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Koha Digest # 44 (1995)



by BATON HAXHIU / Prishtina

(Story I)




I had a hard life. My father, whom I don't consider my parent any longer, was a chronic
alcoholic. This was the reason why mother left him. I remained alone, I had no siblings. I was
ten years old. He (my father), continued his old story. He would come drunker almost every
night. Sometimes, he would take some woman to "make him company". He frightened me
very much, and he knew it, therefore he would often take me on his lap, and tell me how
much he loved me, that he would quit drinking and that next week he would allow me to go
and visit my mother. I lived like this for six years. During all these years, I never saw my
mother. It seemed that the more I grew, the more problems there were. He started beating me,
very often, especially when he ran out of tobacco. Spending time in school was much better
than staying at home. My best girl-fried was Miki.

One day, as we were at my place with Miki, my father sent me to buy cigarettes. When I came
back, Miki was not there. I asked my father - and he told me nothing. The next day, the whole
school was rumouring that he had tried to rape Miki. I quit school, I couldn't stand the talking.

One evening, late at night, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, he approached me and caught me
by my buttocks. I was so afraid, that I started yelling and crying. He was drunk and he didn't
care much. He raped me. Afterwards, he raped me several times. Why didn't I escape from
home? Where to? My father was not in contact with his relatives, I didn't know where my
mother was since six years ago.

One day, he brought a man, his "friend". He raped me. On his way out, I saw him giving my
father 50 DEM. Several days later, he brought another man, who also raped me. On his way
out, he paid 100 DEM. After these two, several days later, he brought two others...With my
body, I sustained my father and entertained his "customers".

I escaped from home, and went to my mother's. I found here through some of her neighbors.

The weekly Koha (The Times) was published in Prishtina (Kosovo) between 1994 and 1997. Edited by Veton
Surroi, a young Kosovar journalist and one of the pioneers of democratisation in former Yugoslavia, Koha
soon became a symbol of quality among the region's media. In 1997 it started to be published daily under the
name of Koha Ditorë. W ith the kind permission of Mr. Surroi, Koha digests were originally posted on
After meeting her, I told her what had happened to me. She gave up on me, she didn't want
me with her. She even told me: "Go away. I don't want my husband to see you!"...So I did. I
was young. Too young. I wandered around the streets. Later I met two girls, M and E. Today
we share the apartment. We work as prostitutes and we have our costumers. There are many
and rare are the days in which I don't "contact" them.

This "craft" doesn't bother me at all. One must live somehow, right?

(Story II)


"The good"

I originate from Gjilan. I am 24. I had a hard life at home. A ten members' family: six sisters
and two bothers. I wanted to get education (!). At the age of 17, I fell in love with a boy from
Gjilan. We dated for 13 months. He was jealous and threatened me to quit school. I had two
options: him or education...I chose the second (!). Helped by some relatives, I managed to
inscribe in the University and finish the first year successfully. My friends couldn't send me
money. I found a job in Prishtina as a secretary, in a private enterprise. I met all sorts of
people there. After some time. I started dating my boss and going out to restaurants and cafes.
One night, coming back from a party, by surprise, he pulled his car over. He started touching
my legs, telling me that if I slept with him, he would raise my salary from 70 to 150 DEM. I
accepted. Six month later, I quit this job, because my "businessman" boss constrained me to
go out with his "pals" from the other enterprises. Several weeks later, I met another
"businessman". He told me that if accepted to work for him, that he would give me, "just for
the sake of my beauty" another 200 DEM - without counting my secretarial job. Why not?
Here, I found the same conditions I had in the old enterprise. Over all, he would pay me 350
DEM, which was not a small amount of money. The money I saved was enough to continue
my studies and help my family. My parents still thought that I was working in a mini-market.
They had no idea. On the contrary, they were happy, because I was helping them out...What
made me become a prostitute? Maybe the satisfaction I feel when I change the partners. How
much I earn? Enough. 30, 50 DEM. If someone is more satisfied, he will give me 100 DEM.

I am still attending University, and I consider myself to be a good student. I had even to do
with a professor of mine. My colleague (friend of my first boss), had discovered my

(Story III)



I am from Gjilan. 23 years old. Eight members' family. Three sisters and three brothers. I have
two brothers in Switzerland. They support the family. I came to study to Prishtina, but I quit
my studies immediately. Why? Because I never liked school! I told my family that I quit
school, but that I also found a job in a boutique. It wasn't hard to lie, they almost never come

to Prishtina. We have no relatives here. It could happen to have my paremnts around once in
five months. It was not the difficult situation that made me have this `profession'. When I was
younger (?), I had many failed love affairs. A friend of mine introduced me to a man from
Mitrovica who owned an enterprise. I started dating him. I loved his sex and apart from this,
he gave me as much money as I wanted. After him, I started dating another one, he paid me
on regular basis, each time I slept with him. One day we went to Ferizaj, where I had to stay
and continue with my `profession'. Several months later, after I made good money, I left
Ferizaj, but then I had a problem with the "pimp", who spent several months looking for me
in Prishtina. He insisted I go back. In Prishtina, I fund an apartment in "Dardania". I shared
the apartment with the owner of the apartments and his family. I also shared my room with
another girl - "the good girl" (she laughs)...At the beginning we couldn't talk loosely to
one-another. We constantly lied to each other. We would go out in the evening and come
back late. Two months later, the owner of the apartment, angry, told us to leave within one
week. We found another apartment, close to the cinema. Now we started to be honest with
one another, and, normally, to work together. But, when the other owner noticed that we were
bringing men to the apartment - he kicked us out. A friend of ours found us the apartment we
have now. We live and work here. We "bought" this apartment from the owner who fled to
the West, in order to come back to the "free Kosova" (they laugh). I want you to write that
prostitution in Kosova really exists. The things published in "Kosovarja" were true, even
though some individuals deny it.

