Friday, July 22, 2005


Serbia’s policy of urging Kosovo Serbs to boycott the Kosovo government is creating resentment among local Serb leaders.

By Arben Qirezi in Pristina (BCR No 566, 22-Jul-05)

A gap has opened up between the Serbian government and Kosovo Serb leaders after one of the latter said he will join the Albanian-dominated local assembly in defiance of Belgrade.

Serbia’s position is clear-cut: no participation without extra guarantees. As Serbia’s president, Boris Tadic, put it recently, "Serbia is asking for a more active policy by the international community and for guarantees for the Serbs from the local authorities. Without this, Serb participation in Kosovo institutions would make no sense.”

Tadic was speaking after meeting the UN envoy, Kai Aide, who vainly urged Serbia's leadership to start persuading Kosovo Serbs to join local institutions.

But Oliver Ivanovic, head of the Serbian List for Kosovo and Metohija, SLKM, now says he fears that Serbia is using the issue as a political football, to the detriment of the real interests of Kosovo Serbs.

“Everything is being done … for internal wrangling,” he announced this week. “These calculations may cost a lot to the more than 100,000 Serbs who have decided to stay in Kosovo."

Ivanovic announced that his group will now take up the eight seats that it holds, but has not occupied, in the Kosovo Assembly, and will formally announce a decision to join the government over the next few days.

The announcement marks a sharp break with SLKM policy, which was earlier characterised by a willingness to leave all the big policy decisions to Belgrade.

On the urging of the Serbian government, most Kosovo Serbs boycotted the elections to the assembly last October.

With less than 1,000 Serb voters casting their ballot, the SLKM and the Civic List Serbia, CLS, took the 10 seats that had been allocated to the Serb community, irrespective of the number of votes cast.

The CLS, with two of the 10 seats, led by Nebojsa Petkovic, immediately joined the assembly and took over the ministry of returns and communities.

With the Kosovo government focusing hard on returnee programmes, Petkovic found himself managing the biggest single ministerial budget, worth 14 million euro in 2005 alone.

The ministry of agriculture, which is also reserved for Kosovo Serbs, remained without a minister, however, because the SLKM decided to continue with the Belgrade-inspired boycott.

Although the UN’s framework for governing the territory, the Constitutional Framework of Kosovo, says representatives who fail to appear at assembly meetings for more than six months should be dismissed, the UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, declined to enforce this provision, clearly hoping the SLKM would eventually change its mind.

In the meantime, Petkovic criticised UNMIK for giving so much importance to the SLKM, instead of allowing the CLS, "which has shown good will to work within the institutions, to take over the remaining vacant seats in the assembly and the government".

Ivanovic's previous position, that the SLKM could not make any decision on participation in Kosovo institutions without Serbia’s support, was a calculated tactic, some observers said, aimed at maximising the Serb position and at ensuring Belgrade was granted a major role in any final-status negotiations.

"Belgrade counted that a continuous boycott of Kosovo Serbs would enforce the argument that Serbs need their own self-government within Kosovo,” said Bekim Kastrati, a political analyst from Pristina.

“On the other hand, as a Belgrade-sponsored political group, the SLKM lacked the internal strength to take decisions on its own."

But Ivanovic’s latest statements suggest these calculations have lost much of their original force.

Serbia suffered a major loss of prestige last year after the international community rejected its plan to set up five autonomous Serb regions in Kosovo, linked to each other by corridors.

In the ongoing deadlock, a view has clearly emerged in Kosovo that Belgrade is now simply reinforcing its own position at the expense of the Kosovo Serbs, whose dependence on Belgrade has left them without a credible voice.

Arben Qirezi is IWPR/BIRN Kosovo editor.


Chris Blaku said...

Finally, the Kosova Serbs are showing a degree of interest in their own fate.

Moreover, this is a clear sign of Kosova's inevitable steps towards independence, in having the most standard of ties cut between Kosova and Serbia, which are the Kosova Serbs.

Chris Blaku said...

