May 26th 2009 01:27:39 PM
In the previous post, Hiding Genocide in Kosovo author Iseult Henry mentions the village of Gorazdevac, which she wrote was one of the last surviving ones near the town of Pec, and which she got into trouble for helping. For reference purposes, this is the village that last August held the fifth annual memorial service for two Serbian boys who were gunned down there by Albanians in 2003. 2008 also marked the fifth year that the perpetrators have not been brought to justice, with the case still — as the joke goes in Kosovo — “being investigated.” Following is an item from last August:
PRIŠTINA — Kosovo police have no information on who killed two Serb children in Goraždevac five years ago.
Kosovo Police Serbia (KPS) spokesman Veton Elshani denied claims by the families of the murdered boys that police knew the name of the killer but had done nothing to arrest the suspect.
Milisav Dakin, the father of one of the children, said that he had personally told police the name of the person who had opened fire on the children, who had been swimming in the Bistrica river. His son Pantelije and another boy, Ivan Jovović, were killed in the incident, while a further four children were wounded.
The fathers of the two murdered boys called on KFOR and the police yesterday to find the murderers, adding that the identity of the killers was common knowledge.
According to witness statements after the incident, the shots were fired from the Albanian-populated village of Zahać on 50 Serbs, including 30 children, who had been swimming in the Bistrica river.
A snapshot of the funeral, from Byzantine Blog:
The younger brother of the slain 11-year-old Pantelija Dakic was carrying the cross to mark his brother’s grave at the funeral. August 13, 2003, Gorazdevac, Kosovo-Metohija, Serbia.
And here is an interesting report on a religious Kosovo-based Serbian site, at the time of the crime ( “interesting” in its typicalness):
Gorazdevac, Gracanica, August 13, 2003
Unknown persons opened machine gun fire on Serb children bathing in the Bistrica River not far from Gorazdevac, Pec municipality. According to preliminary information two Serb children were killed and at least five others wounded.
Panta Dakic (10) and Ivan Jovovic (20) were pronounced dead at Pec Hospital while Bogdan Bukumiric (15) and Nikola Bogicevic are in critical condition. Also seriously wounded were Dragana Srbljak (14), Djordje Ugrenovic (20) and Marko Bogicevic, said Sladjana Todorovic of Gorazdevac, who was with the wounded children in Pec Hospital.
Bogdan Bukumiric is scheduled to be transferred to Belgrade by helicopter during the day. According to reports from the field, Albanians stoned the vehicle of Milovan Pavlovic while he was attempting to drive some of the wounded children to Pec Hospital. Pavlovic sustained arm injuries. Local sources report that the attackers also beat the wounded child in Pavlovic’s vehicle.
“The children were bathing today in the Bistrica River, some 500 meters from the center of the village, when they were targeted by machine gun fire by unknown persons at about 13.30. Three rounds were fired. KFOR and UNMIK police have not conducted an investigation at the site of the attack, although members of the UN military mission helped to get from Gorazdevac to Pec Hospital”, explained Sladjana Todorovic.
Gorazdevac today is full of great unrest and fear. The nuns of the Pec Patriarchate and the monks of Visoki Decani have urgently requested KFOR to allow them to enter Gorazdevac. The sisterhood of the Pec Patriarchate could not get an escort and the Decani monks are still waiting for a positive response from KFOR to provide them with a military escort.
“This is an unprecedented crime. In Kosovo and Metohija for four years there has been no Serbian Army or police, who Albanian terrorists claimed were their enemies, and they are killing our children. In the past Serb children have been the targets of grenades and run over by cars, and now they are being perfidiously killed when they are swimming in the river,” said Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren, commenting on today’s terrorist attack near Gorazdevac.
The Serb village of Gorazadevac is located near Pec and security is provided by Italian KFOR troops. It is still the home of some 1,000 Serbs, half of the village population prior to the arrival of the UN mission in Kosovo and Metohija. The village has a primary school and two secondary schools, one technical and one economic. In order to obtain basics for life, residents are dependent on military and police assistance or forced to travel to northern Kosovska Mitrovica by escorted convoy.
On the same page as the item above there is an incisive editorial comment which is consistent with the bigger picture that Iseult Henry observed over the course of her work in Kosovo:
These crimes are not crimes committed by individuals for which society and the leadership governing it bear no responsibility. If that were the case, society and its officials would certainly identify the transgressors and bring them to justice. The fact…that the most serious crimes that have been committed in Kosovo and Metohija remain unresolved to this day clearly suggests that there is a conscious and planned campaign to cover up crimes and somehow rationalize them.
The only consolation we have in this society based on injustice and hypocrisy is God’s justice, which will sooner or later catch up with all those who want to build a future for their own children on the blood of the innocent. This justice frequently comes late but never fails to come at all “for nothing is covered that will not be revealed” (Mat 10:26, Luk 12:2) as history has borne out time and time again.
Just one random example underscoring the par-for-the-course nature of crimes against Serbs going unpunished is the Nis Bus Massacre, in which an explosion targeting the bus killed 11 Serbs and injured 10 others (the count was actually higher, but these are the official figures for indictment purposes) — and which was “under investigation” for seven years before someone was convicted. Last year I blogged that the unprecedented had happened: in June Florim Ejupi was sentenced to 40 years by a UN court, and I wrote, “The murders happened in 2001. The investigation got moving in late 2006. And the only reason it got moving at all is that international scrutiny of Kosovo increased as the independence ‘deadline’ neared…Uh-oh. Someone screwed up and sentenced an Albanian for killing Serbs. Whoever is responsible for this investigation and prosecution had better be in hiding.”
