Created: 8/30/1989

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YUGOSlJVVIA: Political Trials Announced

Trials have been set in October for former Kosovo party chief Azem Vlasi andther ousted ethnic Albanian leaders on charges of organizing ethnic Albanian protests last March; the trials, inspired by Serbian officials, will add to interregional tensions. The protesters were trying to thwart Serbia's bid for greater control over mostly Albanian Kosovo Province; resulting riots led to the deployment of Army troops and at leasteaths. The prosecution is finding it difficult lotrong case against Vlasi. Northern liberals view his arrest as symbolizing Serbian authoritarianism. State Presidentlovene, recently cautioned the Kosovo prosecutors against violating legal norms

^HaaaaatVTht prosecution will distort and exaggerate the role Vlasi and the others probably played in organizing the demonstrations in these largely political trials. The outcome, probably prison sentences of several years, will serve lo legitimize Serbian leader Milosevic's ouster of the provincial leadership last March. Kosovo Albanians, although still imimidaled by security forces, may try to hold demonstrations in ihe province to protest ihe sentencing of the popular Vlasi. Belgrade will react sharply louman rights abuses surrounding the trials.tmmaaaml

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