Archive for the month of July 2000


Saturday, July 1, 2000 - As a punitive measure on the Serb community of Strpce, American troops stopped providing armed escorts for Serbs traveling in convoys to buy food. All community improvement projects were also halted. (See June 24.)

Monday, July 3, 2000 - The European Commission released a white list of 190 Yugoslav companies to be exempted from European sanctions imposed last year because they have proved they are not linked to President Slobodan Milosevic. Companies on the list included food, pharmaceutical and electrical companies as well as the local subsidiaries of international firms including Ericsson, Mercedes-Benz, Siemens, and Volvo. Companies in sensitive fields such as fuel supply, banking and production of military equipment were not on the list.

Tuesday, July 4, 2000 - A Serb convoy consisting of buses and cars was stoned while traveling from Serbia to the village of Strpce. At the border, they requested an escort from KFOR. This was denied due to the sanctions placed on Strpce for the recent vandalism of the UNMIK building and aggression toward KFOR peacekeepers. Near Pozaranje, unidentified persons stoned the vehicles and passengers — after which Polish peacekeepers escorted the vehicles to Strpce.

Wednesday, July 5, 2000 - President Milosevic's allies asked parliament to make changes to the Yugoslav constitution that could enable Milosevic to seek re-election after his term expires next year. They proposed that the president be elected directly by the voters and not be appointed by the assembly's two chambers. Serbia has a population of 10 million; Montenegro only 600,000. Other proposed changes could affect the position of pro-Western Montenegro. The change in the constitution only requires parliamentary approval. Under the current law, Milosevic could not seek a second term after expiration of his term in July 2001. Milosevic has been indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Staying in power could be his only guarantee against prosecution.

Thursday, July 6, 2000 - The Yugoslav parliament approved constitutional changes that strengthen Milosevic's iron grip on power and weaken Montenegro.

Friday, July 7, 2000 - Lawmakers on backed the Montenegrin government's decision to reject changes to the constitution in order to strengthen Milosevic's position. A proposed amendment by the Social Democrats to the government resolution calling for a referendum on Montenegro's independence was rejected by the lawmakers.

Former KLA commander Ramush Haradinaj was wounded in a shootout in Streoce with supporters of an ethnic Albanian political rival.

Sunday, July 9, 2000 - Ramush Haradinaj was flown to Germany from a US military hospital in Kosovo to another in southern Germany. His political party said he had been the target of an assassination attempt but others insisted they had wounded Haradinaj after he came to their home to attack them.

Officials feared that the incident could have serious effects on peacekeeping in Kosovo. If Haradinaj was attacked, he was the third KLA ex-commander to be targeted in recent months. If he was arrested for committing a crime, it could mean destabilization of Kosovo's fragile political situation and could lead to more violence.

On June 24, Haradinaj was involved in a scuffle with Russian peacekeepers. This was followed by a string of gun, grenade and rocket attacks on Russian bases.

Monday, July 10, 2000 - A US soldier near the village of Cerkes Sadovina in eastern Kosovo accidentally shot a seven year-old ethnic Albanian boy who later died from his injuries. Children had been watching US forces repair a school fence when a soldier accidentally let off a burst of three rounds from his M249. Despite a plea by the father's boy and despite the fact that the shooting later proved to be an accident, the soldier faced court martial in November 2000.

Montenegro said that Yugoslavia no longer exists. Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said that with the latest federal constitutional changes — and Montenegro's decision to ignore them — the republic "has practically left the constitutional and legal system of Yugoslavia." He also said Montenegro will not take part in federal elections envisaged by Milosevic. There are fears that Milosevic might intervene militarily against Montenegro if it proclaims outright independence.

Wednesday, July 12, 2000 - Unidentified attackers fired at a car on a rural road in Kosovo's American sector, wounding three Serb men. Later, US troops fired warning shots over a crowd of angry Serbs who gathered in the town of Klokot to protest the attack.

Thursday, July 13, 2000 - A police checkpoint near Konculj in southern Serbia near the Kosovo border was attacked for the third time in 24 hours. A mortar shell was fired from close range at the checkpoint in a demilitarized buffer zone between territory controlled by Yugoslav forces and Kosovo. It was followed by shots from an automatic weapon.

Friday, July 14, 2000 - A grenade was fired from an Albanian neighborhood into the Serb sector of Kosovska Mitrovica. No injuries were reported. The blast prompted rumors that a popular Serb cafe had been hit, and angry Serbs flooded into the area. They dispersed later when peacekeepers convinced them the cafe was not hit.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the commander of US troops in Kosovo, Brig Gen Randal M. Tieszen, said that agents of the Yugoslav government were active in the Serb communities of Kosovo and appear intent on undermining UN efforts to rebuild the province.

Saturday, July 15, 2000 - Serb moderates said they might participate in the province's first internationally supervised elections in Serbian areas where NATO can provide security. The UN said it needed substantial participation from all ethnic groups to give legitimacy to the balloting. If the Serbs would boycott the ballots, it would raise questions about the legitimacy of any UN-sponsored political system.

Serb leaders in Kosovska Mitrovica, however, remained opposed to voting until the UN allows 1,500 Serbs to return this month and draws up a firm timetable to allow another 210,000 to come home. The UN resisted the demand.

Sunday, July 16, 2000 - In Leposavic — northern Kosovo — Belgian troops evacuated election registrars working for the OSCE after learning that Serbs opposed to internationally sponsored elections were heading to the area to disrupt registration. Municipal elections were set for October.

Monday, July 17, 2000 - KFOR fired tear gas and shot in the air to disperse a crowd of Serbs in Kosovska Mitrovica. Some members of the crowd took a United Nations police officer captive late in the evening but later released him. The crowd had gathered after UN police arrested a Serb man in the Serb-dominated north of the city. Outside the police station they threw stones at peacekeepers.

An explosion in Kosovo Polje leveled a medieval Serbian Orthodox Church.

Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - Ten suspects were charged in Belgrade over the murder of Serb warlord Arkan — an international war crimes suspect who was killed January 16, 2000.

Thursday, July 20, 2000 - French troops arrested a Serb in Kosovska Mitrovica. It triggered protests by Serbs already demanding the release of a militant detained for alleged attacks against ethnic Albanians.

Serbs resisted attempts by the UN for them to register to vote in municipal elections set for October.

Friday, July 21, 2000 - The murder trial of a Serb man and his two sons, accused of killing an ethnic Albanian in a shootout in Kosovo on July 10, 1999, took a dramatic turn when the trial judge said American troops confirmed they killed two people at the scene that day. It was unclear why the US Army waited so long to provide information in the case.

Saturday, July 22, 2000 - Gunmen shot and wounded three Serb men in Kosovska Kamenica, an ethnically mixed town jointly patrolled by Russian and American troops.

The Albanian-language newspaper Dita refuse to pay a $11,900 fine for violating regulations on publishing personal information on alleged war criminals. The OSCE fined Dita for repeatedly violating a UN regulation against accusing individuals who have not been charged with a crime of being war criminals.

Sunday, July 23, 2000 - German chancellor Gerhard Schröder criticized the constitutional amendments Milosevic pushed through. He accused Milosevic of grabbing power in Belgrade in the same way Hitler established the Nazi dictatorship in Germany in 1933. Earlier, he and Italian prime minister Giuliano Amato told the Group of Eight that the international community must not recognize any Yugoslav elections based on the new laws.

Monday, July 24, 2000 - The Serbian opposition seemed divided on whether to take part in Yugoslav elections. Some leaders argue that a boycott would only hand the Serbian strongman an easy victory. The upper house of Yugoslavia's parliament adopted election laws that allow Milosevic to run and win again when his current term expires in mid-2001.

Tuesday, July 25, 2000 - Unknown attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades into a building housing NATO-led peacekeepers in the town of Zvornik in Bosnia's Serb Republic — close to the border with Yugoslavia.

