The institutional crackdown of Kurti’s government against the Serbs is underway, Dejan Pantic is an example of the grossest violation and bending of the law in Kosovo, a former judge in the Serbian and Kosovan systems, as well as the former president of the Basic Court in North Mitrovica, Nikola Kabasic, said at the barricades in Rudare today.
The arrest of the former Kosovo policeman Dejan Pantic led to 13-day-long roadblocks of the main roads in northern Kosovo, while today’s “biggest protest ever”, as it was announced yesterday, was organized after the German ambassador to Pristina and Albin Kurti spoke out about the need to remove the barricades, which was presented to the Serb public as a „threat to the Serbian people“ and a „call to kill“.
Barricades are not the problem – but those at the head of the Pristina government are
„These are not barricades, and they are not a problem between the Serbian and Albanian people,“ Kabasic said today.
„These are just two or three buses and trucks that we can move and it will not be a problem to live together and we lived with Albanians. We even worked together, we had good cooperation. There were no inter-ethnic incidents and conflicts neither in the Bosniak Mahala nor anywhere else,“ he noted, adding:
„We have a problem with the government, which is discriminatory with the instrumentalization of the special prosecutor’s office, which prosecutes young Serbian men just because they wear shirts with the Serbian flag.“
In his words, the barricades can actually be found in the minds of the politicians in Pristina.
„Those barricades are mental barricades, they are civilizational barricades, non-democratic barricades in their heads and they cannot understand that Serbs should be talked to and negotiated with, and conflicts should not be resolved by armed means,“ he warned.
In his criticism of Kurti’s government, Kabasic stated that he expected Kurti to set up barricades.
„We expected that Albin Kurti himself would set up barricades. Barricades from the law, barricades from the constitution, and existing international agreements. That way, you cannot say – we have laws, but they only apply to you, and when it comes to those same laws that talk about the obligation of the government – they are either silent, or try to wiggle around with them. Or as the police chief said yesterday – I don’t know if Pantic was visited by his relatives, even though they stood 10 meters behind him.”
Serbs are not safe because everyone is on a secret list, Serbs everywhere face the same problems
After giving a short lesson on types of rights, Kabasic added that all of them have been „destroyed and threatened“ by Albin Kurti’s decision and that „everything is under attack“.
He pointed out that there is ongoing militarization in the north with the presence of special police units, saying that Serbs do not feel safe, because everyone is on „some list that is mysteriously circulating somewhere“.
„We don’t even have security anymore because each of us is on a list that is mysteriously circulating somewhere. And when the police pull you over, we wonder if we are included on the list as a terrorist, or as a war criminal, or a criminal or a smuggler, because you witnessed that in the last year in public discourse by politicians from the government of Albin Kurti – the words ‘criminal’, ‘terrorist’ is exclusively associated with Serbs. And today it has become a synonym in everyday speech. They say – we are fighting against Serb criminals, we will deal with Serbian criminals. Thus, they demonize us, satanize us, dehumanize us, and any fight against us is, as far as they are concerned, legal and legitimate, and there is no protection of institutions against such an approach.“
This former judge said that he was asked by the organizers of the gathering to list all the rights that were allegedly violated – not just in the case of Dejan Pantic, but also in the case of all the other Serbs who were detained in the past year.
Kabasic, however, found himself inspired to speak about something else by the crowd of people who attended the gathering.
„Talking to you, watching you come from Strpce, Pomoravlje, and Gracanica, you all come from different places, but I can see that the pain and the problems are the same,“ he said, adding:
„Based on what you told me, you are treated similarly there.“
„What’s that about? It’s about the fact that the government ruling in Kosovo in the last year has embarked on an institutional crackdown against the Serbs, whereby institutions are abused most crudely, the special prosecutor’s office and the court are politically instrumentalized, and with a different combination of propaganda and psychological and hybrid war and institutional pressure, they are trying to force a certain political concession from the Serbs, i.e. to force the Serbs to leave Kosovo, or to surrender and stop offering any resistance to maintain their way of life, their Serbian name and Serbian existence in Kosovo.“
According to him, no one needs to speak to Serbs about the law and their rights – which „they know quite well“. He alleged that everyone knows that „at the first encounter“ with the police and before „any further conversation“ that someone’s vehicle cannot be searched without a warrant.
„You are aware of this, but in reality things are different,“ he noted, reminding that every detainee has the right to an attorney, as well as to be presented before a judge as soon as possible, as well as to consult with an attorney.
„Dejan Pantic is an example of the grossest violation and bending of the law in Kosovo,“ he says, adding that the reason can only be conjectured.
He added that Pantic’s case is not the only case of violation of rights against Serbs, while criminal acts committed by the majority community remain ignored.
