KOSOVO & YUGOSLAVIA: LAW IN CRISIS

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Reply to Professor Niketic

I wrote that "Kosova" is the Albanian name of the area in question. This, says prof. Niketic, is false; Kosova is not an Albanian name but the genitive of the Serbian name Kosovo. Sorry, but in note 1, I did not call Kosova "an" Albanian name, but "the" Albanian name of the place, which it is. What does this have to do with the fact that in Serbian, "Kosova" is the genitive of Kosovo? N. then discusses the etymology of the word, neglecting my remarks in note 48, and points out that "Kosovar" means a person from that region - which is the meaning in which I used the word. Finally he takes issue with my statement that "Metohija" is a name made up only in this century: Metohija, he says, is a name of Hellenic origin, meaning "land of the monasteries", and "the age of those monasteries and the name Metohija is not in doubt". The age of the monasteries certainly is not in doubt, and the word Metohija may have an ancient Greek origin. But that does not change the fact that the use of this word to denote Western Kosova is of fairly recent date. To cite a parallel case: under Nazi occupation, the Polish town of Gdynia (Gdingen in German) was called Gotenhafen (harbour of the Goths), to bolster German claims to the area. The Goths were an ancient Germanic tribe. Hafen is an old German word. But that does not make Gotenhafen an ancient name for Gdynia.

In short, prof. Niketic has not read my article very thoroughly, criticizes remarks I did not make and does not answer my arguments. Normally, I would leave this unanswered. But the whole silly discussion may confuse the reader with an unimportant side issue. Would that have been the aim of prof. Niketic? Does he want to draw attention away from my and most other people's main point: that something must be done about the terrible crimes of the present Belgrade regime?

Prof.dr. Frank Muenzel
University of Goettingen Law Faculty
Max-Plank-Institut fur Auslandisches und Internationales Privatrecht
Hamburg, Germany


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