Prishtina Law Faculty Appeal
Information received by JURIST on circumstances at the Law Faculty and other facilities of the University of Prishtina, Kosovo, and appeals for international assistance in reconstruction. The University of Prishtina provided legal education to both Albanian and Serb students until 1991, when the Albanian wing of the university was officially closed and forced "underground." University and civic officials anticipate that in post-war Kosovo the Albanian and Serb law faculties will be re-unified.
- latest news on Prishtina University reconstruction (World University Services - Austria)
- help for refugee Serb professors? [August 5, 1999]
- Albanian and Serbian law professors in Kosovo [July 30, 1999]
- Report on the condition and needs of the Albanian law school in Prishtina [July 14, 1999]
- Dean of the Albanian law school missing, reported killed; appeal for assistance [July 9, 1999]
- departure of Serbian professors only temporary [June 30, 1999]
- Serbian law school in Prishtina and murders at the University [June 25, 1999]
- report on the Albanian law school at Prishtina [June 24, 1999]
- report on conditions at the University of Prishtina [June 22, 1999]
- appeal for support of the Law Faculty [June 21, 1999]
- JURIST interviews Professor Basri Capriqi, University of Prishtina [May 28, 1999]
- general letter of appeal [May, 1999]
- University of Prishtina
... more information
- [August 5, 1999] It is so encouraging that WUS offers help to displaced academics from Kosovo. However, an enormous number of displaced professors are right now Serbian professors who had to leave Kosovo being terrorized by Albanians.
Therefore, it would be fair to offer not only English and Albanian interview text for displaced academics refugees, but the one in Serbian language as well.
It seems to me that WUS (nevertheless an Albanian - Emir Haxhia runs it) should offer equal chances to academics who had to flee from Kosovo nevertheless what is their origin. Otherwise it could be better named "Albanian University Service" rather than "World University Service".
Dr. Sima Avramovic
School of Law
University of Belgrade
- [July 30, 1999] I saw only today a terrible news about the missing Dean of the School of Law, Mr. Bardhul Qaushi, whom I remember very well, as he is also a legal historian and we attended in the same time post-graduate course in Roman Law at the School of Law in Belgrade. May I ask our colleagues from the (Albanian) School to confirm or deny the information of July 9. I remain in hope that it is all not true.
Particularly the statement that the Dean was killed by Serbian forces sounds doubtful, as there are no Serbian forces on the ground, since KFOR overtook complete control there in June already. Not only "Serbian forces", but Serbs as such are very rare birds in Kosovo, as more than 200.000 of them had to leave their homes. A new humanitarian catastrophe (?). Remaining Serb civilians are leaving the area every day being threatened and maltreated by Albanians. In Prishtina lived about 20.000 Serbs, while now there are probably not more than 2.000 of them.
Almost none professor of the (Serbian) School of Law in Prishtina is present there anymore, including the Dean. They are all refugees now, particularly after Prof. MILANKO LEKOVIC was murdered by Albanians in the building of the (Serbian) School of Economy, together with two other members of the staff. Most of students are refugees also. There is no tendency of their coming back, their "departure" was not temporary. On the contrary. I talk to number of professors who are in Belgrade now and no one of them intend to go back, as every day a number of Albanian victims is growing. I encouraged a few of them to write to JURIST, to tell their stories (how did they escape, what kind of suffering they passed) and ask for help, but all of them hesitated being afraid for their family members who decided to stay (mainly parents or grandparents, who stayed trying to save their property)..
Yesterday evening I received a phone call by a refugee Assistant of the (Serbian) School of Law, _________ (please, omit the name for safety reasons). He is in a small town in Eastern Serbia in a house of his friend, having no income and no savings. His wife just delivered a new child. He called his home telephone number in Prishtina, but an Albanian speaking voice hanged up the phone. His brother was kidnapped by Albanians at the street of Prishtina on June 18, and is not found up to now - that is why his parents do not want to leave Prishtina expecting news. He also do not believe that under present conditions he can go back, particularly as his flat is occupied by an Albanian.
This is just a part of the atmosphere that most of our colleagues from (Serbian) School of Law are faced with. They do not miss chairs, desks or equipment for teaching - they only miss personal security.
