Kosovo: Guantanamo II - Other developments
/ internationalizing / guantanamo /
A. Camp Bondsteel, a new Guantanamo?
The US military ran a Guantanamo Bay-type detention centre in Kosovo, a top Council of Europe official said.
The Council of Europe's Human rights commissioner Alvaro Gil-Robles said he had been 'shocked' by conditions at the barbed wire-rimmed centre inside a US military base, which he witnessed in 2002.
The same report in this Reuters report, in case the Forbes link expires. The story originated in Le Monde [no link (?)]. Zaman adds that:
The Council of Europe official added that Marcel Valentin, Commander of the multinational forces for Kosovo (KFOR) and Lieutenant-General, was also with him, and he was as equally shocked by the treatment prisoners were exposed to.
The story was hinted at, by a Spiegel article on US clandestine prisons in Eastern Europe
The Americans are also active in other parts of the Balkans. Not far from Macedonia, in the heart of Kosovo, the US government even operates a Gitmo-style camp with its own prison and landing strip around 30 kilometers east of Pristina. Originally used to house members of the Albanian independence group the UCK, Camp Bondsteel -- like Guantanamo -- is an overseas US enclave existing in legal limbo.
Also tied to this is Mark Almond's (no, not formerly of Soft Cell - the Oxford historian), report of a raid in Djakova, Kosovo, back in 2002, published in the New Statesman, but in another form in the BHHRG site (an organization with which Almond is affiliated, and which I'm not terribly impressed by in general).
B. The future of Kosovo: Tadic officially proposed splitting the province, yesterday:
Serb President Boris Tadic offered his proposal to the Serb government Thursday, saying Kosovo should be divided along ethnic lines to give Albanians virtual independence while keeping the province within Serbia's borders.
Government officials said Thursday the proposal will be a part of Serbia's negotiating package.
The proposal, which was first unveiled by Tadic during his recent visit to Russia, has been rejected by ethnic Albanian leaders who are seeking nothing but full independence for the whole province.
It also drew angry reactions from Serb ultranationalists who demanded that Tadic be impeached by the parliament for ceding part of "sovereign Serbian territory" to the Kosovo Albanians.
The division of Kosovo, or its return to the direct Belgrade administration, has been rejected by the United States - which wields veto power as a permanent Security Council member - and the European Union. But Russia and China - who also have veto power in the council - oppose Kosovo's independence.
This, apparently is contrary to the UN's plans. Yet Kosovo's Roma are all against independence, claiming that they have been the victims of large scale ethnic cleansing by the UCK and suggesting that such a development would be rewarding the perpetrators of these crimes:
"...Europe and the international community have been informed that at first the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), and then UCCK besides crimes over the Roma, committed several radical "ethnic cleansings" of members of that national minority. Of the some 260,000 Roma living there before 1999, only 29,656 remain. Out of 193 Roma settlements, there are now only 26...
...An independent Kosovo, in whatever form, would mean a recognition and reward to those who committed crimes against the Roma, crimes unrecorded up to now in the annals of European history after Auschwitz, a symbol of the Holocaust of Jews and the Roma. On the other hand, in the year that the UN has declared as the year for marking the 60th anniversary of the victory over fascism, neglecting the Roma victims of Kosovo and depriving children's right to a future would signify the international communityÂs silent agreement with a regime that has committed misdeeds against those people and ruthlessly trampled their national, civil and human rights. Rights which are guaranteed by the UN, its bodies and other major European institutions"
I'm not sure about the 260.000 number - I remember seeing statistics claiming half of that number for the Roma population in Kosovo. Perhaps a large number were unregistered? And another question, to any of my readers might know the answer: who is the recipient of money from exploration licenses in Kosovo? Am I paranoid in thinking that this deal will be lining somebody's pockets?
Finally on the utter mess of the situation in Kosovo, I still think that my Berlin v 2.0 idea is the only one that might minimize the possibility of serious (short or long-term) trouble.
The Greek government is to play an "important role" I hear, but, interestingly, Foreign Minister Molyviatis has recently suggested (albeit implicitly) that Greece might not prepared to back simply full independence:
On the issue of Kosovo, Mr. Molyviatis stated that Greece's position is that the price for stability in Kosovo cannot be the destabilization of the wider region.
He said that the solution should be European, should respect international law and be compatible with the EU principles and values, while the EU should have a meaningful role in forming the final status.
The solution, he stressed, must be the result of meaningful negotiations without pressing timetables and should not be an imposed one.
Foreign Minister Molyviatis stated that the goal is a safe, multiethnic and multicultural Kosovo and a special attention is given to the security conditions for the return of the non Albanian refugees and the protection of the Orthodox monuments.
Molyviatis has written article about Kosovo, published in the Washington Times, which is appropriately open to diverging interpretations.
I'm not seeing any light at the end of this tunnel, to tell you the truth - and I'm scared of a "settlement" that won't settle much.