News Release

Interviews Available on Kosovo


Executive director of the Peaceworkers organization, Hartsough has gone to Kosovo several times in support of nonviolent resistance and conflict-resolution efforts. Last March, he was detained by Serbian authorities, who jailed him and later expelled him from the country. “Diplomatic efforts should have been underway more than a year ago, before the place exploded,” Hartsough says. “At that time, the very significant and powerful nonviolent movement in Kosovo was calling for international intervention to try to stop the oppression bearing down on the Albanian people. Finally, in February of this year, after a couple of thousand people had been killed, rather than trying to hear from all the different parties (for example, religious groups and Women in Black), the ‘Contact Group’ called together only the top military and political leadership who had been pursuing the war. So the mediators were repeating the same mistakes made at Dayton — they brought together the architects of the war and tried to impose a peace solution from the outside. That is not the way to get a peaceful solution.”

An associate professor of politics and chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco, Zunes said today: “The debate thus far has been limited to those advocating military intervention and those who believe we should do nothing. As many people predicted, the threat of military force has made matters worse, since it forced the withdrawal of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitors whose unarmed presence was an effective deterrent against many of the worst Serbian government-backed violence. In the time since the monitors’ withdrawal, the violence against the civilian population has escalated. The big fear now is that, unable to challenge NATO air power, the Serbs will seek vengeance on the ethnic Albanian population. We should return — and increase the presence of — unarmed international monitors, give greater support to the democratic opposition in Serbia, support direct dialogue between the Albanian majority and the Serb minority in Kosovo to develop a formula where the legitimate needs of both are met and give greater support to the nonviolent Kosovo Albanian movement.”

A lawyer with Center for Constitutional Rights who has written a number of articles on war powers, Ratner said: “There’s been no approval by either the United Nations or the United States Congress for any bombings of Yugoslavia. It’s flatly illegal, violating both the UN Charter and the War Powers Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The claim that the U.S. is really concerned with autonomy for the Albanians in Kosovo is undercut by the U.S. policy regarding the Kurds. The U.S. has continued to arm Turkey while it is perpetrating atrocities against the Kurds, and has remained silent in the face of demands for legitimate Kurdish autonomy. The U.S. has not played an even hand in the Yugoslavian conflict. For example, it did nothing about Croatia’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Serbs in 1995. There are even recent allegations that former U.S. generals were complicit in those crimes.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Loren Sears, (541) 484-9167