Saturday, November 21, 2020

Orthodox believers say goodbye to Patriarch Irinej in the Temple of Saint Sava


After the commemoration of the late Serbian Patriarch Irinej, the priests read the Holy Gospels over the deathbed, which they will do throughout day and night.

SOURCE: B92 SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2020 | 13:13

Orthodox believers, respecting epidemiological measures, pay their respects to the deceased head of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

In accordance with the recommendations of the Crisis Staff and all epidemiological measures, it will not be possible to kiss the body of the patriarch, and the faithful can only approach a few meters from the deathbed in the center of the temple, since they are separated by screens. The coffin is completely closed, but it is covered with glass in the part of the head and chest.

The body of Patriarch Irinej will be in the crypt of the Temple of Saint Sava until Sunday at 9, when a requiem liturgy will be served.

In the continuation of the Holy Liturgy, a mass will be served and the body of the patriarch will be buried in the crypt of the Temple of Saint Sava.

The Bishop of Bačka Irinej will address the funeral of Patriarch Irinej on Sunday, and the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, will speak on behalf of the state.

The protocol of the funeral envisages that the Serbian member of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, will also speak.

The patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Irinej, passed away on Friday at 7.07 am from COVID-19 related complications.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Kosovo Guerrilla Chiefs’ Trial ‘Shouldn’t Start until 2022’: Lawyers


BIRN November 18, 202013:54

Defence lawyers for Kosovo’s ex-president Hashim Thaci and three other Kosovo Liberation Army ex-guerrillas accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity argued that 18 months is needed to prepare for the start of the trial.
This article is also available in: Macedonian Bos/Hrv/Srp

Hashim Thaci (top right), Rexhep Selimi (top left), Jakup Krasniqi (bottom right), and Kadri Veseli (bottom left) in court on Wednesday. Photo: Kosovo Specialist Chambers/Screenshot.

Defence lawyers told a status conference in the case against recently-resigned Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and three other former senior members of Kosovo Liberation Army at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague that the four men’s trial should not start until 2022.

David Hooper, lead counsel for Thaci, said that “I cannot see it taking place until June not of this summer but that after that… in a world without COVID-19”.

Hooper predicted that the pre-trial processes will last around 18 months.

Thaci, the KLA’s wartime political leader, is charged alongside Kadri Veseli, leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo and a co-founder of the KLA, and two other former KLA guerrillas turned politicians, Jakup Krasniqi and Rexhep Selimi. They have all pleaded not guilty.

Ben Emmerson, lead counsel for Veseli, also said he believes that a minimum of 18 months will be needed for the case to go to trial.

Emmerson said he is disappointed that the prosecution expects the trial will start soon because that means that the defence will not have time to go through the evidence and that the prosecution assumes “the defendants know everything about the allegations against them”.

David Young, lead counsel for Selimi, and Alagendra Venkateswari, lead counsel for Krasniqi, expressed agreement with the other defence lawyers’ suggested timeline.

All four defendants are charged with a series of war crimes and crimes against humanity including illegal detentions, torture, murder, enforced disappearances and persecution from at least March 1998 to September 1999.

The indictment alleges that they were part of a “joint criminal enterprise” that aimed to take control over Kosovo “by means including unlawfully intimidating, mistreating, committing violence against, and removing those deemed to be opponents”.

Most of the crimes in the indictment were committed at KLA detention centres in Kosovo and Albania.

Emmerson argued however that only “some individual crimes were committed by individual members of the KLA… They are not justifiable but they were minimal compared to the crimes committed” against Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian population by Slobodan Milosevic’s troops and police.

“No joint criminal enterprise existed and no responsibility on crimes of individuals as the prosecution claims… the only joint enterprise was one to defend civilian population against crimes committed” by Serbian forces, Emmerson insisted.

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers were set up to try crimes allegedly committed during and just after the Kosovo war from 1998 to 2000. They are part of Kosovo’s judicial system but located in the Netherlands and staffed by internationals.

They were set up under pressure from Kosovo’s Western allies, who feared that Kosovo’s justice system was not robust enough to try KLA cases and protect witnesses from interference.

The so-called ‘special court’ is widely resented by Kosovo Albanians who see it as an insult to the KLA’s war for liberation from Serbian rule.

Billboard Supporting KLA Vandalized in Kosovo


A billboard with the message “Freedom Has a Name” supporting the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) members indicted by the Hague- based Specialist Chambers on war crimes, placed close to a Serb- majority municipality was damaged on Tuesday morning.

“Police units immediately went at the location and based on the first information it is suspected that the damage happened in the early hours of this morning,” the spokesperson of Kosovo Police for Prishtina region, Agron Borovci told Exit News.

He stated that an investigation on the circumstances and the identification of persons who may have been involved is currently initiated.

The billboard was placed in Kishnica village, inhabited by an Albanian majority, but is part of the territory of Gracanica, which is one of the ten Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo.