Wednesday, July 26, 2000 - In a trial a military court convicted a Serbian journalist of espionage for writing about Serb atrocities in Kosovo and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment. (See October 10, 2000.)

Friday, July 28, 2000 - Over a period of 2 1/2 week, 21 Albanians moved from the northern part Kosovska Mitrovica to the southern part, after threats from local Serbs. Kosovska Mitrovica is the only city where large numbers of ethnic Albanians and Serbs live together.

Yugoslavia's ruling Socialist Party officially named Milosevic as its presidential candidate. Presidential, parliamentary and local elections were scheduled for September 24.

President Clinton and Chancellor Schröder pledged continued support for Milosevic's political opponents. The fragmented opposition has been criticized by both Western officials and Serbian opposition supporters for its inability to join forces against the Yugoslav president.

NATO Secretary-General George Robertson warned president Slobodan Milosevic not to meddle with Montenegro's legitimately elected president. Montenegro said it would boycott any ballot Milosevic calls. Its pro-Western officials said they would organize an independence referendum should Milosevic force elections on Montenegro's territory.

Sunday, July 30, 2000 - KFOR stepped increased its patrols and presence along Kosovo's eastern boundary with Serbia to prevent an armed ethnic Albanian group operating in the area. The UCPMB (Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac Liberation Army) was believed to have been involved in several sporadic clashes with Serbian police.

Monday, July 31, 2000 - Prosecutors for the UN Yugoslav war crimes tribunal studied the file of Nazi mass murderer Adolf Eichmann, who was kidnapped by Israeli agents in 1960. It established that perpetrators of mass atrocities are not protected from unlawful arrest, like ordinary crime suspects. War criminals will stand trial, the UN said, regardless of how or where they were captured. In the past, the Eichmann precedent also has been used by US courts trying torture and terrorism suspects kidnapped abroad.

Tuesday, August 1, 2000 - It was announced that four Dutch men were arrested in Serbia in July 2000 on suspicion of plotting to assassinate or abduct President Slobodan Milosevic. Yugoslavia said the four were sent by Western intelligence agencies who were planning to kidnap Milosevic and other alleged war criminals indicted by the Hague tribunal. The Dutch Foreign Ministry denied any military operation.

A US military court sentenced US Army Staff Sergeant Frank Ronghi to life in prison without parole for killing an 11-year-old ethnic Albanian girl while on peacekeeping duty in Kosovo on January 13, 2000 (see January 16, 2000).

Thursday, August 3, 2000 - The Yugoslav army said it had arrested two Britons and two Canadians in Montenegro on August 1, carrying military equipment and explosives and suggested they were specialists in sabotage. The OSCE said the two Britons were two missing OSCE personnel who worked for a police training school in Kosovo and had been on holiday in Montenegro. Canadian Defense Minister Art Eggleton said the men were not Canadian military and he understood them to be businessmen.

Two ethnic Albanian politicians from of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) — led by Ibrahim Rugova — were shot and wounded in separate attacks. The two were due to stand for election in Kosovo. KFOR said it had arrested four suspects.

Friday, August 4, 2000 - Three Serbs accused of genocide or war crimes evaded a UN police guard to escape from a Kosovo hospital. They had been taken there from the town's detention center on the advice of doctors from both KFOR and the UN. They were guarded around the clock by UN police.

Opponents of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic agreed on candidates for parliament. However, they failed to unite behind a presidential nominee to take on the authoritarian Milosevic. The largest opposition party, the Serbian Renewal Movement, said it would take part only in local elections, but not in the races for parliament and president. Earlier, Montenegro said it would boycott the elections due to Milosevic's recent changes in the country's constitution.

Monday, August 7, 2000 - The Belgian branch of the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders announced it was ceasing operations in Kosovo. DWB accused the UN to allow ethnic cleansing to persist in Kosovo.

Friday, August 11, 2000 - Four Dutch men, arrested in July (see August 1) and accused of plotting to kill President Slobodan Milosevic — were sentenced to 30 days in jail for entering the country illegally.

The Canadian government requested — and received — the help of Russia's foreign minister in winning the release of two Canadians and two Britons that were arrested August 3. The four were held on suspicion of terrorism. The UN said they were simply returning from a holiday. They had informed Yugoslav authorities when they crossed the border from Kosovo to Montenegro for a short holiday but were detained at a roadblock as they were heading back to Kosovo. Three Yugoslav soldiers present during the arrest of the four testified that none of the accused had used force. The testimony countered earlier army claims that the men had resisted arrest.

Saturday, August 12, 2000 - The Clinton administration expressed concern that Yugoslavia could be causing new problems in the Balkans with a move against Montenegro. US officials said the Yugoslav military was put on higher states of alert more frequently. The US said there was increased activity in Montenegrin communities considered loyal to Yugoslavia.

The pro-Western president, Milo Djukanovic, said he would avoid a conflict with Serbia, despite provocations.

UN officials set October 28, 2000 as the date for Kosovo's first-ever internationally supervised elections. The elections will choose members for 30 municipal assemblies in Kosovo. Serbs in the province overwhelmingly refused to register. The province's main ethnic minorities — Serbs and Gypsies, or Roma — were also missing from the voter lists.

Sunday, August 13, 2000 - French peacekeepers discovered a cache of grenades, ammunition, and radios in Kosovska Mitrovica. Ten men were detained. Tension rose over the future of a Serb-controlled lead smelting plant in the nearby town of Zvecan, just north of the city. The UN said the plant was spewing pollution into the air, raising lead levels to 200 times the accepted World Health Organization norms.

Angry crowd
[Image: AP/Nikolas Giakoumidis]
August 14, 2000: UK soldiers confronted
with Serb man with rock, angry over
KFOR's takeover of the smelter in Zvecan.

Tuesday, August 15, 2000 - Angry Serbs attacked British soldiers guarding a Kosovo lead smelter near Kosovska Mitrovica after French, British and Danish troops seized the controversial plant at dawn.

Wednesday, August 16, 2000 - About 1,500 Serbs protested the closure of NATO's takeover of a lead smelter in Zvecan — near Kosovska Mitrovica — although Kosovo's chief UN administrator, Bernard Kouchner, said they were acting in the interest of the Serbs. The UN said the smelter was pumping toxic waste into the air. Kouchner closed the mine until repairs could be made.

Thursday, August 17, 2000 - Seven Belgian peacekeepers were taken prisoner on the Kosovo border by Serb police and held for 15. The Belgian patrol accompanied a UN vehicle that — according to Serb police — strayed over the security boundary between Kosovo and Serbia. All were later released along with their weapons after negotiations between the Serbs and KFOR.

Friday, August 18, 2000 - Nine children were injured in a drive-by grenade attack in the Obilic area — north of the capital Pristina. A small crowd of Serbs protested against the attack in the village of Crkvene Vodice. They expressed anger that KFOR and UN police had not prevented it.

A bomb blast at a building in central Pristina — housing the offices of Serbian authorities and political parties of different ethnic groups — injured two people.

Another blast damaged a building housing the offices of the Democratic League of Kosovo in the central town of Malisevo.

Sunday, August 20, 2000 - Four members of the ethnic Albanian UCPMB guerilla group were arrested by KFOR troops in search for twomissing Serbs. The two Serbs were reported missing August 12.

A grenade attack left nine Serb children with minor injuries in the village of Crkven Vodica — 7 miles northwest of Pristina — when unidentified assailants threw two hand grenades into a basketball court from a car. An explosion in Pristina injured one woman and damaged several political offices.

Monday, August 21, 2000 - Two Canadians and Two Britons arrested August 3, 2000 said they had been beaten by Yugoslav army soldiers. Their trial faced another delay.

Tuesday, August 22, 2000 - A KFOR soldier from UAE shot and killed two Albanians at a checkpoint in the northern part of Kosovo. The soldier opened fire after the checkpoint was attacked by four Albanians, apparently to seize the weapons of the KFOR soldiers.

