The first thing you hear is the slow-moving clatter of a wheelchair. Then comes his voice. Fetah Rudi survived an attempted assassination which left him paralysed for life, and has spent more than 17 years suffering the consequences.
In June 1999, Rudi was one of the Kosovo Albanians who was detained and tortured in a Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA prison.
A few months later in December 2000, Rudi – a member of the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, which at the time was President Ibrahim Rugova’s party – became a target during the violence that erupted after the war.
Fifty-four-year old Rudi said that it all started at the beginning of June 1999, after the KLA’s headquarters issued an arrest warrant.
“With my hands tied, they beat me for two days inside a toilet that I was sharing with two other people,” he told BIRN from his home in the village of Rud in the Malisheva/Malishevo area.
He was arrested for refusing to provide help to the KLA. But he insists that his only fault was that he belonged to Ibrahim Rugova’s party.
“After being sentenced to three months’ imprisonment, I was sent to a garage in the village of Kasterc. I was kept prisoner there for 16 days and that only ended because NATO entered Kosovo [in June 1999],” he said.
NATO’s intervention ended the war, forced Serbian forces to pull out of Kosovo and led to the demilitarisation of the KLA. But political violence continued amid the rivalry between Rugova’s LDK and the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, which was established by leading figures from the KLA.
There had already been tensions during wartime because the LDK’s military wing, the Kosovo Armed Forces, FARK, which had also fought against Belgrade’s rule, but separately from the KLA.
On December 15, 2000, the day he was shot, Rudi was returning from a meeting of the heads of the LDK party’s branches.
The first post-war local elections in Kosovo had just been held and political tensions were high in the Malisheva/Malishevo municipality because the margin between the LDK and the PDK was very narrow as councillors prepared to vote to choose the head of the local executive.
Rudi said that he was going from the meeting to vote when the attack happened.
“First, a machine gun barrage stopped the car. Then I saw three people inside a red [Vauxhall] Astra who shot in my direction. I even saw their faces. I understood later who two of them were,” he recalled.
But over 17 years afterwards, no one has yet been convicted of attacking him – highlighting how courts in Kosovo have failed to effectively deal with politically-motivated post-war murders and assaults.
“There is no dilemma about who the perpetrators [of the attack] are. It was an extension of the sentence pronounced against me during the war,” Rudi said.
Prey for armed gangs
A report by Amnesty International in 2009 estimated that some 800 murders were committed during a prolonged outbreak of violence against Serbs and other ethnic minorities and LDK party members in the period when Kosovo was under UN administration after Serbian forces withdrew.
The majority of people who were allegedly kidnapped by KLA members and then disappeared during the wider period from 1998 to 2000 were either Serbs or Kosovo Albanians labelled as collaborators with Serbia.
“Members of the Democratic League of Kosovo were also murdered by KLA fighters, who considered the non-violent doctrine of the LDK equal to collaboration [with Serbia],” Jean-Christian Cady, the Head of Justice at the UN Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, from 2000 to 2004, told BIRN.
Cady said that the establishment of a new judicial system in Kosovo by UNMIK was mostly a failure.
“UNMIK did not succeed in protecting the witnesses. We did not manage to find a country willing to receive the relocated witnesses. To succeed, a guarantee for them is needed and also to use the same techniques that are used for example in Italy for the collaborating criminals [in mafia cases],” Cady explained.
Former UN officials like Cady describe a situation in which post-war Kosovo became prey to uncontrollable armed gangs that committed an increasing number of crimes.
Over the past 17 years, Rudi has gone through hundreds of medical check-ups and treatments – but only twice has he been questioned by international prosecutors.
The first time he was questioned by an UNMIK prosecutor in 2001. In 2011, he was questioned by a prosecutor from the EU’s rule-of-law mission in Kosovo, EULEX.
The attack on Rudi happened less than a month after Xhemail Mustafa, an adviser to LDK chief Rugova, was assassinated. Mustafa was shot in the entrance to the building where he lived in Pristina in November 2000.
“While giving my statement to EULEX, an Italian prosecutor explained to me that forensic expertise has found that one of the bullets that had hit me had come from the same gun that was used to murder Xhemail Mustafa,” Rudi said.
EULEX declined to respond to BIRN’s question about which political assassinations the European mission has prosecuted so far.
“EULEX cannot provide information about an ongoing investigation or investigation pertaining to the Office of the Special Prosecutor,” said a spokesperson.
EULEX prosecutors have not yet transferred any cases related to politically-motivated murders to Kosovo prosecutors.
“Everything is linked not only to friction during wartime but also to the reputation and influence of the LDK after the war. By eliminating some of Rugova’s closest associates, they [former KLA fighters] sought to weaken the LDK and rise to power,” Rudi alleged.