Sure enough, this past March brought the following development: In its first ruling since Kosovo’s judicial administration transitioned to the next stage, the EULEX mission, a EULEX appeals court did this:
EU judges free Albanian over Kosovo bus bombing (Friday, 13 March 2009)
European Union judges in a Kosovo appeals court cleared an Albanian man who had previously been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the 2001 bombing of a Serbian bus, a spokeswoman said on Friday.
The appeals court ruled Thursday that the evidence against Florim Ejupi was insufficient.
The panel was comprised of judges from Eulex, the law-enforcing mission EU deployed to Kosovo in December.
It was the first ruling of the Eulex appeals court since the mission deployed four months ago.
Florim Ejupi received a 40-year sentence last year after he was “found guilty” of attack in Gracanica. He appealed against the verdict.
“He is released,” Karin Limdal, spokeswoman for the European Union police and justice mission (EULEX). She did not give a reason for the decision.
The EULEX mission, composed of international police officers, customs agents, judges and prosecutors, was deployed in Kosovo in December to help the Balkan country build up its institutions.
Recall, incidentally, that when this now released suspect was being held at a U.S. military detention facility at Camp Bondsteel, he managed to escape under mysterious circumstances. Of course he did — he was a “former” member of our terrorist allies the KLA and current member of the regrouped ANA/AKSH (Albanian National Army). Anyone who helped in the “liberation” of Kosovo from Serbs gets to operate with impunity — in the U.S. as well.
In the bomb attack on Serb pilgrims heading to participate in a religious ceremony in Gracanica one entire buss[sic] was torn into pieces…The survivers in the bus graphically described shocking scenes of human joints hanging around in the charred buss[sic] shell. Pieces of human bodies could be found dozens of meters around. The terrorists placed large quantities of explosives under a little bridge in an exclusively Albanian inhabited part of Podujevo municipality in order to blow up a Serb bus which was travelling[sic] in a convoy escorted by Swedish KFOR…
Another theme in Ms. Henry’s narrative, as it is in her book Hiding Genocide in Kosovo, is the international intent to humiliate the Serbs. I’ve written before about Serbs being arrested when they’re attacked, which is just one of many examples.
Related to the humiliation point is the following from British former MP Alice Mahon, who served as a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly:
She also reported speaking to a British policeman who had been hired to arrest ICTY indictees in Bosnia; she said that when she spoke to the officer he told her that he was only interested in arresting Serbs.
[Mahon] said that NATO was openly planning to attack Yugoslavia in mid-1998. She said that the plan to attack Yugoslavia was being widely and openly discussed inside of NATO at that time. It is worth noting that the earliest crime that Milosevic is indicted for in Kosovo is the alleged “massacre” at Racak in mid-January 1999. Therefore, the plan to attack Yugoslavia existed *BEFORE* the pretext that was offered to the public by NATO officials – namely that the bombing was NATO’s reaction to Serb war crimes.
…She traveled to Macedonia and spoke to OSCE/KVM observers only three weeks before the war and they told her that the situation was getting better and that there was no reason for NATO to attack.
The witness said that the Kosovo war transformed NATO from a defensive organization into an offensive organization. She testified that NATO was looking for an excuse to attack and that it created its excuse presenting an unreasonable ultimatum to Yugoslavia at Rambouillet.
The ultimatum that NATO gave Yugoslavia at Rambouillet was to either accept a wholesale NATO occupation, or be bombed. Obviously, Yugoslavia couldn’t accept a wholesale occupation, so NATO attacked.
Ms. Mahon said that the contents of the so-called “Rambouillet Agreement” were concealed from British MPs and NATO parliamentarians until April 1999 – one month after the bombing began.
She testified that she had received information that the CIA had infiltrated the OSCE/KVM, and that William Walker had staged the so-called “Racak massacre.”
Ms. Mahon was also critical of the Hague Tribunal. She said that she had presented several volumes of evidence detailing Croatian crimes against Serbs to Carla del Ponte, and that the OTP [Office of the Prosecutor] never reacted…
Ms. Mahon briefly commented on the role that the Western media played. She said that Western media systematically demonized the Serbs. She said that crimes allegedly perpetrated by Serbs received excessive media coverage, while crimes committed against Serbs received almost no coverage. […]
A final note on Rambouillet, from Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) in 2001:
New evidence has emerged confirming that the U.S. deliberately set out to thwart the Rambouillet peace talks in France in order to provide a “trigger” for NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia.
News reports almost universally blamed the failure of negotiations on Serbian intransigence…[But] it was U.S. negotiators, not the Serbs, who blocked an agreement.
Now, in the June 14 issue of the Nation, George Kenney, a former State Department Yugoslavia desk officer, reports:
“An unimpeachable press source who regularly travels with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told this [writer] that, swearing reporters to deep-background confidentiality at the Rambouillet talks, a senior State Department official had bragged that the United States ‘deliberately set the bar higher than the Serbs could accept.’ The Serbs needed, according to the official, a little bombing to see reason.”
In other words, the plan for Kosovo autonomy drafted by State Department officials was intentionally crafted to provoke a rejection from Serb negotiators…
Providing further confirmation of Kenney’s account, Jim Jatras, a foreign policy aide to Senate Republicans, reported in a May 18 speech at the Cato Institute in Washington that he had it “on good authority” that a “senior Administration official [Madeleine Albright] told media at Rambouillet, under embargo” the following: “We intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They need some bombing, and that’s what they are going to get.”