Page 943 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 943

and Kosovo Polje were vandalized by albanian extremists, raising the toll of desecrated Serbian cemeteries all over the province of Kosovo to several dozen.21
in May 2003, Spanish and Greek soldiers of KFOR were attacked with hand grenades while protecting Serbian churches in istok (monastery of Gorioč) and Uroševac re- spectively. On 26 july 2003, the discovery of a powerful explosive device in the vicinity of the Holy archangels near Prizren prevented the massacre of at least one thousand Serbian pilgrims who came, under heavy KFOR escort, to celebrate the 650th anniversary of the monastery. a deto- nation rang out on the hillside above the Holy archangels during the Divine Liturgy. The nine kilograms of powerful explosive were planted in the hillside in order to bring the huge cliff down on the gathered Serb pilgrims and the mon- astery. The next target was the Serb church and commu- nity in Klokot (Vitina area in eastern Kosovo).
although the Organisation for Security and Coopera- tion in europe and the UN High Commission for Refugees stressed in their reports that 2002 saw a continued fall in ethnically motivated crime, this was only due to the fact that many Serbs had simply disappeared from many previ- ously mixed areas after continuous threats, attacks and as- sassinations perpetrated by albanian extremists. Since May 2002, KFOR has begun to scale down its presence in the so-called ’minority areas’, which was a signal to albanian extremists to resume their strategy of ethnic cleansing, per- secuting Serbs from all parts of Kosovo and Metohija, through a new series of ethnically motivated crimes, in order to force them to leave the province, and, additionally, discourage those willing to return.
Freedom of movement, after three years of KFOR pres- ence, remained unattainable for Serbs and non-albanians. among dozens, if not hundreds of examples, this is a strik- ing one: a group of some fifty retired Serbs transported by UNMiK bus from Osojane to Peć were heading for the lo- cal bank on 11 October 2002, but experienced a brutal at- tack by over 600 albanians in the streets of Peć. Their bus
21 info Service of Serbian Raška-Prizren Diocese of Kosovo and Metohija (eRP KiM), report from Gračanica of 28 November 2002. The report related to the destruction of cemeteries is as follows: “Mark- ing the national holiday of albania, the so-called Flag Day, in the night between 28 and 29 November, local albanian extremists de- stroyed a total of 46 gravestones at the [Christian] Orthodox ceme- tery in Kosovo Polje [...] the gravestones of prominent Serb families and Serbs killed after the arrival of the international mission in Ko- sovo and Metohija. On most gravestones the photographs of the deceased were completely destroyed and their names removed. [...] Following the attack on the cemetery of Dečani two days ago, this latest act of vandalism demonstrates the intent of the albanian ex- tremists to fully achieve their goal and erase the last traces of Serb graves and holy places in Kosovo and Metohija. in all of this, espe- cially upsetting is the fact that the UN mission and KFOR have no solution to this problem and that cemeteries and more recently built churches have been completely left to their fate and the barbarism of the Balkan Taliban.” (eRP KiM, report from Gračanica, 30 Novem- ber 2002).
The Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija 1999–2007
was stoned and additionally demolished by Molotov cock- tails, while at least fifteen elderly Serbs were injured and subsequently evacuated by Spanish KFOR to a temporary refuge in the nearby building only to be hastily escorted back to their village.22
The decreased number of ethnically motivated killings in 2002 showed, however, that the targets were not any more large Serbian communities, but usually smaller and more vulnerable ones, mostly in ethnically mixed areas. On 6 january a Serb was killed by a grenade in front of his house in Kosovska Kamenica. On 23 February, a Serbian woman in Lipljan was shot and killed by an unknown per- petrator. in august, five Serbian houses in Klokot near Ko- sovska Vitina were destroyed by planted explosive devices while several persons were injured, including two mem- bers of US KFOR troops. in October, a woman from the same village was assassinated. in December, a Serbian peas- ant from the village of Cernica, near Gnjilane, was killed. The number of attacks that did not end up in killings was considerably higher. The number of ethnically motivated attacks against Serbs, resulting in serious injuries had in- creased from 274 in 2001 to 454 in 2003.23
The ghetto-like situation is typical for smaller Serb com- munities (villages, parts of villages or groups of villages): the village of Cernica in the Gnjilane area previously had 85 Serb households amidst 400 albanian. From 2000 to 2003 Serb residents were frequently attacked by the local albanian extremists, including arson and assassinations. Five Serbian families in Cernica lost their members, in- cluding a child; dozens were wounded, their houses burned or destroyed, while the church of St. elijah was devastated. after four years of international rule, at the end of 2003, in 6,391 ethnically motivated attacks by albanian extremists, 1,192 Serbs were killed, 1,303 kidnapped and another 1,305 wounded. Nevertheless, few perpetrators have been iden- tified, let alone arrested, tried and sentenced.24
On 12 april 2003 albanian extremists planted 40 kilo- grams of explosive under the railroad bridge of Ložište near Banjska and Zvečan. Due to an error made during place- ment and activation, the explosive only slightly damaged the bridge but killed both albanian perpetrators, members of the “Kosovo Protection Corps” and the terrorist group known as the “albanian National army.” an UNMiK po- lice investigation established that the purpose of the attack was to blow up the train carrying Serbs from the central Kosovo enclaves to Serb-inhabited Leposavić in the north, on its way to its final destination, Belgrade.
23 More in Bataković, “Kosovo: From Separation to integration.“
24 For detailed data on the victims of albanian terror in the peri- od between june 1999 and November 2001, see i. Simić, ed., Žrtve albanskog terorizma na Kosovu i Metohiji (Belgrade: Committee for Gathering information on Crimes against Humanity and Violations of international Law, 2001).
  additional data in the Memorandum of the Serbian Orthodox Church on Kosovo and Metohija.

   941   942   943   944   945