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.
By now all international media resources; newspapers, magazines, TV channels, and internet social media, are busy reporting the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi; a Saudi reporter, who was loyal to the regime until he turned against Muhamad bin Salman (MBS) and his suppressive policies.
Once MBS was announced crowned prince in 2015 and started his war against Yemen, critic Khashoggi found it safer for himself to leave Saudi Arabia. He moved first to UK and later to USA. In his writings Khashoggi harshly criticized the policies of the young prince. Eventually he was lured to the Saudi consulate in Turkey, where ...
As Turkey’s President Erdogan runs out of money, he is now, more than any time before, using religion to exploit the Balkans, especially the states that are more susceptible to Islamic influence. Bosnia is at the fore of Erdogan’s ambitious Islamic agenda, where he is sparing no political capital or financial resources, even under his current economic hardship, to assert his influence and distance the country away from the EU’s reach. Obviously, the Bosnians cannot survive simply on being devout Muslims, with the youth unemployment rate at almost 60 percent. Turkey is unlikely to economically recover anytime soon, and Erdogan’s ...
The Catalan identity and Catalonia Catalans are the people who live in the territories of Spain in the autonomous-historical region called Catalonia. Their significance for the Spanish inner politics can be understood as the best if we know that Catalonia (Catalunya) is being since 1975 the most politically and economically powerful autonomous self-governed region in the Kingdom of Spain – during the last 20 years, basically, a kind of “a state within the state”. As a matter of fact, Catalans are the most integrated ethnohistorical groups of Spain together with Basques.What makes Catalans so interlinked could be understood if we know ...
All of the Balkans, legendary German Reichskanzler (Imperial Chancellor) Otto von Bismarck famously said, were not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. And Bismarck, a Prussian landowner or junker had nothing but amused contempt for Pomeranian grenadiers who were regarded as a standing joke in the German Army.
In 1890, brash, young new German Emperor Wilhelm II fired Bismarck after 28 years as minister-president of Prussia and then first Imperial Chancellor of Germany. He abandoned the priority policy of maintaining warm ties and close communications with Russia that Bismarck had always followed and scrapped the Dreikaiserbund, the League of ...
Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler arrived in Kraljevo, German-occupied Serbia on Thursday, October 15, 1942 to inspect the 7th Waffen SS Mountain Division “Prinz Eugen”. Himmler spent four days in Serbia, leaving on Sunday, October 18. The first offensive or operation of the Prinz Eugen division, the anti-guerrilla military operation against the Kopaonik region of central Serbia, was to attack the Chetnik guerrillas under Draza Mihailovich in the Kopaonik, Goc and Jastrebac mountains of central Serbia. Prinz Eugen attacked Chetnik troops under Chetnik Major Dragutin Keserovic.
Himmler was photographed arriving in an air field in a German Junkers Ju 52 transport plane. Te ...
The massacre of 22 people—12 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, along with 10 patients, three of them children—in Saturday’s airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical center in Kunduz, Afghanistan is an appalling war crime for which the US military and Obama administration are responsible.
On Monday, the top US commander in Afghanistan admitted that a US warplane carried out the deadly attack, while seeking to shift the blame onto Afghan puppet troops for calling it in.
“An air strike was then called to eliminate the Taliban and several civilians were accidentally struck,” Gen. John Campbell told a ...
How does the West get away with its pretense of being an alliance of great democracies in which government is the servant of the people?Nowhere in the West, except possibly Hungary and Austria, does government serve the people.Who do the Western governments serve? Washington serves Israel, the military/security complex, Wall Street, the big banks, and the fossil fuel corporations.The entirety of the rest of the West serves Washington.Nowhere in the West do the people count. The American working class, betrayed by the Democrats who sent their jobs to Asia, elected Donald Trump and the American people were promptly dismissed by ...
In the article “Kurdistan – Turkey’s Kosovo” Prof. Sotirović compared different aspects of Turkish Kurdistan case to the Kosovo one, found some parallels and pointed out Turkey’s hypocrisy.While Prof. Sotirović is right in his assessment that Turkey is hypocritical to say at least, he failed to expose the fundamental differences between Kurdistan and Kosovo. His article contains some inaccuracies, misinterpretations and lacks in detail. Such an imprecise comparison may lead a reader who is not familiar with Balkans to acquire a false impression. A reader might come to conclusion that Kosovo Albanians had experienced the same level of suffering and ...
Author’s note:This article was first published more than eleven years ago in February 2006 under the title Is the Bush Administration Planning a Nuclear Holocaust?The first part I of this text was published as a separate article entitled: The Dangers of a Middle East Nuclear War, New Pentagon Doctrine: Mini-Nukes are “Safe for the Surrounding Civilian Population”. The results of this research were then integrated in my book entitled Towards World War Three Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War, Global Research Publishers, 2011Nuclear war with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea is “on the table”. Non-nuclear states in the Middle East are ...
In this exclusive interview, Prof Peter Kuznick speaks of: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagazaki; US crimes and lies behind the Vietnam war, and what was really behind that inhumane invasion; why the US engaged a Cold War with the Soviet Union, and how that war and the mainstream media influences the world today; the interests behind the assassinations of President Kennedy; US imperialism towards Latin America, during the Cold War and today, under the false premise of War on Terror and War on Drugs.
