Archive for the month of January 2000

Mission statement

In General

With the end of the Cold War era and the resulting changes in the military situation in Europe, the peace time tasks of the Royal Netherlands Air Force were emphasized. Attention shifted to both peace keeping and peace enforcing during out of area operations, world wide. Examples are the contributions to peace operations in Israel and Turkey during the 2nd Gulf War, operations in Rwanda, Cambodia and the contributions to actions in the former Yugoslavia.

Key to this change in task are mobility and speed.

Peace Time Operations


The presence of an Air Force can deter potential opponents. The key is the direct power provided by jet fighters, attack helicopters, and guided weapons.

Support in crisis situations

Air power can offer support in both national and international operations, such as relief operations that require evacuation or transportation of medical and relief goods.

Observation and protection of airspace

Jet fighters of the RNLAF are ready to protect national and allied airspace. After detection by the radar system of a Control and Reporting Center (CRC), jet fighters will be scrambled to identify unknown aircraft in Dutch airspace. By cooperating with other radar systems like NATO's Airborne Early Warning Force (AEWF), this task can be performed anywhere in the world.

War time operations

Control of air space over own territory

Control of air space, over both own as well as enemy territory, is vital. The protection it offers can prevent the enemy to exploit aircraft and missiles and at the same time positively affects own operations by own land and sea forces.

Control of airspace over enemy territory

By controlling enemy airspace, its use by the enemy is therefore denied. Air superiority allows the enemy to be hit in many ways. Control of airspace is not only vital during large scale war time operations such as the Gulf War but is also vital during smaller operations and humanitarian relief actions.

Surveillance and observation

Air power can be used to gather information on behalf of own aircraft, as well as land forces and sea forces ("knowledge is power").

Airlift capability

Airlift capability is vital in Air Force operations. Aircraft and helicopters move personnel and material effectively over long distances and by exploiting aerial refueling capacity, distance itself becomes a less important factor.


Wednesday, January 5, 2000 - An anti-vehicle rocket was fired into an Albanian bar in Pristina. There were no injuries.

Friday, January 7, 2000 - In Prizren, an ethnic Albanian gang killed two Serb women, said Tanjug. Three Serb men were beaten in Lipljan — five miles south of Pristina. A Serb man was shot and killed in Prizren a day earlier, and another Serb man was shot and wounded by a gunman firing from a car with no license plates in the town of Kosovo Polje. So far, the peace keeping forces have not been able to stop ethnic violence against Serbs. Before the air strikes against Yugoslavia, violence was aimed against the ethnic Albanian population.

In central Kosovo, seven grenades were fired in the direction of Serb houses from a nearby road. No one was injured. In another incident near Gorazdevac, two grenades were fired, causing no damage.

Saturday, January 8, 2000 - Yugoslav Army General Nebojsa Pavkovic threatened the Yugoslav Army would return to Kosovo. He said the UN and NATO failed to prevent a genocide against Serbs.

Sunday, January 9, 2000 - A group of ethnic Albanians killed a Serb civilian in front of his home in Gnjilane.

Monday, January 10, 2000 - All major opposition parties in Serbia agreed to join forces in a joint struggle to topple Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. In a joint document, they demanded that Milosevic's government would schedule nationwide elections by the end of April 2000. They pledged to cooperate before, during, and after the elections. They also urged to end a ban on international air traffic and oil trade.

Tuesday, January 11, 2000 - The UN said of the 4,000 international police for Kosovo, less than half that number were serving there. Germany agreed to double its police contingent to more than 400. The United States promised to raise its contribution from 400 to 500.

Wednesday, January 12, 2000 - Three policemen died in a shootout in Aracinovo, near Skopje, Macedonia, when an unidentified assailant opened fire from a passing car.

Thursday, January 13, 2000 - Serb authorities released ten ethnic Albanians who were suspected of attacking police in Kosovo but filed charges against 144 ethnic Albanians — former members of the disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army — jailed in central Serbia.

An explosion was set off near Mitrovica's Eastern Bridge. No one was injured in the incident.

Sunday, January 16, 2000 - The Serb paramilitary leader Zeljko Raznatovic was killed in a Belgrade hotel. Raznatovic — AKA "Arkan" — was secretly indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal in September 1997 for his actions during the Bosnian and Croatian wars. He was also indicted for the massacre of 250 men taken from a hospital in Vukovar in 1991, during the Croatian war.

Opposition members and insiders claimed that he was silenced, because he could tie key figures in President Slobodan Milosevic's government with Balkan war crimes.

A UN war crimes tribunal spokesman said two lawyers claiming to represent Arkan contacted the court separately a week earlier and said they were interested in negotiating a deal, although it was unclear whether they really represented Arkan.

In Vitina, a US Army Staff Sergeant was charged with sexually assaulting and killing an 11-year-old ethnic Albanian girl. He was transferred to the US confinement facility in Mannheim pending the investigation. The US military feared it could threaten relations between US peacekeepers and the Kosovo civilians. (See KFOR, August 1, 2000.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2000 - In Klina — near Pec — Portugese KFOR troops reported that two rifle grenades had been shot into a café. There were no injuries.

Wednesday, January 19, 2000 - Widespread rumors that the Yugoslav government had a hand in the killing of Serb paramilitary leader Arkan were denied by a Yugoslav government official.

Thursday, January 20, 2000 - Ethnic Albanians driving through the Serb part of Kosovska Mitrovica threw a grenade at a group of Serb teenagers, injuring two.

Teenagers stopped a vehicle and asked the strangers inside what they were doing in the area. When the group realized the people in the car were ethnic Albanians, the car sped off. The ethnic Albanians tossed a grenade. NATO peacekeepers and UN police soon sealed off the street.

Friday, January 21, 2000 - The first 44 members of the Kosovo Protection Corps — including dozens of former rebels of the Kosovo Liberation Army — were sworn in by top international civilian and military officials in Kosovo.

Leaders of seven countries bordering Yugoslavia — Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia and Bosnia — met with senior EU and NATO officials to discuss how to help economies and prevent more war in the Balkans.

Saturday, January 22, 2000 - Three men were arrested in the slaying of Serb warlord Arkan. Two of them were said to be former policemen sacked or suspended for links to the underworld.

Tuesday, January 25, 2000 - David Gowan — a British diplomat, appointed UK Kosovo War Crimes Coordinator to provide expert help to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia — revealed that the British team investigated 70 sites, all in the southwest of Kosovo, and recovered 508 bodies. He made it clear that many bodies would never be found "because of natural degradation, lack of information about the whereabouts of graves and deliberate attempts by the Serb forces to hide evidence, for instance by burning bodies or dumping them in rivers."

US peacekeeping troops in Kosovo came under scrutiny, following allegations of improper conduct by US troops.

Wednesday, January 26, 2000 - UNHCR announced plans to register people who fled Kosovo to Serbia after the arrival of NATO forces in 1999. According to UNHCR, most of those displaced wanted to return to Kosovo under conditions of security guarantees and wanted to see the Yugoslav army return to Kosovo.

Macedonian police filed charges against 11 ethnic Albanians in connection with the shootout of January 12 — in which three policemen were killed.

Thursday, January 27, 2000 - A Serb court sentenced three Kosovo Albanians for rape and terrorism but released one because of lack of evidence.

Saturday, January 29, 2000 - Serbia released 22 ethnic Albanians and them over to officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who took them to Pristina. It was estimated that some 1,700-1,800 ethnic Albanians were still being held in prisons.

Sunday, January 30, 2000 - The Serbian Renewal Movement warned that increased contacts between Kosovo Albanian leader Hashim Thaci and ethnic Albanian leader Arben Xhaferi seemed to pursue a Greater Albania.

One hundred tons of heating fuel arrived in Pirot as part of European Union aid to opposition-run municipalities. The EU planned to send 25,000 tons of fuel to municipalities controlled by Milosevic's opponents.

Wednesday, February 2, 2000 - A day before, a rocket attack on a UN bus with markings of the — UN High Commissioner for Refugees — carrying 49 Serb civilians left two Serbs dead and three injured.

United States senators expressed growing impatience with the continuing US military role in the Balkans, arguing that the failure of European nations to do more was prolonging the American presence there.

A military court in Belgrade indicted seven people — one army lieutenant and six civilians — for allegedly planning to assassinate president Slobodan Milosevic, Yugoslav Army General Nebojsa Pavkovic and opposition leader Vuk Draskovic.

Ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova announced that the shadow government he operated in Kosovo for 10 years was dissolved and would turn over millions of dollars to the UN-supervised administration running the province. Unconfirmed reports put the amount of money at close to $250 million.

Thursday, February 3, 2000 - Two grenade attacks against Serb cafes left at least 20 people wounded and shootings that claimed the lives of three ethnic Albanians.

Friday, February 4, 2000 - Serbian media reported an elderly Serb was shot dead by a masked gunman in the American-controlled town of Gnjilane.

Hundreds of ethnic Albanians pelted French soldiers with stones and bottles in Kosovska Mitrovica, charging that NATO-led peacekeepers failed to prevent the deaths of at least six Kosovo Albanians. The French troops fired tear gas to disperse about 500 rioters.

Saturday, February 5, 2000 - For the second day, French peacekeepers clashed with ethnic Albanians in Kosovska Mitrovica. Forty-one people, including 11 French soldiers, were injured. Two ethnic Albanians died Saturday of gunshot wounds. Some 30 Albanian families — 104 people — were evacuated during the night from the Serb-controlled northern part of the city to the southern, Albanian district.

Later, UNHCR said that over a period of several days an estimated 97 people were attacked by Serbs, 15 Serbs were hand-grenaded in a bar, five Albanians were killed, five NATO peacekeepers injured, seven UN vehicles burnt, and all international agencies withdrawn from the north side of the river.

Another three days of rioting in Mitrovica left another two people dead, another 11 French NATO troops injured, a 15-year-old boy shot by a suspected Serb sniper on Saturday, another hand-grenade attack on a Serb village, Serb paramilitaries openly patrolling the streets of northern Mitrovica, and a huge French NATO contingent that Albanians claim is massively biased in favor of the Serbs.

Monday, February 7, 2000 - The Yugoslav defense minister — Pavle Bulatovic, an ally of president Milosevic — was gunned down in a Belgrade restaurant. He died later in a military hospital. he ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party accused American, French or British intelligence agents of being behind the murder.

Australian aid worker Steve Pratt — one of the CARE workers arrested March 31, 1999, during the first week of the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia — said on Australian Broadcasting Corp.'s Four Corners current affairs show he was threatened with death if he did not sign a trumped up espionage confession while in detention in Yugoslavia. (See KFOR September 1, 1999.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2000 - UN police raided local police buildings in two Bosnian Croat-held towns, finding large caches of illegal weapons and telephone tapping equipment.

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal sent freed war crimes defendant Zlatko Aleksovski back to jail. The former Bosnian Croat prison commandant, was convicted of war crimes in May 1999, but released immediately because he had served out his 2½-year sentence in pretrial detention, but the prosecution appealed.

