Monday, January 1, 2001 - Six Serb men kidnapped by ethnic Albanian rebels in the buffer zone along the Kosovo boundary were freed after intensive diplomatic efforts by Yugoslavia and NATO.

Wednesday, January 3, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian militants fired a mortar barrage at police on Mount Sveti Ilija — just on the edge of the boundary area separating Kosovo from the rest of Serbia.

Thursday, January 4, 2001 - Yugoslavia's foreign minister Goran Svilanovic said after a meeting with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that Yugoslavia may be willing to allow an international war crimes tribunal to try former president Slobodan Milosevic on Yugoslav territory.

Rasim Ljajic, minister for national and ethnic communities, said ethnic Albanians had violated an agreement reached a week earlier to try to ease tensions along the Kosovo border. He said Serb security forces were still unable to enter villages in the area.

Friday, January 5, 2001 - Yugoslavia's foreign minister Goran Svilanovic outlined three alternatives for trying former president Slobodan Milosevic on war crimes charges:

  • Extradition of Milosevic to the UN International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague — which indicted Milosevic in 1999.
  • Have Milosevic tried in a domestic Yugoslav court.
  • Have joint cooperation between the domestic and international courts, with a Yugoslav tribunal serving as the venue.

Only the first of these options seemed acceptable to the UN tribunal.

Sunday, January 7, 2001 - British KFOR troops detained nine men — armed and in uniform — as they tried to cross into Kosovo from the tense Presevo Valley area. A tenth suspect escaped.

Yugoslav foreign minister Goran Svilanovic went to NATO headquarters. He talked with NATO officials about making changes to the three-mile buffer zone between NATO-led troops in Kosovo and the rest of Serbia.

Thursday, January 11, 2001 - Yugoslavia urged citizens suspected of war crimes to turn themselves over to the UN tribunal in the Hague.

Yugoslav interior minister Zoran Zivkovic said that Milosevic's police protection would be withdrawn the day the new Serbian government is formed.

Cases handled by the UN court:

  • 39 people in custody or on provisional release;
  • 27 still at large;
  • 15 convictions or guilty pleas;
  • 2 acquittals
  • In 18 cases, charges were dropped;
  • 8 suspects died.

Saturday, January 13, 2001 - However, Yugoslavia's president Kostunica met with his ousted predecessor Milosevic and suggested Yugoslavia would not extradite war crimes suspects to face trial, saying it would be illegal. Contradicting with this statement, Yugoslavia's justice minister Momcilo Grubac said the extradition ban would not apply because the international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, is a UN body.

The outgoing US administration has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Milosevic, Karadzic and Mladic.

Monday, January 15, 2001 - The UN police set up a 30-person intelligence unit to combat organized crime in Kosovo. Border security was stepped up by bringing in 25 specially trained dogs from Ukraine. Kosovo's new UN governor — former Danish defense minister Hans Haekkerup — called for better law enforcement in the province.

Haekkerup also said that a date for elections cannot be set until laws governing them are created — an change from his predecessor's stance. Bernard Kouchner wanted to concentrate on setting an early election date instead of creating perfect conditions for voting. In farewell remarks earlier Kouchner acknowledged that the UN had failed to provide a secure environment for Kosovo Serbs.

Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica said he refused to meet the UN's chief prosecutor on her visit to Belgrade, planned a week later. Kostunica's refusal underlined his unwillingness to even discuss handing over his autocratic nationalist predecessor, Slobodan Milosevic, for trial before the tribunal. Analysts said it could damage Belgrade's progress towards reintegration in Europe and international institutions.

Thursday, January 18, 2001 - A Kosovo court found a Serb man guilty of genocide in a verdict believed to be the first conviction on that charge in Kosovo. He was accused of belonging to a Serb paramilitary group which terrorized ethnic Albanians in northern Kosovo during NATO's bombing campaign.

President-elect George W. Bush said he would not move quickly to pull US troops (5,500 in Kosovo and 4,500 in Bosnia) out of the Balkans.

Friday, January 19, 2001 - The United States and Russia disagreed over the timing of Kosovo elections, with Russia urging delays until more details could be worked out with Yugoslavia.

On his last day in office, US president Clinton notified congress he intended to lift trade and financial sanctions against Yugoslavia. It would not apply to former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, his family, his cronies or indicted war criminals. In total, 81 people remained under sanctions restrictions. Shortly after president Kostunica took office, Clinton lifted an air and oil embargo against Yugoslavia and instructed US agencies to dismantle trade and economic sanctions.

Yugoslavia's national carrier JAT said it would resume flights to the United States. JAT said it would reopen offices in New York, Chicago and Toronto within a month, while US experts were expected to check JAT's capabilities for long-distance flights.

Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica made a historic visit to Sarajevo and pledged to work to establish the truth about the wars in the Balkans. He said he had discussed with Bosnia's inter-ethnic presidency forming a truth and reconciliation commission.

Saturday, January 20, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian militants shot and injured a Yugoslav army soldier in the volatile Presevo Valley.

Sunday, January 21, 2001 - Serbia's next interior minister Dusan Mihajlovic said that one of his first tasks would be to put former president Slobodan Milosevic — indicted by the UN — under 24-hour surveillance. Mihajlovic also said he was in favor of revealing secret police files on people considered enemies of the state during Milosevic's rule.

Monday, January 22, 2001 - European Union foreign ministers cautioned Montenegro against seceding from Yugoslavia, fearing that an attempt to do so could re-ignite Balkan violence. Kostunica pledged to use "all democratic and legal means" to try and prevent the secession of Montenegro but he ruled out the use of force. The Yugoslav weekly Nin quoted him as saying he would respect the will of Montenegrins if they voted to break away.

A police station in the Western Macedonian town of Tearce was subject to a grenade attack that killed one officer and wounded three. Kosovo Albanian separatists claimed responsibility for the attack and implied further such actions in the future: "... the Macedonian occupier will be targeted until the Albanian people are free."

Del Ponte
[Image: AP/Mikica Petrovic]
UN chief prosecutor Carla del
Ponte and deputy chief-prosecutor
Graham Blewit attended talks with
Yugoslavian officials in Belgrade.

Tuesday, January 23, 2001 - War crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte arrived in Belgrade for a three day visit. She re-issued an arrest warrant for former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Kostunica initially said he did not intend to meet del Ponte, but later changed his mind. He also said that he would publish any secret indictment that she would hand to him. Del Ponte's team believed 15 of the 27 suspects publicly indicted by the tribunal remain at large in Serbia.

Kostunica described the tribunal's work as politicized and criticized its practice of issuing secret indictments and said the fact most indictees were Serbs could be seen as selective justice.

In a meeting with Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic it was made clear to del Ponte that a possible trial of Milosevic should take place in Serbia. Del Ponte also asked to hand over someone indicted by the tribunal as a "sign of goodwill", but Serbian prime minister-designate Zoran Djindjic called this unrealistic expectations. In an interview Kostunica said that handing over Milosevic could destabilize Yugoslavia at a precarious time of transition toward market democracy.

If the Yugoslav government fails to cooperate with the UN court in The Hague, it is likely to lose international political and financial support garnered after Milosevic's ouster in October 2000.

