Fresh wave of violence against Kosmet Serbs
21. February 2010. | 07:20
State Secretary of the Ministry for Kosovo-Metohija Oliver Ivanovic said that the general safety in Kosovo-Metohija has deteriorated significantly after attack on Serb Ljubisa Stepanovic.Kosovsko-Pomoravski District chief Dragan Nikolić told reporters yesterday that the family found an open grave this morning, with the casket open and items removed from it. After that, the family laid the body to rest again in a different cemetery, in the village of Koretište.
The grave of a Serb woman who was buried last Friday in Gnjilane, eastern Kosovo, was dug up during the night.
Kosovsko-Pomoravski District chief Dragan Nikolić told reporters yesterday that the family found an open grave this morning, with the casket open and items removed from it. After that, the family laid the body to rest again in a different cemetery, in the village of Koretište.
"The deceased's last wish was to be buried in the upper part of the Gnjilane cemetery. This was the first burial in this cemetery since 1999. The digging up of her grave is a clear message to Serbs that they cannot even bury their dead in Gnjilane," said Nikolić. The town has a majority ethnic Albanian population. The case has been reported to the Kosovo police, KPS, the family said.
Kosovo Serb Ljubiša Stepanović was assaulted early Saturday morning in the Kosovo village of Žać, near Istok, by a group of Albanians.
Stepanović was jumped by a group of four or five Albanians while on his way to buy bread in Osojane, according to return coordinator in the Serb municipality of Istok, Vesna Maliković. He was taken to the Kosovska Mitrovica hospital and the Kosovo police were informed of the attack.
Maliković said that the attackers waited for Stepanović hiding on the property of a Serb that visited several days ago with the intention of returning with his family. She said that the situation in Istok has drastically worsened over the last week, and that the attack has further upset Serbs living in the municipality.
“There are five homes almost complete for returning Serbs in Žać and it is obvious that someone does not like it,” Maliković said.
State Secretary of the Ministry for Kosovo-Metohija Oliver Ivanovic said that the general safety in Kosovo-Metohija has deteriorated significantly after attack on Serb Ljubisa Stepanovic.
Ivanovic told Tanjug news agency that the Serb who was attacked is a returnee to the village of Zac, to which five Serbian families have come back. He said that their land have been cultivated by Kosovo Albanians from 1999 until today.
A few more families announced their return to the village, however, the villages of Zac and Srbobran have not had electricity since yesterday and they are still paying the bills. All that, together with this incident is creating a very tense atmosphere, Ivanovic said.
He said that he will call Kfor commander to talk about this incident since Kfor is the only force in the province that is respected by both sides.
The State Secretary for Kosovo-Metohija warned that the reduction of Kfor troops in such circumstances is completely wrong, of which Serbian authorities have already warned NATO representatives.
The Ministry for Kosovo-Metohija requested today that the authorities in Kosovo-Metohija detect and punish the persons who attacked one Serb in the municipality of Istok this morning and those who dug out the grave of one Serbian woman in Gnjilane this week.
A statement issued by the Ministry for Kosovo-Metohija says that the latest incidents in the province show the true face of the so-called Kosovo authorities and their perception of a multi-ethnic society, in which there is no room for the return of either living or dead Serbs.
In the last decade not a single perpetrator of crimes against Kosovo Serbs has been traced or convicted. We request from EULEX and other international factors to take concrete steps, apart from verbal condemnation, to prevent such incidents in the future, reads the statement by the Ministry for Kosovo-Metohija.
International Civilian Representative of the EU in Kosovo Pieter Feith condemned desecration of the grave of Serbian woman, Zivka Jovanovic, in Gnjilane, in the east of Kosovo, requesting that perpetrators be found and punished.
This is a hideous crime and deserves the utmost condemnation, Feith emphasized. He called upon the competent authorities to double the efforts in protection and reconstruction of Serbian cemeteries throughout the Province.
The family of the deceased, Zivka Jovanovic, found her grave undug yesterday after she was buried on Thursday in the Gnjilane cemetery. She was the first Serbian person buried in this Serbian cemetery since 1999. After desecration, the family transferred her body to the cemetery in the village of Koretiste.