Gracanica’s mayor, Srdjan Popovic from the biggest Kosovo Serb party, the Serbian List, demanded the removal of the billboard on Monday.

“If this does not happen, we will ask a reaction from the embassies and the International Community, so that they use their authority and credibility they have in order to remove the content from the billboard,” a post of the Serbian List quotes Popovic.

“Liria ka Emer, UCK” [Freedom has a Name, KLA] started as a campaign following the confirmation of an indictment on war crimes against four senior figures of KLA, Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli, Jakup Krasniqi and Rexhep Selimi by the Specialist Chambers in The Hague.

“Freedom has a Name is an initiative of a goodwill group to start a debate on the new history of Kosovo and the need for a comprehensive collective memory in the path of a collective pride in the future,” reads the Facebook page of the initiative.

North Macedonia angry: "This is the biggest defeat of the EU"


Prime Minister Zoran Zaev considers Bulgaria's refusal to approve the framework for negotiations for North Macedonia the biggest defeat for the EU, MIA reported


In an interview with TV21, Zaev said that North Macedonia showed that it represents European values by signing the Agreement on Friendship with Bulgaria and the Prespa Agreement with Greece, and pointed out that Europe did not responded with the same measure, when it was its turn.

The prime minister said options were still possible that would allow an intergovernmental conference to be held in December.

The government, the Assembly and the Macedonian people should continue to nurture the spirit of building friendly relations, dialogue and debate, and to avoid conflicts, Zaev pointed out.

He said that it was very difficult for him to accept Bulgaria's veto, and added that he was convinced that this was not what the Bulgarian people and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov wanted.

Zaev believes that such steps were taken before the elections in Bulgaria and that the country should be given another chance because there are still other options.

The two countries will continue to search for a solution in the spirit of respect and friendship, the Prime Minister of North Macedonia pointed out.

He reiterated that a solution could be found by the end of December while Germany holds the EU presidency.

There is no other alternative but to join the EU, Zaev emphasized and added that the country will continue to follow that path.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Και επισήμως βέτο της Βουλγαρίας: Στοπ σε ενταξιακές διαπραγματεύσεις ΕΕ με Σκόπια


File photo: Η Εκατερίνα Ζαχαρίεβα, υπουργός Εξωτερικών της Βουλγαρία, κατά την επίσκεψή της στην Αθήνα τον περασμένο Ιούλιο. ΑΠΕ – ΜΠΕ/ΓΡΑΦΕΙΟ ΤΥΠΟΥ ΠΡΩΘΥΠΟΥΡΓΟΥ/ΔΗΜΗΤΡΗΣ ΠΑΠΑΜΗΤΣΟΣ


Χατζηδάκης: Ο αγωγός ΤΑP ορόσημο για ενεργειακή ασφάλεια Ελλάδας και Νοτιοανατολικής Ευρώπης
Η Βουλγαρία αρνήθηκε να εγκρίνει το διαπραγματευτικό πλαίσιο της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης για τη Βόρεια Μακεδονία, μπλοκάροντας επί της ουσίας την επίσημη έναρξη των ενταξιακών διαπραγματεύσεων της χώρας αυτής, ανακοίνωσε το υπουργείο Εξωτερικών.

Η Εκατερίνα Ζαχαρίεβα, υπουργός Εξωτερικών της Βουλγαρίας,  δήλωσε ότι η Σόφια δεν μπορεί προς το παρόν να στηρίξει την έναρξη των διαπραγματεύσεων μεταξύ των «27» και των Σκοπίων, λόγω των ανοιχτών γλωσσικών και ιστορικών διαφορών μεταξύ της Βόρειας Μακεδονίας και της Βουλγαρίας.

«Σε αυτό το στάδιο η Βουλγαρία δεν μπορεί να στηρίξει το προσχέδιο του διαπραγματευτικού πλαισίου με τη Δημοκρατία της Βόρειας Μακεδονίας και τη διεξαγωγή της πρώτης Διακυβερνητικής Διάσκεψης», είπε η υπουργός μετά τη λήξη του σημερινού Συμβουλίου Γενικών Υποθέσεων.
Οι χώρες της ΕΕ συμφώνησαν τον Μάρτιο ότι η Βόρεια Μακεδονία και η Αλβανία μπορούν να ξεκινήσουν διαπραγματεύσεις για να ενταχθούν στην Ένωση. Η επίσημη έναρξη αυτών των ενταξιακών διαπραγματεύσεων με τις δύο βαλκανικές χώρες επρόκειτο να γίνει τον Δεκέμβριο.

Η Ζαχαρίεβα είπε ότι η Βουλγαρία ενέκρινε το διαπραγματευτικό πλαίσιο για την Αλβανία.

Με πληροφορίες από Reuters μέσω ΑΠΕ – ΜΠΕ