Dr. Sima Avramovic
School of Law
University of Belgrade
- [July 9, 1999] [I must] inform you that... unfortunately...the Dean of the [Law] Faculty, professor Bardhyl Qaushi, is supposed to have been executed by Serbian forces...
The Law Faculty of the University of Prishtina is one of the oldest from this institution, with over 30 years of experience. Unfortunately, as the whole university itself, during the last ten years it has suffered unprecedented abuse from the Serbian regime - subject to whom were students, teachers and the whole university staff, as well as the building site itself which was forbidden to us.
The complete inventory of the faculty, once property of the faculty, was either destroyed or looted by the Serbians.... In particularly, I'd like to mention that we need modern law literature as well as other common sciences; electronic equipment; computers and alike.
Professor of the Faculty of Law
University of Prishtina
- [June 30, 1999] [on the reported departure of some Serbian professors from Pristina] This information is true. Nevertheless, the Serbian professors have the intention to return as soon as possible (they only brought their children in safety).
- [June 25, 1999] Speaking about the conditions at the School of Law in Prishtina, I got some information from _____, who was a Secretary of the School. She got through by a pure chance (as phone lines with Kosovo are almost impossible to connect) and told us that she is not leaving her flat at all, as number of Serbs are killed, kidnapped, beaten or threateded at streets of Prishtina. Therefore I am afraid that in the moment it is not possible to get in touch with the staff of the (Serbian) School of Law, both because of security reasons and busy phone lines.
No wonder that Serbian staff are hesitating to go to job, as the second Serbian professor of the School of Economics was probably killed today (he is missing, as well as the Chief of the Surgeon Department of the Main Hospital in Prishtina, who is kidnapped this day as well). Yesterday morning Professor of the School of Economics Mr. MILANKO LEKOVIC was killed together with two other persons of the staff (Miodrag Mladenovic and Jovica Stamenkovic), IN THE VERY BUILDING OF THE SCHOOL. Their heads were first struck by hammer a lot of times and afterwards they were slaughtered. KFOR forces were near by, but while they were hesitating to intervene, the crime was already done.
Therefore, the only help for the (Serbian) School of Law in Pristina [right now] would be just to ensure the elementary security of life for its personal.
Dr. Sima Avramovic
School of Law
University of Belgrade
- [June 24, 1999] [on the physical state of the Albanian law school at Prishtina] The constitution of the buildings is encouraging, of course. Due to the occurances of war we expected a worse situation. Nevertheless, windows and doors are broken, walls, carpets and floors smeared, the equipment of buffets and even restrooms stolen, and you can't find a single electronical instrument (computer etc.). Even if there is a furniture in the offices of professors, they are horribly devasted. The furniture of the deanship [i.e. dean's office] - it was a better one - has been sacked. Some areas/rooms of the faculty were already empty before the war, since the Serbian University of P. forwarded these premises without furniture in October 1998 and till today the Albanian University of P. has not had the money for the reconstruction of the entire building. As for the classrooms, fortunately, they are functioning (but with very old desks and chairs).
As far as the further infrastructural systems are concerned (water, electricity, communication etc.) I do have not a detailed overview yet, but, as mentioned above, a lot of technical instruments (water heaters, telephones, computers, etc.) are stolen. Now to the books: there are books (and documents, even) devastated, but I'm speaking only at first impression: I have no idea how many were stolen etc. - neither does Pro-Rector Geca, who accompanied me. Fact is that the equipment of the UP with books, above all with international literature, was a weak one. In this field every support is welcome.
- [June 22, 1999] The situation of the buildings of University of Prishtina appears to be as follows:
All buildings used by the Albanian University have been vandalized, the computers and other equipment stolen, the doors broken and the documents left in total disorder. Although important information on diskette and computers has disappeared. However, the buildings still stand and seem also not to have suffered from NATO strikes. There is the hope, that a good part of the documentation in particular regarding the students can be recovered.
Regarding the buildings used by the Serb University they seem to be in good shape and partly still used by that university.
Photos from the Law Faculty:
A first conclusion is that it might well be possible to start the next academic year on time provided enough funds can be mobilized to renovate the devastated buildings and re-equip them as necessary.