I have really worked in a "place" mentioned there...

(Story IV)


"Flora from Prizren"

I am from Prishtina, but I live in Prizren. I work in a cafe-restaurant. I am 20. An eight

member family: four sisters and two brothers. I started doing this in spite of my parents.
Why? Because they wouldn't let me go out, they wouldn't give me any money, they'd beat me
for not studying, and thus "convinced" me to escape from home and never come back again
(!). First I stayed with Bule, my girl-friend who was living in "Dardania". I stayed there one
month. From there I went to Gjilan, to my ex-lover, who had promised he would marry me. I
stayed there three or four days. I left Gjilan beaten and offended by him. I came back to
Bule's. Several days later, a friend offered me to go to Prizren, and "work" in peace. After one
month, my parents found me. They took me back home. They tied me to a chair - so I
wouldn't escape again (!!!). They wouldn't give me anything to eat or drink. My mother, who
was crying for my "fate" would wake up late at night and give me something to eat. I
remained like that for three nights, and the third night, I begged my mother to let me go. I
assured her "I had changed my mind" and she let me go. After she set me free, I embraced her
and then pushed her against the wall. I escaped again and came back here. I am in this
business since the age of 16. I get between 200 and 300 DEM a month. I work 12 hours a day,
in shifts. I spend my time with "customers", and when I have none, I call home and hear my
mother's voice. I heard she is sick. If my mother dies, God forbif it, I will not live here any
more. I would go to Germany, where I have lots of friends together with whom I have

(Story V)



I am from Prishtina, 21. We are five members: mother, two sisters and two brothers. Dad died
at the age of 43, in a car accident. We survived on his pension and the aid we received from
our relatives. Two years later, aid stopped coming.

Dad's pension was not enough. I am the oldest child in the family. My brothers started making
problems, come late at home, started stealing. Their behavior forced me to deal with this
"craft" (?), I am trying to escape. My friends acquainted me with some men who were willing
to give money for some "amusement". I started working, and I would earn 20, 40 and even
100 DEM a day. But, it has happened pretty often to get beaten instead of getting paid: "Scat
you bitch, I ain't giving you any money". Each time mother would ask me about where I got
the money from, I would tell her that my friends were gathering money to help us. Later, she
found out what were "my friends" doing... She was angry. She wouldn't talk to me. She'd cry,
only cry. I don't want to do this, but I have no other choice (she cries).




When they departed towards a safer place in the West, around 200 thousand citizens of
Yugoslavia, didn't even suppose of the insecurity which was expecting them. The largest
number of the "fled" found themselves in a sandwich last year, since the states in which they
sought asylum announced that they would expel (and they tried to do so) all those
asylum-seekers whose request was rejected. Yugoslavia immediately closed down
"hermetically", with the explanation of its officials that they are against accepting their own

The campaign for the return of asylum seekers to FRY, because there "is no war", lasted
several months in Germany. Germany has now decided not to extend the "six months"
protection clause which protected the rejected asylum-seekers (mainly Kurds, Turks and
citizens of Yugoslavia) from being repatriated, since May 1994. Thus, the purchase of return
tickets for over 167 thousand people in Germany alone, was announced. 95% of them are
ethnic Albanians. Similar rumors started coming from Switzerland, Sweden, The Netherlands
and other states which denied hospitality to asylum-seekers. The whole issue was intensified
especially after the air and transports embargo against Yugoslavia was lifted, which has
shortened the path for the return of "no one's citizens".

Reacting rapidly, the Government if FRY, adopted a Draft-Law "of provisional nature" on the
special conditions to enter Yugoslavia, in November 1994.

The purpose of this Act, in fact, never published anywhere, was clearly the systematic

"cleansing" of people and their classification into "suitable" and "non suitable". Because, not
basing himself on many reports on the situation of Human Rights in Kosova, the
representative of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs ascertains that "these are people who
falsely presented themselves as politically persecuted people". Yugoslavia, it was stated then,
doesn't refuse to accept its citizens (which, by the way, is its obligation according to the
Constitution and ratified international conventions), but is "against the forced deportation of
false asylum-seekers", until the conditions for their acceptance are fulfilled. "It can not be
expected", is the posture of the Federal Government, "that the country exhausted by teh
international blockade and hosting 600 thousand refugees, can also provide the massive
comeback of asylum-seekers, because this would create enormous economic problems".

Elaborating the decision on "who can (not) climb an airplane", the Federal government adds
that this problem can be solved only by signing bilateral agreements between FRY and the
state where the asylum seekers are. The ones who have their travel documents in order,
permanent residence permits or a visa of one country, can still come to Yugoslavia, without
any major problem. However, "people who don't have certificates on the authenticity of the
passport, or a travel document issued by diplomatic-consular representative offices as well as
those who own passports with serial numbers of teh seceded republics of the Former
Yugoslavia" can't enter Yugoslavia. The same thing goes for all those citizens of the FRY
(Muslims and Croats) who posses Yugoslav passports, if the address stated in them does not
belong to the territory of the FRY.

Judging upon the figures, the largest problem is the expulsion of Albanians from the countries
which have not granted them refugee status.

First, because the largest number of them has fled the country without any passports, and
thus, according to evaluations in Prishtina, in Germany alone, there are about 30 thousand
Albanians without valid passports, while in Switzerland, their number is even larger. In teh
Yugoslav Consular Directorate in Vienna they claim that the Austrian borders, especially in
early '90s, have been crossed mainly by "Kosovans" and only with an ID card, based on
political persecution and draft-evasion. They, as the people in the consulate confirm, can
come back exclusively with travel documents issued with the consent of the Ministry of
Internal Affairs of Serbia, which is a very long and insecure procedure.

