Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Constitutional Court Rules Pacolli Election Illegal

A mere 35-days after being elected President, the Kosovo Constitutional Court released a ruling yesterday that the election violated the Kosovo Constitution.  The official verdict of the case has not been released yet and is expected to come out on Wednesday.  Without the verdict, it is not yet know if new elections will take place for the post or if Pacolli will be forced to step down from the post. 

In other news, corruption and organized crime has been big in the Kosovo headlines recently.  The Global Post published an article about how the international community, particularly the US, has ignored allegations of corruption and involvement in organized crime when it comes to Kosovo politicians, particularly Haschim Thaci.  In similar news, it seems that Haschim Thaci also could have difficulties traveling internationally due to the allegations as he must secure diplomatic visas which offer him immunity so that he is not arrested abroad.

And finally, there has been a rash of articles lately about the parallels and/or differences between the intervention in Kosovo in 1999 and the current intervention ongoing in Libya.  Here are a few articles for each viewpoint.

Libya & Kosovo

Thursday, March 17, 2011

EULEX Makes War Crimes Arrests

Yesterday, EULEX made a series of arrests for alleged war crimes committed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army.  Former Transport Minister Fatmir Limaj is again in the headlines facing new charges of war crimes (he was acquitted by the Hague in 2005 of separate charges due to a lack of evidence).  Along with Limaj, the Kosovo Police commander in Prizren was also arrested.  Reportedly when EULEX police went to the police station to execute the arrest warrant, members of Kosovo Police prevented them from carrying out the arrest and some members of the EULEX team were "held hostage".  Krasniqi later surrendered to EULEX police after consultations with his lawyer.  As usual, the arrests have been deemed a "demonization" of the KLA and an attempt to blacken the name of Kosovo.

In other news, Kosovo President Pacolli has been busy during his first weeks in office.  He has asked NATO to assist training the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) which is expected someday to become the army of Kosovo.  He also is planning on trying to change Kosovo election law to allow the President to be elected by the population rather than the parliament.  Pacolli also has made a visit to the northern Kosovo border with the KFOR commander to show support for those working at the border areas. 

For some reason, the Kosovo media has been overwhelmingly negative about Pacolli's election and presidency but while talking with people on the ground there is wide support and lots of hope for his presidency.  Most seem impressed that he is donating his salary to poor families and using his own funds to pay his staff and make renovations in the President's house.  Plus not many people in Kosovo can claim credit to bringing 25 recognitions for Kosovo's independence as Pacolli can.  Giving a breath of fresh air to all the negative media, here is a look at the positives that Pacolli's presidency may bring Kosovo.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kosovo & Serbia Start Technical Talks

Last week, Kosovo and Serbia started yet another round of technical talks, this time facilitated by the European Union.  Support for the talks in the Kosovo Assembly is mixed with some opposition parties totally against any kind of talks with Serbia.  A vote to support the talks narrowly passed in the Assembly a few days after the talks began.  So far news emerging from the talks is basically that Kosovo will not discuss status and Serbia will not recognize independence.  The International Crisis Group (ICG) did a cannonball into the Kosovo political pool by releasing a report suggesting autonomy for Northern Kosovo which Kosovo politicians quickly rejected as a violation of the territorial integrity (sound familar?).