WUS [World University Services] Austria
via Elmar Pichl in Pristina
- [June 21, 1999] Considering the present state of all educational institutions in Kosova after years of constant repression and post war poverty, as well as the important role of the University of Kosova in rebuilding the civil society in Kosova; and, having in mind JURIST's participation in juridical issues, I kindly request that you publish the following APPEAL for assistance for the Faculty of Law in Prishtina addressed on behalf of all Kosovar teachers, professors, students and jurists to all parties willing and able to provide assistance:
The Law Faculty, as the only such institution in Kosova, has educated many generations of lawyers, judges and similar background experts needed for Kosova. The institution in its several years of existence tended to create an open society, giving birth to new ideas in favour of a civil society in the complete sense of the word.
With the closing of this faculty in 1991, the [Albanian] teaching staff and students were forced to find shelter in private homes so as to continue to maintain and develop the sacred ideas for the well-being of Kosovar people. This was, of course, done with severe difficulties since all literature was in the libraries of the Serb faculty building and it was forbidden for the Albanians. Nonetheless, the Faculty of Law like all other faculties of the University of Prishtina, with determination, continued their struggle to obtain education.
Now, that time has come for students and teachers to return to their classrooms, many problems come to the surface: problems of the booted and confiscated library, inventory, technical equipment etc; and, unfortunately, they won't be able to solve these problems without strong support:
Kosova is not only in need for rebuilding of mere homes, bridges, roads; but, it needs rebuilding of its complete society as well. The faculty of Law being the key element in a democratic society should be supported - therefore I appeal on behalf of this crucial institution whose 'property' was completely damaged by the Serbian regime.
You can support this faculty by providing books and various publications regarding law; technical equipment for communication; finance the re-publication of its newspaper "LAW"; or, by organizing courses, workshops, seminars for its law students etc.
All assistance, being concrete or moral will be well appreciated by the students and professors of the Faculty of Law.
Since the majority of the students and the teaching staff are momentarily still in exile, I would suggest that all possible, assistance and financial support be held till the direct contact with the leaders of the Faculty is achieved.
As a jurist and a former student of the Faculty of law in Prishtina, I thank you for your effort and help.
- [May, 1999] Dear colleagues,
In response to the terrible war and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, which has also led to the forced exodus of a whole university, the Albanian University of Prishtina, but also to the displacement of many members of the Serb University in Prishtina, WUS [World University Services] Austria is concentrating all its efforts on the support to the student and academic refugees from Kosovo/a. Until 21 March 1999, WUS Austria had implemented a programme of support to members of both universities in Prishtina, which now is being continued outside Kosovo/a in response to the new situation.
Similar to the situation during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina WUS Austria has reacted to the human and academic catastrophy by starting an "Academic Lifeline for Kosovo/a" in order to assist students and academics from Prishtina displaced to neighboring countries of Kosovo/a. In addition, a special emergency fund has been set up for students from Kosovo/a in Austria, which have lost their financial support from at home.
As a result of a fact-finding on the situation of members of University of Prishtina in Macedonia, to where the majority of them has fled and is living under most difficult circumstances, WUS Austria has established an office in Tetovo, Macedonia from where it operates an Information and Counseling Centre as well as Clearing House and supports the displaced students and academics within its programme. Further activities are planned in Skopje and in Northern Albania (Shkodra). Furthermore, the WUS offices in Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Podgorica are also trying their best to assist academic refugees arriving from Kosovo/a, but also from the whole territory of Yugoslavia.
The Academic Lifeline for Kosovo/a consists in particular in support for self-help projects which provides students and academics with different tasks in the humanitarian and/or educational field, like classes for children in camps or private courses for students and allows them use their capabilities and to earn a little money. At the same time tracing and registration activities are ongoing in order to collect data on the whereabouts of the members of University of Prishtina. The administration of that university is assisted to reorganize its activities abroad until a return is possible. Furthermore, language courses and other educational activities are organized in order to make best use of the time until there is a possibility to return and continue normal academic activities. Emergency assistance is also given in cases of special need. More information on WUS activities can be found on the website: http://www.wus-austria.org/kosovo/index.htm.
We ask you for your support by organizing collections or sending your personal cheque to WUS Austria which has set up two accounts specifically for support to students and academics from Kosovo/a, Oesterreichische Postsparkasse, account no. 92.109.191, BLZ 60000 and Creditanstalt-Bankverein, account no. 0788 3829 900, BLZ 11870.
For WUS Austria
Univ.Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Benedek
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