Sunday, July 1, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian insurgents moved the villages of Otunje, Varvara, Setloe and Brezno — all close to Tetovo — ordering villagers to leave.

Monday, July 2, 2001 - At an aid conference in Brussels, Belgium, $1.28 billion was promised to Yugoslavia to reward the country for sending Milosevic to the UN Trubunal. Still, Yugoslavia is saddled with a $12.2 billion-dollar foreign debt, 30 percent unemployment and about 80 percent annual inflation.

The trial of Milosevic at the international war crimes tribunal was expected to shed light on the flight of hundreds of millions of dollars of Yugoslavia's money. The Cyprus Central Bank has said to be cooperating by sending documents and both Switzerland and Liechtenstein pleged to cooperate.

Macedonian helicopter gunships launched their second attack on Radusa — northwest of Skopje — while leaders of Macedonia's main Slav and Albanian political parties met.

The US provided evidence concerning former Yugoslav president Milosevic to the UN War Crimes Tribunal. Shortly after the NATO air war over Yugoslavia in 1999, an FBI forensic team went to Kosovo to gather material for the tribunal, which indicted Milosevic for abuses committed against Kosovo Albanians in May of that year. FBI officials said at the time that forensic experts had recovered the bodies of about 200 people and were able to identify about 75 percent of them.

Friday, July 6, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian rebels and Macedonian forces clashed briefly near Tetovo after the start of a NATO-brokered cease-fire. The cease-fire deal was meant to clear the way for the disarming of the rebels.

Britain was expected to contribute about a third of the 3,000 troops necessary. Italy, Germany, and Greece were expected to send 300 soldiers each. The US, France, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Turkey also offered troops.

Yugoslavia's former secret police chief, Radomir Markovic, and three other top security aides of former president Milosevic were each sentenced to at least a year in jail on charges of revealing state secrets.

Saturday, July 7, 2001 - Serbia's interior minister, Dusan Mihajlovic, said investigators so far uncovered the bodies of 150 ethnic Albanians killed in Kosovo and buried in mass graves outside the province.

International envoys handed the framework of an ethnic reconciliation plan to the president and party leaders in the mixed Macedonian Slav and ethnic Albanian government.

Sunday, July 8, 2001 - Leaders of Macedonia's Albanian minority dismissed a Western-backed plan to revive deadlocked peace talks. NATO diplomats said the Albanians were seriously mistaken if they believed NATO would send another peacekeeping mission to former Yugoslavia in addition to those in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Mass grave Batajnica
[Photo: Darko Vojinovic/AP]
July 9, 2001 - Mass grave at police
compound in Belgrade suburb of

Monday, July 9, 2001 - Macedonia resumed negotiations on a plan aimed to end the clashes and instability. The Western-backed plan is an attempt to reconcile the country's majority Macedonians, who are mostly Slavs by origin, and its minority ethnic Albanians, who bitterly complain they are treated as second-class citizens.

Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - Slobodan Milosevic's party said that it was pushing for criminal charges against Yugoslav government officials and said it also wanted Serbia's prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, charged for his part in the extradition of the former president. Milosevic has been charged with responsibility for the murder of more than 600 people and the displacement of 740,000 ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in 1999.

Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - President Kostunica said the Yugoslav federation of Serbia and Montenegro should be reshuffled to give more authority to its two republics while keeping only a few joint institutions. But he warned that "redrawing of the borders in the region (...) would be an exception and an invitation for new radical moves". Western countries have always been supportive of Kostunica's proposal for Yugoslavia's reforms, appealing to Djukanovic to refrain from breaking away.

Thursday, July 12, 2001 - Little progress was reported in the Macedonia talks.

Friday, July 13, 2001 - Macedonia's Defense Ministry said rebels trying to smuggle fighters and weapons across the border from neighboring Kosovo clashed with border guards. Both sides traded fire. A few other skirmishes were reported in northwestern Macedonia.

Key ethnic Albanian demands include:

  • Veto power in the parliament.
  • Guaranteed quotas for their community in key government posts and state institutions.
  • Official use of the Albanian language.
  • A guarantee that either the president or vice president of the country will come from their ethnic community.
  • A call for the election of the president and vice president in separate popular votes.

They also demanded that a larger peace conference be held — preferably in Brussels — before a lasting deal is reached.

The Dutch government granted a visa to Slobodan Milosevic's wife Friday, clearing the way for her to visit the former Yugoslav president at the UN detention facility.

Saturday, July 14, 2001 - Justice Minister Vladan Batic announced that Serbia will begin war crimes trials on its own citizens within a week.

