Hostilities Break Out in Kosovo

Hostilities Break Out in Kosovo

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Starting in 1996, the Kosovo Liberation Army began mounting attacks against Yugoslav security forces in an attempt to separate Kosovo from Yugoslavia. A report from Radio 21 describes the escalation of violence as the Serbs begin to retaliate.

Kosovo and Georgia, by Sir Ivor Roberts (extracts)

Moscow has acted brutally in Georgia. But when the United States and Britain backed the independence of Kosovo without UN approval, they paved the way for Russia’s ‘defence’ of South Ossetia, and for the current Western humiliation

If April is the cruellest month, then August in modern historical times is the most dangerous. World wars break out, Soviet tanks go into Prague, Iraq invades Kuwait and now, when were supposed to be glimpsing the Olympics through Beijing’s heavily polluted atmosphere, hostilities break out in Europe in a place few have heard of. Yet it should not have come as a complete surprise. South Ossetia is one of those frozen conflicts which, Russia warned, we risked seeing thaw out with unforeseeable consequences if the West persisted in pushing for recognition of Kosovo’s independence. For the two are inextricably linked in Russian minds. What is sauce for the Kosovo goose is sauce for the South Ossetian gander. In other words, if the West is prepared to champion Kosovo’s secession from Serbia and disregard internationally recognised borders without the endorsement of the United Nations Security Council, it cannot be surprised if Russia does the same. Russia’s strategic aims are brutally clear: keep South Ossetia as a de facto independent buffer statelet and weaken any of its excessively pro-Western neighbours who belong, or aspire to belong, to a potentially adversarial military pact.

The Russians’ dislike of what they see as encirclement is deep-rooted. It goes back to Tsarist times and, more recently, to the “rush” to join Nato by the Baltic States and the ex- Warsaw Pact countries. It is this, taken together with Georgia and the Ukraine’s not-yet-realised applications for Nato membership, which has created an unreasonable but still real sense of unease in Moscow. Russia’s strategic aim to weaken Georgia benefits from the fact that South Ossetia was a pro-Russian Trojan horse, driven into Georgia by the latter’s most infamous son, Stalin (“the wonderful Georgian”, as Lenin called him), ….

As for the West, it seems to have sleep-walked into this mess. Since the Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, evicted that wise old bird and former Soviet foreign minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, from power in Tbilisi in 2004, he has talked the democratic pro-Western talk so beloved of Washington and built up some impressive supporters in the United States, including the Republican candidate for the presidency, John McCain. Some European leaders, however, take a more critical view of the Georgian President….

Mr Saakashvili visited President George W. Bush in the White House only a few months ago and, in what looks like a grisly repeat of the Bosnian imbroglio, when President Izetbegovic thought he had military backing in the event of his declaring Bosnian dependent, ,appears to have received some vague assurances of American support. It looks like a case of “all assistance short of actual help”, as nobody envisages Western military intervention to roll back the Russian forces that entered Georgia proper. What is puzzling is why Mr Saakashvili felt strong enough to tweak the Russian tail by looking forcibly to integrate South Ossetia without a guarantee of Western military support. Russian armed forces are more than 20 times the size of Georgia’s. Part of the answer may lie in Mr Saakashvili’s own personality, part neocon, part Georgian nationalist and part post-Communist party politician with a whiff of wilful rashness, even if the rhetoric seems impeccably that of a modern Western liberal leader.

The West is left looking weak and rudderless: President Bush described one of Russia’s unacceptable war aims as regime change in Russia when he meant Georgia. (Apparently only America is entitled to effect regime change without UN Security Council support.) The confusion is symptomatic of the muddled thinking that has characterised the West’s policies on seceding states since its support of Kosovo’s independence. It is no use the West arguing that Kosovo is unique. All potential breakaway states are sui generis. And most of them have had bloody pasts. To invoke the mantra of territorial integrity when the United States and the United Kingdom in particular have abandoned the notion so readily, in supporting Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, demonstrates a lack of intellectual coherence. And to insist that Kosovo had to be settled now, even unilaterally, was an invitation to Russia to hold up the mirror image in Georgia: the bombing of civilian targets in Georgia was a deliberate echo of Nato’s bombing of civilian targets in Belgrade. It was above all a demonstration that the long years of humiliation after the break-up of the Soviet Union are over.

The risks of humiliation lie now with the United States. The Georgian army, having been trained and reorganised by the American military, now sees itself being pushed back by the overwhelming power of the Russian army. Inevitably they ask where the United States and Nato are when they are needed. The sense of disappointment and betrayal is palpable. The days of wild support for George W. Bush when he visited Tbilisi (the road to the airport is named after him) in 2005 and was greeted by 150,000 people seem far distant. Senator McCain may paradoxically gain from the crisis. He has emerged with a stronger and more robust denunciation of Russia than either the present presidential incumbent or the Democratic contender Barack Obama, who was holidaying in Hawaii as the crisis broke and appeared slow off the mark to respond. Mr McCain will claim that he is the candidate with the gravitas to deal with these international crises. The reality could well be different: Mr McCain’s unqualified support in the past for Georgia may have emboldened Georgia to embark on a rash adventure which cooler heads in Europe and even in the American administration claim to have warned them against. On one point, though, Mr McCain seems to be absolutely right when he calls the Russians’ brutal and excessive reaction an attempt in part “to intimidate other neighbours such as Ukraine for choosing to associate with the West”. The message is clear: “get too closely into bed on the security front with the West at your peril and don’t even think of exporting your democratic rose or orange revolutions to Russia.” The West’s reaction will in the short term be rhetorically strong, but militarily Nato looks as impotent as Russia did over Kosovo’s declaration of independence. And, given Europe’s increasing dependence on Russia as an energy supplier, can it afford to keep Russia at too remote a distance? As the Bush presidency draws to its inglorious close, handling Russia remains one of the most difficult, intractable problems to hand over to the incoming president. And Kosovo isn’t settled either.

Sir Ivor Roberts is president of Trinity College, Oxford, and former British ambassador to Yugoslavia and to Italy.

Hostilities Break Out in Kosovo - HISTORY

Kosovo and Metohija
A Historical Survey(1)

Prof. Dr. Dusan T. Batakovic

Kosovo - the field of blackbirds - a contemporary painting by Zorka Perovic

In the thousand year long-history of Serbs, Kosovo and Metohia were for many centuries the state center and chief religious stronghold, the heartland of their culture and springwell of its historical traditions. For a people who lived longer under foreign rule than in their own state, Kosovo and Metohia are the foundations on which national and state identity were preserved in times of tribulation and founded in times of freedom .

The Serbian national ideology which emerged out of Kosovo's tribulations and Kosovo's suffering (wherein the 1389 St. Vitus Day Battle in Kosovo polje occupies the central place), are the pillars of that grand edifice that constitutes the Serbian national pantheon. When it is said that without Kosovo there can be no Serbia or Serbian nation, it's not only the revived 19th century national romanticism: that implies more than just the territory which is covered with telling monuments of its culture and civilization, more than just a feeling of hard won national and state independence: Kosovo and Metohia are considered the key to the identity of the Serbs. It is no wonder, then, that the many turning-points in Serbian history took place in the and around Kosovo and Metohia. When the Serbs on other Balkan lands fought to preserve their religious freedoms and national rights, their banners bore as their beacon the Kosovo idea embodied in the Kosovo covenant which was woven into folk legend and upheld in uprisings against alien domination. The Kosovo covenant - the choice of freedom in the celestial empire instead of humiliation and slavery in the temporal world - although irrational as a collective consciousness, is still the one permanent connective tissue that imbues the Serbs with the feeling of national entity and lends meaning to its join efforts. 1

2 The Survey covers the time between the establishment of the first Serbian medieval state in the region of today's Kosovo and Metohia until 1989 and Milosevic's rising to power.

2 Cf. D. Slijepcevic, Srpsko-arbanaski odnosi kroz vekove posebnim osvrtom na novije vreme, (Himelstir 1983) D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, Beograd 1985 Zaduzbine Kosova, (Prizren-Beograd 1987) Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, (Beograd 1989)German translation: Kosovo und Metochien in der serbishen Geschichte, (Lausanne 1989) Kosovo. Proslost i sadasnjost, Beograd 1989 English translation: Kosovo. Past and present, (Belgrade 1989). R. Mihaljcic, The Battle of Kosovo in History and in Popular Tradition, (Belgrade 1989).

Kosovo and Metohija on a 3D map

1. The Age of Ascent (12th century - Medieval State 1455 Ottoman conquest)
2. The Age of Tribulation (1455 - Albanian Colonization of Kosovo in 17th cent)
3. The Age of Migrations (End of 17th century - Migrations - 1804 Serbian Revolution)
4. The Age of Oppression (1804 - Albanian and Turkish Oppression - 1912)

5. The Age of Restoration (Balkan Wars 1912, Liberation, WW1 and WW2)
5. The Age of Communism (1945 - Communist Dictatorship - 1989)

Coronation of Emperor Dusan

Kosovo and Metohia, land lying in the heart of the Balkans where viutal trade routes had crossed since ancient times, was settled by Slav tribes between the 7th and 10th centuries. The Serbian medieval state, which under the Nemanjic dynasty (12th to 14th century) grew into a major power in the Balkan peninsula, developed in the nearby mountain regions, in Raska (with Bosnia) and in Duklja (later Zeta and then Montenegro). The center of the Nemanjic slate moved to Kosovo and Metohia after the fall of Constantinople (1204). At its peak, in the early the 14th century, these lands were the richest and the most densely populated areas, as well as state and its cultural and administrative centers. 1

In his wars with Byzantium, Stefan Nemanja conquered various parts of what is today Kosovo, and his successors, Stefan the First Crown (became king in 1217), expanded his state by including Prizren. The entire Kosovo and Metohia region became a permanent part of the Serbian state by the beginning of the 13th century. Soon after becoming autocephalous (1219), the Serbian Orthodox Church moved its seat to Metohia. The heirs of the first archbishop Saint Sava (prince Rastko Nemanjic) built several additional temples around the Church of the Holy Apostles, lying the ground for what was to become the Patriarchate of Pec. The founding of a separate bishophoric (1220) near Pec was indicative of the region's political importance growing along with religious influence. With the proclamation of the empire, the patriarchal throne was permanently established at the Pec monastery in 1346. Serbia's rulers alotted the fertile valleys between Pec, Prizren, Mitrovica and Pristina and nearby areas to churches and monasteries, and the whole region eventually acquired the name Metohia, from the Greek metoch which mean an estate owned by the church.

Studded with more churches and monasteries than any other Serbian land, Kosovo and Metohia became the spiritual nucleus of Serbs. Lying at the crossroads of the main Balkan routes connecting the surrounding Serbian lands of Raska, Bosnia, Zeta and the Scutari littoral with the Macedonia and the Morava region, Kosovo and Metohia were, geographically speaking, the ideal place for a state and cultural center. Girfled by mountain gorges and comparatively safe from outside attacks, Kosovo and Metohia were not chosen by chance as the site for building religious centers, church mausoleums and palaces. The rich holdings of Decant monastery provided and economic underpinning for the wealth of spiritual activities in the area. Learned monks and religious dignitaries assembled in large monastic communities (which were well provided for by the rich feudal holdings), strongly influenced the spiritual shaping of the nation, especially in strengthening local cults and fostering the Orthodox doctrine.

In the monasteries of Metohia and Kosovo, old theological and literary writings were transcribed and new ones penned, including the lives of local saints, from ordinary monks and priors to the archbishops and rulers of the house of Nemanjic. The libraries and scriptoria were stocked with the best liturgical and theoretical writings from all over Byzantine commonwealth, especially with various codes from the monasteries of Mounth Athos with which close ties were established. The architecture of the churches and monasteries developed and the artistic value of their frescoes increased as Serbian medieval culture flourished, and by the end of the 13th century new ideas applied in architecture and in the technique of fresco painting surpassed the traditional Byzantine models. With time, especially in centuries to come, the people came to believe that Kosovo was the center of Serbian Orthodoxy and the most resistant stronghold of the Serbian nation. 2

The most important buildings to be endowed by the last Nemanjices were erected in Kosovo and Metohia, where their courts which became their capitals were situated. From King Milutin to emperor Uros, court life evolved in the royal residences in southern Kosovo and Prizren. There rulers summoned the landed gentry, received foreign legates and issued charters. The court of Svrcin stood on the banks of Lake Sazlia, and it was there that Stefan Dusan was crowned king in 1331. On the opposite side was the palace in Pauni, where King Milutin often dwelled. The court in Nerodimlje was the favourite residence of King Stefan Decanski, and it was at the palace in Stimlje that emperor Uros issued his charters. Oral tradition, especially epic poems, usually mention Prizren as emperor Dusan's capital, for he frequently sojourned there when he was still king. 3

Among dozens of churches and monasteries erected in medieval Kosovo and Metohia by rulers, ecclesiastical dignitaries and the local nobility, Decani outside of Pec, built by Stefan Uros III Decanski, stands out for its monumental size and artistic beauty. King Milutin left behind the largest number of endowments in Kosovo, one of the finest of which is Gracanica monastery (1321) near Pristina, certainly the most beautiful medieval monument in the Balkans. The monasteries of Banjska dear Zvecan (early 14th century) and Our Lady of Ljeviska in Prizren (1307), although devastated during Ottoman rule, are eloquent examples of the wealth and power of the Serbian state at the start of the 14th century. Also of artistic importance is the complex of churches in Juxtaposition to the Patriarchate of Pec. The biggest of the royal endowments, the Church of the Holy Archangels near Prizren, erected by Tsar Stefan Dusan in the Bistrica River Canyon, was destroyed in the 16th century. 4

Founding chapter whereby Serbian rulers granted large estates to monasteries offer a reliable demographic picture of the area. Fertile plains were largely owned by the large monasteries, from Chilandar in Mount Athos to Decant in Metohia. The data given in the charters show that during the period of the political rise of Serbian state, the population gradually moved from the mountain plateau in the west and north southward to the fertile valleys of Metohia and Kosovo. The census of monastic estates evince both a rise in the population and appreciable economic progress. The estates of the Banjska monastery numbered 83 villages, and those of the Holy Archangels numbered 77. 5

Theatrical reconstruction of a religious event from the Middle Ages

Especially noteworthy is the 1330 Decani Charter, with its detailed list of households and of chartered villages. The Decant estate was an extensive area which encompassed parts of what is today northwestern Albania. Historical analysis and onomastic research reveal that only three of the 89 settlements were mentioned as being Albanian. Out of the 2,166 farming homesteads and 2,666 houses in cattle-grazing land, 44 were registrated as Albanian (1,8%). More recent research indicates that apart from the Slav, i.e. Serbian population in Kosovo and Metohia, the remaining population of non-Slav origin did not account for more than 2% of the total population in the 14th century. 6

The growing political power, territorial expansion and economic wealth of the Serbian state had a major impact on ethnic processes. Northern Albania up to the Mati River was a part of the Serbian Kingdom, but it was not until the conquest of Tsar Dusan that the entire Albania (with the exception of Durazzo) entered the Serbian Empire. Fourteenth century records mention mobile Albanian mobile cattle sheds on mountain slopes in the imminent vicinity of Metohia, and sources in the first half of the 15th century note their presence (albeit in smaller number) in the flatland farming settlements.

Stefan Dusan's Empire stretched from the Danube to the Peloponnese and from Bulgaria to the Albanian littoral. After his death it began to disintegrate into areas controlled by powerful regional lords. Kosovo and parts of Metohia came under the rule of King Vukasin Mrnjavcevic, the co-ruler of the last Nemanjic, Tsar Uros. The earliest clashes with the Turks, who edged their way into Europe at the start of the 14th century, were noted during the reign of Stefan Dusan. The 1371 battle of the Marica, near Crnomen in which Turkish troops rode rougshod over the huge army of the Mrnjavcevic brothers, the feudal lords of Macedonia, Kosovo and neighboring regions, heralded the decisive Turkish invasion of Serbian lands. King Vukasin's successor King Marko (the legendary hero of folk poems, Kralyevich Marko) recognized the supreme authority of the sultan and as vasal took part in his campaigns against neighboring Christian states. The Turkish onslaught is remembered as the apocalypse of the Serbian people, and this tradition was cherished during the long period of Ottoman rule. During the Battle of the Marica, a monk wrote that "the worst of all times" had come, when "the living envied the dead". 7

Unaware of the danger that were looming over their lands, the regional lords tried to take advantage of the new situation and enlarge their holdings. On the eve of the battle of Kosovo, the northern parts of Kosovo where in possession of Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic, and parts of Metohia belonged to his brother-in-law Vuk Brankovic. By quelling the resistance of the local landed gentry, Prince Lazar eventually emerged as the most powerful regional lord and came to dominate the lands of Moravian Serbia. Tvrtko I Kotromanic, King of Bosnia, Prince Lazar's closest ally, aspired to the political legacy of the saintly dynasty as descendant of the Nemanjices and by being crowned with the "dual crown" of Bosnia and Serbia over St. Sava grave in monastery Mileseva. 8

The expected clash with the Turks took place in Kosovo polje, outside of Pristina, on St. Vitus day, June 15 (28), 1389. The troops of Prince Lazar, Vuk Brankovic and King Tvrtko I, confronted the army of Emir Murad I, which included his Christian vassals. Both Prince Lazar and emir Murad were killed in the head-on collision between the two armies (approximately 30,000 troops on both sides). Contemporaries were especially impressed by the tidings that twelve Serbian knights (most probably led by legendary hero Milos Obilic) broke through the tight Turkish ranks and killed the emir in his tent. 9

Prince Lazar on a 19c. Serbian painting

Military-wise no real victor emerged from the battle. Tvrtko's emissaries told the courts of Europe that the Christian army had defeated the infidels, although Prince Lazar's successors, exhausted by their heavy losses, immediately sought peace and conceded to became vassals to the new sultan. Vuk Brankovic, unjustly remembered in epic tradition as a traitor who slipped away from the battle field, resisted them until 1392, when he was forced to become their vassal. The Turks took Brankovic's lands and gave them to a more loyal vassal, Prince Stefan Lazarevic, son of Prince Lazar thereby creating a rift between their heirs. After the battle of Angora in 1402, Prince Stefan took advantage of the chaos in the Ottoman state. In Constantinople he received the title of despot, and upon returning home, having defeated Brankovic's relatives he took control over the lands of his father. Despite frequent internal conflicts and his vassal obligations to the Turks and Hungarians, despot Stefan revived and economically consolidated the Serbian state, the center of which was gradually moving northward. Under his rule Novo Brdo in Kosovo became the economic center of Serbia where in he issued a Law of Mines in 1412. 10

Stefan appointed as his successor his nephew despot Djuradj Brankovic, whose rule was marked by fresh conflicts and finally the fall of Kosovo and Metohia to the Turks. The campaign of the Christian army led by Hungarian nobleman Janos Hunyadi ended in 1448 in heavy defeat in a clash with Murad II's forces, again in Kosovo Polje. This was the last concertive attempt in the Middle Ages to rout the Turks out of this part of Europe. 11

After the Fall of Constantinople (1453), Mehmed II the Conqueror advanced onto Despotate of Serbia. For some time voivode Nikola Skobaljic offered valiant resistance in Kosovo, but after a series of consecutive campaigns and lengthy sieges in 1455, the economic center of Serbia, Novo Brdo fell. The Turks then proceeded to conquer other towns in Kosovo and Metohia four years before the entire Serbian Despotate collapsed with the fall of new capital Smederevo. Turkish onslaught, marked by frequent military raids, the plunder and devastation of entire regions, the destruction of monasteries and churches, gradually narrowed down Serbian state territories, triggering off a large-scale migration northwards, to regions beyond reach to the conquerors. The biggest migration took place from 1480-1481, when a large part of the population of northern Serbia moved to Hungary and Transylvania, to bordering region along the Sava and Danube rivers, where the descendants of the fleeing despots of Smederevo resisted the Turks for several decades to come. 12

1 For a more complete picture of Kosovo and Metohia's medieval past see: D. Kojic-Kovacevic, Kosovo od sredine XII do sredine XV veka, in: Kosovo nekad i sad (Kosova dikur e sot), (Beograd 1973), pp. 109-128 S. Cirkovic, Kosovo i Metohija u srednjem veku, in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 21-45 (with earlier bibliography)
2 R. Samardzic, Kosovo i Metohija: uspon i propadanje srpskog naroda, in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 6-10 D. Bogdanovic, Rukopisno nasledje Kosova in: Zbornik okruglog stola o naucnom istrazivanju Kosova, Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, Naucni skupovi, vol. XLII, Belgrade 1988, pp. 73-80. For more details see: Istorija srpskog naroda, vol. I (Belgrade 1981).

3 S. Cirkovic, Vladarski dvorci oko jezera na Kosovu, in: Zbornik Matice srpske za likovne umetnosti, 20 (1984), pp. 72-77.

4 V. S. Jovanovic, Arheoloska istrazivanja srednjovekovnih spomenika i nalazista na Kosovu, in: Zbomik okruglog stola o naucnom istrazivanju Kosova, pp. 17-66.

5 D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, pp. 34-39 Zaduzbine Kosova, pp. 313-358.

6 D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, pp. 39-41 S. Cirkovic, Kosovo i Metohija u srednjem veku, pp. 34-36. More details in: B. Ferjancic, Les Albanais dans les sources byzantines, in: Iliri i Albanci, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Naucni skupovi vol. XXXDC (Belgrade 1988), pp. 303-322 S. Cirkovic, Les Albanais a la lumiere des sources historiques des Slaves du Sud, ill: Iliri i Albanci, pp. 341-359.

7 D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, pp. 75. More details in: R. Mihaljcic, Kraj Srpskog Carstva, Boj na Kosovu II, (Belgrade 1989).

8 S. Cirkovic, Istorija srednjovekovne bosanske drzave, (Beograd 1964), pp. 133-140.

9 S. Cirkovic, Kosovo i Metohija u srednjem veku, pp. 39-41.

10 M. Purkovic, Knez i despot Stefan Lazarevic, (Beograd 1978).

11 Ibid. More details: R. Mihaljcic, Lazar Hrebeljanovic. Istorija, kult, predanje, Boj na Kosovu II, (Belgrade 1989).

12 Istorija srpskog naroda, vol. II (Beograd 1982), pp. 260-265 D. Bogdanovic, op. cit. p. 72.

Turkish invasion of Christian lands was a disaster for Balkan peoples

The Age of Tribulation

For the Serbs as Christians, their loss of state independence and fall to the Ottoman Empire's kind of theocratic state, was a terrible misfortune. With the advent of the Turks and establishment of their rule, the lands of Serbs were forcibly excluded from the circle of progressive European states wherein they occupied a prominent place precisely owing to the Byzantine civilisation, which was enhanced by local qualities and strong influences of the neighboring Mediterranean states. Being Christians, the Serbs became second-class citizens in Islamic state. Apart from religious discrimination, which was evident in all spheres of everyday life, this status of rayah also implied social dependence, as most of the Serbs were landless peasants who paid the prescribed feudal taxes. Of the many dues paid in money, labor and kind, the hardest for the Serbs was having their children taken as tribute under a law that had the healthy boys, taken from their parents, converted to Islam and trained to serve in the janissary corps of the Turkish army.

