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Mahmut Bakalli
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Birth: Jan. 19, 1936, Kosovo
Death: Apr. 14, 2006
City of Belgrade (Grad Beograd), Serbia

Politician, age 70.

MAHMUT BAKALLI first appeared on the world stage in The Hague on February 18, 2002. He was the first prosection witness in the trial of the former Yugoslav dictator, Slobodan Milosevic. Bakalli said Milosevic had aided and abetted rebels in Kosovo who had murdered Serbian policemen. He also said that the accused, supported the policies of intimidation that had driven more than 300 hapless Serbs out of Kosovo and had been responsible for the murder of 12,000 ethnic Albanians.

Bakalli was born in 1936 in the Kosovan town of Djakovica. After 1944, the Kosovo in which he grew up was tightly controlled by the Serbian police; Kosovo being, at this stage, rigidly integrated in Yugoslavia's Serbian republic. Bakalli showed academic promise and graduated from the Higher School of Political Sciences in Belgrade. In 1957 he became a member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, as the Yugoslav party called itself to distinguish it from the Soviet-style communist parties in the remainder of Eastern Europe. Bakalli established himself as an active and able administrator of the party's youth movement and became a member of the movement's central committee. By the second half of the 1960s he was moving into the party itself, as well as the youth movement, becoming in 1967 secretary of the Pristina provincial party committee; in November of the following year he became a member of the central committee of the League of Communists of Serbia.

In 1971, he was made chairman of the central committee, in effect, the leader of the League of Communists of Kosovo. It was a position he was to hold for a decade. His position as party boss of Kosovo gave him access to the upper ranks of the federal party organisation, the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. He joined its central committee and then also the central committee of the league's praesidium in 1974. In that year, however, Yugoslavia adoped a new constitution. One of its most important features was that it devolved more power to the individual republics of Yugoslavia and within Serbia it gave much greater power to the authorities in its two autonomous regions, the Vojvodina and Kosovo.

Bakalli was not merely a party apparatchik. In the late 1960s he had established himself as an academic sociologist and had been appointed lecturer in the University of Pristina. When he was first appointed to it the University of Pristina taught predominantly in Serbian, rather than in Albanian, which by then was the language of most of its students. This was one of the main grievances of the students who spearheaded the demonstrations and riots that swept through Kosovo in the heady year of 1968. After the riots the university taught primarily in Albanian, and the heavy grip of the Serbian police in Kosovo was relaxed.

After Nato intervention and the establishment of the Kosovo assembly in 1999, Bakalli became a deputy for the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo party. He rapidly consolidated his reputation for moderation and conciliation. He did not wish Kosovo to rush headlong into independence and was anxious to repair the breach between Serb and Albanian. On April 19, 2000, in Pristina, he joined other ethnic Albanians, including Ibrahim Rugova, and prominent Serbians, including Orthodox Archbishop Artemije, to sign an appeal to all people in Kosovo. When Agim Ceku became prime minister of Kosovo in March 2006 he made Bakalli one of his close advisers. He did not serve long. He had suffered for a considerable time from throat cancer, from which he died, having outlived his adversary from The Hague and Belgrade (Milosevic) by only a month. He was survived by his wife and three daughters.
Plot: In Pristina, Serbia-Montenegro
Created by: Row Walker
Record added: Jun 17, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19949088
Mahmut Bakalli
Added by: Row Walker
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A little Democracy, anyone? Rest in peace.
- Row Walker
 Added: Jun. 18, 2007

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