In the recent months, the Yugoslav embassies and consulate, have denied the extension of
passports of asylum-seekers, because they request a certificate on the regulated status in the
country of asylum. According to the representative offices, there are only between 5-10% of
those who have regulated their status.

As the things stand now, the precondition to even think about the return of asylum seekers, is
to sign a bilateral agreements which "would precisely determine the conditions for the return
of asylum-seekers to the country", which is requested by the FRY. The government also
implies by this "the money which, for example, Germany would have to give to take care of
these people upon return" (?!). So far, conversations with Sweden and Germany have started,
but reaching an agreement is hard for the fact that FRY, in the eyes of teh international
community, "has not a regulated status", therefore it can't be "an equal partner".

Meanwhile, the country which refuses to accept its own citizens, has not yet clarified the
categorization between rejected asylum-seekers, refugees, deserters, and people whose
residence permit has expired. Instead, it still is trading with human fate.




One of the essential mental problems that any person who contacts the representatives of the
Serbian politics (in quite a range those of the opposition too) is the concept of statehood.
Since the beginning of the disintegration of the Former Yugoslavia, refrains in Serbian were
repeated as in a choir, that "Serbs can't be a minority in their own country". Thus it happened
in Kosova, later in Croatia and Bosnia. The concept of ethnic statehood, of the national state,
was offered in any angle by the governmental media, while the same possibility was denied to
any other nation. Not being too repetitive: Albanians and Croats in particular.

Many reasons were given so far about why the Serbian nation acts thus, from the hegemonic
heritage and up to the new wave of national totalitarianism which captivated Serbia in the
ruins of Communism. But, I believe that another paradox has not been presented, and which
could give additional explanations: in fact, Serbia does not wish to become a state, it doesn't
want to be a republic.

How could it be said thus, when Serbia first started decomposing Yugoslavia with the
annexation of Kosova and Vojvodina (and Montenegro, as the Montenegrins would say)?
Even, with the slogan "the Serbian statehood is finally sealed"? Or, how could it be said thus
when Serbia, first in the Former Yugoslavia, adopted a Constitution in which is declared
itself a sovereign state, meaning that it proclaimed itself outside the framework of the SFRY?

I believe that the best argument is being experienced in the present times we are living. The
disintegration of Yugoslavia generated four states acknowledged by the UN and one territory
which calls itself FRY and which the world knows as Serbia and Montenegro. The Serbian
officials still insist that FRY is the continuance of the late Yugoslavia, even with the
perseverance of the ugly maiden who refuses to look herself in the mirror, because it reveals
that she is precisely the ugliest maiden in the village. Serbia, for many years, has been
refusing to become an independent state, member of the UN.

The pretexts are, naturally, very important. They range from the emotional, that the tradition
of building Yugoslavia can't be given up, on one hand, and up to the most sensitive, that FRY
is serving as an umbrella for building Greater Serbia, on the other hand. Once it become
Greater, some say, it will proclaim its statehood. There are, naturally, other sensitive reasons
too: Serbia, by requesting its recognition at the UN would have to bring in a dossier of one
century long acts of the similar kind: usurpation of lands and people which served as an
engine force to a centurial movement towards Greater Serbia. Not to talk about today's
dossier, that of the functioning of the self-proclaimed Serbia (with Kosova, Sanxhak and
Vojvodina) as a police organization in whose service are the economy, foreign policy and
army, and with a Parliament and Government as decoration.

There is fear in the Serbian leadership. In a serious analysis, I read that Milosevic's behavior,
full of aggressiveness and violence, could be evaluated by psychoanalysis as fear. If this
individual fear would be placed on a broader plane, then the struggle for Greater Serbia, in
fact, is fear from facing Serbia as a state. It is the fear of the rulers to have to explain to their
citizens how will they fix the roads, how will they have a better standard of living, how will

the children be educated, how will the pensionists be paid, and how will they survive on their
pensions...? Instead of answers to millions of questions which any contemporary state faces,
the politicians in Serbia round-up the century perceiving the state as drawing of geographic
maps. And the people, as the permanent repeaters of the first grade of elementary school.



by DUKAGJIN GORANI / Prishtina

Anyhow, February 1995 will be a jubilee for, at one stage, the largest - and now excluded
Kosovan institution of information in Albanian.

During KOHA's conversation and congratulation in regard to the anniversary with Avni
Spahiu, Editor in Chief of "Bujku", which replaced banned "Rilindja", he stated: "There is no
doubt, the 50th anniversary of "Rilindja" is a very important anniversary not only for us in the
daily newspaper, but for the Kosova Albanian people in general. These are the first fifty years
of the first Albanian informative institution in Kosova, but also of other informing and
cultural institutions which used the name of "Rilindja", which had an irreplaceable role not
only in the creation of the political and social opinion - but also in the creation of new cultural

In the five decades we leave behind, "Rilindja" shared the fate of our people. In important
historical moments of our people, it knew how to lead many transformations which occurred,
especially those in the last decade, which brought the unknotting and disclosure of the
anti-Albanian politics and hegemony, as well as the creation of the democratic opinion among
Albanians, accompanied by the articulation of national and political requests on one people.

Further on, "Rilindja" generated many important names, present politicians and intellectuals.
This is our pride but also as a big obligation for the future - to have "Rilindja" continue it's
mission, not only to inform but also in its converting into an important factor for our cultural
and societal life in general. Naturally, in these initial times of internal democratization,
"Rilindja" must insist to be an open newspaper, to the whole people and political subjects
inside which bear the responsibility for our well-being."

