnings amongst who the most of the the pensioners who are not able to give him proper advise or dare not to do such thing. Lunatic army commanders decorated for victory in the loss war with NATO in public promise to return in Kosovo. (It is not quite clear in they think on the region of Kosovo under KFOR control or there is another fields somewhere in Serbia, which has the name Kosovo?
The so-called G 17 (Group 17) has been launched in public, to present to the Western countries and investors the new opportunities. It is an attempt of Milosevic regime most likely run by his wife and her communist organization JUL, to provide new fresh convertible currency to their fonds as well as to gain the prospective incoming finances. Such operation may have the crucial role in securing the future longtime leadership in FRY in favor of communists if succeeds.
After illegitimately acquiring from state banks the citizens convertible currencies savings, Loan for Serbia and two private banks citizens savings in hard cash, with earlier taken foreign hard cash credits Milosevic and his wife dream once again of the pleasant dreams of the large bags of money, taken abroad and placed safe bank accounts. They have noticed the Balkan Economic Recovery Program as the new opportunity for them, which could prolong their rule for some time.
The G 17 may and it is very likely that plays the role of theirs front panel. In discreetly not opposing to the G 17, as the future partners in public to be installed to the Western investors countries, some believe that communist organization JUL, lead by Mirjana Markovic, wife of FR Yugoslavia President Slobodan Milosevic, may gain the two major advantages:
- To have G 17 recognized as the future federal government executive functionaries and the partners to Western countries investors, playing the role of the intermediates between:
- Western countries and post Bolsheviks together with joint nationalistic radical circles in FRY, now on power in FRY government
- The common FRY citizens and post Bolshevik regime in settling the FRY situation and problems
- To continue FR Yugoslavia two leveled policy, backed up by fresh convertible currency investments, the post Bolshevik regime has the purpose:
- To protect their Eurasian military allies strategic interests on Balkan in preventing NATO approaching Russia borders in exchange for international diplomatic support
- To obtain fresh finances for the regime future operations:
- To prevent integration of Balkan countries into the European Union, and
- To prevent establishing community with democratic institutions and free market economy on Balkan
Democratic Union for Changes (G 17) has called people to come at the meeting in front of the FRY Assembly August 19, 1999. In launching its economic program of recovery, as the offer to the citizens of FR Yugoslavia, they are expected to vote in favor of the program on the next elections to be. It is expected that opposing groups and parties will respond to call.
The larger opposition parties in Serbia had made agreement to send their very best activists to the every village in Serbia to explain the situation and to persuade both the citizens and the farmers to change the regime of Slobodan Milosevic. But the meeting this evening has been boycotted by the several politicians like V. Draskovic (SPO), General Perisic (ex chief of staff), and few others. The remaining politicians are of less importance. The public meeting of the citizens to be on August 19, 1999 in front of the FRY Parliament is expected to gather a large number of people (opposition parties believe that circa 250.000 will come) who should firmly stress the need for change of Slobodan Milosevic and his regime.
The leading personality of the G 17 Prof. Dr. Mladen Dinkic, economist promised in public the political and economic recovery of Yugoslavia. He will try to persuade the people who gathered in Belgrade, on August 19, to follow G 17 economic program and vote for him on next elections. That decision of the citizens may launch him into the future as the chief negotiator with the Western countries, in respect to the BERP (Balkan Economic Recovery Program). In opposite case his career may soon.
However, the well-experienced politicians believe that without 450.000 to 500.000 people at present circumstance, there will be no positive achievements.
It seems that in FR Yugoslavia regime run sharply in favor for control over servicing of the expected Economic Recovery Aid to be given by Western countries. Expected large amounts of aid from Western countries, supposed to enter this country next year, have attracted various circles to jump into the competition for stakes.
The expected removal of Slobodan Milosevic from power will not at once change the crucial decision making circles in FR Yugoslavia. The changes will go slowly followed by the requests to the Western countries to pass the aid. It may signal to the all parties interested to control the servicing of the economic recovery aid that historic examples in 1945 and on, had had demonstrated extremely versatile abilities of the strategic power beholders in this country, to overtake such large financial resources, which has been lately redirected into the military purposes.
In past the communist regime of J. B. Tito, had exchanged the acquired aid in hard and fresh convertible currency for worthless bank notes from domestic central bank printing office. The hard cash has been laundered elsewhere and amounts placed on the secret accounts abroad for future political moves.
To day, the removal of Slobodan Milosevic may be only the first step in restructuring Balkan as the region. However, the following steps must not threaten the social and political stability in region in servicing the economic recovery aid to be, in the manner, which will produce new and drastic conflict in FRB YUGOSLAVIA, and on Balkan Peninsula.