Britain's Foreign Office urged Yugoslavia either to charge two British police officers held on spying charges or release them immediately. They were arrested along with the two Canadians.

Wednesday, August 23, 2000 - Kosovo Albanians and Serbs agreed to declare September 9 a day of protest against the violence plaguing Kosovo. The Russian Foreign Minister said that Kosovo's UN-led administration was turning a blind eye to the violence against ethnic Serbs.

The US advised Serbs to take part in the elections of September 24. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that she did not believe the elections were going to be fair, but that even under Milosevic's rule the opposition could do well.

Thursday, August 24, 2000 - Two KFOR United Arab Emirate (UAE) soldiers were wounded by rifle grenades. Two grenades were fired at the Emirati contingent's headquarters in Vucitrn in the French zone in northern Kosovo. The Emiratis returned fire. Three suspects were arrested and handed over to UN police.

Friday, August 25, 2000 - A US soldier was charged with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty in the killing July 10, 2000 of a 6-year-old Albanian boy.

US government sources said that Yugoslav military personnel armed with machine guns boarded a US vessel carrying humanitarian food supplies in the Adriatic a week earlier and allowed the ship to leave after payment of a $3,200 fee. The shipment consisted of grain, earmarked for Kosovo. A State Department spokesman said this action could impede future humanitarian shipments in the region. The American Maritime Congress said that the vessel also was carrying military cargo for Israel and Egypt.

Russia has warned that Kosovo's first internationally supervised election could threaten regional stability and undermine efforts to establish a real democratic and multiethnic society. Russia's UN Ambassador Sergey Lavrov accused the UN administrator in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, of setting an election date without consulting the council and of ignoring international experts. The US and the UK welcomed the municipal election of October 28, 2000.

The Zvecan lead plant in northern Kosovo — closed August 15 — was being evaluated by Swedish, French and American technicians with the intention to renovate and modernize the plant. The UN pledged to continue paying the plant's 600 workers and to pay the salaries of 2,000 others whose livelihood depended on the factory. It was expected that the refinery could be operational within 3 months and the furnaces within 6 months.

Saturday, August 26, 2000 - Former Serbian president Ivan Stambolic has vanished mysteriously. He was reported missing August 25. He often publicly criticized Milosevic for being a power-obsessed autocrat.

Sunday, August 27, 2000 - A car driven by an ethnic Albanian struck a group of Serbian children playing in a field, killing one eight year old and injuring four others. Angry Serbs, protesting a lack of security, attacked UN and KSOR vehicles after the hit and run. Both the UN and KFOR ordered their forces to withdraw from the area. Peacekeepers arrested the driver.

Monday, August 28, 2000 - KFOR announced more mobile patrols in an attempt to crack down on violence.

Wednesday, August 30, 2000 - Milosevic announced that upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections would also be open to Serbs in Kosovo. The announcement appeared to be an effort to show that Milosevic's government still considers Kosovo to be a part of Yugoslavia. The United Nations is preparing to hold local elections in Kosovo on October 28, 2000.

Washington opposed including Kosovo in the September 24 elections. European governments were not as adamant, pointing out that Kosovo formally remains part of Yugoslavia, even if run by NATO and the UN.

Thursday, August 31, 2000 - Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic announced plans to visit Kosovo. With the UN war crimes indictment looming against him, he would face immediate arrest if he were to travel to Kosovo. It was apparently an attempt to boost the president's image ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled September 24, 2000.

Friday, September 1, 2000 - In a show of force, an elite Yugoslav army unit organized a military exercise with more than 200 tanks and 1,000 infantry troops — apparently meant to boost Milosevic's tarnished image. It was Yugoslavia's intention to let this unit return to Kosovo. NATO said it was too early for Yugoslav troops to return.

The top international official in Kosovo delayed a decision on whether to let the province take part in Yugoslavia's upcoming elections.

Saturday, September 2, 2000 - Fifteen prisoners, most of them Serbs and most of them charged with war crimes, escaped from a jail in the northern city of Mitrovica. KFOR soldiers recaptured only two in prison grounds shortly after the breakout. It was the fifth breakout of prisoners in Mitrovica this year.

Monday, September 4, 2000 - The head of Kosovo's UN administration, Bernard Kouchner, suspended the director of the prison in Mitrovica, a police officer from the US.

Bernard Kouchner said he would not prevent Yugoslav presidential and parliamentary elections from taking place in Kosovo, though international officials will not support or organize the September 24 elections. Kouchner also said the elections, called by Yugoslav president Milosevic, do not meet any international standards.

Weapons confiscated
[Image: AP]
September 6, 2000: UK KFOR Military
Police list serial numbers of a
machine gun AK-47 confiscated during
a search operation in Kosovo Polje.

Wednesday, September 6, 2000 - A large number of weapons, including rifles, machine guns, pistol, hand grenades, knifes, etc, was found in an apartment block inhabited by both Albanian and Serb Kosovars.

Thursday, September 7, 2000 - US Secretary of State Albright voiced concern about the safety of Montenegro and its independence-minded President Milo Djukanovic. She also disclosed plans for a joint NATO naval exercise with Croatia off the coast of Montenegro.

War crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic was seen in a bar in Sarajevo, in Lukavica, a part of Sarajevo still controlled by Bosnian Serb hard-liners. The US has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrests of Karadzic, Mladic and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Serb supporters and opponents of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic clashed in Kosovska Mitrovica over elections.

Friday, September 8, 2000 - Greece's foreign minister rejected independence aspirations of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians. Papandreou was the first ranking Western official to visit Yugoslavia after last year's air strikes to stop Milosevic's crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. He met Milosevic in Belgrade on September 7. He also echoed Western concerns about manipulation in Yugoslavia's parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for Sept. 24. Greece's foreign suggested Milosevic could take the first step out of international isolation by safeguarding a fraud-free vote.

Saturday, September 9, 2000 - President Milosevic said he would not allow foreign observers from Western countries to monitor elections.

Monday, September 11, 2000 - The Swiss charity organization Caritas Switzerland said that one of its local workers in Kosovo killed three people in a row over construction supplies.

Macedonia's ruling coalition and the opposition both claimed victory in local elections. Outside observers described the elections as being marred by irregularities, intimidation and security incidents.

Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - NATO-led peacekeepers and UN police in Kosovo were searching for gunmen who shot and killed an ethnic Albanian town planning director, Rexhep Luci, who was found in his Pristina apartment. Luci was involved in a UN-led process to demolish illegally constructed buildings in Kosovo.

NATO announced plans to increase KFORs troop strength ahead of Yugoslav elections — 2,400 troops would be sent to bolster the force of about 40,000 troops.

Wednesday, September 13, 2000 - NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson said that if Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic would visit Kosovo as part of his national election campaign, NATO-led forces would arrest him immediately.

Thursday, September 14, 2000 - Supporters of Milosevic hurled stones, cans and tomatoes at his main election rival, Vojislav Kostunica, in Kosovska Mitrovica. Kostunica was leading in opinion polls ahead of the September 24 vote.

Friday, September 15, 2000 - President Milosevic stepped up his re-election campaign. Opposition analysts say his increased pre-election activity indicates his concern that he may lose the Sept. 24 ballot.

US Secretary of State Albright warned that Milosevic may "steal" the upcoming presidential election and called on the Serbian people to monitor the vote count. Russia joined the US and four other key countries dealing with the former Yugoslavia to stress they will evaluate the results of the Sept. 24 election "on the basis of internationally recognized standards." In a joint statement the countries called for a democratic Yugoslavia and warned Belgrade to refrain from political violence in Serbia or against Montenegro.

Police in Yugoslavia arrested twelve opposition activists and a lawyer during a search of their Belgrade campaign headquarters. Police also briefly detained party leader Goran Svilanovic when he arrived at Belgrade's main police station with parents and friends of the activists being held in the building.