Asked whether we should celebrate the fifth anniversary of our Rilindja, instead of the 50th
anniversary, Spahiu replies:

"True. Five years ago, it was "Rilindja" which started the ruin of the monist ideology here. It
shouldn't be forgotten that, then, "Rilindja" was composed of emminent intellectuals of our
public life, people who are now in the most relevant institutions we have, and who
undeniably contributed to this. I believe that this is the right question, because, nevertheless,
"Rilindja" has been part of a dominion, part of the past. However, starting from 1989 and
1990, the decisive turn of our society can't be denied, and its leader was precisely "Rilindja".

To how much has been achieved and how much effort is needed for a real democratization of
our press, especially of "Bujku", as the only Albanian daily, Spahiu says:

"Five years of inauguration of free opinion are a short period to claim that our press has really
become democratic. It is a short period also for our people's mentality. I believe that
"Rilindja's" effort for application of pluralism of opinions, should be looked upon tolerantly
and must be continuous. "Rilindja" must be an open newspaper. Otherwise, on this jubilee, it
must be stressed that "Rilindja" has done quite a job trying to conquer the informative range
of Albanians. Further on, "Rilindja" now has its publication in Switzerland and Tirana.
Therefore, deepening the democratic thought in it should go along with its expanse".


Whatever it is, the fifth of fiftieth anniversary - we wish "Rilindja" a happy birthday and -
much success in democratization.


SONJA BISERKO, Serbian Helsinki Committee


Interviewed by ASTRIT SALIHU/ Prishtina

KOHA: Your Helsinki Committee has elaborated several reports on the situation of human
rights in Serbia. What have you ascertained in those reports?

BISERKO: I believe that world, including Serbia, has been preoccupied with this war for
many reasons; that the situation of human rights remained in the shadow and has not been
followed the way it should have. I have in mind the fact that, before war, Kosova had been in
the situation it is now since long ago, but when I refer to Serbia, then the situation has
deteriorated in the past four years in respect to all ethnic groups, including Serbs. First of all,
ethnic cleansing was conducted, in Vojvodina, Kosova and Sandzak, as three neuralgic spots
in regard to human rights. However, in the past three years, the violations of human rights of
Serbs have increased. I want to say that after three years of war, the whole political picture in
Serbia has deteriorated, and after the agreement of the Contact Group was signed, I feel that
the regime is becoming brutal, it is most brutally coming back to the Serbian political scene,
for it has no other manoeuvring space, because of the sanctions and, I would stress the
consequences of war before all, and economic problems present even before war and this
crisis, all of these have lead the regime to a situation where the manoeuvring space is
restricted even more, and are turning towards us. We have presented this in our reports, and
referred especially to the the media and the daily discrimination of political opponents as well
as other aspects of discrimination.

KOHA: In your opinion, which is the posture of the international community in regard to this
regime, and having in mind the situation you have just mentioned, could it be evaluated as
soft or...?

BISERKO: I believe that, right now, the international community, the Contact Grup or the
other involved countries, which have become the dynamic factors, are first of all,
concentrated in reaching a kind of peace, which would mean the prevention of the expansion

of war southwards, if we have in mind Kosova and Macedonia, a pre-war situation which
implies this danger, and so far there is no direct indicator, but anyhow, it could escape
control. I believe that Kosova is under strong control now, and will war expand through
Macedonia or another state, remains to be seen. But, having in mind that Serbia has been
expelled from all important international institutions, OSCE and many others, its return will
be linked and conditioned very much by the human rights situation. In this moment this is
maybe being minimized because of the war in Bosnia and the general orientation of the
international community to reach a kind of peace.

KOHA: And what do you think about the actual Serbian policy towards Kosova?

BISERKO: Kosova's problem has been and is old and acute, before in Yugoslavia and now in
Serbia. Therefore, the crisis in Yugoslavia started with the opening of the problem of Kosova.
In a way, it has generated this crisis. Unfortunately, the Serbian regime has not shown andy
willingness to try to solve Kosova's problem in the right way. With repressive measures and
violence it has closed this problem which is, nevertheless, still here. This repression has
increased also when the regime became insecure of its power, and it intimidates the Albanian
population which is thus being kept under control.

KOHA: Could it be said that the international community, for the sake of peace in the south,
is not willing to face directly the issue of Kosova?

BISERKO: I wouldn't, because Kosova, as a specific issue, before war and now, causes
constant sensibility in all the international fora, OSCE, human rights commissions and all
other human rights forums (Kosova Helsinki Committee was established long before the one
in Serbia, because of the situation). This is precisely why, in all analyses, it exists as a
possible problem which could cause the expansion of war southwards. I believe that this is
the point which would endanger the national interests of the USA, because this is where, if I
may say so, a more global interest and priority, bounded to NATO's eastern wing, Middle
East, Turkey is, and this the Americans have clearly demonstrated after settling their troops in

It is hard to foresee how would they intervene, but despite of this, they sustain Macedonia as
the most delicate state in the area with their presence, and evaluations and analyses prove that
the conflict could be triggered easily by the Albanians in Macedonia. Thus, conscience exists
that this issue might be key in the opening of a wider conflict.

KOHA: You have probably seen the decree on "populating" Kosova. What posture do you
have in this respect?

BISERKO: The whole Serbian-Albanian context has a negative connotation, since it incites a
negative reaction of the Albanian population and I consider this to be an erroneous step. On
the other hand, I believe that it is not serious, and that is being used and initiated in certain
situations, in order to meet the requests of the Serbs in Kosova, who are often manipulated
and incited as a mechanism used by the opposition and nationalistic circles, and who, through
this group, last autumn, would like to remind Milosevic that he hasn't done a thing and, at the
same time, also remind him of what he has done to the Serbs on the other side of the Drina.
This is a mechanism which is always applied and I believe it is wrong to use it in this
atmosphere over-charged with mistrust. On the other hand, I don't believe this step will be
successful, because a large number of Serbs doesn't wish to come here. This is one moment.

