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Daily Trip Report - March 17, 2004

Prof. Perritt -
Trip report Wednesday, 17 March 2004
The press conference scheduled with the law faculty this morning did not come off because the Dean thought there were not enough press there. It was rescheduled for 5 PM, at which time there was no press because everyone was covering the conflicts in Mitrovica and in the Serb enclaves on the road to Skopje and (maybe) the one in Fushe Kosova.

I had a meeting with John Johnson, Kirk Adams and Karl Bloch at KTA regarding my role and C-K's role under the new USAID "Kosovo 5" contract with Bearing Point. They are enthusiastic about C-K externships with the KTA General Counsel and at the Special Chamber, and about C-K organizing corporate government training activities with the KTA itself and with the managements of the NewCos. Bearing Point will pay.

I had a two-hour lunch with Paul Csiszar, the General Counsel of KTA, who was friendly and funny in his characterizations of some of the challenges faced by the KTA. He also is enthusiastic about C-K externships in his office, and could accommodate a couple of students for the summer beginning in May and would like a student or two for the entire Fall Semester. He has talked to EAR about this and EAR is fine, and might be willing to pay-although EAR support might have to be limited to a European. One possibility is to recruit a European LLM student at C-K who, upon completion of the LLM, would go to Kosova and be a senior extern/clerk with KTA, working with C-K JD students. I also pitched the idea of supplementing the externship activity with Kosovar students from the new U.Pitt/C-K/CEELI clinic we contemplate establishing at the University of Prishtina with U.Pitt-and, maybe, CEELI-money.

As to employee claims, Csiszar's view is that resources best would be placed with the Trade Union organization, which has the responsibility in the first instance to put together the employee lists for the 20% fund. This reinforces our discussion with Shabani and Shala about a link between C-K's Institute for Law and the Workplace and the Trade Union organization.

As to the unrest, which is making the news:
Prof. Gruda began our pre-press conference meeting at the law faculty by telling us about the three children in Mitrovica, who were apparently chased into the river by Serb kids and a dog, drowning three. He also said that the Serbs had blocked the road from Prishtina to Skopje.

I returned to the Hotel Victory about 1030 to make some changes in the Symposium program and to send an email about my meeting with the Prime Minister. By the time I left to walk back downtown, at about 1120, there was a gridlock traffic jam in the circle near the Hotel Victory and clusters of curious onlookers. It appeared that a bus had struck broadside or simply been blocked by an automobile at the end of Mother Theresa Street, where it enters the circle. A few police were there, not doing anything.

As I walked up Mother Theresa Street toward town (northward), I saw twenty or thirty police vehicles - mostly patrol cars with a few SUVs-stuck in the immobile traffic jam. Each vehicle had two or three police officers in it-mostly Kosovo Police Service-with two or three UNMIK Police vehicles. No Caribinieri, no KFOR, and no tactical police squads. Interestingly, the police cars were just sitting in traffic, with no attempt to jump the median fence (framed by a twelve-inch high fence), and no evident agitation but for two or three KPS officers who were walking or running toward the circle. I thought about how differently the Chicago Police would have behaved, jumping median fences and driving up sidewalks-of course there are no sidewalks on that part of Mother Theresa Street.

When I got downtown, I saw many more police cars headed south on Mother Theresa Street and a couple of UNMIK police at each intersection near the Grand Hotel. There was a crowd of 100-200 people in front of the National Theatre, apparently preparing for a rally of some sort. The sidewalks had heavy pedestrian traffic, but not so heavy as to block passage. Most people appeared to be going about their ordinary business.

By 1300, things seemed back to normal in the vicinity of the KTA and the Government Building. At 1745, when I came back to the Grand Hotel from the Law Faculty, large numbers of young people were streaming down Mother Theresa street, but by the time I walked to the Hotel Victory at about 1815, no large crowd or demonstration was evidence in the vicinity of the University. I had a couple of detours planned in case I encountered an unruly mob or a crowd so thick that I could not easily force my way through. But pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks was only slightly heavier than any usual evening. An UNMIK Police vehicle had the road blocked at the intersection where the PTK is located.

In the last block before the circle near the Hotel Victory, a car-apparently a Jeep Cherokee-was on fire in the middle of the southbound lane of Mother Theresa Street, almost completely consumed by the time I got there. I had heard some loud pops as I walked up the street toward it. It did not sound like gunfire and the pedestrians ahead of me were not reacting as they would have to gunfire, so I continued up the street. I guess the noise was the manifold and then the gas tank of the vehicle exploding.

Knots of people-mostly young-stood on the sidewalks and in the street looking at the burning car. They were not particularly rowdy and certainly not menacing in any way. Interestingly, there were no police (or firemen) near the car or at the circle. It was just sitting in the middle of the street blazing away. Already you could see the frame where the interior already had burned away.

I saw no KFOR troops or vehicles all day, anywhere, although there had been pairs of Swedish KFOR soldiers around town on the other days, before today. Presumably the KFOR folks were in Mitrovica and perhaps near the Serb enclaves.

Professor Gruda was talking about 100 dead, but I did not believe that, having just read AP and Radio B92 reports on the Internet that 5 had been killed and 100 injured in Mitrovica. Later I heard from Jim Wooster, whom I encountered at the Grand Hotel, that the fatality toll was up to eight.

It will be interesting how Mr. Shabani's strike/demonstration tomorrow, planned to involve 15,000 people, will be perceived-if it occurs at all.

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