Thursday, January 25, 2001 - Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said he would seek to hold an independence referendum in Montenegro right after an early parliamentary election in April 2001. The European Union said Serbia and Montenegro must decide on a new constitutional arrangement within an overall federal framework.

The Bush administration said it was disappointed that Yugoslavia did not work out an agreement with the chief UN war crimes prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, to put indicted former president Slobodan Milosevic on trial.

Friday, January 26, 2001 - Zoran Djindjic took office as the first pro-democracy prime minister since World War II in Serbia. He promised his government he would hold Slobodan Milosevic accountable for past crimes. A trial in the Netherlands, however, seemed highly unlikely.

Ethnic Albanian rebels massed in a show of strength in the town of Dobrosin in the Presevo Valley region and pledged to keep fighting to wrest the three-mile wide strip from Yugoslavia and link it to Kosovo.

Information obtained by the US government beginning in 1999 confirmed there were massive killings by Milosevic's forces "and there were attempts to burn bodies and otherwise cover up evidence at places throughout Kosovo". Minnesota Public Radio and National Public Radio news, in a 20-minute documentary All things considered (broadcasted Jan 25), reported up to 1,500 bodies were burned at a lead refinery in Trepca — near the city of Mitrovica. Earlier, the OSCE said investigators had found no evidence that would substantiate the report that elite forces loyal to Milosevic burned the bodies in a blast furnace at Trepca.

In 1999, senior French police officials in Kosovo said the furnace at Trepca stopped operating shortly after the start of the crackdown on Kosovo's ethnic Albanians in late March 1999 and remained unused after Milosevic's forces pulled out. Ashes at the site examined by the team also showed no traces that would back up the report, they said. In the American radio report, it was said bodies were unearthed from freshly dug graves that were identified by NATO satellites after the French study was done. The ICTY said it had no proof to backup the report.

The Red Cross office in Kosovo said 3,583 Kosovars, mainly ethnic Albanians, were still missing after the conflict.

Sunday, January 28, 2001 - Four Yugoslav army soldiers were injured in new fighting between government troops and ethnic Albanian guerillas in the Presevo Valley. The fighting came after Yugoslavia's foreign minister called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to deal with the escalation of violence. A day earlier, one Yugoslav soldier and one ethnic Albanian guerrilla were killed.

Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - The United Nations Security Council strongly condemned the violence along Serbia's border with Kosovo on and called for an end to attacks by ethnic Albanian extremist groups. The council demanded the perpetrators be brought to justice.

At least one civilian died and several others were injured in ethnic clashes in Kosovska Mitrovica. KFOR imposed a curfew from 2200 until 1800 local time.

In a separate incident near Kosovska Mitrovica a crowd stopped a car with local translators working for the OSCE, dragged them out and beat one Serb man, breaking his jaw. The six were rescued by KFOR troops.

Serbia's new government fired two top police officers loyal to Slobodan Milosevic. The Serbian justice minister, Vladan Batic, said that the former president will end up in front of the UN war crimes tribunal in the near future. Earlier, Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica turned down the demand of UN chief war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte that Milosevic and others be put to trial in The Hague, because Yugoslav laws ban extradition of Yugoslav citizens. But Batic said Yugoslav laws would be changed within three months. Miroljub Labus, Yugoslavia's deputy prime minister, also urged Milosevic to hand himself over to the UN tribunal, saying: "This is his last chance to do something useful for the country."

Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - In ethnically motivated riots in Kosovska Mitrovica at least 20 French troops were injured — one seriously — by stones, Molotov cocktails, and at least two grenades. French peacekeepers in full riot gear fired volleys of tear gas and stun grenades to prevent the crowd from surging across the bridge over the Ibar River.

Thursday, February 1, 2001 - British troops — backing up French troops — fired plastic bullets and drove tanks through the streets of Mitrovica to scatter hundreds of ethnic Albanians hurling rocks and petrol bombs.

Some Albanians said they wanted French forces out of Mitrovica, blaming them for ethnic Albanians' failure to return to homes in the north they fled during NATO's 1999 bombing campaign.

Friday, February 2, 2001 - Serbia's new reformist prime minister — Zoran Djindjic — said he was making progress gathering evidence for a trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. But he said evidence was being gathered against Milosevic at home for various alleged crimes. He did not specify whether that was for war crimes or other alleged violations like corruption and vote-rigging. Milosevic was put under "house arrest" earlier.

During an official visit of Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica to Sweden — holder of the EU rotating presidency — on January 31 Swedish president Goran Persson demanded the extradition of Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague.

Saturday, February 3, 2001 - Ousted president Slobodan Milosevic said the recent elections were tainted with fear and external pressure. He also criticized former Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic's decision to surrender to the UN war crimes court in The Hague and said she had turned from being a fierce nationalist to being a US collaborator.

Sunday, February 4, 2001 - US Secretary of State Colin Powell — who took office January 20 — said US troops would not leave Bosnia or Kosovo "in the immediate future". "There is no exit date for the whole force either in Bosnia and Kosovo. Those will be long-term commitments," he said.

Tuesday, February 6, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian militants fired mortar shells and small arms in an hour long attack against government positions in southern Serbia near the village of Lucane, just outside Kosovo. Serbian police and Yugoslav soldiers returned fire.

Hours after the attack, Yugoslavia's government adopted what it described as a peace plan for the troubled southern part of the country, offering a place in local governments to moderate ethnic Albanians in hopes of deflating tensions.

One of Milosevic's top allies was found dead of an apparent suicide. Slobodan Milosevic was among those attending the wake for former Serbian Interior Minister Zoran Sokolovic.

Wednesday, February 7, 2001 - Prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic could be swift, Serbia's prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, said, and an investigation could begin within days, with trial in two weeks. Despite calls from the international community to extradite Milosevic, Djindjic said "it would be just for him to stand trial here because he committed all those crimes here." A week earlier, the United States told the Yugoslav leadership that it must start cooperating with the tribunal by March 31, 2001, or risk losing about $100 million in promised financial aid. After a visit to Washington, Djindjic said the US Secretary of State Colin Powell was sympathetic to arguments that Milosevic be tried in Serbia.

Thursday, February 8, 2001 - The US supreme commander over NATO forces in Kosovo, Admiral James Ellis, called for an internationally-backed mediator to help stop Serb forces and ethnic Albanian guerrillas fighting in south Serbia.

The European Union urged Yugoslavia's new leadership to extradite Slobodan Milosevic to face war crimes charges.

Friday, February 9, 2001 - About five thousand Serbs protested against a NATO and UN plan to extend a special security zone ("confidence zone") in the ethnically divided Kosovo town of Mitrovica. Extending the confidence zone would mean Serb leaders losing control of the north side of the bridge.

Saturday, February 10, 2001 - European parliamentarians said they had asked authorities in Belgrade to arrest three former Yugoslav army officers indicted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal. The three — Mile Mrksic, Veselin Sljivancanin and Miroslav Radic — were indicted in 1995 for alleged involvement in the massacre of 260 unarmed men at Ovcara farm near Vukovar.