It is very important that the proper conduct and the results prove the economic reasoning, political wisdom and future peace and stability here, as it will have the enormous effect in Eurasia to be restructured, too, in future.
WHO PLAYS THE KEY ROLE IN FR YUGOSLAVIA?
The role of the decision making centers of the armed forces will play the crucial role, within the frames of the changes setting up the conditions for future developments of FR Yugoslavia and its welfare.
In spite of their troops low image to day, armed forces decision-making centers play the most important role in shaping the future of this country.
The comments of the two high-ranked generals lately indicate that Milosevic may not account on the military circles help in case of his removal have the purpose to create belief in Western creditors that there is the split in the army. However, it is not so. The huge privileges and authorities had made officers the category of the population above the law.
They are not obliged to the civil law and what happens inside their system of regulation is secret to the citizens and public. To whom they are responsible, to whom the have to apologize for the several lost armed conflicts it is not yet clear. It seems the most likely that they are responsible to Milosevic and his wife directly, by passing the Constitution, or using it for only formal reasons. In case of war the crucial decision maker in past was obviously Milosevic.
The lost wars and loss of Kosovo had isolated him from being backed up by the army. In case of riots use the armed force on the streets to intervene against the bare armed citizens to day seems not likely as the large group of the highest military personnel has got the message when in addition to Slobodan Milosevic, Army General Dragoljub Ojdanic has been indicted for crimes on the territory of the ex SFRY by the Hague Tribunal. It may be said to police highest staff who had not been involved in ethnic cleansing or have no command responsibilities for war crimes on the territory of ex SFRY.
The enigma called FR Yugoslavia is the stand and decision to be made by the crucial decision making centers to allow the free movements of capital and finances, goods and services, labor and information.
That comprises too, democracy, the private property, and private initiative, free market economy, followed by FRY entrance to EU and NATO. Only solid peace guarantees by FRY ruling circles and government to respect the international law and pay the installments back regularly in future may be the ground in exchange for the Economic Recovery Program.
As soon as Milosevic and other hard communists removal occur and they go to history, one way, or another, the path for the real changes is open.
The few new top leaders will or may appear on the stage: Djukanovic, Lilic, Draskovic, Gen. Perisic, Stanisic, I. Markovic and possibly Dinkic. The ratio of Parliament representatives inside the post communist organization (JUL and SPS) against the nationalists (SPO and SRS) will give possibly the profile of the new government in Serbia, in which the new or reformed socialists may have the winning positions and initiatives.
This evening public meeting in front of the Parliament in Belgrade may give some important answers for future.
- [Tuesday, August 10] In the District Court in Nis (Serbia), investigative proceedings have started against the Yugoslav Army volunteer, Igor Radocaj (31), on suspicion of his having murdered two Albanians and stealing 450 DEM and 1,550 dinars from them, after the signing of the Military-Technical Agreement between NATO and the YA.
Three mass graves were discovered in Orahovac. In July 1998, more than 100 Albanian civilians were killed during clashes between the KLA and Serbian forces. From March 24th 1999, till the arrival of KFOR, 38 Albanian civilians were killed and an Albanian boy was injured by a land mine. After the arrival of KFOR, 21 Serbs and six Roma went missing.
Following the arrival of KFOR, the KLA maintains authority in the town. The remaining Serbs in the Serb quarter include top officials of the former (Serbian) authorities. They are not popular among the Serbs. They accuse them of having wished to escape. The fact is that all the other, former municipal officials have fled from Kosovo.
The place where the KLA members who were killed in this year's fighting with the Serbian forces is marked by flowers. The site where the bodies of Albanian civilians killed in the period from March 24th till the arrival of the KFOR are buried is guarded by Dutch soldiers. Several dozen people from Orahovac and the surrounding villages, among them about 20 women and children, are known to be buried here. The local Albanians found this grave after the withdrawal of the Serbian forces. The marked graves indicate that the Serbian police buried them. In the second half of June, after the return of the Albanian refugees and the arrival of KFOR, relatives transferred the bodies of their family members, found in various places in Orahovac, to this site.
The third mass grave dates from 1998. It is located in a field where, apart from other things, there is a refuse dump. Parts of coffins can be seen sticking out of the soil, and it is evident that some bodies were taken away. This concerns a mass grave the Serbian police publicly admitted, when denying the allegations of an Austrian journalist who said that on this site there were several hundred Albanian civilians, killed in July 1998. In response to the mentioned charges, the Serbian police issued information that in this grave were "55 terrorists", killed in the clashes between the KLA and the Serbian forces in Orahovac.