An analyse of the earliest Turkish censuses, defters, shows that the ethnic picture of Kosovo and Metohia did not alter much during the 14th and 15th centuries. The small-in-number Turkish population consisted largely of people from the administration and military that were essential in maintaining order, whereas Christians continued to predominate in the rural areas. Kosovo and parts of Metohia were registrated in 1455 under the name Vilayeti Vlk, after Vuk Brankovic who once ruled over them. Some 75,000 inhabitants lived in 590 registrated villages. An onomastic analysis of approximately 8,500 personal names shows that Slav and Christian names were heavily predominant. 1

Along with the Decani Charter, the register of the Brankovic region shows a clear division between old-Serbian and old-ethnic Albanian onomastics, allowing one to say, with some certainty which registrated settlement was Serbian, and which ethnically mixed. Ethnic designations (ethnic Albanian, Bulgarian, Armenian, Greek) appeared repeatedly next to the names of settlers in the region. More thorough onomastic research has shown that from the mid-14th to the 15th centuries, individual Albanian settlements appeared on the fringes of Metohia, in-between what had until then been a density of Serbian villages. This was probably due to the devastation wrought by Turks who destroyed the old landed estates, thus allowing for the mobile among the population, including ethnic Albanian cattlemen, to settle on the abandoned land and establish their settlements, which were neither big nor heavily populated. 2

A summary census of the houses and religious affiliations of inhabitants in the Vucitrn district (sanjak), which encompassed the one-time Brankovic lands, was drawn in 1487, showed that the ethnic situation had not altered much. Christian households predominated (totalling 16,729, out of which 412 were in Pristina and Vucitrn): there were 117 Muslim households (94 in Pristina and 83 in rural areas). A comprehensive census of the Scutari district offers the following picture: in Pec (Ipek) there were 33 Muslim and 121 Christian households, while in Suho Grlo, also in Metohia, Christians alone lived in 131 households. The number of Christians (6,124) versus Muslim (55) homes in the rural areas shows that 1% of the entire population bowed to the faith of the conqueror. An analysis of the names shows that those of Slav origin predominated among the Christians. In Pec, 68% of the population bore Slav names, in the Suho Grlo region 52%, in Donja Klina region 50% and around monastery of Decani 64%.

Ethnic Albanian settlements where people had characteristic names did not appear until one reached areas outside the borders of what is today Metohia, i.e. west of Djakovica. According to Turkish sources, in the period from 1520 to 1535 only 700 of the total number of 19,614 households in the Vucitrn district were Muslim (about 3,5%), and 359 (2%)in Prizren district.

In regions extending beyond the geographic borders of Kosovo and Metohia, in the Scutari and Dukagjin districts, Muslims accounted for 4,6% of the population. According to an analysis of the names in the Dukagjin district's census, ethnic Albanian settlements did not predominate until one reached regions south of Djakovica, and the ethnic picture in the 16th century in Prizren and the neighboring areas remained basically unchanged. 3

A look at the religious affiliation of the urban population shows a rise in the Turkish and local Islamized population. In Prizren, Kosovo's biggest city, Muslims accounted for 56% of the households, of which the Islamized population accounted for 21%. The ratio was similar in Pristina, where out of the 54% Muslim population 16% were converts. Pec also had a Muslim majority (90%), as did Vucitrn (72%). The Christians compromised the majority of the population in the mining centers of Novo Brdo (62%), Trepca (77%), Donja Trepca and Belasica (85%). Among the Christians was a smattering of Catholics. The Christian names were largely from the calendar, and to a lesser extent Slav (Voja, Dabiziv, Cvetko, Mladen, Stojko), and there were some that were typically ethnic Albanian (Prend, Don, Din, Zoti). 4

After the fall of Serbia in 1459, the Pec Patriarchate soon ceased to work and the Serbian eparchies came under the jurisdiction of the Hellenic Ochrid Archbishophoric. In the first decade following Turkish conquest, many large endowments and wealthier churches were pillaged and destroyed, while some turned into mosques. The Our Lady of Ljeviska Cathedral in Prizren was probably converted into a mosque right immediately following the conquest of the town Banjska, one of the grandest monasteries dating from the age of King Milutin, suffered the same fate. The Church of the Holy Archangels near Prizren, Stefan Dusan's chief endowment was turned into ruins. Most of the monasteries and churches were left unrenewed after being devastated, and many village churches were abandoned. Many were not restored until after the liberation of Kosovo and Metohia in 1912. Archeological findings have shown that some 1,300 monasteries, churches and other monuments existed in the Kosovo and Metohia area. The magnitude of the havoc wrought can be seen from the earliest Turkish censuses: In the 15th and 16th centuries there were ten to fourteen active places of Christian worship. At first the great monasteries like Decani and Gracanica, were exempt from destruction, but their wealthy estates were reduced to a handfull of surrounding villages. The privileges granted the monastic brotherhoods by the sultans obliged them to perform the service of falconry as well. 5

The restoration of the Pec Patriarchate in 1557 (thanks to Mehmed-pasha Sokolovic, a Serb by origin, at the time the third vizier at the Porte) marked a major turn and helped revive the spiritual life of the Serbs, especially in Kosovo and Metohia. Mehmed-pasha Sokolovic (Turkish: Sokollu) enthroned his relative Makarije Sokolovic on the patriarchal throne. Like the great reform movements in 16th century Europe, the restoration of the Serbian Orthodox Church meant the rediscovery of lost spiritual strongholds. Thanks to the Patriarchate, Kosovo and Metohia were for the next two centuries again the spiritual and political center of the Serbs. On an area vaster than the Nemanjic empire, high-ranking ecclesiastical dignitaries revived old and created new eparchies endeavoring to reinforce the Orthodox faith which had been undermined by influences alien (particularly by Islamic Bekteshi order of dervishes) to its authentic teachings.

Based on the tradition of the medieval Serbian state, the Pec Patriarchate revived old and established new cults of the holy rulers, archbishops, martyrs and warriors, lending life to the Nemanjic heritage. The feeling of religious and ethnic solidarity was enhanced by joint deliberation at church assemblies attended by the higher and lower clergy, village chiefs and hajduk leaders, and by stepping up a morale on the traditions of Saint Sava but suited to the new conditions and strong patriarchal customs renewed after the Turkish conquest in the village communities.

The spiritual rebirth was reflected in the restoration of deserted churches and monasteries: some twenty new churches were built in Kosovo and Metohia alone, inclusive of printing houses (the most important one was at Gracanica): many old and abandoned churches were redecorated with frescoes. 6

Serbian patriarchs and bishops gradually took over the role of the one-time rulers, endeavoring with assistance from the neighboring Christian states of Habsburg Empire and the Venetian Republic, to incite the people to rebel. Plans for overthrowing the Turks and re-establishing an independent Serbian state sprang throughout the lands from the Adriatic to the Danube. The patriarchs of Pec, often learned men and able politicians, were usually the ones who initiated and coordinated efforts at launching popular uprisings when the right moment came. Patriarch Jovan failed to instigate a major rebellion against the Turks, seeking the alliance of the European Christian powers assembled around Pope Clement VII. Patriarch Jovan was assassinated in Constantinople in 1614. Patriarch Gavrilo Rajic lived the same fate in 1659 after going to Russia to seek help in instigating a revolt.

The least auspicious conditions for an uprising were actually in Kosovo and Metohia itself. In the fertile plains, the non-Muslim masses labored under the yoke of the local Turkish administrators, continually threatened by marauding tribes from the Albanian highlands. The crisis that overcome the Ottoman Empire in the late 16th century further aggrovated the position of the Serbs in Kosovo, Metohia and neighboring regions. Rebellions fomented by cattle-raising tribes in Albania and Montenegro, and the punitive expeditions sent to deal with them turned Kosovo and Metohia into a bloody terrain where Albanian tribes, kept clashing with detachments of the local authorities, plundered Christian villages along the way. Hardened by constant clashes with the Turks, Montenegro gradually picked up the torch of defending Serbian Orthodoxy meanwhile, in northern Albania, particularly in Malesia, a reverse process was under way. Under steady pressure from the Turkish authorities, the Islamization of ethnic Albanian tribes became more widespread and the process assumed broader proportions when antagonistic strivings grew within the Ottoman Empire in the late 17th and early 18th century. 7

The ruins of the Ancient Novo Brdo Basilica - Novo Brdo was one of the major medieval cities in Kosovo. In the 14th century the population of Novo Brdo was greater than London

It is not until the end of the 17th century that the colonization of Albanian tribes in Kosovo and Metohia can be established. Reports by contemporary Catholic visitators show that the ethnic border between the Serbs and Albanians still followed the old dividing lines of the Black and White Drim rivers. All reports on Kosovo and Metohia regard them as being in Serbia: for the Catholic visitators, Prizren was still its capital city. In Albania, the first wave of Islamization swept the feudal strata and urban population. Special tax and political alleviations encouraged the rural population to convert to Islam in larger number. Instead of being part of the oppressed non-Muslim masses, the converts became a privileged class of Ottoman society, with free access to the highest positions in the state. In Kosovo and Metohia, where they moved to avoid heavy taxes, Catholic tribes of Malesia converted to Islam. Conversion to Islam in a strongly Orthodox environment rendered them the desired privileges (the property of Orthodox and of the Catholics) and saved them from melting with Serbian Orthodox population. It was only with the process of Islamization that the ethnic Albanian colonisation of lands inhabited by Serbs became expansive. 8

The ethnic picture of Kosovo did not radically change in the first centuries of Ottoman rule. Islamization encompassed part of a Serbian population, although the first generations at least, converted as a mere formality, to avoid heavy financial burdens and constant political pressure. Conversion constituted the basis of Ottoman policy in the Balkans but it was les successfull in Kosovo and Metohia, regions with the strongest religious traditions, than in other Christian areas. The Turks' strong reaction to rebellions throughout the Serbian lands and to the revival of Orthodoxy, embodied in the cult of Saint Sava, the founder of the independent Serbian church, ended in setting fire to the Mileseva monastery the burial place of the first Serbian saint. The Turks burned his wonder working relics in Belgrade in 1594, during a great uprising of Serbs in southern Banat. This triggered off fresh waves of Islamization accompanied by severe reprisals and the thwarting of any sign of rebellion.

Apart from Islamization, Kosovo and Metohia became the target of proselytizing Catholic missionaries at the end of 17th century, especially after the creation of the Sacra Congregazione de Propaganda Fide (1622). The ultimate aim of the Roman Catholic propaganda was to converts the Orthodox to Graeco-Catholicism as the initial phase in completely converting them to the Catholic faith. The appeals of patriarchs of Pec to the Roman popes to help the liberatory aspirations of the Serbs were met with the condition that they renounce the Orthodox faith. In spreading the Catholicism, the missionaries of the Roman Curia had the support of local Turkish authorities a considerable number of the missionaries were of Albanian origin. Consequently, the propagators of Catholic proselytism persisted in inciting Catholic and Muslim Albanians against the Serbs, whose loyalty to Orthodoxy and their medieval traditions was the main obstacle to the spreading of the Catholic faith in the central and southern regions of the Balkans. 9

Catholic propaganda attempts at separating the high clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church from the people prompted the Pec Patriarchate to revive old and create a new cults with even greater vigor. In 1642 Patriarch Pajsije, who was born in Janjevo, Kosovo, wrote The Service and The Life of the last Nemanjic, the Holy Tsar Uros, imbuing old literary forms with new content reflecting the contemporary moment. By introducing popular legends (which gradually took shape),into classical hagiography Patriarch Pajsije strove to establish a new cult of saints which would have a beneficial impact on his compatriots in preserving their faith.

Parallel with the Orthodox Church national policy in traditionally patriarchal societies, popular tales gradually matured into oral epic chronicles. Nurtured through epic poetry, which was sung to the accompaniment of the gusle, epic tales glorified national heroes and ruler, cultivating the spirit of non-subjugation and cherishing the hope in liberation from the Turkish yoke. Folk poems about the battle of Kosovo and its heroes, about the tragic fate of the last Nemanjices, the heroism of Prince Lazar and his knight Milos Obilic, and, especially, about Kraljevic Marko (King Marko Mrnjavcevic) as the faultless and dauntless legendary knight who was always defeating Turks and saving Serbs, were an expression not only of the tragic sense of life in which Turkish rule was a synonymous to evil, but a particular moral code that in time crystalized into a common attitude towards life, defined in the first centuries of Ottoman rule. The Serbian nation's Kosovo covenant is embodied in the choice which, according to legend, was made by Prince Lazar on the eve of the battle of Kosovo. The choice of freedom in the kingdom of heaven instead of humiliation in the kingdom of earth constituted the Serbian nation's spiritual stronghold. Prince Lazar's refusal to resign to injustice and slavery, raised to the level of biblical drama, determined his unquenchable thirst for freedom. Together with the cult of Saint Sava, which grew into a common civilisational framework in everyday life, the Kosovo idea which, in time, gained universal meaning. With its wise policy the Patriarchate of Pec carefully built epic legend into the hagiography of old and new Serbian saints, glorifying their works in frescoes and icons. 10

1 O. Zirojevic, Prvi vekovi tudjinske vlasti, in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 47-113 (with earlier bibliography).
2 Ibid

3 M. Pesikan, Zetsko-raska imena na pocetku turskog doba, II, in: Onomatoloski prilozi, vol. IV (1983), pp. 218-243 0. Zirojevic, op. cit., pp. 90-92.

4. O. Zirojevic, op. cit., pp. 92-94.

6 R. Samardzic, Mehmed-pasa Sokolovic, (Beograd 1975) Idem, Ideje za srpsku istoriju, (Beograd 1989), pp. 125-128 Dj. Slijepcevic, Istorija Srpske pravoslavne crkve, I, Dusseldorf 1878, pp. 328-321.

7 R. Trickovic, U susret najtezim iskusenjima, in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 119-126.

8 J. Radonic, Rimska kurija i juznoslovenske zemlje od XVI do XIX veka, (Beograd 1950)

9 J. Radonic, op. cit., pp., 8-11 Further documentation in: M. Jacov, Spisi Tajnog vatikanskog arhiva XVI-XL veka, (Beograd 1983)

10 R. Samardzic, Usmena narodna hronika (Novi Sad 1978).

Great Serb Migration in 1690

The Age of Migrations

The Serbs stepped again onto the historical scene in the years of the European wars that swept the continent from the forests of Ireland to the walls of Constantinople in the late 17th century. The Turks finally withdrew from Hungary and Transylvania when their Ottoman hordes were routed outside Vienna in 1683. The disintegration of Ottoman rule in the southwest limbered up the Serbs, arousing in them hope that the moment was ripe for joint effort to break Turkish dominion in the Balkans. The neighboring Christian powers (Austria and Venice) were the only possible allies. The arrival of the Austrian army in Serbia after the fall of Belgrade in 1688 prompted the Serbs to join it. Thanks to the support of Serbian insurgents, the imperial troops penetrated deep into Serbia and in 1689 conquered Nis: a special Serbian militia was formed as a separate corps of the imperial troops. 1

After setting fire to Skoplje (Uskub), which was raging with plague, the commander of Austrian troops Ennea Silviae Piccolomini withdrew to Prizren where he was greeted by 20,000 Serbian insurgents, and with whom he reached an accord on fighting the Turks with joint forces. Shortly afterwards, Piccollomini died of the plague, and his successors failed to prevent their troops from marauding the surrounding regions. Disappointed by the conduct of the Christian troops from which they had expected decisive support, the Serbian insurgents abandoned the agreed alliance. Patriarch Arsenije III Crnojevic tried in vain to arrive at a new agreement with the Austrian generals. The restorer of the Ottoman Empire, Grand Vizier Mustafa-Pasha Koporilli, an Albanian by origin, took advantage of the lull in military operations, mustered Crimean Tatars and Islamized Albanians and mounted a major campaign. Despite assurances of help, Catholic Albanian tribes deserted the Austrian army on the eve of the decisive clash at Kacanik in Kosovo, on January 1690. The Serbian militia, resisting the Sultan's superior hordes, retreated to the west and north of the country. 2

Turkish retaliation, in which the Serbian infidels were raided and viciously massacred lasted a three full months. The towns of Prizren, Pec, Pristina, Vucitrn and Mitrovica were hit the worst, and Serbs from Novo Brdo retreated from the Tatar saber. Fleeing from the brutal reprisal, the people of Kosovo and the neighboring areas moved northwards with Patriarch Arsenije III. The decision to end the massacre and declare an amnesty came belately as much of the population had already fled for safer areas, moving towards the Sava River and Belgrade. Other parts of Serbia were also targets of ghastly reprisals. In the Belgrade pashalik alone, the number of taxpayers dropped eightfold. Grand old monasteries were looted from Pec Patriarchate to Gracanica, and the Albanian tribe Gashi pillaged the Decani monastery, killing the prior and seizing the monastery's best estates.

At the invitation of emperor Leopold I, Patriarch Arsenije III led part of the high clergy and a sizeable part of the refugees (tens of thousands of people) to the Habsburg Empire to the territory of southern Hungary, having received assurances that the Serbs would there be granted special political and religious status. Many Serbs from Kosovo and Metohia followed him. The new churches built along the Danube they named after those left in old homeland.

The Great 1690 Migration was a important turning point in the history of the Serbs. In Kosovo and Metohia alone, towns and some villages were abandoned to the last inhabitant. The population was also decimated by the plague, whatever remained after the Turkish troops. The physical extermination along with the mass exodus, the burning of grand monasteries and their rich treasuries and libraries, the death and murder of a large number of monks and clergy wreaked havoc in these regions. The position of the Pec Patriarchate was badly shaken its highest clergy went with the people to Austria, and the confusion wrought by the Great Migration had a major influence on its abolition (1766). 3

The hardest consequence of the Great Migration was demographic upheaval it caused, because once the Serbs withdraw from Kosovo and Metohia, Islamized Albanian tribes from the northern highlands started settling the area in greater number, mostly by force, in the decade following the 1690 Great Migration of Serbs, ethnic Albanian tribes (given their incredible powers of reproduction) was posing a grave threat to the biological survival of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia. Colonies set up by the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, Metohia and the neighboring areas provoked a fresh Serbian migration toward the north, encouraged the process of conversion and upset the centuries-old ethnic balance in those areas. Supported (depending on circumstances) by the Turks and the Roman Curia, ethnic Albanians, abyding by their tribal customs and hajduk insubordination to the law, in the coming centuries turned the entire region of Kosovo and Metohia into a bloody battleground, marked by tribal and feudal anarchy. The period following the Great Migration of Serbia marked the commencement of three centuries of ethnic Albanian genocide against Serbs in their native land.

The century after the Great Migration saw a fresh exodus of the Serbs from Kosovo and Metohia, and a growing influence of ethnic Albanians on political circumstances. Ethnic Albanians used the support they received from the Turkish army in fighting Serbian insurgents to seize the ravaged land and abandoned mining centers in Kosovo and Metohia and to enter in large numbers the Ottoman administration and military. More and more Catholic ethnic-Albanians converted to Islam, thereby acquiring the right to retain the estates they had seized and to apply the might-is-right principle in their dealings with the non-Muslim Serbs. The authorities encouraged and assisted the settlement of the newly Islamized ethnic-Albanian tribes from the mountains to the fertile lands devastated by war. The dissipation of the Turkish administrative system encouraged the ethnic-Albanian colonisation of Kosovo and Metohia, since with the arrival of more of their fellow tribesmen and compatriots, the local pashas and beys (most of whom were ethnic Albanian) acquired strong tribal armies which in times of trouble helped them hold on to their position and illegally pass on their power to their descendents. The missionaries of the Roman Curia did not heed to preserve the small ethnic Albanian Catholic population, but endeavoured instead to inflict as much harm as possible on the Pec Patriarchate and its dignitaries, and, with the help of bribable pashas, to undermine the cohesive power of Serbian Orthodoxy in these areas. 4

The next war between Austria and Turkey (1716-1718) marked the beginning of a fresh persecution in Kosovo and Metohia. Austrian troops, backed by Serbian volunteers, reached the Western Morava River where they established a new frontier. Ethnic Albanians collectively guaranteed to the Porte the safety of the regions in the immediate vicinity of Austria, and were in return exempted from the heaviest taxes. Towards the end of the war (1717), a major Serbian uprising broke out in Vucitrn and its surroundings: it was brutally crushed and the troops sent to allay the rayah and launch an investigation, perpetrated fresh atrocities. Excessive dues, robbery and the threat of extermination put before the Kosovo Serbs the choices of either converting to Islam or finding a powerful master who would protect them if they accepted the status of serfs. Many opted for a third solution: they moved to surrounding regions where life was more tolerable. 5

The following war between Austria and Turkey (1737-1739) ended with the routing of the imperial troops from Serbian territory. The border was reestablished at the Sava and Danube rivers, and Serbs set out on another migration. Patriarch Arsenije IV Jovanovic, along with the religious and national leaders of Pec, drew up a plan for cooperation with the Austrian forces, and contacted their commanders. A large-scale uprisings broke out again in Kosovo and Metohia, engaging some 10.000 Serbs. They were joined by Montenegrin tribes, and Austrian envoys even stirred up the Kliments, a Catholic tribe from northern Albania. A Serbian militia was formed again, but the Austrian troops and insurgenta were forced to retreat in the face of superior Turkish power: reprisals ensued, bringing death to the insurgents and their families. Serbs withdrew from the mining settlements around Janjevo, Pristina, Novo Brdo and Kopaonik. In order to keep the remaining populace on the land, the Turks declared an amnesty. After the fall of Belgrade, Arsenije IV moved to Austria. The number of refugees from Serbia, including Kosovo and Metohia, along with some Kliments has yet to be accurately determined, as people were moving on all sides and the process lasted for several months. The considerably reduced number of taxpayers in Kosovo and Metohia and in other parts of Serbia points to a strong migratory wave. 6

Unrest in the Ottoman empire helped spread anarchy in Kosovo and Metohia and rest of Serbia. Raids, murder, rape against the unarmed population was largely committed by ethnic Albanian outlaws, who were now numerically superior in many regions. Outlaw bands held controll over roads during Turkey's war with Russia (1768-1774), when lawlessness reigned throughout Serbia. Ethnic Albanian outlaws looted and fleeced other regions as well, which sent local Muslims complaining to the Porte seeking protection.

Christians in the Balkans tried many times to liberate themselves from the Turkish rule. Although Ottoman Empire ruled Serbia for 5 centuries the Christian people have never lost their feeling thet they live under the foreign rule and foreign and unfriendly islamic civilization

During the last Austro-Turkish war (1788-1791) a sweeping popular movement again took shape in northern Serbia. Because of the imperial forces swift retreat, the movement did not encompass the southern parts of Serbia: Kosovo, Metohia and present-day northern Macedonia. The peace treaty of Sistovo (1791) envisaged a general amnesty for the Serbs, but the ethnic Albanians, as outlaws or soldiers in the detachments of local pashas, continued unhindered to assault the unprotected Serbian population. The wave of religious intolerance towards Orthodox population, which acquired greater proportion owing to the hostilities with Russia at the end of 18th century, effected the forced conversion to Islam of a larger number of Serbian families. The abolition of the Pec Patriarchate (1766), whose see and rich estates were continually sought after by local ethnic Albanian pashas and beys, prompted the final wave of extensive Islamization in Kosovo and Metohia. 7

Those who suffered the most during these centuries of utter lawlessness were the Serbs, unreliable subjects who would rise every time the Turks would wage war against one of the neighboring Great Powers, and whose patriarchs led the people to enemy land. Although initially on a small scale, the Islamization of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia began before the penetration of ethnic Albanians. More widespread conversion to Islam took place in the 17th and the first half of 18th centuries, when ethnic Albanians began to wield more influence on political events in these regions. Many Serbs accepted Islamization as a necessary evil, waiting for the moment when they could revert to the faith of their ancestors, but most of them never lived to see that day. The first few generations of Islamized Serbs preserved their language and observed their old customs (especially slava - the family patron saint day, and the Easter holiday). But several generations later, owing to a strong ethnic Albanian environment, they gradually began adopting the Albanian dress to safety, and outside their narrow family circle they spoke the Albanian language. Thus came into being a special kind of social mimicry which enabled converts to survive. Albanization began only when Islamized Serbs, who were void of national feeling, married girls from ethnic Albanian tribal community. For a long time Orthodox Serbs called their Albanized compatriots Arnautasi, until the memory of their Serbian origin waned completely, though old customs and legends about their ancestors were passed on from one generation to the next. 8

For a long time the Arnautasi felt neither like Turks nor ethnic Albanians, because their customs and traditions set them apart, and yet they did not feel like Serbs either, who considered Orthodoxy to be their prime national trait. Many Arnautasi retained their old surnames until the turn of the last century. In Drenica the Arnautasi bore such surnames as Dokic, Velic, Marusic, Zonic, Racic, Gecic, which unquestionably indicated their Serbian origin. The situation was similar in Pec and its surroundings where many Islamized and Albanized Serbs carries typically Serbian surnames: Stepanovic, Bojkovic, Dekic, Lekic, Stojkovic, etc. The eastern parts of Kosovo and Metohia, with their compact Serbian settlements, were the last to undergo Islamization. The earliest Islamization in Upper Morava and Izmornik is pinpointed as taking place in the first decades of the 18th century, and the latest in 1870s. Toponyms in many ethnic Albanian villages in Kosovo show that Serbs had lived there the preceding centuries, and in some places Orthodox cemeteries were shielded against desecrators by ethnic Albanians themselves, because they knew that the graves of their own ancestors lay there. 9

In the late 18th century, all the people of Gora, the mountain region near Prizren were converted to Islam. However they succeeded in preserving their language and avoiding Albanization. There were also some cases of conversion of Serbs to Islam in the second half of 19th century, especially during the Crimean War, again to save their lives, honor and property, though far more pronounced at the time was the process of emigration, since families, sometimes even entire villages, fled to Serbia or Montenegro. Extensive anthropogeographic research indicates that about 30% of the present-day ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohia is of Serbian origin. 10

1 N. Samardzic, Savremena strana stampa o Velikoj seobi Srba, Istorijski Casopis, vol. XXXII (1985), pp. 79-103 R. Trickovic, Velika seoba Srba 1690. godine, in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 127-141.
2 N. Samardzic, op. cit., pp. 136-139.