The US endorsed a move by the EU to lift a ban on commercial air travel to Yugoslavia.

Thursday, February 10, 2000 - Yugoslavia's most respected newspaper and its chief editor were found guilty and fined $13,000 by a court in Novi Sad of publishing an article in which a professor accused a colleague of organizing a dismissal of teachers disloyal to president Milosevic.

Friday, February 11, 2000 - A report by UNHCR and OSCE said ethnic minorities in the province were still suffering severe discrimination and were often violently attacked. Of an estimated 20,000 Serbs living in the provincial capital Pristina during 1998, only about 700-800 remain, the report said.

Friday, February 12, 2000 - Danish and French KFOR troops raided a Serb bar in Kosovska Mitrovica but no evidence was found to support accusations it was a base for paramilitaries. A crowd of around 150 Serbs gathered outside the bar. KFOR imposed a curfew on the city and reinforced the French — heavily criticized by Albanians — with 140 British troops and about 140 Dutch, Italian, and German troops.

[Image: Reuters]
February 13, 2000: NATO
soldier in Kosovska Mitrovica

Sunday, February 13, 2000 - French peacekeeping troops on foot and in armored personnel carriers took combat positions on the Serb-dominated north side of Kosovska Mitrovica. Snipers shot and wounded two French soldiers. An ethnic Albanian sniper was shot dead and four were wounded and captured. Seventeen people were arrested in follow-up operations after the violence. Serb sources said the trouble began when several ethnic Albanians from the southern side crossed a bridge over the Ibar River leading to the Serb side and threw several hand grenades.

Tuesday, February 15, 2000 - After an ambulance — on its way to Kosovska Mitrovica — overturned, UN police found 14 anti-tank rocket launchers, more than 180 high-explosive grenades and over 3,000 cartridges for guns.

Wednesday, February 16, 2000 - After nearly a year of tension over the wars in Yugoslavia, Russia and NATO announced that they are restoring their ties.

Thursday, February 17, 2000 - In Kosovska Mitrovica, two rocket attacks were reported. One anti-tank rocket was fired by unknown assailants at a Serb home — no casualties were reported. Another In another attack a rocket landed harmlessly in a field near Suvi Do.

More than 4,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Pristina to protest escalating violence that left at least nine people dead and dozens injured in Kosovska Mitrovica.

NATO's retiring supreme commander in Europe — General Wesley Clark — suggested US peacekeepers may have to stay in Bosnia and Kosovo indefinitely., since Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic was rebuilding his forces. Clark also cited potential flash points in Montenegro. "Until he's taken to trial as a war criminal, we're not going to see a resolution to the problem."

Friday, February 18, 2000 - In an attempt to counter the influence of the pro-independence media in Montenegro, the Yugoslav government expanded the broadcast of its new television outlet.

Sunday, February 20, 2000 - During a massive house-to-house search in Mitrovica for illegal weapons, a crowd of angry Serbs pelted American and German peacekeepers with rocks and bricks. The search was conducted by 2,300 troops, including French, Belgian, Danish, Austrian, American, British, Canadian, Dutch, German, Norwegian and Turkish troops. They found plastic explosives, 15 rifles and handguns, one grenade, one machine gun and loads of ammunition.

Monday, February 21, 2000 - In Kosovska Mitrovica, French and British troops fired tear gas to push back thousands of ethnic Albanians trying to force their way across a bridge into the Serb-controlled side of the city. In New York, the American ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, blamed the Yugoslav government for fomenting trouble in Kosovska Mitrovica.

As many as 50,000 ethnic Albanians marched to Kosovska Mitrovica to demand an end to the city's ethnic bloodshed. Tensions began after a grenade attack on a UN bus on February 2 killed two Serbs. That triggered a round of revenge attacks that left nine people dead and scores injured.

Wednesday, February 23, 2000 - US paratroopers swooped down on the Serb part of Mitrovica, arresting eight people and seizing weapons in a surprise raid three days after Serbs drove them away in a hail of stones. The the Americans seized a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, rifles, grenades and ammunition. KFOR announced plans to start moving ethnic Albanians back to their homes in the Serb-controlled part of Kosovska Mitrovica north of the Ibar. Serb leaders objected to the resettlement plan. KFOR agreed to establish a security zone in the center of the city, in which demonstrations would be banned.

Intelligence reports reinforced NATO's belief that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's government was behind the rising violence in Kosovska Mitrovica. NATO also said it detected radio contacts between police units in Serbia and Serbs in the city. Richard Holbrooke, the American ambassador to the United Nations, and General Wesley Clark, supreme NATO commander in Europe, accused the Yugoslav government of stirring up unrest after peacekeeping troops in Mitrovica began house-to-house searches for weapons.

Associated Press writer Robert H. Reid said "If Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic can hold on to any part of Kosovo, which the United Nations recognizes as sovereign Yugoslav territory, the area around Kosovska Mitrovica is his best shot. It is a prize worth gambling to retain."

The Yugoslav army begun new training, and NATO intelligence observed a great deal of military movement in the Kosovo border area.

Friday, February 25, 2000 - In response to a call from the North Atlantic Council for more reinforcements, Canada sent some 100 additional soldiers to Kosovska Mitrovica. France sent an army battalion (some 600 troops). A US spokesman said a US Marine Expeditionary Unit was on standby for possible movement. The reinforcements were intended to facilitate the return of Albanians to the Serb-controlled northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica. Some nations, including Russia, Finland, Denmark and Portugal, said they were not inclined to widen their participation. All NATO allies expressed willingness to extend participation — Kosovo's future as well as the entire peacekeeping effort were on the line.

Saturday, February 26, 2000 - In Gnjilane, a representative in the Serb National Council — representing the Kosovo Serbs — was shot and killed by unknown assailants as he walked to work through a Serb part of town.

Monday, February 28, 2000 - A bus ran over a land mine near Kosovska Mitrovica. The nearly empty vehicle was damaged, there were no injuries. Local Serbs blamed ethnic Albanians from the nearby Raski Potok village.

Wednesday, March 1, 2000 - Ethnic Albanian guerrillas in Gnjilane formed a rebel group, the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac — after three predominantly ethnic Albanian towns just outside Kosovo in southern Serbia. The group said it would try to protect villagers in the region from brutal attacks by Serb forces.

According to the US-based International Rescue Committee nearly 1,300 ethnic Albanians streamed from Serbia into Gnjilane — approximately 30 miles southeast of Pristina.

Jacques Klein — Un envoy to Bosnia — warned that Yugoslav president Milosevic was becoming more powerful. Foreign assistance would enable him to rebuild his country after the NATO air campaign. It was said Russia and China were providing assistance. Earlier, Carl Bildt warned that Serbia and Montenegro were "set on a somewhat slow but very steady collision course."

Thursday, March 2, 2000 - The US said it would put up 10,000 wanted posters across Bosnia offering up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief, Ratko Mladic. The latter two were accused by the International Warcrimes Tribunal of genocide during the Bosnia war.

The $5 million offer was up since May 1999, but the US said it probably did not receive enough publicity. The offer is valid for the 27 other people indicted of war crimes and still at large.

Serbs in Kosovska Mitrovica drove back 43 ethnic Albanian families trying to return to their homes in the Serb part of the city with a hail of stones. It was the first attempt by NATO and the UN to end the division in the city.

A Russian peacekeeper died of his wounds two days after he was shot by attackers who stole his gun in the largely ethnic Albanian town of Srbica. On March 27, the Associated Press reported the private was shot with his own weapon by a 15-year old. The teenager apparently flashed a peace sign at the private, who approached the teenager. With his own machine gun, the Russian peacekeeper was shot. He was the 27th peacekeeper to die in Kosovo but the first to die from a deliberate attack.

An explosion was reported in Lipljan — 10 miles south of Pristina. All windows were smashed in a building inhabited by Serbs. No injuries were reported.

As part of a crackdown of independent media that criticize the Milosevic regime, the Yugoslav government took over the popular private Vecernje Novosti daily.

Friday, March 3, 2000 - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that the violence in parts of Kosovo could spread and spill over into southern Serbia.

French peacekeepers punched a corridor through a crowd of Serb protesters — firing tear gas and stun grenades — in an attempt to return dozens of ethnic Albanians to their homes. An earlier attempt to use a footbridge built by NATO, failed. In a second punch, Danish armored personnel carriers lumbered across the river, pushing through the crowd to reach the buildings, firing more tear gas and stun grenades.

An AP reporter and a cameraman were fired at by unknown assailants using an explosive device and automatic weapons, while driving out of Kosovska Mitrovica in a car with Belgrade license plates.

Saturday, March 4, 2000 - In a second attempt, Danish armored personnel carriers in Kosovska Mitrovica, carrying 41 ethnic Albanians lumbered across the Ibar River. French peacekeepers abandoned plans to move more ethnic Albanians to the north side of the town.

In an article, warning about a new guerrilla war brewing just across the border between ethnic Albanians and Serbian forces the Los Angeles Times reported about Yugoslavia's Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac Liberation Army (Albanian UCPMB). The name was taken from the three main towns in an area that is mostly populated by ethnic Albanians and located in Serbia proper, just east of Kosovo's provincial border.

Fighting was reported between Serb police and a new ethnic Albanian armed group in a tense area of Serbia just outside eastern Kosovo. KFOR said it had no intention of intervening further into Serbia. Some 175 ethnic Albanian women and children fled from the area near Dobrasi into Gnjilane, Kosovo.

Sunday, March 5, 2000 - NATO peacekeepers arrested two Bosnian Serbs, one of whom was accused of committing war crimes while helping run the notorious Omarska internment camp.

The first troops from Eurocorps — a four-nation European military grouping — arrived in Macedonia en route to Kosovo. The 68 soldiers from France, Germany, Belgium and Spain are part of a 350-strong contingent of troops that Eurocorps will provide to the NATO-led Kosovo peacekeeping mission headquarters. NATO designated Eurocorps in January to run the operation in Kosovo for the next six months. It was the first time a non-NATO group was selected to lead a NATO operation.

Monday, March 6, 2000 - NATO peacekeepers tightened border controls, in an attempt to stop the flow of weapons and guerrillas believed to fuel tensions in the region just inside Serbia.

Tuesday, March 7, 2000 - In Kosovska Mitrovica, a street fight escalated into a fiery battle. Two rockets hit a apartment complex, in the Serb-held part of the city, where dozens of ethnic Albanians had been resettled by NATO peacekeepers. One apartment was damaged, but there were no injuries. Hand grenades were thrown and shots were fired. Sixteen French peacekeepers and 24 civilians were wounded.

Bernard Kouchner, UN administrator in Kosovo, said it's time to start talking about what "substantial autonomy" and self-government will mean for Kosovo. He stressed he was not speaking of independence. He referred to the Rambouillet accords, which suggested a model of a state within a state, with its own constitution, laws, courts, president, parliament, the right to conduct foreign affairs with other governments and to chart its own economic course.

Wednesday, March 8, 2000 - NATO peacekeepers imposed an early curfew in Kosovska Mitrovica.

