Tuesday, September 13, 2005

West closer to decision that Kosovo needs defence force after status

In its leading front-page article, Zëri reports that based on the ‘current tendencies which have been confirmed by Western diplomatic sources’, Contact Group countries seem to be supporting the idea for Kosovo to have its defence force which would be a result of the evolution and transformation of KPC.

According to the paper, there is a proposal according to which UNMIK’s Office for the KPC Coordinator, which is responsible for the development of KPC, will take on competencies to prepare the political and legal ground for creating this defence force and the Ministry of Defence in the Kosovo Government.


Anonymous said...

now cry and complain how wikipedia is a bad source. Is it cause it is the #1 online dictionary in the world or is it because the truth hurts? PROVE ANYTHING HERE WRONG.


Criticisms of foreign policy

Attack on Yugoslavia
Some critics have accused Clinton of leading the United States to war with Kosovo under the false pretense of genocide [9]. Others have accused him, and his administration, of inflating the number of Kosovar Albanians killed by Serbians[10]. Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen, giving a speech, said, "The appalling accounts of mass killing in Kosovo and the pictures of refugees fleeing Serb oppression for their lives makes it clear that this is a fight for justice over genocide [11]." On CBS' Face the Nation Cohen claimed, "We've now seen about 100,000 military-aged men missing...They may have been murdered[12]." Clinton, citing the same figure, spoke of "at least 100,000 (Kosovar Albanians) missing[13]". Later, talking about Serbian elections, Clinton said, "they're going to have to come to grips with what Mr. Milošević ordered in Kosovo...They're going to have to decide whether they support his leadership or not; whether they think it's OK that all those tens of thousands of people were killed...[14]". Clinton also claimed, in the same press conference, that "NATO stopped deliberate, systematic efforts at ethnic cleansing and genocide[15]." Clinton even compared the events of Kosovo to the Holocaust. CNN reported, "Accusing Serbia of 'ethnic cleansing' in Kosovo similar to the genocide of Jews in World War II, an impassioned President Clinton sought Tuesday to rally public support for his decision to send U.S. forces into combat against Yugoslavia, a prospect that seemed increasingly likely with the breakdown of a diplomatic peace effort[16]." Clinton's State Department also claimed Serbian troops had committed genocide. The New York Times reported, "the Administration said evidence of 'genocide' by Serbian forces was growing to include 'abhorrent and criminal action' on a vast scale. The language was the State Department's strongest yet in denouncing Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević[17]." The State Department also gave the highest estimate of dead Albanians. The New York Times reported, "On April 19, the State Department said that up to 500,000 Kosovar Albanians were missing and feared dead[18]."

However, the numbers given by Clinton and his administration have been proven false. The official NATO body count of the events in Kosovo was 2,788 (not all of them were war crimes victims)[19], with Slobodan Milošević charged with the "murders of about 600 individually identified ethnic Albanians[20]". Critics have noted that these numbers can not be considered genocide. The headline of The Wall Street Journal, which had launched an investigation into whether genocide had occurred in Kosovo, on December 31, 1999 was "War in Kosovo Was Cruel, Bitter, Savage; Genocide It Wasn't"[21]. The Wall Street Journal wrote, "the U.N.'s International War Criminal tribunal has checked the largest reported sites first, and found most to contain no more than five bodies, suggesting intimate acts of barbarity rather than mass murder... Kosovo would be easier to investigate if it had the huge killing fields some investigators were led to expect. Instead, the pattern is of scattered killings[22]."

In addition, a United Nations Court had previously ruled that Serbian troops did not commit genocide against Albanians. The court wrote "the exactions committed by Milošević's regime cannot be qualified as criminal acts of genocide, since their purpose was not the destruction of the Albanian ethnic group[23]". According to BBC, "the decision was based on the 1948 Geneva convention which defines genocide as the intent 'to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such'[24]". Milošević was not charged with genocide in Kosovo by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) but the more broader "crimes against humanity"[25]. Spanish forensic surgeon Emilio Perez Pujol, who led the Spanish forensic team in Kosovo, gave an interview to the British paper The Sunday Times. The paper wrote, "In an outspoken interview, Pujol complained he had been sent to head a large investigation team attached to the ICTY, consisting of pathologists and police specialists, to work in the north of the country. But he found that what was publicised as a search for mass graves was 'a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines, because we did not find one—not one—mass grave.'[26]".

