YUGOSLAVIA: KOSOVO TRIAL PROVOKES NEW TENSIONS

Created: 11/6/1989

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

YUGOSLAVIA:

Trial IVoiokcs New Tension*

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The trial of Kosorar leaders aecuted of fomenting unrest in the Serbian province latt March is aggravating tensions between Serbia and the northern republics and probably will lead to criticism of Yagoslaria's human rights record.

Lawyers Tor former Kosovo party chief Vlasi andodefendanis have delayed the proceedings by catling last Mondayew jud and prosecutorhange of venue from Scrbian-ronllulled regions. Political leaders and human rights groups in the liberal northern republics of Slovenia and Croatia have called theolitical trial and demanded the charges be dropped,ejected so far by state and partyeniorcibian strongman Milosevic has hintedostirial pardt

The trial has sparked small protests and some violence in the provincial capital and several nearby towns. At least one protester diedonfrontation with police, and two were killedun batile with the militia on Thursday. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the death toll on Thursday may have been higher and that another protester was killed the next day. Allhough local secuniy was reinforced before the trial, there is no signcturn.to the de facto miirual law imposed following riols last

|fhc trial is quicklyo-win situation for Serbia,it is sure to increase the points of contention between already feudingv-iR conviction and stiff sentence would play well to Milosevics hardline constituents, but it would remind other regions of Serbia's heavy handedness last spring andmbition to dominate national politics. On the otherhange in venue, alihough not likely, would lay the groundwork for an acquittal, handingajor defeat in the runup to ihe partv congress in January. Federal leaders probably will piess the judiciary to let foreign diplomats attend what is sure toong trial. Heightened international concern over the lack of openness, the legitimacy of the charges, and police handling of the prol likely to further tarnish Belgrade's human rights record. *

Ethnic Albanian protesters have adopted new tactics. The well-orchcstraied and orderly demonstrations last spring have given way lo sporadic hit-and-run confrontations by small groups armed with stones and guns, recalling "West Bank" tactics. Last week's violence is likely to convince security officials of the potential for continuedir iheplans to withdraw troop* and reduce security mcasur

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