Opposition activist Bogoljub Arsenijevi, serving a 3-year prison term for leading violent protests against President Slobodan Milosevic went missing. Reports from independent media outlets said he had escaped from police custody while recovering from surgery in a hospital. His wife said she doubted that her husband had escaped.

Thursday, March 9, 2000 - Albin Kurti — former spokesman for Kosovo's disbanded rebel organization — went on trial today on charges of terrorism and conspiracy against the state, Yugoslav media reported.

UN police accused French KFOR troops of standing back when assistance was needed during the riots in Kosovska Mitrovica. K-For strongly denied the accusations. During the riots, some ethnic Albanians were killed. Danish troops assisted UN police.

Friday, March 10, 2000 - General Klaus Reinhardt said there were no plans to venture across the border with Serbia. The Presevo Valley falls just outside Kosovo's administrative boundaries. Sporadic clashes were reported between a newly formed rebel group of ethnic Albanian guerrillas and Serb police.

Saturday, March 11, 2000 - French peacekeepers declared that they had returned 93 people — 49 families — across the Ibar River, which divides Kosovska Mitrovica, and settling them back home. Peacekeepers guarded the three buildings with the families, using razor wire, armored vehicles, and tanks.

Sunday, March 12, 2000 - Belgrade police forced Radio Television Pozeg — an opposition-run radio and television station — off the air. It allegedly failed to pay state fees for using its frequency.

Monday, March 13, 2000 - The US urged ethnic Albanians to stop attacks on Serbs and other minorities in Kosovo before the violence would weaken international support.

NATO Supreme Commander Clark said the West would not stay indifferent to attempts by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to ``tighten the noose'' around Montenegro. As part of a number of measures to put pressure on Montenegro not to pull away from Belgrade, Yugoslav troops prevented goods entering Montenegro from Serbia.

Tuesday, March 14, 2000 - Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, expressed Moscow's concern that "the very critical situation" in southern Serbia could ignite a new war. Russia also warned that Kosovo "is drifting toward independence" in violation of UN resolution 1244.

After being ordered by Yugoslav Telecommunication Minister Ivan Makrovic to pay $1 million for use of its frequencies, Studio B paid, to prevent from being closed down. The sum was paid by the opposition municipal government in Belgrade.

[Image: Reuters]
March 15, 2000: clashes in Kosovska
Mitrovica with angry crowds

Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - NATO peacekeepers clashed with angry Serbs in Kosovska Mitrovica. The Serbs responded with a call for a campaign of civil disobedience against the UN and NATO administration. At least 15 Serbs and an undetermined number of peacekeepers and journalists were injured.

Following a request from General Clark for 2,000 additional troops to reinforce KFOR, France offered 600 to 700 more and Italy said it would provide another 350.

The US sternly warned ethnic Albanian leaders in Kosovo that US and other NATO peacekeepers were determined to defend the border against crossover attacks on police in Serbia.

Pentagon officials expressed concern about the gathering of ethnic Albanian guerrillas in the rugged no-man's region of the Presevo Valley. Since several weeks, the military tracked six to eight armed groups, ranging in number for a two dozen to 200 each, some of whom have connections to the former Kosovo Liberation Army.

Thursday, March 16, 2000 - Without prior notice, president Milosevic's government shut down the local television station in the opposition-run southeastern town of Pirot and police removed transmission equipment. Serbian opposition parties and media called for action to halt the media crackdown.

In an attempt to ease tension in Kosovska Mitrovica, French commanders agreed to let both Serb guards and international peacekeepers keep watch over a bridge to the ethnic Albanian-controlled part of the city. The change in strategy followed a clash between NATO troops and about 300 Serb civilians.

Saturday, March 18, 2000 - European officials and the premiers of the countries bordering Yugoslavia agreed that Montenegro should stay within the Yugoslav federation but with closer contacts with other nations in the region. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was urged to end his economic blockade of Montenegro.

Sunday, March 19, 2000 - Seven Czech peacekeepers strayed across Kosovo's administrative boundary between the province and the rest of Serbia and were detained for eight hours by Serb authorities. The Czechs were assigned to a reconnaissance unit, traveling in a BMP-2 armored vehicle equipped with satellite navigation and night vision.

France and Italy announced 1,200 peacekeepers would be sent to Kosovska Mitrovica. Britain said it planned to send 170 troops and two helicopters to Kosovo to engage in surveillance and intelligence work.

Monday, March 20, 2000 - Ethnic Albanian leader Hashim Thaci promised to do what he could to stop Serb-Albanian violence in southern Serbia.

Underworld figure Branislav Lainovic was shot and killed in front of his hotel in Belgrade. He was a former commander of the Serb Guard, a paramilitary group organized by opposition Serbian Renewal Movement which fought on the side of the Serb rebels in Croatia at the start of the war there in 1991.

Wednesday, March 22, 2000 - NATO established a "confidence zone" in Kosovska Mitrovica with barbed wire along the bridge over the river that separates ethnic Albanians and Serbs. Signs forbid weapons, demonstrations, and parking.

The Pentagon said it would send a number of Predator and Hunter Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Kosovo, to assist in intelligence gathering.

An explosion destroyed a railway bridge about 7 miles northwest of Kosovska Mitrovica, cutting off rail traffic between northern Kosovo — where most of the remaining Serbs live — and Kosovo Polje, a Serb-dominated village just outside Pristina. No injuries were reported.

Thursday, March 23, 2000 - Ethnic Albanian militants near the Presevo Valley — in southern Serbia — pledged to become a political organization. The move was considered a first step toward easing tensions just across Kosovo's administrative boundary. There was no promise to lay down weapons.

Saturday, March 25, 2000 - The Yugoslav Ministry of Telecommunications returned a transmitter that it had seized from a local Serbian TV station in Kraljevo, 70 miles south of Belgrade. The transmitter was confiscated on March 18, claiming it lacked a frequency license. The move triggered seven days of anti-government demonstrations organized by the opposition-run municipal government. In return for the transmitter, Kraljevo authorities promised to cease the anti-Milosevic protests and pay about $10,000 in frequency license taxes.

In a period of several months, dozens of non-governmental media outlets and independent newspapers have been ordered to shut down or subjected to severe fines under Serbia's repressive Information Law — sponsored by Milosevic's ruling Socialists.

Sunday, March 26, 2000 - Hundreds of ethnic Albanians gathered at three separate spots — along Kosovo's border with Macedonia, in the town of Urosevac and near the town of Kacanik — near the main US Army base in Kosovo in protest of the release of a suspect on murder and weapons smuggling charges.

Tuesday, March 28, 2000 - The Times reported that the CIA uncovered a Serb plot to assassinate NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson and Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Clark. The CIA feared the Serbs were going to use shoulder-launched missiles to attack the helicopter carrying both officials. Their flight plans were re-scheduled.

Wednesday, March 29, 2000 - For the first time, NATO troops entered the no-man's zone just outside Kosovo's boundary following reports of Yugoslav military activity in the 3.5 mile zone. On a fact-finding mission NATO searched for evidence of a tank, sighted March 25. Any presence of Yugoslav military forces would break the agreement that ended NATO's 78 day bombing campaign.

US officials feared Milosevic could crack down on the group of ethnic Albanian guerrillas active in southern Serbia, possibly triggering another armed conflict.

Thursday, March 30, 2000 - The Pentagon announced it would send 125 long-range reconnaissance troops to Kosovo and 14 tanks and six artillery pieces to neighboring Macedonia as a deterrent. Earlier that day, the US House of Representatives narrowly defeated (219-200 vote) an effort to withdraw the 5,900 US peacekeepers from Kosovo unless European nations start paying a larger share.

The reconnaissance troops would monitor the border with southern Serbia, where ethnic Albanian guerrillas were becoming more active, despite an agreement reached earlier.

Friday, March 31, 2000 - In Kosovska Mitrovica, a French lieutenant was shot to death by a fellow French soldier. It was not immediately clear if the shooting was an accident.

Saturday, April 1, 2000 - A nine-page document from the British Department of Defense containing a detailed plan for rules of engagement in Kosovo turned up on the Internet.

Croatia's president Stipe Mesic said another war in the Balkans would be possible, unless the West takes steps to stop Milosevic.

Sunday, April 2, 2000 - Kosovo's Serb National Council said they would end a six-month boycott of the UN interim government but added that their representatives would take part as observers only and that decisions would be reviewed after three months. Serbs from the city of Mitrovica did not support the decision.

Monday, April 3, 2000 - In the past 2 1/2 month, the Yugoslav government closed 10 independent radio stations and threatened or fined 20 others that diverged from the state-approved point of view.

Tuesday, April 4, 2000 - Kosovo Serbs clashed with NATO troops in Sevce — 40 miles south of Pristina. Fourteen Serbs, 11 US soldiers, and one Pole were injured. The clash started after a Serb was arrested for illegal weapons possession. About 150 Serbs surrounded the house and refused to allow the troops to leave. The suspect escaped custody. After roads were blocked by the crowd, NATO used helicopters to bring in reinforcements. Polish troops also set up roadblocks outside Jazince to stop a crowd of some 300 Serbs from joining the demonstration.

Clashes in Shtrpce
[Image: Associated Press]
March 5, 2000: US military police convoy
entering Shtrpce, after Serb civilians
clashed with peacekeepers in Sevce

Wednesday, April 5, 2000 - The Associated Press reported that Albanian guerilla Xhavit Hasani was arrested by the UN and deported to Macedonia to face felony charges a month ago — a move that was criticized by human rights organizations as Amnesty International. On April 2, militants kidnapped four Macedonian soldiers. The soldiers were released after Hasani was allowed out of prison on $100,000 bail.

Top UN representative Bernard Kouchner personally intervened in the case, signing the order that sent Hasani to Macedonia to face charges of shooting at 11 people, including two policemen. Western diplomats described the action as legally questionable – signing Hasani away without giving him any legal forum to argue against it. He was held from January 25 to March 9.

US defense secretary William Cohen said the clash in which 11 US troops were injured showed the need for more police in the region, not more soldiers.

Opposition activist Jan Svetlik was taken from his home in Zrenjanin by three unidentified men. It occurred just before the municipal assembly of the town of Zrenjanin was going to vote to retake control of the town's government and oust a major loyal to president Milosevic.

Thursday, April 6, 2000 - A Serb man was shot in the leg when Swedish peacekeepers fired on protesters armed with pitchforks and axes who were trying to attack the monastery in Gracanica — about five miles southeast of Pristina. The monastery became the unofficial base of the moderate Serbian National Council, led by Bishop Artemije. The crowd protested after moderate Serbs decided to participate in Kosovo's interim government.

Friday, April 7, 2000 - About 100 radical Serbs rallied again outside the monastery in Gracanica. The rally dispersed without incident after Serb representatives met with peacekeepers.

US secretary of state Madeleine Albright met with leaders from eight Serbian cities. She pledged to help the municipal leaders in Serbia to rebuild cities "that fell victim to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's regime".