A Western peace plan for Macedonia would grant significant new rights to the Balkan nation's ethnic Albanian minority. It calls for changes in Macedonia's constitution, laws, local governments, police, military and media to promote a fair balance of rights and responsibilities between majority Macedonians and ethnic Albanians.

Ethnic Albanians would be guaranteed proportional representation in the Constitutional Court, with a final say in legislative matters, as well as in the police, army and local government. Those governments would have broader authority — meaning a degree of self-rule for largely ethnic Albanian areas.

Serbian authorities discovered another mass grave with some 50 to 60 bodies from Kosovo in a cover-up of war crimes linked to former President Slobodan Milosevic. According to the government's Internet site the bodies surfaced in April 1999 from a hydropower lake at Perucac, about 90 miles southwest of Belgrade, and were later buried in a nearby mass grave in Serbia proper. Later, a freezer truck with more than 50 bodies surfaced as well. Another case of a freezer truck containing some 80 bodies dumped into the Danube River near the Romanian border in April 1999, hundreds of miles outside Kosovo, was revealed by police earlier in 2001. (See: Remains found in Perucac - September 14, 2010.)

Police accused former Yugoslav president Milosevic of ordering top police and military commanders in a March 1999 meeting to remove all evidence of civilian casualties from his Kosovo crackdown.

Sunday, July 15, 2001 - Bodies of three Americans of ethnic Albanian origin were found in a mass grave in Serbia a week earlier. The brothers — born in Illinois — appeared to have been murdered by policemen during the violence in and around the Serbian province of Kosovo in the spring and summer of 1999. The bodies were thrown into a pit dug in the Yugoslav national forest near the Serbian town of Petrovo Selo. Bodies of 13 ethnic Albanians from Kosovo were also found at the site, which is close to a special police training center 120 miles east of the capital of Belgrade, it said. A second grave nearby contained 59 bodies.

Tuesday, July 24, 2001 - The scope of the Tetovo crisis widened as Albanian rebels declared for they were fighting in the west Macedonia. A 12-year-old girl was also killed and some 31 people were injured — five of them Macedonian military personnel.

Wednesday, July 25, 2001 - NATO persuaded ethnic Albanian rebels to restore a ragged cease-fire. The chance of serious progress in talks — after five months of fighting and broken truces — appeared slim. Under the deal guerrillas would retreat from territory they occupied since the truce took effect on July 6.

Thursday, July 26, 2001 - The UN urged the Yugoslav authorities on to send a clear signal to Serbs in Albanian-dominated Kosovo that they should participate in the province's Nov. 17 general elections, intended to establish an interim government for the province.

For a second day there were no reports of heavy fighting between government troops and guerrillas of the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army. The capital Skopje was calm.

The NATO/EU mission was clouded from the start. First by the resistance of a rebel commander to heed a NATO-brokered withdrawal deal and then by a statement from the interior minister, Ljube Boskovski, a nationalist hard-liner. Boskovski said his department had collected evidence allowing it to charge 11 guerrilla chiefs with crimes against humanity, international law and the state, a step sure to infuriate rebels who said their cause was more rights for minority Albanians.

Friday, July 27, 2001 - Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica accused Kosovo's UN governor of being scared of extremist elements among Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority. Kostunica made clear he saw no sign that conditions had been fulfilled to allow Serbs to take part in the coming election.

Thursday, July 28, 2001 - Yugoslavia's reformers said that Kosovo's international administration had to improve security in the province and provide certain guarantees before Serbs could vote safely in a November poll. A statement said the international administration needed to tackle problems related to returning displaced Serbs to Kosovo, ensuring better security for Serbs in the province and providing minority rights' guarantees.

Monday, July 31, 2001 - Macedonian forces and ethnic Albanian rebels fought a fierce battle for control of the suburbs of Tetovo. The United States added pressure for calm, saying breaches of the cease-fire were unacceptable.

Thursday, August 2, 2001 - Macedonia's prime minister, Ljubco Georgievski, urged military action to recapture territory held by ethnic Albanian rebels. President Boris Trajkovski's more moderate response exposed a rift between the two.

Saturday, August 4, 2001 - Gunmen ambushed a police unit just outside the boundary with Kosovo, killing two Serb policemen and injuring two others.

Monday, August 6, 2001 - Western mediators meet Macedonian leaders in an attempt to persuade them to drop a demand for guarantees of full ethnic Albanian guerrilla disarmament that could derail the delicate peace process. NATO offered to send a force of up to 3,500 troops to collect weapons from the guerrillas, who do not want to hand them to the Macedonian security forces. But NATO also said it did not intend to disarm the rebels by force, fearing possible reprisals both on its troops in Macedonia and its peacekeeping force in neighboring mainly Albanian Kosovo. This British-led mission impossible was code-named Operation Essential Harvest. Underscoring the confusion awaiting NATO troops, the rival factions offered very different interpretations of what they saw as the alliance's intentions.

