- Serbia has lobbied to Maldives for withdrawal of Kosovo recognition since 2009 (KTV)
- Haradinaj says there are errors in the data on his expenses (KTV)
- One year tariff: Import from Serbia decreased from 395 million euro to 3.3 a year (KTV)
- Pacolli: I do not believe I will be part of VV-LDK Government (RTK)
- Sixty per cent of children claim to have experienced physical or psychological violence recently (KTV)
- Who beat up the residents of Strpce? Ombudsman has not launched any investigation, “because nobody complained to him” (Kossev)
Serbia has lobbied to Maldives for withdrawal of Kosovo recognition since 2009
The request for revocation of Kosovo’s recognition that has been made by Maldives this week, originated 10 years ago.
This is found on cablegrams that WikiLeaks published over years.
In letters that the US Ambassador Robert Blake sent to Washington, he informed the US Administration that the People’s Right-Wing Movement “Otpor” was lobbying for withdrawal of the recognition.
According to him, this came to happen because of the fact that the leader of People’s Movement “Otpor” Srdja Popovic had good relations with some of the members in the Government of Maldives.
In order to relieve pressure which was being put on the Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed Blake, Ambassador suggested that the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sends a letter of appreciation to the Maldives, on the occasion of recognition of Kosovo.
Furthermore, according to media in the Island, leader of a small Islamic party accused Shaheed and others of receiving bribe from Kosovo officials in exchange for the recognition. Shaheed was also called to testify before the Committee in relation to the allegations that Americans did not believe in.
The new US Ambassador also reported about continuous pressure put by Serbia and “Otpor” for revocation of the recognition, but she said that Clinton’s letter had slightly calmed down the situation.
Seemingly, the small country benefited from the Kosovo case, given that one year after the recognition of Kosovo, Maldives were supported by the US in getting a seat in the UN Agency for Human Rights.
Last Monday, a motion for revocation of the recognition was presented to the Parliament of Maldives, considering the act of recognition as hasty and accusing former Foreign Minister of receiving 2 million dollars as an exchange for the recognition.
The motion quotes the Kosovo Minister of Foreign Affairs Behgjet Pacolli to have said that he paid money from his own pocket to lobby for recognitions.
Haradinaj says there are errors in the data on his expenses
About half a million euro was spent for meals by incumbent Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj during his term as Prime Minister.
Statements on expenditure by the Prime Minister’s Office that have been presented to Koha Ditore daily, state that 506,779 euro is the amount that the incumbent Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj spent for meals.
The figures indicate that every workday, Haradinaj spent about 1,000 euro.
However, explanatory documents provided by the Prime Minister’s Office state that the amount spent for official meals includes the amount spent by all members of the Haradinaj cabinet, which consists of 41 officials.
Nevertheless, on KTV Interactive show, Haradinaj did not admit that he had spent that money on meals.
A lunch bill, which the daily got hold of, cost 262.88 euro. The bill was paid with credit card of Prime Minister Haradinaj, and it included alcoholic drinks and appetizers.
However, Haradinaj again denied to have paid it with the Government’s money.
Another bill at Ali’s Grill restaurant in Vienna shows that Haradinaj paid 132 euro for a lunch, and he paid 47 euro at a confectionary.
Another bill indicates that Haradinaj paid around 300 euro for a hamburger, chicken, and drinks.
During the two years that he served as Prime Minister, Haradinaj paid about 25,000 euro on flight tickets, and thousands more were spent on accommodation.
Only on one occasion, Haradinaj spent over 1.200 euro for accommodation and food.
Unrestricted access to public funds, allowed the incumbent Prime Minister to spend from his credit card about 14,000 euro, and he spent over 5,000 euro on telephone calls only.
One year tariff: Import from Serbia decreased from 395 million euro to 3.3 a year
One year after imposition of the tariff, import of Serbian products has decreased by 99 percent.
While over the course of last year Serbia sold products in Kosovo worth 395 million euros, a year after the 100% tariff was imposed, it has exported only 3.3 million euros of goods.
According to spokesperson of Kosovo Customs Adriatik Stavileci, the same decrease also applies to products from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
According to leaders of the Kosovo chambers of commerce, the tariff, which has been increased from 10 to 100 per cent, beside benefits, has had negative effects also.
They say that after imposition of the tariff, businesses have faced challenges in adapting to the market, but some of the consequences were faced by customers as well.
Pacolli: I do not believe I will be part of VV-LDK Government
The AKR leader Behgjet Pacolli said he does not believe he could be part of the new Government, which could be formed by the Vetëvendosje Movement and the Democratic League of Kosovo. He spoke on RTK on Wednesday.
“I have had no bad relations with any party leader, and I also respect Mr. Kurti. But as far as political cooperation is concerned, I am not sure it will happen. I believe that LDK and Vetëvendosje have enough numbers and partners to govern. As I see it, AKR together with NISMA we will remain in opposition,” Pacolli said.
“I haven’t have an offer and I don’t expect to have one, but I’m there anyway,” he added.
Pacolli said that citizens’ verdict should be respected.
“I was part of the government and I see a punishment from citizens for the previous government. I was part of it and this punishment included me as well. It is difficult to say yes I will be part of the Government. If the citizen has decided otherwise, we must understand the citizen and be in opposition and contribute from there,” Pacolli said.
He considers coexistence with the Social Democratic Initiative party as a difficult one.
Sixty per cent of children claim to have experienced physical or psychological violence recently
Although it is 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child some children of Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities in Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje, who should enjoy equal rights with their other peers, remain outside school premises.