Saturday, September 16, 2000 - Carla del Ponte — chief war crimes prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia — said she was losing patience with NATO's inability to arrest indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Karadzic is at the tribunal's list of wanted war criminals, along with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Del Ponte said she would like the creation of a special force to go after indicted war criminals hiding out in Bosnia and Kosovo. Karadzic has reportedly been sighted near Sarajevo, but authorities in the Serbian part of Bosnia refuse to arrest him, and the area is out-of-bounds for international troops empowered to seize him.

Sunday, September 17, 2000 - The leader of the ethnic Albanian rebel army UCPMB in southern Serbia claimed that Serbian forces were massing in the Albanian-majority region in the run-up to Yugoslav elections.

Monday, September 18, 2000 - The European Union offered to lift sanctions imposed over Belgrade's role in the violent break-up of Yugoslavia if Milosevic would be replaced.

Yugoslavia accused US president Bill Clinton, British prime minister Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac of France of war crimes, during NATO's 1999 air strikes. Other names included US State Secretary Albright and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. During a trial in Belgrade, their names were attached to empty front row seats and lawyers were appointed by Serb authorities.

Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - KFOR foiled a plot to detonate a bomb in Kosovo, following a massive search in Gracanica — a Serb enclave just outside the capital Pristina. Three hundred Swedish and British peacekeepers swept into the village, uncovering three pounds of plastic explosives, detonators, wiring, assorted ammunition, three pistols and an AK-47 assault rifle. Three people were arrested, two of whom are believed to be current or former members of the Yugoslav army's special forces unit.

US officials said they feared Milosevic would cheat in order to win the elections of the 24th. The United States was surprised by the strength shown by the opposition in polls, which had the main Serbian opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica with a wide lead over Milosevic. An opposition bloc called the Democratic Opposition of Serbia, made up of 18 political parties and one trade union, pulled together behind this moderate nationalist. Opinion polls showed Kostunica with about 40 percent support against about 20 percent for Milosevic. Over a three year period the United States gave about $75 million in aid to opposition groups in Yugoslavia. A US official said Kostunica did not accept any US money for his campaign.

Wednesday, September 20, 2000 - The US government welcomed a European Union pledge to end sanctions against Yugoslavia when a democratic transition takes place. Sanctions included an oil embargo and bans on travel by Serbian government officials and financial dealings with companies associated with the regime.

A Serb student was sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing ethnic Albanians. It was the first trial for war crimes committed in Kosovo during the crackdown by Yugoslav forces in 1999. He was found guilty of killing an ethnic Albanian, ordering the killing of another and rape of an ethnic Albanian woman.

Thursday, September 21, 2000 - US president Clinton, US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, US defense secretary William Cohen, German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, British prime minister Tony Blair, French president Jacques Chirac, as well as NATO former secretary-general Javier Solana and retired commander General Wesley Clark were found guilty by a Belgrade court and sentenced — in absentia — to 20 years in prison for NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

The four-day trial was held in an attempt to resurrect anti-NATO sentiment here and win votes for president Slobodan Milosevic ahead of the September 24 elections. The Belgrade judge also ordered the defendants to pay the cost of the trial and pronounced NATO guilty of the deaths of 546 Yugoslav army soldiers, 138 Serbian policemen and 504 civilians - 88 of them children.

Yugoslavia's government has dismissed opinion polls putting opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica six to 20 percentage points ahead in the presidential poll, raising fears that president Slobodan Milosevic, indicted for war crimes, would declare victory whatever the outcome.

The UN administration in Kosovo said it would send observers to Serb enclaves in Kosovo to count the turnout, so they could counter any claims by Belgrade that more of the estimated 100,000 Serbs in the province voted that actually did. France said some 20 parliamentarians from EU countries were ready to monitor the elections, but they would only go if they are assured of carrying out their mission unhindered. Belgrade has barred observers from the OSCE — Europe's main body for monitoring elections.

Four men burst into the offices of Rugova's party in the town of Lipljan — 10 miles south of Pristina — assaulting a local party leader and smashing windows.

Friday, September 22, 2000 - NATO secretary-general Lord George Robertson urged Milosevic not to rig the vote or violate the rights of Montenegro.

Saturday, September 23, 2000 - The local party office of key political leader Hashim Thaci was burned. Party officials blamed their rivals in Kosovo's largest party, which is run by moderate leader Ibrahim Rugova.

Yugoslavia refused to let EU officials monitor the balloting and severely limited the number of foreign journalists permitted in the country. A Danish journalist was arrested in Belgrade for allegedly entering the country illegally. A Norwegian journalist and his cameraman were detained for several hours by federal army troops in Montenegro after filing street scenes in the capital Podgorica but were released. About 20 foreign reporters were also ordered to leave the country.

Two US nationals working for the UN who took a short-cut through Serbia were held overnight by Serb police and then freed. The two environmental experts were warned by US troops patrolling the eastern border of Kosovo with Serbia's tense Presevo valley that they could be at risk for entering Serbia illegally — but they decided to go ahead. They were on their way to Skopje airport in Macedonia, but became impatient when they ran into a long queue of vehicles at the Blace border crossing.

Sunday, September 24, 2000 - With the government withholding results from the first round of local polls two weeks ago, Macedonians returned to vote in a new round of elections. The vote was surrounded by tension and scattered violence.

Local monitors reported numerous voting irregularities in Yugoslavia's elections. Opposition representatives on electoral commissions had been banned from some polling stations or barred from watching preparations for the vote. Officials could see how people voted, members of Milosevic's Socialist Party campaigned outside polling stations, opposition representatives were told to leave polling stations.

Kosovo's UN administrator Bernard Kouchner said Kosovo Albanians ignored the Yugoslav elections, dismissing them as a purely Serbian event of no consequence to the province.

Monday, September 25, 2000 - Vojislav Kostunica, claiming victory in presidential elections, pledged to bring Yugoslavia out of international isolation. He also criticized the West for policies he said helped Slobodan Milosevic hold on to power.

In a case against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Manhattan judge Peter Leisure ordered him to pay $4.5 billion in damages for atrocities committed by his soldiers. The jury awarded $617 million in compensatory damages and $3.9 billion in punitive damages for injuries and deaths suffered by 39 people. The damages were awarded to 13 women and 10 men, none of whom were in the courtroom when the verdict was read. The lawsuit was brought under a 221-year-old US law letting foreign citizens sue foreign officials and citizens for violating the law of nations.

Tuesday, September 26, 2000 - US and Croatian troops launched a joint assault near the island of Zirje, just off the Adriatic city of Sibenik. The exercise coincided with Western warnings to embattled Yugoslav president Milosevic.

Wednesday, September 27, 2000 - Yugoslavia's electoral commission said that president Milosevic and his main challenger Vojislav Kostunica must undergo a second round of elections as neither had won a majority in the first. Final figures showed that Kostunica won 48.96 percent of the votes, and Milosevic 38.62 percent. Kostunica rejected the idea of a runoff vote against Milosevic, saying it would be an "insult" to voters. In several newspapers, Milosevic's move was considered an attempt to win time to recover from the devastating blow. The UN administrator in Kosovo, Kouchner, called the Belgrade government's vote count for Kosovo a lie.

President Clinton accused Milosevic from stealing the election from the opposition. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook warned Milosevic not to use power to cling to office.

Former KLA chief Hashim Thaci said that any attempts by Yugoslav leaders to return police or military units to Kosovo would "bring another war", possibly trapping NATO. His statements are generally considered as an attempt to increase pro-independence sentiments before municipal elections, scheduled for October 28.

Thursday, September 28, 2000 - In an attempt to force Milosvic to quit after losing elections, Yugoslavia's opposition launched a five-day campaign of strikes and civil disobedience, with the threat of more to come.