3 R. Trickovic, Ustanci, seobe i stradanja u XVIII veku, in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 149-169

8 J. Cvijic, La peninsule balkanique. Geographic humaine, (Paris 1918), pp. 343-355.

9 A. Urosevic, Kosovo, (Beograd 1965) D. Slijepcevic, Srpsko-arbanaski odnosi kroz vekove, pp. 95-127.

10 J. Cvijic, Osnove za geografiju i geologiju Makedonije i Stare Srbije, I-III, (Beograd 1906-1911).

Turkish atrocities and violence against Christians

The Age of Oppression

The series of long-scale Christian national movements in the Balkans, triggered off by 1804 Serbian revolution, decided more than in the earlier centuries, the fate of Serbs and made ethnic Albanians (about 70% of whom were Muslims) the main guardians of Turkish order in the European provinces of Ottoman Empire. At a time when the Eastern question was again being raised, particularly in the final quarter of 19th and the first decade of 20th century, Islamic Albanians were the chief instrument of Turkey's policy in crushing the liberation movements of other Balkan states. After the congress of Berlin (1878) an Albanian national movement flared up, and both the Sultan and Austria-Hungary, a power whose occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina heralded its further expansion deep into the Balkans, endeavored, with varying degrees of success, to instrumentalize this movement. While the Porte used the ethnic Albanians as Islam's shock cutting edge against Christians in the frontier regions towards Serbia and Montenegro, particularly in Kosovo, Metohia and the nearby areas, Austria-Hungary's design was to use the Albanians national movement against the liberatory aspirations of the two Serbian states that were impeding the German Drang nach Osten. In a rift between two only seemingly contrary strivings, Serbia and Montenegro, although independent since 1878, were powerless (at least until the Balkan wars 1912-1913) without the support of Russia or other Great Power to effect the position of their compatriots within the borders of Ottoman Empire. 1

During the Serbian revolution, which ended with the creation of the autonomous Principality of Serbia within the Ottoman empire (1830), Kosovo and Metohia acquired special political importance. The hereditary ethnic Albanian pashas, who had until then been mostly renegades from the central authorities in Constantinople, feared that the flames of rebellion might spread to regions they controlled thus they became champions for the defense the integrity of the Turkish Empire and leaders of many military campaigns against the Serbian insurgents, at the core of the Serbian revolution was the Kosovo covenant, embodied in the "revenge of Kosovo", a fresh, decisive battle against the Turkish invaders in the field of Kosovo. In 1806 the insurgents were preparing, like Prince Lazar in his day, to come out in Kosovo and weigh their forces against the Turks, However, detachments of Serbian insurgents reached only the fringes of northern Kosovo. Metohia, Old Raska (Sandzak), Kosovo and northern Macedonia remained outside the borders of the Serbian principality. In order to highlight their importance in the national and political ideologies of the renewed Serbian state, they were given a new collective name. It was not by chance that Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic, the father of modern Serbian literacy, named the central lands of the Nemanjic state - Old Serbia. 2

Celekula in Nis - Tower of Skulls

Fearing the renewed Serbian state, Kosovo pashas engaged in ruthless persecution in an effort to reduce number of Serbs living in their spacious holdings. The French travel writer F.C.H.L Pouqueville was astounded by the utter anarchy and ferocity of the local pashas towards the Christians. Jashar-pasha Gjinolli of Prishtina was one of the worst, destroying several churches in Kosovo, seizing monastic lands and killing monks. In just a few years of sweeping terror, he evicted more than seventy Serbian villages between Vucitrn and Gnjilane, dividing up the seized land among the local Islamized population and mountain folk that had settled there from northern Albania. The fertile plains of Kosovo became desolate meadows as the Malisor highlanders, unused to farming knew not to cultivate.

The revolt of the ethnic Albanian pashas against the reforms introduced by the sultans and fierce clashes with regular Turkish troops in the thirties and forties of the 19th century, emphasized the anarchy in Kosovo and Metohia, causing fresh suffering among the Serbs and the further devastation of the ancient monasteries. Since neither Serbian nor Montenegro, two semi-independent Serbian states, were able to give any significant help to the gravely endangered people, Serbian leaders form the Pristina and Vucitrn regions turned to the Russian tsar in seeking protection from their oppressors. They set out that they were forced to choose between converting to Islam or fleeing for Serbia as the violence, especially killings, the persecution of monks, the raping of women and minors, had exceeded all bounds. Pogroms marked the decades to come, especially in period of the Crimean War (1853-1856) when anti-Slav sentiments reached their peak in the ottoman empire: ethnic Albanians and the Cherkeses, whom the Turks had resettled in Kosovo, joined the Ottoman troops in persecuting Orthodox Serbs.

The brotherhood of Decani and the Pec Patriarchate turned to the authorities of Serbia for protection. Pointing to the widespread violence and increasing banditry, and to more frequent and persisted attempts by Catholic missionaires to compel the impoverished and spiritually discouraged monk communities to concede to union. Prior Serafim Ristic of Decani loged complaints with both the sultan and Russian tsar and in his book Plac Stare Srbije (Zemun 1864) he penned hundreds of examples of violence perpetrated by the ethnic Albanians and Turks against the Serbs, naming the perpetrators, victims and type of crime. In Metohia alone he recorded over one hundred cases in which the Turkish authorities, police and judiciary tolerated and abetted robbery, bribery, murder, arson, the desecration of churches, the seizure of property and livestock, the rape of women and children, and the harassment of monks and priests. Both ethnic Albanians and Turks viewed assaults against Serbs as acts pleasing to Allah acts that punishing infidels for not believing in true God: kidnapping and Islamizing girls were a way for true Muslims to approach Allah. Ethnic Albanian outlaws (kayaks) became heroes among their fellow-tribesmen for fulfilling their religious obligations in the right way and spreading the militant glory of their clan and tribe.

Eloquent testimonies to the scope of the violence against the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia, ranging from blackmail and robbery to rape and murder, come from many foreign travel-writers, from A. F. Hilferding to G. M. McKenzie - A. P. Irby. The Russian consul in Prizren observed that ethnic Albanians were settling the Prizren district underhidered and were trying, with the Turks, to eradicate Christians from Kosovo and Metohia. Throughout the 19th century there was no public safety on the roads of Metohia and Kosovo. One could travel the roads which were controlled by tribal bands, only with strong armed escort. The Serbian peasant had no protection in the field where he could be assaulted and robbed by an outlaw or bandit, and if he tried to resist, he could be killed without the perpetrator having to face charges for the crime. Serbs, as non-Muslims, were not entitled to carry arms. Those who possessed and used arms in self-defence afterwards had to run for their life. Only the luckiest managed to reach the Serbian or Montenegrin border and find permanent refuge there. They were usually followed by large families called family cooperatives (zadruga), comprising as many as 30-50 members, which were unable to defend themselves against the numerous relatives of the ethnic Albanian seeking vengeance for his death in a conflict with an elder of their clan.

Economic pressure, especially the forced reducing of free peasants to serf, was fostered by ethnic Albanian feudal lords with a view to creating large land-holdings. In the upheavals of war (1859, 1863) the Turkish authorities tried to restrict enterprising Serbian merchants and craftsmen who flourished in Pristina, Pec and Prizren, setting ablaze entire quarters where they worked and had their shops. But it was the hardest in rural areas, because ethnic Albanians, bond together by tight communities of blood brotherhoods or in tribes, and relatively socially homogeneous, were able to support their fellow tribesman without too much effort, simply by terrorizing Serbs and seizing their property and livestock. Suppression in driving of the Serbian peasantry, space was made for their relatives from northern Albania to move in, whereby increased their own prestige among other tribes. Unused to life in the plains and to hard field-work, the settled ethnic Albanians preferred looting to farming.

Despite the hardships, the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia assembled in religious-school communes which financed the opening of schools and the education of children, collected donations for the restoration of churches and monasteries and, when possible, tried to improve relations with the Turkish authorities. In addition to monastic schools, the first Serbian secular schools started opening in Kosovo from mid-1830s, and in 1871 a Seminary (Bogoslovija) opened in Prizren. Unable to help politically, the Serbia systematically aided churches and schools from the 1840s onwards, sending teachers and encouraging the best students to continue with their studies. The Prizren seminary the hub of activity on national affairs, educated teachers and priests for all the Serbian lands under Turkish dominion, and unbeknownst to authorities, established contact on a regular basis with the government in Belgrade, wherefrom it received means and instructions for political action.

Ethnic circumstances in Kosovo and Metohia in the early 19th century can be reconstructed on the basis of data obtained from the books written by foreign travel writers and ethnographers who journeyed across European Turkey. Joseph Miller's studies show that in late 1830s, 56,200 Christians and 80,150 Muslims lived in Metohia 11,740 of the Muslims were Islamized Serbs, and 2,700 of the Christians were Catholic Albanians. However, clear picture of the ethnic structure during this period cannot be obtained until one takes into account the fact that from 1815 to 1837 some 320 families, numbering ten to 30 members each, fled Kosovo and Metohia ahead of ethnic Albanian violence. According to Hilferding's figures, Pec numbered 4,000 Muslim and 800 Christian families, Pristina numbered 1,200 Muslim, 900 Orthodox and 100 Catholic families with a population of 12,000. 3

Russian consul Yastrebov recorded (for a 1867-1874 period) the following figures for 226 villages in Metohia: 4,646 Muslim ethnic Albanian homes, 1,861 Orthodox and 3,740 Islamized Serbs and 142 homes of Catholic Albanians. Despite the massive departure of the population for Serbia, available data show that until Eastern crisis (1875-1878), Serbs formed the largest ethnic group in Kosovo and Metohia, largely owing to a high birth rate.

Serbian Army in front of Gracanica Monastery 1878

The biggest demographics upheaval in Kosovo and Metohia occurred during the Eastern crisis, especially during the 1876-1878 Serbo-Turkish wars, when the question of Old Serbia started being internationalized. The Ottoman empire lost a good deal of territory in its wars with Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the second war with the Turks, Serbian troops liberated parts of Kosovo: their advance guard reached Pristina via Gnjilane and at the Gracanica monastery held a memorial service for the medieval heroes of Kosovo battle. After Russia and Turkey called a truce, Serbian troops were forced to withdraw from Kosovo. Serbian delegations from Old Serbia sent petitions to the Serbian Prince, the Russian tsar and participants of the Congress of Berlin, requesting that these lands merge with Serbia. Approximately 30,000 ethnic Albanians retreated from the liberated areas (partly under duress), seeking refuge in Kosovo and in Metohia, while tens of thousands of Serbs fled Kosovo and Metohia for Serbia ahead of unleashed bashibozouks, irregular auxiliaries of Ottoman troops. 4

On the eve of the Congress of Berlin in the summer of 1878, when the great powers were deciding on the fate of the Balkan nations, the Albanian League was formed in Prizren, on the periphery of ethnic Albanian living space. The League called for the preservation of Ottoman Empire in its entirety within the prewar boundaries and for the creation of autonomous Albanian vilayet out of the vilayets of Kosovo, Scutari, Janina and Monster (Bitolj), regions where ethnic Albanians accounted for 44% of overall population. The territorial aspirations of the Albanian movement as defined in 1878, became part of all subsequent national programs. The new sultan Abdulhamid II (1878-1909) supported the League's pro-Ottoman and pro-Islamic attitude. Breaking with the reformatory policy of his predecessors, sultan adopted pan-Islamism as the ruling principle of his reign. Unsatisfied with the decisions taken at the Congress, the League put up an armed opposition to concession of regions of Plav and Gusinje to Montenegro, and its detachments committed countless acts of violence against the Serbs, whose very existence posed a permanent threat to Albanian national interests. In 1881, Turkey employed force to crush the League, whose radical wing was striving towards an independent Albanian state to show that it was capable of implementing the adopted reforms. Notwithstanding, under the system of Turkish rule in the Balkans, ethnic Albanians continued to occupy the most prominent seats in the decades to come.

Albanian National Movement which developed by the end of the 19th c. had a role to unify all territories in the Balkans where Albanians live in one state - the Serbs were a greatest obstacle to this idea

The ethnic Albanians' religious and ethnic intolerance of the Serbs took on a new, political tone. The strategic objective of their national policy was to systematically edge the Serbs out of these regions. The sultan's policy of forming a chain of ethnic Albanian settlements to secure a new border towards Serbia and to let ethnic Albanians, as advocates of Islam, crush all unrest by Serbs and other Christians in the Empire's European provinces, turned Kosovo and Metohia into a bloody battle-ground in which the persecution of the Serbian populace assumed almost apocalyptic proportions. From 1876 to 1883, approximately 1,500 Serbian families fled Kosovo and Metohia for Serbia ahead of Albanian violence. 5

Surrounded by his influential guard of ethnic Albanians, the Abdulhamid II became increasingly lenient toward Islamized Albanian tribes who used force in quelling Christian movements: they were exempt from providing recruits, paying the most of the regular taxes and allowed at times to refuse the orders of local authorities. This lenient policy towards the ethnic Albanians and tolerance for the violence committed against the Serbian population created a feeling of superiority in the lower strata of Albanian society. The knowledge that no matter what the offense they would not be held responsible, encouraged ethnic Albanians to ignore all the lesser authorities. Social stratification resulted on increasing number of renegades who lived solely off banditry or as outlaws. The policy of failing to punish ethnic Albanians led to total anarchy which, escaping all control, increasingly worried the authorities in Constantinople. Anarchy received fresh impetus at the end of the 19th century when Austria-Hungary, seeking a way to expand towards the Bay of Salonika, encouraged ethnic Albanians to clash with the Serbs and disobey the local authorities. Ruling circles in Vienna saw the ethnic Albanians as a permanent wedge between the two Serbian states and, with the collapse of the system of Turkish rule, a bridge enabling the Dual Monarchy to extend in the Vardar valley. Thus, Kosovo and Metohia became the hub of great power confrontation for supremacy in the Balkans.

The only protection for the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia until the end of 1880s came from Russian diplomats, Russia being the traditional guardian of the Orthodox and Slav population in the Ottoman Empire Russia's waning influence in the Balkans following the Congress of Berlin had an unfavorable impact on the Serbs in Turkey. Owing to Milan and Alexander Obrenovic's Austrophile policy, Serbia lost valuable Russian support at the Porte in its efforts to protect Serbian population In Kosovo and Metohia, Serbs were regarded as a rebellious, treasonous element, every move they made was carefully watched and any signs of rebellion were ruthlessly punished. A military tribunal was established in Pristina in 1882 which in its five years of work sent hundreds of national leaders to prison.

The persistent efforts of Serbian officials to reach agreement with ethnic Albanian tribal chiefs in Kosovo and Metohia, and thus help curb the anarchy failed to stem the tide of violence. Belgrade officials did not get a true picture of the persecutions until a Serbian consulate was opened in Pristina in 1889, five centuries after a battle in Kosovo. The government was informed that ethnic Albanians were systematically mounting attacks on a isolated Serbian villages and driving people to eriction with treats and murders: "Go to Serbia -you can't survive here!". The assassination of the first Serbian Consul in the streets of Pristina revealed the depth of ethnic Albanian intolerance. Until 1905, not a single Serbian diplomat from Pristina could visit the town of Pec or tour Metohia, the hotbed of the anarchy. Consuls in Pristina (who included the well-known writers Branislav Nusic and Milan M. Rakic) wrote, aside to their regular reports, indepth descriptions of the situation in Kosovo and Metohia. Serbia's sole diplomatic success was the election of a Serbian candidate as the Raska-Prizren Metropolitan in 1896, following a series of anti-Serbian orientated Greek Bishops who had been enthroned in Prizren since 1830.

Outright campaigns of terror were mounted after a Greaco-Turkish war in 1897, when it appeared that the Serbs would suffer the same fate as the Armenians in Asia Minor whom the Kurds had wiped out with blessing from the sultan. Serbian diplomats launched a campaign at the Porte for the protection of their compatriots, submitting extensive documentation on four hundred crimes of murder, blackmail, theft, rape, seizure of land, arson of churches. They demanded that energetic measures be taken against the perpetrators and that the investigation be carried out by a joint Serbo-Turkish committee. But, without the support of Russia, the whole effort came to naught. The prime minister of Serbia observed with resignation that 60,000 people had fled Old Serbia for Serbia in the period from 1880 to 1889. In Belgrade, a Blue Book was printed for the 1899 Peace Conference in the Hague, containing diplomatic correspondence on acts of violence committed by ethnic Albanians in Old Serbia, but Austria-Hungary prevented Serbian diplomats from raising the question before the international public. In the ensuing years the Serbian government attempted to secretly supply Serbs in Kosovo with arms. The first larger caches of guns were discovered, and 190l saw another pogrom in Ibarski Kolasin (northern Kosovo), which ended only when Russian diplomats intervened. 6

The widespread anarchy reached a critical point in 1902 when the Serbian government with the support of Montenegrin diplomacy again raised the issue of the protection of the Serbs in Turkey, demanding that the law be applied equally to all subjects of Empire, and that an end be put to the policy of indulging ethnic Albanians, that they be disarmed and that Turkish garrisons be reinforced in areas with a mixed Serbian-ethnic Albanian population. Russia, and then France, supported Serbia's demands. The two most interested parties, Austria-Hungary and Russia, agreed in 1897 to maintain the status quo in the Balkans, although they initiated a reform plan to rearrange Turkey's European provinces. Fearing for their privileges, ethnic Albanians launched a major uprising in 1903 it began with new assaults against Serbs and ended with the assassination of the newly appointed Russian consul in Mitrovica, accepted as a protector of the Serbs in Kosovo.

The 1903 restoration of democracy in Serbia under new King Petar I Karadjordjevic marked an end to Austrophile policy and the turning towards Russia. In response, Austria-Hungary stepped up its propaganda efforts among ethnic Albanians. At the request of the Dual Monarchy, Kosovo and Metohia were exempt from the Great Powers Reform action (1903-1908). A new wave of persecution ensued: in 1904,108 people fled for Serbia from Kosovo alone. Out of 146 different cases of violence, 46 ended in murder a group of ethnic Albanians raped a seven-year-old girl. In 1905, out of 281 registrated cases of violence, 65 were murders, and at just one wedding, ethnic Albanians killed nine wedding guests. 7

Vojvoda Misic - a famous Serb general in the WW1

The Young Turk revolution in 1908, which ended the "Age of Oppression" (as Turkish historiography refers to the reign of Abdulhamid II), brought no changes in relations between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. The Serbs' first political organization was created under the auspices of the Young Turk regime, but the ethnic Albanian revolt against the new authorities' pan-Turkish policy triggered off a fresh wave of violence. In the second half of 1911 alone, Old Serbia registrated 128 cases of theft, 35 acts of arson, 41 instances of banditry, 53 cases of extortion, 30 instances of blackmail, 19 cases of intimidation, 35 murders, 37 attempted murders, 58 armed attacks on property, 27 fights and cases of abuse, 13 attempts at Islamization, and 18 cases of the infliction of serious bodily injury. Approximately 400,000 people fled Old Serbia (Kosovo, Metohia, Raska, northern and northwest Macedonia) for Serbia ahead of ethnic Albanian and Turkish violence, and about 150,000 people fled Kosovo and Metohia, a third of the overall Serbian population in these parts. Despite the persecution and the steady outflow of people. Serbs still accounted for almost half the population in Kosovo and Metohia in 1912. According to Jovan Cvijic's findings, published in 1911, there were 14,048 Serbian homes in Kosovo, 3, 826 in Pec and its environs, and 2,400 Serbian homes with roughly 200,000 inhabitants in the Prizren region. Comparing this statistics dating from the middle of the century, when there were approximately 400,000 Serbs living in Kosovo and Metohia, Cvijic's estimate that by 1912 about 150,000 refugees had fled to Serbia seems quite acceptable. 8

The Serbian and Montenegrin governments aided the ethnic Albanian rebels against Young Turks up to a point: they took in refugees and gave them arms with a view to undermining Turkish rule in the Balkans, dispelling Austro-Hungarian influence on their leaders and curbing the violence against Serbs. But it was all in vain as intolerance for the Serbs ran deep in all Albanian national movements. Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece realized that the issue of Christian survival in Turkey had to be resolved by arms. Since Turkey refused to guarantee the Christians the same rights it had promised the ethnic Albanian insurgents, the Balkan allies declared war in the fall of 1912.

1 D. T. Batakovic, Od srpske revolucije do istocne krize: 1804-1878, in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 172-208.
2 D. T. Batakovic (ed.), Savremenici o Kosovu i Metohiji 1852-1912, (Beograd 1988), Forward, pp. XVII-XXXVII.

4 D. T. Batakovic, Ulazak u sferu evropskog interesovanja, in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 216-231.

5 V. Bovan, Jastrebov u Prizrenu, (Pristina 1984), pp. 180-185.

6 Documents diplomatoques. Correspondence concernant les actes de violence et de brigandage des Albanias dans la Vielle Serbie (Vilayet de Kosovo) 1898-1899, (Belgrade MDCCCXCIX), pp. 1-145

7 List of violence, in. Zaduzbine Kosova, pp. 672-697.

8 D. T. Batakovic, Anarhija i genocid u Staroj Srbiji, in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 271-280.

Ramush Haradinaj

Ramush Haradinaj (Albanian pronunciation: [ɾamuʃ haɾadinaj] born 3 July 1968) is a Kosovar politician, [1] leader of the AAK party, [2] and was the 3rd Prime Minister of Kosovo. [3] He is a former officer and leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), and previously served as Prime Minister of Kosovo between 2004 and 2005.

Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia Haradinaj was the KLA's commander for western Kosovo. [1] Following the conflict, Haradinaj went into politics but soon resigned after becoming one of the KLA commanders charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) with war crimes and crimes against humanity against Serbs, Romani and Albanians between March and September 1998 during the Kosovo War. [2] [4] He was acquitted of all charges on 3 April 2008. [5] The prosecution appealed against the acquittal and argued that it was not given enough time to secure the testimony of two critical witnesses. [6] In 2010 the Appeals Chamber agreed and ordered a partial retrial in The Hague, Netherlands. [7] [8] The re-trial took just over two years and on 29 November 2012, Haradinaj and his co-defendant were acquitted for a second time on all charges. [9]


I n 1989, when the Serbian government revoked Kosovo's status as an autonomous province within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, political analysts and activists in that country and abroad anticipated deterioration. "A lit fuse," "a powder keg," and other clichés were used to describe the prospect of armed conflict in the province and the country.

The danger became more apparent with each passing year, even though the wars that engulfed the other parts of the former Yugoslavia did not spill over into Kosovo. Serbian government oppression against Kosovar Albanians intensified and, seeing no potential for improvement, the ethnic Albanians gradually lost faith in the nonviolent politics that they had pursued since 1990. By late 1996, a previously unknown guerrilla group called the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) began coordinating attacks against the Serbian police. The government responded with indiscriminate force and the downward cycle of violence had begun.

Despite the repeated warning signs during the decade, the international community failed to stop a predictable conflict. Short-term and piecemeal political tactics took precedence over long-term strategic policy. Divisions and competition between governments and international bodies made unified action weak and directionless-characteristics that the Milosevic government craftily exploited.

Serious and unified international engagement came only after the conflict had deteriorated into full-scale war. Faced with limited options at that point, the West chose military action by NATO-the so-called "humanitarian intervention" in 1999.

Taking advantage of the NATO bombing, Serbian and Yugoslav forces "ethnically cleansed" more than 850,000 Kosovar Albanians, and killed thousands more. The NATO bombing eventually forced government troops out of the province, but not before serious war crimes had been committed-atrocities which continue to poison Kosovo's post-war environment.

The pages of graphic human rights testimony in this report are one result of the West's failures in dealing with this foreseeable crisis. The large-scale expulsions and killings of Serbs and Albanians, even after the entry of NATO into Kosovo, provide a crucial lesson: left unattended, government oppression and human rights abuses, especially against minority populations, can easily produce violent confrontations that result in more serious abuse. Put another way, genuine and lasting stability in the Balkans is impossible without democratic governments respectful of human rights.

There have been many debates over what the international community could have done to stop Kosovo's violence. One fact is clear: the international community could have implemented creative economic and political measures designed to halt the Yugoslav government's abusive behavior against civilians. The cost of such measures would surely have been less than that of NATO's intervention and the subsequent U.N. mission in Kosovo.

What follows is a chronology of Kosovo's downward spiral and the international community's missed opportunities.

Brief History of the Kosovo Conflict

O ne must go back centuries to address fully the relationship between Albanians and Serbs and their struggles in Kosovo. Both consider the province central to their cultures and political well-being, and have proven willing to fight for control of the region. Keeping Kosovo and its historic sites a part of Serbia has become a centerpiece of Serbian nationalist policy. Violent confrontations have marked the area's history, although Albanians and Serbs have also fought as allies on occasion. Mutual accusations of atrocities in the Balkan Wars, World War I, and World War II, as well as battles long before, cloud the region's history.

While this background is central to understanding the conflict, and the region's history plays an important role in contemporary affairs, historical debates are secondary to the more recent developments that influenced the Kosovo war. Selective versions of history and past grievances provided fertile ground for opportunistic politicians in the 1980s and 1990s to exploit the fears and frustrations of Albanians and Serbs. History was abused by aggressive nationalist politicians who benefited by promoting hatred, xenophobia, militarization and, ultimately, war.

Kosovo in the Socialist Federal _Republic of Yugoslavia

A fter World War II, the federal constitution defined ethnic Albanians in Yugoslavia as a "nationality" rather than a constituent

"nation," despite being the third largest ethnic group in the country. This was a status distinct from that of the other major ethnic groups in the country-Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Slovenes, and Macedonians. Still, Yugoslavia provided a semblance of minority rights to all ethnic groups in the name of socialist "brotherhood and unity."

Kosovo was the poorest region in Yugoslavia. With the exception of the bountiful Trepca mines, most of the province is agricultural. Poverty and underdevelopment among all ethnic groups in Kosovo exacerbated tensions. Some improvements came after student demonstrations in the late sixties, such as increased public investment, the opening of a university in Pristina, and the recruitment of Kosovar Albanians into the local administration.

Endeavoring to strike a better balance among the country's competing ethnic groups-and to check the power of Serbia within the federation-Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito orchestrated a new constitution in 1974 to provide two regions in Serbia with more autonomy: Kosovo and Vojvodina (with a large ethnic Hungarian population). Although they did not achieve the status of federal republics like Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia, the two provinces were declared "autonomous regions," which gave them representation in the federal presidency alongside Yugoslavia's republics, as well as their own central banks, separate police, regional parliaments and governments. Ethnic Albanians were brought into some of the ruling elite's inner circles.

Ethnic Albanians, who made up approximately 74 percent of the Kosovo population in 1971, took most key positions of power in Kosovo and controlled the education system, judiciary, and police, albeit under control of Tito and the Communist Party, which was the dominant political force in the country. The Albanian-language university in Pristina, opened in 1970, was promoted by the authorities.

Kosovo's autonomy was never embraced by a wide sector of the Serbian ruling elite, which viewed it as a threat to Serbia's interests and sovereignty. Autonomy for Kosovo and Vojvodina, some argued, had diluted Serbia's power in Yugoslavia. Criticism was muted during the seventies, but began to mount after Tito's death in 1980. The following year, ethnic Albanians, led by university students initially discontented with bad food and poor dormitory conditions, took to the streets to demand higher wages, greater freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and republic status for Kosovo within Yugoslavia. Their demonstrations were dispersed forcibly by the Yugoslav Army and federal police, resulting in a number of ethnic Albanian deaths and numerous arrests over the ensuing months. Some political prisoners from that time, together with young men who fled Kosovo to avoid arrest, later formed the radical emigre groups in Western Europe that evolved fifteen years later into the KLA.1 A new ethnic Albanian communist leadership was installed by Belgrade. From 1981 on, pressure grew in Serbian political circles to rein in what was viewed as a growing "Albanian secessionism."

Treatment of Non-ethnic Albanians

Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, Kosovo's Serbs complained of harassment and discrimination by the ethnic Albanian population and leadership, with the intention, Serbs claimed, of driving them from the province. According to a report submitted to the influential Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1988, more than 20,000 ethnic Serbs moved out of Kosovo in the years 1981-1987.2 Albanians claim that Serbs left for economic reasons because Kosovo remained Yugoslavia's poorest province.

Ethnic Serbs and other minorities, such as Turks and Roma, were subjected to harassment, intimidation, and sometimes violence by extremist members of the ethnic Albanian majority. The government in Kosovo, run by ethnic Albanians, did not take adequate steps to investigate these abuses or to protect Kosovo's minorities against them.3

At the same time, the ethnic Albanian population was consistently growing with Kosovar Albanians having the highest birthrate in Europe, resulting in what the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts called, "heavy pressure not only on available resources, but also on other ethnic groups."4

The Rise of Serbian Nationalism

The mid- and late-eighties were marked by a distinct rise in Serbian nationalism, especially among Serbs living outside of Serbia proper, who felt increasingly isolated and threatened by the nationalism that was rising around them in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. The most vocal were Serbs in Kosovo who complained about their mistreatment at the hands of ethnic Albanians.

In September 1986, a document from the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts was published that addressed "the Serbian question" in Yugoslavia. Known as the Memorandum, the document attacked Serbian politicians for doing nothing in the face of threats, attacks, and even "genocide" against the Serbs of Kosovo. Among other inflammatory claims, the Memorandum stated:

The physical, political, legal, and cultural genocide of the Serbian population of Kosovo and Metohija is a worse historical defeat than any experienced in the liberation wars waged by Serbia from the First Serbian Uprising in 1804 to the uprising of 1941.5

Criticized by then-Serbian President Ivan Stambolic, the Memorandum reflected a common, albeit unspoken, sentiment among the Serb populace. With communism failing as an ideology, Serb politicians began to harness this discontent for their own political means.

No politician understood this better than Slobodan Milosevic, by that time communist party chief of Serbia. A communist apparachik and Stambolic protegé, Milosevic grasped the potency of fear and nationalism to fuel his own rise to power.

On April 24, 1987, Milosevic was sent to address a crowd of Kosovo Serbs in Kosovo Polje who were protesting maltreatment by Albanians. He rallied the demonstrators with the exhortation that: "No one should dare to beat you!" The phrase was repeated frequently on the Serbian state television that was under Milosevic's control and became a rallying cry for Serbian nationalists. Making the conversion from communist to nationalist, Milosevic continued:

You should stay here. This is your land. These are your houses. Your meadows and gardens. Your memories. You shouldn't abandon your land just because it's difficult to live, because you are pressured by injustice and degradation. It was never part of the Serbian and Montenegrin character to give up in the face of obstacles, to demobilize when it's time to fight . . . You should stay here for the sake of your ancestors and descendants. Otherwise your ancestors would be defiled and descendants disappointed. But I don't suggest that you stay, endure, and tolerate a situation you're not satisfied with. On the contrary, you should change it with the rest of the progressive people here, in Serbia and in Yugoslavia.6

With determined precision, Milosevic used his new found nationalist populism to eliminate political opponents, including Stambolic.7 The state media, especially the Serbian Radio and Television (RTS), purposefully spread misinformation on abuses against Serbs in Kosovo, including the rape of Serbian women, and campaigned to promote negative images of Albanians. Over the next two years, massive gatherings were held in Yugoslavia called the "Rallies of Truth" in which Milosevic invoked Serb glory and demanded constitutional changes to revoke Kosovo's autonomy. In one such rally, Milosevic said:

We shall win the battle for Kosovo regardless of the obstacles facing us inside and outside the country. We shall win despite the fact that Serbia's enemies outside the country are plotting against it, along with those in the country. We tell them that we enter every battle_._._._with the aim of winning it.8

Ethnic Albanians organized their own strikes and public protests against the growing restrictions and repression in the province. Unlike the rallies in Serbia proper, the Albanian demonstrations were often broken up by force, and many ethnic Albanians were arrested. On November 17, 1988, the Kosovo communist party leadership was dismissed. A few days later, Kosovar Albanian miners went on strike at the Trepca mines near the town of Kosovska Mitrovica. On November 25, the Federal Parliament passed constitutional amendments that paved the way for changes to the Serbian _constitution. Azem Vllasi, the communist party chief of Kosovo and then the leading ethnic Albanian politician at the Yugoslav federal level, was dismissed.

On February 20, 1989, the Trepca miners struck again, demanding the reinstatement of the Kosovo party leaders. The government deployed the army and imposed "special measures" on the region, which amounted to a form of martial law. An atmosphere of fear prevailed in the province, especially among ethnic Albanian political leaders and intellectuals. The other Yugoslav republics, especially Slovenia, began to protest Serbia's aggressive nationalism.

After a massive pro-Milosevic rally in Belgrade, Vllasi was arrested on March 2.9 Three weeks later, a new Serbian constitution was announced. The Kosovo assembly-mostly ethnic Albanians but under direct pressure from Belgrade-accepted the proposed changes to the Serbian constitution which returned authority to Belgrade.

While Belgrade celebrated, Kosovar Albanians vehemently protested the changes. On March 28, 1989, riot police opened fire on a protesting crowd, killing at least twenty-four persons. Although government forces may have come under attack, the state's response was indiscriminate and excessive. A joint report by Helsinki Watch and the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights at the time found that there was "no justification for firing with automatic weapons on the assembled crowds."10

Riding an ever stronger wave of nationalism, Slobodan Milosevic was elected president of Serbia on May 8, 1989, a post he held for the next eight years, until he was elected president of Yugoslavia on July 23, 1997-the position he held until October 2000.

In July 1989, the Serbian parliament passed the Law on the Restriction of Property Transactions, the first in a series of laws that severely discriminated against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. The law forbade Albanians to sell real estate without the approval of a special state commission run by the Serbian Ministry of Finance. On March 30, 1990, the Serbian government adopted a new program that laid the ideological foundation for the government's policy in Kosovo. Ironically called, "The Program for the Realization of Peace, Freedom, Equality, Democracy, and Prosperity of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo," the program stated:

The autonomy of Kosovo may not serve as an excuse or reason for the malfunctioning of the legal state and possible repetition of nationalistic and separatist unrest and persistent inter-ethnic tension. It may not be misused in pursuit of unacceptable and unfeasible goals: prevention of the return of Serbs and Montenegrins, displaced under pressure, and all the others who wish to come and live in Kosovo, and especially for any further emigration of Serbs and Montenegrins and secession of a part of the territory of the Republic-the state of Serbia so as to constitute a new state within or without Yugoslavia.11

The Revocation of Kosovo's Autonomy

On July 2, 1990, ethnic Albanian members of Kosovo's politically gutted assembly declared Kosovo's independence. Two months later, on September 7, members of the parliament, which had been dissolved on July 5, met secretly and adopted a new constitution of the Republic of Kosova. A clandestine government and legislature were elected. Three weeks later, on September 28, the Serb Assembly promulgated the new Serbian constitution that formally revoked the autonomous status of both Kosovo and Voj-_vodina.

The new Serbian constitution was important because, by formally revoking the autonomy of Kosovo and Vojvodina, Serbia assumed two additional seats in the eight-member Yugoslav presidency. In coalition with its partner Montenegro, the "Serbian Block" controlled half of the federal body.

In September 1991, Kosovar Albanians held an unofficial referendum on independence. Ethnic Albanians voted overwhelmingly for independence from Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav government refused to recognize the results. Only the government in Albania, at that time still ruled by the communist party, recognized Kosovo's independence.12

Human Rights Abuses in the 1990s

Kosovo became a police state run by Belgrade. A strong Serb military presence, justified by the need to fight "Albanian secessionists," committed ongoing human rights abuses. Police violence, arbitrary detentions, and torture were common. Ethnic Albanians were arrested, detained, prosecuted, and imprisoned solely on the basis of their ethnicity, political beliefs, or membership in organizations or institutions that were banned or looked upon with disfavor by the Serbian government.13

Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians were fired from government institutions and state-run enterprises under a series of discriminatory laws. Already in August 1990, the Serbian parliament had abolished the independence of the Kosovo educational system and instituted a new curriculum to be administered centrally from Belgrade. Albanian teachers were forced to sign a loyalty oath those who refused were dismissed. Throughout 1990, the government closed most of the Albanian-language schools and, in January 1991, it stopped paying most Albanian high school teachers. By October 1991, all Albanian teachers had been fired only fifteen Albanian professors remained at the university in Pristina, and they all taught in Serbian.

The deliberate economic and social marginalization of ethnic Albanians forced the emigration of an estimated 350,000 Albanians from the province over the next seven years. While Albanians were being forced to leave, Milosevic's government provided incentives and encouraged the settlement of Serbs in the region. In 1996, 16,000 Serb refugees from Bosnia and Croatia were settled in Kosovo, sometimes against their will.14

The Yugoslav government maintained that the military presence and legal measures were necessary for two reasons: to protect Kosovo's minority populations-principally Serbs and Montenegrins-and to contain the Albanian successionist movement. Such a movement, the government argued, would seek Kosovo's independence from Yugoslavia, and possible unification with neighboring Albania. The government's actions with regard to both concerns were extreme and produced violations of human rights.

Albanian Non-Violence and the Parallel State

Kosovar Albanians responded to the revocation of autonomy by creating their own parallel state which was, based on the September 1991 referendum, declared independent from Yugoslavia. Albanian deputies of the dissolved parliament established "underground" institutions of government, and Kosovar Albanians refused to recognize the Serbian state.

A parallel system of private schools was set up with donated funds and taxes. For eight years, Albanian school children and university students attended classes in private homes, empty businesses, and abandoned school buildings. Teachers, students, and administrators in the private schools were routinely harassed, detained, and beaten by the police and security forces. Funds collected for educational purposes were sometimes confiscated by the police.

Underground parliamentary elections on May 24, 1992, established the three-year-old Democratic League of Kosova (Lidhja Demokratike te Kosoves, or LDK) as the strongest ethnic Albanian party and a previously little-known literary figure, Ibrahim Rugova, was named president. The LDK expanded the parallel system and established structures to collect taxes from Albanians in Kosovo and from the ever-growing diaspora community.15 Rugova and a prime minister, Bujar Bukoshi, represented the "Kosova Republic" abroad.

The revocation of Kosovo's autonomy and the subsequent abuses garnered little response from the international community, which was increasingly preoccupied with the growing conflict in Slovenia, Croatia, and then Bosnia. In the summer of 1992, the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (now the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)) sent missions to Kosovo, Vojvodina, and Sandzak, but the missions were forced to leave in July 1993 when the Yugoslav government refused to renew the mandate.

In December 1992, after Serbian special police forces had enforced rule in Kosovo, U.S. President George Bush issued what became known as the "Christmas Warning." Bush reportedly wrote, in a letter to President Milosevic, that the U.S. would be "prepared to employ military force" in the event of conflict in Kosovo caused by Serbian action-a warning that was repeated by President Clinton when he came to office a few months later.16 Kosovar Albanians interpreted the warnings as a message that the U.S. would come to their defense.

Largely out of a realistic assessment of ethnic Albanians' military capabilities, the LDK declined offers from the Croatian and Bosnian leadership to open another military front against Serbia.17 While calling for Kosovo's independence, the LDK preached nonconfrontation and urged Albanians to support the parallel structures.

The exception was an attempt in 1992 and 1993 to set up a Kosovar Ministry of Defense, with its own forces made up mostly of former policemen. The Serbian police crushed the nascent group through large-scale arrests in 1993, and no armed movement was discernible again until the emergence of the KLA in 1996.

The United States and West European governments strongly encouraged ethnic Albanians to pursue a moderate approach, fearing that a conflict in Kosovo would spin out of control and engulf the region. The primary goal was to avoid a conflagration in Kosovo, and non-confrontation, the West believed, was the best way to achieve this.

Rugova was identified as the prime advocate of this moderate line and received the unconditional support of Western governments, especially the United States. He was frequently invited for high level meetings in Washington and West European capitals which greatly boosted his popularity among the strongly pro-Western Kosovar Albanian public. At the same time, however, Western governments never expressed support for Kosovo's independence, although most Kosovar Albanians believed the West did so.18

In some respects, Rugova and Milosevic derived benefits from each other. Milosevic tolerated Rugova because Rugova allowed the Kosovar Albanians an outlet for their frustrations and a public expression of their political will, while his nonconfrontational policies excluded a challenge to Serbian rule over the province. Albanians also continued paying taxes to the Serbian government. At the same time, Milosevic's repressive policies helped justify the Albanians' drive for independence.19 The West was comfortable with this arrangement because it helped guarantee the status-quo. Human rights abuses continued, but Kosovo stayed off the front pages while the West was dealing with the fighting in Croatia and Bosnia.

At the same time, West European governments and the U.S. were providing strong financial and political support to the government of Sali Berisha in Albania, partly because Berisha supported Rugova and promised not to meddle in the affairs of Kosovo or Macedonia. Unqualified support for Berisha, despite his clear pattern of human rights violations against Albanian citizens, greatly contributed to the eventual destabilization of Albania which, in turn, negatively affected Kosovo.20

Meanwhile, thousands of Kosovar Albanian men were leaving Kosovo for the United States and Western Europe due to ongoing persecution or fear of being drafted into the Yugoslav Army. Many of these disenfranchised young men abroad and in Kosovo, without education or steady employment, later joined the insurgency.

The Downward Cycle of Violence

A crucial shift came after the Dayton conference in December 1995 that stopped the fighting in Bosnia. Kosovar Albanians were not invited to the conference, and Kosovo was kept off of the agenda. This left many Kosovar Albanians with the impression that the West had forgotten the Kosovo issue and that their peaceful approach was not working. Furthermore, with international recognition for the new borders of the Republika Srpska, Albanians understood that the international community responded to the facts on the ground rather than high-minded principles of nonviolence-not the force of argument but the argument of force.21

In early 1996, the first organized violence took place against Serbian civilians and police. Although individual attacks had occurred before then, the first coordinated attack occurred on February 11, when grenades were thrown at the gates of Serbian refugee camps in Pristina, Mitrovica, Pec, Suva Reka, and Vucitrn. No one was injured.

On April 21, 1996, an ethnic Albanian student, Armend Daci, was shot and killed in Pristina by a local Serb who reportedly thought Daci was breaking into his car. The next day, four assassinations of Serbs took place within one hour.22 That same night, in the village of Stimlje (Shtimje), policeman Miljenko Bucic was killed, and a police car was attacked by machine gun on the road between Mitrovica and Pec, killing a Serbian woman who was in custody. Revenge for the Daci killing was generally considered the motive for these attacks, but post-war interviews with KLA leaders revealed that the April 22 actions had been planned in advance.23

In this climate of increasing violence, Milosevic allowed the U.S. government to open a U.S. Information Agency office in Pristina, which was welcomed warmly by Kosovar Albanians as a sign of increased American involvement. The office, considered wrongly by some Albanians as an embassy, was announced in early February and opened in July 1996.

Violent attacks on Serbian police continued throughout the summer and fall of 1996, resulting in four deaths and two injuries.24 Kosovar Albanian leaders and Serbian officials both denied any involvement in the violence and accused the other side of provoking conflict. Rugova, unconvincingly, claimed that the attacks were committed by the Serbian secret police in order to provoke retaliation against Albanians.

Meanwhile, a previously unknown organization called the Kosovo Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attacks. In letters faxed to the media, the group criticized the "passive" approach of the ethnic Albanian leadership and promised to continue their attacks until Kosovo was free from Serbian rule.

By mid-1996, there was a clear pattern of arbitrary and indiscriminate retaliation by the Serbian police and special security forces against ethnic Albanians who lived in the areas where KLA attacks were taking place. Police broke into private homes without warrants and detained ethnic Albanians, often abusing them physically. Many individuals traveling through the areas of suspected KLA activity were stopped, interrogated and beaten. In October, the police arrested forty-five ethnic Albanians who, they claimed, were involved in the attacks.25

In the West, Milosevic continued to be viewed as a necessary partner for regional stability because of the Dayton Accords. The concern in Washington and West European capitals was that Milosevic should not be challenged on Kosovo because he was needed to implement the accords. Fear of attacks on Western soldiers deployed in Bosnia to monitor and enforce the agreement reinforced the West's reluctance to alter the status-quo in Kosovo. Human rights abuses were deemed acceptable in the name of regional stability.

At the same time, the Western military presence in Bosnia was unwilling to arrest the leading individuals indicted for war crimes by the U.N.'s war crimes tribunal, notably Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic. Their arrest might have sent a message that the West would not tolerate further violent and abusive behavior in the Balkans, deterring Serbian forces from atrocities in Kosovo.

The next important political development came on September 1, 1996, when Rugova and Milosevic signed a much-heralded education agreement that envisaged unconditional return to Albanian-language schools for ethnic Albanian pupils, students, and teachers.26 The details were to be worked out by a joint commission of three Serbs and three Albanians. Despite the international fanfare, the agreement was never implemented, and ethnic Albanian pupils remained locked out of most school buildings. The harassment, beatings, and arrests of ethnic Albanian teachers and school administrators continued.

The failure of the education agreement to bring any concrete improvements in the daily lives of Kosovar Albanians was a serious blow to Rugova's peaceful politics. Ethnic Albanians were losing faith in his increasingly empty promises that the West would help. The inability or unwillingness of the West to reward Albanians' patience and nonviolence with concrete improvements, such as in education, helped push the community closer to the military option.

On September 31, 1996, the U.N. lifted sanctions on Yugoslavia that had been in place since May 1992, and many European states upgraded diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia. European Union countries began to reestablish diplomatic relations with Belgrade-broken during the war in Bosnia. France, Italy, and Greece restored a high level of economic relations.