Prince of Albania said...

You should be crying because we are about to get an army...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.....

Ko to kaze ko to laze Srbija je velika?

Ha ha ha.....

PS: The mass graves are not in Kosovo because they are to be found in Belgrade's Batajnica you pig!

Anonymous said...

Extract from Of War: Letters to Friends / Von den Kriegen: Briefe an Freunde, published by S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main (2004)

Kosovo, 1999

Dear friends,

I have been back for two weeks.

I do not know how to answer the questions about my time in Albania and Kosovo. The experiences are present; the images, the smell, the sound – everything is clear and yet it is impossible to transform it into an adequate and intelligible narrative of horror.

We wish to believe that we are able to defuse threats by giving them a name. Rumplestiltskin loses his power when we guess his name. But sometimes Rumplestiltskin rages even when we know what he is called. Sometimes words cannot banish feelings, and their failure only increases our sorrow.

Maybe I simply don’t know where to start.

There: in the refugee camps where the deportees were stuck, the men silently sitting on the field, smoking, covered under coloured woollen blankets; the women bent over plastic buckets, washing the only clothes they had, there: on the fields where the corpses were decaying in the sun, in the hospitals with this inimitable smell of disinfection and death, there: on the overflowing marketplaces, in the devastated mosques – there we all had the same horizon of experience. We were all stuck in this world of pain and destruction. Within this context, all these horrifying scenes made “sense.” Of course, it all seemed unreal, and yet it was simultaneously too real for us to permanently call it into question. Our conversations and gestures were embedded in this context. It was a life within the same radius of violence.

Only now, back in Berlin, now when I am about to talk about that time, does its absurdity strike me. The experiences there are somehow separated from reality here, and it feels a bit like when I was a child at my grandmother’s and we would make biscuits, cutting out shapes in the dough. Maybe that is why journalists are considered disturbed cynics: because the reality that they describe is so disturbed.

That is the burden of the witness: to remain with a feeling of failure, of emptiness because even the most accurate account does not grasp the bleakness of war.

The task

We were in Tirana when the peace agreement was signed: the Serbian delegation agreed to pull out within 48 hours after the settlement from Kosovo and to withdraw to what was left of the Yugoslav republic. The air bombardment of the NATO alliance had lasted 78 days during which they flew attacks against government buildings in Belgrade, against positions of the Serbian army in Kosovo – but also against civilian targets: bridges, factories, power stations, the television station of Belgrade and various refugee treks, “collateral damage” as the propaganda unit in Brussels would call it.

At the end of the war, we travelled with the ground troops that had been inactive so far and the thousands of Kosovo Albanian refugees returning to Kosovo.

Our team in Kosovo included our Albanian driver Kuijtim Bilali, his nephew and our translator Noni Hoxha, Joanne Mariner from the organization Human Rights Watch from New York, whom we had met in the refugee camps in Albania, the photographer Sebastian Bolesch and myself.

We remained two more weeks in the war torn Kosovo and then travelled throughout the entire region. We saw how the young men – who had been hiding in fear of the Serbian militia – returned from the mountains. We saw the famished Kosovo Albanian prisoners with sunken eyes tied together on a truck. They were supposed to be hostages from kidnappings in Serbia, but now they had been forgotten. We saw how the Kosovo Albanians celebrated the end of the repression. We saw everywhere how the Serbian units had raged: burnt down farmhouses, demolished minarets of the village mosques. We saw the mutilated corpses where the Serbian myrmidons hadn’t had time to erase the traces of their deeds and to bury their victims. We saw the Serbian troops on their withdrawal, drunk from stolen booze. But we also saw Serbian civilians fleeing out of fear of revenge. We also saw the neighbourhoods of the Roma standing in flames.

Death and destruction

Since my return people ask me: “How do you cope with what you witnessed? How do you digest all the experiences?”

The answer is: you don’t.

There are certain impressions you cannot “digest.”

The sight of a seventeen year-old girl in the hospital of Prizren in Kosovo. She had been shot by a sniper the day before the allied forces entered Kosovo. She had a brain injury and urgently needed to be transferred to the hospital in Prishtina. Since that night she had been staying in a room with five badly injured men: Serbs, KLA-fighters and Albanians, the enemies of the war united in one overheated room.

You could hear her breathe.

She would probably die within the next five hours because the hospital could not transfer her to Prishtina – the Serbian troops had stolen the only ambulance for their flight at the end of the war.