Friday, September 29, 2000 - Opposition protests gathered momentum as students walked out of schools in a string of towns run by the opposition, taxi drivers blocked traffic in the city of Nis, workers at several companies went on strike and cinemas and theaters closed in Belgrade and elsewhere.

The BBC's only correspondent in Belgrade was ordered out of the country. According to the BBC because the Yugoslav government was unhappy with the way the BBC reported events surrounding the elections.

Saturday, September 30, 2000 - In Zvecan, Danish, French and Pakistani peacekeepers clashed with Serbs hurling rocks and bottles after a factory fire destroyed an electrical transformer relaying power to the area. The crowd of 50 was later dispersed.

Sunday, October 1, 2000 - German chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Russian president Vladimir Putin said the victory by Kostunica reflected the will of the Serbian people. Russia, agreeing with the West that the Serbs voted for democratic change, was ready to send two envoys to Belgrade for talks. Milosevic rejected Russia's offer to help. The US again said that it ruled out any deal with Milosevic.

The Serbian opposition called for a boycott of state institutions. Workers at Serbia's biggest coal mine downed their tools. A foreman told Reuters that the nearby power plant in Obrenovac, which supplies half of Serbia's electricity, would run out of coal in eight days.

The opposition has accused Milosevic's supporters of stuffing ballot boxes with the votes of Kosovo Albanians — who boycotted the poll — to inflate the turnout and pull Kostunica's vote below the 50 percent needed for a first round win. Milosevic — not surprisingly — made it clear he had no intentions of stepping down and Yugoslavia's election commission ordered a run-off poll for October 8. Opposition leaders sent their version of the vote count to Moscow to try to persuade Russia to condemn Milosevic, a move that would inflict serious damage on his authority. They also reached out to Greece for help.

Kostunica said he had no intentions to extradite Milosevic to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague and said he even would guarantee his safety. He also called NATO's air campaign against Yugoslavia a criminal act. Although not against the West, he said he did not intend to turn Yugoslavia into a "Western puppet". His attitude undoubtedly helped i his victory against Milosevic.

Monday, October 2, 2000 - Milosevic made clear he had no intention of admitting election defeat.

Switzerland froze about 100 bank accounts belonging to allies of Slobodan Milosevic. In June of 1999 the Swiss government also froze the assets of Milosevic and four other war crimes suspects at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia.

Tuesday, October 3, 2000 - A crowd of 50,000 students marched toward the official residence of embattled Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. After negotiations with the police they turned away.

The United States said they would expect Russia to extradite Milosevic the moment he showed up in Moscow.

Wednesday, October 4, 2000 - About 50 people attacked a UN bus carrying 22 Serb police officers and translators in the divided northern city of Kosovska Mitrovica.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov that Moscow was still actively consulting with both sides on Putin's offer to have the two presidential candidates meet in Moscow. Kostunica said he had no intentions of leaving the country.

Yugoslavia's constitutional court annulled part of the controversial presidential election, although it was not immediately clear what part the court was referring to.

Thursday, October 5, 2000 - President Clinton ruled out US military intervention in Yugoslavia. Administration officials urged Russia to use its influence to persuade president Milosevic to step aside. The Pentagon said its troops (5,200 in Bosnia and 6,700 in Kosovo) were not on a heightened state of alert. President Clinton urged Russia to acknowledge Kostunica.

Friday, October 6, 2000 - After annulling part of the September 24 elections earlier, Yugoslavia's Constitutional Court ruled that opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica won an outright victory in the country's presidential elections.

European foreign ministers agreed to lift two out of four sanctions imposed against Yugoslavia during 1999: the oil embargo and the flight ban. The financial restrictions and the visa ban would require more time, according to the EU. An arms embargo by the UN would also stay in place.

Milosevic accepted election defeat but said that, being the leader of the largest political party in Serbia, he intended to continue to play a political role in Yugoslavia. The US, Russia, and the UK said it was time for Milosevic to leave. Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov congratulated Kostunica and handed him a carefully written letter from president Vladimir Putin — avoiding the words president or election — saying "I hope that you as the leader of the democratic forces in Yugoslavia, having assumed responsibility for the future of the fraternal Yugoslav people, will be able to do everything possible to overcome the internal political crisis". Only China expressed concerns regarding the situation in Yugoslavia, although the country "respected the choice of the Yugoslav people". China denied reports that Yugoslavia's gold reserves were flown to Beijing by Milosevic.

Special UN envoy in the Balkans, Bildt, said he expected Kostunica to initiate talks with Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic on a new relationship between the two states.

Yugoslavia released two Britons and one of two Canadians, arrested August 3, 2000 on suspicion of terrorism. The other Canadian was still held on a charge of possession of explosives-related material. His release was expected too. British prime minister Tony Blair sent an expression of gratitude to Yugoslav leader Vojislav Kostunica.

Kostunica coverage
[Image: AP]
September 6, 2000: Albanians read
the Pristina daily Koha Ditore. The
front page showed Kostunica with an
AK-47 during the Kosovo conflict.

Saturday, October 7, 2000 - In a low-key ceremony, Kostunica was sworn in as the new president of Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia's first popularly elected president was invited to Washington to deliver the keynote address at The Yugoslavia Reconstruction Conference, scheduled for November 13.

Kostunica stated his first priority was improving relations with Montenegro. He also said Yugoslavia needed to strengthen its sovereignty over Kosovo, a message received with mixed feelings by ethnic Albanians, whose hope for an independent Kosovo rapidly faded.

Sunday, October 8, 2000 - A senior pro-democracy leader, Mladjen Dinkic, said it would be possible to try Slobodan Milosevic in Yugoslavia on charges of rigging the elections. He said 15,000 citizens had signed a petition calling for charges against all members of the Federal Electoral Commission. The stalling tactics sparked a popular revolt that swept Kostunica into office.

Milosevic was said to reside in the heavily guarded presidential residences in Belgrade's elite Dedinje suburb. Kostunica said he had no intentions to move into the official residence and did not force Milosevic to move out.

A senior US official said that as Yugoslavia "draws closer to European nations, the new government will realize that until Milosevic faces the war crimes tribunal, Yugoslavia will not be reintegrated". Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov, who went to Belgrade to arrange a resignation deal in meeting with Kostunica and Milosevic, was said to have carried assurances that if Milosevic surrendered power there would be no pressure for a war crimes trial.

Monday, October 9, 2000 - The Serbian government resigned. New elections were scheduled for December 9, 2000 (the president and the parliament are elected separately). A transitional government was said to be formed, headed by Milosevic ally Mirko Marjanovic. Kostunica's allies insisted that the pro-Milosevic authorities in Serbia had lost all legitimacy. All major Serbian parties agreed to early elections, delivering a severe blow to Milosevic's efforts to keep a foothold in Yugoslavia's institutions and to challenge the newly installed Kostunica.

Chinese officials stopped the son of Slobodan Milosevic, Marko Milosevic, from entering China. He was traveling on a diplomatic passport, but was put back on an Aeroflot flight to Moscow. During the NATO air attack on Yugoslavia, China supported Milosevic. Since the fall of Milosevic, fearful of being isolated on the world stage, China followed Russia's course and recognized Kostunica as the new Yugoslav president.

The European Union agreed to end the oil blockade and lift a flight ban, but said two other sanctions — financial restrictions and a visa ban — would only be eased progressively because the EU did not want to help those who backed Milosevic's government. The lifting of EU sanctions had previously been linked to having Milosevic transferred to the UN court in The Hague. The EU also said it would study ways to quickly reopen the key Danube River which has been blocked by tons of debris from NATO.

Albania, Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Bosnia hailed Milosevic's downfall.

Tuesday, October 10, 2000 - A Serbian journalist jailed July 26, 2000 for reporting on alleged war crimes by Serbian troops in Kosovo was freed.

