Home Page
News 02 Jul 13

EU Mission ‘Failed to Protect Serbs in Kosovo’

The EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo, EULEX, was accused by its own human rights panel of not protecting Serbs from violent attacks at an event to mark the historic ‘Battle of Kosovo’ .

Edona Peci BIRN Pristina

EULEX’s independent human rights panel said on Monday that the mission had not done enough to ensure the security of Serbs who gathered a year ago to mark the anniversary of the ‘Battle of Kosovo’ in 1389.

The annual commemoration event last May in Gazimestan on St. Vitus Day, celebrated by Serbs as Vidovdan, came after clashes between Kosovo police and Serbs which left more than 60 people injured.

The human rights panel found that EULEX “had allocated insufficient resources to ensure respect for human rights by the Kosovo authorities and third parties during the Vidovdan security operation”, it said in a written statement.

“The complainants submitted that they were the subject of attacks, which included, inter alia, the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails at teenage children who were travelling on buses from Gazimestan to Gracanica/Gracanice at the conclusion of the Vidovdan celebrations,” the statement said.

“Moreover, the panel found that EULEX failed to conduct a thorough and adequate investigation into the allegations of human rights violations,” it said.

Hundreds of Serbs travelled to Kosovo for the Vidovdan celebrations last year, some wearing nationalist T-shirts and singing Serbian nationalist songs.

On arriving at Gazimestan, they were stopped by police and forced to remove any nationalist symbols.

This provoked groups of mainly Serbs to sing nationalist songs and chant the names of Bosnian Serb military and political chiefs Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, who are on trial for alleged war crimes in The Hague.

Kosovo Serbs gather every year on June 28 to honour St. Vitus, a fourth-century Christian martyr, at the site of the Battle of Kosovo of 1389.

The battle, which Serbia lost to Ottoman invaders, is seen as a crucial moment in Serbian history and has inspired much of the country's epic poetry.

The commemoration event at Gazimestan this year passed off without incident.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Serbia - Kosovo Relations: Latest Headlines

serb-mps-consider-leaving-kosovo-parliament News 16 Feb 15 Kosovo Serb MPs to Consult Belgrade Before Quitting

Kosovo Serb MPs will hold talks with the Serbian government before deciding whether to leave both the Kosovo government and the parliament.

belgrade-pristina-reach-deal-on-judiciary News 10 Feb 15 Kosovo and Serbia Reach Key Deal on Judiciary

After a prolonged halt to their talks, Kosovo and Serbia in Brussels have signed an agreement on integrating the courts in Serb-run nothern Kosovo into the Kosovo judicial system and agreeing on their ethnic structure.

kosovo-and-serbia-resume-eu-backed-talks News 09 Feb 15 Kosovo and Serbia Resume EU-Backed Talks

Top officials from Serbia and Kosovo are meeting in Brussels as the dialogue on normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina resumes after ten months of standstill.

brussels-agreement-implementation-slow-and-not-transparent-report-says News 04 Feb 15 Serbia Not Transparent Over Kosovo Deals, Report Says

A report by a Belgrade think tank says the Serbian government needs to be more transparent about the process of implementing the 2013 Brussels agreement - which is also proceeding too slowly.

serbian-pm-to-visit-kosovo-next-week News 12 Jan 15 Serbian PM Readies for Kosovo Visit

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic will meet local Serbian political representatives this week on his first visit to Kosovo since taking up the premier's post last year.

high-security-in-kosovo-ahead-of-orthodox-christmas News 06 Jan 15 Kosovo on Alert Over Serb Orthodox Holiday

A heavy police presence is being deployed across Serbian municipalities in Kosovo, as local Serbs prepare for Orthodox Christmas and visits from Belgrade officials.

serbian-president-calls-for-kosovo-referendum News 29 Dec 14 Serbian President Demands Kosovo Referendum

In a sign of growing tension between him and the government, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Sunday declared that any major decisions made on Kosovo must go to a referendum.

kosovars-go-far-to-send-letters-to-serbia Feature 23 Dec 14 Kosovars Go Far to Send Letters to Serbia

With no agreement yet on mail cooperation between Kosovo and Serbia, sending a simple letter from one to the other remains a hassle.

belgrade-pristina-ready-to-resume-talks News 19 Dec 14 Kosovo, Serbia Ready to Resume EU Talks

After months of delay, Kosovo and Serbia are willing to continue the EU-mediated dialogue early next year in Brussels.

video-searching-for-solutions-in-the-balkans news 08 Dec 14 VIDEO: Searching for Solutions in the Balkans

Croatia made it across the finish line, but the rest of the Balkan countries seem to be far away from their European future. What kind of new approaches can be explored to ensure that the accession story ends well?