Accusations of war crimes in the period from March 24th to June 12th
Among the dead Albanian civilians are twelve women, three children (aged six, seven and ten years) and two 13-year olds. The local Albanians claim that among the remaining Serbs in Orahovac there are at least 20 people who committed war crimes. The Serb doctor, Vekoslav Simi} is publicly said to have been connected with the murder of three members of the Demshi family. They blame a policeman from Opterushe, Ljubisa Bozanovic for the death of Elmaza Sylka. They said this policeman took her from her house and afterwards her body was found beside the graveyard. They claim a policeman from Kijevo, Bozidar Damjanovic, murdered three shepherds, Qazim, Sabit and Fahredin Ramsha.
From the end of March till the beginning of June, 47 mercenaries fought on the Serbian side (45 Russians, one Greek and a Bulgarian). They were staying in three houses that belonged to Albanians who had been expelled. They operated in the villages. The Bulgarian allegedly told the Albanians in the neighborhood that their wages were 450 DEM and their assignment was to kill Albanian peasants.
Serbs beside the Serbian Orthodox Church
Among the missing Serbs is Grkovi} Ljubisa, a person with serious mental problems, and the deaf-mute Kazic Snezana. Three kidnapped Serbs, among them the father of Dr. Vekoslav Simic, were released after three days of interrogation in a KLA prison. Four kidnapped persons, three of them refugees from Croatia, were murdered. KFOR found their bodies on June 22nd in Brnjaca village, below the "Termoment" factory. Thier hands had been tied with wire and they had been shot at close range.
Several hundred Serbs left Orahovac on June 12th, before the arrival of KFOR. After frequent kidnappings and expulsions from 142 apartments in buildings where the residents were of mixed ethnic origin, in the period from June 16th to June 20th, about 600 Serbsd from the down town area moved to the Serb quarter beside the Serbian Orthodox church. After 55 of their houses had been burned down in the village of Zociste, 198 Serbs took refugee here, so that a total of 1,200 Serbs remain. After the disappearance of eight Serbs who went down to the town to check their apartments in the period from July 20th to August 1st, the Serbs no longer venture into the town center. They maintain contact with Dutch and German soldiers, representatives of the International Red Cross and the High Commission for Refugees, journalists and humanitarian organizations who deliver food to them.
The remaining Serbs are divided in their views about remaining in Kosovo. The majority think they cannot survive in Kosovo. Among the Serbs who have stayed are high-ranking officials of the former Serbian authorities, managers of public companies, police and Yugoslav Army reservists, the parents and relatives of policemen. The sick and the elderly register themselves on the list of the High Commission for Refugees, who arranges their departure to Serbia. Nearlky all the men have weapons. They say, all the Albanians have weapons too. No one denies that among the remaining Serbs are people who participated in looting and destroying Albanian property. No one dares mention their names, the names of the people who belonged to the paramilitary groups from Serbia or their informants in the field. They are all convinced that the murderers of 38 Albanian civilians are not among the remaining Serbs. Regarding the Russian mercenaries, the former municipal officials say that as civilian authorities they had not been acquainted with military activities, they had seen Russians, but they were not in their jurisdiction. They denied that a Civilian Crisis Headquarters had existed in Orahovac.
Roma between Albanians and Serbs
In addition to the Serbs, there are about 900 Roma in the settlement. Six Roma disappeared at the beginning of June. Among them was 20-year old Adrian Isaku, the son of a policeman, and the deaf-mute Jusuf Hamza. In the second half of June, 30 Roma were interrogated in the KLA police. Four of their houses were burned down. They will stay in Orahovac while the Serbs are there.
This report is based on my observations, collected data and impressions during my stay in Orahovac from July 31st to August 1st. I plan to encourage talks between the Albanians, who finally feel free, and the remaining Serbs who feel unprotected. I am thinking of the people I met and their words; of the mother who I told that her sons, political prisoners, were alive and that I could take a parcel to them; of Dashu Hoxhu, whose husband was killed in July 1998, and whose son was killed by a land mine in June 1999. Her message to her daughter is "it was war, the revenge must stop". I am thinking of the Albanian, from a group of 60 men who were forcibly taken to the Albanian frontier to dig trenches, who sent greetings to Mia, a reservist from Leskovac; of the Albanian language teacher who asks about the Serbs "what do they say, the school year will start, they can't always stay beside the church"; of the group of Serbs who admit that some local Serbs pointed out Albanian houses to the paramilitary forces from Serbia; of those Serbs who did not hide that KFOR had confiscated stolen Albanian property from the Serbian quarter. I hear the judge who registered to leave: "I judged according to my conscience, I am a member of the SPS, I have two sons who are policemen, my place is not in Kosovo"; of the Albanian who says about the missing and murdered Serbs: this one had a house full of weapons, this one was always armed, that one were in Arkan's tigers , his son was an arsonist, that one was in the paramilitary forces..."; or of the Serb who asks himself "who has the power to liberate the Serbs of the fear that they will be killed or expelled". I am thinking of the Roma who are with the Serbs, but have more confidence in the OSCE and KFOR.
