CSCE :: Statement :: Calling for Lasting Peace, Justice, and Stability
United States of America
PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 106th CONGRESS, 2nd SESSION
Washington, Tuesday, October 10, 2000
House of Representatives
CALLING FOR LASTING PEACE, JUSTICE, AND STABILITY
Tuesday, October 10, 2000
CALLING FOR LASTING PEACE, JUSTICE, AND STABILITY IN KOSOVO Hon. Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman) for his
leadership in bringing this very important resolution to the floor today and to my good friends on the minority side and the
gentleman from American Samoa (Mr. Faleomavaega) for his leadership and the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr.
This is the time for us to make this statement, and I think we are doing it collectively as a Congress. Hopefully our voices will be
heard in Serbia.
Mr. Speaker, I am an original cosponsor of H . Res . 451 and I strongly support its passage here today.
In a series of hearings that we held on the Helsinki Commission, which I chair, the atrocities committed in Kosovo by Yugoslav
and Serbian forces have been very amply documented and the continued incarceration of Kosovar Albanians in Serbian prisons
were detailed in very numbing detail.
The culpability of Milosevic for war crimes and crimes against humanity for which he has been indicted have also been made
clear. It is also obvious that there is an unacceptable lack of security in Kosovo, evident in the frequent instances of violence
and destruction in the period since the conflict ended.
Last week, Mr. Speaker, major change finally came to Yugoslavia. The people voted to throw Slobodan Milosevic out of
office. And when he would not leave, they took to the streets to make clear that they had had enough.
While President Kostunica takes a nationalist point of view, he nevertheless appears willing to work towards democracy and
the rule of law rather than create more problems.
I was pleased to hear that he has already indicated his willingness to look into the cases of Kosovar Albanians who right now,
today, are languishing in Serbian prisons.
I believe he will, and every friend of democracy fully expects him to do the right thing. At one of our Helsinki Commission
hearings, we heard terrible testimony, horrible conditions about these people who have been held in these terrible prisons,
Kosovar Albanians who have committed no crimes. We ask, we demand that they be released now, immediately. Let the
Mr. Speaker, in closing, I think it is critical that we strongly condemn all of the violence which is occurring in Kosovo today
regardless of the ethnicity of the victim, regardless of the ethnicity of the culprit. I have been a strong critic of Serbian repression
in Kosovo in the past. As a matter of fact, when I met Milosevic the first time in Belgrade in the early 1990s, I raised the issue
of his police, his thugs who are committing egregious abuses against the Kosovar Albanians and called on him and his thugs to
stop it. But let me also say that none of us want to accept any wanton acts of violence whether it be revenge against Serbs or
other members of minorities in Kosovo. Therefore, and I think this is important in the resolution, the Campaign Against
Violence mentioned in this resolution is absolutely critical for all sides to accept and to implement. I would hope that the
Albanians will criticize Albanians and Serbs will criticize Serbs when that Campaign Against Violence is transgressed. We need
peaceful nonviolence in Kosovo and in Serbia. This resolution calls on all parties to stand down.