The second one is that if all that foreseen number of Serbs comes here, then it is impossible to
provide them jobs and normal existence, especially in the situation when the Albanians have
not any jobs and the when the economic situation is so bad, therefore, there is no chance for
this plan to be accomplished.

KOHA: In a statement, an activist of the refugee council, concretely Buba Morina's activist
mentioned the proposal of the priority to be given to people who would come to Kosova, and
those would be refugees who have the status of war criminals in Croatia, concretely
mentioning the figure of 1400 people from the surroundings of Vukovar. What do you think
about these proposals?

BISERKO: Really? I don't know this and have no comment to it. This probably an additional
element to increase mistrust. All measures of this kind are in the function of the creation of
obstructions for any possible dialogue.

KOHA: You mentioned the newest petition of local Serbs, how do you evaluate the threats of
their self-organization if the Serbian state doesn't undertake harsher measures against
Albanians, as stated in the petition, including their expulsion?

BISERKO: Since Milosevic is losing manoeuvring space, the sole fact that the opposition has
opened the issue of Kosova through the Kosova Serbs which is more a blackmail that a just
way of opening it, Milosevic, with this wave of arrests accusing the alternative state for
whatever, probably armed insurrection, in fact Milosevic has taken the initiative and while on
one hand wants to prove that he is meeting the petitioners' requests, on the other hand, with
these intimidating measures, has proven that the control of Kosova is still in his hands.

Thus, I think that he is preparing grounds for eventual conversations which are being
announced, and have back his gained position, set aside because of other events.

KOHA: Are you in permanent contact with the Kosova Helsinki Committee and how much
are both of your standpoints harmonized about concrete issues?

BISERKO: Our cooperation started recently, because we established our committee recently.
Once recognized by the Helsinki Federation, we have promised that we will cooperate, also
because the area of human rights has been neglected so much and that there are many areas of
future cooperation. This is our second visit to Kosova. We have been here some time ago, and
one of our members has remained here and participate in the defense of Sezair Shaipi, from
the Turkish People's Party, meaning that we are concentrated now in Prizren. This is only the
beginning, and I feel, that this is functioning well and it is a way to start dialogue also through
these small groups.

KOHA: How much could your Helsinki Committee's efforts stop the repression in Kosova?

BISERKO: Our main role is to inform the international and domestic institutions about
human rights violations. The only pressure we can have now, in these circumstances, is very
restricted but oriented towards the international institutions, as OSCE, IHF and all other
forums dealing with human rights.

I think that it is important to have a forum from Serbia informing about Kosova from a
neutral position and distance, and which could say something objectively.

- 10 -
KOHA: If the Serbs in Croatia are applied the principle of self-determination, then this
principle should be applied in the case of Kosova, especially now when territorial divisions
and redefinitions, special statuses, etc... are being done?

BISERKO: I believe that the crisis in Yugoslavia will not be solved as long as the principles
which will be equal for all parties are not established. This means the same principles for
Croatia, Bosnia and Kosova. A symmetry between Kosova and the Serbian Krajina is being
made and I think that Serbia should be conscious that whatever it gains there, it will be forced
to give to Kosova. Even though they often reply to provocations on Kosova that it is an
internal affair of Serbia, I believe that this rhetoric can't stand and I strongly believe that the
problem of the former Yugoslavia should be solved globally and not step-by-step, because
Serbia will always have the advantage in any of the phases and will impose the measures for
the Serbian issue in concrete areas. And this measure must be the same for all.

KOHA: Do you believe in Albanian-Serb dialogue?

BISERKO: I would surely not been here if I wouldn't believe in it. But, it is hard. You know
that there are certain circles, but that right now is a tactics of expectations of what will happen
there, there is the fear from rushing in, and I believe it is a key matter which has opened the
crisis and which will close it down. This is a serious issue and unfortunately there are not
many interlocutors in this side, I don't know what the situation is on the other, but as far as I
can see, I feel that they have not been taken seriously by the ones who must open this
dialogue. The things are headed in the direction that this issue will be imposed, inevitably,
very quickly. Milosevic, with his activities during autumn, is conscious that he has taken a
posture for conversations, of course from the position of force, but it is the same, because we
are referring to consciousness that Kosova's issue will be opened. On the other hand, there is
the pressure from the international community. But, I fear that all issues will be opened at the
same time and all of them will end in the same chaos.

Therefore, I believe that this is the last moment for dialogue to start and find a solution. If we
take only the educational system in Kosova and the generations which would come out from
this system, they will be more distant from the Serbian society also in the aspect of language.
All this repression which accompanies the raising of children, will create, maybe not a feeling
of hatred, but most probably a feeling of rejection towards all what is Serb. Therefore, we
have generations which are brought up in these circumstances, which proves that dialogue in
the next ten years will become even more impossible. Therefore, I think that attempts should
be made to have our people communicate jointly, which would open the paths towards


Vladan Vasilijevic, Attorney at Law


Interviewed by YLBER HYSA / Prishtina

Vladan Vasilijevic, attorney at law, a known human rights activist in Serbia, engaged among

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others in the issue of war crimes in the Former Yugoslavia. For some time, Vasilijevic had
been also member of the leadership of the Liberal Party of Serbia, from which he walked out
after the disagreements with chairman Cavoski. He was also one of the members of the
Serbian opposition trying to organize a Albanian-Serb dialogue. Now he is activist of Serbia's
Helsinki Committee.

