1. Doing small damage to big damage: overturning 25 EULEX jeeps on 25 August 2009. The action was harshly condemned by Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister (International Steering Group for Kosovo), Carl Bildt, The Foreign Minister of Sweden (currently in charge of the EU Presidency), Pieter Feith, the ICR/EUSR in Kosovo, and EULEX itself. By doing so, they pressured the Kosovo justice system to hold 22 activists in prison for two months. These activists now await a trial. The police kicked and beat the activists while arresting them on August 25th; the abuses continued in the police cars and in the police station. One activist was sent to the emergency clinic at the hospital, while the police waited outside to arrest him. All 22 activists are accused of participating in a crowd committing a criminal offence which carries a potential sentence of 3 months up to 5 years imprisonment. At no point in the indictment was the level of damage to EULEX vehicles (which were all insured) specified, precisely because this damage would not be enough to justify the charges of causing “damage on a wide scale” or “general danger.” The pretext for keeping the activists in detention for all this time was for “investigation purposes,” even though the overturning of EULEX cars occurred in public at midday, in the presence of the media, and was politically defended by all the activists. During the entire period that the activists were held in detention, they were never questioned for investigation purposes. Clearly this entirely unnecessary prison detention was done for political purposes and to isolate the activists in order to prevent further dissent against the international rule in Kosovo. None of the activists recognised the court charging them. They didn’t hire defence lawyers and did not accept the ones assigned to them by the court. In court, they instead explained their political opposition to EULEX, which holds executive power over Kosovo’s judiciary. EULEX consists of 1,900 international policemen, prosecutors and judges who have immunity from criminal prosecution in Kosovo. They describe themselves as a “rule of law mission,” while being above the law. They are rulers of law. The other name EULEX has chosen for itself is: a “crisis management operation,” signalling in fact not an exit from crisis; crisis is here to stay – it just has to be managed. This focus on managing the crisis means merely preventing an explosion of the crisis, which continuously holds us on the brink of explosion: we are effectively kept stable in the face of utter destabilization. In Kosovo there is no contradiction between stability and crisis; it is the crisis which is stable. Our opposition to EULEX is based upon political opposition to its mandate, which is based on Resolution 1244, opposition to its “status neutrality,” opposition to its neocolonial character, and, most recently, opposition to EULEX negotiating and signing a protocol for police cooperation with Serbia. Overturning the EULEX cars was a direct action, which has a long and respected tradition at the heart of democratic state building. The act sparking mobilisation behind America’s independence struggle was the illegal destruction of three shiploads of tea by protesters in Boston in 1773. EULEX is a new UNMIK, merely turning UNMIK’s white jeeps blue. The jeep is a symptom of neocolonialism; Kosovo seems to them sometimes like a jungle and sometimes like a desert, and jeeps are needed. After our action of overturning the jeeps, around 100 other EULEX jeeps were damaged by people (unknown to us) all over Kosova. EULEX continues to negotiate protocols with Serbia, now regarding courts and customs, which will further damage the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Kosovo. EULEX publicly acknowledges that it is cooperating with Serbia and its parallel structures in order to be present in the north of Kosovo. More protocols to come and more actions to come.
Doing small damage to a big damage: Overturning 25 EULEX jeeps on 25 August 2009.
2. On May 9th 2008, less than three months after the Declaration of Independence, Vetevendosja demonstrated against Serbia’s local and parliamentary elections being held in Kosovo. The goal of these Serbian elections was clear: legitimisation of the parallel Serb structures in 23 municipalities in Kosovo and thus implying the institutional division of Kosovo on an ethnic basis. Through the election of Serb parallel structures, Serbia tried to approach its goal of creating a territorial Serb entity inside Kosovo, supported by the new municipalities foreseen in the Ahtisaari Plan and strengthened by Belgrade’s extensive investment in infrastructure. Approximately 1,500 protestors took part in the demonstration in which activists threw hundreds of bags of rubbish into the front yard of UNMIK, the Kosovo Assembly and Kosovo government buildings. Activists also sprayed the buildings with sewage water. Before the action, we explained: “Because no steps have been taken [to stop the elections], UNMIK and the Government of Kosovo have been transformed into a massive container that produces rubbish. This rubbish is choking Kosovo. So, we are throwing rubbish that we have gathered in Prishtina, from areas outside the containers, back in its rightful place, in ‘the biggest rubbish container in Kosovo: UNMIK’.”
3. The two largest demonstrations Prishtina has seen since the war took place on November 19th and December 2nd 2008. Thousands gathered at the National Library and walked through the centre of town, a route which formed an “S” to symbolise “sovereignty.” The demonstrations were organised by Lëvizja VETËVENDOSJE! (Kosovo Movement for Self-Determination!) together with around 20 other organisations from the civil society. At this time, Serbia had demanded and managed to gain institutional and territorial partitions of Kosovo on an ethnic basis through the “Six Point Plan” of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, including the division of the police, customs, courts, transport, communications and cultural heritage on an ethnic basis. Thanks to this Six Point Plan, EULEX, meant to run Kosovo’s system of law and order, also became “status neutral” as based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244, thus not recognising the constitution which should provide the foundation of legal order in Kosovo.
Lëvizja VETËVENDOSJE! (Movement for Self-Determination!) is a community of people that refuse to submit, and intend to achieve and realize self-determination for the people of Kosova.