Tuesday, February 13, 2001 - Ethnic Albanians opened fire in Grlica as peacekeepers escorted a convoy of Serbs on a weekly shopping trip in southern Kosovo, killing one Serb and wounding three others. NATO said five Albanians were arrested. Between 500 and 700 angry Serbs gathered after the attack in the town of Strpce, near the Macedonian border, burning three UN vehicles, damaging several others, and throwing rocks. Some 200 peacekeepers under American command brought the riot under control several hours later.

President Vojislav Kostunica said a law in the works would provide for extraditing suspects — like Milosevic — for trial by the UN war crimes tribunal. Kostunica said the first priority is for Milosevic to be tried at home for misdeeds during his 13 years in power. "Justice is better achieved when leaders of a country ... are held responsible by their own people," he said. Still the new law opens the way for possibly delivering Milosevic to The Hague once he has been tried in Serbia on charges that could range from corruption to war crimes. Kostunica associates noted the new law would be ready within five months. The law also appears to answer US concerns.

The parliament of Serbia adopted a law stripping former Serbian presidents of their dozens of bodyguards, leaving them with only one protector.

Dragoljub Milanovic — former director of the state-run television, was detained on suspicion of failing to protect 16 of his employees who died when NATO bombs hit the Yugoslav TV headquarters in April 1999. The victims' families have demanded Milanovic be charged with murder, claiming he wanted his employees to die so he could use their deaths to heat up the propaganda war against NATO.

Thursday, February 15, 2001 - NATO said it was prepared to consider changes to the buffer zone on Kosovo's eastern border, which is being used as a safe haven by ethnic Albanian separatist rebels.

The Serbian parliament, under pressure to bring ousted leader Slobodan Milosevic to justice, agreed to replace judges associated with the former regime.

Serbia pledged to expel or extradite non-Yugoslavs sought by the UN war crimes tribunal, meaning the Yugoslav republic may no longer be a haven for suspects from Bosnia and Croatia.

Friday, February 16, 2001 - The bombing of a bus carrying Serbs to visit the graves of relatives in Kosovo killed at least seven people and wounded 43, making it the deadliest attack in the province since 14 Serb farmers were machine-gunned to death while tilling their fields in July 1999. The guerrillas in the Presevo Valley area near the boundary distanced themselves from the bus bombing. In a statement, they condemned the attack — which occurred on a road near the city of Podujevo, 25 miles northeast of Pristina — and said it would set back efforts to resolve their conflict with Serb forces.

In Belgrade, unknown gunmen fired at Serbia's interior minister Dusan Mihajlovic. Police said assailants in two cars opened fire after Mihajlovic's driver swerved to evade the cars and sped away. Mihajlovic is a member of the new, pro-democracy government that replaced Milosevic's hard-line regime.

Sunday, February 18, 2001 - A police van was hit by anti tank mines on a road near Lucane, just outside the buffer zone. Three Serb officers were killed. Yugoslav officials said the incident was part of a broader terror campaign by ethnic Albanians.

Monday, February 19, 2001 - Yugoslav interior minister Zoran Zivkovic accused NATO-led peacekeepers of being too soft on ethnic Albanian extremists.

Tuesday, February 20, 2001 - President Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro announced April 22 as the parliamentary election date.

Friday, February 23, 2001 - Canada lifted some of its Kosovo-related sanctions against Yugoslavia in light of Serbian elections that drove Slobodan Milosevic's party out of government. Foreign minister John Manley announced most Canadian goods — an arms embargo remains in place — would no longer require export permits to go to Yugoslavia.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia should be shut down in the interest of boosting stability in the Balkans. "The tribunal was formed at a time when Bosnia and the Balkans were in a state of war, when there were no democratic institutions or institutions of justice," Ivanov was quoted by Interfax.

Saturday, February 24, 2001 - A former Milosevic aide and head of his secret police, Rade Markovic, was arrested in connection with the deaths of opposition leader Vuk Draskovic and three body guards in 1999. Four other police officers were also arrested. Markovic was fired on the day the new Serbian government took office.

EU officials at a summit in the Macedonian capital Skopje warned that continued fighting in southern Serbia could dry up international aid to Kosovo, while Balkan leaders demanded an immediate end to the violence. The summit brought together leaders of Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey and Romania and top European Union officials including foreign policy chief Javier Solana and External Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten.

Sunday, February 25, 2001 - Yugoslav justice officials investigated alleged false statements by Slobodan Milosevic about his assets.

Tuesday, February 27, 2001 - The Bush administration gave its firmest commitment yet to keeping US peacekeeping forces in the Balkans as long as NATO needs them. The United States said it would not withdraw its troops from NATO-led peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Kosovo precipitously or without consultation with its NATO allies.

Sunday, March 4, 2001 - Three Macedonian soldiers were killed in guerrilla attacks along the northern border. Macedonia closed its border with Kosovo. The US KFOR contingent — whose troops are stationed on the other side of the border in Kosovo — said it had brought in reinforcements. In a clear change of line, Western officials said they would understand any armed action by Macedonia against ethnic Albanian fighters operating in a border village on Macedonian territory.

Monday, March 5, 2001 - Heavy firing broke out between Macedonian security forces and ethnic Albanian guerrillas occupying a village just inside Macedonia. US soldiers deployed across the border in Kosovo in the village of Debelde.

Wednesday, March 7, 2001 - American peacekeepers fought presumed ethnic Albanian guerrillas near Macedonia's border and wounded two gunmen — the first armed engagement involving KFOR troops. Three Yugoslav soldiers died after their jeep struck a land mine north of the town of Presevo in southern Serbia, just outside a buffer zone. US peacekeepers reinforced the Kosovo side of the border with Macedonia. Diplomats said the main problem was preventing ethnic Albanian guerrillas operating freely across the unmarked mountain borders between Kosovo, Macedonia and southern Serbia.

The UN war crimes tribunal set out a possible compromise to overcome a standoff with Belgrade over the trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. The UN would be willing to hold part of Milosevic's trial in Belgrade. A UN spokes person said new indictments charging Milosevic for the first time with responsibility for alleged war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia would be issued soon, adding to an existing 1999 indictment over the war in Kosovo.

Thursday, March 8, 2001 - The North Atlantic Council agreed to allow the controlled return of Serbian security forces to the three-mile wide buffer zone along a part of the Macedonian border where ethnic Albanian gunmen have occupied territory. Since the establishment of the ground safety zone in June 1999 it was off limits to the Yugoslav Army. The depth of the Serbian deployment to plug this gap — one km or deeper — was still to be settled as was the matter of timing.

For the second time, ethnic Albanian gunmen attacked Macedonian troops. NATO's decision to allow Yugoslav troops in a part of the buffer zone alongside Macedonia did not immediately stop the Albenian rebels. A grenade attack on a convoy killed one police officer. Yugoslav president Kostunica accepted NATO's plan to allow Serb troops into the buffer zone but accused the alliance of sending his forces into the crossfire instead of dealing with the problem itself.

US troops in Kosovo drove ethnic Albanian gunmen from a hamlet they had used to attack Macedonia.

In Yugoslavia, opposition leader Vuk Draskovic testified that he believed that former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and his wife were behind an assassination attempt against him. Draskovic made the charge during questioning by public prosecutors in an investigation of Milosevic's former state security chief, Rade Markovic.