New court, new hope?
As the years passed, Rudi’s hopes of getting justice decreased.
A new court backed by the European Union, operating under Kosovo laws but located in the Netherlands with international judges, was established in 2015 to deal with wartime crimes and political and ethnic murders perpetrated in the period between January 1998 and December 2000.
Clint Williamson was the head of the EU’s Special Investigative Task Force, which was in charge of investigating allegations about these crimes which were initially raised by a Council of Europe report. He said after his probe was complete in 2014 that it had found that certain elements of the KLA had been involved in violence and threats against Kosovo Albanian political opponents.
“These individuals bear responsibility for a campaign of persecution that was directed against the ethnic Serb, Roma, and other minority populations of Kosovo and toward fellow Kosovo Albanians who they labelled either to be collaborators with Serbs or, more commonly, simply to have been political opponents of the KLA leadership,” Williamson told a press conference in Brussels.
The new Hague-based court – the Kosovo Specialist Chambers – is expected to issue its first indictments this year, raising the hopes of victims like Fetah Rudi.
“I have confidence that this court will be different,” Rudi said.
Reopening old wounds
The new investigation into the post-war violence in Kosovo has meant the reopening of old wounds for some people.
Shpetim Hajdaraj, whose father Smajl Hajdaraj was killed in January 2002, expects that the new court will examine his case too, although the mandate of the Specialist Chambers does not extend to the time when the murder was committed.
“There are indications and testimonies that his murder is part of a scenario that was planned in advance, although he was murdered later,” explained Hajdaraj.
Smajl Hajdaraj, an MP with the LDK and a former member of Rugova’s FARK – a rival to the KLA – was murdered 37 days after he gave his oath as a deputy in the post-war Kosovo’s first legislature.
The only allegedly political post-war murder case that the judiciary took further was the killing of Ekrem Rexha, a former senior member of the KLA, known during the war by his alias ‘Drini’. He was murdered in May 2000 in front of his house in Prizren.
Two KLA members stood trial for the killing, but were acquitted (see the prosecution’s final arguments in the trial here). Ekrem Rexha’s brother, Ruzhdi Rexha, insisted that the murder was politically motivated.
“People suspected of the murder of Drini are now part of at least two political parties. I would not link them with just one political party,” Rexha told BIRN.
He also claimed that “evidence was disregarded” and raised suspicions that international officials wanted the case to fade away quietly.
“When the court acquitted the accused, the other prosecutor did not appeal,” he said.
Prioritising stability over justice?
Almost two decades on, the inability of the UN mission in Kosovo to deal with the post-war violence is clear, says former UNMIK official Cady.
“The mission was unable to fight the growing crime rates, the robberies, or to prevent political and ethnic crimes,” he said.
While the UNMIK and EULEX missions did not manage to impose punishment on anyone for the post-war political murders, the killings have become a discordant refrain in Kosovo politics, causing a continuing series of accusations and counter-accusations.
The LDK has alleged that the PDK, alongside the so-called Kosovo Information Service, SHIK, a former service secret organisation which was close to its political rival, the PDK, was behind the murders of its members.
These allegations have been denied by PDK members including the former head of SHIK, Kadri Veseli, who is now the speaker of the Kosovo Assembly.
Jakup Krasniqi, the KLA’s former spokesperson, who has long been one of the most senior figures in the PDK, said that after the war, many people perpetrated crimes in the name of the KLA without having ever been part of it.
“Attributing many post-war murders to the KLA without any verification or verdict is an injustice,” Krasniqi told BIRN.
Krasniqi also described the LDK’s claims as ridiculous, particularly in light of the fact that the party signed a deal with its rivals in the PDK in 2014 to form a coalition government.
“Such accusations are made in an attempt to represent themselves as victims. In 2014, the LDK vested the highest power in the same people it used to accuse of murder – the president and the speaker of the Assembly [Kadri Veseli],” he said.
The former president of the LDK, Fatmir Sejdiu, claimed however that during and after the war, members of the party were targets for revenge due to its political stance, and the crimes were not prosecuted because UNMIK wanted to calm the situation in Kosovo.
“The assassinations of the LDK members were not prosecuted in an attempt to preserve some sort of stability or peace during their mandate,” said Sejdiu.
The Kosovo Special Prosecutor’s Office said it has recently questioned some people about the murders of Xhemail Mustafa and Enver Maloku and the attempted assassination of former President Ibrahim Rugova in 2005, but without any results.
“In their statements, the persons we questioned did not provide any information to enable the initiation of an investigation into any individual,” the Special Prosecutor’s Office told BIRN.
