YU protests against arrests of Serbians in Kosovo

UNITED NATIONS, December 14 (Itar-Tass) - Yugoslavian Charge d'Affaires ad Interim at the United Nations Vladislav Jovanovic has strongly protested against the "arbitrary arrests and detentions of Serbians in Yugolsavia", perpetrated by KFOR and the U.N. Mission for the Affairs of the Provisional Administration in Kosovo. His message to the U.N. Secretary-General, which was handed out at the U.N. Headquarters on Monday as an official Security Council document, notes that about forty people, who were arrested in that province, "are being kept locked up and isolated from the outside world".

"They are not allowed to choose their lawyers, to meet members of their families, to be examined by doctors, and are actually stripped of the right to defence, which, according to the 1966 International Pact on Civil and Political Rights, is regarded as one of the principal human rights," the document stresses. At the same time, it notes that the indicated arrests and detainments are a "flagrant violation" of the U.N. Security Council's resolution 1244, which acknowledges the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."

In the meantime, KFOR is illegally arresting Yugoslavian citizens, whose cases are afterwards investigated by the local illegal authorities, while the U.N. Mission for the Affairs of the Provisional Administration of Kosovo is preventing Yugoslavian lawyers from providing legal defence to those persons, the message says. "Some of those arrested have been kept in custody without any charges being brought against them for more than two months, which is one more way to exert pressure on Serbians to make them leave Kosovo," the document stresses.

The Yugoslavian delegate on the United Nations also expressed the view that "KFOR has seriously violated resolution 1244, especially its provisions concerning the perpetuation of the multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, and multi-cultural pattern of this Serbian province, by failing to stop the acts of violence, perpetrated by ethnic Albanians, and the resulting detainment of Serbians, refusal to allow Serbian lawyers to defend their rights, and by allowing Albanians to conduct the investigation their cases and try them, KFOR is thereby backing the Albanian separatists in Kosovo and Metohija," Jovanovic stresses.

In conclusion, he expressed the conviction that "observance of legal norms and guarantees is of priority importance for the successful participation of the United Nations in the efforts to restore peace and security in Kosovo".

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