KOHA: You have recently visited Kosova, invited by the Kosova Helsinki Committee. You
have jointly issued a declaration in which you both condemn the drastic and systematic
violation of human rights. Could you tell us some more?

VASILIJEVIC: This is our first official visit, although we have been here many times before.
We will continue our cooperation in a series of aspects and will allow the circulation of
informations among both sides, which will allow us a better cooperation with IHF and other
international organizations. We took advantage of this visit to get acquainted with the
situation of violations of human rights in Kosova and made a joint declaration. We
ascertained and condemned the violation of fundamental rights in education, health-care,
media... We always stressed the fact that if the Serbian regime continues with such measures,
it will bear the responsibility for the long-term consequences which could put the stability of
the Balkans at stake. This is why we think that political dialogue is necessary, and we insist
on the dialogue of equal sides and this would automatically mean the normalization of life in
economic, political, etc., aspect, which would assure the conditions for permanent solutions
which would have the sense of peace in Kosova, Serbia, the wide region of the Balkans, and
even Central Europe.

KOHA: Different international human rights organizations have ascertained the real situation
of human rights in Kosova. But how much is the Serbian public informed about what is
happening in Kosova?

VASILIJEVIC: The activity of our Committee will concentrate on the break-down of the
informative blockade about the events in Kosova. All our reports dedicated to the
international public, are also dedicated to the media in Serbia. We are present at the
Intellectuals' Circle in Belgrade and other tribunes, and through contacts and interviews we
express our postures with the aim to change the imposed false picture, constructed with lies.
We hope that an educative activity and efforts, could be paid back in the way that the change
of mind of the public and understanding really how serious is the situation in Kosova, where
not only human rights are violated, but one ethnic community, without doubt, the largest in
the area it inhabits, is totally disqualified - it will take towards the acknowledgement that
without its integration, there is no stability in Serbia...

KOHA: The news about the tendencies of the Serbian regime to colonize Kosova have caused
much concern in Kosova.

VASILIJEVIC: This is one of the most mistaken steps of the regime, which means exerting
pressure against the Albanian population in Kosova. These measures violate the fundamental
rights of the Albanian population with the sole fact that an alien element is introduced in
Kosova's economy, which is a discrimination, and then also with the status and ownership
positions being re-discussed, because the colonization of one area can't be done in the air...
This also implies the deterioration of the inter-ethnic relations. We are facing a wrong
decision of the Serbian government which will contribute not only with the secure damage of
the Albanians, and local population, but in a way also, would also harm the Serbs who would

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be brought here, because in this environment, they can not achieve anything they have
planned. This would increase the tensions, therefore we have warned that these measures are
against international regulations and conventions.

KOHA: Do you plan to do anything concretely in Kosova. You personally found yourself
engaged in the coming trial of the former policemen and the case of the Chairman of the
Turkish People's Party.

VASILIJEVIC: We believe that its is a necessary action of the Helsinki organization to see
itself involved in areas where there are no conditions for objective trial and normal and
regular judicial treatment. In accordance to this, we have involved our members in these
processes and at the same time, together with the Kosova Helsinki Committee and the
Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms, we will organize a supervision of
these trials and evidence all irregularities during trial, make their analysis and right

We have experience in these things. We were present in the trials in Sabac for the war crimes
against civil population, which are the first of the kind in Serbia, and then in other trials, as
the one against the former military officials in Belgrade, etc. We believe that our experience
could also help, in this sense, Kosova too.

KOHA: The media are to blame for many things which happened in Serbia. What is their
current situation?

VASILIJEVIC: We are in a total blockade when it respects the media. Along the Serbian
RTV, which is private TV in the hands of the ruling party, "Politika" and its publications, we
have also other exponents of the official policy, as for example the present Prishtina RTV,
which jointly and directly attack the fundamental rights of the people. It could be said that
people who are at the head of those media could be even prosecuted criminally, because of
the violation of international penal regulations.

KOHA: What are the chances to reach an Albanian-Serb dialogue?

VASILIJEVIC: I believe that dialogue can start only by people who trust each other. We have
made a couple of attempts to start a dialogue between the leaders of the Serbian opposition
and the Albanian leaders of Kosova, in order to have that as a preparation for an official
encounter. But, a series of circumstances didn't allow us to do so. Nevertheless, I think that
there are respectable Serbs that could start such a dialogue. This was not disputable on the
sides of the Albanians. I would list Agani, Popov, and even Draskovic, and people of civilian
orientation. I think that this chance still exists, but now it should be seen how to accomplish

The NGOs, such is ours and others, as well as the similar in Kosova could determine the
people who trust such a dialogue, and try to find the possibilities for an equal dialogue with

KOHA: However, it seems that the source of the problem relies on the government.
Therefore, this is why a meeting in a formal level is suggested, even by the Co-Chairmen of
the ICFY...

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VASILIJEVIC: I believe that a formal meeting can't be avoided. Not because it is necessary,
but also because the rulers are conscious that they can't escape it because of the critical
political situation in which they are. This is why we must still wait, but also be careful. We
are now in a situation in which a part of the Serbian opposition is acting in a more dangerous
way in relation to Kosova, but also the international community. These are mainly parties of
rightist orientation which insist of favoring the Serbian nation as the only which should enjoy
the rights to an ethnic state, etc. Therefore, time is needed to diminish their influence, which
was used by the regime each time there were intentions to increase the tensions in Kosova
and thus gain concessions from Albanians in possible dialogue.

KOHA: Could there be "negative racing" about Kosova, in the Serbian political scene?