Belgrade Humanitarian Law Center
- [Thursday, August 5] Yesterday newspaper "Bliz" had three articles about [JURIST's interview with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Ratko Markovic], the one reporting about Djindjic reaction - he did not specifie consequences, but he sauid that this is a signal that even the top partners are leaving the ship; the second was interview of Prof. Markovic to newspaper "Svedok" (Witness) saying that people should know the whole truth about Kosovo - he holds firmly his position; the third one was statement of Wolfgan Petric, Austrian Ambasador in YU who moved to Bosnia now for a new *governor* mentioning a paper from Rambouillet that Prof. Markovic signed about the international presence, but this was changed in Belgrade later on, as he says.
Yesterday and today newspaper "Novosti" (also very popular one) are also reporting about the interview in two parts. Just a few minutes ago I have heard the first official reaction from the spokesman of the Socialist Party Mr. Ivica Dacic, who said that "it is clear what the agreement about Kosovo contains, but that everybody has right to offer his scientific / scholary interpretation". But, he added, "I do not know that any journal named JURIST exists!". I suppose that no comment is needed - only to explain the point about "journal": in the NIN article it was said that the interview is given to "legal journal" JURIST and those who do not know how the Internet looks like are confused.
Dr. Sima Avramovic
Faculty of Law
University of Belgrade
- [Tuesday, August 3] There are no spectacular news from here, but JURIST interview [with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Ratko Markovic] is still favorite topic. This evening at TV station Studio B (independent) there was a long address of the Democratic Party (Djindjic) considering the interview and analyzing possible consequences of it.
The good news is that the Radio B2-B92 started to operate with the old team and old conception. It seems to be out of the will and control of government, but we will see if they will go hunting them again. I hope not, there are so many more important things now for them to do.
Dr. Sima Avramovic
Faculty of Law
University of Belgrade
- [Monday, August 2] Considering poor Serbs from Kosovo, they are really in a terrible position. The government wants to see them [go] back, thinking that they have 'abandoned their posts'. Western and KFOR officials are saying that they should come back (you saw the report of the Austrian monitor on JURIST, saying that "Serbian professors departure only temporarily, to find safe place for their families" - what is evidently not true), but in this moment KFOR is not able to offer any security. Literally every day there are at least two or three murders of Serbian civilians by Albanians (do not count injuries, attacks, entering to Serbian houses, etc.), so that one may have impression that it is doubtful if KFOR really wants to see Serbs back. Here they can not find any job or whatever, most of their children are not accepted in schools here for the next school-year, friends and cousins are already fed up of refugees (this is the third wave of refugees in Serbia - firstly from Croatia, than from Bosnia, so that here we have in Yugoslavia now near 1,000.000 refugees altogether). The result of the events is horrible - Serbs are accused to be ethnic cleansers, but as a matter of fact they are ethnically cleansed from all parts where they lived before. Now it is Kosovo's turn.
Dr. Sima Avramovic
Faculty of Law
University of Belgrade
- [Sunday, August 1] The big JURIST-bomb has just exploded here. The interview with Prof. [Ratko] Markovic [Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia] rested undiscovered for a whole month, untill a few days ago a popular Belgrade weekly NIN reporetd about some parts of it. Most of yesterdays daily newspaper pointed out his view about the "amputation" of Kosovo, while this night Radio Free Europe and VOA dedicated a long space interpreting the interview. People who [I saw yesterday] were talking only about this event. Some of them expect that he could be even faced with some consequences.... In this moment there are not yet official reactions, but all the people I met yesterday and this morning ... had this interview as the only topic and are shocked with his sincerety and open words. All of a sudden, JURIST became the most well known site here, not only for lawyers.
Dr. Sima Avramovic
Faculty of Law
University of Belgrade
- for previous e-mails, see JURIST's War Correspondence and Kosovo Calling sections...
- for e-mail on law schools and law faculty in Kosovo, see Prishtina Law Faculty Appeal
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