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CHURCH REPRESENTATIVES DENIED ACCESS TO MASS GRAVESITE
Serbian Orthodox Church ^ | 2002-09-17

Posted on 09/17/2002 6:10:47 PM PDT by DTA

SERBIAN ORTHODOX DIOCESE OF RASKA AND PRIZREN
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

INFORMATION SERVICE

Urgent communiqué

For immediate release

WHY ARE CHURCH REPRESENTATIVES DENIED ACCESS TO ORAHOVAC ORTHODOX CEMETERY
Cemetery investigation begins without informing the Church and Serb community - Foreigners and Albanians allowed to participate, Serbs denied access

Orahovac - Gracanica, September 16, 20002

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren received a direct report from Father Srdjan Milenkovic and a KIM Radio reporter who visited the Serbian Orthodox cemetery in Orahovac today that international representatives from UNMIK have already begun a search in the cemetery where 80 unmarked burial mounds were recently observed. According to the earlier report of Fr. Srdjan, there is a strong probability that these graves contain the bodies of Serbs abducted and killed by the Kosovo Liberation Army after the arrival of the UN peacekeeping mission and KFOR. After the war, that is, for the past three years, no Serbs have been buried in this cemetery; they have been buried next to the parish church in the Serb part of the town of Orahovac instead.

In front of the Orahovac Orthodox cemetery there are presently two German transporters with KFOR soldiers while about 20 people with pick axes and shovels are working in the cemetery. According to the testimony of the witnesses, presently a completely destroyed part of the cemetery is being searched. Fr. Srdjan confirmed that he was not notified of work at the cemetery and that the entire search operation is being conducted without the knowledge and approval of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Bishop Artemije. It is interesting that several Albanians are employed to work in the cemetery while Serbs are denied access and photographs. Mark Jones (sp), the international UNMIK representative directing the work, refused to provide any information about the work in progress with the explanation that all information can allegedly be obtained in Pristina. The priest and the Serb reporters were also denied access to the part of the cemetery where unmarked graves and fresh burial mounds were recently discovered.

The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren most strenuously protests the beginning of work at the cemetery without previous notification of the Diocese and the officiating Bishop. The Diocese demands that UNMIK immediately provide access to the cemetery to representatives of the Church and to Serb forensic experts. There are indications that UNMIK intends to avoid publicity which would negatively reflect on the success of its mission because it is, in fact, under UNMIK administration that numerous crimes against Serbs and other non-Albanians were committed, something rarely if ever mentioned in public.

=====================================

SERBIAN ORTHODOX DIOCESE OF RASKA AND PRIZREN

INFORMATION SERVICE
 
Official communique
For immediate release
 
SERBIAN ORTHODOX DIOCESE IN KOSOVO SERIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE NEW GRAVES IN ORAHOVAC
Orthodox priest in Orahovac fears that graves contain bodies of kidnapped and missing Serbs
 
September 13, 2002
 
Serbian Orthodox parish priest in Orahovac, Fr. Srdjan Milenkovic has informed the Diocese about 80 unindentified graves which were found in Orahovac Serb Orthodox Cemetery. This cemetery was not used by Orthodox Serbs for almost three years after the war because of security reasons and it was only recently that the priest and several members of Serb community were allowed access to the site. During their first visit in June they reported only about the desecrated tomb stones, some of them bearing a sprayed UCK acronym. But, during the more recent visit and cleaning of the weeds they were surprised to see around 80 unindentified burial moulds.
 
"The bodies have not been buried in accordance with Orthodox customs because the mounds bear no markings. We suspect that the bodies of Serbs killed after the arrival of international forces in Kosovo may be buried here," Fr. Srdjan immediately confirmed to the KIM Radio. According to the same source, multiple graves have been unearthed and emptied. New mounds have also been discovered at the Roma cemetery in Orahovac although no Roma have been buried at that cemetery in the past three years, either. Since the arrival of international forces in Kosovo, Serbs from Orahovac are buried in the churchyard of the church in Serb-inhabited Gornja Mahala.
 
Although there are innoficial information that the UNMIK Missing People Unit has already visited the location several times, the Diocese has not managed to get an official position from UNMIK yet. During the previous investigation of a possible mass -grave site in Suva Reka area UNMIK confirmed that forensic teams burried unindentified bodies for later investigation on several city cemeteries around Kosovo, but these UNMIK/ICTY sites are all properly marked and are publicly known, which is not the case with this cemetery. The Diocese has already requested urgent investigation in which also Serb forensic experts should take part.
 
After the war 1300 Serbs and Roma were abducted by the Kosovo Albanian terrorist group (KLA/UCK) which used the UN/NATO protectorate to launch a violent campaign of killing non-Albanians, primarily Serbs. Not a single case of kidnapping has been positively resolved so far because UNMIK police in most of cases failed to make any investigation. Beside the destruction of more than 120 Orthodox holy sites in the UN/NATO presence these murders and abductions are considered as one of the darkest pages of the international Peace mission in Kosovo. IF UNMIK and KFOR could not prevent murders of Serb and other non-Albanian civilians during their rule there is at least hope that they will make some progress in finding their bodies.
 


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: alqaidaalies; christianpersecutio; kfor; kla; nato; terrorism; unmik

1 posted on 09/17/2002 6:10:47 PM PDT by DTA
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To: Balkans; dennisw; *Christian persecutio
ALERT - KFOR hides Mass grave in Kosovo!!!
2 posted on 09/17/2002 6:15:41 PM PDT by DTA
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To: joan
ALERT - Mass grave found on Serbian Cemetery, also another on Roma Cemetery!

UNMIK and KFOR support terrorism.

3 posted on 09/17/2002 6:20:33 PM PDT by DTA
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