French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica held talks which included the possibility of Yugoslavia joining the European Union.

Wednesday, October 11, 2000 - Yugoslav journalist Miroslav Filipovic was released pending a new trial. He was arrested for writing about alleged atrocities in Kosovo and was sentenced in July to seven years in prison for publicizing state secrets.

Bulgaria's parliament urged Yugoslavia's new leaders to hand ousted president Slobodan Milosevic to the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague. Kostunica, however, opposed handing Milosevic over, and said it was not a priority issue.

President Vojislav Kostunica wanted to solidify his control of the armed forces by replacing the country's army chief with a former general sacked by ousted president Slobodan Milosevic. Kostunica said the police were already on the government's side. Four Serbian police generals assigned to the dreaded State Security service declared their allegiance to Kostunica.

There were signs the public would not accept any delays in purging the government of the Milosevic forces. Heads of state companies and other institutions ran by the former president's people were attacked by angry workers and the state customs office was reportedly overtaken at gunpoint.

The independent trade union Nezavisnost sacked the entire pro-Milosevic management of the country's largest metal mine and smelter complex in the eastern Serbian region of Bor, replacing it with independent experts close to Kostunica.

Thursday, October 12, 2000 - President Kostunica met James O'Brien, US president Clinton's special Balkan adviser. It was the first high-level contact between the two countries since the NATO bombing campaign in 1999. Kostunica said he wanted the United States to help enforce UN resolution 1244 on Kosovo. One of the provisions of the resolution permits some Yugoslav security forces to return to UN-administered Kosovo. O'Brien said that this could spark rebellion by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority. The US also said it would review its restrictions on Serbian participation in international lending programs. Kostunica also met with Italian Premier Giuliano Amato.

Friday, October 13, 2000 - Supporters of president Vojislav Kostunica said they had secured an agreement to form a transitional government to smooth the way for early elections for the Serbian parliament, December 24.

Seven Serbian police officers were wounded when their vehicles drove over a land mine on a road close to the boundary with Kosovo.

Saturday, October 14, 2000 - Fifteen European Union leaders offered Kostunica $175 million in emergency aid to help Serbs through the winter.

During a visit to France where he met with EU officials, Kostunica vowed to honor the two crucial accords on Yugoslavia — the Dayton peace accord that ended the Bosnian war and a UN Security Council resolution on Kosovo. He also said that although cooperation with the UN tribunal in The Hague was a part of the Dayton accord, he considered it not to be a priority. He pledged to cooperate with Montenegro but said the name Yugoslavia was no longer appropriate and should be changed to Serbia-Montenegro.

Sunday, October 15, 2000 - The US suggested that Kosovo should gain republic status, making the province one of three self-governing republics within Yugoslavia. The plan would require a commitment by Montenegro to remain in Yugoslavia — a stance that is not going over well within Montenegro's government.

The commander of SFOR in Bosnia said NATO-led peacekeeping troops were ready to arrest former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic if he attempts to escape Yugoslavia via Bosnia.

Monday, October 16, 2000 - President Vojislav Kostunica reached agreement with Slobodan Milosevic's party to share power in Serbia until the December 23 elections.

Zarko Korac, one of the leaders of the 18-party Democratic Opposition of Serbia, said Slobodan Milosevic will be put on trial in Serbia for electoral fraud.

Friday, October 20, 2000 - A French peacekeeper was found dead of a gunshot wound in the head in an ethnically mixed neighborhood of the Serb-controlled part of Kosovska Mitrovica. The French army press service said the soldier was alone in a truck and had been killed by his own weapon. It did not provide other details.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov promised Moscow's support to help Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica's efforts to stabilize Yugoslavia.

Sunday, 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.

Monday, October 23, 2000 - A rocket-propelled grenade crashed into a block of Serb flats in Pristina. No one was injured.

In The Kosovo Report — presented to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan — the Independent International Commission on Kosovo recommended a new status for Kosovo: "conditional independence" — an independent and self-governed Kosovo, but within an international framework, covering among other things external security and protection of minority rights.

Tuesday, October 24, 2000 - The Serbian parliament appointed a transitional government to run the country's dominant republic until early elections.

Thursday, October 26, 2000 - The UN war crimes tribunal seemed willing to cut Vojislav Kostunica some slack if he would surrender other suspects than Slobodan Milosevic and would give investigators a free hand in Yugoslavia. But despite Kostunica's eagerness to have his country welcomed back into the international community, he showed no willingness to comply with the tribunal's most basic demands.

Friday, October 27, 2000 - Yugoslavia requested admission to the United Nations. Yugoslavia is a founding member of the UN in 1945 but its membership has been in limbo since 1992 when Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, and Macedonia declared independence from Belgrade. The General Assembly in September 1992 adopted a resolution saying Belgrade could not "continue automatically the membership of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the United Nations." However, the disintegration of member state was not foreseen in the UN Charter and Yugoslavia's membership was neither terminated not suspended.

Russian president Vladimir Putin promised Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica that Moscow would soon resume supplying energy to Yugoslavia. He also called on other nations to help boost the Balkan country's shattered economy — a rather superfluous statement. Moscow was slow to withdraw its support from former president Milosevic and it was the sole European power to hesitate over recognizing Kostunica.

Saturday, October 28, 2000 - Kosovo Albanians casted their votes in the first free election in Kosovo run by international officials and protected by 40,000 KFOR troops, 4,100 UN police and 2,500 local graduates of the UN's police-training school. The municipal poll turned into a battle between the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) — led by Ibrahim Rugova— and the militant Democratic Party — headed by former guerrilla commander Hashim Thaci.

The moderates led by Rugova won the municipal elections with 58 percent of the votes. Thaci's radical party won 27 percent of the votes. The majority of Serbs remaining in Kosovo boycotted the election.

Serb leaders said they would hold their own ballot for local representatives, but did not announce a date. UN officials said the issue was still under discussion.

Sunday, October 29, 2000 - The seven countries bordering Yugoslavia — Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria and Macedonia — pledged to swiftly restore political and economic relations. However, they also urged Yugoslavia to speed up democratic reforms and abide by Western standards.

Monday, October 30, 2000 - In Norway, Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica warned that Kosovo's drive for independence could be "very dangerous" for the region. Norway announced it was lifting financial sanctions on Yugoslavia.

Wednesday, November 1, 2000 - China and the US agreed to furnish each other with space for new embassies in their capitals. It was agreed that the US could build a new embassy in Beijing and a consulate in Guangzhou. Chine acquired space in Washington, DC.

Leading ethnic Albanian activist Flora Brovina. She was jailed on terrorism charges by Milosevic's regime and released after 18 months by Yugoslavia's new president.

Thursday, November 2, 2000 - Yugoslavia entered the UN. It promised to be a trustworthy new member and a good neighbor in the Balkans. It did not commit itself to hand over ousted President Slobodan Milosevic.

Yugoslavia always refused to apply as a new country after the breakup of the Yugoslav socialist republic in the early 90's. As a result, Yugoslavia was barred from speaking or voting in the General Assembly, although it remained a UN member and the communist-era flag flew at UN headquarters. During a ceremony the flag was replaced by the flag of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - identical to the old red, white and blue one but without the red star in the middle.

Cemetary Mitrovica
[Image: AP]
November 4, 2000: French peacekeepers
guard a vandalized Serb cemetery in
Kosovska Mitrovica as members of the
dwindling Serb community in Kosovo
visited the graveyards to mark a
religious holiday despite the danger
of attacks by Kosovo's ethnic Albanians.

Saturday, November 4, 2000 - Yugoslavia's parliament approved the country's first communist-free government. The new Cabinet — proposed by the new President Vojislav Kostunica — won approval in both chambers of the federal parliament from the deputies of Yugoslavia's two republics, Serbia and Montenegro. It was formally inaugurated shortly afterward.

