- Thaci, Haradinaj to hold separate meetings with U.S. Congressman Ed Case (media)
- Thaci: Kosovo – Albania borders must be removed (media)
- German diplomat: Germany does not support border changes (media)
- Kosovo war rape victim awarded international peace prize (media)
- UNMIK-funded debate on Serb challenges to obtain Kosovo documents (media)
- Scott: It’s a shame that war criminal led military parade on Europe Day (media)
- Election campaign in the four northern municipalities to begin on Monday (media)
Thaci, Haradinaj to hold separate meetings with U.S. Congressman Ed Case (media)
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj will hold separate meetings in Pristina today with U.S. Congressman Ed Case, most news websites report. Pristina-based Lajmi reports that Haradinaj has earlier met with other senior U.S. officials who called on Kosovo’s authorities to lift the import tariff on Serbian and Bosnian goods and resume dialogue with Serbia.
Thaci: Kosovo – Albania borders must be removed (media)
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said on Friday upon his return from Albania that the borders between Kosovo and Albania must be removed, online media report. Thaci took to Facebook to write: “I just crossed the border point in Morina which unjustly divides Kosovo and Albania. This border was set against the will of Kosovo and Albania. These border remnants must be removed once and for all. Kosovo and Albania must have freedom of movement and goods in accordance with European standards. The institutions of Kosovo and Albania must find the courage to make these decisions and not waste any more time”.
German diplomat: Germany does not support border changes (media)
Several news websites cover an interview that Geert-Hinrich Ahrens, an experienced German diplomat, gave to Deutsche Welle, highlighting his remarks that Berlin does not support border changes in the Balkans. “You know that the German official policy does not support any border changes, because there is always a risk that Albanians in [North] Macedonia, Tetovo and other regions, would want to join that state. There are also Albanian-inhabited regions in southern Montenegro that borders Albania and not Kosovo, and then there is the issue of Presevo Valley in Presevo Valley. I think that if there are democratically-elected governments in Belgrade and Pristina that represent their peoples, then there should be no outside intervention, if the two countries want to reach an agreement. But I don’t see in the near future an agreement that would include Belgrade’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence,” he said.
Kosovo war rape victim awarded international peace prize (media)
Most media report that Vasfije Krasniqi-Goodman, a rape victim during the Kosovo conflict, was awarded the 2019 Kim Bok-dong Peace Prize on Friday. Vasfije is an activist at the Kosovo Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) that advocates for the rights of victims of wartime sexual violence. Vasfije was the first person to publically narrate her trauma of sexual violence during Kosovo War. She was raped by Serbian police when she was 16 years old, and has since continued the movement for realization of justice through punishment of the perpetrators and various events including public speak-outs, Be My Voice Campaign for the victims of wartime sexual violence to share their voices, and Stand Speak Rise Up Campaign. She gave testimonies at the UN Human Rights Council and received Honorable Citizen Award by the President of Kosovo.
UNMIK-funded debate on Serb community challenges to obtain Kosovo documents
Several media covered an UNMIK-funded debate on Friday on the challenges to the inclusion of Serb official documents in Kosovo’s civil registry and the integration of Serb parallel structures into Kosovo’s justice system were discussed on Thursday in BIRN’s #DebateforReal which was funded by UNMIK. Judges, lawyers, government officials and citizens gathered in North Mitrovica to discuss the proper implementation of the Agreement on Justice reached in Brussels between Kosovo and Serbia in 2016, which foresees the integration of institutions in the northern part of Kosovo into the Kosovo justice system. Citizens attending the debate also raised their personal problems with this system to the panelists, explaining the challenges of equipping themselves with official documents from Kosovo, and having the same documents in the Serbian parallel system for many years after the war. Enver Peci, President of the Supreme Court of Kosovo, as well as a judge from Mitrovica, said that the main problem is the finalized integration of the new court system in North Mitrovica but, nevertheless, according to him, there has been progress in resolving the cases. According to him, one problem in this process is the lack of preparation of professional staff for translation of legal documents from Serbian into Albanian and vice versa. Lavdim Krasniqi, director of the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council Secretariat, said they have managed to equalize the number of Serbian and Albanian prosecutors and are trying to do the same with the number of translators. According to Krasniqi, they are trying to secure more translators, as the nine that they currently have is not sufficient. Blerim Camaj, Director of the Civil Registration Agency, stated that since 2018 every citizen registered in parallel structures is entitled to be provided with all necessary documentation at the Office of Civil Registration. Camaj also said that the municipalities in the north failed to accomplish their tasks as required because they have not recruited enough staff. Milica Andric-Rakic, a journalist from the KoSSev portal, discussed her challenges getting the correct marriage certificate. Nenad Radosavljevic, journalist from local television channel from north Kosovo, Mir, is of the opinion that if the judicial system was inoperable for the last 18 years, then it should be clarified whether citizens really need a court. According to him, the Brussels agreement said that things would be coordinated, but in reality they were only served the agreement itself and nothing else to actually facilitate the process. The Head of the Supreme Court of Kosovo, Enver Peci, added that these problems are not just a matter of the judiciary, but a reflection of political relations between the two countries as well. For many of the panelists in the debate, professional Serbian-Albanian translation was raised as a problematic issue.
Scott: It’s a shame that war criminal led military parade on Europe Day (media)
Most news websites report that U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, took to Twitter on Friday to note that “it’s a shame for Serbia that Serbian general, Vladimir Lazarevic, who was convicted of war crimes, led the military parade in Serbia on Europe Day”. “It’s a shame that a convicted war criminal marched before those that are trying to honor the allies that gave their lives fighting for justice and peace in Europe,” Scott tweeted.
Election campaign in the four northern municipalities to begin on Monday (media)
Most news websites report that the election campaign in the four northern municipalities will begin on Monday. The Kosovo Central Election Commission and law enforcement authorities have made all the necessary preparations for the early local elections in the municipalities of Mitrovica North, Zubin Potok, Zvecan and Leposavic. Candidates from the Democratic Party of Kosovo, the Vetevendosje Movement and the Serbian List will run in the snap elections.