Kabasic underlined that the special prosecutor stays silent to Albin Kurti displaying a „big flag showing Greater Albania in Prague“ two days ago, as well as to many other such cases.
„We have Todosijevic’s case for what he said about Racak, but we don’t have Milaim Zeka, who said that he would make sausages out of Serbs. We don’t have Flora Brovina stirring up national hatred when she showed that fake picture. We don’t have a case against Tom Gashi for insulting Serbs and threatening them with a Storm. And the special prosecutor remains silent. He thinks that the special prosecutor is only for Serbs. The Criminal Code of Kosovo has other articles. He focused on one article that talks about inciting religious and national hatred, and he only focused on Serbs.“
The early sins of LVV
Is a criminal or a terrorist one who throws an explosive device in the Assembly of Kosovo, thus threatening and injuring his fellow deputies? Is the criminal the one who throws smoke bombs and tear gas during an assembly session? – Kabasic asked the citizens gathered in Rudare.
„Are criminals the ones who set fire to and destroyed 28 Kosovo government cars in one day? Are criminals or terrorists those who throw rocks or concrete blocks at the police and injure dozens of police officers? Are the criminals those who block the international road and overturn trucks with Serbian goods and then set them on fire? Are criminals those who attack their Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and throw red paint on him and set his car on fire?“
Kabasic then proceeded to give answers to his questions.
„Do you know who I’m talking about? I’m talking about Prime Minister Albin Kurti, the Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, the president of the assembly Glauk Konjufca, Rexhep Selimi, these are the ambassadors, their best MPs. So, those who used violence as a form of political struggle when they became part of the government do not know how to solve problems in any other way. For them, democracy does not exist, for them, the law does not exist, only violence.“
Respect your own constitution and articles 81 and 62
Kabasic stressed that the militarization of the north is underway, with „enormous numbers of heavily armed police units“, while the Kosovo authorities claim that it is a legal and legitimate decision and that Kosovo has the right to deploy special police forces.
„There are also some restrictions and rules. The deployment of a certain number of police units, their weapons, and equipment must be proportionate to the police work they are set to carry out. Now we ask ourselves, and those in Jarinje also ask themselves: What are we looking for in the north of Kosovo? What are hundreds of heavily armed special police officers with armored vehicles looking for in Kosovo? What do pulling over civilian cars and harassment mean?“
According to Kabasic, the situation should be re-examined and returned to a legal state – which is what the citizens of the north also demand.
He then addressed the journalists from Albanian newsrooms, reminding them of Articles 81 and 62 of the Kosovo Constitution, which provide for the ethnic representation of the police in the areas where they work.
„If you want to deploy the police in the north and according to the Kosovo constitution and the Brussels Agreement, that number must be proportional to the number of inhabitants in the North – 95% of the police force and special police must be Serbs.“
Do you want to be law-abiding and respect your laws and international agreements, such as the Brussels Agreement? Then go ahead and respect them
Unity and Thomas Jefferson
„Why did I come here today? – Nikola Kabasic asked at the very beginning of his address, stressing that he was happy to see the „crowd of people“.
„I like seeing this crowd of people, this was a moment when all of us, regardless of our profession, whether we belong to any political option, whether we are rich or poor, which club we support, can all gather at this moment. Let’s set aside all our differences, the disagreements, and let’s all stand in one line today, in one front for the defense of Dejan Pantic, but by defending Dejan Pantic, we defend the jeopardized rights of all other Serbs in the territory of Kosovo.“
He quoted the third president of the US, Thomas Jefferson: „When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.“
But what kind of resistance?
Democratic, non-violent resistance that will demonstrate our determination to defend our rights. The resistance will show that we are united. This kind of resistance is also known in Europe
That is why the Serbs came to the barricade today to draw the attention of the international community, which has been silent so far – he added.
Finally, Kabasic had a message for the international community as well, describing them as „inert“ and „disinterested“.
„And here are the messages for ambassadors and heads of foreign missions: Either say something publicly, or leave. We expect concrete actions from you, assessments – does what is happening now with Dejan Pantic meet democratic international standards and international standards in your countries? I know their answer will be negative. They never have answers but they collect. Dejan Pantic is one of many. What about the 99 workers in the municipality of Strpce against whom proceedings are being conducted for endangering the constitutional order? Does this mean that each of you employed in schools, hospitals, post offices, insurance companies, will be accused of threatening the constitutional order? That’s why we came here today.“
Several thousand people attended today’s protest, although the police estimated that around one and a half thousand people participated in the rally. No incidents were recorded, despite the large crowd of people coming and going from several directions. Masked persons standing in small groups were also seen at the gathering.
The rally was also marked by the fact that in addition to Srpska Lista officials, Marko Jaksic, a former opposition activist and colleague of Oliver Ivanovic, addressed the public for the first time today. The son of the arrested Dejan Pantic also spoke at the rally.
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