The Special Prosecutor’s Office also said that the new Specialist Chambers in The Hague has not asked to be sent any cases that were being handled by Kosovo prosecutors.
Meanwhile Fetah Rudi is still suffering the consequences of being hit by 14 bullets, and the climate of impunity created in Kosovo by the lack of convictions persists.
Rudi expressed hope that the Specialist Chambers will soon take action to ensure justice for the victims of the post-war political violence.
“As time passes, facts may become blurred, but I have not forgotten anything,” he said.
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
While much is said in some American media outlets about “fake news” in the US, the smallness of the matters being discussed might come into focus when compared with Ukraine, which is of late producing rather much fake news about the Holocaust and elementary points in World War II history.
As we reported back in October, Ukrainian media outlet Radio Svoboda — the Ukrainian arm of the US Government-funded arm of RFERL — posted a picture from the US Holocaust Museum. It is an image of Polish Jews being deported to a death camp. There was just one problem. Radio Svoboda claimed the picture was ...
GR Editor’s Note
The following article by professor Eric Waddell was first published twelve years ago by Global Research in December 2003 in the immediate wake of the invasion and occupation of Iraq by US and British forces, with a postscript added in 2007. The article provides an incisive historical perspective on America’s “long war” against humanity, which is being carried out under a fake humanitarian mandate.
Let us be under no illusions as to the intent of the US and its allies.
We are dealing with World Conquest under the disguise of a “Global War on Terrorism”.
Michel Chossudovsky, December 24, ...
The US has been threatening Iran for more than 20 years. Already during the Clinton administration, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had formulated “in war theater plans” to invade both Iraq and Iran.
This posting which includes selected articles from our archives was originally published by Global Research 12 years ago in May 2005.
In the wake of the war on Iraq (2003), the Bush administration officially identified Iran and Syria as the next stage of “the road map to war”.
Bush’s National Security doctrine contained in the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was a continuation of Clinton’s “strategy of ...
Despite the lack of evidence linking Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen to Daesh (ISIS) in any operational (direct) sense, the first inclination of U.S. Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was to renew American bombing of Syria, Iraq and Libya— the very nations that were destroyed by U.S. bombs directed by Mrs. Clinton and from whence Daesh arose. In so doing Mrs. Clinton made it evident that she is an unrepentant militarist whose bloodlust, combined with her longstanding interest in promoting American business interests, ties her to the U.S. imperial project of the last century and one-half. The precise moral difference between ...
Once again this March, the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, the Club of Generals and Admirals of Serbia and other independent non-party associations in Serbia pay tribute to the victims of NATO’s 1999 aggression on Serbia (FRY).
This aggression took lives of more than thousand defenders, military and the police and their officers, and also of thousands of civilians, including 87 children.
Regrettably, the final list of the civilian casualties has not been determined as yet, although the number is estimated to stand at over 3,000. About 10.000 people were wounded. However, the number of those who lost their ...
To clarify the importance of the January 23rd coup attempt in Venezuela we remember that ever since WWII the customary motivation for violations of the Convention on Genocide has been to gain a region’s natural resources. For example Iraq, Libya, Syria, Haiti, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Guatemala, and others. The people of resource-rich areas are forced into flight, exile, refuge elsewhere, or are attacked by disease, or starvation, or directly murdered by military programs, or divided internally into civil wars assuring the death of multitudes.Damages are inter-generational with the effects of depleted uranium weaponry or ...
“We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth…For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.” —Patrick Henry, Virginia Convention, 23 March, 1775
“The completeness of the victory is established by this fact: that of the six hundred Moros (Muslims living in the southern Philippines at the beginning of the 20th century) not one was left alive. The brilliancy of the victory is established by this other fact, to wit: that of our six hundred heroes only fifteen lost their ...
Much is being written regarding the Charlie Hebdo issue in Paris, France. I do not condone any killing but at the same time I do not support issues that violate human rights, religious freedom or freedom of speech and thoughts. Using cartoons to condemn Divine thoughts and beliefs is utterly wrong because they fall under hate crimes and not under freedom of speech as we are lied about. The perpetrators of hate continue to be protected. Islam is under attack and its adherents, the Muslims, are being targeted through provocation. In a recent article Charlie Hebdo and Tsarnaev’s trial: Cui ...
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
Unification of Europe has brought about radical new divisions within Europe. The most significant split is between the people and their political leaders.
The June 23 British majority vote to leave the European Union has made strikingly evident the division between the new ruling class that flourishes in the globalized world without borders and all the others who are on the receiving end of policies that destroy jobs, cut social benefits, lower wages and reject as obsolete national customs, not least the custom of democratic choice, all to make the world safe for international investment capital.
