- Çitaku responds to Tanin: Kosovo Police acted with professionalism (KTV)
- Gashi: We agreed with VV that dissolving Specialist Chambers is detrimental to Kosovo (Klan Kosova)
- Daka: Final election results in a few days (RTK)
- Investigations launched concerning Runik polling station (KTV)
Çitaku responds to Tanin: Kosovo Police acted with professionalism
The UNMIK Chief Zahir Tanin briefed the UN Security Council about the results of months-long investigation carried out by UN experts who are not part of UNMIK, which encompassed interviews with more than 50 witnesses and a great deal of examinations of photographic and video recording evidence in a comprehensive review of the May 28 events, when two UNMIK employees were arrested by Kosovo Police during a big, Kosovo-wide police operation.
Tanin shared the key investigation findings, including that they did not prove any abuse by the UNMIK personnel, who were on duty at the time when they were arrested, and they clearly identified themselves as UN employees. Investigators found that there was excessive force by the Kosovo Police, which resulted with a lot of injuries, including fractures, hearing loss, and post-traumatic stress, and that the Police drove and kept an UNMIK vehicle.
“The use of excessive force, interference with the Mission’s property, and continuation of the criminal proceeding against two staff members, is a clear violation of the applicable legal framework. These actions are intolerable, and they should not be forgiven,” Tanin said.
Calling for immediate termination of all criminal proceedings against the staff members, SRSG Tanin also commended the cooperative spirit of the Kosovo authorities in receiving the report findings during the recent engagements.
“As long as this Council has the mandate for the international presence in Kosovo, I expect the Kosovo institutions and UNMIK to act by fully respecting each other. We are proud that UNMIK played a central role in formation of the Kosovo Police and judiciary, and we hope that their goal is to address any failure and to act in line with the international norms and standards,” he added.
On the other hand, the Kosovo Ambassador to Washington Vlora Çitaku responded to the UNMIK Chief, Zahir Tanin.
She said that Kosovo Police acted professionally while arresting the Russian UNMIK officer, who voluntarily chose to be a bulwark for the criminal Serb gangs in the north, and to prevent authorities of the state of Kosovo in doing their job.
“What would happen if one of us here would prevent a police operation against criminals in New York, Berlin, Moscow, Paris…? The Police action was filmed and it has been presented to the public at large. The sound shows that the UNMIK officers refused to collaborate with the Police and to show their identity documents,” she said.
Gashi: We agreed with VV that dissolving Specialist Chambers is detrimental Kosovo
Arben Gashi of LDK spoke about the discussions they had with representatives of Vetëvendosje on Thursday.
He said that LDK and VV since 2017 have agreed about the Specialist Chambers issue, and at this meeting it was concluded that this topic was not needed to be discussed again.
“We discussed in principle, and we concluded that the issue of Specialist Chambers has advanced greatly, given that a lot of work has been done in this respect, and it is nearly impossible and dissolving them is detrimental to the interest of Kosovo,” Gashi said.
Gashi said that the visits that representatives of both political entities have been paying to each other’s offices are a good spirit that is being built amongst parties in Kosovo.
“There are some issues that we have agreed to discuss again, including the State Investigation Office. However, we agree about most of other topics, such as law on confiscation of unjustifiable assets,” he explained.
“In addition, we discussed internal and external security. Regarding the latter, we discussed KSF or the Kosovo Army, the preparations to be a serious partner for peace, and creating circumstances so that KSF can be a serious candidate for membership in NATO,” Gashi added.
Daka: Final election results in a few days
Chairperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Valdete Daka said that final results can be announced immediately after counting of the ballots from diaspora. Once the final results are announced, should there be no complaints, the election certification will happen within 24 hours.
In an interview with KosovaPress, Daka said that her statement that the election certification might not happen until December, had been taken out of the context.
Based on the previous experience, she said that there have always been complaints after announcement of the final results, which postponed the election certification.
“Yes, of course, if there are no complaints, we will certify the elections 24 hours after the announcement of final results. I wish we have no (complaints), but from the experience in the previous years, I know that there are always complaints filed to ECAP, and then they have the right to appeal ECAP’s decision to the Supreme Court, which automatically postpones the certification of results, and that is where I based my statement. Otherwise, if there are no complaints to announcement of the final results, we will certify the results 24 hours after the deadline for complaints,” she said.
Valdete Daka stated that CEC would enforce any decision of ECAP, in case it decides for recounting all ballots. She said that this decision would postpone the election certification.
CEC member from Vetëvendosje Adnan Rrustemi also said that final results can be announced immediately after the ballots from diaspora are counted. He expects certification of the final results soon.
According to Rrustemi, complaints of political parties for recounting all ballot boxes are ungrounded.
Investigations launched concerning Runik polling station
It is suspected that attempt for ballot abuse happened in the evening of 6th October, shortly before closing of the polling station in a classroom on third floor at Shotë Galica School in Runik, Skenderaj/Srbica municipality.
The number of eligible voters at this polling station was 750, the turnout was 299, while 450 empty ballots disappeared.
It is suspected that those ballots were taken at the presence of the polling station committee chair, polling station committee members and observers, who had planned to fill them in and then insert them in the ballot boxes.
But according to KTV sources, the plan was not accomplished, since someone reported the Police, who managed to catch the abusers.
KTV learned from sources inside AAK that the plan was instigated by the polling station committee chair Alban Shala, who belongs to AAK, and who has already been interviewed by the Police and Prosecution.
It is suspected that Shala intended to get votes in favour of AAK candidate Bekë Berisha. Moreover, it seems that he had agreed about it also with other persons present in the classroom, and that he even promised them money.
AAK’s candidate for MP Bekë Berisha gave the following response to KTV:
“This is not true. Those ballots will be counted, and then we will see whose they are. There were tendencies for PDK to get votes there, and then they had a problem with AKR. Anyway, it will be clarified. I also understand your tendency to involve me in this matter.”
KTV asked also Alban Shala about this claim, but he did not answer.
Meanwhile, the Police and Prosecution Office are investigating the abuse and vote rigging. Ekrem Lutfiu, spokesperson at the Kosovo Special Prosecution Office confirmed that the State Prosecution has launched this case, several witnesses have been interviewed, and the evidence is being collected.
Avni Zahiti, spokesperson at the Mitrovicë/Mitrovica region Police, stated that the Police in Skenderaj/Srbica have interviewed several polling station committee members and observers in relation to suspicions for criminal offence, and the ballots are expected to be examined.
The AAK branch officials in Skenderaj/Srbica were reluctant to speak about the details, and added that Alban Shala has never answered their telephone calls any more. Nevertheless, they said that those actions have damaged their party.
LDK officials in Skenderaj/Srbica have called for cancellation of those votes and punishment of the perpetrators.
On the other hand, the Municipal Election Commission (MEC) has been excluded from this process. The MEC leaders claim that no report from that particular polling station informed them about this issue.
On Wednesday, the Central Election Commission (CEC) decided to include about 300 regular ballots from that polling station in the final results.