The Todosijevic case is a dangerous precedent; Pristina's intention to silence the Serbs

Zoran Anđelković i Živojin Rakočević
Source: Kosovo Online

The case of Ivan Todosijevic, who was sentenced to a one-year prison sentence for expressing his opinion about the events in Racak, is proof that there are politically staged trials against Kosovo Serbs with the intention of silencing them, the former president of the Executive Council of the Republic of Kosovo, Zoran Andjelkovic, and writer and journalist, Zivojin Rakocevic, agree in statements for Kosovo Online.

Andjelkovic says that this is the best indicator of how much the rights of the Serbs are being trampled on and that the authorities in Pristina, led by Albin Kurti, are demonstrating the policy of persecuting the Serbs from Kosovo at every step.

Zoran Andjelkovic emphasizes for Kosovo Online that he sees as an absurdity the fact that the president of the Provisional Authority of the Municipality Zvecan, Todosijevic, received the summons to serve his sentence before he was handed the verdict and especially the fact that he should go to prison on April 3, the day before a new dialogue meeting was scheduled in Brussels between the main negotiators of Belgrade and Pristina, Petar Petkovic and Besnik Bislimi. And not only that, another former Serbian policeman was arrested yesterday at the Jarinje administrative crossing, while he was returning home to Leposavic from Raska with his wife and two minor children.

All this, Andjelkovic states, once again shows the intentions of Pristina and Kurti to make dialogue meaningless, or rather to have no dialogue at all, as, he says, they want there to be no Serbs at all in Kosovo and Metohija. He notes that, unfortunately, Todosijevic's case is not the only one, and that lately there is an evident tendency for the Serbs to be arrested, accused, and convicted without evidence. Andjelkovic also points to a dangerous increase in incidents in which the Serbs and their property are the targets, so he says that in the last few days alone, there have been a dozen cases of break-ins and robberies of Serbian houses.

"All this shows that Pristina and Kurti want to completely ethnically cleanse Kosovo so that there are no more Serbs there. And when there are no Serbs, and then there is no need to discuss their rights, the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities... When there are no Serbs, then there is no need for dialogue either. I once heard from a high official of the Communist Party at the time, 'You know, where there are no Serbs, we don't have inter-ethnic conflicts.'," Andjelkovic says.

He points out that the persecution and intimidation of the Serbs have been going on for years, from the armed rebellion of Albanians, Pogroms in 2004 and 2008, and various incidents against the Serbs to the alarming increase in the number of attacks on the Serbs and their property, especially since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine.

"It culminated in the arrest of Sladjan Trajkovic at the end of last year when the Serbs protested at the barricades because of it. The Serbs are persecuted at every step, proceedings are taken against them and they are punished, even their freedom of opinion is revoked, as in the case of Todosijevic," Andjelkovic states.

He adds that, while the Serbs are prohibited from expressing their personal views, on the other hand, "the terrorist act of KSF member Azem Kurtaj, who shot and wounded a child and a young man in Gotovusa with an official pistol on Christmas Day, is treated as causing a general danger."

"Not only that, Kurtaj was placed under house arrest, and Todosijevic, who only expressed his opinion about an event, is condemned and, in the end, before he received the final verdict - they try to send him to prison. As if that is not enough, in the last ten days the number of break-ins into Serbian houses, and robberies has increased. These are not ordinary robberies, it is also an attempt to psychologically disturb the Serbs. All of this is for the purpose of intimidating and expelling the Serbs from the area of Kosovo and Metohija," Andjelkovic said.

Zivojin Rakocevic tells Kosovo Online that Todosijevic's example is a dangerous precedent. He adds for the Kosovo Online portal that Todosijevic was chosen as an exemplary example of intimidation in the area of freedom of speech.

"Todosijevic has been chosen as an exemplary example of intimidation in the area of freedom of speech. If the Supreme Court rules in his favor, irreparable damage has already been done. This action aims to silence the many voices that speak in Kosovo and Metohija, including those from politics, public life, culture, or journalism," Rakocevic says.

He notes that for too long there are many innocent people in Kosovo prisons who, for example, someone has pointed a finger at because he wanted to steal their property.

Milorad Djokovic from Vitomirica or Gavrilo Milisavljevic from Istog lie innocent in a special prison. After them, many gave up the fight for their property, after the Todosijevc case, many will keep silent, refrain or at least imagine when they need to say something, confirm, or will testify. Totalitarianism, as is the case here, can also develop where there are good laws on freedom of speech and human rights. There is no will and capacity to apply them because lies must be defended with repression," Rakocevic says.