The sight of a charred back of a dead catholic Albanian between hundreds of books in his house in Koronica. The muscles in the shrunk body were still recognizable – it looked like one of those charts from biology class where all muscles of the human body are schematically displayed. Except: the man in Koronica was brown-black, his burned flesh was porous and looked hairy like scratchy fur. Arms and legs were missing. Maybe they had been cut off, maybe they were burned completely, maybe it had been the dogs...

The Homeric heroes in the Iliad have less fear of death than the thought of being left unburied – outside the city walls – at the mercy of stray dogs. It always seemed rather strange to me that a living person would have to worry about his corpse being ravaged by dogs. I could not imagine a world in which dogs would run around with human limbs in their mouths.

It was the brother of the dead who brought us to this package of withered flesh. He walked from one room to the other, in a destroyed house, and talked as if it was still intact, and as if that bundle on the floor still had anything in common with the human being he grew up with.

And one does not digest: the sight of corpses without heads, cut off body parts, contorted bodies that had been pulled behind a truck for miles (also like a quote from Homer); the sight of bloated or burned corpses, some two months old, one week, one day.

And there is this one image I cannot forget: the foot of a male body that we found in a ravine on a field near Meja. I still remember those five centimetres between the black leather shoe on his right foot and the blue cotton trouser, a peasant uniform as I would get to see in the following weeks so often when looking at dead civilians. The corpse had been lying there apparently since 27 April.

In the meantime it had rained, and it had been hot as it can be in a Yugoslav summer. And there is one particular part of the image that haunts me, a small detail: those five centimetres between the tied shoe and the seam of the trouser. Without the clothes that proved that this had once been a man, there was only five centimetres of dead, living flesh. Nothing else.

And there was this sound, very quiet, first unnoticed, and then so penetrating in its repulsiveness that no taboo, no shame could repress my hearing it: a number of parasites was eating the rest of a human being.

And I cannot forget the ten year-old girl in Gjakova who stood in front of the burned out ruins of her former house and could not say two complete, intelligible sentences. She spoke without pausing, as if her speech was making sense. She did not stutter or hesitate, she formed one incoherent sentence after the other.

Finally we understood that in this house her father, her brother, her aunt and two cousins had been killed. Her uncle and her two other brothers had been arrested by Serbian units and deported the day before the arrival of NATO troops.

She told us, her father had fallen off the roof when celebrating the long-awaited NATO intervention. He had broken his leg and could not move when the Serbian soldiers arrived at their house. They had told the girl and her mother to leave the house – and killed everyone else in it.

I cannot forget how she stood there in her pink shirt, in front of her former living room wall, slightly oblique because the floor was no longer flat. And I cannot forget that she could not speak properly, and that she occasionally only stared at us and then continued to speak. And that she did not seem upset at all.

She was quiet and calm, and only every now and then did she seem irritated – when she realised that she did not know that trick anymore, the trick that someone had taught her, years ago, in another time: how to form sentences and makes sense to others. Then she paused and suddenly felt like a stranger to herself, and then she seemed to tell herself that these words that came out of her mouth were unintelligible.

Many journalists only arrived in Albania or Macedonia when the peace agreement was signed. But we had already been acquainted with the terrible events. We had been writing since April on the refugees and their fate, we had been listening to them: how their sons and husbands had been killed, what they had done before the crises began, where they used to live, how they were expelled, how many hours they had walked till they had reached the border, when they had last seen their brother, where they were standing when a Serbian officer pulled a woman out of the refugee trek, how they had been hiding in a barn.

At the end of the war, when we entered Kosovo, we knew exactly where to go and what to expect there. We had a map of killing in our minds – even before we arrived at the places of the massacres.

But that meant that we could not relate to those tormented bodies as neutral bystanders towards anonymous corpses. But after weeks of interviewing survivors in the camps in Albania, photographer Sebastian Bolesch and I knew the story of many of the dead, we knew whether their wives or children had survived on the other side of the border.

It also meant that we could imagine the corpses before us as fathers and brothers, as peasants or writers. We could imagine their previous lives, and sometimes we knew the relatives in Albania.

Impossible to gain distance.

But it was also conciliatory: to remember the real person, the living father or brother or cousin or neighbour; to ask for their story and narrate it; to recreate in writing a world that was supposed to be destroyed; to give each of these stinking, faceless bones a name again and not to turn one’s back.