VASILIJEVIC: Kosova right now, is being used as a means to profile the internal relations in
the political life of Serbia, the relations between the position and opposition. It would be good
in this case the opposition would present a new, better, program regarding Kosova, compared
to that of the ruling party which is bad. But this doesn't occur. There is only the struggle
between the ruling and opposition parties, who want to come to power, but essentially, not to
change the lethal politics applied in Kosova, nor adopt a new program which would be
acceptable by both Albanians and Serbs.

KOHA: You don't belong to the Liberal Party any more. Is it because it turned rightwards,

VASILIJEVIC: It is true that this was the main reason, but I love its members very much. The
problem was Cavoski, who tagged me. One of the cases was when in 1991, I insisted our
party react to the bombardments of Dubrovnik, which Cavoski considered a propaganda
issue. The same thing happened with the crimes of war in Bosnia and Croatia, and I was
replied that those were Bosnian and Croatian propaganda, that the Serbs were the only
victims and that only the Serbs were right, etc. Misunderstandings came, and Milan Bojic and
I asked for new parliamentarian elections in 1994, claiming that this was the only way in
which we could act as a party, and we were accused of having expressed our careerist
tendencies... I saw I couldn't bear this any longer, and I felt it would be better for me to be
engaged in an apolitical organization.

KOHA: You were supposed to be one of the persons to lead the Albanian-Serb dialogue on
behalf of the United Serbian Opposition. Is this information true?

VASILIJEVIC: I don't know. To tell you the truth, I have no informations about this. But, I
lead the other conversations between the Albanian alternative and the Serbian opposition.
Thus I spoke to Micunovic, Kostunica, Draskovic, etc. I could say that they all agreed with
the idea, apart from Kostunica who, after he accepted, changed his mind especially when he
got closer to the leaders of Pale.



by ISO RUSI / Shkup

- 14 -
Abdurrahman Aliti's statement that "the change of strategy towards the Albanians in the
region, with the possibility to have the Macedonian side score political points - could cause
the changes of the strategy of the Albanians parties", announced for the first time in his
"KOHA" interview, unexpectedly came out to be true. The debate on the ID Cards Law,
which entered the procedure as a proposal of the old government, was the matter which
confronted extremely the Macedonian and Albanian sides.

The draft act itself is not the reason of such a harsh confrontation. When it was discussed in
the last legislature, the resistance didn't come from the Albanians, but from the Macedonians
who were opposing the possibility of having the name written in two options (languages), "if
someone wishes so". This was the reason why the law was withdrawn (temporarily) from
procedure. The present insisting of the Albanians, to have fully bilingual personal documents,
was more a result of what happened in the meantime, than dissatisfaction with the presented
draft. After the resumption of the meeting interrupted because an independent Albanian MP
insisted on discussing in Albanian, and after the deposition of the resignation of
vice-chairman of the Parliament Aliti - for the first time in the new legislature of the
Parliament, all Albanian MPs abandoned the session. The rapid deterioration of the
relationships between the Albanian and Macedonian political representatives was unexpected
for the majority, having in mind the, generally, quiet four years' period, with small incidents
which would cause heat.

Thus, the diplomatic presentation of President Gligorov (after meeting in Poland, and after
Berisha's statement to Albanian TV, as well as the "mute" reaction of the cabinet of President
Gligorov which finally admitted that here had been an informal meeting in which Gligorov
and Berisha had told one-another all they think about the University of Tetova), and not to
mention Premier Crvenkovski who is constantly seen in the "mute" shots of Macedonian TV
on the meetings of the Government, which almost every day explains what has happened.
However, the "war" between the commissions, of both ethnic sides, continues in the

All of this almost looks like the story about the "cry for the wolf". All what is happening in
regard to the University of Tetova; the medial noise; the many and often visits of foreign
observers - seem not to be important any more. It is true that the Rector of the University is in
the US, and as long as the head of the household is not there, everything is quiet. However,
Aliti's resignation and abandoning this session of the Parliament, brings the things into
another context. The Macedonian MPs continued their old story: they continued the session
and adopted the laws put on the agenda. This is parliamentarism, isn't it - who has the
majority, he has the power. But not everything is so easy and simple. After the victory of the
tripartite coalition (under the name of League for Macedonia) and under Gligorov's umbrella,
the Government was, nevertheless, not established without the "losers". PPD became part of
the new government even though in this parliament, it has even 13 seats less than in the past
legislature. Someone needed, for one reason or the other, to have Albanians in the
government and the contrary - Albanians wanted to be part of the new Government. Maybe
the roots of the disagreements rely on the fact that some might have thought that this would
end the problem. We want it or not, the Bosnification of Macedonia is now getting fatalist
dimensions and it is very hard to suppose any optimistic variety of further developments. The
voices of conscience could hardly change anything. Professor Ferid Muhic, who had for a
long time abstained from giving any interviews, came back interviewed by "DELO", close to
the ruling coalition. The ones who know Muhic, easily will conclude that he accepted to be
interviewed in order to counter-attack the magazine he is interviewed by and the journalist, of

- 15 -
course. The latter got a quotation of Dostoyevski as a reply from Muhic: "My young friend,
beware of the superficiality and verbals stereotypes". On this occasion, we offer two
quotations in regard to the University of Tetova. First, Muhic's: "I can't believe that a person,
who has chosen science as profession and tolerance as his life's principle, would honestly a)
fear any danger from education, and thus find at least one reason to be against any wish to
have a full system of education in his mother tongue, wherever he might live". and the second
quotation: "Personally, I refuse to follow the logic of those who reason according to the
principle that the `university as a university is OK, but it derives many other things, and let's
see which are those...'".