Ethnic Albanian rebels vowed to step up attacks in southern Serbia, despite an earlier agreement and pressure from the US to stop. Western officials believed the violence could spill over into Kosovo and Macedonia. The Pressevo Valley is in Serbia and is not under control of the UN and NATO.

Saturday, April 8, 2000 - Moderate Serb said they would stick to their decision to participate in the UN interim government.

Sunday, April 9, 2000 - The Serb suspect who escaped April 4, during clashes between the Serb population and US peacekeepers in Sevce turned himself in.

Monday, April 10, 2000 - Television station Studio B — ran by the opposition municipal government in Belgrade — was fined $40,000 in a suit filed by a police officer. The station refused to pay.

Serbia's minister of culture, Zeljko Simic, filed a suit against the independent Vreme weekly for statements published in an interview carried by the paper.

In the city of Nis, more than 10,000 people protested the verdict against the local Narodne Novine newspaper, which was ordered a week earlier to pay $35,000 in a suit filed by the Yugoslav army.

Serbian president Milan Milutinovic underwent heart surgery. Milutinovic was indicted in 1999 by the UN war crimes tribunal in connection with atrocities committed by Serb forces during the conflict in Kosovo.

Tuesday, April 11, 2000 - A Serb observer attended a session of the UN interim government. The move was as a test for the international community's ability to bring both sides together in a multiethnic society. Moderate Serb leaders say they will withdraw from the council if Serb refugees do not begin to return within three months.

Wednesday, April 12, 2000 - An explosion shattered windows of the office of Yugoslav president Milosevic in Belgrade. No injuries were reported. Milosevic's ruling Socialists blamed the opposition.

Thursday, April 13, 2000 - Because of ethnic violence in the French zone and increased activity of Albanian rebels in the Presevo Valley in southern Yugoslavia, some 3,5000 troops were requested by NATO. The roughly 5 battalions were mainly intended to replace battalions scheduled to leave. On March 30, the US said it would send a reconnaissance company to Kosovo.

NATO secretary-general Lord Robertson said that NATO peacekeepers "are willing to take the risks" to arrest war crimes suspects, including wartime Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic, political strongman Radovan Karadzic and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Australia's new ambassador to Belgrade presented his credentials to President Slobodan Milosevic. The move was criticized by many Western nations.

Macedonian legal authorities said they would seek assault charges against US soldiers allegedly responsible for injuring a Macedonian policeman and brawling with residents. (Macedonia serves as a staging ground and a supply route for international peacekeepers in Kosovo.)

Saturday, April 14, 2000 - Top UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte said that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic must not be allowed to continue evading international justice; his arrest is a priority. "I deplore the fact that, 10 months after the publication of his indictment, he is still in power, evading international justice," del Ponte said. She also said she will press NATO-led forces in Bosnia to arrest former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Bosnian Serb wartime military commander, General Ratko Mladic.

In Belgrade, some 10,000 participated in a major anti-Milosevic rally. Live coverage of the rally on the leading nongovernment television station, Studio B, was jammed.

Monday, April 17, 2000 - A former leading member of Serbia's ruling Socialists who had participated in failed peace talks for Kosovo committed suicide. He was considered close to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic but he came under Socialist party scrutiny for criticizing its policies in Kosovo.

Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - A rocket hit an apartment building in Pristina. No injuries were reported.

Wednesday, April 19, 2000 - In one of the largest mass trials ever in Serbia, 145 ethnic Albanians faced terrorism charges for allegedly fighting Serb forces in Kosovo in April 1999. The men said they had been taken away from their homes for identity checks and then detained. When NATO took control of Kosovo in June, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's withdrawing forces transferred more than 2,000 ethnic Albanians charged with terrorism from Kosovo to prisons elsewhere in Serbia.

Thursday, April 20, 2000 - The 15-year old boy suspected of killing a Russian peacekeeper on March 2, 2000 escaped again. He reportedly admitted to his father that he shot the Russian soldier with his own gun after provoking a fight.

A Yugoslav forensic expert testified that he found child and adult remains in the village of Klecka, southwest of Pristina. In a court case against two Kosovo Albanians, Yugoslavia said its crackdown on Kosovo was justified.

Friday, April 21, 2000 - Yugoslavia accused NATO of using depleted uranium rounds on eight sites in Yugoslavia during the 78-day air campaign. Months earlier NATO admitted US A-10 planes fired armor-piercing depleted uranium rounds on some 100 missions.

US senators urged the UN to schedule local elections as soon as possible to enable foreign troops to return home.

Serbian opponents of Milosevic urged the West to lift sanctions against Yugoslavia.

Saturday, April 22, 2000 - Serbian opposition leaders renewed calls Saturday for early elections. They also promised greater coordination to oust Milosevic.

Gunfire erupted along Kosovo's eastern boundary, near the village of Djordjevac, in the Pressevo Valley.

A US-backed plan to start resettling Serbs in Kosovo triggered some scepticism by the UN.

Sunday, April 23, 2000 - Nine explosions were reported near the village of Gorazdevac in the Italian zone. Three craters were found near a KFOR checkpoint, and six other craters were found near a group of Roma houses. No injuries were reported.

Monday, April 24, 2000 - Seven people went on trial on charges of plotting to assassinate president Slobodan Milosevic and his army chief General Nebojsa Pavkovic.

Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - In order to assist the UN international crimes tribunal in The Hague, the OSCE announced it would establish a similar court in Kosovo to address serious ethnic crimes committed during the 1998-99 conflict between Kosovo's separatist majority ethnic Albanians and Serbian security forces.

During a routine press conference, KFOR reported an increase of violence aimed against KFOR troops. Numerous gunshots were fired against guards and tents of a KFOR Russian camp in Brocna; KFOR returned fire. A Molotov cocktail was thrown from a passing vehicle at a KFOR checkpoint in Marina. A KFOR Russian vehicle was stopped and threatened by demonstrators in Pristina. The KFOR soldiers turned the vehicle around and left without further incident. No injuries were reported.

A Russian soldier was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head just north of the town of Glogovac — 25 km west of Pristina. The soldier had been reported missing since April 16. KFOR commander Lieutenant-General Juan Ortuno condemned the killing by saying "An attack against one soldier is an attack against us all".

An ally of Milosevic was gunned down in Belgrade. Petrovic never played a big role in politics, nor was his name ever publicly tied to any of the numerous scandals linked to Milosevic's regime.

Thursday, April 27, 2000 - Ahead of a UN fact-finding mission, the UN ambassadors of pro-Serbian Russia and China met with Yugoslav president Milosevic and his prime minister and foreign minister.

Friday, April 28, 2000 - Six Serbs accused of plotting to kill president Slobodan Milosevic were convicted of conspiracy and terrorism (see April 24).

Saturday, April 29, 2000 - Serb mobs clashed with NATO peacekeepers escorting ethnic Albanians back to homes in Kosovska Mitrovica. KFOR sent in reinforcements by vehicle and helicopter to end the blockade. Witnesses reported serious violence in which Serbs stoned ethnic Albanian houses in the vicinity, shot at a helicopter bringing troops to the scene and clashed with soldiers before being pushed back.

In other parts of the north hundreds of furious Serbs blocked intersections and vandalized at least 15 UN international police cars. Troops and anti-riot police squads were dispatched to disperse the mobs.

Sunday, April 30, 2000 - A UN Security Council delegation vowed to seek more police and administrators for the mission in Kosovo to curb violence and build democracy. After a three-day tour, the delegation concluded there was no need to change or replace resolution 1244 but that its implementation must be improved. The delegation also said UNMIK was still seriously short of administrators and police.

Monday, May 8, 2000 - At a conference on security and stability in southeastern Europe NATO secretary-general Lord Robertson indicated NATO would accept Croatia as a junior partner — pointedly setting up the new democratic government as a role model for the country's former rivals in the Balkan wars.

Thursday, May 11, 2000 - US senators debated on a proposal requiring withdrawal of US troops in Kosovo after July 1, 2001, unless Congress would authorize them to stay. The Clinton administration fiercely opposed the plan to cut off funding for the 5,900 troops. US senators were unhappy about the growing string of military deployments in hot spots like Bosnia, Somalia and Haiti. The Clinton administration feared that Congress sent the wrong message to Milosevic.

About 200-300 stone-throwing Serbs attacked US soldiers of the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force in Vrbovac — near the southern town of Vitina. In one of two incidents, a squad of US military police was stoned as the unit responded to an explosion which destroyed an abandoned house. In the second, troops guarding a Serbian Orthodox church were surrounded and attacked.

A Serb reporter who was detained by police for writing about alleged atrocities committed by the Yugoslav army in Kosovo was handed over to a military court and could face espionage charges.

Monday, May 15, 2000 - In the first war crimes trial arising from the Kosovo conflict, a Serb man appeared before ethnic Albanian judges in a district court to face a charge of genocide. Milos Jokic was accused of leading a nine-member paramilitary group which terrorized members of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority during last year's NATO air war.

Tuesday, May 16, 2000 - The US said it was "deeply dismayed" that Russia had allowed Yugoslav Defense Minister Dragoljub Ojdanic — indicted by the UN for alleged war crimes in Kosovo — to visit Moscow. The States Department spokesman said: "Russia — like all UN member states — has the arrest war criminals who enter its territory."

Thursday, May 18, 2000 - In the US, the Senate killed a proposal to require the withdrawal of US troops from Kosovo after July 2001 unless Congress authorized them to stay.

Clinton said that since the end of the air campaign European allies supplied 85% of the troops and nearly 85% of the police.

In Belgrade, Serb police used tear gas and batons to break up a rally against the government's seizure of the influential Studio B television station, but the opposition said new demonstrations were planned.

Kosovska Mitrovica
[Image: Associated Press]
May 19, 2000: French soldier watches
as UN police vehicle crosses the eastern
bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica. Beside
small incidents, the situation was calm.

Friday, May 19, 2000 - More than 40,000 people gathered at an opposition rally in Skopje to demand the Macedonian government resign and hold early elections. Macedonia is believed to be dangerously close to bankruptcy. With more than half the workforce unemployed and a foreign debt amounting to $1.45 billion, the impoverished Balkan nation is hoping to boost its economy by bringing in foreign capital.

Monday, May 22, 2000 - A court in Nis convicted 143 Kosovo Albanians of terrorism charges and sentenced them to up to 13 years in prison. It was the biggest mass trial ever in Serbia. The court ruled that the group, all from the southeastern Kosovo town of Djakovica, took part in attacks against Serb police during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

Tuesday, May 23, 2000 - In Kosovska Mitrovica, hundreds rallied to protest the conviction of 143 Kosovo Albanians on terrorism charges.

Wednesday, May 24, 2000 - Two Russian peacekeepers were wounded in what NATO said were retaliatory attacks for roughing up Ramush Haradinaj — a former regional commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Haradinaj was briefly detained by Russian and German military police in the town of Lozica, 30 miles from Pristina, because of improper paperwork for two guns found in his car. Haradinaj tried to escape and took the weapon of one of the soldiers.

The US asked Europe to provide more international police for Kosovo.

