Preliminary investigation into Lumezi file, in contradiction with law, KLI says
The preliminary investigations into the manipulated file of State Prosecutor’s bar exam, Aleksandër Lumezi, were in contradiction with the Criminal Code of Kosovo and the applicable laws.
According to the Kosovo Law Institute, Prosecutor [Kujtim] Munishi has investigated a case that was subject to statute of limitation, which is prohibited by law, while he has limited investigations for his superior, although Lumezi was the key suspect in public denunciation of Enver Hasani, KTV reported.
According to this Institute, the entire investigation was carried out in a preliminary phase, thus completely excluding judicial control and leaving everything at the discretion of the prosecutor. Seizure of materials by Munishi was made without a court decision, making this evidence inadmissible at any later stage in court.
The very treatment of this matter by the Basic Prosecution in Prishtinë/Prishtina was done in violation of the applicable law, respectively contrary to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code of Kosovo.
According to the KLI, Prosecutor Munishi, in violation of law, has requested from the Kosovo Police to collect information in preliminary procedure, to interrogate witnesses and seize files regarding a criminal offense, which by law had reached the deadline of statute of limitation of criminal prosecution.
Pursuant to the Criminal Code, at any stage of criminal proceedings, the court and other criminal prosecution bodies are obliged, ex officio, to take care, consider and execute statute to limitation. Hence, the statutory limitation is expressed according to the power of law, in all cases when the statutory limitations expire.
Consequently, according to the CPC, Police are obliged to act only according to legitimate demands of the prosecutor, which in this case has acted according to the unlawful authorizations of the Prosecutor Munishi.
“In the concrete case, the Prosecution never conducted criminal proceedings regarding suspicions of falsifying the bar exam file of the Chief State Prosecutor, respectively it did not take investigative actions regarding the suspicion of committing the offense set by paragraph 2 of Article 434 by Chief Prosecutor Lumezi, as it was raised in the public denunciation,” the KLI report addressed to media reads.
Prosecutor Munishi, under the monitoring of an EULEX prosecutor, despite the fact that he has conducted a preliminary procedure, at the same time in contradiction with provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, has interrogated witnesses from Kosovo and Serbia, has seized files in the Kosovo Archive and the Ministry of Justice.
The seizure, according to the decision to dismiss the criminal report, was made without a court order.
Judicial practice proves that in such cases, apart from the evidence, minutes, the decisive role in revealing the truth lies in the expertise of allegedly manipulated documents.
Further, KLI says that the prosecutor has ignored this legal obligation entirely, by prejudging the case. He has never asked for expertise regarding suspicions about manipulated files.
In the ruling Prosecutor Munishi mentions that they have submitted requests for access to documents regarding the appointment of prosecutors and judges to UNMIK and the OSCE.
But, without receiving any response, he has issued a ruling to dismiss the criminal report, which in judicial practice is something unseen before.
Four of the living witnesses of the Legal Consultative Commission, who had evaluated the candidates for judges and prosecutors in 1999/2000, fully state the veracity of the minutes, according to which Aleksandër Lumezi did not possess a bar exam.
Moreover, according to these minutes, former UNMIK Chief Administrator Bernard Kouchner had decreed 31 candidates in violation of the law, including candidates without bar exam.
Prosecutor Munishi did not wait for UNMIK and OSCE responses to get hold of these files so he can reveal the truth beyond any doubt.
According to KLI, Prosecutor Munishi has given special importance to evidence of Serbian officials, who during the 90s were assigned through coercive measures installed by the Yugoslav state apparatus.
Mogherini confirms change in format of Kosovo-Serbia dialogue
The European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini reiterated that she expects by the end of the next year to see, a qualitative leap happening, in the dialogue process between Kosovo and Serbia.
She confirmed that format of the dialogue has already changed, since the dialogue is led by the Presidents and that agenda has changed, but start of the new phase will be communicated when all the preparations will be made.
According to Mogherini, the parties are working hard for start of the new phase, although she admitted it is not the moment to reveal all details regarding this process.