Interesting article by the Financial Times a few weeks ago regarding The Hague. Enjoy.

Give them enough rope
By Peter Quayle
Published: July 22 2005 13:22 | Last updated: July 22 2005 13:22

On December 14 2003, the then US civilian administrator of Iraq, Paul Bremer, strode into an auditorium in Baghdad and said: “Ladies and gentleman, we got him.” Saddam Hussein had been captured. This heady moment seemed conclusive. Yet, as the trial of Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague passes its fourth anniversary, it is clear that Hussein is likely to pose a disquieting and destabilising influence for years to come. The Iraqi government has sought to contain these influences by opting for a criminal trial and has convened the Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST) for the purpose. But will the IST avoid the perceived failings in The Hague or succumb to flaws of its own making?


The Milosevic trial seems agonisingly slow. The former Serbian president initially faced three different trials, divided by the location of his alleged crimes. But as the first prosecution over Kosovo flagged, the prosecutor persuaded the court to combine the cases. Now the prosecution strains to prove more than 60 separate charges in a single trial. This has led to a fraught struggle to provide both sweeping history and arresting detail.

Saddam Hussein terrorised Iraq and its neighbours for more than 20 years. He faces as many as 500 allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. In contrast to The Hague, the IST will not prosecute every one of these charges. Instead, the Iraqi tribunal recently announced that it will concentrate on just 12 “fully documented cases”, or so-called “specimen charges”, selected from the allegations against Hussein. In other words, the prosecution will choose charges it expects to prove swiftly.

Specimen charging is familiar in national courtrooms. The analogy is far from perfect, but we are often content for a serial killer to face trial for a handful of the murders they have committed rather than for every killing. However, this approach is largely taken to conserve resources in overburdened courts. Is this appropriate for international criminal trials? International justice rarely admits its limitations: it is often presented rhetorically as a sort of infinite justice that cows dictators, spares no one and remakes societies into law-loving democracies. In fact, most of these supposed effects are intuitive and unproven. Isolated international criminal trials lack the continuity and maturity of national justice systems that are needed to make abbreviated charging credible. Instead, international courts must strive for consistency, comprehensiveness and conservatism to shore up all too finite resources and reach.

The presumption of innocence and due process is strained when prosecutors summarise international crimes, leave untold the wider pattern of events and insinuate guilt of unproven charges. Plan A of the second world war Allies was to draw up a list of the Nazi leadership to be captured then summarily executed without trial. Wiser counsel won out: Nuremberg was Plan B. The Allies exchanged certainty for solemnity. The IST would be bold to make a similar choice.

An expedited procedure jeopardises the intrinsic qualities that make a judicial solution preferable to predetermined sentences. The deviant hybrid of a certain outcome and justice-style process - the Stalinist or, indeed, Ba’athist show-trial - renders justice disreputable and the rule of law a sham. For all its sloth-like slowness, the Milosevic trial is unimpeachably fair.

The unsettling implications of specimen charging are worsened by doubts about the competency of Iraq’s courts to try international crimes. The world’s legal order shows a preference for local justice: the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction is only engaged when the courts of member states are unable or unwilling to prosecute international crimes. Yet, after two decades of dictatorship, there are legitimate reservations about the expertise, impartiality and legal culture of the judiciary in Iraq.

The statute of the IST affords a solution. The IST is required to retain international expert advisers and the Iraqi government is even entitled to appoint international judges. It has not done so because of another difference between judgment in The Hague and that planned in Baghdad: the death penalty. It is this looming sentence - abominable to the EU and the UN - that precludes the multilateral support that the IST calls for. The result risks both a miscarriage of justice and the impression of a proxy trial by Iraq’s superpower sponsor.

By trying Hussein thoroughly, to objective standards, beyond reasonable doubt, the IST can make an extraordinary contribution to civil, political and human rights in Iraq and beyond. Cherif Bassiouni, the Egyptian international jurist, has said of Iraq and the trial: “In that society, without the death penalty, the people will not feel there is closure on this terrible experience.” However, one might think that in a country already drenched by so much blood, a new era would begin not by taking another life, but by sparing one.