The main exception was the U.S. insistence on maintaining the so-called "outer wall" of sanctions, which, most importantly, kept Yugoslavia out of international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The sanctions were to stay in place, the U.S. government said, until, among other things, the Kosovo issue was resolved.27

Human rights abuses in the province intensified toward the end of 1996 as the government attempted to weed out the growing insurgency. Police acted with near total impunity as they maltreated, and occasionally killed, ethnic Albanians. Police abuse generally took three basic forms: random beatings on the streets and other public places, targeted attacks against politically active ethnic Albanians, or arbitrary retaliation for KLA attacks on Serbian policemen.28

Publicly, the Serbian government continued to deny that human rights violations existed and officials defended the need to protect the sovereignty of the state. In July 1996, Serbian Deputy Minister of Information Rade Drobac told Human Rights Watch: "The situation of human rights is excellent in Kosovo. Albanians have more rights than anywhere in the world."29 At the same time, ethnic Albanians did not drop their demand for full independence, and the KLA continued its attacks.

The international community was trapped on the one hand by its general desire to stop the Serbian government's violations and a distaste for Kosovo's potential independence on the other. An independent Kosovo, it was argued, would join Albania and, eventually, the Western part of Macedonia, which is predominantly inhabited by ethnic Albanians. In the very least, an independent Kosovo would disrupt the delicate balance between ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, considered a young and fragile state.30 Most Western governments also feared the precedent that Kosovo's independence would set for ethnic separatist movements in other countries, such as those of the Basques and Corsicans.

To tread the middle line, the international community called for increased minority rights in Kosovo and encouraged dialogue between Serbs and Albanians through a variety of channels. A political settlement on autonomy within Yugoslavia, the West hoped, was still attainable, despite the escalating violence and abuse.

At the end of 1996, the political scene inside Serbia changed. In municipal elections on November 17, opposition parties won in fourteen of Serbia's nineteen largest cities. The government declared "unspecified irregularities" in those areas where the ruling party had lost, sparking eighty-eight days of peaceful demonstrations by opposition party supporters and students, some of which were broken up forcibly by the police.31 The government recognized the election results on February 22, 1997, but it did so without losing power on the national scene. Internal bickering and power struggles quickly weakened the opposition's power and support.

Although most western governments criticized the 1996 electoral violations and the ensuing police abuse, many states continued welcoming Yugoslavia back into the international community. In April 1997, the European Union offered Yugoslavia preferential trade status-which grants a country beneficial conditions when trading with E.U. states-despite the ongoing abuses in Kosovo. On May 15, the European Commission approved an aid package to Yugoslavia worth U.S. $112 million. Such concessions squandered a prime source of leverage that the international community had to press for improvements in Milosevic's human rights record, repression in Kosovo, and the government's compliance with the Dayton Accords.

Growth of the Kosovo Liberation Army

The KLA continued its attacks against Serbian policemen and civilians in early 1997, especially in the more rural areas, although the group's size, structure, and leadership remained a mystery. The insurgency's impact was limited by restricted access to arms.

This changed with the dramatic 1997 events in Albania. By March, the so-called "pyramid schemes" (linked with money laundering and other illegal activities) that the Albanian government had allowed to flourish collapsed, creating mayhem throughout the country. In the ensuing lawlessness, weapons depots were looted and, in some cases, opened by the government. More than 100,000 small arms, mostly Kalashnikov automatic rifles, as well as some heavier weapons, were readily available for prices as low as fifty German Marks. Many of these arms found their way across the northern border into Kosovo.

By late 1997, the central region of Drenica was known among ethnic Albanians as "liberated territory" because of the strong KLA presence. Serbian police only ventured into the area during the day.

The still-loosely organized guerrillas made their first public appearance on November 28, 1997, at the funeral of a Kosovar Albanian teacher, Halit Gecaj, who was killed by a stray bullet during fighting with Serb police in the village of Lausa (Llaushe). In front of an estimated 20,000 mourners, three masked and uniformed KLA fighters, two of whom reportedly took off their masks, addressed the crowd.32

Around this time, Kosovar Albanian students began organizing peaceful demonstrations in Kosovo's cities to demand the implementation of the 1996 education agreement and the reopening of the Albanian-language university. Some of the nonviolent protests were broken up forcibly by the police. For many people, Albanians and Serbs, the peaceful student movement was the last chance to avoid an outright armed conflict in the province.

The international community condemned the rising state violence in Kosovo while stressing its respect for the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia. At the same time, most West European governments, as well as the U.S., condemned as "terrorist actions" the KLA attacks. A February 1998 statement of the Contact Group on former Yugoslavia-comprised of the U.S., Germany, France, Russia, Italy, and the U.K.-stated:

The Contact Group reaffirmed its commitment to uphold human rights values, and their condemnation of both violent repression of non-violent expressions of political views, including peaceful demonstrations, as well as terrorist actions, including those of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army.33

In late February, President Clinton's special representative, Robert Gelbard, visited Yugoslavia to address, among other issues, the brewing Kosovo crisis. During a press conference in Pristina on February 22, he declared that "the UCK [KLA] is a terrorist group by its actions. I used to be responsible for counter-terrorist policy in the American government. I know them when I see them."34

Gelbard reiterated his condemnation of the KLA in a Belgrade press conference the next day, and also announced some concessions to the Yugoslav government due to cooperation in Bosnia. Consistent with the view that Milosevic was a necessary ally for the implementation of the Dayton Accords, Gelbard said that the U.S. had been "particularly encouraged by the support that we received from President Milosevic," although, Gelbard added, "we still have a large number of areas where there are differences in views." In order to encourage "further positive movement," Gelbard announced that the U.S. was upgrading diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia, that Yugoslavia could open a consulate in the U.S., that Yugoslavia had been invited to join the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative, and that Yugoslav airlines (JAT) had regained landing rights in the U.S. Regarding Kosovo, Gelbard said:

The great majority of this violence we attribute to the police, but we are tremendously disturbed and also condemn very strongly the unacceptable violence done by terrorist groups in Kosovo and particularly the UCK-the Kosovo Liberation Army. This is without any question a terrorist group. I refuse to accept any kind of excuses. Having worked for years on counterterrorist activity, I know very well that to look at a terrorist group, to define it, you strip away the rhetoric and just look at actions. And the actions of this group speak for themselves.35

Gelbard later retracted the allegation about the KLA, and the group was never placed on the U.S. government's list of terrorist organizations.36 At the time, however, some analysts interpreted the U.S. statement as a green light for Milosevic to begin a counter-insurgency campaign.

Five days after Gelbard's comments, the Serbian government launched a major assault on the central Drenica valley, a stronghold of the KLA. On February 28 and March 1, responding to KLA ambushes of the police, special forces attacked two adjacent villages, Cirez (Qirez) and Likosane (Likoshane). On March 5, special police attacked the nearby village of Prekaz-home of Adem Jashari, a known KLA member. Jashari was killed along with his entire family, save an eleven year-old-girl.37 In total, eighty-three people lost their lives in the three attacks, including at least twenty-four women and children.38

Although the KLA engaged in combat during these attacks, Serbian special forces fired indiscriminately at women, children, and other noncombatants. Helicopters and military vehicles sprayed village rooftops with gunfire before police forces entered the village on foot, firing into private homes. A pregnant woman, Rukia Nebihi, was shot in the face, and four brothers from one family were killed, apparently while in police custody. Ten members of the Ahmeti family were summarily executed by the police.

The Serbian police denied any wrongdoing in the attacks and claimed they were pursuing "terrorists" who had attacked the police. A police spokesman denied the "lies and inventions" about indiscriminate attacks and excessive force carried by some local and foreign media and said "the police has never resorted to such methods and never will."39

These events in Drenica were a watershed in the Kosovo crisis. If the government's aim was to crush the nascent insurgency, it had the opposite effect: the brutal and indiscriminate attacks radicalized the ethnic Albanian population and swelled the ranks of the KLA. Many ethnic Albanians who had been committed to the nonviolent politics of Rugova or the peaceful student movement decided to join the KLA, in part because they viewed the armed insurgency as the only means of protection. The various armed families and regional KLA groups active in Kosovo up to that point began to merge as a more organized popular resistance took shape.

The Drenica massacres also marked the beginning of the Kosovo conflict in the terms of the laws of war. It was only after February 28, 1999, that the fighting clearly went beyond mere internal disturbances to become an internal armed conflict, a threshold which once passed obliges both government forces and armed insurgencies to respect basic protections of international humanitarian law-the rules of war. In particular, Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, Protocol II to those conventions, and the customary rules of war would henceforth apply to the conduct of hostilities in Kosovo.

The significance of the Kosovo conflict being classified an "armed conflict" went beyond a mere invocation of standards. Once open conflict broke out, the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia over Kosovo began. Mandated to prosecute crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the tribunal, on March 10, stated that its jurisdiction "covers the recent violence in Kosovo," although tribunal investigators did not visit the province until four months later.40

As the conflict grew, so too did the insurgency. Money from the diaspora community that was previously given to the LDK was increasingly diverted to the fund of the KLA, known as Homeland Calling. Increasingly, Albanian men from Western Europe and later the U.S. joined the insurgency.

Role of the International Community

The killings in Drenica drew the attention of the international community, despite Yugoslav government pleadings that the conflict was an internal affair. The international community criticized the state's excessive violence in Drenica but took minimal steps beyond verbal condemnations. On March 2, State Department spokesman James Rubin said that the U.S. was "appalled by the recent violent incidents" and threatened that "the outer wall" of sanctions would stay in place until there was improvement in Kosovo. He also called on Kosovar Albanian leaders to "condemn terrorist action by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army."41

Over the next seven months, notwithstanding continued state violence, threats of sanctions and other punitive measures were weakly, if ever, enforced. Concessions were granted after the slightest progress, after which Serbian commanders, under the command of Milosevic, would often order renewed violence.

On March 9, the Contact Group met in London and gave the FRY government ten days to meet a series of requirements, including: to withdraw the special police from Kosovo and cease actions against the civilian population by the security forces to allow access for the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations as well as by representatives of the Contact Group and other diplomatic representatives and to begin a process of dialogue with the Kosovar Albanian leadership.42 The Contact Group proclaimed that, if President Milosevic took those steps, it would reconsider the four punitive measures that it had adopted.43 If he failed to comply, the group would move to further international measures, including an asset freeze on FRY and Serbian government funds abroad.

In a parallel move, the U.S. State Department announced on March 13 that it was providing $1.075 million to support the investigations of the war crimes tribunal in Kosovo.44

Allowing ten days to slip to sixteen, the Contact Group met again on March 25. In the days prior to the March 25 meeting, the Milosevic government briefly reduced the police attacks in Kosovo and agreed to implement the education agreement, a long-standing demand of the international community and one of many needed confidence-building measures cited in the March 9 Contact Group statement. Though not enough to bring the Contact Group to lift its previously adopted measures, the FRY gestures kept the group from imposing new measures and bought Milosevic some time. The Contact Group agreed to meet again in four weeks to reassess the situation.45

On March 31, the Security Council passed resolution 1160 which condemned violence on all sides, called for a negotiated settlement, and imposed an arms embargo on Yugoslavia. In April 1998, Milosevic organized a popular referendum on whether there should be international mediation in the Kosovo conflict. The vote for no international involvement was overwhelming.

The Contact Group meeting of April 29 set in motion a new round of maneuvering between the international community and the FRY government. Finding that the conditions set on March 9 remained unfulfilled, the Contact Group decided to take steps to impose the asset freeze. The freeze, first threatened if Belgrade did not meet Contact Group conditions by March 19, was finally endorsed by the Contact Group a month and a half later. It was not implemented by the European Union until late June-plenty of time for the Yugoslav authorities to shelter any funds that might otherwise have been affected. The Contact Group also promised to pursue an investment ban if Milosevic did not meet new conditions by May 9.46 These new conditions were watered down from the March 9 ultimata, substituting a general call for "cessation of repression" for the earlier "withdraw the special police units," and dropping the demand for access for the ICRC and humanitarian organizations altogether. As Milosevic raised the level of violence, the international community lowered the bar he needed to clear to regain international acceptance.

During the second quarter of 1998, the KLA, called a "liberation movement" by most ethnic Albanians and a "terrorist organization" by the Yugoslav government, took loose control of an estimated 40 percent of Kosovo's territory, including the Drenica region and the area around Malisevo. KLA spokesmen, increasingly in the public eye, spoke of "liberating Pristina" and eventually Kosovo. Serb civilians in areas under KLA control were harassed or terrorized into leaving, by assaults, kidnaping, and sporadic killing.

In late April and early May, the KLA took control of the villages northeast of the main road running between Decani (Decane) and Djakovica, with a headquarters in Glodjane. Serbs were forced out of these villages and fled to Decani town, where inter-ethnic tensions increased sharply. The KLA appeared to be attempting to establish a corridor between Albania and Drenica.

In retrospect, some analysts believe that the Serbian police and Yugoslav army purposefully allowed the KLA to expand. Aware that the lightly armed and poorly organized insurgency could not hold territory, the security forces allowed the rebels to spread themselves too thin across a large swath of territory. Government forces did not attack, but positioned themselves, such as on the Suka Crmljanska hill near Lake Radonjic. Other analysts, however, believe that the rapid growth of the KLA caught the Serbian government by surprise.

After five days of intense shuttle diplomacy by U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke, Milosevic and Rugova agreed to meet on May 15 in Belgrade, together with four other Kosovar Albanian representatives.47 In a major concession to Milosevic, the meeting took place without the presence of foreign mediators, a long-time condition set by both the international community and the Kosovar Albanians. Milosevic agreed to continue negotiations and named a team to be headed by Ratko Markovic, Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia. After the meeting, Milosevic's office issued the following statement:

President Milosevic pointed out that it is only by political means-through a direct dialogue on the basis of principle-that peaceful, human, just and lasting solutions to the problems in Kosovo and Metohija can be found. These solutions should be based on the equality of all citizens and ethnic communities in Kosovo and Metohija.48

Considering this a "framework for dialogue and stabilization package," as stipulated in the April 29 Contact Group statement, the Milosevic-Rugova meeting caused the international community to ease the pressure. At the May 25 meeting of the European Union General Affairs Council, the foreign ministers of E.U. member states concluded that, in light of the Milosevic-Rugova meeting in Belgrade, "the proposed measure to stop new investment in Serbia would not be taken forward."49

That week Belgrade launched a major offensive along its border with Albania that involved serious breaches of international humanitarian law. Kosovo Albanians called off all negotiations in light of the offensive.

In the first known joint action between the Serbian special police and the Yugoslav Army, government forces attacked a string of towns and villages along the border with the specific intent of depopulating the region and ousting the KLA. Until then, the KLA had been receiving arms and fresh recruits from Albania. The Serbian offensive so soon after the meeting hurt Rugova's popularity among Albanians, but he was quickly brought to Washington, along with Bujar Bukoshi and independent publisher Veton Surroi, for a meeting with President Clinton to bolster his public image.50 The offensive was also another reminder of Milosevic's now-familiar tactics: talk peace and conduct war.51

Although there was clearly fighting between the government and the KLA, many villages from Pec in the north to Djakovica in the south were shelled indiscriminately without consideration for civilian lives. Noncombatants who fled the attacks were sometimes fired on by snipers, and a still undetermined number of people were taken into detention. In three cases, helicopters marked with the Red Cross emblem reportedly fired on civilians. Anti-personnel landmines were placed in strategic points along the border, as well as along the southern border with Macedonia. Most villages in the region were looted and systematically destroyed, and farmers' livestock was shot, to ensure that no one could return in the short run. Fifteen thousand people fled to Albania and an estimated 30,000 went north to Montenegro.52

Around the same time, Milosevic also took steps to consolidate his power in Serbia proper. In May 1998, the Serbian parliament passed a highly restrictive university law that marginalized independent or opposition-oriented academics. The government also continued its assault on the independent media by refusing broadcast licenses to some independent radio and television stations.53 Milosevic's political ally from Montenegro, Momir Bulatovic, was appointed Yugoslav prime minister.

By the June 9 meeting of E.U. foreign ministers, the pattern of deception could no longer be ignored. The ministers adopted the investment ban on Serbia, together with a declaration that stated:

President Milosevic bears a special responsibility as head of the FRY government for promoting a peaceful settlement to the problems of Kosovo. He should not believe that the international community will be taken in by talk of peace when the reality on the ground is ever greater repression. . . . The European Union remains ready to press ahead with other measures against Belgrade if the authorities there fail to halt their excessive use of force and to take the steps needed for genuine political progress. Furthermore, the E.U. encourages international security organizations to pursue their efforts in this respect and to consider all options, including those which would require an authorization by the [United Nations Security Council] under Chapter VII.54

On June 11, NATO defense ministers directed NATO military authorities to develop a range of options for "halting or disrupting a systematic campaign of violent repression and expulsion in Kosovo."55 As a demonstration of military might, NATO agreed to conduct air exercises over neighboring Albania and Macedonia. Exercise "Determined Falcon," carried out on June 15, was presented as a demonstration of NATO's "capability to project power rapidly into the region."56 Planes flew over Tirana, the Albanian capital, but not over North Albania where they would have been seen by Serbian forces and the KLA alike.

The June 12 Contact Group meeting reaffirmed the asset freeze and investment ban, with Russia in dissent and promised additional measures unless certain steps were taken immediately. These steps were essentially the same as those that were supposed to have been implemented within ten days of March 9, except that what had once been internationally mediated dialogue and then a "framework for dialogue and a stabilization package" had become "rapid progress in the dialogue with the Kosovar Albanian leadership."57

Taking advantage of the division between Russia and the other Contact Group members, Milosevic agreed to meet Russian president Boris Yeltsin on June 16. The Milosevic-Yeltsin meeting yielded Yugoslav commitments to continue talks with Kosovar Albanians, to commit no repressive actions against the peaceful population, to guarantee full freedom of movement on the whole territory of Kosovo, and to provide unimpeded access for humanitarian organizations. The joint statement between Milosevic and Yeltsin was honored in the breach, but it bought Milosevic time at a critical juncture, when NATO threats were stronger than they had been at any time up to that point.

One concrete result of the Yeltsin meeting was the creation of the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission (KDOM), established on July 6, 1998, which was mandated to observe and report on freedom of movement and security conditions in Kosovo. Coordinated by the Contact Group ambassadors in Belgrade, the European Union Presidency (Austria), and the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE (Poland), the mission consisted of three groups: U.S.-KDOM, Russian-KDOM, and EU-KDOM, each of which had teams traveling and monitoring throughout the province. By December 1998, KDOM had 400 personnel in Kosovo, many of them defense and intelligence experts.

KDOM members in the field began to establish contact with the KLA, such as a U.S.-KDOM outpost in the village of Dragobilje (Dragobil), where the KLA had a base of operations. The U.S. government also maintained public contact with the KLA in July as negotiators tried to sell a political settlement for "enhanced autonomy" within Yugoslavia.

While the first FRY government offensive partially dislodged the KLA along the border with Albania, the insurgents gained territory in other parts of Kosovo, especially around Malisevo. The rebels' growth throughout the spring dispelled thoughts of international military action as too likely to tip the balance in favor of Kosovo independence. Forceful KLA statements about "liberating Pristina" and even eventual unification with Albania made the international community even more reluctant to take any action that might be construed as supporting the insurgency.

Emboldened, the KLA's first major offensive began on July 19 when it attempted to capture the town of Orahovac. The offensive failed badly, as the police recaptured the town two days later, as well as the KLA stronghold of Malisevo. In the Orahovac fighting, at least forty-two ethnic Albanians were killed. Witnesses reported summary executions and the use of human shields by the police. An estimated forty Serbs also vanished during the brief time that the city was under KLA control, most of whom were still missing and are presumed to have been murdered as of August 2001 (see section below on KLA Abuses in 1998).

The government forces intensified their offensive throughout July, August, and September despite repeated promises from Milosevic that it had stopped. By mid-August, the government had retaken much of the territory previously held by the KLA. Unable to protect the civilian population, the KLA retreated into the hills of Drenica and some pockets in the west and south of Kosovo.

Government Abuses in 1998

The government offensive, which continued unabated despite the deployment of KDOM, was an apparent attempt to crush civilian support for the rebels. Government forces attacked civilians, systematically destroyed towns, and forced thousands of people to flee their homes. The police were repeatedly seen looting homes, destroying already abandoned villages, burning crops, and killing farm animals, as well as committing summary executions, all violations of the rules of war. The majority of those killed and injured were civilians. At least 250,000 people were displaced between May and September 1998, according to UNHCR, many of them women and children. The border region with Albania was particularly hard hit, but so were other areas of KLA activity, such as Drenica and the area around Orahovac.

The government restricted the ability of humanitarian aid agencies to assist the internally displaced. On various occasions, the police hindered access to needy populations, confiscated supplies, harassed, and even attacked humanitarian aid workers. The government justified the restricted access by arguing that some humanitarian organizations had distributed supplies, including arms, to the KLA.

The Yugoslav government also restricted the work of domestic and foreign journalists who sought to report the atrocities. Some ethnic Albanian journalists were threatened, detained, or beaten by the police. Independent radio and television stations in the Albanian language were denied licenses or, in one case, closed down.

The independent Serbian-language media was not exempt from state pressure. News wires, newspapers, and radio stations that attempted to report objectively on Kosovo were labeled "traitors" and threatened with legal action. A complex and contradictory legal framework in Serbia made it virtually impossible for independent radio or television stations to obtain a broadcast frequency.58 As was the case during the wars in Bosnia and Croatia, the state-run radio and television purposefully spread disinformation and promoted images of "the enemy" intended to inflame passions in the conflict.

The international media covering Kosovo also faced a number of restrictions on its work, starting with the denial of visas to critical journalists whom the state considered "anti-Serb." One journalist was declared persona non grata, and a few foreign journalists were beaten or fired upon by the police.

At least one hundred ethnic Albanians "disappeared" in Kosovo between February and October 1998, about half of whom were last seen in the custody of the police. The precise number was impossible to determine since the Yugoslav authorities refused to make public the number of people they had in detention, a problem that continued after the NATO bombing commenced in March 1999. In addition, some Albanians, considered "collaborators with the Serbs" were abducted by the KLA.

More than 500 ethnic Albanians were arrested and charged with committing "terrorist acts." In July and August, detained individuals increasingly included human rights activists, humanitarian aid workers, political party members, doctors, and lawyers, many of whom were physically abused. The use of torture against detainees was widespread, and at least six people died from abuse in prison.59

The Serbian and Yugoslav government offensive closed in late September with serious combat around Suva Reka and in the Drenica region. On September 27, KDOM observers discovered the bodies of twenty-one ethnic Albanian civilians executed in the forest near the village of Gornje Obrinje (Abri i Eperme). The next day, re-searchers from Human Rights Watch and journalists visited the site and documented the killings, as well as the execution of thirteen ethnic Albanian men in nearby Golubovac.60 The massacre galvanized world opinion and helped spark a new round of diplomatic negotiations led by the U.S.

The KLA also committed serious violations of international humanitarian law during this time, as well as in early 1999, including the taking of hostages and extrajudicial executions.61 On June 21, 2000, in Pristina, ICTY chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte announced that "five episodes" of alleged KLA crimes were under investigation by the tribunal.

In some villages in areas of KLA control, the rebels drove ethnic Serbs from their homes. In some cases, elderly Serbs stayed behind, either too old to flee or unwilling to abandon their homes. Some of these people went missing and are presumed dead. The KLA also attacked and killed or seized some ethnic Albanians and Roma whom it considered "collaborators" with the Yugoslav government.