Actually, the lines are not quite ...
America’s hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the “Globalization of War” whereby the U.S.-NATO military machine –coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”— is deployed in all major regions of the world. The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.
This “Long War against Humanity” is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history. It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of ...
It’s long been obvious the United Nations is a rubber stamp lapdog of the United States. It set the stage for a decade of sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and piled sanctions of Libya that resulted in the US and NATO (another lapdog) taking military action that killed around 30,000 Libyans.
Now that supposedly august body has signaled it will investigate war crimes in Syria.
The Associated Press reports the “resolution adopted by the assembly said the body, known as the ‘International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism,’ would help collect and analyze evidence of violations of human rights and international ...
The Six Day War of June 1967, a series of battles fought by the armed forces of the state of Israel against a combination of Arab armies, is one of manifold significance. From a military standpoint, it presented a model strategy of how to prosecute and win a war waged on several fronts.
The stunning victory also created a sense of euphoria among communities in the Jewish Diaspora: Among American Jews, a segment of Jewry David Ben Gurion viewed with disdain because of their failure to migrate en masse to Israel, a new sense of commitment in both emotional and financial ...
The current Ukrainian crisis and, in fact, a civil war which started at the very end of 2013 are grounded in for decades lasting internal interregional antagonisms between the western and the eastern regions of Ukraine. The crisis is fully fueled by the Western governments which armed far-right “European” Kiev regime giving to it a comprehensive political, financial and diplomatic support for the policy of brutal Ukrainization and even Nazification of the whole country but primarily at the expense of the Russian-speaking population at Ukraine’s East. A similar example we experienced in “European” Croatia in the 1990s when the same ...
Government corruption has become rampant:
Senior SEC employees spent up to 8 hours a day surfing porn sites instead of cracking down on financial crimes
Nuclear Regulatory Commission workers watch porn instead of cracking down on unsafe conditions at nuclear plants
An EPA employee who downloaded 7,000 porn files, then spent 2-6 hours each workday watching porn. He’s been doing it for years … but the EPA never fired him. Another EPA employee harassed 16 women co-workers … and then was promoted to a higher-paying job with more responsibility, where he harassed more women
NSA spies pass around homemade sexual ...
The entire sand-castle (a product of Obama CIA Director John Brennan’s imagination) the “Russians hacked the election” is finally washing away with an incoming tide. How this plays out is anyone’s guess.
The open question is, how the new information will be leveraged, if it were to actually break into the open widely, with the bad boy Trump essentially captured by the surreal evil that surrounds him. Other than pure evil (e.g. Mike Pence), only a narcissist or a fool would ever desire to be president of this particular USA republic. In ‘The Donald’, we have both.
1 August 2017 an audio ...
I arrived in Jerusalem last night and as always during the weeks between mid-May and mid-June the media is full of romanticized memories. Within these weeks are the two most siginicfant dates in modern Palestinian history: May 1948 when Palestine was conquered and renamed Israel, and June, 1967 when the Israeli army completed the conquest of Palestine by taking East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. For Palestinians these dates bring back bitter memories, but for Israelis the memories are sweet – those were the days when we were young and brave and innocent. Vintage photos of soldiers at the newly conquered ...
In the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush stated in no uncertain terms that “State sponsors of terrorism” would be considered as “terrorists”.
“We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them”.
But there is always an “Exception that the Proves the Rule” and that is George W. Bush himself.
When George W. Bush respectfully kisses King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, does this mean that Dubya could–by some stretch of the imagination– be considered a “suspected terrorist”, who should never have been elected president of the United States of America?
The answer ...
Donald Trump entered military terra incognita on Thursday by launching an illegal Tomahawk missile strike on an air base in eastern Syria. Beyond the clear violation of international law, the practical results are likely to be disastrous, drawing the U.S. deeper into the Syrian quagmire.
But it would be a mistake to focus all the criticism on Trump. Not only are Democrats also at fault, but a good argument could be made that they bear even greater responsibility.
For years, near-total unanimity has reigned on Capitol Hill concerning America’s latest villains du jour, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Congressmen, senators, ...
The paradox of the current global crisis is that for the last five years, all relatively responsible and independent nations have made tremendous efforts to save the United States from the financial, economic, military, and political disaster that looms ahead. And this is all despite Washington’s equally systematic moves to destabilize the world order, rightly known as the Pax Americana (“American peace”).
Since policy is not a zero-sum game, i.e., one participant’s loss does not necessarily entail a gain for another, this paradox has a logical explanation. A crisis erupts within any system when there is a discrepancy between its internal ...
SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu