CEAS press release: On the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the Goraždevac massacre and voting on the Law on the Protection of the KLA War Values at the Kosovo Assembly

The Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS) from Belgrade regrets that the deeply controversial draft Law on the Protection of the ​​ Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) War Values was submitted for consideration to the Kosovo Assembly, and exactly on the 17th anniversary of the Goraždevac massacre, when the children Pantelija Dakić (12) and Ivan Jovović (19) were killed, and Marko Bogićević (12), Dragana Srbljak (13), Bogdan Bukumirić (14) and Đordje Ugrenović  (20) were seriously injured, while swimming in the river Bistrica, Kosovo and Metohija, on 13 August 2003. For this crime, as well as for more than a thousand of killed Serbs and members of other ethnicities, literally no one in Kosovo and Metohija has ever been held accountable!

The mentioned draft law is just a continuation of intimidation of Serbs who still live in Kosovo and Metohija with the undisguised intention to force them out, and it represents a flagrant violation of the right to freedom of expression and a specific attempt at historical revisionism. This is also evident in the manner Agon Maliqi's text "Why is the term ‘Kosovo and Metohija’ offensive", which is full of historical inaccuracies and revisionist interpretations of history, was promoted and praised when it was published by the KoSSev portal, whose current donors are the United States Embassy, ​​the British Embassy in Pristina and UNMIK.

The draft law was put to the vote after twenty years of conspicuous lack of any attempt across almost entire spectrum of Kosovo-Metohija society to face its responsibility for crimes against Serbs and other non-Albanians, including long-standing obstructions to establishing internationally assisted mechanisms intended to perform this duty.

CEAS believes that, just as it is in Serbia's interest to fulfill the expectations of confronting with its bad historical past, which we both as individuals and as an organization have supported all these years, so it is in the interest of everyone in Kosovo and Metohija to do the same. 

CEAS welcomes the fact that the US Ambassador to Kosovo, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and the EU Mission in Kosovo have been very critical of the draft law, but notes with concern the loud, now already proverbial, silence of the regional NGOs, "independent research portals", as well as analysts and commentators, who greatly influence the formation of the Western international community’s policies towards Kosovo and Metohija, as well as the Belgrade- Pristina negotiations. Unfortunately, this indisputable trend raises suspicions of opportunism and clientelism, donor pressure or deliberate one-sidedness in order to achieve someone's political goals, rather than ensuring

The inappropriate perennial glorification of former high-ranking KLA members, and now the proposed controversial law, are only part of a broader process in which Kosovo, twenty years after the end of the conflict, is systematically viewed through rose-tinted glasses and with every excuse made for them, due to the policies of different Belgrade administrations before 2000. At the same time, the rest of Serbia, which has been significantly reformed, is still being held hostage to the policies of the 1990s, and all the difficult steps it is making towards stronger integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, in an almost insurmountable conditions, are being deliberately overlooked.

CEAS reminds that, despite the lack of internal consensus, Serbia extradited two presidents and six generals to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, all the while witnesses who were supposed to testify about crimes committed by the KLA "disappeared" in Kosovo or openly refused to cooperate with the Specialized Prosecutor's Office of Kosovo in The Hague. Many current and former officials of Kosovo and Metohija deliberately ignore this context, claiming that "Serbia was not held responsible for the crimes", which is also historical revisionism, and an insult to about 2,000 KLA victims and 450 innocent civilians killed in the FRY bombing, which was supported by many in the political West. Innocent surviving citizens of the FRY who were bombed for 79 days by NATO think differently, and with a good reason. When will all this, which can safely be called a “joint attempt to revise history”, be deemed offensive to the citizens of Serbia?

Belgrade, 13 August 2020