Skip to comments.German troops 'hid like rabbits' in Kosovo riots
Posted on 05/08/2004 8:37:45 PM PDT by elfman2
German troops serving with the Kfor international peacekeeping contingent in Kosovo have been accused of hiding in barracks "like frightened rabbits" during the inter-ethnic rioting that erupted in the province in March.
A hard-hitting German police report sent to the Berlin government last week criticises the troops for cowardice and for their failure to quell the rioting in which 19 people died and about 900 others were injured.
The charges - the most serious made against the German army since the Second World War - have been levelled by police officers serving with Unmik, the United Nations civil administration in Kosovo.
During the two-day riots between Albanian and Serbs, an Albanian mob burnt and looted 29 Serb churches and monasteries in the southern city of Prizren, and caused several thousand Serbs to flee their homes.
Leaked excerpts from the report on the conduct of the 3,600-strong German contingent based in Prizren disclose that Unmik police were left to fend for themselves at the height of the rioting.
"Despite continuous appeals for help from Kfor, nobody from the military appeared to back up the police," the report said. "Kfor proved to be incapable of carrying out the duties to which it has been assigned."
Further damning evidence, based on interviews with Unmik officers, Serb church leaders and unnamed UN officials in Prizren, was published in Der Spiegel magazine.
The magazine concluded: "The German soldiers ran away and hid like frightened rabbits in their barracks. They only reappeared in armoured vehicles after the Albanian mob had wreaked its havoc and left a trail of destruction."
Col Dieter Hintelmann, who heads the German Kfor contingent in Prizren, insisted that his men had simply obeyed Kfor rules of engagement. They prohibit troops from protecting buildings and allow the use of firearms only in self-defence. "We were acting exactly according to the rules," he said.
However, the Unmik officers claim that the Kfor troops had breached their rules of engagement because they failed to protect them even though they were legally bound to do so.
The allegations have come as a severe embarrassment to Gerhard Schroder's government, which in the past has gone out of its way to praise the German Kfor contingent for the role it played in the troubled province through its excellent contacts with local people.
After the rioting, Serb Orthodox church leaders in Kosovo described the German deployment in the region as a mistake, and demanded the troops withdraw.
So far, the German government has refused to acknowledge publicly the complaints made in the police report. However, the defence ministry is believed to be recommending that the law be changed, allowing soldiers to use tear gas grenades for riot control.
We have paid dearly for this policy.
Inasmuch as it was Bismarck himself who said, "There is nothing in the Balkans worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier," perhaps not...
America was and is right, and two men don't validate your nutjob worldview one iota - if you want to see what happens when American troops go into a Muslim country filled with hostiles, go see your local recruiter and ask for an 11 series enlistment.
Who knows, maybe military service would replace that Orthodox bigotry of yours with a sense of identification with your fellow Americans of all stripes and make a man out of you to boot.
More likely you'd get broken in the process, but it's worth a shot, isn't it?
Go figure. You want to fight for the crescent moon and star?
Just understand, unlike here on FreeRepublic, you'll be held accountable for your actions, whether you abrogate your oath of enlistment or commit crimes against civilians.
No freedom without responsibility, Destro.
The camp filled up, and the Serbs saw it as a nice juicy target. They quickly overran the camp and the Dutch soldiers fled. 8000+ people massacred.
Though I believe that we backed the wrong side in the Balkans, that doesn't mean that I think we should have backed any side at all.
It may be true what you say about the Serbs protecting Christians, but I do know that the combatants in the Balkans know what soldiers they can mess with, and which ones they'd better friggin' not mess with.
Americans are in the latter group.
Whaddaya say? Belgrade has suffered a brain drain in the 1990's - they could use someone of your vast intellectual capacity to reverse the flow.
But I will donate money to their war efforts in a heart beat. Got that to spare at least. Hey what happened to that Albanian terrorist that the Americans let walk out of Camp BondSteel?
Don't worry - you don't make any sense in English either, so it would be a wash.
Hey what happened to that Albanian terrorist that the Americans let walk out of Camp BondSteel?
