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German Foreign Office report on Kosovo (November 1998)

Translated by J.P. Maher: N. B. November 1998

Subject: German text. Foreign Office report on Kosovo. Urgent.

In the Foreign Office report (514-516/80/3 YUG; LAG-JUG8.DOC) of November 1998 on Asylum and expulsion related situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia it is stated inter alia:

Page 2:
...
2. Kosovo.  ...almost all Kosovo Albanian politicians are for secession and 
independence.
...
The Albanian population of Kosovo almost without exception do not 
participate in elections. The affected parliamentary seats accordingly go to 
Milosevic's Socialist Party. ...

Page 3: ...Since April 1996 there was series of yet unclarified attacks on 
police, in which dozens of people were wounded or killed. Most attacks were 
admitted by the KLA [UCK].
...

Page 4: ... As a result of the withdrawal of Serb security forces, there has 
been a flood of refugees returning to their villages. But there is accordingly 
also a rebuilding of UCK structures. The UCK, as of the end of July 1988, had
brought under its control of 20% of Kosovo. In UCK-controlled areas there 
were and still are  numerous acts of violence against Kosovo Serbs, including 
kidnappings and murders. In view of the return of the UCK to their former 
positions there is a danger of a big upsurge of armed confrontations in Kosovo.

Page 5: ... 
I. Direct state persecution on the basis of race, nationality, religion.
1.1. Kosovo Albanians.
Accordingly, Kosovo Albanians are methodically pushing for independent state 
and administration structures. In this regard politically active Albanians 
are not being persecuted for their ethnicity, but as "separatists".  Mere
membership in the LDK or other political parties raises the likelihood of  
persecution only insignificantly.

Page 6: ...Thus, since the beginning of armed clashes about 30,000-50,000 
Serbs have abandoned Kosovo.
...According to data from the Council for the Defence of Human Rights and 
Freedoms, Pristina, human rights organizations led by Kosovo Albanians ... 
comprehensive documentation indicates that in 1997 ca. 5,600 persons, 
statistically  0.29%  of the estimated Albanian population of 2 million were 
affected by repressive measures.

Page 7: ... After the outbreak of open battles in parts of Kosovo many 
Albanians were captured in these battles, both UCK-fighters and "civilians" 
active in the battles. ... 
The military character of the conflicts that occurred in several places, with 
heavy participation of civilians, will make individual legal proceedings 
impossible.
...
In police actions in the Drenica area in late February / early March 1998 
special police units clearly directed against Kosovo Albanians in 
fortress-like locations; they were seen by the police as terrorists.

Page 8: ...
1.2. Ethnic Albanians in other parts of Yugoslavia
... In nearly all cities in Serbia are bigger or smaller colonies of Kosovo 
Albanians, who are engaged in traditional occupations. In Belgrade alone 
several tens of thousands of ethnic Albanians. Open rejection by the populace 
at large or by the authorities can be demonstrated only in very few instances.

Page 9:
... 2.1 Ethnic Albanians.
... The UCK in Kosovo attacks other Albanians who declare their loyalty to 
the Yugoslav state. For example, in early April 1998 at Orahovac 6 Kosovo 
Albanians who in an open letter to the Serbian president had declared their 
loyalty were murdered. In addition, in various regions the UCK puts heavy 
pressure on local Serbs and Montenegrins and others in the form of  road 
blocks, threats, kidnapping of civilians, which has resulted in the ethnic 
cleansing of this region.
... Victims of clashes between the UCK and security forces have always been 
the civilian population. In many places, the Albanian population abandoned  
their dwellings after battles against the UCK, probably under UCK orders.

Page 12: ... Military call-ups of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo are only 
occasionally carried out.
It can be suspected that in such cases the Serbian side wishes to increase 
pressure on the Albanian-speaking population. Military authorities have no 
interest in giving military training to young Kosovo Albanians, who are
potential "separatists".

Page 13:
... 6. State-Internal Escape Alternatives.
Central Serbia and Monte Negro are preferred. Reports of discrimination or 
mistreatment on ethnic minorities are practically nil in Belgrade, despite 
the extreme burden of housing refugees.
...