Edu Montesanti: Professor Peter Kuznick, thank you so very much for granting me this interview. In ...
As news of appointments to the Trump administration flow in, the hard Right is riding high, and anti-Semitism and Zionism are in the news in ways that purveyors of conventional wisdom have to struggle to make sense of. The Trump phenomenon has undone conventional understandings of both.
Trump’s thirty-something son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband, embodies a lot of what has put those conventional understandings in doubt. A (modern) orthodox Jew and rabid Zionist, Kushner is not exactly éminence grise material; his is too young and insubstantial to be what Dick Cheney was for George Bush. Nevertheless, he does seem to be stepping ...
The Balkans conflicts of the 1990s saw a massive revival and resurgence of US and Western media propaganda and infowar techniques. The “new” advocacy journalists recalled the “yellow journalism” of William Randolph Hearst, who helped induce the US to engage in the imperialistic or colonial war in Cuba in 1898, the Spanish-American War. This marked the emergence of the US as an expansionist global imperial and colonial power, like Britain, France, Spain, and Germany had been. Hearst was credited with manufacturing or “furnishing” the war in Cuba.
Frederic Remington, his correspondent in Cuba, reported that nothing was happening in Cuba, that ...
The forthcoming USA-Russian joint action against ISIS together with Iraqi-Syrian and Turkish military advance will soon neutralize ISIS possibilities to claim a stake of a statehood in the Levant region. Nonetheless, the number of radicalized persons in Europe is increasing as also the number of Jihadist fighters returning back into the EU-thus at first glance we should see a rise in the terrorism phenomenon in the coming years.
Furthermore the existence of multiple fronts where Jihadists are trained and fight nowadays such as :Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Sahel region, Nigeria, Sudan , Yemen, Sinai; brings us to the conclusion that we ...
I was provoked to write this discussion of what is and what isn’t anti-Semitism by an article in Ha’aretz on the “controversy” created by the awarding of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to George P. Smith. According to the reporting, Smith is not only a brilliant scientist whose work has helped lead to the creation of new drugs that can treat cancer and a range of autoimmune diseases, he is also an outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and a critic of Israeli policies.
The Ha’aretz piece notes that Smith has long been “a target of pro-Israel groups” and is listed ...
Fifty years ago this next month (December 1965), with the urging of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the rubber stamp approval of President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the United States Air Force started secretly spraying the forests of Laos with a deadly herbicide that was known as Agent Orange.
Operation Ranch Hand, whose motto was “Only We Can Prevent Forests” (a shameful takeoff of Smokey the Bear’s admonition), was a desperate, costly and ultimately futile effort to make it a little harder for the National Liberation Front soldiers from North Vietnam to join and supply their ...
On March 23, 2018, the US media published an interview with the newly-appointed National Security Advisor John R. Bolton, where he stated that the only solution for North Korea is complete disarmament – following the example of Libya under Muammar Gaddafi. This scenario is exactly what Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un need to discuss during their negotiations.
John R. Bolton is well-known as a hardliner regarding Pyongyang. During his work for the Department of State in the 2000s, he was one of the most furious opponents of any dialogue with North Korea, and more recently he advocated a preventive strike against ...
Vladislav B. Sotirovic, “Who are the Albanians? The Illyrian Anthroponomy and the Ethnogenesis of the Albanians – A Challenge to Regional Security”, Serbian Studies: Journal of the North American Society for Serbian Studies, Vol. 26, 2012, № 1−2, ISSN 0742-3330, 2015, Slavica Publishers, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, pp. 45−76
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 ...
Churchill once said that in war the truth is so precious it has to be surrounded with a bodyguard of lies. In Germany over the last two months one clearly saw the fabrication of such a bodyguard.
Even as air attacks proceeded against civilian targets—destroying factories, electricity works, refineries, bridges, streets, railway lines and apartment blocks— German government representatives spoke of a ” humanitarian action ” . Despite the fact that the NATO attacks unleashed the massive wave of refugees and reduced towns and villages in Kosovo to ruins , it has been maintained to the very end that the aim ...
The December 17 UN Security Council meeting, on the announced creation of a Kosovo armed forces, featured some noticeable contrasts.In accordance with Kosovo not being a UN member state and the Serb position on UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (recognizing Kosovo as a continued part of Serbia), the disputed former Yugoslav territory wasn't formally represented at the discussion as a nation. Kosovo's leader, Hashim Thaci, sat with a nameplate having his name, as opposed to Kosovo. Countries recognizing Kosovo's independence made it a point to state Thaci as the president of Kosovo and Aleksandar Vučić as president of Serbia. Nations not ...
They are the extremists. If you need proof, look no further than the Afghan capital, Kabul, where the latest wave of suicide bombings has proven devastating. Recently, for instance, a fanatic set off his explosives among a group of citizens lining up outside a government office to register to vote in upcoming elections. At least 57 people died, including 22 women and eight children. ISIS’s branch in Afghanistan proudly took responsibility for that callous act -- but one not perhaps quite as callous as the ISIS suicide bomber who, in August 2016, took out a Kurdish wedding in Turkey, missing the bride and groom but killing at ...
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