Peter Quayle is legal adviser to the European Office of the US Department of Justice. This is a personal view.


Anonymous said...

Chris. You talk and talk about your independence. You will not have independence. If I met you, we could bet 2000 dollars that Kosovo will NOT have independence, even if I would think that would be the best solution. We will see, Chris.

Anonymous said...

4.45. I agree with you since they do not know how to handle the situation now, how the h¤¤¤ should they be able to run an own country. Also, it seems that they have very little support for independence of Kosova. Solana said "there is no progress in Kosovo as
there is no safety, decentralization or other steps towards the fulfillment of
standards", also transit of Nato troops through the SCG in an emergency and Eide, who does not seems satisfied. I mean, does anyone believe in indepedence really ??

Anonymous said...

In the end it will be the USA who decides and history has shown in more than one instance that they favor the Albanian side.

Anonymous said...

Ylber Burgija, Charlotte, NC.

The final status of Kosovo has already been decided, not in Belgrade, not in Brussles, but in Washington.
The Bush administration has made a tactical decision to recognize Kosovar Independence by 2006, so they can withdraw the majority of the US forces from there and convert their Bases into leap bases or transfer sites for their troops heading to the Middle and Far East. Since Serbia attacking Kosovo if Kosovo was independent would be a breach of international law, the US has decided that this would be the easiest way to protect Kosovo while maintaining a minimal military force there.
Once again the intrests of the Albanians have coincided with those of the US and as such they will get to reap the rewards.
So to all these people that consider what Solana and other relic politicians of Europe think, I say, relax, they have no decision making powers. They are mere pawns who speak but don't deliver.
Plus Great Britain, Switzerland and Germany are already starting to support Independence as the only solution,sometimes secretly and others not so secretly.

Chris Blaku said...

Perhaps you can outline for me, why exactly Kosova will not receive its widely expected independence?

With regard to the blogger that mentioned Solana's comments, when was the last time anything Solana said had any relevance whatsoever in world politics? Here's an example of one of the other enlightening things Mr. Solana has said to U.S. lawmakers, in regard to the rising tide of anti-semitism in Europe:

"When the issue of increased anti-Semitism was raised, he looked at us and said, 'There's no anti-Semitism. There's no wave of anti-Semitism in Europe,'" Florida Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler said. Solana spoke to the group, which met on the sidelines of Wednesday's U.S.-EU summit.

The same individual who has yet to outlaw Hamas' political wing within the EU, and had extensive contacts with Arafat before his death.

It is amusing to see the independence-doubters on this blog use the raindrops of European opinions and turn them into oceans of doubt. The reality is that Washington's decision is the only relevant decision, as has been vividly portrayed by the invasion of Iraq in 2003, in the face of strong European protest.

Again I ask, when was the last time Colonial Europe made a meaningful contribution or decision on the World stage? The last European-led action was "peacekeeping" missions in Bosnia and Rwanda. America is a force of democracy that spreads the tide of freedom wherever it goes, whereas Europe on the other hand, spreads its plague of colonialism and arrogance, endorsing chauvinism and hatred in the name of profit.

This is the Europe that launched the world into centuries of misfortune and colonialism, and under its guidance the world has seen hundreds of millions die through exploitation and enslavement of its inhabitants, for the sole purpose of feeding the fat cats of European high society. It is no wonder the Americans, and the international community, have disregarded European opinion as a whole.

It seems the only place left for European voices to be heard are in the enlightened minds of the Serbians.

PhantomIV said...

Here we go again Chris.

While no-one can deny your extensive knowledge on Albanian geo-political history, your geography could do with brushing up. Where is Kosovo?? The last time I checked on a world atlas it was a small landlocked area in thee Balkans. Not a small island off the Florida coast. Not a tiny state on the US/Mexican border.
Despite the many advances in technology your much vaunted USA still lacks the ability to reposition parts of the globe so for the foreseeable future I am sorry to have to tell you that you are stuck on the European continent. And therefore, whether you gain independence or not, you will be reliant on Europe. Where will the investment come from??? Who will decide your freedom of movement?? The good old US of A?? Unlikely. Us....those Europeans you denigrate so frequently, that is who. I have heard of biting the hand that feeds you, but to bite the hand before feeding has even begun....well, that's a new one on me.
But it would seem that independence is the great panacea. The sun will rise on a new Kosova where un-employment will have disappeared overnight, corruption, nepotism and cronyism will no longer exist. Pure fantasy. Kosovars will no longer have a common cause and can go back to "looking after Number 1". And will America care?? Why should they?? As George and Bill ride off into the sunset congratulating themselves on another job well done why should they worry?? You are not on their doorstep, you are part of Europe. So you had better get used to us European neo-facist states because whether you like it or not, we will be around for a long time to come. And if you think we don't care about how you have suffered through history, you are right. We don't. Look around you and you will see that most of the nations on your block have been forged through bloodshed. You are not new and you are not unique.
And if and when you gain your independence courtesy of you good friends from across the Atlantic I doubt you will spare a thought for another indigenous race. A race with a history as long as the Iliryans. With it's on tradition, religion and culture. The US didn't afford them the luxury of independence. Instead they rounded them up and put them in reservations!!!! Nobody is perfect though, are they?

Ferick said...

I have heard this crap before from Ivanovic. He is not e serious leader and what he says should not be taken seriously. And besides he has no power to decide for Kosovo Serbs. Kosovo Serbs still look to Belgrade for guidance. I have noticed that when International community accuses Serbs of obstruction, Ivanovic lays the blame on Belgrade and promises cooperation. Kosovo Serbs are the ones who are listening to Belgrade and therefore they are responsible for whatever happens to them.

Anonymous said...

The final will of the United States and Great Britain is that Kosovo be granted independence. I have to chuckle when the makeshift government in Serbia clings to the nation that it is still relevant. With the move for independence gaining momentum among the few actually important world leaders (except for Russia, who invented Serbia in the first place), only the ignorant and uninformed would make the ludicrous statement that Kosovo will not have independence. And it is a brilliant move by Kosovar Serbs to voice a desire to break ties with Serbia. In the eyes of the world, maybe the Kosovar Serbs will be able to unattach from themselves the stigma of genocide that will forever be Serbia's legacy.

Chris Blaku said...

Right Phantom, thank you for the geography lesson. I understand all of the already obvious points you stated in sarcasm, but what you fail to grasp is the unavoidable parallels between the creation of the Kosovar state and the creation of the Israeli state.

It is interesting for you to note the importance of the United States, while stressing the importance of Europe. Your opinions, to be generous, defy logic and common thinking. The Israeli state, surrounded by enemies and hostile states, is also on an unfriendly continent, yet somehow, manages to defy your logic and proceed to be a flourished democracy in the midst of theocracies.

You should not misconceive my reservations towards Europe's intentions as an outright defiance of obvious European influence on the Balkans and its respective economies, Kosova's in particular. It is possible to defy European politics and carry their intentions with suspicion, while still remaining open to cooperation economically, as shown by the recent Chinese cooperation with American capitalism. Kosova's geographically inherited dependence on Europe for economic salvation and cultural influence is apparent, however, that dependence does not entail an automatic surrender to Europe's will and rule. While it is obvious that without the United States support, Kosova would fall prey to its mischievous neighbors and their expanionist plans, the same can be said about Israel, whose similarities with Kosova are becoming more and more apparent as Kosova heads towards its eventual independence.

