31 October 2006

Still no results in investigation of recent attacks on Serbs

Still no results in investigations of attacks in Klina and the village of Lug near Istok

KIM Info Service, October 2, 2006

Following the recent attack on Serbs in Klina in which four members of the Pavlovic family were hurt, the Kosovo police has still not found the perpetrators of this crime. Also without progress is an investigation into an armed attack in the village of Lug in Istok municipality, the KIM Info Service has learned. Condemnations of these crimes by Kosovo officials, on the one hand, and the inability of Kosovo police to find the perpetrators of the attacks are causing Kosovo and Metohija Serbs to have even greater distrust Kosovo institutions. The general impression in this case is that the Kosovo authorities have no control over the situation on the ground or that they are simply insincere, say local Serbs.

According to unofficial sources close to UNMIK police, there is sufficient evidence to identify the perpetrators of these attacks because the criminal groups and clans that have taken over most of the Serb-owned property in Klina are a serious problem for some native Kosovo Albanians in Klina town, too. According to a representative of international police interviewed by the KIM Info Service the Kosovo police is unwilling to get into a conflict with armed bands that are organized by clan. At the moment opposing extremist camps are united by one goal - to discourage Serb returns and force them to sell their property to those who have been living in it illegally for years. There is great fear among ordinary Albanians living close to Serbs and none of them are ready to testify, the source told KIM Info Service.

After their release from Pec Hospital on September 27 the members of the Pavlovic family are successfully recovering in Visoki Decani Monastery, where they will wait for their apartment to be rebuilt as promised by the municipality of Klina. Because of the seriousness of her eye injury, Rada Pavlovic has been transferred to Belgrade where she is undergoing further treatment at the Ophthalmological Clinical Center. Milorad Pavic repeated his firm determination to return to Klina. "I have nowhere to go. I grew up there and the only place I can go is up there on the hill (to the cemetery)," Pavlovic told the KIM Info Service. He expressed the hope that good people would prevail in the end over evil and hatred, and said he wanted to live with his Albanian neighbors.

The Albanian community's treatment of this and other Serb families will be the best way of testing the validity of political statements by Pristina officials.