CDHRF and Nisma react against Apostolova’s statement
(Most monitored broadcasters, RTK&TV21)
Through a press release issued, Council for Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) has criticised Head of the European Union Office in Kosovo, Nataliya Apostolova.
“Persistence of Madame Apostolova on revision of the Constitutional Court’s judgment for the Association of Serb municipalities is a flagrant interference in the Constitutional Court and it is unacceptable as such, same as it presents a very dangerous precedent that tries to turn the Constitutional Court into a mechanism for implementation of harmful political projects for Kosovo in contradiction with the laws in force and the Constitution that the Constitutional Court must defend,” CDHRF considers.
Nisma për Kosovën reacted, too. It also considers that the request of EU representative, Apostolova, for revision of the Agreement on Association of Serb majority municipalities by the Constitutional Court is unacceptable.
This request, according to Nisma, sends a wrong message and a bad model that every time someone does not like Court’s judgments, they can be changed with the request of politics.
EU Office clarified Apostolova’s statement on ASMM
(Most monitored broadcasters, KTV)
The EU Office in Kosovo, through an explanation sent to media, has clarified the statement of the Head of this Office, Nataliya Apostolova, regarding the Association of Serb majority municipalities – ASMM.
The full statement of this Office reads: “At the round table discussion on the topic “Four Years after the April Agreement: How effective is the political dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia?” organised by the Group for Legal and Political Studies, Nataliya Apostolova, Head of the EU Office/EU Special Representative, by no means has said that the Agreement on Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities should be revised. We can only assume that this misinterpretation happened due to poor translation during the event.
Among others, Ambassador Apostolova has also stated this, the explanation added:
“We believe it is in the national interest of Kosovo, first, to solve open issues with Serbia through normalisation of relations which we define as visible and sustainable improvement of relations aimed at improving the lives of people. Second, to improve relations within Kosovo between Serbs and Albanians in a mutually agreeable way. And third, to help Kosovo achieve progress on its European path.
The Prishtinë/Pristina-Belgrade Dialogue is a tool that combines all three processes. It is therefore in the national interest of Kosovo to participate in this process and to play a pro-active and constructive role.
It is in this context that the agreement on the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities should be viewed. It was agreed between the two sides within the EU facilitated Dialogue. It is within the Dialogue framework that the EU expects relations between the sides to further normalise and the Association/Community to be established as soon as possible. Progress on the Dialogue is a prerequisite for both to make progress on their respective EU paths.”
Nisma për Kosovën welcomed the explanation of EU Office, RTK portal reported later during the evening.
Thaçi: Aside from EU, our institutions are also responsible for non-liberalisation of visas
(Most monitored broadcasters, KTV)
President Hashim Thaçi has admitted that aside from the European Union, Kosovo institutions are also responsible for non-liberalisation of visas.
“We cannot allow this ‘shameful’ situation to go on eternally. Therefore, on behalf of the citizens I invite institutions responsible to take necessary actions and decisions to fulfil the final remaining criterion for visa liberalisation without delay,” Thaçi wrote in Facebook.
President Thaçi added that Government and Assembly must coordinate and fulfil this criterion for liberalisation of visas with priority over the coming days.
Simic: We want Association according to Brussels Agreement, not Constitution
At the Srpska List stress that Association of Serb majority municipalities should be established in compliance with Brussels Agreement, RTK2 reported.
“We were in a position to start this process, but the Government of Kosovo and Prime Minister requested that it starts in compliance with the Constitution of Kosovo and not in accordance with the Agreement reached in Brussels. And, we did not want to enter into such an arrangement. We had the opportunity to unilaterally establish it, but we did not want to do it. We wanted to have a consensus about this issue with our ruling coalition partners,” Srpska List caucus leader, Slavko Simic, told RTK2.
Analysts sceptical about integration of ‘Civil Protection’
Integration of members of the so-called ‘Civil Protection’ in Kosovo institutions is heading toward its end.
From its contingency fund, Government of Kosovo has allocated 31 thousand euros for integrating Serb members of ‘Civil Protection’, which has been considered for many years as parallel with its actions in Kosovo north.
This decision was taken on Wednesday’s meeting and, according to Minister Edita Tahiri; such a decision encloses implementation of the agreement for dissolution of the so-called ‘Civil Protection’.