Other children, whose rights guaranteed by this document are denied, continue seeking alms Kosovo-wide.
Parents say that institutions should care more about children, especially for those of non-majority communities, adding that they do their best to provide education for children.
But according to Balkan Sunflowers Kosovo, the number of children’s dropouts has considerably declined from 2008, particularly in Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje.
Concern about the situation of children in Kosovo and disrespecting of their rights has been addressed by UNICEF officials and by Head of the EU Office in Kosovo.
“Many children are doing street jobs, and Kosovo is not excluded from this phenomenon; but many children are victims of domestic violence, too. I call on the Government to respect the Law on Protection of Children, which was passed this year. Kosovo has famous youngsters like Dua Lipa, Rita Ora, Majlinda Kelmendi, Uta Ibrahimi, Nora Gjakova, and these are all girls that we should take as models so that society is developed,” Nataliya Apostolova, Head of the EU Office in Kosovo said.
On the other hand, NGO coalition for Protection of Children’s Rights in Kosovo called for urgent respect of the Law on Protection of Children, which was passed about four months ago.
According to the data from KOMF, 6.8 per cent of children in Kosovo work in dangerous conditions, and 61.4 per cent of children stated that they have experienced physical or psychological violence in the last months.
Who beat up the residents of Strpce? Ombudsman has not launched any investigation, “because nobody complained to him”
The Kosovo Ombudsman does not have a position on the allegations of Strpce residents that the Kosovo police used excessive force in early May during a protest against the construction of a mini hydroelectric power plant in this municipality.
The reason why the Ombudsman has no position is that, even after five months, he has not received any complaints, the written reply states.
However, the Ombudsman also has the power to launch an ex officio investigation when he is informed of a violation of human rights of citizens, which he did not do in this case.
For almost a year, the citizens of Strpce have been actively protesting against the construction of mini hydro power plants in this municipality. One in a series of protests in early May was also marked by a clash between the police and protesters.
Twenty villagers were reportedly injured because the police used an excessive force, one participant even had his nose broken and another one’s arm was broken, they said at the time, providing photographs of the injured.
„A police officer is authorized to use force only when it is necessary and only to the extent necessary to achieve legitimate police objectives. In cases of the use of force, the police officer should try to minimize the interference with the rights and freedoms of persons and minimize any adverse consequences“.
According to them, seventeen of them were medically taken care of in Strpce – eyewash, repair of injuries and burns, one protester had a broken nose and the other one had his arm broken. On the same day, the Mayor of Strpce, who condemned the “excessive use of force,” and the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, spoke.
Kosovo Police said in a press release at the time that “although the Police informed and ordered the protesters not to interfere with their work and leave, they did not execute the orders. On that occasion, police used tear gas and the protesters dispersed.” However, this statement did not state that anyone was injured during this police action.
At the end of September, we approached the Ombudsman’s institution and asked for the institution’s position on the above allegations of excessive use of force by the Kosovo police.
What does the Ombudsman say?
“The Ombudsman received no complaint from any citizen over the use of force during the May 3, 2019 protests. Given that no complaints have been received and such a case has not been investigated, the Ombudsman has no position on this case“, said the response of this institution from October 1, which intrigued us.
The Ombudsman Institution is an independent institution whose task is to take measures for the protection of human rights and freedoms when they have been violated by an act or failure of state bodies to act. This institution primarily deals with complaints, however, the law also prescribes cases in which the Ombudsman may act ex officio, if there are grounds to believe that in a particular case there has been a violation of human rights and freedoms of citizens.
„The law stipulates that the Ombudsman has a responsibility to “investigate violations of human rights and discriminatory action,” and “to draw attention to cases where institutions violate human rights and to make recommendations for such cases to be ended and, when it is necessary, to express an opinion on positions and reactions of relevant institutions in relation to such cases.”
A week later, on October 7, we contacted this institution again in order to clarify their answer, that is, their responsibilities.
Article 16, Point 4 of the Law on the People’s Advocate 05 / L-019 states that the Ombudsman “has the authority to investigate, either in order to respond to a complaint or ex officio, if from findings, evidence and facts submitted or acquired otherwise, there are grounds to believe that the authorities have violated human rights and freedoms established by the Constitution, laws and other instruments, as well as international human rights instruments. “
Does your previous answer mean that the Ombudsman institution considers that in this particular case there are no grounds for suspecting that excessive force may have been used by the police in May this year and that for that reason the Ombudsman will not investigate this case ex officio? – was our question.
On the same day, we received an answer from the Ombudsman’s Office that our question had been forwarded to the relevant service.
Another e-mail with a question when we can expect an answer was sent on October 21.
“At present, the answer to the question falls under the responsibility of the Ombudsman, Mr. Hilmi Jashari,” we were told from the Office of the Ombudsperson, asking us to forward the question to Mr. Jashari’s e-mail address and info service, which we did.
We have never received a response from these addresses, although we are still awaiting it.
Does the first response we received mean that the Ombudsman in these cases acts solely upon a complaint of citizens, and that, although there is information about potential human rights violations by the institutions, it is not his job to have any position on that, if those whose rights were violated did not turn to him?
Or that the allegations of the villagers, photographs of persons with bandaged arms and noses, condemnation by the Mayor of Strpce, numerous media inscriptions, do not provide sufficient grounds to suspect that the police may have used excessive force against the protesters? Or that he just does not want to investigate the case?
Unfortunately, just one month’s silence on the part of the Ombudsman leaves the public to decide for themselves which of these answers they will believe. In fact, the Ombudsman may have initiated an official investigation into these allegations in the meantime, but he did not find it appropriate to inform us about it.