According to the ICRC, ninety-seven Kosovo Serbs abducted in 1998 were still missing as of May 15, 2000.62 According to the Humanitarian Law Center, a highly respected Yugoslav human rights group, 103 Serbs went missing between January and August 1998, thirty-nine of whom were last seen in KLA custody. The center also documented the abductions of three Kosovar Albanians by the KLA.63

The KLA detained an estimated eighty-five Serbs during the offensive in Orahovac on July 19, 1998. Thirty-five of these people were subsequently released but the others remain unaccounted for at the time of this writing. According to the ICRC, thirty-nine Serbs went missing from the Orahovac municipality on July 17 and 18.64 On July 22, the KLA briefly took control of the Belacevac mine near Obilic. Nine Serbs were captured that day, and they remain on the ICRC's list of missing.

On September 9, the Serbian police announced that they had found a number of bodies of people reportedly killed by the KLA near Glodjane. By September 16, the authorities recovered thirty-four bodies, eleven of whom were identified, some of them as ethnic Albanians. Prior to that, the most serious reported KLA abuse involved the reported execution of twenty-two Serbian civilians in the village of Klecka, where in August the police claimed to have discovered human remains and a kiln used to cremate the bodies. The manner in which the allegations were made, however, raised serious questions about their validity.65

The KLA, slowly transforming from a disorganized guerrilla group into a more serious armed force, did not abide with their stated commitments to respect international law and the laws of war, and in public statements appeared not to recognize some of the basic principles of these norms. Indeed, executions were acknowledged and justified in the early months of the war. In an interview given to a Kosovo newspaper, KLA spokesman Jakup Krasniqi said:

[T]he KLA has never dealt with civilians, or only if they have been in the service of the army and the police and have done serious harm to the people and the Albanian national cause. There have been cases in which they have been kidnaped, but in this event they have been handed over to international organizations, of course when they have been innocent.

First of all, all Serbian forces, whether the police, the military, or armed civilians, are our enemy. From the start, we had our own internal rules for our operations. These clearly lay down that the KLA recognizes the Geneva Conventions and the conventions governing the conduct of war, even though it has not been offered the chance of signing them, as it would have done. We do not go in for kidnaping. Even if some people have suffered, these have been more Albanian collaborators than Serbian civilians. We do not deal with civilians, and we return those whom we take as prisoners of war. A few days ago we handed over two Serbs originating from Croatia to the International Red Cross. Those we have kidnaped are either announced in a list or reported to be executed, but we do not behave in a base fashion like Serbia.66

The KLA's disregard for ethnic Albanian civilians is also striking. Villages declared "liberated" by the KLA were often smashed shortly thereafter by the Serbian security forces, who vented their anger on the civilians who did not retreat into the hills with the KLA. Ambushes of police or army checkpoints often provoked a response against the nearest village, if the KLA was based there or not. The pattern of KLA behavior suggests that the rebels, relying on the predictable aggressiveness and brutality of the Serbian forces, may have deliberately provoked attacks against ethnic Albanian civilians, since innocent victims would promote their cause and help bring the West, especially the United States, into the conflict. In the very least, the KLA understood the political benefit of civilian casualties.

Response of the International Community

The international response to the summer offensive was considerably weakened by persistent disunity within the international community. In the Security Council, China and Russia, both permanent members with veto power, maintained that the conflict was an internal matter for resolution by the Yugoslav authorities. This position effectively blocked a forceful Security Council response to the conflict.

A similar degree of disunity emerged in the Contact Group, where Russia in particular played the role of spoiler, although Russia's resistance was at times used by Western states as an excuse for their own inaction.

Throughout the Serbian and Yugoslav offensive, the international community condemned the government's abuses but took no steps to halt the ongoing offensive. Inaction by the West left the impression that it was tolerating the attacks against civilians, and may have been interpreted by Milosevic as a green light to continue. Advocates of inaction in the West presumed the offensive would drive the Kosovar Albanians to the negotiating table. As one Western official was quoted in the press, "There is a general recognition that the KLA was getting too big for its boots and needed to be taken down a peg or two before there can be negotiations."67

The U.S. position was aptly presented by Secretary of Defense William Cohen who said that NATO did "not want to see" Serbian or Yugoslav government troops attacking civilians or using disproportionate force, but that NATO did not want to take action that "could be construed as lending support, either moral or military, to those seeking independence," meaning the KLA.

Prior to September, the only measure adopted by the Security Council having any bite had been resolution 1160, passed on March 31, 1998, imposing an arms embargo on FRY, a position reached with China abstaining and only after repeated warnings by the Contact Group had been ignored. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1199, passed on September 23, 1998, (again with China abstaining), went further by condemning acts of violence committed in Kosovo, reaffirming the arms embargo and, under authority of Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities.68

Resolution 1199 also called upon the FRY and Kosovar Albanian leadership to enter into immediate and meaningful dialogue and demanded that FRY implement immediately the measures set out in the June 12 statement of the Contact Group. The resolution called on the president of FRY to implement his own commitments from the June 16 joint statement with Yeltsin, among other things, not to carry out any repressive actions against the peaceful population, to facilitate refugee return, and to ensure full access for the ICRC and UNHCR. The resolution also called on the government of FRY, the Kosovar Albanian leadership, and all others to cooperate fully with the prosecutor of the ICTY, and it underlined the need for FRY authorities to bring to justice members of security forces involved in mistreatment of civilians and the deliberate destruction of property. It stated that the Security Council would consider "further action and additional measures" if the measures demanded in its two resolutions were not taken. Porous borders, a well established Balkan arms market, and weak enforcement had kept the embargo from having any substantial impact on the ground.

On September 24, NATO took the first formal steps toward military intervention in Kosovo, issuing an "ACTWARN" for both a limited air option and a phased air campaign in Kosovo.69

The Deployment of the _Kosovo Verification Mission

The September 26 massacre in Gornje Obrinje, in which twenty-one members of one ethnic Albanian family were killed, garnered major media coverage in the West and catalyzed a more unified international response to the crisis. With winter approaching, international concern was also focused on the estimated 250,000 internally displaced ethnic Albanians.

U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke flew to Belgrade for talks with Milosevic. At the same time, after the Gornje Obrinje killings, the Serbian police and Yugoslav army wrapped up the summer offensive in the end of September and began a partial withdrawal from Kosovo. As one Serbian journalist wrote of the Gornje Obrinje massacre, government forces "slammed the door on the way out."70

With the offensive over, Milosevic had largely achieved his goals, and then granted Holbrooke some concessions: a cease-fire, NATO air surveillance to verify compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1199, and the deployment of an observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) called the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM). By January 1999, the KVM had 2,000 observers in the field, many of them westerners with military experience. Human rights officers were also deployed throughout the province to monitor, document, and publicly report on violations.71 A subsequent agreement brokered by NATO set the limit of Yugoslav Army and Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs troops allowed in Kosovo. Hours before the deadline for meeting these limits, the Yugoslav government complied.

Around this time, other developments in Serbia had an impact on Kosovo. On November 3, Milosevic fired the Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army, Momcilo Perisic, and replaced him with a known loyalist, Gen. Dragoljub Ojdanic. Col. Gen. Nebojsa Pavkovic, commander of Pristina Corp, was promoted to commander of the Third Army, which had responsibility for southern Serbia and Kosovo. In late October, Milosevic dismissed the Yugoslav Air Force commander Col. Gen. Ljubisa Velickovic, and the chief of Serbia's security service, Jovica Stanisic, who had been a close confidant of Milosevic for the past seven years.72 Velickovic was replaced by Lt. Col. Gen. Spasoje Smiljanic. Stanisic was replaced by Radomir Markovic.

The precise reason for these dismissals remains unclear. Some analysts speculate that the individuals removed disagreed with government policy on Kosovo, fearing that Milosevic was heading into a direct conflict with the West. In particular, it was believed the Perisic had warned Milosevic against a direct confrontation with NATO (as well as having argued against a military deployment against Belgrade demonstrators in late 1996 and early 1997).73 The replacements were generally viewed as personally loyal to Milosevic and hardline, perhaps necessary for another offensive against the KLA.

Notwithstanding the KVM presence in Kosovo, late-October 1998 to March 1999 saw continued provocations by both government forces and the KLA. The KLA captured two Serbian journalists and nine Yugoslav Army soldiers during this time, all of whom were later released, and conducted periodic strikes on police and army posts-an apparent attempt to provoke the government into a response in front of international monitors. As KLA commanders later admitted, they used the calm from the monitors' presence to continue mobilization, training, and arms procurement.74

Serbian and Yugoslav forces also repositioned during this time. Gradually throughout January and February reinforcements and heavy armor made their way back into Kosovo, as detailed in the OSCE report on Kosovo, As Seen, As Told-Part I .75

On December 13, the army killed more than thirty ethnic Albanians along the border with Albania, ostensibly while they were smuggling in arms. On December 14, unidentified armed men attacked the Panda Cafe in the western city of Pec, killing six Serbian youths. On December 23, the army and police undertook military action against the KLA near Podujevo, in northern Kosovo, along the main road linking Pristina with Belgrade.

On February 25, the Yugoslav Army announced the beginning of "winter exercises" in the Vucitrn municipality, where the KLA had positions in the Cicavica mountains along the Mitrovica-Pristina road (based in the village of Pantina (Pantine)). Skirmishes were ongoing throughout February, as were KLA abductions of local Serbs. According to the OSCE report on Kosovo:

As armed engagements between Yugoslav/Serbian forces and the UCK continued in the areas of the "exercises," it became clear that these "exercises" had a strategic aim: for the VJ [the Yugoslav Army] to secure the main road and rail routes between Kosovska Mitrovca and Pristina by pushing the UCK back into their strongholds in the Cicavica mountains.76

In some cases, the "exercises" included the army's shelling of villages and the forced expulsion of noncombatants. Fighting between the army and KLA was ongoing as the OSCE left the Vucitrn area on March 19. According to U.S. General Wesley Clark, NATO thought Milosevic was "preparing for a spring offensive that would target KLA strongholds." No one expected the "wholesale deportation of the ethnic Albanian population."77

During the military buildup by all sides, the U.S. government was engaged in shuttle diplomacy to reach a political solution. U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Chris Hill, working closely with Richard Holbrooke, continued work on draft plans that would provide Kosovo with substantial autonomy within Yugoslavia. Previous drafts were scuttled after they were leaked and published in a Kosovo-based newspaper, Koha Ditore.

A major turning point took place on January 15, 1999, when forty-five ethnic Albanians were killed in the village of Racak. Although the attack was possibly provoked by a KLA ambush that killed three Serbian policeman a few days before, government forces responded by shooting at civilians, torturing detainees, and committing summary executions.78

The massacre in Racak was well documented by the OSCE mission, and immediately condemned by the mission's head, U.S. diplomat William Walker. The Yugoslav government said that the Albanians were KLA fighters killed in combat, and threatened to expel Walker-labeled "a representative and a patron of separatism and terrorism"-from the country.79 On January 18, Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour of the war crimes tribunal was denied entry into Kosovo, where she planned to investigate the Racak incident.

The Racak massacre provoked an outcry among the Western public and Western governments began consulting on ways to back up diplomacy with force. NATO increased its threats of military action if attacks on civilians did not stop.

The Rambouillet Conference

Kosovar Albanians and Serbs were hastily summoned to a government chateau in Rambouillet, France, for negotiations between February 6 and 22, 1999. The British and French foreign ministers co-sponsored the talks, with negotiators from the U.S., Austria (as president of the E.U.) and Russia. A diverse delegation of Kosovar Albanians representing the various political forces elected Hashim Thaci, political leader of the KLA, as their spokesman. Milosevic refused to attend and sent Serbian president Milan Milutinovic to head a motley delegation of ethnically diverse but unimportant representatives from Kosovo-an attempt to demonstrate his multi-ethnic and tolerant approach to the province.

After two weeks, the negotiators presented both sides with an interim agreement that would have provided for substantial autonomy and self-government for Kosovo inside Yugoslavia, protected by a strong NATO presence on the ground. The final status of Kosovo was to be worked out in three year's time by an international conference.

The Serbian delegation refused to sign, stating that Kosovo was an integral part of Yugoslavia. Some parts of the accords were clearly of particular concern to the delegation, such as NATO's unrestricted access throughout Yugoslavia and NATO's authority to detain individuals.80 The Kosovar Albanian delegation, while more inclined to give support, said it needed approval from the regional commanders of the KLA-a reflection of the group's decentralized character. The conference was halted while Thaci returned to Kosovo to get the commanders' agreement. The conference reconvened in Paris on March 15. Three days later, under great pressure from the West, the Kosovar Albanian delegation signed.

Throughout the conference, Serbian and Yugoslav forces were observed positioning themselves around the Kosovo border with Serbia proper, a clear indication-coupled with the Serbian delegation's intransigence-that a military offensive was in preparation. According to the OSCE, "a significant build up of VJ forces" was taking place throughout Kosovo.81 Many observers believe that Milosevic never had any intention of signing an agreement he simply used the time to further reinforce his troops, and he gained three weeks because of Thaci's need to consult commanders inside Kosovo.

Media reports later claimed that the Austrian government had warned NATO before the bombing that a large-scale Serbian offensive was in preparation. The allegation was repeated two weeks into the bombing by the German government, which said that Operation Horseshoe-a plan to expel Albanians from Kosovo-had been drafted six months prior to the air war.82 A retired brigadier general in the German Army, however, later stated that the claims of a plan were faked from a vague intelligence report in order to deflect growing criticism in Germany of the bombing.83

In anticipation of the NATO bombing and the deteriorating security situation, the OSCE's KVM mission withdrew from Kosovo on March 20. Although there had been fear the observers would be seized as hostages, government forces welcomed rather than hindered their withdrawal. That day, attacks against Kosovar Albanians began in parts of Kosovo, notably Drenica and the Llap region near Podujevo. Yugoslav soldiers, Serbian special police, paramilitaries, and armed irregulars poured into the province. With no local information, ethnic Albanian civilians sat waiting for the worst.

In a final effort to avoid bombing, U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke flew to Belgrade to meet Milosevic and threaten air strikes unless he signed the agreement. He left empty-handed on March 23 and, the next day, NATO air strikes commenced without awaiting approval from the United Nations Security Council.

K osovo dominated the headlines in 1999, but the conflict was predictable as long ago as 1989. The international community failed to implement effective preventive measures, acting only after the crisis had evolved into an armed conflict.

Even after open conflict began, the international community failed to take meaningful steps to stop the serious abuses committed against civilians in Kosovo. Throughout 1998, the international community repeatedly failed to develop a unified position to resolve the conflict. Slobodan Milosevic used this lack of consensus to his advantage in a series of bilateral negotiations buying time to advance the campaign in Kosovo. Members of the international community took advantage of the disunity as well: pointing to each other as the excuse for inaction. When the international community sent a strong message of condemnation to the parties to the conflict, words and symbolic action proved meaningless, with deadlines postponed, conditions abandoned, and sanctions poorly enforced or withdrawn as abusive violence persisted.

In addition to concerns over the stability of Bosnia and supporting the Dayton Accords, the international community's approach to Kosovo was strongly influenced by its desire to avoid independence for the province. The redrawing of Yugoslav borders, it was (and still is) feared, might destabilize Montenegro, Bosnia and Macedonia, as well as encourage secessionist movements in other parts of Europe and around the world.

This is not a trivial concern. But the international community's interest in preserving international borders should not have been elevated above the imperative of halting abuses before they escalated into open warfare, leading to thousands of dead and many more displaced. If the international community wanted to promote territorial integrity in the Balkans, it should have pressed for the national unity that comes from respect for the rights of all citizens-a respect that had been sorely lacking in Kosovo as well as in other parts of the region. But seeking to preserve borders by tolerating serious abuses led to the regional instability that the international community was trying to avoid.

Contemporary History Of Kosovo

This research focuses on the Yugoslav history of Kosovo in the 20 th century, especially on the Serbian-Albanian conflict. I wanted to find out how Kosovo entered Yugoslavia and how it left. I endeavored to acquaint myself with the views of Serbian/Yugoslav, Albanian, Western and other authors and discovered that, as is usual with ethnic conflicts, the truth is never one sided. Dominion over Kosovo changed hands a few times, and the violence of the dominant group always bred more violence, often against the group that had lost its dominant position.

The goal of this work is to contribute to a greater understanding of the Kosovo problem in Serbia and shed light on certain lesser known aspects of its history.

Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire

In the beginning of the 20th century, the Kosovo Vilayet was a province of the Ottoman Empire whose territory was significantly larger than the territory of today’s Kosovo. It included the whole of Kosovo, Sandžak, Preševo Valley and Western Macedonia. The capital of the Kosovo Vilayet was Skopje. The majority in Kosovo were Albanians Serbs were the majority in the Northern Kosovo, while they were a minority in other parts, especially in the South. The situation in Kosovo, like in other parts of Turkey, was especially difficult for the Christian minority.

The diplomacy of the Kingdom of Serbia began to portray the cases of violence and oppression against the Serbs in a way that would make the Albanians seem as savages which Serbia needs to subdue. In Serbia, people began to see the Albanians as usurpers of Serbian land, forgetting that the Serbs had moved massively from Kosovo during the Great Migration to Hungary. Serbia asserted its “historical right” to Kosovo because it was part of the Rascia State. From 1904 onward, Serbia began to send Chetnik units to Kosovo whose clashes with Albanians meant that the Serbs living there suffered. The representatives of Kosovar Serbs opposed the sending of armed troops, asking the Serbian government to stop them as they were the cause of even more violence against their people. Serbia’s Chetnik action also met strong resistance from Austria-Hungary which considered this policy as Great Serbian.

In the beginning of the 20th century, Kosovo was the center of the Albanian national revival and the fight for liberation from the Turks. From 1905 to 1912 Albanians organized a number of uprisings with the goal of acquiring cultural, economic and political autonomy. The Albanians’ armed rebellions were regularly stifled in blood by the Turks, until in 1908, the Young Turk Revolution occurred. At first supported by the Albanians due to the promise of autonomy, decrease in taxes and improvement of general living conditions, the Young Turks eventually consolidated their power, established strict centralism, instituting Turkish as the only language of administration. This lead to an eruption of dissatisfaction and an armed rebellion in Kosovo in June 1909. The first armed clashes with the new authorities happened in the vicinity of Đakovica, and in the spring of 1910, an uprising of larger proportions happened in the Kosovo Vilayet. The rebels were also supported by the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization which fought for Macedonian autonomy. Seeing that the rebellion was developing, the Young Turk authorities sent a punitive expedition from Skopje which stifled the rebellion with bloodshed in a 3-day battle from May 11 th to May 13 th in 1910, not sparing neither women, children or the elderly. Already in the beginning of 1911 there was a new armed rebellion in Kosovo as well as Northern Albania. The main demand of the rebels was the recognition of the Albanian nation, along with autonomy: economically, administratively, culturally and militarily. This rebellion was stifled in August 1911.

In the beginning of 1912 the Great Albanian uprising took place under the leadership of the General Insurrection Committee in the areas of Drenica, Peć, Đakovica and Northern Albania. The leaders of the rebels were Isa Boljetinac, Hasan Prishtina, Bajram Curi among others. The rebels sought the establishment of an autonomous Albania, the retreat of Turkish officers and the introduction of Albanian as the official language. They immediately took over many towns, including Đakovica, Mitrovica, Vučitrn and Prishtina in order to then quickly gain control of all of Kosovo, Northern Albania and Skopje. Due to the success of the Albanian rebellion, the Young Turk government decided to retreat. After the Albanian rebels reached Thessaloniki, the new government was forced to meet all their demands. An autonomous Albania was recognized on August 18 th 1912 which included four vilayets: Kosovo, Skadar, Janjin and Bitolj. The neighbors saw this as the creation of a “Great Albania” as the inhabitants of these areas were not all Albanian. This threatened the national interests of the neighboring countries which held pretentions to these areas, and they quickly went to war with Turkey.

Before the war itself, on October 19 th 1912 there was a meeting of the leaders in Skopje, the seat of the Kosovo Vilayet. It was decided that the Albanians would defend the territories they considered theirs in the upcoming was, fighting on the side of Turkey.

The annexation of Kosovo in the Balkan Wars

The Serbian and Montenegrin armies attacked the Ottoman state in October 1912, penetrating to Kosovo and Metohija. Albanians resisted the taking of their settlements and organized volunteer units which carried out an armed resistance against the actions of the Serbian troops. A bigger battle happened at Podujevo as 15,000 volunteers under the command of Isa Boljetinac stood against the Third Serbian Army without success. The Serbian Army then conquered Prizren and a larger part of Albania with the Littoral.

During the Balkan Wars, Serbia annexed the areas of Sandžak, Macedonia, Kosovo and briefly also Albania. Serbs didn’t form the majority in these areas which posed a problem for Serbian diplomacy which presented the conquest of Kosovo as a liberation from Turks, disregarding the fact that the make-up of the population had changed over the ages. At the peace talks in London, Serbia refused to be satisfied with just Northern Kosovo, for which it would, by the irony of fate, be asking for a century later. After the end of the war, the Kosovo-Metohija areas came under Serbia and Montenegro, which Serbian historiography calls liberation and Albanian calls occupation. From the viewpoint of political science, the appropriate term is annexation, as it was done without the agreement of national representatives and without a referendum for the population.

“Houses and whole villages have been turned to dust, unarmed and innocent inhabitants have been massacred on a large scale, unbelievable acts of violence, pillages and cruelties of every kind – these were the measures that were taken and are still being taken by the Serbian-Montenegrin Army, with the goal of the complete alteration of the ethnic character of areas populated exclusively by Albanians.” – From the Report of the International Commission on the Balkan Wars.

In those years there was plenty of talk on the “Kosovo Vengeance” for 1389 which was magically flown from the Turks to the Albanians. This policy met criticism from the European press which wrote about the crimes of ethnic cleansing done by the Serbian and Montenegrin troops during the occupation of Albanian settlements. According to reports, the suffering of the inhabitants of Prishtina, Ferizović (later Uroševac), Đakovica, Prizren and certain other towns was especially great. In Austria, the belief that Serbia had taken too much prevailed.

Serbian oppositionist Dimitrije Tucović warned that “an attempt at murder is taking place with the design against an entire nation” which is “a criminal act” for which “reparations must be made”. Tucović was against the territorial expansion of Serbia and advocated that Kosovo enter the Balkan Federation with Serbia and other areas on an equal level. “The boundless hostility of the Albanian people against Serbia is the first positive result of the Albanian policy of the Serbian government. The second, even more dangerous result is the strengthening of two great powers with the biggest interests in the Western Balkans.”

Tucović meant Italy and Austria-Hungary, and the latter, with a good motive, attacked Serbia in order to conquer it in 1915. The drastic worsening of the relationship with the Albanians was paid dearly by the Serbian Army and the columns of refugees during the tragic withdrawal across Kosovo and Albania, remembered as the “Albanian Golgota”.

But, due to very unusual unfolding of events, Serbia found itself on the winning side at the end of World War I, and it was granted not only the territorial expansions from the Balkan Wars, but also the right to create a great Yugoslav state. And while Serbs had fought for Kosovo to become part of Serbia, it instead became part of Yugoslavia.

The colonization of Kosovo in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia

“Serbia gained Kosovo, but also a millstone around the neck of its development.” – Leon Trotsky, correspondent from the Balkan battlefield

After World War I, Kosovo became part of the newly-founded Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Kosovo became a Serbian colony, and it was mostly governed by a military command. Serbian politicians had no plan whatsoever that would also include the interests of the Albanian population. The belief predominated that Albanians had to be relocated and Serbs moved in.

In the Inter-War period, the Belgrade government carried out a comprehensive plan of colonization with the goal of changing the ethnic structure of Kosovo in favor of Serbs. An advantage in moving was given to ex-soldiers and members of Chetnik units. By 1941, 60,000 colonists were moved there, often to properties taken from Albanians. Over 90% of the total number of colonists were Serbs from various parts of Yugoslavia (this also included Montenegrins then). Taking away the houses from Albanian peasants in order to give them to colonists caused a hatred towards the colonists, and left permanent consequences in the relations between Serbs and Albanians.