The success of the dialogue, according to Mogherini, is not the visibility, it’s the normalisation.
“When I speak about the success in dialogue I have in mind finding a solution in which the whole region wins, the two sides win, even though all have to give something,” Mogherini said.
She came out of these stances after the annual meeting of the SAA Council between the EU and Serbia, in which Belgrade was reminded that progress in the dialogue remains the key condition in the European perspective of Serbia.
A meeting of the same format will be held with Kosovo on Friday, in which Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj will lead the Kosovo delegation at the SAA Council meeting with the EU.
This is the first visit to Brussels of Haradinaj at his capacity of Prime Minister. Apart from the SAA Council meeting he will have bilateral meetings with the European officials dealing with Kosovo, including Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn.
Lawyers have doubts on new initiative of Ministry of Justice
As of January next year, the Government of Kosovo, through amendments to the Criminal Code, intends to suspend and dismiss the accused or convicted officials of acts of corruption and abuse of official position.
In the concept paper proposed by the Ministry of Justice, it is envisaged to include two paragraphs in Articles 65 and 66 of the Criminal Code.
This government initiative is being criticized by lawyers. Ehat Miftaraj says that with these proposed changes will create the possibility for prosecutors and judges to misuse revenge indictments due to the fragile functioning of justice system.
Miftaraj says that a special law should be made for suspension of public officials for corruption and abuse of official duty.
Chairwoman of the Assembly Legislation Committee Albulena Haxhiu also says that Vetëvendosje will oppose this government document when it will be brought to the Assembly. On Wednesday, Government approved this initiative.
However, in Haradinaj’s Government cabinet, there are some officials with indictments filed by the Prosecution.
Minister of Justice Abelard Tahiri has said there will be no compromises for any public official accused or punished of corruption, including the government officials.
Çollaku: Kosovo to ratify demarcation agreement soon
Chief of staff of the President, Bekim Çollaku, said that Kosovo has delayed a lot in terms of visa liberalization.
In an interview with RTK, Çollaku also spoke about the issue of demarcation with Montenegro, reconfirming that this process is not only a condition for visa liberalization, but also for membership into EU and NATO.
With regard to the reaction of US Ambassador in Kosovo to the new demarcation commission, who two days ago said the commission’s assertions are unsubstantiated, misleading and wrong, Çollaku said:
“Everything that has happened so far is a prolongation, completely unnecessary, which has cost Kosovo and its citizens the most, so the isolation has only deepened. Instead of moving without visas in 2016, we are still discussing how to ratify an international agreement that is mandatory to be ratified. All the international partners, and not just the US, are calling on us not to waste time, because time is very important,” he underlined.
Çollaku also spoke about the dialogue with Serbia. He said that dialogue with Serbia at the format of Presidents will resume after local elections. According to him, dialogue is vital for the Euro-Atlantic perspective of Kosovo and this process will end with mutual recognition.
UP will initiate lawsuit for restitution of usurped property by Serbian Church
The Steering Council of the Public University “Hasan Prishtina” at its meeting held on Thursday looked into the situation after court’s decision regarding the property usurped by the Serbian Orthodox Church in the university campus.
The Steering Council and the Student Parliament of the University of Prishtina (UP), through a press release, says it is deeply dedicated to fulfilling all the legal steps for return of the property illegally usurped by the Serbian Orthodox Church to service of UP students.
“The last week’s misinterpretation that UP has given up on the legal battle for property which was usurped by the Orthodox Church does not stand,” the release added.
In this legal situation, the UP in accordance with law will initiate a lawsuit for the restitution of property usurped by the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The Steering Council has established a Special Working Group tasked with providing the support of institutions to follow this issue on a legal basis until the final return of this property to the use of its students is done, the release underlined.
Hodges: U.S. Army will not leave Bondsteel Camp for at least five next years
Ben Hodges, Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, said that U.S. Army will not leave its Bondsteel Camp basis and Kosovo for at least the five next years.
Asked by Serbian media if KFOR plans to leave Kosovo, he said that NATO decides about this.