the legal battle:


The Defendants' List of Documents:

[the next step - 2 December 1988]



The legal documents so far:

The original letter from ITN's solicitors

Statement of Claim from ITN

The Defence

Two-Ten Statement in Open Court

The Reply

>The Defendants' List of Documents

The outbreak of new ethnic protests in the southern province of Kosovo brings Yugoslavia closer to collapse.

Thousands of Albanians from Kosovo are up in arms against Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic's plans to bring the autonomous province in which they are a majority under Serbian control. Milosevic's campaign to incorporate Kosovo into a greater Serbia is part of a broader strategy to reassert Serbia's traditional dominance in the Yugoslav federation and establish his own dominant position in the Yugoslav leadership. By accusing the Albanian population of genocide against the Serbian minority in Kosovo, Milosevic has mobilised tens of thousands in a virulent campaign of Serbian chauvinism.


Kosovo was carved out of Serbia under former president Marshal Tito. By dividing up the Serbian republic in this way, Tito aimed to weaken the dominant position of the Serbs. He is remembered today for his success in reconciling the country's 16 nationalities by suppressing all opposition and introducing economic reforms. Tito's brand of self-management socialism enjoyed some success for a time, but in the absence of genuine workers' democracy soon degenerated into bureaucratic inertia. Today Yugoslavia is in the throes of economic crisis, and with economic decay has come the disintegration along ethnic lines of Tito's carefully constructed federation.

Kosovo is at the centre of this process of disintegration. The province used to be the heartland of Serbia, but now Serbians make up barely 10 per cent of the population in Kosovo. Albanians have been buying out homes and farms from Serbs, many of whom are departing from the province. This is the real basis of Serbian antagonism towards the Albanian majority.

The crisis in Kosovo is being played out in the context of growing unrest across the country in response to runaway inflation and harsh austerity. Everywhere workers have staged militant demonstrations and strikes over the past year on a scale unprecedented in post-war Yugoslavia. Milosovic hopes to channel the anger of Serbian workers into a chauvinistic campaign against a mythical Albanian threat.

Milosevic's manoeuvres have caused serious tensions in the federal party leadership. October's central committee meeting degenerated into a row between the Serbs and representatives from Slovenia and other republics who fear a reassertion of Serbian dominance. By threatening to unleash a wave of Serbian nationalism, Milosovic has bullied most of the federal leadership into agreeing to constitutional amendments which will restore Serbian control over Kosovo. However, Kosovo's own leadership, which has split three ways under pressure from the Albanians, remains a stumbling-block.

A pro-Serbian faction is likely to triumph in the Kosovo party and accept an end to the autonomy of the province. But unrest is likely to grow and there is talk of a recurrence of the bloody Albanian uprisings of 1981. Milosevic has so far succeeded in turning working class anger to his advantage, but he has unleashed a force which could just as easily turn against the bureaucracy and sweep him aside.

Russell Osborne

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