Documents still being destroyed: Liberation of Kosovo

Public Records

KOSOVO'S FORMER Serbian governor is reported to be shipping out and destroying documents, in a move that threatens hundreds of thousands of refugees' plans to reclaim their property and rebuild their lives.

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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Robin van Persie leaves the field at the King Power Stadium last Sunday
football
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch as John Watson and Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock
tv

Co-creator Mark Gatiss dropped some very intriguing hints ahead of the BBC drama's return next year

News
In this photo illustration, the Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device as the company announced its initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013 in London, England. Twitter went public on the NYSE opening at USD 26 per share, valuing the company's worth at an estimated USD 18 billion.
news

News
people

London 'needs affordable housing'

Arts and Entertainment
music Band accidentally drops four-letter description at concert
Life and Style
tech
News
peopleIan Thorpe addresses Ricky Martin rumours
Arts and Entertainment
'Africa' will be Angelina Jolie's fifth film as a director
film

Mr and Mrs Smith star admits she's 'never been comfortable on-screen'

Arts and Entertainment
Australia singer Iggy Azalea has been attacked by Eminem in a new rap
music

Singer was ordered not to 'blow her rape whistle' in song 'Vegas'

Extras
indybest
News
Myleene Klass
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Groundworker

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Ground-worker required for an e...

Randstad Education Cardiff: Maths Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: We are currently recruiting f...

Randstad Education Cardiff: Science Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Science Teacher -Full Time - ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Controller

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Controller is required to ...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines