The Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese in Kosovo has expressed serious concern today following an apparent incident of police harassment against two Kosovo Serb citizens, including one of Kosovo's most respected Serbian journalists and writers, Živojin Rakočević.
The previous night, they were stopped by unidentified, Albanian-speaking, heavily-armed Kosovo police officers near Gračanica, near Priština, harassed, and reportedly physically struck them in their legs. The police did not display proper identification numbers, behaved, arrogantly and provocatively, refused to use the Serbian language (which is constitutionally one of the official languages in Kosovo especially in a Serb majority municipality), and applied excessive and unprovoked force, seemingly solely due to the ethnic backgrounds of the two individuals they stopped without any reason.
Mr. Rakočević promptly wrote a letter to the Kosovo Police Inspectorate, the OSCE, and some Western Embassies. As of tonight, only the OSCE has responded, stating that the police have confirmed receipt of the letter and will be investigating the case, with the process to be monitored by the OSCE.
The Diocese has learned that there have been several other similar incidents in the Serb-majority Gračanica municipality in central Kosovo, and it expects a swift reaction from the Kosovo police against the unprofessional and provocative behaviour of its officers, as well as international intervention against misuse of police force.
The Diocese further stated that “the police in Kosovo must act professionally and in the interests of all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, and that the completely unprovoked use of police force is unacceptable. Such incidents lead to further destabilization of the already tense interethnic situation and undermine the confidence of Kosovo Serbs in Kosovo institutions.”
KIM RADIO report (English translation from Serbian)