Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo province
Tue, 3 Mar 1998 10:24:56 +0000

AI Index: EUR 70/10/98
UA 64/98
2 March 1998
Ill-treatment/Fear of extrajudicial executions

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo province

A wave of violence is sweeping through Kosovo province in southern Serbia,
leading to widespread violations of human rights.

On 2 March 1998 police broke up peaceful demonstrations in Pristina and
other towns, using tear-gas, water cannons and truncheons. The
demonstrations were organized by ethnic Albanians in protest over the
weekend shooting of other ethnic Albanians. Following the police violence,
some demonstrators reportedly responded by throwing sticks and stones.
Although the number of injured has not been confirmed, it is reported that
ethnic Albanian journalists were among the victims.

In recent days at least 16 ethnic Albanians and four police officers were
reportedly killed during other clashes between police and ethnic Albanians.
Ethnic Albanian sources are claiming that many more Albanians have been
killed, including civilians who were not involved in fighting.

On 28 February police reportedly clashed with members of the U?K (Ushtria
?lirimtare e Kosov?s - Kosovo Liberation Army) in the village of Likosane,
near Glogovac town. Two police officers and five Albanians, including one
woman, were killed. Ethnic Albanians claim that at least seven, and
possibly many more, Albanians were shot dead by police firing from a
helicopter in irez village near the town of Srbica the same day. Both
these villages are in the Drenica region, where U?K activity is strongest,
and where police have had restricted movements in recent months.

Since full independent reports of the killings are not yet available, it is
not yet possible to say whether any of the ethnic Albanian victims were
extrajudicially executed.

An unknown number of people have been arrested in the course of the
fighting and the demonstrations.

Attacks are also reported to have taken place at the weekend on refugee
centres housing Croatian Serb refugees. No one is reported to have been

Amnesty International fears that further unlawful killings may occur in the
context of the continuing clashes. Amnesty International also fears that
arrested ethnic Albanians, both those alleged to have been involved in
terrorist acts, and those involved in the demonstrations, will be subject
to torture and ill-treatment in detention.

In July 1990 the Serbian parliament suspended the Kosovo parliament and
government after ethnic Albanian deputies of the Kosovo parliament declared
Kosovo independent of the Republic of Serbia. Since then, the majority of
ethnic Albanians in Kosovo province (where they constitute over 85 per cent
of the population) refuse to recognize Serbia?s authority in the province
and a number of "parallel" institutions (in particular in the fields of
local government, education and medicine) have been established by ethnic

The leaders of the main ethnic Albanian parties in Kosovo province have
advocated the province?s secession by peaceful means only. However, since
1996 violent attacks on Serbian police and Serbs or Albanians associated
with the authorities have occurred with increasing frequency.
Responsibility for many of these incidents has been claimed by the
clandestine organization, the U?K. Since certain clashes with the U?K in
late November 1997 police have reportedly restricted their movements
severely in certain parts of the province. The new clashes may herald
police operations to reestablish their control in these areas.

Police ill-treatment is an everyday occurrence in Kosovo province. Human
rights abuses such as torture, extrajudicial executions and unfair trials
of political prisoners are occurring regularly.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send e-mails/
telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail letters in English, French, German,
Russian or your own language:
- expressing concern that police in Kosovo province have beaten ethnic
Albanian demonstrators during peaceful demonstrations;
- noting reports that police have shot at least 16 ethnic Albanians in the
province in the last three days;
- stressing that Amnesty International does not deny the right of the
authorities to use force when responding to violent attacks upon them, but
reminding them that national law and international standards such as the
United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and related
texts recommend strict guidelines on the use of force;
- urging that anyone arrested in connection with these events be properly
protected from ill-treatment or torture in detention, particularly by
ensuring that they be given full access to defence lawyers and family;
- calling for immediate, thorough, impartial and independent investigations
into the beatings and shootings;
- demanding that any police officers found to be responsible for beating
demonstrators or unlawfully killing or wounding others be held to account
for their actions.


President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Slobodan Milosevic
Predsednik SRJ, Bulevar Lenjina 2
11070 Beograd, Yugoslavia
Telegrams: Predsednik Srbije, Beograd, Yugoslavia
E-mail: slobodan.milosevic@gov.yu
Faxes: + 381 11 636 775/682 167
Salutation: Dear President

Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia
Vlajko Stojiljkovic
Ministar unutrasnjih poslova Republike Srbije
Kneza Milosa 101, 11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia
Telegrams: Ministar unutrasnjih poslova Srbije, Beograd, Yugoslavia
Faxes: + 381 11 641 867/685 073
Salutation: Dear Minister

and to diplomatic representatives of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 13 April 1998.