With regard to your humor on independence being the great panacea for Kosova's population, your sarcasm and its intentions are obvious. You cannot seriously believe that any able-minded citizen in Kosova believes that independence will automatically usher in years of progress and prosperity alone, do you? Surely, you are aware of the rich natural resources abundant within Kosova's borders, and the great lengths that Belgrade has gone to ensure their possession? Consider, for instance, that upon NATO's entrance into Kosova, the Serbs, as if directed, moved towards Mitrovica. Although this obviously intended movement was downplayed by the arrogant media, still in denial of the Serbian's political wit and deceit, it is apparent to the decision makers in elitist Western circles that Serbia's intention was to partition the province. This feeling has moved the United States, and other members of the Contact Group, to outright deny the most popular outcome in Serbia, partition of the province along the north, through Mitrovica, therefore maintaining the most resource-rich region of Kosova under Serbian control. It is this movement that characterized Belgrade's behavior to the United States, moreover, it is the denial of partition as a possible outcome that is vehement in declaring the Western intention in Kosova, driven by the US. Without denying the most extreme desire of Serbia, retaining Kosova within its borders, however denying the most popular idea they could obstruct without seeming biased, the United States has hinted its desire for Kosova's independence in the most subtle of political moves. The increasingly pro-Albanian ideas of the Bush Administration, who contrary to popular belief, remains steadfast on the Clinton idea of Kosovar independence, have become instrumental in moving the nation forward towards inventual independence and sovereignty.

However, that being said, your persistent ranting on the importance of Europe and the denoting of American influence in this process is laughable, and not even worthy of the argument I will present it. The banner of capitalism and democracy in the world, remains the United States, with the Europeans lagging sorely behind due to their socialist-inspired tax structure and Old-World colonial policies. The United States, constantly defying international opinion, has unilaterally made decisions that have changed the course of history, and there is absolutely no reason it would hesitate to do so in this situation. With regard to biting the hand that feeds you, it seems the Serbian allies are guilty of this, not the Albanians. The Albanians have not positioned themselves away from Europe, merely regard the United States as the healthier ally. Suffice to say, it is the Serbian allies, the French, Chinese and Russian triangular alliance that has defied the will of the sole remaining superpower in the World. Despite the fact that the French economy is virtually dependent on the United States and its allies, the French continued to seek, with the Russians and Chinese, to develop a quasi-alternative to United States supremacy, particularly with renegade states such as Saddam Hussein's Iraq and present-day Iran, which lead to United States action to discontinue this practice. Moreover, the recent Russian economic expansion is attributed almost entirely to the United States, as is the recent Chinese willingness to open up to captalism. These nations are tied to the United States, and rely on its supremacy to continue to prosper. Regardless of this, they continue to maintain their alternative ambitions, and seek to derail US plans wherever they are.

The fact of the matter, as plainly as it can be said, you are playing for the wrong team Phantom. The Russians now play second fiddle to the United States, and the Albanians have aligned themselves to benefit immensely from their newfound friendship. As Milosevic once said when asked why the Albanians were demonstrating in front of the White House in the 1990s, "They are just a bunch of doormen and building maintence workers." It turns out, underestimating the Albanians and their political wit is very hazardous to your national ambitions.

And I still fail to comprehend your reason for mentioning Native Americans in this argument, and implying their presence in the US is as old as the Illyrians in the Balkans. Most nations have been forged through bloodshed, at the expense and extermination of smaller, less expanionist minded races. The Albanians are one of the few to survive, and their justice will not be denied.

Anonymous said...

I suggest you take a look back at history and recall this date:

April 6th 1941.

On April 6, 1941, Hitler’s forces, in alliance with the Hungarians and the Bulgarians, invaded Yugoslavia and bombed Belgrade.

Is this the Europe you were referring to? I know you know this date by heart. It would be to no surprise to know that you probably celebrate this date by looking up to your occupiers and recalling the memories of the occupation as the greatest in your history. That is the Europe you like, because after all that is where you took the greatest lessons of colonialisms, dictatorship, mass murder, ethnic cleansing and so on and so forth. Need I say more Phantom, go ahead keep thinking the way you do, as your tape is playing backwards.

Chris Blaku said...

Don't trouble yourself, Phantom never replies after being proven wrong.