ACTION ALERT REGARDING THE "MASTER MIND" OF ETHNIC CLEANSING AGIM CEKU BEING GRANTED A FORUM BY UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2005
CONTACT: Andy Verich
The Serbian Unity Congress (SUC) hereby expresses its deep concern regarding the announced May 9 discussion entitled: "KPC: Has the experiment worked?", hosted and sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), and scheduled to feature gen. Agim Ceku, commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC).
The SUC welcomes open forum debate on complex topics related to the Balkans in general and is continuously committed to constructively participating in them. While discussions on the finer points of the role of the KPC and other institutions in the UN-administered Serbian province Kosovo-Metohija are certainly legitimate, the present idea of KPC's transformation into some form of armed forces falls well outside its "civil emergency organization" role defined by the binding UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and as such it is entirely unacceptable and dangerous. KPC's obvious roots in the never properly demilitarized Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) are alarming to say the least, and even more so are its documented ties to the terrorist organization ANA, as well as its role in the March 2004 pogrom of non-Albanians in Kosovo. This was succinctly summarized by former US ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro, William Montgomery, who recently wrote: "The former KLA got reorganized into the Kosovo Protection Corps, under the leadership of general Ceku and other higher KLA commanders. Members of this organization have been found responsible for violence in Kosovo and Macedonia. It could not be clearer that the ultimate goal of gen. Ceku is to have it become the army of an independent Kosovo. He frequently states this publicly It is equally clear that no Serb could feel secure or comfortable with such an army. Everybody really knows that, but nobody is ready to grab the bull by the horns and disband this organization. Nevertheless, prolonging the life of the KPC dooms the idea of a multi-ethnic Kosovo."
Mr. Ceku is an indicted war criminal, sought in his native country on substantial charges from wars in both Croatia and Kosovo, and has been investigated by the International War Crimes Tribunal for crimes committed during these wars. He was labeled by the influential Jane's Defense Weekly as a "mastermind" of the worst ethnic cleansing of the Balkan wars, and is wanted on Interpol warrants on which he was twice arrested, though inexplicably never extradited. Such an individual is utterly incompatible with any peace promotion, his rightful place being in court of law to face charges as pressed.
The Administration and Congress have a clear policy when dealing with terrorists. Mr. Ceku is counted among their ranks, where his activities over the last decade and a half have unmistakably put him.
Granting him a prestigious Washington forum, especially one designed to promote peace and coexistence, threatens to discredit the overall constructive efforts of both the USIP and, by extension, the US Congress.
Given that the USIP is a "federal institution created by Congress to promote the prevention, management, and peaceful resolution of international conflicts", and, as defined in the objective of its Balkans Initiative project, an organization whose aim is "to promote peace and reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia", we call on the Administration and Congress to urgently take note of this matter.