Sunday, November 5, 2000 - Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic said relations could be restored within the next couple of weeks with countries who severed ties last year during NATO's air campaign, including the US, Germany and the UK.

Monday, November 6, 2000 - Police stormed a Yugoslav prison in Nis, trying to contain a riot that began as a hunger strike but grew out of hand as Serbian prisoners burned their cells and took to rooftops demanding shortened sentences, better living conditions, and new management.

Yugoslavia said it wanted to establish diplomatic ties with neighboring Bosnia. President Kostunica said this was necessary for "much-needed balance in the region."

Former President Milosevic was accused of unlawful renovations on his house. A Belgrade district authority started legal proceedings against him for construction at his residential complex.

Tuesday, November 7, 2000 - Moderate ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova urged Western governments and Belgrade to support independence for Kosovo, saying it would settle tensions in the region. But President Kostunica said earlier independence for Kosovo is out of the question and Western powers did not support independence for the province.

Wednesday, November 8, 2000 - The United States said it would restore relations with Yugoslavia without waiting until it fixed up its damaged embassy in Belgrade. Yugoslavia broke off relations with the US in March 1999 after NATO planes attacked Yugoslav targets.

Prison protests spread to two more prisons in Sremska Mitrovica and Pozarevac despite government promises to improve conditions. One inmate died after falling from a roof. In the fourth day of the protests, no violence was reported.

Thursday, November 9, 2000 - The Council of Europe offered Yugoslavia membership in the 41-nation organization if the country meets specific democratic and human rights conditions.

Friday, November 10, 2000 - Montenegro threatened to hold a referendum on seceding from the Yugoslav federation unless the republic's union with Serbia would be radically revamped — including international recognition of the two as independent states. Montenegro's desire for more independence has intensified since the ouster of former President Slobodan Milosevic.

Yugoslavia's President Vojislav Kostunica said that he wanted to boost relations with Israel and announced plans to become the first Yugoslav president to visit Israel.

Saturday, November 11, 2000 - New members of the assembly in Pristina were sworn in, but without representatives of the minority Serb community which boycotted elections a month earlier. Similar ceremonies were held in other municipal centers.

Prison guards in three of Yugoslavia's largest jails refused to work, insisting on better working conditions and demanding an end to prison riots that have undermined the country's new government. The week of unrest was seen by critics as an indication of a shaky grip on law and order.

Sunday, November 12, 2000 - The UN War Crimes Tribunal chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic will be arrested soon on war crimes charges. She commented on news that Yugoslavia had approved the setting-up of an office by the Dutch-based Tribunal in Belgrade.

Thursday, November 16, 2000 - The top UN administrator in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, called for parliamentary elections in the spring as the next step to self-government in Kosovo. At the same time he warned that any immediate move to settle Kosovo's future status could very quickly lead to another conflict. The US and Britain backed Kouchner but Russia accused him of steering the province towards independence.

Several hundred relatives of Serbs missing in Kosovo marched in Belgrade calling for help. They blocked a street in front of the Serbian parliament demanding the release of Serbs they said had been abducted or arrested in Kosovo.

Guards returned to Serbia's main prisons, where prisoners have held control since a burst of rioting in which one person died and many were injured.

Friday, November 17, 2000 - President Clinton marked the resumption of diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia with a promise of about $45 million in emergency food aid to help the people of Serbia through the winter.

Saturday, November 18, 2000 - Speaking at a news conference during the forum attended by Balkan leaders and US diplomats, Ibrahim Rugova — the head of Kosovo's majority party — said a long-term NATO presence in Kosovo is crucial to the stability of the region.

Wednesday, November 22, 2000 - A bomb explosion rocked a building used by the Yugoslav representative in Kosovo, Stanimir Vukicevic, killing one staff member and injuring another.

Former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic will have to face justice for his role in Balkan wars but he will not be extradited to the UN war crimes court, Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic said. The chief international war crimes prosecutor challenged the world's quick embrace of Yugoslavia's new leader, saying his refusal to immediately surrender former president Slobodan Milosevic for trial is unacceptable.

Thursday, November 23, 2000 - In the three-mile buffer zone between central Serbia and Kosovo, two days of attacks by the independence-minded rebels have left four Serb policemen dead and 10 wounded. Rebels also captured several border checkpoints and a main road leading from the Presevo Valley region to Kosovo.

NATO detained 10 suspected ethnic Albanian guerrillas operating inside Serbia and seized a truck loaded with weapons. They were detained trying to evade a checkpoint and re-enter Kosovo from a security zone over the boundary in Serbia proper.

A senior politician and adviser to moderate Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova, Xhemajl Mustafa, was shot dead in an ambush at his home.

Saturday, November 25, 2000 - A US peacekeeper died from injuries sustained when he fell from a helicopter.

Ethnic Albanian guerrillas agreed to a 48-hour halt in their attacks on Serbian police in a buffer zone next to Kosovo. They also returned the bodies of three Serb policemen killed in an upsurge of fighting. Belgrade warned it would send more police to the 5 km wide security zone if the peacekeepers failed to halt guerrilla attacks. Serb police gave NATO a 72-hour deadline to stop incursions by ethnic Albanian militants over the border into Serbia.

Slobodan Milosevic appeared in public for the first time since his ouster. He depicted Yugoslavia's new pro-democratic leaders as traitors paid by the West to destroy the country. His harshly worded opening speech at his Socialist Party special congress showed that he intended to regain power with the same vintage themes he used while leading the country into four Balkan wars and economic decline.

Sunday, November 26, 2000 - The UN war crimes tribunal expressed outrage that Slobodan Milosevic could flaunt himself in the public and political arena while under an international arrest warrant. Milosevic won re-election as leader of Serbia's Socialist party and appeared on state television twice in the week leading up to the party congress.

Veliki Trnovac
[Image: AP]
Serbian forces patrol near Veliki
Trnovac — some 350km south of
Belgrade — near the boundary with
Kosovo following clashes with ethnic
Albanian forces in the Presevo Valley.

Monday, November 27, 2000 - Yugoslavia bolstered its forces near the US-patrolled boundary with Kosovo. The government of Vojislav Kostunica believed the attacks in southern Serbia were launched by ethnic Albanian extremists operating from Kosovo. Belgrade threatened to launch counterattacks on its side of the border.

Although the area has a substantial ethnic Albanian population, the Presevo Valley was not considered part of Kosovo and therefore was not included in the June 1999 Dayton agreement that started the NATO-led peacekeeping operations in Kosovo. Yugoslav army T55 battle tanks and armored personnel carriers were maneuvering near the three-mile buffer zone separating Kosovo from the rest of Serbia. The presence was seen as a demonstration of Belgrade's resolve to prevent ethnic Albanian rebels from seizing and holding Serbian territory.

Yugoslavia postponed a deadline it had set earlier for NATO to curb Kosovo Albanian militants on the Kosovo border - saying it wanted to give diplomacy a chance.

Around 45 police officers supported by some 400 British soldiers detained nine ethnic Albanians in a bid to stop intimidation of minority Serbs in the town of Obilic — west of the provincial capital Pristina.

Tuesday, November 29, 2000 - Without firing a shot, Serbian police retook the strategic village of Lucane — on the edge of the buffer zone between Kosovo and Serbia. Under the Dayton agreement signed last year, Serbian police were allowed only light weapons in the area.

Norwegian peacekeepers seized a truck carrying 20 mortar rounds, 20 anti-personnel mines, 1,000 rifle rounds, one anti-tank weapon and a number of uniforms of the guerrilla group calling itself the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac. Three Albanians were arrested.

Friday, December 1, 2000 - The Yugoslav government reopened its Bozaj border crossing with Albania located on the territory of Montenegro. The crossing was a source of potential conflict between the Montenegrin police and the Yugoslav army stationed in the republic.