But, analysts and civil society representatives see this integration with scepticism. Arton Demhasaj of “ÇOHU” organisation has doubts that there will be an authentic integration of ‘Civil Protection’ members in Kosovo institutions.
On the other hand, analyst Imer Mushkolaj says that Government should condition dialogue in Brussels with dissolution of parallel structures.
Lacking funds, Kosovar forensics not part of excavations of mass graves in Serbia
There are two days that excavations for identification of bodies of Albanians murdered during the war have started in Krizevac of Raska, Serbia. But, none of Kosovar forensic experts has travelled to Raska, KTV reported.
Forensics requested funds from the Government Commission for the Missing Persons to go there, but the latter did not respond to their request.
Head of the Government Commission for the Missing Persons, Prenk Gjetaj, said that presence of forensics is not necessary at this stage and they cannot give them funds, since these two institutions have divided budgetary sources.
On the other hand, Arsim Gërxhaliu says that Department of Forensic Medicine does not have dedicated funds for this issue; therefore, he requests financial support from the Commission.
However, Prenk Gjetaj says the opposite, as, according to him, the Department never sent him anything in writing that it lacks finances.
Tomic: We assist all communities in Kosovo
During their meeting on Wednesday, members of the Assembly Committee on Rights, Interests of Communities and Returns, requested from Kosovo Government to implement the Law on Civil Service in relation to employment of non-majority community members in Kosovo public institutions.
Referring to the Law on Civil Service which stipulates that out of the general number of civil servants, 10 per cent of employees should be from non-majority communities, Qerim Bajrami, Member of the Assembly from Bosniak community, considers that several laws and recommendations adopted by Kosovo Assembly in relation to non-majority communities are not implemented. Bajrami said that Law on Budget continues to be violated because Kosovo Government did not issue a specific decision on financing of non- majority communities. However, Jasmina Zivkovic, Chairperson of this Committee, said that answers about this issue should be sought from Minister of Finance and Government.
On the other hand, Director of Kosovo Government’s Office for Communities Ivan Tomic reacted against Qerimi’s statement. Tomic told RTK2 that his Office, despite the low budget, has supported the Bosniak community.
“I do understand MP’s concern, but the pressure they are putting on this Office is unacceptable. I will continue to carry on my duty and we will continue to provide assistance where it is most needed, in compliance with our capacities and regardless of ethnic, religious and political affiliation,” Tomic told RTK2.
At the meeting, the Committee supported amendment to the Law on Official Holidays and inclusion of Egyptian Community Day in the Official Holidays in Kosovo.
UP expected to build a fence around its campus
Management of the University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina” is discussing the possibility of stopping uncontrolled entrance of citizens in the university campus. Such an idea was presented by the pro-rector for budget and finance, Myrvete Badivuku.
This because different developments have occurred at the university spaces, including the recent case of doubts for secret works in the building destined for Orthodox Church.
According to pro-rector Badivuku, due to these developments, need for building up fences around the university campus has come up.
‘Student Democracy” organisation has also requested stoppage of movement for people who are not students. Its representatives say that the possibility for anyone to enter UP premises might present a risk and threat for students and university staff. Head of this student group seeks a solution for this problem.
Earlier management of UP started encirclement of university campus with fence, but parts of it still remain open. Different from the proposals given by the current management, campuses of renowned international universities are open to all, and there are no fences around them.
National Strategy on Protection from Domestic Violence published
(Most monitored broadcasters, RTK2)
National Strategy of Kosovo on Protection from Domestic Violence and Action Plan 2016-2020 was published on Wednesday. The aim of this Strategy is to strengthen justice system and increase reporting cases of domestic violence, RTK1 reported.
On this occasion, Kosovo Minister of Justice Dhurata Hoxha said that they will not stop until zero tolerance is turned into a reality for hundreds of children, women and elderly who are subjected to domestic violence. She emphasized that the fight against this negative phenomenon is not producing the desired results.
On the other hand, international and local representatives, who attended the conference launch, commended the work of institutions in this field.
“Kosovo has made efforts to prevent this negative phenomenon. You are making progress and you should be proud of it,” said Colleen Hyland, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S to Kosovo.