Tag Archives: Serbia

Serbia Lags In Protection Of Human Rights

Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe told the Serbian newspaper, B-92, he was disappointed in the lack of progress within its country in dealing with issues of freedom of speech, discrimination against minorities, a corrupt and brutal police system and a judiciary system that does not meet standards of honesty and effectiveness. He was particularly upset at the prevalence of intolerance and hate speech that is heard too often in public places like the media.

He said Serbia has a cluster of human rights problems which certainly could be helped if the court system was more honest and the police less brutal. He stated bluntly,”it is necessary to review the functioning of the entire justice system.” He told the Serbian government of the displeasure on the part of the European Union to a prison system that is over-crowded and poorly run. Of course, until Serbia resolves its issues with Kosovo, there will be fertile ground for nationalist extremists to preach hate toward minorities.

UN And EU Agree Kosovo Can Be Independent

The United States and the European Union have sharply denounced Russia’s intervention in the dispute between South Ossetia and Georgia on grounds the government of Georgia has a right to retake regions which have broken away. Within days of blasting Russia, the UN and EU handed over power to the new EULEX which will work with the government of Kosovo and, in effect, recognize the right of the former part of Serbia to virtually be an independent nation. It is no wonder Russia regards support for the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia as hypocritical on the part of the United States and the EU. From the Russian perspective, the EU and American support the right of a region to break away from its mother country, but to not support the right of South Ossetia to break away from Georgia.

Sebia’s Defense Minister denounced the action as a violation of international law. Perhaps, it is time to clarify the right of regions to secede from a mother country. Currently, the situation is completely confusing.

Extraditing Karadzic A Moral Issue Says Serbia

Serbian Foreign Minister Yuk Jeremic told the BBC, his nation had a moral responsibility to extradite Radovan Karadzic who committed horrible crimes in killing thousands of innocent people and fostering the raping of women. “Regardless of European perspectives the Serbian government would extradite Radovan Karadzic because it is out moral and legal obligation.” He insisted his nation would cooperate in every manner with the international tribunal which will conduct the trail of the Serbian war criminal. He admitted his country wants to enter the European Union and cooperating in the process of ensuring Karadzic would go on trial is an important aspect of having a successful application to the EU. Jeremic also emphasized the trial would be an important step “in an honest effort to reach reconciliation in the Balkans.”

The trial of Karadzic in itself only ensures the punishment of a mass murderer, but it does not necessarily ensure those who worked with the Serbian thug will express remorse for their deeds. However, there are times in life when the life of one man is important to establish the principle that evil does not go unpunished.

Gotcha-Radovan Karadzic!

Oe of the world’s most wanted men, the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, was arrested last night in Serbia after more than 12 years on the run from charges of genocide and war crimes. Karadzic is charged with the Srebrenica massacre and the Sarajevo siege among his crimes against humanity which involved killing thousands and raping women . Serbian security officers arrested him and brought him before a war crimes court in Belgrade. According to initial reports the war criminal was under surveillance for weeks after a tip off from an unnamed foreign intelligence agency. Richard Holbrooke, the American diplomat who was heavily involved in negotiating an end to the war, described Karadzic as a “real, true architect of mass murder.” He is charged with assisting in the murder of nearly 8,000 Muslims.

It has been a long time coming, but capturing this two bit thug and murderer is important for the world in efforts to bring to justice those who abuse human rights. It was an important step that Serbian authorities cooperated in the arrest.

Pro European Party Wins Serbian Election

The people of Serbia sent a message to the world of their support for entry into the European Union and gave nationalist forces a crushing defeat. President Boris Tadic’s pro European bloc won 39% of the vote while Serbian nationalists trailed far behind with 29%. The results surprised most political experts since opinion polls had indicated the nationalists would win by a solid margin. Tadic said: “Serbian voters have confirmed the clear European path for Serbia. Serbs want to go down the road to European Union and Serbia will be in the EU.” He, in effect, made the vote not just one that supported his government but one in which the people of Serbia were deciding to enter the EU or remain outside with the rabble rousing nationalists.

Most Serbians have come to recognize the old days of nationalistm and hate lead nowhere but to violence and economic backwardness. They want a resolution of the Kosovo issue and realize this best can be resolved within the contour of a European Union decision. Hopefully, this vote puts an end to the terrible war in Yugoslavia which devastated the country in the 1990s.

EU Concerned Over Serbian Election

The European Union is worried about the May 11 elections in Serbia where the ultra-nationalist Radical Party may become the stongest group in parliament. It is led by Tomislav “Toma” Nikolic, a rabble rouser who plays to nationalistic emotions and promises never to give up the fight to ensure Kosovo remains part of Serbia. He insists the European Union can not dictate what happens in Serbia or Kosovo and rejects the ideas of Serbian President Boris Tadic who wants his nation to enter the EU and find a way to resolve the Kosovo issue without violence. However, if Nikolic’s party gains about 30% of the vote it will probably become the largest political party in parliament.

Sebian nationalist refuse to enter into negotiation with the European Union until there is agreement that Kosovo is still part of Serbia, a demand that will not be accepted. Many Serbs want membership because it allows Serbians to find jobs in any EU nation. Most probably the election will result in a stalemate in Serbia with no political party strong enough to face the reality of an independent Kosovo.

Serbia Escalates Violence In Kosovo

The city of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo is a Christian Serbian enclave surrounded by Muslims who are happy at their nation’s declaration of independence from Serbia. Early this week, hundreds of Serbians in the town stormed the court house, took possession, and raised Serbian flags in protest. UN and NATO peacekeeping soldiers attempted to take back the court house, but hundreds of civilians poured into the street creating scenes of chaos in the town. The angry mob even freed a few dozen men who had been seized by NATO forces.

The Serbian government is engaged in a rather precarious game in which their goal is assuming control of areas in northern Kosovo where many Serbians still live and unite those areas with Serbia in an act of defiance to the world. The European Union and the United States fear any action to placate Serbians will initiate anger and violence on the part of Albania and Kosovo which could escalate into a more extensive war. On Monday, Serbian Foreign Minister for Kosovo said: “Have faith in Belgrade. We will pay back the international community for what they have done to us. Only Serbia should be responsible for Kosovo.”

The fighting words of the Serbian diplomat are certain to incite further action on the part of Muslims in Albania and Kosovo. The Serbian government realizes an invasion of Kosovo would bring down the wrath of NATO and the United States. In the meantime, they intend to keep things in a state of chaos.

Serb Riot In Kosovo Against UN Forces

Serbs living in northern areas of Kosovo rioted against western peacekeepers in the worst unrest since the Muslim dominated government of Kosovo declared its independence. UN riot police backed by NATO helicopters and armored vehicles used stun grenades and teargas to restore control of a court-building occpied by Serb activists in the Serb controlled town of Mitrovica. Dozens of people were hurt in explosions and clashes after riot police stormed the building at dawn. Most of Mitrovica’s 40,000 people are Serbs who oppose the Muslim decision to make Kosovo an independent nation and break away from control by Serbia.

There is little question the 300 Serbs who took over the court house were being supported by Serbian officials. The protestors raised Serbian flags over the building and indicated they want to remain part of Serbia. Milan Ivanovie, the Serbian leader claimed the Kosovo govenment had ordered NATO forces to drive out the protestors. There is fear Serbia wants to create a separate Serbian led government in northern Kosovo which would run the area, and, in effect, declare its independence from the govenment of Kosovo.

As always, ethnic conflicts divide and separate people in Europe and other parts of the world. The tangled web of anger and hate will not soon disappear from Kosovo until its government and Serbia can create the semblance of peaceful relations.

Serbians Riot And Europe Worries!

The government of Serbia encouraged mass demonstrations in the streets of Belgrade against the Kosovo announcement of independence. An estimated 200,000 people took part in the protest and as the evening wore on, hundreds headed for the United States Embassy to express anger at American support for Kosovo. Protestors trashed rooms, ripped down an American flag and set the building on fire. Firemen later found the body of one of the protestors who apparently died in the evening’s confusion. The United States issued a strong condemnation of the riot and said it would “hold the Serbian government personally responsible for th safety and well-being of our embassy employees.” The European Union also made clear its disapproval of acts of violence. Serbia has withdrawn its ambassadors from Autria and Germany because their governments have recognized Kosovo independence.

Lost in the night of rioting was increased concern in many parts of Europe which harbor separatist groups within their nations. Spain has problems with both Basque and Catalan separatists who might take hope from the success of Kosovo. Russia is always concerned about the issue of separatism since its nation contains many diverse ethnic and racial groups who not only have differing historical devlopments but are Muslim in religion.

The question of the hour is not so much the independence of Kosovo, but does it open a pandora’s box of separatist desires.

Serbia “Annuls” Kosovo Independence

As the government of Kosovo announced its independence, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica of Serbia told his nation the action was illegal and thus null and void. “Kosovo’s unilateral declalration of a false state is the final act of a pollicy that started with the NATO agression against Serbia in 1999.” He blamed “NATO’s military interests” as the cause of Kosovo seeking to become an independent nation. Kostunica most strongly attacked the United States as the main culprit in the action and claimed it forced the European Union to “trample on the principles it is built upon.” One assumes he referred to preventing regions from seceeding from a mother nation.

President Bori Tadic issued a statement saying his govenment would do all in its power to “annul the self-styled and illegal declaraiton of Kosovo’s independence.” But, he cautioned his people to remain calm and avoid provocative actions.

Obviously, no nation enjoys the prospect of witnessing a piece of its territory leave the national entity, but Serbians apparently have forgotten their brutal policies and concentration camps for Muslims in the 1990s. Part of the problem is having the people of Kosovo seek to remain part of Serbia was failure on the part of its government to accept responsibility for murders committed against civilians during the fighting.