Police firing rubber bullets stormed and seized a Yugoslav prison in Nis where rioting inmates had taken control from striking guards earlier in the week. Fearing for their safety, guards had refused to enter the cell blocks where clashes erupted among some 1,000 inmates.

Saturday, December 2, 2000 - Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan visited Belgrade. It was the first high-level visit by a Beijing official since the fall of Slobodan Milosevic. Vojislav Kostunica was invited to visit China. China expressed support for the new government.

An off-duty Kosovo police officer was shot twice while getting out of his car in the provincial capital Pristina.

Tuesday, December 5, 2000 - Amnesty International called on president Vojislav Kostunica to order the arrest of former president Slobodan Milosevic and other indicted war criminals.

Ethnic Albanian militants fired at Yugoslav army positions and Serbian police in two separate attacks. It was the first reported breach of an unofficial cease-fire.

Yugoslavia's government sought a UN Security Council meeting on the crisis along the rebel-controlled buffer zone between Kosovo and southern Serbia.

Wednesday, December 6, 2000 - For a second straight night ethnic Albanian militants fired on Serb police — using rifles and rocket propelled grenades. No casualties were reported.

Three Serb men accused of planning a revolt and plotting to kill then-Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic walked out of jail as they were pardoned by new president Vojislav Kostunica.

Thursday, December 7, 2000 - A UN police officer and his interpreter were beaten by Serbs angry at a weapons raid in Kosovska Mitrovica. The raid resulted in one of the largest weapons finds in Mitrovica.

Friday, December 8, 2000 - Serb police and ethnic Albanian rebels exchanged fire in the buffer zone, near the village of Bukovac. Yugoslavia demanded KFOR expel ethnic Albanian rebels from the buffer zone or Yugoslav security forces would take action.

Danish defense minister Han Haekkerup was appointed as chief UN administrator in Kosovo to succeed Bernard Kouchner of France.

Monday, December 11, 2000 - KFOR troops arrested two ethnic Albanians after an explosion in Kosovska Mitrovica. The explosion in the front yard of a Serb cafe left a crater some 20 inches across and was followed by several machine-gun bursts.

Wednesday, December 13, 2000 - Thousands of angry Serbs blocked key roads near the Kosovo border, demanding that authorities drive out the ethnic Albanian militants entrenched in the area.

Friday, December 15, 2000 - Thousands of Serbs blocking roads to demand authorities drive ethnic Albanian rebels from a border area near Kosovo lifted their blockade after an appeal from president Vojislav Kostunica. The move came despite calls by allies of deposed president Slobodan Milosevic to continue the protest near the buffer zone — an attempt to undermine the government.

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

Serbian police arrested former customs chief Mihalj Kertes — a close ally of deposed President Slobodan Milosevic — on charges of abusing his authority and embezzling US$2 million and US$700,000 in separate cases. Kertes was the highest-ranking Milosevic official to be arrested by new Yugoslav authorities.

Human Rights Watch urged the international community to end the "grace period" in dealing with Serbia and human rights following the downfall of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.

Burnt KFOR truck in Leposavic
[Image: AP]
Kosovo Serbs set fire to a police
station, stoned vehicles and briefly
took seven KFOR soldiers hostage
in a melee that left two Serbs dead
and one wounded.

Saturday, December 16, 2000 - In the northwestern Kosovo town of Leposavic, about 200 Serbs angered by the arrest of a motorist set fire to a police station, stoned vehicles, and briefly took seven Belgian soldiers hostage. Two Serbs died in the melee and one was wounded. The Serb motorist was arrested for speeding and possession of unspecified illegal communications equipment.

A senior member of Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) was wounded in a drive-by shooting.

Sunday, December 17, 2000 - Near the town of Gornje Karacevo, a joint US-Russian patrol came under fire from across the boundary with Serbia when blowing up a road to prevent armed groups from crossing the boundary.

After the incident, KFOR sent 150 British troops, with 16 armored vehicles, to Kosovo's tense boundary.

Wednesday, December 20, 2000 - The chief UN war crimes prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, angrily dismissed suggestions that Slobodan Milosevic would face justice at home and insisted that the former Yugoslav president be brought to The Hague for trial. "Yugoslavia is not — and for many years will not — be in a position to hold a fair trial of Milosevic for the charges brought, and to be brought, by this tribunal", she said.

The new chief UN administrator for Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, that his first priority would be to speed the shift to self-government in the southern Serbian province — including parliamentary elections expected in 2001. Most analysts seemed to agree that Kosovo Albanians can no longer count on merely drifting to de facto independence now that Milosevic has been replaced by Kostunica.

Gunmen blasted a multistory UN police station with rifle fire and hand grenades overnight in the village of Zubin Potok. No injuries were reported, but four police cars were damaged and one van was blown up.

British peacekeepers detained 13 ethnic Albanians trying to smuggle arms from Kosovo into the buffer zone in Serbia proper southeast of the regional capital Pristina.

Thursday, December 21, 2000 - NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said KFOR was taking effective action to stop ethnic Albanian guerrillas using a buffer zone in Serbia as a safe haven for extremist violence. KFOR stepped up monitoring of the boundary. So far, they detained seven guerrilla suspects and seized weapons.

Saturday, December 23, 2000 - Serbia's parliamentary election ended peacefully in Kosovo. The ballot provided a choice between the Socialist Party of former Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic and reformers led by the new Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica. The UN administration said it had nothing to do with the Serbian election and ethnic Albanians stayed away from the polls.

The first unofficial election results showed that voters dealt a crushing blow to Milosevic's Socialist party.

Monday, December 25, 2000 - Yugoslavia called on the UN Security Council to set a deadline for ethnic Albanian rebels to leave the buffer zone along the boundary with Kosovo, warning that otherwise Belgrade would remove them.

Thursday, December 28, 2000 - Yugoslavia called on the United Nations to take urgent steps to clear ethnic Albanian guerrillas from a violence-plagued buffer zone bordering Kosovo. A declaration said that if NATO and the UN were not able to get the guerrillas out, Yugoslavia would have to get rid of them by itself.

NATO officials, Serbia's deputy prime minister and Albanian representatives as well as a rebel commander met to discuss the three mile wide buffer zone between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia.

In Paris, the European Union called on Yugoslav authorities to free ethnic Albanians from Kosovo who have been imprisoned in Serbia since the end of the conflict in 1999.

An ethnic Albanian teen-ager suspected of killing of a Russian peacekeeper was re-arrested in his northern hometown of Srbica by UN police. (See KFOR chronology, May 24, 2000 and KFOR chronology, July 9, 2000.) A crowd of about 30 people tried to prevent the arrest, but was held back by a warning shot fired by a police officer.

Friday, December 29, 2000 - Montenegro said it wanted to separate from Serbia and become independent. President Milo Djukanovic's government approved the blueprint for the future of the Yugoslav federation. Proposed were one army with the leader of each republic in complete charge of forces on his territory, joint embassies, one convertible currency, and a single market. Djukanovic also said both republics should have a separate seat at the United Nations.

During a visit by Macedonian president Boris Trajkovski to Yugoslavia the division of some US$477 million worth of assets to be shared by the former Yugoslav republics was discussed. The two countries tried to normalize relations and signed two agreements on cooperation between their foreign ministries and on social security.

Saturday, December 30, 2000 - US senators Arlen Specter and George Voinovich on a visit to Yugoslavia told pro-democracy leaders that former President Slobodan Milosevic must be tried for war crimes if the country wanted to fully rejoin the international community.

In the village of Veliki Trnovac, Serbian police and ethnic Albanians removed two checkpoints, following an agreement — aimed at easing tension in the Presevo Valley — reached by KFOR.

Sunday, December 31, 2000 - Ethnic Albanian rebels in the buffer zone along the Kosovo boundary seized six Serb men a half mile from a US checkpoint.

Source:: Associated Press, Reuters, NATO, Washington Post, Agence France Presse, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe Online, MSNBC.