DPA, December 20, 2001
PRISTINA, Dec 20, 2001 (Deutsche Presse-Agentur) -
Three Kosovar-Albanian suspects of a bus bombing which killed 11 Serbs and injured 20 in Podujevo in February were released Wednesday from United Nations detention.
Their freedom from detention centers in Pristina and Mitrovica followed a Kosovo Supreme Court decision on Tuesday ordering their immediate release.
Belgrade´s chief co-ordinator for Kosovo Nebojsa Covic strongly criticized the decision, charging on Wednesday that the judiciary system established under UN in the province was biased.
"The Kosovo Supreme Court decision is not new or unexpected. That body previously made an incorrect and unlawful decision. The Kosovo judiciary system is nationally biased", Covic told Deutsche Presse- Agentur, dpa in Belgrade.
The defense lawyer of the three Kosovar-Albanians, Tome Gashi, told dpa in Pristina that their release was justice coming late.
Gashi said his clients had been "political prisoners. They were kept in jail to convince the Serbs to take part in the elections, to tell Serbs: We have got the perpetrators. They are Albanians and former fighters of the Kosovo Liberation Army".
The suspects, Avdi Behluli, Qele Gashi and Jusuf Veliu, who were also members of the Kosovo Protection Corps (TMK), were detained for nine months.
The UNMIK administrator in the Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, had issued an executive order keeping the men in detention pending trial, despite a lower court decision that they should be freed.
The Supreme Court said in its ruling, however, the prosecution lacked the evidence to try them.
"No founded suspicion existed in the case ... Beside the names of the suspects, no hints could be found on the whole documentation of the case so far that would indicate their connection with the mentioned case," the court said.
But the court found "suspicion exists against Florim Ejupi", the fourth and key suspect, who is at large. It said the investigators had discovered DNA traces matching Ejupi´s on a smoked cigarette found where the bomb was triggered.
Ejupi and the three others were arrested by NATO-led peacekeepers in March and April in Kosovo on the suspicion of being members of an Albanian terrorist cell that masterminded and carried out the bombing.
The case suffered a major blow three months after the investigations started when Ejupi escaped from a high-security United States military detention facility in eastern Kosovo.
"This case is an embarrassment," a senior UN source in Kosovo said. He maintained that foreign intelligence services reason for thinking that the three freed men should have been kept in detention, but that Kosovo´s prosecutor and police had failed to translate those reasons into court evidence.
An official of the Kosovo Peacekeeping Force (KFOR) would not comment on the releases, saying the case was a UNMIK matter.
After the terrorist attack on a Serb civilian bus (Feb 17) in which 11 people were killed (two of them children) and 40 wounded a few Kosovo Albanian suspects have been arrested by UN police. The main suspect Florim Ejupi is direcly linked to the circles of Kosovo Albanian organized crime, close to the former KLA and its successor UN/NATO sponosred Kosovo Protection Corps. Despite all security measures Ejupi ran away from the American detention facility in Camp Bondsteel. British Sunday Times reveals in its article by Bob Graham (July 29: British troops' error led to bus bomb) that "UN sources believe that Florim Ejupi had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). His trial would have been a serious embarrassment, they claim".
The detective who headed the investigation into the attack has said he does not believe the suspect, a Kosovar Albanian who is also wanted in Germany on manslaughter and attempted murder charges, left the American Bondsteel base unaided.
"My opinion is he did not escape," said Detective Stu Kellock, former head of the United Nations Kosovo Mission´s regional serious crime squad. "I thought a prisoner could not just walk away from Bondsteel. In my opinion he was taken elsewhere for questioning or something and I still do not understand why we, the police in the investigation who held jurisdiction, were not involved."
UN sources believe the suspect, Florim Ejupi, who was wearing a bright orange prison uniform when he vanished and was said to have cut his way through four sets of barbed wire fences with a simple tool, had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). His trial would have been a serious embarrassment, they claim.
Capish? Verstehen sie?
In the Balkans, Americans provide no protection to Christians from Muslim killers.