Documents still being destroyed: Liberation of Kosovo
Thursday 24 June 1999
On Monday a member of the UN mission in Kosovo, whose task is to oversee all civilian aspects of life in the province, saw workers shredding documents in the Pristina administration building still run by Zoran Andjelkovic, leader of the temporary executive council of Kosovo and Metohija (the Serbian name for the province).
The UN has still not yet secured buildings in Pristina housing public records - birth, death and marriage certificates, property deeds, nationality papers and the like - which in Kosovo carry a significant political weight. Yesterday morning, a large lorry marked Yugoslavia Speditiones Nis was parked up against a wall of the building, ready for loading. Asked what the workers were doing, one replied: "We are just removing material, paper material."
UN officials in Pristina and New York are concerned about K-For's delay in securing public buildings. "The question is, what has been destroyed in the past 48 hours? What has been lost already?" asked one member of the UN mission.
Some officials have argued against confronting Mr Andjelkovic for fear of antagonising the Serbian administration.
This attitude worries veterans of the UN's Bosnian operation, where the UN mission frequently deferred to the Serbs, only prolonging and worsening the inevitable conflict between Belgrade and the Western powers. One UN official said yesterday that "concern was expressed" to Mr Andjelkovic. But given the Serbian authorities' track record in Kosovo, stronger action may be required to secure the archives.
Mr Andjelkovic yesterday denied that his staff were destroying papers. "No, all documents are preserved," he said. "We did not let Bosnia and Croatia be repeated, to burn the documents proving the Serbian population existed here."
In the administration building a new "information centre" has been set up, staffed by men in red boiler suits marked "Centre for Peace and Tolerance", a Belgrade-based organisation completely unknown until now. The job now is to record Serbian complaints of crime and intimidation and pass them to K-For.
Mr Andjelkovic, who works below a large photograph of President Slobodan Milosevic, was in unusually conciliatory mood yesterday. He warned of Albanian "criminal gangs" but said he was prepared to surrender his office (decorated with two large Yugoslav and Serbian flags) to the head of the temporary UN administration.
The UN mission in Kosovo faces a Herculean task in building a fair and legitimate administration in a very short time. "You cannot parachute in a bureaucracy and management in the way that you can parachute in troops," said Kevin Kennedy, a UN spokesman.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
Children take eight Isis captives to be beheaded in latest propaganda video
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Duty Manager is required to join one of the ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Team Leader is required to join one of the l...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Chef is required to join one of the largest ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is required to jo...