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Hearing Announced on Kosovo’s Displaced and Imprisoned

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe today announced a forthcoming hearing:

Kosovo’s Displaced and Imprisoned

Monday, February 28

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Room B-318, Rayburn House Office Building

 

Open to Members, Staff, Public and Press

Scheduled to testify:

  • Bill Frelick, Director of Policy, U.S. Committee for Refugees
  • His Grace Artemije, Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Prizren and Raska
  • Andrzej Mirga, Co-Chair of the Council of Europe Specialists Group on Roma and Chairman of the Project on Ethnic Relations Romani Advisory Board
  • Susan Blaustein, Senior Consultant, International Crisis Group

Approximately two years ago, a decade of severe repression and lingering ethnic tensions in Kosovo erupted into full-scale violence, leading eventually to NATO intervention in early 1999 and UN administration immediately thereafter.

The conflict in Kosovo was ostensibly between the Serbian and Yugoslav forces controlled by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic—since indicted for war crimes—on the one hand, and the Kosovo Liberation Army which arose from more militant segments of Kosovo’s Albanian majority on the other. As with previous phases of the Yugoslav conflict, however, the primary victims have largely been innocent civilians.

Over one million ethnic Albanians were displaced during the conflict, as well as over one hundred thousand Serbs and tens of thousands of Roma in the aftermath of the international community’s intervention. Senseless atrocities were frequently committed throughout this process of forced migration. Many remain unable to return, and the recent violence in the northern city of Mitrovica demonstrates the continued volatility of the current situation.

Meanwhile, a large number of Kosovar Albanians, removed from the region while it was still under Serbian control, languish in Serbian prisons to this day.

The February 28 hearing intends to focus on the plight of these displaced and imprisoned people from Kosovo, as well as the prospects for addressing quickly and effectively their dire circumstances.

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