NATO made clear that it would send troops only if four conditions were met.

  • A political agreement to end the fighting had to be in place.
  • The guerrillas had to agree to turn over their weapons.
  • Macedonia and NATO had to sign a "status of forces" pact that described the role of the NATO troops and what local laws would apply to them.
  • An enduring cease-fire had to be in place.

Tuesday, August 7, 2001 - Macedonian police in the Skopje suburb of Cair killed five ethnic Albanian rebels in a raid and seized illegal weapons in a raid intended to prevent "terrorist activities".

Wednesday, August 8, 2001 - Ten Macedonian soldiers were killed in an ambush by ethnic Albanian guerrillas and fighting broke out in Tetovo.

American troops serving with KFOR troops in Kosovo detained five suspected ethnic Albanian rebels close to the Macedonian border. The five arrested had allegedly traveled from Macedonia, carrying rebel identification cards and paraphernalia.

Thursday, August 9, 2001 - A Macedonian policeman died in a new clash with ethnic Albanian guerrillas overnight.

Macedonian Su-25 jets bombed ethnic Albanian rebel positions after fighting flared in northwestern Macedonia, a diplomat said. A source of the department of defense denied the jets dropped bombs.

Friday, August 10, 2001 - Fighting raged for a second day around the northern village of Radusa, where five policemen were injured at the end of the bloodiest week of the six-month conflict. Attack helicopters were seen flying toward the region.

The Macedonian government said leaders of main Macedonian and ethnic Albanian political parties, who agreed a peace scheme, would go ahead with a signing ceremony in Skopje on Monday, August 13.

Sunday, August 12, 2001 - Macedonia called a cease-fire with ethnic Albanian rebels to pave the way to the signing of a plan aimed at defusing a six-month conflict. Rebels were expected to withdraw to the lines of a July cease-fire.

Monday, August 13, 2001 - The Macedonian government and minority ethnic Albanian political leaders signed a peace agreement meant to end a guerrilla uprising and avert a fifth Balkan war in a decade. The government confirmed that all guerrillas would be given amnesty. The US and Europe were optimistic, Russia gave a cool response.

Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - Ethnic Albanians accused government troops of rampaging through their village on the outskirts of Macedonia's capital, killing civilians and burning houses. Soon after the peace deal was signed by Macedonian and ethnic Albanian political leaders, fresh clashes occurred near the border with Kosovo and near Tetovo. By the afternoon overall fighting appeared to have died down.

A 15-man NATO military mission was dispatched to Macedonia with two tasks - to assess the situation and to start the process of putting together the weapons collection plan. Full deployment of the 3,500-man brigade, with troops from Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey and the United States, was expected to take about two weeks. The mission was described as to collect an estimated 3,000 weapons to be voluntarily handed over by guerrillas after their six-month uprising against the Macedonian government.

Macedonian Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva said 400-500 NATO troops would be deployed by the end of Sunday, and that the government expected NATO's mission could last 60 days — 15 for deployment, 30 to collect weapons and 15 to pull out.

Thursday, August 16, 2001 - Macedonia and NATO signed a "status of forces" pact describing the role of the NATO troops and what local laws would apply to them.

A Macedonian policeman was shot dead by suspected ethnic Albanian rebels. Little other violence was reported.

At around 1900 local time, the first 40 British troops landed in Macedonia.

Saturday, August 18, 2001 - A political crisis in Yugoslavia's larger republic threatened democratic reforms. Prime minister Zoran Djindjic and president Vojislav Kostunica joined forces last year to oust Milosevic, but their differences became vivid, especially after Milosevic was handed over to the UN war crimes tribunal. Kostunica vehemently opposed the extradition and later implied that Djindjic had acted without his consent.

A crowd of 50 Macedonian nationalists blockaded the main road to neighboring Yugoslavia, vowing to prevent NATO forces from using their main supply route to Kosovo unless Western powers met a long list of demands.

Tuesday, August 21, 2001 - Unknown attackers shot dead five members of an ethnic Albanian family traveling together in a car west of Pristina. Unknown people stopped a car carrying the family of six on a road and opened fire with machine guns.

Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - NATO authorized deployment of 3,500 troops to Macedonia. Troops started moving almost immediately.