Markovic was ordered to testify in a separate trial against suspected killers of Zeljko Raznatovic, a warlord also known as Arkan, who was gunned down in Belgrade on January 16, 2000.

Friday, March 9, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian rebels attacked Macedonian forces near a northern village and trapped senior government officials for hours.

Greece announced it would send military aid — including five trucks, radios, medical supplies and bulletproof vests — to its northern neighbor and Bulgaria dispatched a 10-truck convoy of military supplies to Macedonia.

A Serbian policeman was killed in a grenade attack on a convoy in an ethnic Albanian guerrilla attack in southern Serbia.

Saturday, March 10, 2001 - Skirmishes were reported along Kosovo's borders, including a mortar attack on a Serb village in southern Yugoslavia that injured an 11-year-old boy. Macedonia said its troops clashed late with about 20 ethnic Albanians trying to smuggle weapons on horseback across the border with Kosovo.

A group of Albanian guerrillas calling itself the National Liberation Army said its objective is fighting for "equal rights" for ethnic Albanians. The group was involved in clashes with Macedonian forces but said it would respect the territorial integrity of Macedonia. The group called for Macedonia to be defined as "a state of two peoples," Macedonians and Albanians. This would end the "discrimination against the Albanian population by the Slav-Macedonian majority."

The New York Times reported that the United States told the Belgrade government it should arrest and imprison former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic by the end of March 2001 if it expected American aid to continue.

Monday, March 12, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian guerrillas fighting Serb security forces in a buffer zone just outside Kosovo said they had agreed to cease fire for a week. The cease fire was brokered by NATO.

Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - A military panel cleared a US soldier, Pfc. Nicholas E. Young, of the accidental shooting death of a 6-year-old boy in Kosovo on July 10, 2000.

According to Yugoslav Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic, 15 suspects sought by the UN war crimes tribunal were in Yugoslavia. It was the first time such a figure was revealed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - In Mitrovica, Serbs attacked three UN policemen in their homes. The violence started when a crowd — angered by the detention of three Serbs suspected of assaulting two UN police officers 10 days earlier — began attacking a police station in the town. French peacekeepers used tear gas to disperse the crowd, which threw rocks and bottles. Several cars were damaged and Serbs entered the homes of non-Serbs and the UN police and harassed them. One house was set on fire, another was attacked with a grenade and several vehicles belonging to international organizations in Kosovo were damaged.

Backed by NATO, Yugoslav security forces began moving into the buffer zone near Serbia's boundary with Kosovo. The Yugoslav forces were only allowed into an area where the zone meets the border with Macedonia, with the goal of curbing the activity of guerrillas. The deployment was also observed by the European Union.

Thursday, March 15, 2001 - Germany's foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, visited Macedonia to offer support to the multi-ethnic government as the West started to voice fears that insurgency by ethnic Albanian guerrillas could herald a new Bosnia or Kosovo. Fischer rejected suggestions that an international force should be sent into Macedonia.

Norway's deputy foreign minister, Espen Barth Eide, said that concern about the political cost of casualties in Kosovo prevented US troops there from being as assertive as European allies would like. He said European forces also serving in the Yugoslav territory now under international control perceived the US operation as "very geared toward force protection."

The Yugoslav army pulled back tanks from an area near the ethnic Albanian villages of Trnovac and Lucane in the Presevo Valley of southern Serbia — in line with the NATO-brokered cease-fire pact with ethnic Albanian guerrillas.

Former Bosnian Serb regional politician Blagoje Simic — who surrendered to the international tribunal March 12 — pleaded not guilty to crimes against humanity before. He was accused of orchestrating a 1991-93 campaign of ethnic cleansing while the top-ranking civilian official in the Bosnian municipality of Bosanski Samac. Simic was the first Yugoslav citizen to turn himself in.

Friday, March 16, 2001 - In Tetovo, Macedonia, heavily armed Macedonian police units poured fire onto guerrilla positions on the slopes of Baltepe mountain on the edge of town. The rebels responded with heavy machine gun and automatic rifle fire and mortar rounds were fired into the central square. Clashes appeared not to be confined to the Tetovo area.

Macedonia called on NATO to do more to stop the guerrillas coming across mountains from nearby Kosovo, patrolled by alliance-led peacekeeping troops. NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson said measures were already in place to try to stem the flow of supplies across the border between Macedonia and Kosovo. Helicopters and electronic surveillance equipment were being used to try to block ground movements, he said. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said the West would not allow Balkan borders to be altered by force.

Saturday, March 17, 2001 - Police troops in Tetovo — Macedonia's second largest city — fired for several hours at ethnic Albanian rebels. The rebels tried to claim parts of Macedonia with an overwhelming Albanian population. German troops, stationed in Macedonia as a backup for a NATO-led peacekeeping mission, came under attack from the rebels, probably inadvertently.

Four German Leopard II tanks were moved from their base in Kosovo to neighboring Macedonia to protect a German logistics base close to the scene of fighting.

Macedonia said its forces had driven ethnic Albanian rebels off hillside positions overlooking the city of Tetovo after four days of fighting. There was no indication that Macedonian forces had advanced up the steep hill and no independent evidence to back the claim that the guerrillas had been flushed out.

Two Serbian policemen were seriously wounded when their vehicle hit an anti-tank land mine near the village of Rajince in the Presevo Valley region of Serbia bordering Kosovo.

UN administrator Hans Haekkerup said Yugoslavia should improve relations with Kosovo by releasing about 500 imprisoned ethnic Albanians.

KFOR commander Lt. Gen. Carlo Cabigiosu said he wanted fewer troops equipped to battle the Yugoslavs and more specialized forces capable of containing civil unrest and monitoring the province's porous borders.

Sunday, March 18, 2001 - Macedonian troops mortared, strafed and shelled mountain slopes around the town of Tetovo in what they said was preparation for a ground attack later that day. NATO also warned the rebels it would respond with force to any threat to its logistics base in Tetovo.

Monday, March 19, 2001 - Macedonia sent tanks to Tetovo and pledged a major counter-attack on the rebels.

EU foreign ministers meeting in Belgium agreed on measures for Macedonia that included technical aid for a census — one of the demands by the rebels, who claim the number of ethnic Albanians is underreported.

Wednesday, March 21, 2001 - The Macedonian military threatened with a major counter-attack unless guerrillas would end their insurgency by midnight.

Hours before the expiry of a Macedonian government ultimatum the guerrillas declared an unlimited, unilateral cease-fire to permit talks on a peaceful solution to the crisis.

A draft proposal for a UN Security Council resolution (1345) called on rebels to lay down their arms and stresses the need to solve differences through dialog. But Russia pressed for stronger language singling out the rebels' actions.

A Macedonian police officer was shot and killed when a group of policemen were attacked in the ethnic Albanian quarter of the capital Skopje.

A German patrol of the Kosovo KFOR peacekeeping mission exchanged fire with gunmen caught trying to smuggle weapons into Macedonia by mule-back. The shipment was seized but the gunmen escaped over the frontier.

Yugoslavia insisted it was bent on cooperating with the UN war crimes court, as prosecutors announced they were probing possible war crimes by ethnic Albanians against Serbs.

Thursday, March 22, 2001 - The US ordered two or three Predator unmanned spy reconnaissance planes to the Balkans after a NATO request to increase the allies' ability to monitor the outbreak of ethnic Albanian rebel activity along the Kosovo-Macedonia border. The Predators are capable of feeding real-time photographic images not only to US commanders in the area but also to the Pentagon.

NATO kept up pressure on member nations for extra troops in Kosovo to help the alliance-led peacekeeping force secure the province's borders with Macedonia. So far, KFOR was using troops already stationed in Kosovo and from an operational reserve in the province.

Serbia's justice minister, Vladan Batic, said he expected two Kosovo Albanian leaders — Agim Ceku and Hashim Thaci — to be indicted as a result of new investigations by the UN war crimes tribunal. The two individuals were leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army which fought Serb rule and officially disbanded after the province was put under international control in June 1999 to end Serb repression of the ethnic Albanian majority. Serb leaders alleged the KLA remained intact and was largely responsible for the countless attacks on Serbs and members of other minorities.

Friday, March 23, 2001 - Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders urged rebels in neighboring Macedonia to lay down their arms.

At a checkpoint in Tetovo, officers stopped a car, asking the two men inside for their papers. One leaped from the vehicle and tossed a hand grenade. Police opened fire.

Saturday, March 24, 2001 - NATO requested member countries to provide an extra 1,400 troops for the international peacekeeping force. Germany announced a plan to send paratroopers to Tetovo to reinforce the 1,000 German KFOR troops already in Macedonia if the situation would not improve. General Inspector Harald Kujat — Germany's highest ranking uniformed officer — warned of a civil war in Macedonia but said that German soldiers could not get involved in such a conflict. The United States and Britain both said they did not intend to send more soldiers but said they could consider redeploy troops present in KFOR .

The Kremlin said Putin had urged the international community to use all means, including force, to avoid the conflict spreading in a new Balkan conflagration. NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said the international community would not seek an extended mandate to operate within Macedonia itself. Austria's suggestion of extending the mandate of NATO peacekeepers operating in neighboring Kosovo to Macedonia was only backed by Greece.

Two Macedonian Mi-24 attack helicopters fired rockets just south of downtown Tetovo, near Mount Sar Planina. The attack came after the rebels fired two shells into a Slavic neighborhood of Koltuk near a police checkpoint, spraying shrapnel through a cobblestone alley and injuring four people. Fighting escalated between government forces and ethnic Albanian rebels.

Sunday, March 25, 2001 - In Macedonia, government troops punched through rebel lines and moved into a hillside village. The government said that all key ethnic Albanian guerrilla positions in the hills above the flashpoint city of Tetovo were taken in a full-scale assault with heavy fighting. The rebels said their aim was limited to more rights for ethnic Albanians within Slav-dominated Macedonia, but the government accused them of seeking independence and drawing on Kosovo for fighters and weapons.

Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski suggested that the military had not yet carried out its threatened operation to "neutralize and eliminate" the rebels.

US President George W. Bush said he hoped Macedonia's borders could be sealed to keep arms and people from flowing to ethnic Albanian guerrillas.

Wednesday, March 28, 2001 - Using artillery, tanks and helicopter gunships, Macedonia's military launched a fresh offensive to clear ethnic Albanian insurgents from remaining strongholds along the border with Kosovo. Both NATO and the EU urged the Macedonian government to open a dialogue with the ethnic Albanian community to provide a political solution to the ethnic conflict. But the government has refused to talk with the rebels, describing them as "terrorists."

Shellfire victim
[Image: Reuters/Hazir Reka]
March 29, 2001: Polish KFOR soldiers treat
an ethnic Albanian villager from Krivenik
after he was hit by Macedonian shellfire
aimed at Albanian guerrillas operating in
the area.

Thursday, March 29, 2001 - Fighting between Macedonian security forces and ethnic Albanian rebels intensified, spilling over the northern border into Kosovo and causing the death of three civilians, one of which was a British television producer working for The Associated Press. Ten others were wounded in the attack on the village of Krivenik — three-quarters of a mile across the border.

The attack came as the peacekeepers stepped up their patrols along the border with Kosovo, near the area where Macedonian troops were skirmishing with the rebels in the rugged mountains. A British-led task force of about 400 troops deployed in the border area with tanks, artillery and mortars to support patrols of the American zone.

The Macedonian army was criticized for firing mortars that killed the journalist, but the army denied the accusations.

Friday, March 30, 2001 - Commandos armed with submachine guns stormed into the grounds of Slobodan Milosevic's home. Local media said police had the task of arresting Milosevic during the night. Shots were heard, first outside the residence and later apparently from inside the grounds. But Milosevic was not arrested. A senior Serb political source said problems with the arrest were due to different stances of the police and Yugoslav army, which guards the official residence.

Macedonia said its latest offensive against ethnic Albanian guerrillas near the border with Kosovo was over.

Saturday, March 31, 2001 - In a second attempt to arrest Milosevic, armed Serbian special police were met by gunfire from bodyguards and armed civilians and pulled back. Slobodan Milosevic later declared that he "would not go to prison alive." Though the arrest attempt came before an American deadline for the continuation of some $50 million in aid ran out, the authorities were not trying to arrest Milosevic for transfer to The Hague. Interior Minister Mihajlovic and the Serbian prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, blamed the army for hindering the arrest, and indirectly blamed Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica for protecting Milosevic.

Russia said that the possible arrest of former Yugoslav president Milosevic was an internal affair and called on other countries to stay out of the controversy — referring to the role of the United States.

Clashes erupted along the Kosovo border with Macedonia between Macedonian troops and ethnic Albanian rebels. US troops patrolling the border detained 30 men suspected of being ethnic Albanian rebels crossing from Macedonia into Kosovo.

Sunday, April 1, 2001 - After a 26-hour standoff at his home in Belgrade, Milosevic was arrested. US President Bush welcomed Milosevic's arrest and urged that he be tried for crimes against humanity. US Senator Mitch McConnell said US aid to Yugoslavia should be cut off until former President Slobodan Milosevic was handed over to a UN war crimes tribunal. McConnell was one of the co-authors of the funding measure.

Yugoslav officials insisted Milosevic first would be tried at home for ruining the country. But they held out the possibility of a later trial by the tribunal in The Hague. The UN tribunal said Belgrade had "a binding legal obligation" to hand him over to stand trial for war crimes.

Monday, April 2, 2001 - Macedonia launched urgent talks with leaders of the ethnic Albanian minority, following a period of almost 48 hours of calm. The meeting was boycotted by the main ethnic Albanian opposition party. Macedonian security forces exchanged fire with gunmen trying to enter a village in the hills above the city of Tetovo.

The UN tribunal announced it was working on additional indictments against Milosevic on charges linked to the massacres of hundreds of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and the persecution or displacement of 740,000 people during the 1999 Kosovo war. Yugoslavia said it would try Milosevic for corruption and abuse of power at home. But the tribunal said Belgrade has "a binding legal obligation" to hand him over to tribunal first.

In the mean time, Yugoslav police charged Milosevic with inciting his bodyguards to shoot at officers trying to arrest him.

The US State Department announced the release of $50 million in aid after the arrest of Milosevic. Secretary of State Colin Powell demanded that Yugoslavia would continue to cooperate with the UN war crimes tribunal and threatened to withhold United States support for an international donors conference unless Yugoslav leaders would comply. Yugoslav president Kostunica still said extradition was out of the question.

In contradiction with the UN, the EU appeared willing to wait while the Yugoslavs pursue their case against the deposed president.

The Associated Press published a summary of charges pending against Milosevic:

Pending Yugoslav charges:

  • Corruption and abuse of power, including a specific allegation that as president of Serbia and later Yugoslavia, Milosevic conspired with four top aides to steal about $390 million in Yugoslav dinars and German marks from the country's treasury.
  • Inciting violence, a charge stemming from police allegations that Milosevic ordered his armed bodyguards to fire on riot police during a raid on his villa early Saturday.

War crimes tribunal charges:

  • Crimes against humanity, a charge stemming from Milosevic's brutal 1999 crackdown on ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province of Kosovo. The tribunal has indicted Milosevic and four senior associates on three counts, each of which brings a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The tribunal has no death penalty.
  • Violation of the laws and customs of war, an additional charge also tied to atrocities Milosevic allegedly ordered in Kosovo.
  • Chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte has said that investigators were gathering evidence for a possible charge of genocide. The court already has convicted other top officials of war crimes committed by subordinates.

Tuesday, April 3, 2001 -
Milosevic acknowledged that Yugoslavia was involved in Bosnia's 1992-5 war. Bosnia said this acknowledgement removed a burden weighing down ties between the two countries. Bosnia saw the statement as a confession. In 1993, Bosnia sued Yugoslavia in the International Court of Justice in The Hague — which is a separate institution from the war crimes tribunal — for conducting a war of aggression and genocide. Yugoslavia previously denied any involvement in the Bosnian war.

Milosevic also admitted that he had channeled state funds to Serbian forces fighting wars in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990's. His request to be released from custody was rejected by a Belgrade court.

Serbian President Milan Milutinovic resigned as deputy leader of Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia, after pressure from within the party.

A Serbian policeman was killed when his vehicle — traveling with a car from the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force — hit a land mine in southern Serbia near Kosovo.

After almost a month Macedonian authorities re-opened a border crossing near Blace — 6 miles north of the capital Skopje.

Friday, April 6, 2001 - US KFOR troops shot an ethnic Albanian man in the town of Vitina.

Saturday, April 7, 2001 - Some 3,000 Milosevic supporters rallied in Belgrade to demand the release of their deposed former president.

Monday, April 9, 2001 - A British helicopter crashed near the border between Kosovo and Macedonia. The two pilots were killed in the crash.

Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - A joint US-Polish patrol came under fire near the Kosovo-Macedonia border. The patrol returned fire.

Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - German KFOR troops detained 12 suspected ethnic Albanian guerrillas crossing into Kosovo from Albania. They were suspected of belonging to a guerrilla group operating in neighboring Macedonia.

Thursday, April 12, 2001 - A Russian peacekeeper was shot and killed when his unit came under small-arms fire while marking the administrative boundary between Kosovo and Serbia proper. It was the first time a KFOR peacekeeper to die in a military attack. Moscow blamed the attack on ethnic Albanian guerrillas.

Montenegro's rulers dismissed a warning from the six-nation Contact Group not to break away from Yugoslavia. The United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Russia said they wanted to see a democratic Montenegro with the larger Serbia in a democratic Yugoslavia.

Friday, April 13, 2001 - A British peacekeeping soldier was killed and two others wounded when their armored personnel carrier hit an anti-tank mine near the village of Krivenik.

Saturday, April 14, 2001 - Yugoslav forces moved into a further slice of a previously demilitarized buffer zone on Kosovo's border, as part of a NATO-backed operation to subdue ethnic Albanian guerrillas.

Sunday, April 15, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian guerrillas freed two Yugoslav soldiers who were seized three weeks earlier. A day earlier the guerrillas released three Serb men who were handed over to KFOR.

Tuesday, April 17, 2001 - Five Serbs held for 40 days by ethnic Albanian rebels along the Kosovo border were handed over to Serbia by NATO. Some of the ex-prisoners said they were tortured.

Wednesday, April 18, 2001 - A Serbian court sentenced two ethnic Albanians to 20 years in prison for the murder of Serb civilians in Kosovo in 1998 as guerrilla war against Belgrade was spreading.

A bomb went off near Yugoslav government offices in Kosovo's capital, Pristina, killing one Serb and injuring four others.

Thursday, April 19, 2001 - Yugoslav military courts begun 24 cases involving soldiers suspected of war crimes in Kosovo.

KFOR troops smashed through three roadblocks set up by Serbs in Kosovo to protest tax collection checkpoints established by the United Nations.

Friday, April 20, 2001 - A Belgrade prosecutor filed charges against a close associate of Slobodan Milosevic, paving the way for the first trial against an official of Milosevic's regime. Miodrag Zecevic, the former manager of the French-Yugoslav Bank in Paris, was charged with "abuse of official position".

Saturday, April 21, 2001 - Supporters and opponents of Slobodan Milosevic clashed at a rally of about 3,000 demonstrators loyal to Yugoslavia's ex-president.

Wednesday, April 25, 2001 - Nearly 200 Yugoslav army officers and soldiers were charged with committing war crimes in Kosovo. It was said the increased numbers reflected growing acceptance on the part of the army that its members committed atrocities against Kosovo Albanians during their crackdown in Kosovo.

Wednesday, April 25, 2001 - Serbia released 143 ethnic Albanians that were detained on charges of terrorism under the Milosevic regime. The Yugoslav army brought charges against 183 of its members in the commission of crimes in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999 while fighting separatist ethnic Albanian guerrillas.

Saturday, April 28, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian militants ambushed Macedonian security forces on patrol near the boundary with Kosovo, killing eight and wounding eight others.

Sunday, April 29, 2001 - Macedonia sent reinforcements to the border. Macedonian president Boris Trajkovski pledged that no mercy would be shown to the Albanian militants responsible. Ali Ahmeti, the political leader of the Albanian guerrilla group, said he was still collecting information on the incident but maintained his forces had not attacked.

Monday, April 30, 2001 - A court ordered Slobodan Milosevic detained for two more months during an investigation for alleged wrongdoing while he was president of Yugoslavia, saying he might flee if let out of prison.

Wednesday, May 2, 2001 - Rioters in Skopje, Macedonia, outraged by the slaying of Macedonian soldiers in an ambush by ethnic Albanian rebels killed one person and destroyed some 40 Albanian owned shops.

UN chief prosecutor Del Ponte said "it's just a question of time" before former president Milosevic would be transferred to her court to stand trial.

Thursday, May 3, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian rebels killed two Macedonian soldiers and captured a third near Vakcince. Macedonian artillery backed by gunship helicopters started bombarding suspected ethnic Albanian rebel bastions for two straight days.

Slobodan Milosevic was served an arrest warrant plus a list of war crimes charges against him, after the UN tribunal threatened Belgrade with sanctions if the former leader was not issued the indictment.

Serbian Justice Minister Vladan Batic said accused Hans Haekkerup, head of the UN-led administration in Kosovo, of overstepping his mandate and of wanting to break the province away from Yugoslavia.

Friday, May 4, 2001 - US and Russian peacekeepers came under suspected ethnic Albanian guerrilla fire near Gornje Karacevo, near the boundary between UN-governed Kosovo and the rest of Serbia. The peacekeepers returned fire.

Saturday, May 5, 2001 - For the third consecutive day Macedonian troops shelled Albanian rebel positions. Western diplomatic efforts were dismissed by Russia as inadequate.

Monday, May 7, 2001 - Two Macedonian Mi-24 gunships attacked positions in the village of Slupcane and two Mi-8 helicopters rocketed targets near Vakcince. Later tanks, howitzers, and long-range artillery were used to attack ethnic Albanian guerrilla positions.

Tuesday, May 8, 2001 - US Secretary of State Powell put a hold on US aid to Yugoslavia beyond $100 million already pledged for 2001. Powell confirmed that future US assistance to Yugoslavia depended on further cooperation with the UN tribunal in The Hague.

Wednesday, May 9, 2001 - The chief UN administrator in Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, briefed the Security Council on progress towards elections in Kosovo. The elections were scheduled for the end of 2001.

Thursday, May 10, 2001 - Macedonia ruled out a long-term cease-fire with the rebels and Macedonian troops continued sporadic shelling of rebel-held mountain villages.

Friday, May 11, 2001 - Macedonia's disparate political parties forged a new coalition government. The coalition replaces Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski's previous, smaller alliance of parties. The national unity government marked a key development in Macedonia's efforts to contain the ethnic Albanian insurgency.

Saturday, May 12, 2001 - Macedonia said it had killed some 30 ethnic Albanian guerrillas in heavy bombardment of rebel-held villages and two nearby convoys, shattering a day-long cease-fire that enabled a political deal.

Sunday, May 13, 2001 - Yugoslav security forces came under mortar and heavy machine gun fire from ethnic Albanian guerrillas in the village of Oraovica, just outside the zone.

Macedonia, hoping for more support from Western countries, sought the formation of a broad government coalition including representatives of the major ethnic Albanian parties. Six Albanian and Macedonian Slavic parties agreed to join.

Monday, May 14, 2001 - NATO decided to allow Yugoslav troops back into Sector B, Presevo Valley, the most sensitive part of a buffer zone around Kosovo on May 24. The area is a stronghold of rebels who claim to be fighting Serb discrimination against the region's ethnic Albanian population. The Yugoslav army already entered 80 percent of the buffer zone. The remaining 20 percent near Kosovo's eastern boundary was considered the most sensitive area, because of the large numbers of ethnic Albanians.

In the village of Oraovica, Serbian troops backed by artillery battled ethnic Albanian rebels in heavy house-to-house fighting, forcing the guerrillas out of the village.

Kosovo's top UN administrator, Hans Haekkerup, set the date for Kosovo's first general elections for November 17, 2001.

Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - Macedonia's new unity government ordered a halt to attacks on ethnic Albanian rebels, but they also warned the rebels would face a full-scale assault in two days unless they northern village strongholds were cleared out.

Wednesday, May 16, 2001 - Slobodan Milosevic's wife, Mirjana Markovic, testified in the case of an ally accused of organizing armed resistance against police during the former president's arrest.

Red Cross teams rushed food and medical supplies to ethnic Albanian civilians living in the northern towns of Macedonia where rebels and government troops were trading fire.

Fourty-five members of an ethnic Albanian guerrilla group operating in southern Serbia crossed into Kosovo and gave themselves up.

Thursday, May 17, 2001 - Macedonian government forces held their fire as a deadline passed for ethnic Albanian rebels holed up in northern villages to surrender.

NATO said a total of 125 ethnic Albanian guerrillas turned themselves over in Kosovo. Yugoslav security forces said 108 suspected rebels had also handed in weapons to them.

Friday, May 18, 2001 - Yugoslav forces and ethnic Albanian guerrillas respected a deal to pull out of two villages in Serbia's Presevo Valley. The demilitarization deal was part of NATO-brokered efforts to reduce tensions in area ahead of the return of Yugoslav forces to a part of the buffer zone next to the Kosovo boundary.

In Macedonia, the army artillery targeted hillside rebel positions, shattering an unofficial cease fire. But the guns fell silent after six volleys, suggesting the government honored a pledge to act with restraint.

Saturday, May 19, 2001 - The Macedonian army and ethnic Albanian rebels exchanged sporadic fire in northern Macedonia. The army feared civilians trapped in besieged villages would face a catastrophe.

Sunday, May 20, 2001 - NATO said it would increase its presence near the three-mile buffer zone ahead of the planned return of Yugoslav forces.

Monday, May 21, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian guerrillas in Serbia signed a pact to disarm and disband, but in Macedonia heavy fighting raged between Macedonian government forces and ethnic Albanian rebels.

Wednesday, May 23, 2001 - Fighting resumed between ethnic Albanian insurgents and the Macedonian army near Skopje. Eight Macedonian policemen were wounded near the village of Lisec, on the Tetovo-Popova Sapka road, when their cars were targeted by mortar fire.

The disclosure of secret talks to end Macedonia's five-month-old rebel crisis threatened to split the coalition government. Macedonia's Slav government leaders were surprised by reports that moderate ethnic Albanian party chiefs had met in Kosovo with the political leader of the guerrilla National Liberation Army to persuade it to stop fighting. Macedonia's Slav majority rejected any deal with the ethnic Albanian rebels.

Attack on Vaksince
[Image: Radu Sigheti/Reuters]
May 24, 2001: smoke arose from the
village of Vaksince after shelling
by the Macedonian army against
ethnic Albanian rebels.

Thursday, May 24, 2001 - Slobodan Milosevic refused a visit by a human rights group investigating allegations that his health is deteriorating and his rights have been violated in prison. In the past the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights severely criticized Milosevic for human rights violations.

Friday, May 25, 2001 - Yugoslav police linked former president Milosevic to bodies dumped into the Danube River and said he ordered a coverup of the atrocity. It was the first time Yugoslav authorities actually tied Milosevic to war crimes and the international community hoped it could pave the way for sending him to the UN tribunal in The Hague.

The Yugoslav government worked on a law on the extradition of war crimes suspects to the Netherlands-based tribunal that would permit handing over suspects like Milosevic only if local courts found a basis for war crimes accusations.

Saturday, May 26, 2001 - A top commander of ethnic Albanian rebels in southern Serbia, Shefket Musliu, surrendered to KFOR and handed over a large cache of weapons.

In the village of Matejce — about six miles northwest of the city of Kumanovo — ethnic Albanian rebels showered Macedonian police with heavy mortar and machine-gun fire, wounding one officer.

Sunday, May 27, 2001 - The Macedonian army shelled ethnic Albanian rebels in the northeastern mountains while talks were reported to be under way on how to evacuate thousands of civilians trapped in the fighting.

Monday, May 28, 2001 - The Macedonian army recaptured the village of Matejce after blasting it with tanks to drive out ethnic Albanian rebels.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana held top-level political talks in the capital Skopje but failed to persuade Macedonia's divided political leaders to resume talks. Macedonia's president, Boris Trajkovski, insisted that the ethnic Albanian politicians renounce their deal with the militants. The ethnic Albanian leaders refused.

Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - Backed by helicopter gunships and tanks, Macedonian troops managed to regain control over several villages in the north, forcing the rebels to withdraw into their remaining strongholds.

Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - A NATO-backed deal rescued Macedonia's fragile unity government. President Boris Trajkovski and Macedonia's main leaders issued a joint statement that underlined their commitments to restore peace. Despite this commitment, Macedonian forces fired on rebel positions with tanks and artillery. The army said it was responding to fire from rebel forces.

Investigators in Yugoslavia increased the death count in a case that could prove former President Slobodan Milosevic did covered up war crimes. A truck found dumped in a river during the Kosovo war contained 86 bodies. Together with police accusations it could pave the way for Milosevic's extradition to The Hague.

Thursday, May 31, 2001 - Yugoslav security forces moved in to a last slice of the Pressevo Valley, a mountainous region of some 35 square miles.

Macedonia called on the international community to do more to isolate ethnic Albanian guerrillas by helping to cut off their supplies of money and weapons.

In Macedonia, premier Ljubco Georgievski suggested that avoiding further bloodshed required a constitutional change to upgrade the position of the ethnic Albanian minority — a key request by ethnic Albanian rebels.

Friday, June 1, 2001 - The Yugoslav government debated a law on cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal that would establish the procedure for Yugoslavia to transfer war-crimes suspects to the court. The bill, however, encountered opposition in the federal Parliament from former allies of Milosevic.

Saturday, June 2, 2001 - A US soldier was killed and another was injured in a traffic accident in Kosovo.

Sunday, June 3, 2001 - Serbian police started exhuming bodies recovered from the Danube River and thought to be Kosovo Albanians. It was thought t could link former president Milosevic to war crimes.

Monday, June 4, 2001 - Serbia's former secret police chief and three other high-ranking state security officers of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic appeared in court on charges of revealing state secrets. They were accused of allowing unauthorized people to see confidential papers and computer data while destroying the information after Milosevic's ouster. They also allegedly removed confidential data.

Tuesday, June 5, 2001 - President Vojislav Kostunica asked a Montenegrin faction to reconsider its opposition to a law enabling Slobodan Milosevic's extradition to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Wednesday, June 6, 2001 - Three Macedonian soldiers were killed in a rebel ambush while trying to evacuate six others wounded in clashes near Tetovo. In retaliation Macedonian Slavs smashed dozens of houses and shops belonging to ethnic Albanians before ending their rampage in Bitola — about 90 miles south of Skopje.

Croatia prosecutors charged Bosnian wartime leader Fikret Abdic with war crimes in connection with the deaths of more than 120 Muslims.

The United States opposed the idea of a declaration of a state of war in Macedonia. Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski suggested declaring a state of war to help the country fight the rebels.

Saturday, June 9, 2001 - EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana met Macedonian political leaders to encourage them to agree on a peace plan. The Macedonian army renewed attacks on ethnic Albanian rebel positions northeast of Skopje.

Sunday, June 10, 2001 - A Macedonian soldier died in an army assault on the village of Slupcane — about 25 miles northeast of Skopje. Residents fled a suburb of Skpije after insurgents advanced to within firing range of their homes. Government forces using helicopter gunships, tanks and artillery pounded Slupcane and a chain of nearby villages in a bid to oust National Liberation Army (NLA) guerrillas.

Monday, June 11, 2001 - KFOR peacekeepers said it detained 19 suspected Albanian guerrilla members. KFOR troops also stopped six people in five vehicles packed with 27 anti-personnel mines, 40 machineguns, six rocket-propelled grenades, a mortar, eight pistols and ammunition.

Tuesday, June 12, 2001 - Macedonia's army stuck to a shaky cease-fire while aid agencies attempted to ferry supplies to civilians stuck in rebel-held villages and engineers tried to reconnect a nearby town with water.

Thursday, June 14, 2001 - Macedonia asked NATO to organize a possible voluntary disarmament of ethnic Albanian guerrillas under an internationally backed peace plan. NATO considered the request but said that Western military intervention remained off the agenda.

Monday, June 18, 2001 - Yugoslavia requested the UN Security Council to lift a three-year-old arms embargo, imposed in March 1998.

Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - Prospects for an agreement with NATO to send several thousand troops to Macedonia to help disarm ethnic Albanian rebels faded after Macedonian president Boris Trajkovski said that talks between Slav and ethnic Albanian representatives stalled.

Friday, June 22, 2001 - Using Mi-24 helicopter gunships, the Macedonian army blasted the village of Aracinovo, held by Albanian guerrillas.

Monday, June 25, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian militants pulled out of Aracinovo under a NATO-brokered deal. NATO hoped that this would boost pease talks. But fighting resumed after the cease-fire was shattered.

A US soldier was injured when he stepped on a land mine while on patrol outside of Basici, Kosovo. In Macedonia, a US Army sergeant was wounded in the hand when the car in which he was riding came under fire on a road northeast of Skopje.

Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - A huge riot erupted in Skopje after American troops escorted hundreds of armed Albanian rebels away to stimulate a cease-fire. But more than 5,000 Macedonian Slavs marched through the streets, protesting Western involvement in the conflict, firing guns into the air and occupying the Parliament building for several hours.

Thursday, June 28, 2001 - Slobodan Milosevic was taken to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. President Bush called the move proof the Balkan nation wanted to turn away from "its tragic past and toward a brighter future." The Tanjug news agency reported that president Vojislav Kostunica was informed of the hand-over only after it happened. Kostunica denounced the handover as illegal and unconstitutional.

In a statement explaining the move, Sebian prime minister Zoran Djindjic said the Serbian government had decided to take over the jurisdiction from federal Yugoslav authorities on the extradition law. He said there was no choice for Yugoslavia but to surrender Milosevic or face renewed international isolation and a freeze on financial aid, leading to "unprecedented humiliation."

Washington announced it would send representatives to the donors' conference, after weeks of waiting to see how serious Yugoslavia's efforts were. Yugoslavia is in need of billions of dollars worth of foreign aid .

As word spread of the transfer, about 3,000 pro-Milosevic supporters gathered in downtown Belgrade.

Friday, June 29, 2001 - NATO announced approval to a plan to send up to 3,000 troops to Macedonia to collect and destroy the weapons of ethnic Albanian rebels.

Macedonia's president Boris Trajkovski rejected a proposal to demobilize police reservists who have been fighting ethnic Albanian rebels. He said that some of the forces might be withdrawn from their positions around the capital, Skopje, as a sign of good will.

In Kosovo, US peacekeepers detained 30 suspected ethnic Albanian guerrillas near the border with Macedonia.

Saturday, June 30, 2001 - Macedonian troops and ethnic Albanian rebels clashed on several locations.

Source: Associated Press, Reuters, ABCNews, eCountries.com, Interfax, Welt am Sonntag, New York Times.