Mitrovica, on the anniversary of the expulsion and ethnic cleansing

According to an evidence of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms – (CDHRF) in Pristina and Mitrovica, between the third and fourth of February 2000,...

According to an evidence of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms – (CDHRF) in Pristina and Mitrovica, between the third and fourth of February 2000, in northern Kosovo across the river that divides the city into a never-ending conflict between Serbian state authority officials and ethnic Albanians, within two dates late-night and early-morning ten Albanian citizens were executed, twenty-five of them were wounded by firearms, ninety-three of them were severely physically abused while 11,364.00 other Albanians were forced to migrate from their homes along the month of February 2000.
Mitrovica mian bridge 2000 – ©Corbis Images
All this ethnic cleansing violent campaign, according to the eyewitnesses was conducted in the presence of International Peacekeeping Forces of NATO, so known as Kosovo Force (IPF-NATO-KFOR), whose mandate was guaranteed to serve and provide safe and security environment for all citizens of Kosovo, within the Kosovo administrative line, which is now thirteen years within the territorial borderline of Serbia, as according to UN resolution 1244, Kosovo is still under the former Yougoslavia territorial integrity.
According to witnesses of CDHRF, responsible for all this ethnic cleansing of Albanians in northern Kosovo, are members of the Serbian nationality engaged by their state authorities from Belgrade to accomplish their assignment lead by Oliver Ivanovic.
O. Ivanovic is one of key political leaders of the northern ethnic Kosovo Serbs, who ‘successfully’ managed to be apart of the Kosovo provisional institutions in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital city, despite the fact that there’s been many survived victims eyewitness that Mr. Ivanovic was one of the key leaders who operated in the actions that proved to be the commitment of crimes against humanity. Not NATO/KFOR neither the UN mission in Kosovo took ever into consideration the claims of eyewitness who presumably testify to be the victims of the crime allegedly by the “hands” of Ivanovic.
NATO/KFOR’s and UNMIK’s legal mandate was to occupy the whole administrative line of Kosovo, but seems like on the way someone managed to make another agreement that would breach the UN resolution 1244, a political “or commercial” commitment of Internationals that produced a never-ending conflict for northern Kosovo.
Now a years, Mitrovica north of Kosovo for Kosovars, and southern heart of Serbia for Serbs, is a time bomb for when ever the politicians, in its northern side of the map as well as on its southern side of the map, need a “currency” for their political benefits that would fit into their pre-elections campaign, is a place from which you hear the news for new victims, or new bombs being dropped into the neighborhoods of burned city, which is divided by its river. Or, the breaking news and promise could potentially be the promise to get rid of problems in Mitrovica and bring back the order into the “holy city” for Kosovo politicians in Pristina, but at the same time, we could hear the news, and promises of keep the “ghost city” under control and bring back the whole Kosovo through Mitrovica for the Serbian politicians in Belgrade.
However, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on February 4th, 2012, said that the Alliance is not planning any withdrawal of its troops from Kosovo. “Our goal remains unchanged: a safe and secure environment for all people of Kosovo and a full reestablishment of the freedom of movement. For this, we need to maintain the current KFOR presence,” said Rasmussen in a press conference following a meeting of the NATO defense ministers in Brussels.
Speaking about the north, Rasmussen said a political solution is needed. “I do not propose any comparative political process but I strongly support the dialogue under EU facilitation,” said NATO Secretary General and urged Pristina and Belgrade to remain engaged in the discussion table so as to find a long-term solution.
But, seems like he is not aware that it is under NATO’s mandate to bring the public order into power even in northern Kosovo, anyway, Mr. Rasmussen speaks for a political solution while forgetting that NATO is a military organization, that provides the technical services for the political agreements, that NATO’s green light was given for its current presence in Kosovo, according to UN res. 1244.
Serbs in northern Kosovo, who oppose independence declared by majority Albanians in 2008, went to the polls on January 14th, 2012, to vote in a referendum against Pristina institutions.
Tensions flared up again as minority Serbs who live in the northern part of majority ethnic-Albanian Kosovo intended to take part in Serbia’s general elections set for May 6 despite strong opposition from Pristina, elections were organized and legalized.
Uncertainty prevailed in Kosovo, as at the beginning of April, a man was killed by a bomb attack in northern Mitrovica, while several of his family members were seriously injured. He was a Kosovo Albanian living in the Serb-dominated northern part of the divided city. The investigation has not yet led to the perpetrators or the reasons behind the attack.
Rumors, however, were quick to spread: radical Serbs, who want to expel “Albanians” from “their” part of the city, had allegedly committed the attack. Since then, tensions in northern Kosovo have intensified.
Serbian para-military forces while leaving Kosovo in 1999
© Corbis Images
Parallel structures
The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that the Serbs who live in northern Kosovo are increasingly ignoring the authority of Belgrade. They are determined to hold their own municipal political and social life organized by them, although Belgrade has recently advised them against doing so, and Pristina is not willing to use any means that would aim to bring back the public order on its northern bank.

The problem of northern Kosovo is primarily a political one. For 13 years, North Mitrovica has been governed by Serbian political and economic structures that are financed from Belgrade. The EU’s Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, EULEX, has little influence in the north of Kosovo.
According to Sabine Freizer of the International Crisis Group (ICG), the situation in Kosovo will not improve until Pristina; the Serbs in northern Kosovo and Belgrade start talking.
Kosovo Serbs, backed by Belgrade, reject Kosovo’s 2008 secession and effectively live as if still in part of Serbia. Belgrade lost control of Kosovo in 1999 when NATO bombed Serbia to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanians by Serb forces fighting a two-year counter-insurgency war.
More than 90 countries, including the United States and 22 of the EU’s 27 members, have recognized the state, the last to emerge from the remains of old federal Yugoslavia. But Serbia’s ally Russia has blocked a resolution on independence in the United Nations Security Council.

Vedat Xhymshiti; is an independent journalist and war correspondent. He has reported on a number of Middle Eastern conflicts from the Arab Spring in 2010 to the current Syrian civil war. He has been published in various media including Der Spiegel, NY Times, TIME, Paris Match, Le Monde ect. He is specialized in International Relations and Diplomacy. Xhymshiti is also a print media critic, a columnist for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, and founder of THEFrontliner.net

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