The Government and the ministry would do well if, following their determined decision,
would stand behind it. And ask the support from all parties involved. The one who refuses to
pay back the debt, fearing that the person he has to pay to will use that money to do him
harm, can not be right! These two issues are part of one clause and both of them have an
accompanying system of legal punishment: the debt must be paid anyhow, and the eventual
harm which is caused by the use of the money (purchase of weapons, murder), is sanctioned
on other grounds.

The Minister of Education, Emilija Simoska, also had a long interview in Nova Makedonija's
supplement for literature and culture, "LIK". The journalist was the victim of the questions
which requested the confirmation of the presented thesis- and not the replies of the minister.
To the nervous question of the journalist that there were contradictions when she was elected
minister, ie., that she was too much tolerant towards the minorities, Simoska replied: "The
flexible relations with the minorities has been more used as an argument "against" than in
"favor", and this disappointed me, especially knowing that the rumors also come from those
circles which I have least expected to do so. Flexibility derives from the basic value which we
have proclaimed in the Government, and this is coexistence, which we mention so often. One
of the arguments that made me accept this post was cleansing the educational process from
politics, its division from politics. Unfortunately, it comes out, that each institution, from
elementary to superior education, implicitly leads a national policy within its educational
problems. However, having "a flexible attitude" often means "national treason". I have it clear
- a traitor is someone who creates enemies to his own people. All of what was mentioned,
speaks of the principle of "taking and giving", or of maybe one must take away one rights to
give it to the other and have this relation become a trading good."

An explanation is needed following these long quotations. The harsh language of both Muhic
and Simoska is evidently not concealing the dominating spiritual situation. Where is the
difference? After what has happened and still in happening in Bosnia, Muhic is a "clean"
pessimist. Simoska, on the other hand, as qualified by Misha Glenny, suffers from the
"Bosnian syndrome". According to me, the roots rely on the brotherhood-and-unity education.
All of its is based on the fact that people are people, and that there shouldn't any doubt that all
are humanists. Naturally, all misunderstandings are results of miscommunication, lack of
information. All of what must be done is to have people sit around a same table and clarify
their misunderstandings.

Unfortunately, there are no more people who believe in this any more.

- 16 -



It has often been proven that in the states of "instant democracy", the political will is the only
key towards the solution of knots, also political, from the past (not so faraway) and which are
now presented as almost unpassable obstacles. One of these obstacles was the case of
"Kliment Ohridski" Pedagogical Academy in Shkup, until 8 February 1995. On that day, the
Council of the Academy decided that the lectures for Albanian students, who represent the
core of the Albanian education, be conducted in Albanian, starting as of this summer
semester. This decision is expected to stop the boycott of the Albanian students which started
more than two months ago, and which aimed at pressuring this decision.

However, all of those who think that this decision of the Council is a sign of unexpected
"consciousness", will be disappointed, because it is hard to believe that this Council would
have made this decision if it weren't for the "order from above". This decision of the Council
was aforesaid by an increased activity of the government, and especially the letter sent by the
Minister Simoska, who recommended the Council do adopt a decision which would allow the
Albanians have lectures in Albanian in all subjects. However, the director of the Academy
didn't want to "subjugate" to this decision and thus resigned. Even though he wouldn't give
any explanations for his act of resignation, this was commented as the result of the pressure of
the government "which dares not to acknowledge its pro-Albanianism, therefore obliges the
others to do the filthy job for it". Despite the strong accusations, the Government didn't
change the posture, which the "minister above ministers", that of the police, Frckovski,
qualified this (the reopening of the Academy in Albanian) as "a Macedonian national
interest". Even though it is hard to imagine all the motives of this decision, nevertheless,
having in mind the present moment, it could be said that this decision is an indirect result of
another issue, which is also awaiting the solution, the University of Tetova. This conviction is
corroborated by the fact that this issue started being solved now, even though the request for
the reopening of the Academy is over three years old, and in times when the Albanians had
almost given up on this request which had fallen in the shadows of the issue of the University.
It should be mentioned that so far, the issue of the Academy, same as that of the University
were looked under the "constitutional" prism, ie. the non-aperture of the Academy was
explained according to the Constitutional articles, which foresee that the only official
language is Macedonian. Therefore this decision could not be considered otherwise but "the
less worse solution out of two bad solutions".

So far, the Albanian reaction can't be predicted, because of the still pending issue of the
University of Tetova. The decision of the Government (and the Council of the Academy) in
other conditions would probably be qualified as great success, but, taking into account the
actual atmosphere in Macedonia, burdened with the language dispute (the use of languages in
the parliament and ID cards), which warns to end with a governmental crisis, can't impress
too much. And this even more, because overreacting and becoming too happy for this, could
put at stake the issue of the University.

Anyhow, the reopening of the Academy for lectures in Albanian, corrects a great injustice
caused in the '80s, in times of the ill-famed "differentiation" which had seriously hit the
Albanian education. As one might remember, this was the time of the "mixed classes" which

- 17 -
was elevated to the method of re-educating the "rebelled Albanians", in the style of the
Socialist "brotherhood-and-unity". The Council of the Academy then had decided that all
students (Macedonian and Albanians) should attend the same classes and listen to the same
lecturers and of course the lectures were to be conducted only in Macedonian. This caused a
deficit of teachers in Albanians (throughout the whole educational system), which if not
stopped, will cause to have non-Albanian teachers in elementary schools and who don't speak
Albanian. Finally, it could be said that along the whole political constellation, which will
definitively influence the evaluation of the decision on the reactivation of the Academy in
Albanian, this decision will stop the boycott of the Albanian students and soften the problems
in Albanian education, but in no way undermine the University of Tetova, which should start
it lectures on February 15. Certainly, if another "D Day" does not occur in the meantime.

- 18 -