Amnesty International on Kosovo

Chris Burford cburford at
Sun Mar 28 12:31:16 PST 1999

An expose of the lying chauvinism of the Serbian "marxists" who just happen to forget to call for their troops to get out of Kosovo.

Thanks to Nathan for pointing out this site

Chris Burford



A Legacy of Resentment

from KOSOVO: Which way now?

an Amnesty International Briefing

(AI Index: EUR 70/59/98)

The ethnic Albanian community makes up more than 90 per cent of Kosovo's

population. For nearly 20 years, the mounting calls from within the community

for the region's secession from Yugoslav rule have been met with increasingly

draconian measures on the part of the authorities.

During the 1980s, faced with demands for Kosovo to become a full republic

of Yugoslavia or become independent, Yugoslav authorities violently broke up

demonstrations and imprisoned thousands, often after unfair trials and as

prisoners of conscience.

In 1989 Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic removed Kosovo's relative

autonomy within Yugoslavia, and made it an administrative region of Serbia.

Kosovo had been at the heart of the medieval Serbian kingdom; its integration

was part of Milosevic's heavily nationalist program, which was built on claims

of discrimination against Serbs in Kosovo.

The following year, in opposition to the Serbian authorities' rule of Kosovo,

ethnic Albanian political leaders declared an independent "Republic of

Kosova". A "parallel" political system was established - the main party was

the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), led by Dr. Ibrahim Rugova - as

well as parallel systems of health, education and other institutions.

Since the early 1990s, the pattern of human rights violation against ethnic

Albanians in Kosovo has become more widespread. Only very rarely have the

police been held accountable for their actions.

Some people have been singled out simply because of their ethnic

background. On a daily basis, ethnic Albanians are beaten with truncheons,

punched and kicked by officers who commonly express ethnic hatred against

their victims - in 1997, five people died in police custody as a result. Riot

police armed with automatic weapons and backed by amoured vehicles have

increasingly used excessive force to break up peaceful demonstrations.

For years, the police have systematically raided the houses of ethnic Albanians

on the pretext of searching for arms, and many beatings have occurred.

Victims are sometimes even told to buy a weapon to hand in to the police.

Many ethnic Albanians have been specifically targeted for their alleged

involvement in the "parallel" society or because of their political activism.

Among the hundreds of ethnic Albanians imprisoned during the 1990s for their

non-violent activities was Ali Stublia, imprisoned in December 1997 for failing

to report soccer games he had organized in 1995.

The Serbian authorities have consistently failed to provide fair trials in political

cases, where those convicted have been given prison sentences of up to 20

years. Vistims are coerced into making statements incriminating themselves or

others, which are accepted as evidence in court. There are numerous other

breaches of international standards, such as the violation of the right ot

communicate freely with a defence lawyer.

Thousands of stories of people whose human rights have been violated have

been documented by Amnesty International and other human rights

organizations over the years. The scale of oppression and suffering has been

immense. That ethnic tensions rose to explosive levels, and the situation

degenerated into one of armed conflict, was not a great surprise to anyone in

the province.

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