Serb returnee from Djakovica: I never hurt anyone, hence the courage to return to my apartment

Foto: Kancelarija za KiM

„They threw stones at my window, broke my blinds, and hung photographs of killed people, banged on my door at night. The police are protecting me, but as soon as they leave, they come again and bang on my door. They damaged my door. I am scared, I am taking pills for my nerves,“ said Dragica Gasic, the first Serb returnee in Djakovica/Gjakova, whose eviction was recently requested by 11 Albanian NGOs.

Gasic emphasized that attacks on her home are taking place on a daily basis and that she only goes to the store and the bakery when accompanied by the police. She added, however, that she cannot complain about the behavior of the market and bakery workers or the police.

„I never hurt anyone and that’s why I dared to return to my apartment. Despite everything, I plan to stay here,“ Gasic stressed.

The head of the Kosovo Office, Petar Petkovic, who is on the second day of his visit to Kosovo, met with Dragica Gasic in Gracanica today.

Petkovic told Gasic that the Kosovo Office and Serbia would ensure, in any way possible, that her security and quality of life are improved.

„Why is a woman, a Serb, bothering anyone? She is not jeopardizing anyone, she is not a threat to anyone. Dragica is our hero and martyr, right on this great day, Vidovdan, because she is an example and a symbol of all the sufferings of the Serb people here. I also spoke to President Aleksandar Vucic, we will do everything to improve Dragica’s life.“

Gasic will receive the first round of aid tomorrow, Petkovic revealed, noting that she is returning to life behind bars, with limited freedom, and under threats – but „to her own place.“

The Kosovo Office will provide an armored metal door, video surveillance, and window bars, as well as food delivery, Internet, furniture, etc. to Gasic. This office will also assist Gasic in filing a lawsuit for inciting „racial, religious and national hatred“ against all individuals who have endangered her.

Petkovic once again appealed to everyone to „come to their senses“ and stop disturbing a woman who only returned to her own home.

The Pristina-based Koha reported yesterday that 11 NGOs from the municipality of Djakovica announced that they would submit a petition to the Kosovo government to evict a returnee, Dragica Gasic, who came back to Djakovica after 22 years.

A reason why Djakovica is not ready to welcome Serb returnees, the NGOs pointed out that this municipality still has open graves awaiting the return of the remains of people who died during the war.

Furthermore, yesterday’s police report revealed that two people were arrested in Djakovica two days ago after photographs of the 1999 war were posted on the wall in front of Gasic’s apartment.

According to Pristina-based Koha, a protest on the occasion was also announced for Monday.

As this media outlet reported, the Association of Families of the Missing „Mother’s Calls“ held a press conference yesterday, at which they announced a complaint against the municipality and the mayor of Djakovica, due to the return of Dragica Gasic to that town.

Approximately 12,500 Serbs lived in Djakovica until the war. On the other hand, this town holds particular importance to Kosovo Albanians, given the numerous testimonies that Serb paramilitary forces committed war crimes in the region.

Three years ago, the civil society organization in Djakovica in charge of „documenting war crimes and preparing criminal charges“ during the 1998-1999 war submitted 59 criminal reports to the Special Prosecutor’s Office in connection with alleged war crimes committed in this town. Over 200 „accused Serbs and their accomplices“ are mentioned in these criminal reports.

In 2015, INTERPOL issued arrest warrants for 16 Serbs from Kosovo and one Montenegrin citizen for alleged war crimes against the civilian population. The majority of the people listed on these arrest warrants were Djakovica locals, including the former head of the Military Security Agency, General Momir Stojanovic, who was also an SNS (Serbia’s ruling party) MP.

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