Masked men beat up a few dozen Belgrade University students, breaking up a sit-in protest against President Slobodan Milosevic's government.

Yugoslavia's justice minister Petar Jojic — a member of the ultranationalist Serb Radical Party — criticized the UN in a 25-page open letter, containing many obscenities. He said of UN chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte "You are running the dungeon which, like the worst whore, you have sold out to the Americans and to which you bring innocent Serbs by force, by kidnapping and murder" and "your acts will be a matter of investigation and the last part of your rotten life you will spend behind bars."

Thursday, May 25, 2000 - Gunmen attacked Russian peacekeepers for a second straight day. Attackers fired some 30 machine gun rounds into the Russian camp at Kijevo, about 20 miles south of Pristina.

Friday, May 26, 2000 - KFOR troops were fired on with an automatic weapon at their checkpoint north of Malisevo. There were no injuries.

Saturday, May 27, 2000 - The Yugoslav army was placed on higher alert against domestic and foreign enemies, according to the Vijesti, a daily in Montenegro.

Sunday, May 28, 2000 - Top Serbian opposition leaders arrived in Moscow to ask Russia to end its support for Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Monday, May 29, 2000 - An attacker shot and killed a 4-year-old Serb boy and two men in the village of Cernica — 28 miles southeast of Pristina. The killings provoked widespread Serb protests.

Tuesday, May 30, 2000 - Serb officials freed 23 ethnic Albanians. It was unclear whether the prisoners had been tried and sentenced, or had been awaiting trial. When NATO bombs drove Serb forces to withdraw, Hundreds of Albanians were arrested and transferred to Serbia. In total, 911 prisoners were released, but 1,188 remained imprisoned.

Wednesday, May 31, 2000 - A crowd of Serbs attacked a vehicle belonging to Norwegian peacekeepers investigating a reported shooting near the Kosovo capital Pristina.

An ethnic Albanian from Kosovo was found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to 10 years in prison for attacks on Serbian police and Yugoslav soldiers.

Thursday, June 1, 2000 - The Yugoslav army chief of staff Pavkovic said Yugoslavia would "not allow the scenario of the former republics of Yugoslavia to be repeated". He was referring to the secession of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia.

Friday, June 2, 2000 - A car filled with Serb civilians drove over a land mine just south of Pristina, killing two men and injuring a woman and two children.

Saturday, June 3, 2000 - A Hunter Unmanned Aerial Vehicle lost power on a mission over southern Kosovo and was forced to make a parachute landing "within two miles of the Kosovo border". Earlier, a British "Phoenix" was forced to make a parachute landing in the ground safety zone, which is the three mile buffer zone along Kosovo's boundary with Serbia proper. Unfortunately for the British, the Phoenix aircraft was recovered by Yugoslav forces.

Monday, June 5, 2000 - In an effort in an effort to curb violence, the UN chief administrator, Bernard Kouchner, announced restraints on Kosovo's ethnic Albanian media.

Tuesday, June 6, 2000 - Troops protecting Britain's military chief in Kosovo, Brigadier Richard Shirreff, opened fire on a crowd of hostile ethnic Serbs. At least one Serb was wounded. It was the most serious clash between peacekeepers and Serbs in Kosovo this year.

A US soldier accused of raping and killing an 1—year old Kosovo girl on January 16, 2000, was facing a court martial in Germany, with the possibility of life imprisonment without parole if convicted.

Wednesday, June 7, 2000 - Serbia's Supreme Court overturned the conviction of ethnic Albanian human rights activist Flora Brovina. She was convicted of terrorism by a court in the southern city of Nis on December 9, 1999, and sentenced to 12 years in prison for alleged links to the former rebel Kosovo Liberation Army.

Macedonia increased its military presence on the border with Kosovo because of recent frontier incidents and illegal crossings.

Thursday, June 8, 2000 - In Canada, Svend Robinson — controversial leftist New Democratic Party's spokesman on foreign affairs, representing a Vancouver suburb in parliament — said US Army General Clark should be tried for war crimes for the deaths of civilians. He was especially referring to the attack of Serbian radio/TV headquarters, killing 16 civilians.

KFOR peacekeepers raided a hospital to seize an ethnic Serb who had threatened to kill Britain's top military commander in Kosovo. KFOR said the man was under investigation for attempted murder and was transferred to a medical facility elsewhere in the province. Peacekeepers tried to arrest him on Wednesday but were prevented by several hundred ethnic Serb protesters. KFOR returned to the medical center in the early hours of Thursday.

Five Serb police officers were injured when their four-wheel-drive vehicle hit a land mine in a tense area of southern Serbia near Kosovo.

Friday, June 9, 2000 - Top UN official Bernard Kouchner told the Security Council that the UN administration in Kosovo will have to remain for "a significant number of years", saying it will take years to build a society based on tolerance and democracy.

The UN reported that an increased number of attacks on Serbs in Kosovo appeared to be part of an orchestrated campaign of violence.

Monday, June 12, 2000 - Chinese leader Li Peng and Yugoslavia's President Slobodan Milosevic accused the UN mission in Kosovo of tolerating "genocide" against non-Albanians. They urged the withdrawal of the NATO-led peacekeeping force.

Tuesday, June 13, 2000 - The Dita daily — an ethnic-Albanian newspaper — temporarily banned by Kosovo's chief UN administrator Bernard Kouchner reappeared. It carried the same article that led to the ban — an article the United Nations says contributed to the murder of a Serb employee.

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague said it found no reason to investigate NATO for criminal activity during its 78-day bombing campaign in Kosovo that nearly killed 500 civilians. The committee was appointed 13 months ago by war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte. It reviewed complaints by the Yugoslav government and by international human rights bodies.

Thursday, June 15, 2000 - Gunmen attacked and wounded Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic in Budva, in an Adriatic coastal resort. He accused Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic of responsibility for the shooting. The shooting followed a string of mysterious assassinations of officials and underworld figures in Belgrade. Russia condemned the shooting.

Friday, June 16, 2000 - KFOR troops discovered a massive stockpile of ammunition stored in two large bunkers that were stacked to the ceiling with rifles, heavy machine guns, grenades, grenade launchers, mortars, mines and other ordnance. NATO said it was probably linked to anti-Serb extremists. The bunkers were found just half a mile from the wartime headquarters of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

NATO started a major raid aimed at sezing weapons after two Serbs were killed and another wounded after their vehicle ran over a landmine. The road was almost exclusively used by Serbs to avoid Albanian villages.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that two of its former employees in Pristina were indicted by the UN for alleged embezzlement and fraud. They were charged with colluding to unlawfully obtain 190,000 DM of IOM assets.

Dennis McNamara, the UN head of humanitarian assistance in Kosovo, criticized NATO for its failure to reveal the location of cluster bombs. So far, 94 people were killed and more than 400 injured by land mines and unexploded ordnance.

Two masked men wearing uniforms of the officially disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army shot and killed a member of the Democratic League of Kosovo, a moderate ethnic Albanian politician.

Montenegrin police said they had arrested the gunmen who wounded Vuk Draskovic.

Saturday, June 17, 2000 - Despite a ban, some 100 Kosovo Serbs rallied on in Kraljevo in central Serbia to seek an organized return to their homes a year after leaving Kosovo.

Sunday, June 18, 2000 -
The commander of Kosovo's former ethnic Albanian guerrilla army denied NATO suggestions that a huge weapons cache discovered June 16 was illegally hidden by the guerrillas. Brigadier General Richard Shireff — commander of the British peacekeeping contingent that found the ordnance — said all evidence suggested it was former KLA property. This would be a violation of the peace settlement.

Mass grave site
[Image: Associated Press]
June 21, 2000: Carla del Ponte visited
a mass grave site in Qirez.

Monday, June 19, 2000 - Mass graves at Brestovac were exhumed by the UN. They were believed to hold 34 of more than 50 civilians killed in the village by Serb troops in March 1999 during their crackdown on Kosovo.

The New York Times said the Clinton administration was exploring the possibility of a deal for Milosevic to leave office while guaranteeing his safety and his savings. The UN war crimes tribunal did not agree, but indicated it would not impede diplomatic moves to restore political stability to Yugoslavia. The US State Department denied the report. However, a Greek newspaper reported a month ago that US officials had quietly approached Athens to try to work out an arrangement for his departure from office. Despite the fact that Milosevic is faced with international isolation he managed to remain in power, one year after the NATO air campaign.

Tuesday, June 20, 2000 - Russia and China accused the UN tribunal of playing politics in prosecuting suspected war criminals in the Balkans and called on the Security Council to monitor its operations closely. Canada and the United States strongly defended the court against Russian and Chinese attacks.

Thursday, June 22, 2000 - Yugoslavia accused the United States and international peacekeepers in Kosovo of trying to spread "ethnic Albanian terrorism" to Serbia. The accusation came after a series of bomb blasts. Bombs damaged the town hall in Bujanovac and the municipal courthouse in Presevo and Serbian police said that another bomb "of Albanian origin" was deactivated outside the court later.

Norway's top general, Sigurd Frivold, proposed sweeping cuts in the Norwegian defense budget, "the biggest reorganization of the military since World War II". The report outlined plans for Norway's national defense until 2010 based on current budget levels of $2.94 billion a year. Norway's military spending has declined from 7.1 percent of the national budget in 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed, to a current level of just over 5 percent. The cuts would also affect peacekeeping operations.

Friday, June 23, 2000 - The World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) temporarily suspending work in Mitrovica. They condemned the "unacceptable" level of attacks on their operations there. CARE, Caritas and ADRA also said they were stopping work, leaving only KFOR and armed United Nations police in the north.

During a regular press conference KFOR said is was able to confirm that the weapons found June 16 belonged to the former KLA. KFOR said it had considerable evidence to link the weapons in the bunker to KLA units operating during the war. This evidence contradicted rumours that Serb military forces, prior to leaving Kosovo, stored the weapons and ammunition for later use.

Yugoslavia's army showed its muscle to Montenegro with a massive military exercise in Montenegro along the country's volatile border with Albania.

Saturday, June 24, 2000 - Hundreds of Serbs attacked a UN office in Strpce — 25 miles south of Pristina — breaking windows, burning computers and setting a UN flag ablaze. They also stoned UN vehicles. The villagers were apparently unsatisfied with the response to their request for a search for an elderly villager. His body was found several days later.

Monday, June 26, 2000 - A Serbian court in Nis convicted six Kosovo Albanians of conspiring against the state. They were sentenced to 14 months in prison.

Tuesday, June 27, 2000 - After a population-based study, researchers more accurately calculated that from 1998 to 1999 approximately 12,000 Albanian Kosovars were killed during the Kosovo conflict as a result of war-related trauma. The conclusion was that the figures indicated that 12,000 Kosovar Albanians died from war-related trauma out of a total of 18,800 overall deaths, while another 3,900 people were missing.

Five men that Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic said were mercenaries hired by France to kill him went on trial, charged with espionage and murder. The group was arrested on November 26, 1999. If convicted, the men face up to 20 years in prison.

