Thursday, March 1, 2012

Footnotes, Diaries, and Politicial Mudslinging

Some of the biggest news coming out of Kosovo recently has been the agreement reached between Serbia and Kosovo on how Kosovo will be represented in international organizations.  The compromise reaches removes the phrase "Republic of" before Kosovo and puts an asterisk following with a footnote stating ""This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence."  And with that, UNMIK has stated that it shall only attend regional conferences "if necessary".

However, the footnote is not the only focus lately in the local media.  Two big issues that the international coverage has failed to pick up on has been the continuation of the Klecka war crimes trial and the political mudslinging between the Kosovo political parties that I thought I would get to miss this election year!  The articles I will link to are from local news sources in Albanian but Google Translate does the job if you need a translation :)

So the Klecka's basically in the news almost every day here.  I have mentioned it a few times before but here is a bit of an update.  The defense attorneys continue to question the admissibility of the diary of Witness X, Agim Zogaj.  Questions have been raised over the fact that Zogaj only signed statements in English, a language he reportedly did not master, and no Albanian translation of the statements was provided to him.  Further to the requests regarding the prosecutor, Salustro, it has been reported that the defense has sent a request to the Head of EULEX to request the lifting of his immunity to answer questions about allegations in Witness X's diary that he was threatened by Salustro.

Ah political mudslinging!!!  You would almost think that you were in the US during election season but let's not forget that Kosovo should soon be gearing up for presidential elections in the next year or so!  It seems to have started with political disagreements about accepting the footnote which was seen by many Kosovo politicians to diminish the Declaration of Independence.  Following very public disagreements in parliament and the media, it is reported that the US Ambassador, Christopher Dell, called two of the largest parties, LDK and Vetevendosje, anti-American and anti-European.  Then Thaci gave a speech in Lipjan where he said that if Ibrahim Rugova saw LDK he would weep and if Ramush Haradinaj saw AAK he would laugh at the current leadership.  Naturally the parties have came back and called Thaci everything from irresponsible to a poor leader.