Page 15:
... 4. Sex-related Human Rights Violations...
The Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms alleged hearing of 
individual cases of rape, but presented no official reports.
...
5. Conditions of Life.
Despite the poor economic situation of Yugoslavia, conditions are not 
life-threatening for the population. There are still over a half million 
refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Krajina in federal Yugoslavia. Many of 
these refugees, especially those who can  find no work, live in dire circumstances.
In Kosovo itself, the difficult situation has actually eased somewhat. 
[before the NAT0 bombing]

The Yugoslav authorities allow humanitarian organizations access to the needy.
Limitations occur in case of danger to the aid workers. ...

Page 16:
6.2.1 Kosovo-Conflict - Hostilities.
... Since April 1998 there was a strong upsurge in the number of attacks on 
policemen and police installations. The Police had as a result to withdraw 
from affected large areas, which were exclusively controlled by the UCK. In 
"liberated areas" there was a total breakdown of civil order. State organs 
[police, Post Office, city halls etc.] were shut down.

The UCK attempted in several offensives to extend the territory under its 
control to towns and mines west of Pristina, without lasting success, however.
On the region bordering Albania... there were battles between Yugoslavian 
border guards and armed groups attempting to get supplies of arms and 
fighters from Albania. In some case, groups up to 1000 men attempted to break 
through.

In the course of these battles the Yugoslav army seized tones of weapons and 
war materiel. The UCK tried repeatedly to connect "liberated areas" with 
Albania in order to secure supply routes. In these engagements the UCK 
repeated withdrew into villages, to conduct further battles under the shelter 
of the villages, and often with support of the civilian population.

Page 17:
... By the end of August 1998, according to the  CDHRF, about  ca. 600 
Albanians were killed. There is no distinction between UCK fighters and 
civilians in this accounting.
...
The goal of the Serbian armed forces since then has been to prevent UCK units 
that fled to the forests from attacking road connections and to block their 
re-entry into retaken villages.

... 6.2.2. Effect on the population.
The battles manifest a typical military character and were executed to take 
back territory from the UCK.
The UCK had broad support in the civilian population of the "liberated areas".
According even  to Albanian accounts, civilians took active part in the 
fighting.
Even women took part in the fighting; International Verifiers even reported 
finding a 15 year old girl in the ranks.

Therefore [N. B.]
FOR THE SECURITY FORCES  AND FOR OBJECTIVE EVALUATION IT IS DIFFICULT TO
DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN UCK-FIGHTERS, CIVILIAN FIGHTERS IN THEIR RANKS,
AND PURE CIVILIANS.

I the course of the counter-offensive of the Security Forces, the UCK units 
retreated. Nearly the whole civilian population of the villages involved fled 
with them, with the result that broad areas of the conflict zone was
emptied of its population.

The UCK-units and population withdrew into remote mountain and forest areas.
Verifiers in the town of Malisevo, which fell to the security forces without 
a struggle, only one single inhabitant of the 20 thousand who had lived 
there. THE SERB SECURITY FORCES DID NOT IMPEDE THE EXODUS OF THE POPULATION.

Page 18:
... On entering re-captured villages the Serb security forces occasionally 
attacked the remaining inhabitants.  Press reports of "massacres" and "mass 
graves" contributed to the alarm of the refugees, but could NOT be
substantiated.
The conflict does NOT affect all Kosovo. Life goes on normally in cities like 
Pristina, Gnjilane and Urosevac.
...Treatment of deported citizens on their return.
...
At present, deportations are not being carried out on account of the EU 
sanctions against the Yugoslav state airline JAT.

The probability that Kosovo deportees returning home will be exposed to 
massive state repression is to be judged as remote.

Page 19:
...It is well-known to the German Foreign Office that a significant number of 
UCK-fighters commands the German language. It is therefore to be assumed that 
UCK-fighters, legally or illegally, have returned from Germany to Yugoslavia 
to join the UCK.
... (ENDE)

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