Source: Associated Press, The Times, Reuters, Washington Post, The Irish Times, Canadian Press, CBC News, Los Angeles Times, BBC.


January 1, 2000 - Experts feared the collapse of Bosnia-Herzegovina's economy as foreign aid was expected to be cut in half by the end of the new year.Billions of dollars were already invested after the 1995 Dayton accords. According to the government's statistics office, unemployment in the Muslim and Croat part of the country was standing at about 70 percent.

January 4, 2000 - In Croatia's parliamentary elections, a center-left opposition coalition — led by ex-communist and former dissident Drazen Budisa — headed toward victory, indicating the end of Tudjman's party's nine-year grip on power, that started in 1991 when Croatia became independent. The turnout — some 76 percent — was a near record.

Presidential elections were scheduled for January 24. The moderate Foreign Minister Mate Granic was also considered one of the favorites.

January 5, 2000 - At Eagle Base, Tuzla, a US Army soldier died of a gunshot wound.

January 10, 2000 - In Croatia, Foreign Minister Mate Granic was given 23.8 percent of the vote from 450 respondents; Drazen Budisa — leader of the Social Liberal Party — 22.7 percent.

January 12, 2000 - The UN Security Council demanded that the three presidents of Bosnia would fully implement the "New York Declaration" that was reached on November 15, 1999, on cooperation and implementation of the Dayton peace process. Mistrust among the groups, who fought a 31/2-year war, has kept over a million refugees from returning to their prewar homes. Two weeks after the agreement, Zivko Radisic stated the declaration was an "expression of the will", not a binding commitment, an interpretation that was obviously not shared with the UN.

Five convicted
[Image: Reuters]
January 14, 2000: In The Hague, five
Bosnian Croats were found guilty of
war crimes

January 14, 2000 - The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia found five Bosnian Croats guilty of the murders of 116 Muslim men, women and children near the central Bosnian village of Ahmici in April 1993, during the Bosnian war. The former commander of the unit was sentenced to 25 years for organizing the murders. The others were sentenced to 15, 10, 8, and 6 years imprisonment. A sixth suspect was set free.

January 25, 2000 - NATO peacekeepers arrested suspected war criminal Mitar Vasiljevic in Visegrad.

January 26, 2000 - After nearly four years of hearings, appeals and cross-appeals, the UN tribunal sentenced the Bosnian Serb Dusko Tadic to 20 years imprisonment. He was arrested February 13, 1994, by German police in Munich.

February 8, 2000 - Stipe Mesic, a former close aide to the late President Franjo Tudjman who pledged to distance Croatia from its authoritarian past was elected as the second president. He emphasized that Croatia was to become a genuinely democratic society.

February 18, 2000 - Stipe Mesic took his presidential oath.

February 20, 2000 - The Serb Socialist Party quit the ruling coalition in the Serb half of Bosnia, weakening pro-Western Premier Milorad Dodik's support in parliament. Bosnian members of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's party, announced their departure after Dodik fired two party officials.

February 21, 2000 - Forensic experts collected the remains of what they believe were seven victims from Srebrenica — the Muslim enclave overrun by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995. More than 7,000 Muslims, most of them men, were missing afterward, and most are believed to have been massacred. Some 2,000 bodies have been found so far.

February 22, 2000 - Four Socialist Party members from the ruling coalition in the Serb half of Bosnia handed in their resignations, but pro-Western premier Dodik refused to accept them. The Socialists were upset because Dodik fired two party officials.

March 4, 2000 - Croat General Tihomir Blaski was sentenced to 45 years of imprisonment by the international tribunal. He was found guilty of ordering an "ethnic cleansing" campaign against Muslim villages in central Bosnia. Members of Croatia's newly elected, pro-Western government criticized the verdict.

March 9, 2000 - Bosnian Serb prime minister Milorad Dodik and Croatian foreign minister Tonino Picula told US secretary of state Albright they would submit legislation to their parliaments within three months to enable refugees to return to areas under the control of rival ethnic groups. As a sign of good will, both sides agreed to let 4,000 Bosnian Croat and Croatian Serb refugees return home before the three-month deadline.

March 13, 2000 - In The Hague, the trial opened of the highest-ranking Serb to go before a tribunal on genocide charges. Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic was charged with the July 1995 slaughter of at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica.

March 15, 2000 - US Ambassador Thomas Miller and a half dozen other western diplomats visiting Bosnia, made pledges of support for refugees. Their visit was an effort to assess progress in returning refugees.

March 21, 2000 - After delaying more than two years, Croatia handed over a prominent Bosnian Croat war crimes suspect to the UN tribunal to face charges for atrocities allegedly committed against Muslims during the Bosnian war. Mladen Naletilic was indicted on 17 counts of war crimes for his alleged role as commander of a gang of convicts who terrorized Muslims in southwestern Bosnia in 1993 and 1994 in a campaign to drive non-Croats from the area. The extradition was seen as a test case of the new government's commitment.

March 24, 2000 - In an effort to improve relations since the change of Croatian leadership, Croatia and Bosnia agreed to get trains rolling again across their border. The UN said there was still powerful resistance from nationalists determined to preserve ethnic divisions.

March 28, 2000 -
An advisor to Alija Izetbegovic — the Muslim representative of Bosnia's joint presidency — said tens of thousands of Bosnian refugees could return home this year if the international community would cut through bureaucracy and supply them with homebuilding materials. Assistant Secretary-General Hedi Annabi said progress on implementing the 1995 accord has been slow and met powerful resistance from nationalists determined to preserve ethnic divisions.

March 30, 2000 - International donors promised $2.4 billion to revitalize Bosnia's economy. Some 35 projects will be financed, including the repair and construction of roads, bridges, power-grids and water supply networks. In return for the international help, Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia and Romania have committed to democracy and economic changes to attract private investment.

April 1, 2000 - The Vice President of Bosnia's Serb republic — Mirko Sarovic — said wartime Bosnian Serb Radovan Karadzic had no longer any influence on the Serb Democratic Party (SDP), set up by Karadzic in 1990. Political analysts were sceptic. Karadzic was indicted twice by the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for war crimes during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict, including the siege of Sarajevo and the massacre of Muslim men in Srebrenica.

Croatia's president Stipe Mesic said another war in the Balkans would be possible, unless the West takes steps to stop Milosevic.

April 3, 2000 - French troops detained Momcilo Krajisnik, president of the Bosnian Serb Assembly between October 1991 and November 1995 and aid to former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. He was transferred to the war crimes tribunal in the Netherlands. It was the highest-ranking suspect arrested so far. NATO Secretary-General Robertson said he was "accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, violations of the laws and customs of war and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, including murder, willful killing, extermination, complicity in genocide, deportation and inhumane acts". His indictment had not been made public. (See ICTY press release.)

Krajisnik signed the Dayton deal but afterward advocated Serb secession from Bosnia.

April 5, 2000 - The wife of war crimes suspect and former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic appeared at a rally of the hard-line Serb party -– an effort said to boost its chances of a comeback in the municipal elections.

The UN court ordered the release of war crimes suspects Miroslav Tadic and Simo Zaric because they had been awaiting their trial for two years. However, the order was frozen by chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte. The suspects were accused of crimes against humanity in an "ethnic cleansing" campaign in the town of Bosanski Samac in early part of the 1992-95 Bosnian war. With nearly 40 suspects awaiting a trial, the court was struggling with a backlog of cases.

April 7, 2000 - The Croatian new government sent a clear signal to the world that it is serious in its attempt to weed out corruption. A university lecturer was accused of taking bribes and a city clerk was arrested for collecting fees while posing as the head of the construction permit issuing office. But also widely known figures as former tourism minister Ivan Herak was arrested for embezzling $1.5 million in government funds and Stipe Gabric, the mayor of Metkovic, were arrested. Former deputy transport minister Zvonimir Vedris was also arrested; he allegedly pocketed $2.5 million from funds while an adviser for development projects that existed only on paper.

April 8, 2000 - Around 2.5 million eligible voters in Bosnia chose between one of seven coalitions, 68 parties and 18 independent candidates in almost 150 municipalities across the country. The votes were the second municipal elections since the end of the war.

Srebrenica could not take part since previous election results were never implemented after local Serbs refused to accept them. Voting in Srebrenica was scheduled for October.

April 9, 2000 - The Croatian government gave experts from the international war crimes tribunal permission to examine an alleged mass grave near Gospic — 60 miles southwest of the capital Zagreb. Late president Tudjman refused cooperation.

April 10, 2000 - Early figures showed the Serb Democratic Party — once headed by war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic — was winning the most votes in the Serb half of Bosnia. The Croats voted also largely for nationalists who led them during the 1992-95 war. Western officials considered the grip of three nationalist parties as the main obstacle to progress in Bosnia.

April 11, 2000 - Three children died in a minefield on the outskirts of Sarajevo.

April 20, 2000 - Radovan Karadzic — fugitive wartime leader of Bosnia's Serbs — is roaming between several Serb-held towns in eastern Bosnia to avoid arrest, according to the Slobodna Bosna weekly. Karadzic — indicted twice by the UN tribunal — is said to be surrounded by 80 bodyguards.

April 22, 2000 - SFOR troops arrested Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Dragan Nikolic in the US sector of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was immediately sent to the tribunal in the Netherlands. Nikolic was the former commander of the Susica prison camp for Bosnian Muslims near Vlasenica. He was indicted by the tribunal in November 1994 and was the first suspect ever indicted by the UN court. (See May 6, 2000.)

April 25, 2000 - NATO's departing commander Clark warned Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic against "tightening the noose" on Montenegro.

April 28, 2000 - The Muslim Commission for Missing Persons has exhumed 83 bodies — believed to be Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica killed by Serb soldiers in July 1995 — from several mass graves in eastern Bosnia.

Wreck O'Grady
[Image: Associated Press]
Wreck of USAF Capt. O'Grady's
F-16, shot down June 2, 1995.

The wreck of a USAF F-16C that was shot down over Bosnia by a Bosnian Serb anti-aircraft missile on June 2, 1995, was recovered during mine clearing operations near the town of Drvar — some 100 miles northwest of Sarajevo. USAF Captain Scott O'Grady was rescued by a US combat rescue team six days later.

May 6, 2000 - In Bosnia, the remains of four members of a Bosnian family were exhumed as part of the war crimes trial of three Muslim policemen charged with killing them. The policemen are on trial before the cantonal court in Mostar. They were originally charged with murder, but after permission of the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague the charges were changed to those of war crimes killings.

Witnesses stated that war crimes suspect Dragan Nikolic — arrested April 22, 2000 — was not arrested in the US sector in Bosnia, but rather in Serbia, Yugoslavia. NATO and UN tribunal officials always denied penetrating Yugoslavia's borders to catch fugitive war crimes suspects but the reported clandestine operation could reflect an aggressive new stance, as officials vowed war criminals will find no safe refuge. The matter alarmed many war crimes suspects in Yugoslavia — Serbia refused to hand over any war crimes suspect.

