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Posted inAlbania, Kosovo, Southeastern Europe

BALKAN CRISIS: Show Trials in Kosovo

ETHNIC ALBANIANS IN THE SERBIAN province of Kosovo have been developing a parallel shadow state since Belgrade abolished the region’s autonomy in 1989. At that time, the majority of Kosovar Albanians committed themselves to a separate government that maintains peaceful resistance to Belgrade’s rule. But the Serbian government claims that the Kosovar shadow state is planning to violently separate of Kosovo from rump Yugoslavia. Toward that end, says Belgrade, the Kosovar shadow state has built up an army, a Defense Ministry, and an Interior Ministry. The Serbs have attempted to “prove” their point by intimidating Albanians and staging show trials. For its part, the shadow-state government denies the charges, saying that while some ethnic Albanians possess weapons for self-defense, the shadow government has no paramilitary strategy. Instead, it says, it supports demilitarization of the region.