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July 6, 1992
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 41

A Letter to Mr. Cosic

by V. Orosi & S. Dzezairi

The most competent people to comment on it, the representatives of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), refuse to say anything except that they will soon adopt an official stand. And while the official Serbian side in Belgrade is dismissing every thought of special status for the ethnic Albanians, Mr. Anton Kolaj, a high-ranking LDK official, in a talk with his fellow party members, several days ago, stressed that any kind of special status or maximal autonomy is out of question, since even the people have shown at a referendum that they want a republic. However, the possibility of international mediation is not ruled out, in order to achieve a compromise solution which would suit both parties. Mr. Ibrahim Rugova's trip to Athens is being awaited to that end.

In order to prove that ethnic Albanians in Kosovo are not deprived of anything and that they have equal rights, and hence special status should not even be mentioned, Mr. Milosevic, as the Serbian Radio and Television reported, had lengthy and open talks with 32 prominent ethnic Albanians. They are so equal that he didn't even want them to appear together before the cameras. While some interpret this as an unsuccessful trick of Milosevic's, others do not rule out the possibility that a conversation with a group of "honest Albanians" - members of his party and MPs in the Serbian Parliament - actually took place. On the other hand, Mr. Dobrica Cosic's meeting with Mr. Halit Trnavci (an ethnic Albanian Academy member loyal to the Serbian regime) apparently confirms the thesis that the new president of the new federal state does not really know what he wants. The dialogue with 2 million Albanians in Kosovo cannot, in any way, be established through people which fall into categories of "prominent" and "honest" Albanians, the ones who did not even get 0.01% of their people's votes at the elections.

Despite the fact that ethnic Albanian political parties neither recognize the new state, nor its president, a group of 64 ethnic Albanian lawyers sent Mr. Dobrica Cosic an appeal to pardon Albanians sentenced for the so-called political crimes as defined by the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's (SFRY) Penal Code, who are still doing time in prisons throughout Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Mentioning a figure of 2,500 persons of Albanian nationality having been sentenced to long-term prison sentences by regular and martial courts, the letter relates that there are at least another 36 imprisoned Albanians. The letter further says: "These are young people sentenced by the Penal code of SFRY, of a state which no longer exists as such, and for crimes which, as such, are not considered crimes in the legal system of any civilized country. Though their decrees are absolute, it can be freely said that these were rigged political trials staged in a totalitarian system. None of the convicted persons used violence or advocated the use of violence (...). Being the President of Yugoslavia, you are the only competent person to pardon these young prisoners (...) We call upon you to pardon them or free them from serving their sentences in some other way. By doing that, you will demonstrate your humanity towards these people and at the same time correct the mistakes committed in times of a different legal system, of another state, when any thought at odds with the official policy of a single-party state had to be punished, and when it was possible to rig the worst political trials and when the most drastic sentences were pronounced, even for verbal offenses" - concludes the letter of the Kosovo lawyers.

It's Mr. Cosic's turn now...

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