Apparently, it was not the first time. In September 1998, war crimes suspect Stevan Todorovic always insisted he was abducted from Zlatibor Mountain in central Serbia by a secret commando group and taken by boat across the Drina River into Bosnia.

May 13, 2000 - The United States suspended assistance for the Bosnian Croat military because of its failure to speed up integration into a joint Muslim-Croat army. Under the $400 million US military aid program, the federation received weapons, other military equipment and training from the US and Islamic countries. The program was suspended by the US in 1998 and 1999 over the slow pace in the unification of the Muslim-Croat military but was renewed in August 1999.

Forty-three people were killed when a bus carrying Muslim pilgrims plunged into a river near the town of Kakanj — some 30 miles northwest of Sarajevo.

May 18, 2000 - The International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) said it would help set up a DNA lab to speed up identification of thousands of missing since the 1995 massacre of Muslim men in Srebrenica — the first large-scale DNA testing ever. Some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men are believed to have been slaughtered in July 1995 by separatist Bosnian Serb forces.

May 25, 2000 - The former Yugoslav republic of Croatia joined the NATO Partnership for Peace program in a step toward bringing the country into the European mainstream. The program arranges for joint exercises, preparation of peacekeeping missions and holds regular political meetings.

May 31, 2000 - The Bosnian Serb commission for missing persons began searching for bodies of Serbs who were allegedly killed and thrown into a hillside crevice above Sarajevo by Bosnian Muslims during the 1992-95 war. The commission had begun preliminary work to determine whether ground disturbances that had been observed at the site were a result of seismic or human activity.

Inauguration border police
[Image: Associated Press]
June 6, 2000: Inauguration of the first
85 men and women of Bosnia's State
Border Service, composed of all three
ethnic Bosnian groups.

June 8, 2000 - Former Bosnian Serb paramilitary commander Ljubisa Savic was shot dead in Bijeljina. Attackers fired at his car and then took off.

Forty bodies were exhumed from several mass graves in Bosnian Serb-controlled territory — near the Serb-held town of Foca, some 22 miles southeast of Sarajevo. The bodies were believed to be Bosnian Muslims killed by Serb soldiers in the beginning of the Bosnian 1992-95 war.

June 14, 2000 - The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe said there was insufficient progress in implementing the Dayton Agreement. They called for the arrest and prosecution of those indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, including Bosnian Serb extremist leader Radovan Karadzic, his military sidekick Ratko Mladic and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, the mastermind of the conflict. Former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, US Army General Clark, said that the risks of apprehending individuals had been overestimated.

June 15, 2000 - A bomb explosion destroyed the car of the Bosnian Serb education minister, Nenad Suzic, in Banja Luka. Five other vehicles were damaged, but casualties were reported.

June 16, 2000 - Bosnian Serb police arrested five people suspected in a car-bomb attack that critically wounded a journalist in October 1999. The journalist wrote articles alleging Serb soldiers committed atrocities against Muslims during the Bosnian war. Two businessmen received similar threatening letters to the one the journalist received, leading the police to the suspects.

UNSC vote
[Image: Associated Press]
June 21, 2000: Russian Ambassador
Sergey Lavrov was the sole
abstention on a vote on extending
the NATO-led peacekeeping force
and the UN mission in Bosnia
for another year.

June 21, 2000 - The UN Security Council voted to keep the NATO-led peacekeeping force and the UN mission in Bosnia for another year. Russia abstained to protest Yugoslavia's exclusion from a 46-nation meeting on Bosnia. China voted in favor, but disapproved the isolation of Yugoslavia.

The council approved the resolution by a vote of 14-0 stating that "the situation in the region continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security." The council also supported the 3,400-strong UN mission in Bosnia, which helps oversee some civilian components of the Dayton pact, including the return of refugees and the building of government institutions.

June 23, 2000 - Bosnia approved a new multiethnic government — six months after the previous government was declared illegal because it had two prime ministers. It took Bosnia's three-member presidency half a year to come up with a new candidate, Tusevljak, an obscure Serb economics professor. International officials hinted that if they become unsatisfied with the work of the new prime minister — a publicly unknown figure — he might be removed.

June 25, 2000 - In the Bosnian-Serb town of Prijedor British peacekeepers arrested Dusko Sikirica — a leading Serb war crimes suspect accused of massacring Muslim and Croat prisoners while he commanded the notorious Keraterm prison camp during the Bosnian war. He was indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague in July 1995 for crimes against humanity, war crimes and other offenses. The same day he was flown to Valkenburg military airfield in the Netherlands and transferred to the Scheveningen detention facility in The Hague.

June 26, 2000 - The US condemned measures taken by Bosnian federation authorities against the Bosnian newspaper Dnevni Avaz. Tax police raided the newspaper's premises several times and the tax authorities froze its bank accounts for several days.

June 30, 2000 - The president of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation, Ejup Ganic, appealed for $1 billion in aid or soft loans to help rebuild homes destroyed in the 1992-1995 war and let refugees return to their homes. He outlined a plan in which the international community — supported by the United States, the European Union, and World Bank — would draw up a loan scheme to be repaid over 20 or 30 years.

July 5, 2000 - War crimes investigators completed exhumations of mass graves in northwest Bosnia. They expected to issue new indictments in connection with the 1995 massacre at the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica — but UN prosecutors said they are dealing with delays in the forensic investigations.

July 7, 2000 - In a report by the General Accounting Office (US) it was said that widespread crime and corruption thwarted implementation of the Dayton peace accord. It was suggested the White House should consider suspending US aid until steps are taken. The report also expressed concern that most of some $407 million committed by international donors to provide general budget support to Bosnian governments were not controlled or audited.

July 10, 2000 - Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the United Nations' failure to help save thousands of Bosnian Muslims from a Serb mass murder will forever haunt the world body. Starting July 11, 1995, just a few months before the end of the 31/2-year war, Bosnian Serb forces overran the eastern town, which was designated a UN-protected zone. When the slaughter was finished, as many as 8,000 men and boys older than 14 were missing. The remains of some 2,500 have been exhumed.

July 11, 2000 - Bosnia's UN ambassador, Muhamed Sacirbey, implicated top international negotiator Carl Bildt in the failure to defend the UN "safe haven" of Srebrenica. At that time Sacirbey was Bosnia's foreign minster. He recalled that Bildt told him on July 11, 1995, there were no plans to defend or liberate Srebrenica or defend Zepa. Bildt reiterated that the Security Council was primarily to blame for not providing enough troops to defend the enclave in eastern Bosnia. "If the UN had been given an army on the ground by its member states, everything would have been different. But the UN was given words, and they didn't count for much in the brutality of the Bosnian war."

Srebrenica's inhabitants believed that the presence of 150 Dutch UN peacekeepers and the might of NATO airpower would ensure their safety. But NATO never responded to repeated Dutch requests for airstrikes, and the peacekeepers failed to prevent the Serb massacres.

July 20, 2000 - Bosnian police removed roadblocks near Bocinja set up by Muslim refugees. They were due to be evicted from Serb-owned houses.

July 21, 2000 - The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal upheld a landmark ruling that established rape as a war crime. It rejected an appeal by former Bosnian Croat commander Anto Furunzija convicted of watching as a subordinate tortured and raped a female prisoner. He received a 10-year sentence for the attack. The subordinate soldier was indicted but not captured.

The conviction set two international legal precedents: the tribunal admitted the testimony of the victim; and it expanded the definition of sexual assault to be more easily punishable as an act of torture.

July 28, 2000 - According to the Irish police missiles, machine guns and explosives that were seized in Croatia earlier were believed to have been destined for IRA guerrillas opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process. The arms were intercepted in the port city of Split.

July 29, 2000 - More than 5,000 Muslim refugees from eastern Bosnia demonstrated, demanding to be allowed to return to their homes. The 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement ordered the return of all refugees but implementation has been very slow.

August 3, 2000 - A United States military attache to Bosnia presented himself for the first time to the Serb, Croat and Muslim members of the Standing Committee for Military Matters (SCMM). By presenting the credentials to the body, the US supported the SCMM and tried to give it international significance.

Western countries that have spent billions of dollars to assist Bosnia's peace process were pressuring its leaders to begin a serious restructuring of the military, saying Bosnia could not afford to have two separate armies. Bosnian Serbs strongly opposed the unification of the two armies but they have agreed to give more powers to the SCMM and to make further cutbacks in the military.

August 5, 2000 - Former interior minister Alija Delimustafic and part-owner of a bank in which the US government lost $900,000 was arrested. In a report released last month, the US General Accounting Office said the US government had not recovered $900,000 in US embassy operating funds and loan payments which were deposited in the bank.

In Vares — 25 miles north of Sarajevo — UN police and SFOR peacekeepers raided a police station, seizing prohibited materials, including weapons, equipment and documents in a move to control activities of local authorities.

August 7, 2000 - The UN said it will train Bosnia's Muslim, Croat and Serb officers together as UN military observers to boost cooperation between the two ethnically divided armies. Jacques Klein, head of the UN mission in Bosnia said it was important to bring officers from the two armies to train and work together, because they can help later in the establishment of a future national defense structure.

August 15, 2000 - The Netherlands' UN ambassador, Peter van Walsum, that Bosnia's loss of $500 million in revenue to smugglers is so large that high-level government officials must be involved.

August 19, 2000 - Twenty-seven bodies were exhumed from a mass grave found earlier that week in the Serb-controlled part of Bosnia. Officials believed the remains were Bosnian Muslims from the eastern town of Visegrad, brought to the area by bus and executed by Serb soldiers at the beginning of the 1992-1995 war.

Opening MPI
[Image: AP]
September 6, 2000: Opening of the
Missing Persons Institute in

August 28, 2000 - Bob Dole, head of the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP), opened the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) for former Yugoslavia in Sarajevo which will help trace the fate of thousands of Bosnians missing since the 1992-95 war. ICMP estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats are still unaccounted for. MPI's objectives were to intensify governments' efforts to release information on the whereabouts of the missing.

August 30, 2000 - A former Croat soldier who provided evidence on comrades suspected of murdering Serbs, was killed Monday in an explosion outside his home in Gospic, Croatia. The UN tribunal said that the apparent murder of a potential witness would have a chilling effect on people considering testifying against war criminals.

September 2, 2000 - Experts exhumed more than 70 bodies so far from a mass grave near the Serb-held village of Kalimanici — 20 miles east of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. The bodies are believed to be of Bosnian Muslims from the eastern town of Visegrad, brought here by bus and executed by Serb soldiers at the beginning of the 1992-1995 war.

September 6, 2000 - Croatian police arrested two Croat men suspected of belonging to a group that waged a 1993 killing spree in the village of Ahmici in central Bosnia during Bosnia's war. The two were not sought by the UN war crimes tribunal. In case it comes to a trial, it would be the first time Croatia tries it citizens for war crimes committed against Muslims in Bosnia.

September 7, 2000 - The parliament of Bosnia's Serb republic passed a no-confidence motion in the government of Western-backed Prime Minister Milorad Dodik. Dodik ousted nationalist hardliners from power in 1998. General elections were scheduled for November 11. The confidence motion was initiated by the hard-liners from the Serb Democratic Party.

September 8, 2000 - A war crimes suspect turned himself in to the Mostar police. He was a member of "The Mostar Five" — a group charged with committing war crimes against civilians and prisoners when fighting erupted between the Bosnian Muslims and Croats in 1993.

September 9, 2000 - Forensic experts in Bosnia found the remains of about 50 bodies at the Ivan Polje meadow where a local Serb said Muslims had been killed by Serb forces in 1992.

September 12, 2000 - The UN said that Bosnian Serb wartime leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic may be arrested before Bosnia's general elections in November. US president Clinton said in a statement that he wanted to see Karadzic arrested before his mandate expires in January 2001. A few days earlier, Karadzic was seen in a suburb of Sarajevo.

Croatia arrested a dozen people, including two army generals, in what appeared to be a major crackdown against those allegedly involved in wartime atrocities in Bosnia and Croatia. The arrests marked a leap forward in cooperation with the ICTY, whose requests were largely ignored under late President Franjo Tudjman.

September 13, 2000 - A Bosnian Croat charged with war crimes against Muslims in the town of Mostar in 1993 turned himself in to a regional court. Zoran Soldo was the second member of the so-called "Mostar Five" to give himself up.

September 19, 2000 - Jacques Paul Klein, head of the UN mission in Bosnia, that a Croatian army general and three Bosnian Croats arrested in police sweeps in Bosnia and Croatia last week are suspected in the assassination of Jozo Leutar, a Bosnian Croat deputy interior minister and an anti-corruption politician. Leutar was killed in a car bomb explosion in March 1999, an attack that the top Bosnian Croat leader first blamed on Muslims.

October 12, 2000 - Forensic experts said they exhumed the remains of 40 bodies from a mass grave in Slap — eastern Bosnia — believed to contain up to 150 bodies of Bosnian Muslims killed by Serb forces early in the country's 1992-95 war.

October 13, 2000 - Serbian war crimes suspect Janko Janjic detonated a hand grenade during an attempt of his arrest in Bosnia, killing himself and wounding four German SFOR soldiers. Janjic was one of four Bosnian Serb subcommanders indicted for the torture, rape and enslavement of women and girls in Foca in the summer of 1992. He was the third war crimes suspect to die while resisting arrest. It was the first time peacekeepers suffered casualties

October 14, 2000 - Alija Izetbegovic, who led Bosnian Muslims through Europe's bloodiest conflict since World War II, resigned from Bosnia's joint presidency. Izetbegovic was the last of the major national leaders who had presided over the wars that swept the former Yugoslavia after Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovenia declared independence starting in 1991. He turned his job over to his Serb colleague Zivko Radisic.

Brcko demonstration
[Image: AP]
September 6, 2000: Bosnian
Serb students marched
through the streets of
Brcko, protesting against
the multi-ethnic school

October 19, 2000 - Demonstrating for a third straight day, Bosnian Serb students in Brcko pelted US peacekeepers with eggs and stoned Muslim-owned businesses to press their demand that Bosnian Muslims leave the city.

October 20, 2000 - The UN war crimes tribunal issued its first subpoena to NATO. The alliance was ordered to disclose how it detained a Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect who said he was abducted illegally by mercenaries. US Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki was summoned to provide evidence on the September 27, 1998, detention of Stevan Todorovic.

It was the first time the UN tribunal issued a binding order to NATO to hand over information. However, the three-judge chamber chaired by Patrick Robinson of Jamaica gave NATO the option of applying to have the order set aside "on the grounds that disclosure would prejudice national security interests."

In 1999, Todorovic submitted a motion contesting the legality of his detention, claiming he was snatched in Serbia by mercenaries who handed him over to SFOR troops at the Bosnian border.

October 22, 2000 - Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica visited Bosnia-Herzegovina, becoming the first Yugoslav leader to visit the country since it declared independence in 1991. In an attempt to ease tension between Belgrade and Sarajevo and establish diplomatic relations, Kostunica had lunch with all the Bosnian Serb leaders, except pro-Western Prime Minister Milorad Dodik.

October 25, 2000 - Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic — on trial for genocide — told the UN tribunal that he knew about mass executions by Serb forces in July 1995 at the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica, but did not investigate them. He said he feared his chief of staff, General Ratko Mladic, would harm him or his family if he took any action.

November 9, 2000 - A report issued by the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees said that at least 100,000 Bosnians left the former Yugoslav republic since the end of the 1992-95 war in search of work and a more secure future. Counted were only Bosnians registered with the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration (IOM). The report said some 625,850 Bosnians were living as refugees scattered in 40 different countries worldwide. Inside the country, 857,000 people are internally displaced, unable or unwilling to return to their pre-war homes. Of these, 55.3 percent are in the Muslim-Croat federation and 44.7 percent in the Serb republic.

November 12, 2000 - In Bosnia's nation-wide elections the party founded by indicted war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic claimed a strong lead over the Western-backed candidate to lead the Bosnian Serb part of the country.

November 15, 2000 - Richard Holbrooke said he wanted a merger of the Bosnian armies. "As long as you have three armies, NATO troops will always have to be there. That was the single greatest flaw in the Dayton peace agreement." Holbrooke said the Dayton agreement also failed to ensure that the central presidency of Bosnia had adequate staff. "It made the three-person presidency an empty shell," he said.

Haris Silajdzic, leader of a reformist party and a former prime minister in Bosnia, said some of the most important points of the agreement have never been implemented, such as the return of refugees to their homes and a revitalization of Bosnia's prewar multiethnic society.

November 15, 2000 - Western officials in Bosnia punished Serb and Croat nationalists for breaking the rules in weekend elections and warned them they could face further sanctions. The OSCE which ran the polls took away 10 seats in regional assemblies from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and half the seats won by the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) in the town of Srebrenica. The SDS, founded by Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, was reported to have attempted widespread fraud and intimidation of voters in Srebrenica.

With about 86 percent of the votes counted from Saturday's balloting, the hard-line Serb party founded by indicted war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic seems to have won the presidency in the Serb-run ministate and may end up controlling the Serb regional legislature.

November 23, 2000 - Mirko Sarovic, the candidate of the hard-line Bosnian Serb party founded by war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic, won the presidency of the Bosnian Serb republic. The election results showed that many of the country's Serbs and Croats were still loyal to nationalist party leaders who led them into the ethnic war that tore Bosnia apart.

The trial of five Bosnian Croats — the so-called Mostar Five Group — charged with war crimes began in the southern town of Mostar. The group was charged with war crimes against Muslim civilians and prisoners of war committed during the Muslim-Croat conflict in 1993-1994 and for being responsible for the disappearance of 12 soldiers of the Muslim-led Bosnian army. The Hague-based UN tribunal which has the supreme authority to prosecute war crimes in former Yugoslavia gave the go-ahead for a local trial, the latest of several low-level war crimes cases tried by local courts in Bosnia.

November 25, 2000 - The first 100 Bosnian Muslim refugees returned to the eastern town of Foca. Most refugees were forced to leave this stronghold of Bosnian Serb nationalists eight years ago.

November 29, 2000 - The UN policing mission removed six officers in northern Bosnia because "they had overstepped their duties and behaved improperly". IPTF said on November 15 that Bosnian Serb police monitored by UN police officials had raided nightclubs in the town of Prijedor and rescued 33 women who had been forced into prostitution. After the raid, a nightclub owner accused one UN police officer of racketeering and blackmail.

November 30, 2000 - Three US Marines of the Marine Corps Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team were injured at US Camp Bedrock near the northern Bosnian town of Tuzla.

[Image: Reuters]
December 30, 2000: Investigators expected
to find up to 150 bodies of Bosnian Muslim
civilians under burning garbage in a more
than 50-meter deep pit which served as
local dump.

December 1, 2000 - Forensic experts were looking for up to 150 bodies of Muslim civilians, believed to have been killed by Serb forces in 1992, in a garbage pit at Novakusa in southern Bosnia. The victims were executed in the village of Sehovina and thrown into a pit at nearby Lipovaca. Exhumation work had started a year earlier after some remains were found.

December 4, 2000 - Forensic experts exhumed 16 bodies of people killed during the Bosnian war from a sand bank of the Drina River on the border with Serbia. The bodies were of Bosnian Muslims killed by Serb forces at the beginning of the 1992-95 war. Over 20,000 remain missing — of which 90 percent are Bosnian Muslims. More bodies were expected to be exhumed from the same site.

December 7, 2000 - At a garbage dump near Nevesinje — 41 miles south of Sarajevo — investigators believed at least 60 people were buried in another mass grave. The bodies were believed to be those of local Bosnian Muslims, killed by Serb forces at the beginning of the 1992-95 war.

December 11, 2000 - A Serbian court convicted nine Serbs of abducting former Bosnian Serb police officer Stevan Todorovic in September 1998 and smuggling him to neighboring Bosnia, where he was later arrested by NATO and delivered to the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague. They were sentenced to prison terms of up to 81/2 years. The prosecution asserted the defendants were paid US$22,700 for the abduction. The court concluded they acted on orders and were paid for by the NATO-led peace force in Bosnia.

Todorovic's arrest has become a test case for war crimes court. His challenge delayed his trial and strained the tribunal's relationship with NATO after the court subpoenaed a US and another alliance commander, ordering them to disclose details of Todorovic's detention.

December 13, 2000 - Stevan Todorovic admitted to war crimes. He also dropped complaints that he was arrested illegally. Under the plea bargain, prosecutors agreed to withdraw 26 counts including torture, sexual assaults and murder in exchange for Todorovic's guilty plea on a single count of persecution as a crime against humanity. He originally pleaded innocent in 1998.

In Croatia, public concern grew over the possibility that some prominent Croats were about to be indicted by the tribunal for the deaths of Serbs. Some media reports said that the tribunal prepared to charge Croatian generals for atrocities against Serbs in connection with the 1995 offensive in which Croatia recaptured areas seized by Serbs in 1991.

December 14, 2000 - Former French military chief Admiral Jacques Lanxade denied allegations that a French general who led UN peacekeepers during the Bosnian war had agreed to block air strikes against Bosnian Serbs, who later massacred thousands of Bosnian Muslims. About 30,000 Muslim refugees fled to the UN-declared "safe haven" of Srebrenica to seek protection from Dutch peacekeepers. But on July 11, 1995, the Serb army launched its assault with an overwhelming force and the Dutch UN troops could do little more than look on as the Serbs deported the Muslims. NATO never responded to repeated Dutch requests for airstrikes.

December 15, 2000 - Yugoslavia and Bosnia established diplomatic relations, almost nine years after Bosnia broke away from the old socialist Yugoslav federation in bloodshed.

December 16, 2000 - In Bosnia-Herzegovine a new president and parliament of the Bosnian-Serb part were sworn in.

Source: Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters, SHAPE, CNN, ICTY, Boston Globe and Mail.