Thursday, August 23, 2001 - More than 2,000 Kosovo Albanians in Istok protested over the return of 54 displaced Serbs to their destroyed homes in a nearby village. The protest came ten days after KFOR troops escorted Serbs home to the deserted village of Osojane — two years after the Serbs fled Kosovo in fear.

The first NATO troops entered Macedonia preparing Operation Essential Harvest — a mission aimed at collecting weapons from ethnic Albanian guerrillas. Controversy bubbled over wildly conflicting estimates of the size of the rebel arsenal. Macedonia's government indicated it would probably settle for a much lower figure for weapons to be collected from ethnic Albanian guerrilla by NATO than the estimate by its security services hard-liners.

NATO set a strict 30-day deadline for the rebels to disarm.

The Yugoslav government said it would allow the transit of NATO-led peacekeepers through its territory on their way to Kosovo.

Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - A group of 80 Serbs made a significant symbolic return to the Osojane Valley. There homes were destroyed and the were accompanied by NATO troops.

Thursday, September 27, 2001 - NATO authorized the deployment of 700 troops to Macedonia as a security force to buttress a fragile peace accord between the government and minority ethnic Albanian guerrillas (Operation Amber Fox). Germany will command the new force and provide 600 of its troops The mandate would run three months with the option for extension by mutual agreement.

Friday, September 28, 2001 - UN chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte signed a new indictment against Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes in Croatia.

Wednesday, October 3, 2001 - Western peace sponsors ratcheted up pressure on Macedonia to pardon ex-guerrillas and legislate civil rights reforms.

Most Macedonian politicians, media and public suspect the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army has not genuinely disarmed or dissolved. Independent Western military experts said the NLA probably surrendered only about half its real arsenal during the 30-day NATO collection program. The NLA handed in almost 4,000 weapons to NATO.

Saturday, October 6, 2001 - After weeks of Western pressure Macedonia was expected to decree amnesty for disarmed Albanian rebels. It was unclear whether the pardon would include 11 NLA leaders — including commander-in-chief Ali Ahmeti, who have been indicted by Skopje for war crimes.

Tuesday, October 9, 2001 - The UN war crimes tribunal announced fresh charges against ousted Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic for ethnic cleansing in Croatia in 1991-1992. So far he had been accused exclusively of crimes against humanity for atrocities in Serbia's Kosovo province in 1999. The indictment charged Milosevic on 32 counts, but did not include the tribunal's gravest charge of genocide. Prosecutors will charge him with that crime in a forthcoming indictment on alleged crimes in Bosnia.

Friday, October 12, 2001 - Six Kosovo police officers — in uniform and on duty — were detained by Yugoslav authorities in Montenegro. No details were released.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - An explosion and fire destroyed the offices of Kosovo's two main political parties in Suva Reka. Initially it was assumed it was an attack aimed at the local headquarters of the leading contender in the Nov. 17 ballot, the Democratic League of Kosovo, or LDK. Fire spread to the offices of Kosovo's second-largest party, former rebel leader Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo. In a statement by the UN it was later said the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

Friday, October 19, 2001 - The UN war crimes tribunal said it planned to extend charges against the former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic. The additional charges would include sexual assault and others linked to a recent discovery of bodies in the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica.

Unidentified attackers shot dead two ethnic Albanians, one of them a journalist of the Geneva-based daily Bota Sot, in a drive-by shooting in Kosovo.

Monday, October 22, 2001 - The chief UN war crimes prosecutor met with Yugoslav officials to demand the handover of more than a dozen suspects sought by the tribunal. Del Ponte complained that since Milosevic's extradition, the new Yugoslav authorities ceased full cooperation with the tribunal.

Thursday, October 25, 2001 - Angry Serbs demanding to know the whereabouts of missing relatives in Kosovo broke through a police line and charged at the province's UN mission chief, Hans Haekkerup. The protesters demanded to speak to Haekkerup about their claims that some of the missing may still be alive in alleged camps run by Kosovo Albanian extremists. International officials have rejected such claims.

A Russian peacekeeper was found dead in the village of Redinci in Kosovo, shot in the back and in the back of the head. International officials suggested the killing was linked to advances he made toward a local woman.

Friday, October 26, 2001 - In a report Human Rights Watch said it had collected detailed evidence implicating Slobodan Milosevic and his associates — some still in office, including Serbian President Milan Milutinovic — were involved in systematic atrocities in Kosovo. The report also criticized NATO and the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Other individuals accused by Human Rights Watch included current Yugoslav army chief-of-staff Nebojsa Pavkovic and the head of Serbia's police force Sreten Lukic. NATO was criticized for using cluster bombs.

Source: Associated Press, Reuters.