Friday, September 23, 2005

Myth: The 1989 amendments to Serbia’s constitution affected in a negative way the rights of the Albanians of Kosovo.

FACT: The Albanians of Kosovo continued to have exactly the same cultural and national rights after the amendments to the constitution of Serbia as before. The amendments, as the (Albanian-dominated) Provincial Committee of the League of Communists of Kosovo concluded on February 28th 1989, “[did] not jeopardise the autonomy of the provinces or the equality among peoples and minorities” (http://www.milosevic-trial.org/trial/2004-12-01.htm) Amendment 27, for example, explicitly stated that “the languages of nationalities shall be in equal official and public use in the territories of the Autonomous Provinces”, (http://www.un.org/icty/transe54/050120IT.htm) and Kosovo Albanians continued to have full cultural autonomy and rights as a nationality of Yugoslavia.

The idea that these amendments were anti-Albanian or negatively affected Albanian rights does not even make sense. One of the members of the Constitutional Commission that prepared the amendments, Professor Surija Popovci, was a Kosovo Albanian, and he appeared on television prior to the 23rd March session of the Kosovo Assembly, which overwhelmingly agreed to the amendments, to declare his support for them (http://www.milosevic-trial.org/trial/2002-02-19.htm). Prominent Albanian leaders such as Sinan Hasani, then Kosovo’s representative on the Presidency of Yugoslavia and a former President and Vice-President of the Presidency of Yugoslavia, and the Albanian leaders of the Kosovo Communist Party and government, also all supported the amendments. (http://www.milosevic-trial.org/trial/2004-12-01.htm) Is this at all consistent with the notion that they rescinded or restricted the rights of the Albanian people?

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