Friday, April 13, 2012

Tensions High in Kosovo

Tensions continue to escalate in Kosovo following the explosion that killed an Albanian man, the beating of a Serbian man, and then the shooting of a Serbian in the North. 

Albanians reportedly began arming themselves for protection while the Kosovo government and international organizations called for calm.  Deputy PM Hajredin Kuci called for an intervention in the North similar to that of July 2011 which led to blockades of EULEX and KFOR in the North but Serbia criticized the statement as inflammatory and warned that it would just further tensions.  KFOR is said to be monitoring the Kosovo Police's special riot unit (ROSU) in anticipation that there would be a police action Thursday or Friday.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Explosion Kills One in North Mitrovica

An explosion outside an apartment in North Mitrovica's mixed neighborhood of Three Towers killed one Albanian man, Selver Haradinaj, and injured four of his children and wife on Sunday.  Called a terrorist act and condemned by the Kosovo government, the explosion has heightened the tension that has already been high in the disputed North of Kosovo.  In an alleged "response" to the killing of Hardinaj, three Albanians are said to have beaten a Serbian man who was returning home to the mixed village of Suvidoll.

Tensions have already been high between Albanians and Serbs since the announcement of Serbian elections in the North and the stoning of a Serbian convoy carrying members of the negotiating team in Pristina earlier in the week.  No one was injured in the stoning but material damage was done to two of the vehicles in the convoy.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Local News from Kosovo

Crime seems to be a big topic in the local news these days from the arrest of the anti-corruption prosecutor to the Klecka trial to an investigation being opened into former President Pacolli.

Prosecution will not present new evidence or revise indictment in Klecka Trial
A letter from EULEX prosecutor, Charles Hardaway, to the court has stated that the prosecution will not present any new evidence and will not revise the indictment as requested by the panel after its dismissal of the Witness X evidence.  The letter also requests the panel to reverse the decision on the admissibility of the evidence of Agim Zogaj.  In addition to the letter, a few days ago, EULEX prosecution requested that Limaj and the other remaining defendants be placed under house arrest citing flight risk and witness intimidation.

EULEX Conducting 90 Investigations into Organized Crime
EULEX Spokesperson Nicholas Hawthorne has stated that EULEX is currently conducting more than 90 investigations into corruption and organized crime.  So far, EULEX has concluded a total of 46 cases but details of the results are not mentioned.  While Hawthorne said that he would not provide any information on specific cases, perhaps the most widely known investigation is the MTPT, Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecomms, involving former Minister Fatmir Limaj, to which EULEX has until 23 April to issue an indictment before their time runs out.  Another case that recently emerged is that of the head of the anti-corruption task force who was arrested a few days ago under suspicion of accepting bribes to drop charges.

Anti-Corruption Agency Launches Investigation into Behgjet Pacolli
A law exists on Kosovo books to prevent a conflict of interest between business and politics.  Called the "Law on Preventing Conflict of Interest in Exercising Public Function" (Nr.04/L-051), the law essentially prevents politicians from being involved in business.  It has long been rumored that along with the various recognitions that Pacolli has gotten for Kosovo's independence, he also has been making business deals with companies in those countries.  One of the latest, Nigeria, is the alleged reason for the start of the investigation where Pacolli signed a business deal for a company called SEAGAS.  No details of the case will be made until the proceedings are finalized.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Arrested for...Corruption?!

The head of the anti-corruption task force, Nazmi Mustafa, created by Kosovo PM Haschim Thaci has been arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes in exchange for dropping corruption charges along with two other task force members.

I was traveling last week and didn't have the chance to pounce on this interesting local here it is...

Mayor of Ferizaj Sentenced to Jail Time, Resigns, Extraordinary Elections Announced
The Supreme Court of Kosovo sentenced the mayor of Ferizaj, Bajrush Xhemajli, to two and half years in jail for a traffic accident that left one person dead and injured several others.  Following his resignation, Kosovo President Jahjaga announced extraordinary elections to be held on 29 April for a new mayor.

Reciprocal Arrests?

Last week, five Serbs were arrested for transporting election material into Kosovo by the KPS.  A few days ago, Serbian police allegedly crossed the boundary into Kosovo and arrested two KPS officers who were allegedly 130 meters within Kosovo (I say allegedly because the investigation into what really happened is ongoing and the political rhetoric is high.)  However, Serbia released the KPS officers to EULEX on Monday, 02 April.