Saturday, June 4, 2011

EULEX Quickly Losing Face

EULEX continues to have rocky relations with the local population and Kosovo citizens are quickly losing faith in the European Union's largest mission. A report by IPOL shows that the mission has been losing its crediblity with the local population and has dropped to its 2008 levels when the mission first deployed to Kosovo. Inactivity and ignorance were words used to describe the mission as Kosovo celebrated Europe Day on 10 May 2011. Even the head of the International Civilian Office, Peter Feith, has expressed his disappointment in EULEX during an interview with Kosovo paper Zeri.  The former chief of the Economic and Fiscal Affairs Unit in the International Civilian Office (ICO), Andrea Lorenzo Capussela, published an article in the Guardian titled "Eulex in Kosovo: A shining symbol of incompetence" and then was interviewed by Transitions Online about his criticism of the EULEX mission as being overrun with politicial agenda.

Following the EULEX arrests of ten former KLA fighters for war crimes and the non-arrest of former Minister Fatmir Limaj due to diplomatic immunity, the KLA veterans group has urged its members not to recognize the authority of EULEX. The group further has told its members not to respond to requests for interviews and cooperate as EULEX has been mistreating and violating the human rights of the recent detainees.  On the same subject, Fatmir Limaj was summoned to the EULEX prosecutor's office to give a statement as a suspect of war crimes.

EULEX continues to drag its heels in response to the much debated Marty report.  Officials from EULEX met with Marty and his team in late May in efforts to start a preliminary investigation.  Concerns over evidence and the protection of witnesses have lead to delays in transferring information from Marty to EULEX.  Serbia continues to insist that the investigation should happen under the supervision of the United Nations but the European Union has not supported the view.

Still Alive & Kicking - A Quick Political Catch-Up

I know it has been a while since I have blogged but I am still alive and kicking :)  In fact, I'm happy to report that the reason it has been so long since I last blogged is because Troy and I have been home in the US since the beginning of April and were blessed with the birth of our first child on 12 May 2011, a beautiful baby girl :)  A fairly good excuse for not blogging I suppose!  But no more excuses, a lot has been going on in Kosovo since I last wrote so I know there is no possible chance that I will cover it all but here's a go at it :)

After the Constitutional Court ruled that the election of Pacolli was not in accordance with the law, Kosovo elected its first female president on 6 April 2011, the little known Atifete Jahjaga.  Jahjaga, who is not aligned with any political parties, comes from the ranks of the Kosovo Police Service where she was one if not the highest ranking female police officers in the Balkans.  Jahjaga won the Kosovo parliament presidential election with the highest majority since late leader Ibrahim Rugova and voting only lasted one round, unlike the two failing rounds with Pacolli before his illegitimate election in the third round.

Kosovo and Serbia continue to hold European-sponsored talks on technical issues.  So far there seems to be little progress and Serbia insists that it still will not recognize an independent Kosovo.  On 12 May 2011, protestors from Vetevendosje clashed with Kosovo Police during a demonstration against the visit of the Serbian chief negotiator.  Police used tear gas to disperse the protestors who were throwing rocks and damaged several official vehicles during the demonstration.  Talk of partition has raised ire on both sides of the table and both vehemently reject the idea of splitting Kosovo.  In the meantime, while ethnic tensions have eased, life for minorities in Kosovo is still challenging.