Colonization by counties

Uroševac: 15,381 colonists
Đakovica: 15,824 colonists
Prizren: 3,084 colonists
Peć: 13,376 colonists
Mitrovica: 429
Vučitrn: 10,169
All: 58,263

With the colonization, completely new settlements were also formed in Kosovo and Metohija, such as: Kosovo Polje, Obilić, Hercegovo, Orlović, Devet Jugovića, Lazarevo, Svračak, Novo Rujce, Staro Gracko, and many others.

In parallel with the Serbian colonization, there was also a process of forced relocation of Albanian inhabitants. According to the data of the Historical Institute in Prishtina, from 1919 to 1940, 255,878 Muslims were relocated from Yugoslavia to Turkey, 215,412 of which were Albanian.

Albanian rebels, the Kachaks, fought against the establishment of Serbian authority on territories populated with Albanians. There were plenty of them in woods and mountains, and they held actual authority over villages for years. Their political wing was the Kosovo Committee which advocated the secession of Albanian-majority areas from the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and unification with Albania. The most influential of the Kachaks were Azem Bejta and his wife Shota Galica who became heroes for the Albanian population because of their fight against state terror. The Belgrade government carried out extremely harsh measures against the breakaway Albanians their possessions were taken away and given to colonists, their relatives were interned, and whole villages punished if they had helped them. The taking of land led to rebellions of whole villages. The villages from which rebellion had erupted were taken by the Army with heavy artillery. According to the data of the Historical Institute of Prishtina, the Army set on fire and destroyed 320 Albanian villages between 1918 and 1938.

In the 1930s, the belief prevailed that the gradual colonization of Kosovo was ineffective. Vasa Šaletić, the commissioner for colonization, claimed that Albanians had to be moved to Turkey immediately and that “moving of Serbs into the midst of half a million Albanians had been a mistake.” The Yugoslav authorities held a meeting of certain ministries and the General Staff in 1935 at which the project of “moving non-Slavic elements from South Serbia to Turkey” was planned. In the beginning of 1936, Turkey expressed the willingness to make a deal with Yugoslavia on the relocation of 200,000 inhabitants “who have a similar mentality to the Turks and would easily assimilate”.

In 1937, the Serbian academician Vaso Čubrilović created a project of a quick solution to the “Albanian problem” with the massive ethnic cleansing of Kosovo for Stojadinović’s government: “The Arnauts are impossible to repress merely by gradual colonization…The only method and the only measure is a brutal force of an organized state authority, in which we have always been above them.”

Professor dr. Vaso Čubrilović planned in detail the methods of ethnic cleansing, which include the creation of a mass psychosis, giving weapons to colonists, sending armed Chetniks, state repression, arrests, unpaid labour, abolishing work permits, firing people from their jobs, cutting down woods, shrinking of cemeteries, burning settlements and similar.

From July 9 th to July 11 th 1938 a meeting was held in Istanbul between Yugoslavia and Turkey on the preparation of the agreement on relocation of Albanians. The sides agreed to relocate 40,000 Albanian families from Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro into barren lands in Anatolia within 6 years. According to the agreement, families could have more than 100 members, so 40,000 families could technically mean millions of people. The article 2. of the Convention assumed a complete repatriation of Albanians from towns such as: Prizren, Uroševac, Prishtina, Kačanik, Gnjilane, Preševo, Peć, Istok, Mitrovica, Đakovica, Vučitrn, Drenica and others.

In January 1939, Ivo Andrić, the ambassador of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in Nazi Germany created a project of the division of Albania between Yugoslavia and Italy for Milan Stojadinović. Andrić tried to prove that the assimilation and relocation of Albanian will be easier if Albania is abolished:

“By dividing Arbania, an attractive center for the Arbanian minority in Kosovo would disappear, and it would assimilate more easily in the new situation. We would eventually get 200,000 to 300,000 Arbanians, but they are mostly Catholics whose relationship with Arbanian Muslims has never been good. The question of relocating Arbanian Muslims to Turkey would therefore take place in new circumstances, as there would be no stronger action to prevent it.”

The Communist Party of Yugoslavia opposed the relocation of Albanians to Turkey, taking away their land, and carrying out terror against them. The Communists believed that the annexation of Albanian places has created a conflict with them, and supported their right to self-determination.

The ratification and introduction of the Yugoslav-Turkish Convention was disturbed by financial problems, an Albanian campaign against relocation and the break-out of World War II. With the Second World War the results of decades-long colonization of Kosovo were annulled. The colonization with which the “historical injustice” of the ethnic loss of Kosovo was tried to be made right not only failed, but showed itself to be extremely harmful to Kosovar Serbs.

The ethnic division of Kosovo in World War II

“The Serbian population of Kosovo must be moved as soon as possible…Serbian colonizers must be killed.” – Occupation PM of Albania Mustafa Kruja in 1942.

After the occupation and division of Yugoslavia in 1942, Italy joined the largest part of Kosovo with Albania, except the North which the Germans joined with occupied Serbia, and a smaller southwestern part which was taken by Bulgaria. The Italians portrayed themselves as liberators in Kosovo, introduced the Albanian language in administration and education, and allowed the use of the Albanian flag. They formed Albanian quisling formations. The persecution of Serbs, mostly colonists, was cruel. The Serbian and Montenegrin colonists were driven back to Montenegro and Serbia, many were killed, their possessions stolen, and houses burnt. The Chetnik units of Kosta Pečanac carried out retaliations for killed Serbs against the Albanian population of border villages.

In the beginning of the war, Kosovar Partisan units were mainly formed of Serbs and Montenegrins, as the Albanians didn’t want the revival of the Yugoslavia into which they had been forced. The first Albanian Partisan units were formed in the fall of 1942. The Kosovar Partisans Boro Vukmirović and Ramiz Sadiku who died in April 1943 later became symbols of Brotherhood and Unity. In January 1944, the Buje conference is held at which the National Liberation Council of Kosovo decides to join Kosovo with Albania. In the middle of 1944 there is a mass Partisan uprising and 7 Kosovo-Metohija brigades are formed.

The decision of Kosovar Partisans to join Kosovo with Albania of course wasn’t carried out. After the withdrawal of the German Army, Yugoslav Partisans enter Kosovo in November 1944. Ten days after Partisan units enter Kosovo, in December 1944, there is a massive uprising of Albanians who saw this as another “occupation” of Kosovo. The Central Headquarters of the National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia sent over 30,000 soldiers to stifle the “ballistic[1] uprising”. In putting down the Kosovar revolt, two brigades of the National Liberation Army of Albania also cooperated, due to a deal of Broz with Hoxha. The hardest battles took place in Drenica, and after that in Uroševac, Gnjilan and Mitrovica. Many Albanian Partisans saw the new annexation of Kosovo to Serbia as the annihilation of their fight and a betrayal by the leadership of the National Liberation uprising.

Post-war (Ranković) period in FNRJ

On February 8 th 1945 in Kosovo, a Military administration is established, in March the main resistance of Kosovar Albanians was broken, but fighting still continued over the next months. After the establishment of Yugoslav control of Kosovo, there was a chaotic return of the Serbian and Montenegrin colonists who were driven out, while vengeance and retributions were carried out. Because of this, the new authorities of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia on March 6 th 1945 made the decision to temporarily forbid the return of colonists. This remained in effect until the implementation of the Law on revision of colonial relation in August of the same year, after which 3,352 “ex colonists” acquired the right of return to Kosovo and Metohija, while 306 settlers who lost the right of return, were directed towards Vojvodina.

On July 9 1945, the new Assembly of Kosovo and Metohija decided to declare the Autonomous Kosovo-Metohija Land, declaring that the population wishes that this land be annexed to “Federal Serbia” as its constituent part. Shortly after, at the third AVNOJ meeting on August 7 1945, Kosovo is annexed to the People’s Republic of Serbia. Professor Jovan Đorđević claimed that Kosovar autonomy was not the creation of the People’s Republic of Serbia, but had been a category of the constitutional law of Yugoslavia from the very beginning, which was assumed and guaranteed by the federal constitution. Between Kosovo and Serbia there had been no hierarchical laws nor has there been any twofold responsibility. All Kosovar government organs executed their rights independently and were responsible for their work only to voters, respectively the Provincial Assembly and the Regional Council.

Even after 1945, there were groups of ballists who wouldn’t recognize the decision to annex Kosovo to Serbia. Against them, the units OZNA and UDBA were engaged they held de facto authority over Kosovo. The situation of Albanians in the new Yugoslavia was drastically worsened after the Informbiro Resolution in 1948 when many Albanian intellectuals were locked up or liquidated on accusation of being Enver Hoxha’s spies. In 1951 the question of relocation of Albanians was brought up again and new negotiations with Turkey took place. It seemed that the state security service pressured the Albanians to claim they were Turks at the census. Within only 5 years, there was a drastic increase in the number of people who claimed they were Turks in Kosovo, from 1,315 (in 1948) to 34,583 (in 1953).

The Kosovo state security service treated Albanians as a suspicious element, and it was mostly made up of Serbs and Montenegrins. In 1955-1956, the state security service with Ranković as its head carried out an action of taking away arms and systematic raiding of homes, the harshness of which went beyond every reasonable line and amounted to terror against the population. Under the excuse of seeking weapons, the organs of state security tortured thousands of people, of which about a hundred died. The repressive policy against Kosovar Albanians continued all the way until Aleksandar Ranković was replaced in 1966.

The development of Kosovar autonomy in SFRY

“During my youth, I believed that Yugoslavia could survive as a federative multiethnic state of equal nations. I was honestly a fan of the project of Yugoslavia according to the 1974 Constitution. We were somehow proud that Yugoslavia was different from all the countries with rigid communist regimes, with no freedom whatsoever, and with poor citizens. We citizens of Yugoslavia lived better lives in every sense. I thought that in the frame of such a project, my Albanian nation could also do well.” – Kosovar politician Azem Vlasi

The chief of Yugoslav security Aleksandar Ranković was replaced at the Brioni Plenum in 1966. At the same time, the 1966 constitutional amendments recognized the provinces as “constitutive elements of the federation” with which Kosovo gained the elements of statehood. Despite the fact that Albanians were the majority population of the province, Serbs and Montenegrins held a disproportionately high number of state and party functions, including control over the local police and security forces. On November 27 th 1968 there was a mass student demonstration in Kosovo which started at the Faculty of Arts in Prishtina. Only after that, Kosovar Albanians gained certain autonomy, including the right to schooling in their own language. In November 1968 the name of the province is changed to Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo, with which Metohija (a monastic occupancy) was removed from its name.

With the Constitution of 1974, Kosovo gained wide autonomy and the status of a federal unit of the SFRY. With the acquisition of real autonomy, Serbs and Montenegrins ceased to be the dominant minority. Albanians started taking over leading positions from many Serbs in political bodies, administration and labour organizations. With the principle of ethnic representation, by which the percentage of the employed members of a certain nation had to be in alignment with the ethnic structure, many Serbs and Montenegrins lost their jobs. At the same time, many Albanians who were deported during the course of the Kingdom period returned, while at the same time there was also immigration from Albania to a better life in Yugoslavia. Faced with losing their jobs, and often unfriendly environment, Serbs began massively leaving Kosovo. According to certain percentage data (New York Times, July 12 1982) during the 1970s around 70,000 Serbs moved from Kosovo. During these years, many Serbian monasteries complained about damage done by strangers, the illegal cutting of woods, and similar problems.

Protests of Albanians and demands for a republic

After Tito’s death, among Albanians, who formed the absolute majority of Kosovo’s population (77.4% according to the 1981 census), the fear started spreading that Kosovo could fall under Serbian administration again. There was a belief that the only way to prevent this was for Albanians to be granted the official status of a nation and their own republic which could never fall under Serbian rule again. Students of the University of Priština started peaceful protests in March 1981 which soon became nation-wide, demanding equal position of Albanians with the other, Slavic nations in Yugoslavia, which had their own republics. With the slogan “Kosovo Republika!” they wanted Kosovo to become the seventh republic of the Yugoslav federation and for the Yugoslav authorities to cease to treat them as a national minority (so-called nationality), but to recognize them as a nation.

The Yugoslav authorities responded to these demands by sending the Army to deal with the demonstrators. In the riots that followed, tens of Albanian pupils and students were killed, which the regime then hid from the public. After the bloody suppression of the demonstrations, there appeared a great division between Serbs and Albanians – Serbs demanded the abolition of Kosovo’s autonomy while Albanians demanded statehood. A certain type of military administration was established in Kosovo, and Albanians were subjected to repression and mass arrests. Also, there was violence against Serbs.

In the following years, many Albanians are sent to prison for numerous years, mostly because of expressing the demand for Kosovo to become a republic.

Protests of the Kosovar Serbs and a campaign about genocide

After the Albanian demonstrations, Kosovar Serbs in 1982 (led by Kosta Bulatović, Miroslav Šolević and others) started to complain about “perfidious pressures from the positions of the state”, and the center of the movement became Kosovo Polje, which used to be a Serbian colony. At the same time, an anti-Albanian campaign started in Serbia whose central theme was “genocide” against Serbs in Kosovo, and which portrayed the migrations of Serbs as planned ethnic cleansing carried out by the province’s leadership. In April 1982, 21 priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church, among which were certain future bishops (Anastasije Jeftić, Irinej Bulović, Amfilohije Radović) appealed to the highest church and state organs with the “Appeal for the protection of the Serbian population and its holy objects in Kosovo and Metohija”, which spoke of the “planned genocide against the Serbian nation” and actualized the Kosovo Myth[2]. In 1983 the church newspaper Pravoslavlje (Orthodoxy) publishes a feuilleton by Anastasije Jevtić called “From Kosovo to Jadovan” which describes cases of “brutal and bestial rapes of Serbian women, girls, elderly women and nuns by rampant Arbanians”, and compares the suffering of Serbs in Kosovo with their suffering in the Independent State of Croatia. Writing about the Albanians, the clerics mostly describe them as rapists, desecrators, and violent people.

In 1985, representatives of the “Serbian resistance movement” from Kosovo hand in a petition to the state organs, which was also written with the help of Anastasije Jevtić and Dobrica Ćosić, in which they claim that the province is being ruled by “Greater Albanian chauvinists” who have “occupied a part of Yugoslavia” and are committing genocide against Serbs. The Yugoslav authorities didn’t see these accusations as benevolent, but as the inflaming of Serbian nationalism. Serbs held protests around various towns in these years, but on February 26 th , 1986, 100 of them went to the federal assembly, demanding the proclamation of the state of emergency in Kosovo and the abolition of Kosovo’s autonomy.

In 1986, the influential SANU[3] Memorandum is published, which describes the demonstrations of the Albanian students as “neofascist aggression” and claims that there is a “physical, political, legal and cultural genocide against the Serbian population” being carried out in Kosovo. No one except the Serbian authors called the problems genocide. The SANU Memorandum was later described by a professional commission of the UN as “a method of spreading anti-Albanian sentiment”. According to the findings of the Human Rights Watch, Serbian media in the 1980s were deliberately spreading disinformation about the wrongdoings against Serbs in Kosovo, including regarding rapes of Serbian women, and were leading a campaign of hatred with the goal of spreading a negative portrayal of Albanians.

The rise of Milošević and the abolition of Kosovo’s autonomy

“The situation in Kosovo, which is not being improved as quickly as desired and promised, is creating a dangerous atmosphere where anything that is said against Serbian nationalism is understood as nationalism. Passionate things can only bring flames.” – Dragiša Pavlović

In April 1987 Serbs organized a meeting in Kosovo Polje against “anti-Serb discrimination” carried out by the Albanian-majority leadership of the province. On this wave of ethnic conflict, Slobodan Milošević rose to the top, expressing support for the Kosovo Serbs during a pre-planned conflict with the province police (“No one should dare beat you!”), winning both the sympathies of the Church as well as nationalist circles of Serbia. Seeing where the wind is blowing, Milošević switched his communist rhetoric for a national one. Thanks to the problem of the Kosovar Serbs, Milošević shortly takes over control in Serbia, eliminating the more moderate competition, Dragiša Pavlović and Ivan Stambolić from the League of Communists of Serbia.

After connecting to the movement of the Kosovar Serbs, Milošević uses them as a political protest force for his “anti-bureaucratic revolutions” with which he carried out a certain sort of annexation of provinces and centralized his power. In the beginning of 1989, Milošević violently abolished Kosovo’s autonomy. The Yugoslav People’s Army established martial law, while police units suppressed the general strike of Kosovar miners who opposed the abolition of autonomy. Hundreds of people are arrested and the Kosovar leadership was replaced by force. During the time of voting on amendments, the Kosovar Assembly building was surrounded by tanks. On March 23 rd 1989 the Kosovar Parliament in an atmosphere of martial law, and often without a quorum, agreed with the constitutional amendments with which Kosovo lost its autonomy. During the demonstrations that followed on March 28 th 1989, according to the information of Human Rights Watch, 24 people were killed by the police.

Milošević’s triumph was confirmed on June 28 th 1989 at Gazimestan, on the 600 th anniversary of the Kosovo Battle. In his speech, Milošević called Kosovo the heart of Serbia which later became a widely used political rhetoric. There, in front of 300,000 gathered people he claimed that “armed battles are not out of the question yet” which is today often interpreted as a pronouncement of the Yugoslav Wars: “Again, we are before battles and in battles. These are not armed, but that is not to say that armed battles are out of the question.”

Milošević’s speech marked the end of the Yugoslav idea, and he turned from the communist leader of Serbia into the national leader of Serbs. After Milošević’s Gazemistan triumph, Rugova (1989) uttered just about prophetic words: “Gazemistan is a chauvinistic manifestation. Not only the Serbs fought against the Turks, but Albanians, and Croats, and Bosnians also took part in the battle. This is an event of all Yugoslav nations. My impression is that there are certain powers which want terrorist actions in Kosovo. I can only warn Serbs that whenever a small nation, and Serbs are a small nation, wanted to achieve domination in the Balkans, this always ended with that nation’s tragedy.”

Passive resistance and the development of parallel institutions

As a response to the counter-constitutional abolition of autonomy, on July 2 nd , 1990, the Kosovar parliament passed a Constitutional declaration with which Kosovo declared itself a republic, equal to the other Yugoslav republics. Serbia reacted to this by abolishing the Kosovo parliament on July 5 th , and replacing the editors of the main Albanian media in Kosovo. Financing for Kosovar institutions was cut, among others the Academy of Science and Arts (in July 1992). Kosovar Albanians began building parallel institutions. On September 7 th the MPs of the abolished Assembly met in Kačanik in secret and created a new Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo. A shadow government and an Assembly were chosen. In September 1991 Kosovar Albanians also held an unofficial referendum on independence. On the basis of the referendum, the unrecognized Republic of Kosovo declared itself independent from Yugoslavia. In reality, it didn’t function as an independent state but as a parallel system of government. Throughout the whole of the Milošević period, the institutions of the Republic of Serbia called “Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija” and the institutions of the Kosovar Albanians called “Republic of Kosovo” functioned in parallel.

In the 1990s, Kosovo became a police state under the administration of Belgrade. After the Belgrade authorities took over the provincial authorities, hundreds of thousands of Albanians were fired from state institutions and state companies. Milošević’s authorities closed down the majority of Albanian-language schools and quit paying salaries to Albanian high school teachers. The internationalization of the Kosovo question appeared. Kosovar Albanians started to build their own parallel institutions such as education, health care and others. Albanian pupils and students spent their times in private homes, empty companies, and abandoned school buildings. Milošević’s government wouldn’t allow the development of parallel institutions in Kosovo, and the Serbian police constantly raided the educational and other institutions of Kosovar Albanians. Members of the security forces routinely harassed and beat the teachers, students and managers of the Albanian schools. The police constantly broke basic human rights, and arbitrary arrests and torture became regular occurrences. Kosovar Albanian suffered the terror of Slobodan Milošević more than all the other citizens of Serbia.

The leader of the Kosovar Albanians, Ibrahim Rugova, was known for his support of a nonviolent opposition to Milošević’s regime, as a result of which he is called the “Balkan Gandhi”. During 1991 and 1995, when war was raging in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the mostly Albanian population of Kosovo supported a passive resistance, refusing to take part in the political structures of Serbia, boycotting elections and censuses. During the times of armed conflicts, Rugova’s Democratic Union of Kosovo refused the offers of the Croatian and Bosnian leadership to open up one more war front against Serbia.

Up to 1995, Rugova’s strategy of non-violent resistance had the wide support of the Albanian population. But after the end of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia, a nonviolent strategy was brought into question, and the number of those Albanians who supported armed resistance was increasing.

The Kosovo War and the eviction of population

In 1996, the thus-far unknown Kosovo Liberation Army started committing terrorist acts against the Serbian authorities in Kosovo and their Albanian associates. The attack on the Serbian police and civilians continued in 1997. The KLA criticized the “passive” approach of the leaders of the Kosovar Albanians, promising to fight for the liberation of Kosovo from Serbian rule. In the end of 1997, Kosovar Albanians declared the region of Drenica “liberated territory” due to the strong presence of KLA forces.

During the 1998, the KLA became stronger and started to engage in guerilla warfare against the Serbian security forces. In the regions of the conflict, the Serbian police and security forces non-selectively and cruelly acted against the civilian population. On March 5 th 1998, the special police units, during the chase after KLA leader Adem Jashari, in the village Donji Prekaz, leveled the house of the Jashari family, killing 20 fighters, several elderly men, 18 women and 10 children younger than 16 years. The massacre in Prekaz and other non-selective killings committed in those days in the Drenica area radicalized the Kosovar Albanians and strengthened the KLA which grew into a mass armed resistance movement against the Belgrade government. Many of those who had until then supported Rugova’s policy of non-violence decided for armed resistance.

The battles between the Serbian special police units and the KLA which had under its control a significant part of Kosovo were transformed into the Kosovo War in the middle of 1998. From August 1998 onwards, the Serbian security units started a massive campaign against the KLA. During these conflicts the Yugoslav Army and the Serbian police used “excessive force” (according to the International Crime Court), which resulted in the destruction of villages, relocation of population and death of civilians. The excessive use of state violence, massacres against civilians and the ethnic cleansing committed by the Serbian forces were the motive for NATO bombardment of Serbia in March 1999. In essence, Milošević had no choice but to either hand over or not hand over Kosovo to its inhabitants.

Milošević chose to change the population of Kosovo. After NATO had started the bombing, Milošević engaged all available forces in order to drive out Kosovar Albanians. During the NATO strikes, from March 24 th to June 10 th , the Serbian police, military and paramilitary began an “all-encompassing campaign of violence” (ICC) against the Albanian population of Kosovo, carrying out forced relocation and massive persecution on an ethnic basis, committing mass murders, pillages, rapes, destruction of religious objects, and whole settlements. Serbian police tried to conceal the killings of Kosovar Albanians by carrying the corpses into Central Serbia, where they were thrown into the Danube or buried in mass graves. During this brutal action of ethnic cleansing 862,979 registered Albanian refugees left Kosovo in a short period of time (data from UNHCR). While they were driving them out, the authorities also illegally took away the IDs from these citizens and destroyed them, carrying out a systematic deletion of identity.

“Results of the action: The last big groups have been broken. Around 2,000 liquidated, many more than in the previous operation. 900,000 have left the land. 1,000 terrorists remain, 300,000 civilians remain.” – War Journal of the general Obrad Stevanović.

Despite the seeming “final solution” of the Kosovo problem, Serbia was forced to withdraw from Kosovo after 78 days of NATO bombardment. In those days, the Albanians returned to Kosovo, and about 100,000 Serbs left the area. Many Serbs who remained were attacked by the furious Albanians who returned while their possessions were destroyed and pillaged. In the following years the number of Serbs and other non-Albanians who moved from Kosovo was about 200,000. Those who remained became easy prey for the KLA which carried out kidnapping and killings of Serbian civilians, and one of the vilest crimes they are accused of (still without a legal epilogue) is the killing of people for organ theft, and sale of it on the black market.

The UN Administration and the declaration of independence

“Had Serbia been smarter, it would have agreed to the demand for Kosovo Republic in 1981 already. Had Serbia done that, perhaps there would be today a democratic and confederal Yugoslaviam state in which all Serbs would live.” – Slovenian political scientist Anton Bebler

After the end of the bombing, Serbia lost control of Kosovo. According to Resolution 1244, Kosovo remained part of FR Yugoslavia, but under control of the United Nations, meaning the KFOR forces. The Serbian minority in Kosovo turned from a privileged minority into a dispossessed minority. In March 2004, violent riots broke out during which Albanian demonstrators attacked Serbian communities in Kosovo. In two days of ethnic conflicts, 19 civilians were killed (11 Albanians and 8 Serbs), hundreds of Serbian homes destroyed and around 35 Orthodox churches. More than 4,000 were driven out, during which certain settlements were left with no Serbs at all.

In February 2006 negotiations began on the status of Kosovo. The international arbitrator, the Finnish politician Marti Ahtisaari recommended the plan of “controlled independence” which the Serbian side rejected, but the Albanian accepted. Serbia suggested that the status of Kosovo be regulated similarly to that of Hong Kong in China or the Oeland in Finland, but the Kosovar Albanians rejected any proposition that would put Kosovo inside Serbia.

In a deal with Western powers, the Assembly of Kosovo on February 17 th 2008 unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo, with all 109 present MPs, while 11 Serbian MPs boycotted the vote. This decision was in the same night declared illegal by the Government of Serbia, and from then on Serbian diplomacy has worked intensely against Kosovar independence.

Whether Serbia likes it or not, the majority of European states today recognize Kosovo as the youngest European state. Kosovar institutions control most of Kosovo, except for the north which is under the control of Serbs. While I am writing this (2011), there are barricades on the north of Kosovo Belgrade and Prishtina still cannot reach any sort of deal.

After due to the Balkan Wars Kosovo became part of Serbia for a short period of time, the First World War broke out. After World War I, Kosovo became part of Yugoslavia, its permanent problem, and one of the major reasons of its break-up.

The Yugoslav period of the Kosovar history was, unfortunately, rather violent. During the majority of the Yugoslav period, Kosovo either had a state of emergency or martial law. Everything taken into account, there was the least violence in the period of the development of Kosovar autonomy, from the removal of Ranković in 1966 to the 1981 riots. And even the period of the genocide propaganda in the 1980s seems relatively mild compared to what happened later when the mass killing really began.

The main demographic tendencies in the Yugoslav period were the planned migrations of the Serbs in the period of the Kingdom, and the chaotic movements in the period of SFRY. There are a lot less Serbs today in Kosovo statistically than 100 years ago. As a majority, Serbs now only exist in the North of Kosovo where they were also the majority in the beginning of the century. They even became the minority in the towns that were founded by colonization like Obilić and Kosovo Polje. From many towns, they have completely been driven out.

How to proceed?

As we have seen, the problems with Kosovo didn’t come into existence today or yesterday, they have existed since Kosovo entered Serbian/Yugoslav state. Many Serbs with whom I have talked to would love for the problem to be solved by all the Albanians there disappearing. I think that is not realistic, and most importantly, not humane.

Is the solution another conquest of Kosovo? That has been done for too many times already (1912, 1918, 1944, 1989, 1999), but we simply didn’t know what to do with it. Belgrade has tried all the violent methods in the 20 th century: gradual relocation, expulsions, martial law, colonization, etc… It was because of these policies, that Kosovar Serbs always suffered. As if by a rule, every instance of Belgrade violence caused a worsening of the situation and the migration of the Kosovar Serbs.

Izveštaj međunarodne komisije o balkanskim ratovima, Vašington, 1914.
Dimitrije Tucović, Srbija i Albanija, Beograd, 1914.
Dimitrije Bogdanović, Knjiga o Kosovu, Beograd, 1985.
Isterivanja Albanaca i kolonizacija Kosova, Istorijski institut u Prištini, 1997.
Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History, Macmilan, London, 1998.
Kosovo: kako viđeno, tako rečeno (Izveštaj OEBS-a), 1999.
Po naređenju: ratni zločini na Kosovu (Izveštaj Human Rights Watch-a), 2001.
Aleksandar Pavlović, Prostorni raspored Srba i Crnogoraca kolonizovanih na Kosovo i Metohiju u periodu između 1918. i 1941. godine, Baština br. 24, 2008.
Transkripti sa suđenja Miloševiću, Fond za humanitarno pravo, 2009.
Presuda Miloševićevim saradnicima za zločine na Kosovu, MKSJ, 2009.

[1] The Balli Kombëtar (literally National Front), known as Balli, was an Albanian nationalist anti-communist resistance movement and a political organization established in November 1942. It was led by Ali Këlcyra and Midhat Frashëri and was formed by members from the landowning elite, liberal nationalists opposed to communism and other sectors of society in Albania.The motto of the Balli Kombëtar was: “Shqipëria Shqiptarëve, Vdekje Tradhëtarëve” (Albania for the Albanians, Death to the Traitors). Eventually the Balli Kombëtar joined the Nazi established puppet government and fought as an ally against anti-fascist guerrilla groups.

[2] The Kosovo Myth, or the Kosovo Cult (Serbian: Косовски Завет / Kosovski Zavet) is a belief asserting that the Battle of Kosovo (June 1389) symbolizes a martyrdom of the Serbian nation in defense of their honor and Christendom against Turks (non-believers). The essence of the myth is that during the battle, Serbs, headed by Prince Lazar, lost because they consciously sacrificed the earthly kingdom in order to gain the Kingdom of Heaven. Since the 19 th century Kosovo Myth became an important constitutive element of nationalist identity, as well as cultural and political homogenization of Serbs. The basic elements of the Kosovo Myth are vengeance, martyrdom, betrayal and glory.

[3] Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Serbian: Српска академија наука и уметности/Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti, abbr. САНУ/SANU)

History of Coast Survey

The effort experienced some growing pains in the early years. Ferdinand Hassler, who was eventually to become the agency’s first superintendent, went to England to collect scientific instruments and was unable to return through the duration of the War of 1812. After Hassler returned, he started work on a survey of New York Harbor in 1817, but Congress stepped in to suspend the work because of tensions between civilian and military control of the agency. After several years under the control of the Department of the Navy, the civilian U.S. Coast Survey was established in 1832, with Hassler as superintendent. Coast Survey has been the nation's chartmaker ever since.

In the ensuing years, the young agency tackled additional responsibilities. In addition to conducting hydrographic surveys and producing nautical charts, U.S. Coast Survey conducted the first systematic study of the Gulf Stream, designed tidal predication machines, and established the geodetic connection between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

U.S. Coast Survey (known as Coast and Geodetic Survey beginning in 1878) attracted the best and brightest scientists and naturalists. Coast Survey commissioned famed naturalist Louis Agassiz to conduct the first scientific study of the Florida reef system. James McNeill Whistler, who went on to paint the iconic “Whistler’s Mother,” was a Coast Survey engraver. The great naturalist John Muir was a guide and artist on “Survey of the 39th Parallel” across the Great Basin of Nevada and Utah. Alexander Dallas Bache, great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin, was the second Coast Survey Superintendent. Bache was a physicist, scientist, and surveyor who established the first magnetic observatory and served as the first president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The agency’s men and women (Coast Survey hired women professionals as early as 1845) led scientific and engineering activities through the decades. In 1926, they started production of aeronautical charts to meet the requirements of the new air transportation age. During height of the Great Depression, Coast and Geodetic Survey (C&GS) organized surveying parties and field offices that employed over 10,000 people, including many out-of-work engineers.

In World War II, C&GS sent over 1000 civilian members and more than half of its commissioned officers to the military services. They served as hydrographers, artillery surveyors, cartographers, army engineers, intelligence officers, and geophysicists in all theaters of the war. Civilians on the home front produced over 100 million maps and charts for the Allied Forces. Eleven members of the C&GS gave their lives during the war.

President Richard Nixon formed NOAA in 1970, bringing C&GS into the new scientific agency. Today, the Office of Coast Survey continues its traditional commitment to employing the highest levels of science and technology to improve marine safety and to tackle the new challenges of the 21st century.

According to the Dictionary of American History, “the Survey is considered to have been one of the major birthplaces of modern American science, including many disciplines not generally associated with geodesy and hydrology. Its creation is a cornerstone of the rapid growth of science and technology and of the development of natural resources for commercial use in the United States.”

Important Dates in History

1807: President Thomas Jefferson establishes Survey of the Coast. An Act of February 10, 1807, provides for the systematic coastal survey under the Department of the Treasury. Jefferson selects Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler’s proposal for a trigonometric survey. However, Hassler's plan requires very sophisticated scientific instruments not available in the United States, and the start of work is delayed.

1811: Hassler leaves for England in 1811 to oversee the design and manufacture of the needed instruments. Hostilities break out, however, and he remains in England throughout the War of 1812. He does not return to the U.S. until after peace is negotiated in 1815. (See a University of Virginia biographic sketch for more information.)

1816: A formal agreement is reached between the United States government and Hassler. He begins a survey of New York Harbor actual fieldwork starts in the early months of 1817.

1818: The survey is suspended pursuant to an Act of April 14, 1818 (3 Stat. 425), which repeals provisions of the law that permits civilians to conduct surveys.

1825: Hassler writes a defense of his work ("Papers on Various Subjects Concerned with the Survey of the Coast of the United States," 1825) and publishes it in the Philosophical Transactions of Philadelphia.

1832: The agency is reestablished in 1832. Hassler, at age 62, is appointed as Superintendent.

1834: Survey of the Coast finally takes its first soundings.

1835: Survey of the Coast publishes its first chart “of which there is a present record” (according to Shore and Sea Boundaries, Vol. 2), Bridgeport Harbor, Conn., dated 1835. This chart was probably engraved commercially on contract, since no engravers had been employed at this time.

1836: Survey of the Coast renamed to U.S. Coast Survey. In addition, from 1836 until the establishment of the National Bureau of Standards in 1901, the Survey is responsible for weights and measures throughout the U.S.

1843: Hassler dies. Alexander Dallas Bache, great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin, succeeds Hassler. Bache is a physicist, scientist, and surveyor who establishes the first magnetic observatory.

1843 - 1845: The Survey produces a set of six charts of “New York Bay and Harbor and the Environs.”

1845: U.S. Coast Survey begins systematic studies of the Gulf Stream. It is the first systematic oceanographic project for studying a specific phenomenon commenced by any government or organization. Physical oceanography, geological oceanography, biological oceanography, and chemical oceanography of the Gulf Stream and its environs are covered in the initial orders, serving as a model for all subsequent integrated oceanographic cruises.

1847: Naturalist Louis Agassiz sails on Coast Survey Steamer Bibb to study fish and fauna of offshore New England area.

1851: U. S. Coast Survey commissions Louis Agassiz to conduct first scientific study of the Florida Reef system.

1853: First Tide Prediction Tables are published.

1854 -1855: U.S. Coast Survey employs James McNeill Whistler as an engraver. (He goes on to paint the iconic “Whistler’s Mother” in 1871.)

1861: Coast Survey Supervisor Bache publishes “Notes on the Coast of the United States,” secret documents used by the Union Army. This series of “Notes,” extending from Delaware Bay to Mississippi Sound on the Gulf Coast, contributes to the efficacy of the Union blockading squadrons.

1861-65: Coast Survey serves with Union Army and Navy in all theaters of the Civil War and with all major commanders. Coast surveyors serve as hydrographers, topographers, and scouts, oftentimes in advance of the front lines. In the Army, coast surveyors are given assimilated military rank while attached to a specific command.

1867: U.S. Coast Survey is the pioneer federal agency in Alaska. George Davidson, head of the Survey on the West Coast, accompanies the Revenue Cutter Lincoln in its inspection of Russian Alaska prior to the purchase of Seward’s Icebox. Also in this year, George W. Blunt, whose family produced Coast Pilot for 70 years, sells the rights to the Coast Survey for $20,000.s

1869: George Davidson, head of the Survey on the West Coast, obtains maps made by Kohklux, the leader of the Chilkhat Indians of southeastern Alaska. Davidson subsequently sets a policy (in 1888) noting, “special attention is called to the nomenclature of all points named, especially Indian names.”

1873: The Commission of Fish and Fisheries utilizes the Coast Survey steamer Bache for first deep water sampling and dredging cruises. This cooperative relationship continues for many years until the Fisheries Service obtains its own deep-water steamers.

1874-1877: Coast Survey employs the great naturalist John Muir as guide and artist on “Survey of the 39th Parallel” across the Great Basin of Nevada and Utah.

1874-1878: Steamer Blake makes many major innovations, including Sigsbee sounding machine and use of steel cable for oceanographic operations. Blake also pioneers deep ocean anchoring during Gulf Stream studies and is perhaps the most innovative oceanographic vessel of the nineteenth century.

1878: U.S. Coast Survey name is changed to Coast and Geodetic Survey (C&GS) to reflect role of geodesy.

1882: William Ferrel designs the first tide-predicting machine used in the United States. This machine differs somewhat in design from any other machine up to that time.

1890: The U.S. Board on Geographic Names is established and the Superintendent of C&GS, Dr. Thomas C. Mendenhall, is selected as its first chair. The Navy Department and Coast and Geodetic Survey initiate a unified policy in the use of geographic names on charts and other publications, in response to complications resulting from a variety of forms of orthography and nomenclature of the same place or feature. The agencies are especially concerned about the Alaska charts where (using Mendenhall's words) "hardly a name did not admit three or more spellings and many features have more than one name."

1899: C&GS is authorized its own flag. It is blue, with a white circle and a red triangle, symbolizing triangulation. C&GS opens a field office in Seattle, Wash., to support ships and survey field expeditions future Pacific Marine Center.

1901: National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) is established from U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Office of Weights and Measures. Also, with the transfer of the Philippine Islands from Spain to the U.S. after the Spanish-American War, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names becomes involved in its first major program of standardizing a large number of names for a foreign area.

1917: U. S. enters World War I. Commissioned Officers Corps created from field corps of the Coast and Geodetic Survey that organization is the forerunner of NOAA Corps. Half of commissioned officer service transferred to Armed Services ships Surveyor and Bache transferred to Navy. Ship Albatross transferred from Bureau of Fisheries to the Navy.

1923-24: Coast and Geodetic Survey begins use of acoustic sounding systems develops radio acoustic ranging, the first marine navigation system ever devised to not have to rely on some visual means of position determination. This system leads to discovery of SOFAR, telemetering radio sono-buoys, and marine seismic exploration techniques.

1926: Coast and Geodetic Survey begins to provide charts for air navigation (Air Commerce Act).

1927: Mississippi River Commission asks the Survey to map and analyze a disastrous flood. The map shows how levees were deliberately dynamited to flood the bayous and spare New Orleans.

1933: Coast and Geodetic Survey opens a field office in Norfolk, Virginia.

1934 – 1937: During the height of the Great Depression, Coast and Geodetic Survey organizes surveying parties and field offices that employ over 10,000, including many out-of-work engineers.

1939: Coast & Geodetic Survey ship Pioneer surveys the Bering Sea.

1941-1945: Technical capabilities of the Coast and Geodetic Survey and Weather Service are devoted completely to the war effort.

1942 -1945: The Coast and Geodetic Survey sends over 1000 civilian members and over ½ of its commissioned officers to the military services. Coast Surveyors serve as hydrographers, artillery surveyors, cartographers, army engineers, intelligence officers, and geophysicists in all theaters of the war. Civilians on the home front produce over 100 million maps and charts for the Allied forces. Eleven members of the C&GS give their lives during WWII.

1943: The Hydrographic Office, U.S. Navy Department, publishes "Gazetteer (No. 4) Hawaiian Islands," based on data compiled by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. C&GS publishes "Geographic Names in the Coastal Areas of Alaska" from material compiled under its supervision by personnel of the Works Project Administration.

1945: Coast Survey adapts “Gee” aerial bombardment electronic navigation system to hydrographic surveying, helps to usher in the era of marine electronic navigation.

1948: Pacific Tsunami Warning System is established in Honolulu.

1953: Coast and Geodetic Survey ship Hydrographer rides out Hurricane Florence in the Gulf of Mexico.

1955: Coast and Geodetic Survey ship Pioneer, conducting surveys off United States west coast, tows magnetometer invented by Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The crew discovers magnetic striping on the seafloor, a key element in formulating the theory of plate tectonics.

1962: C&GS establishes the Great Lakes Research Center, develops strong programs in coastal processes (including tides, currents, waves, and sedimentation) and water resources (water quality, water quantity, and ice and snow conditions).

1965: The Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) is formed within the Department of Commerce, consolidates the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Weather Bureau.

1969: Stratton Commission report “Our Nation and the Sea” recommends a new agency.

1970: On October 5, President Nixon issues an executive order establishing NOAA. NOAA is created within the Department of Commerce, combining Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, Weather Bureau, Coast and Geodetic Survey, Environmental Data Service, National Oceanographic Data Center, National Satellite Center, Research Libraries, and other components.

1974: NOAA’s National Ocean Services is responsible for compiling, printing and distributing the Great Lakes charts.

1983: By presidential proclamation, President Ronald Reagan declares a United States Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending out 200 nautical miles from our shores. NOAA embarks on program of multi-beam surveying of the EEZ, leading to many discoveries including numerous economically important salt domes in the Gulf of Mexico.

Additional Resources:

Jefferson Authorizes Survey of the Coast, by Gaye Wilson, Monticello Newsletter, Fall 2007.

The 200th Anniversary of the Survey of the Coast, by John Cloud, National Archives Prologue, Spring 2007.

The Surveyors: Charting America’s Course

Travel through time and across a growing nation with the visionary scientists and intrepid explorers of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey in our video The Surveyors: Charting America's Course.

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The Surveyors: Charting America’s Course

Travel through time and across a growing nation with the visionary scientists and intrepid explorers of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey in our video The Surveyors: Charting America's Course.


Wolfowitz was a leading light of the now-dormant Balkan Action Council – which functioned as the major Washington-based American front group for the Kosovo Liberation Army – and lent his name to the BAC’s propaganda, which had been advocating an all-out war against Serbia since June of 1998: In January of 1999 they issued the following statement, which also appeared in newspaper advertisements, calling on Clinton to:

“Withdraw the international monitors immediately to prevent Belgrade from using them as hostages and clear the ground for NATO military intervention. Use NATO air power in sustained attacks on Serbian police, paramilitary units and military forces in Kosovo to compel their withdrawal back to Serbia proper. Deploy NATO ground troops and reintroduce the OSCE monitoring mission to Kosovo to forestall a return to violence. Impose and enforce with NATO forces an interim settlement in Kosovo that restores the elements of pre-1989 autonomy.”

The Avatar's ship arrives at Alwas, one of the aforementioned qualifying planets for the grand finals on Ōban. Don Wei is the first member of the Earth Team to wake up after an undetermined amount of time spent traveling, and orders everybody to get up and ready to leave the ship.

After a moment, he picks up the flashlight that woke him up in order to look for any potential damage to their star-racers. Going up to the flatbed to inspect them more closely, he finds Eva sleeping on the tarp. Woken up from the flashlight, she apologizes to Don realizing she fell asleep. Not expecting Eva's presence, he demands to know why she's in the Avatar's ship. Unsure of an answer, Eva responds to Don that she's his daughter, but is interrupted right before saying that by Jordan, who is also disgruntled by her presence. Understanding that there are other people around, Eva gets back into the persona of Molly, and tells Don that she believed the Earth Team could use another mechanic. Don, disapproving of this answer, states to her that Stan and Koji are the best mechanics of the league, and labels her as just a surprise.

A moment later, the Avatar's ship opens up, and they exit with their truck. Outside, the Earth Team is quickly greeted by Satis, one of the Avatar's servants. He escorts them to their assigned pit but warns them that they don't have much time before they're scheduled to race after the opening ceremony concludes. Heeding his statement, the Earth Team immediately begins running diagnostics on the Whizzing Arrow. After testing the engines, Stan and Koji discover a leak that lead to the loss of approximately a liter of engine fluid. Wanting to be useful, Eva drives off on her rocket seat to get the fluid needed. Watching her leave the pit with Don, Rick jokingly asks if he brought a substitute pilot. However, Don responds telling him that he should know about his negative opinions on female pilots and goes back inside, not caring that Eva heard him. Rick, now not talking to anyone, comments to himself that she seems fairly talented after she narrowly avoided getting run over by a large star-racer that quickly came out of a blind spot.

After acquiring a liter of engine fluid, Eva returns to the pit, only to find herself locked out. After she bangs on the door, a scrub inside appearing to inspect the Whizzing Arrow is startled by her and runs off. Upset believing she is being deliberately locked out, she decides to go to the opening ceremony. There, she meets a young prince named Aikka and his supervisor, Canaan. After being spotted and called over by Jordan, she enthusiastically gives the engine fluid to Stan.

Almost immediately after, the race judges arrive to their balcony, and announce the official commencement of the Alwas pre-selections, and then summon the Avatar. The Avatar briefs the contestants of the guidelines and only rule (Do not murder your adversary). He then wishes luck for all contestants, then disappears.

The race judges wait no time to begin the race, calling forth the first pair of contestants to the starting area: Prince Aikka of Nourasia (Riding G'dar, a giant beetle) and an unnamed contestant from Hortlum. While speaking with Eva, Jordan reveals that the kingdom of Nourasia has a public alliance with the Crog Imperium, and thus has a low opinion of them. However, much to his dismay, Aikka wins halfway through after firing an arrow into the Hortlum racer's exhaust, completely destroying their star-racer.

Later in the evening, the Earth Team is called to race. Rick is matched against Grooor, who pilots Apocalypse. While watching the race, Eva sees visions of a violent star-racer crash when Rick is rammed into the track's walls by Grooor. Unsure what she just saw, Eva assumes the vision is a gut feeling that something bad is going to happen. Anxious, she rushes to the control room to warn Stan and Koji about her premonitions of something bad happening to the Arrow and Rick. After Grooor loses his lead and control due to tripping on a horizontal pillar, Koji reassures Eva that nothing bad is going to happen and suggests she goes back outside to watch the race.

While in the canyon, Grooor runs out of ammunition and begins to focus on passing Rick instead of shooting down the Arrow. Rick slightly understeers into the final turn and is rammed slightly off course by Grooor, who didn't turn in time and was even further off track. While on the beach straight, the Arrow's right cooling system experiences a dangerous and unexpected surge of heat, panicking Stan and Koji. The Arrow's right air brake flies open and its accompanying engine shuts down, then suddenly explodes. Apocalypse is caught in the explosion, and both crash at the track's starting area in flames.

Eva, who had started watching the race again outside on the roof just before the cooling system failed, experiences the same vision of a star-racer crash again, now in greater detail. Realizing that it was a memory from when she was a small child, in tandem with seeing Rick's crash, Eva falls to her knees in anguish. Don rushes to the crash site to assess the damage. Jordan gets out of the Arrow unharmed, announcing this to him. Panicked over Rick, Don rushes to him reassuring him that he'll get out fine. Rick replies in overall agreeance, but passes out after declaring that he didn't come to Always just to lose after a single race. The episode then closes with a close-up shot of Eva horrifically observing the crash site from the roof.

Watch the video: Hostilities break out between Armenia u0026 Azerbaijan (February 2023).

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