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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, December 18, 2019

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, December 18, 2019

Albanian Language Media:

• Constitutive session of new Kosovo Assembly next Thursday (media)
• Thaci turns down invitation to Balkans Mini-Schengen summit (media)
• Kurti: Let us see if LDK barricades further or we reach agreement (Express)
• “Mustafa, Kurti to overcome obstacles before new assembly session”
• “Kosovo, Serbia to implement agreements before finale of dialogue” (Koha)
• Tahiri: War, if Serbia doesn’t recognise Kosovo in current borders (Klan Kosova)
• Fajon on visa liberalisation for Kosovo (Gazeta Metro)
• Trial on Oliver Ivanovic’s murder to start on 30 December (RTK)
• Veseli: “Syri i popullit” activated to hide failure of LDK – LVV agreement (Express)

Serbian Language Media:

• Serbian List: Edita Tahiri’s statement raises unrest and incites hatred among communities in Kosovo (TV Most)
• Balkans 2020: No brightening (DW, B92)
• UNMIK Head Zahir Tanin reacts to desecration of Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan (Social media)
• OSCE Mission in Kosovo condemns desecration of Serban Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan (Social media)
• Zyberaj: Pacolli forwarded evidence of Serbia’s genocide to prosecution; Djuric: Primitive chauvinist campaign (KoSsev)
• Dacic: Albanians frustrated because of incoming indictments (Tanjug, TV Happy)
• Serbian List won’t prevent forming of Kosovo institutions (Beta, N1)
• Politika: Calling the elections on March 8th, to the polls on April 26th (NMagazin, Beta)
• UAE: Serbia’s journalist is on ‘blacklist’ on some other Govt. request (N1, B92, Beta, Tanjug)
• Ivanovic’s nephew: There is no indictment for execution and organization of murder (Radio kontakt plus)
• Oliver Ivanovic murder trial on December 30th (Kosovo Online, RTV Puls)
• Lawyer Vasic: Prosecutor proposes house arrest measure for Markovic, Jovanovic and Arsovic (Kosovo online)
• Lawyer Halimi: No new evidence against Rosic (KoSSev)
• Odalovic: Serbia cannot shed light on destinies of missing persons alone (RTS)
• Ombudsman: There is no improvement in the accountability of institutions (RTV Puls)
• Lawyer Vlajic: We will appeal when the Todosijevic verdict arrive (Kosovo Online)

International:

• BIRN Launches Updated Map of Balkan War Crime Verdicts (Balkan Insight)
• Belgrade Appoints Serb Officials in Northern Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Gorazdevac: Young people are most disappointed and most dissatisfied part of society (KoSSev, Radio Gorazdevac)
• Serbian Museum Puts Mestrovic’s Vidovdan Sculptures on Display (Balkan Insight)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Constitutive session of new Kosovo Assembly next Thursday (media)
  • Thaci turns down invitation to Balkans Mini-Schengen summit (media)
  • Kurti: Let us see if LDK barricades further or we reach agreement (Express)
  • “Mustafa, Kurti to overcome obstacles before new assembly session”
  • “Kosovo, Serbia to implement agreements before finale of dialogue” (Koha)
  • Tahiri: War, if Serbia doesn’t recognise Kosovo in current borders (Klan Kosova)
  • Fajon on visa liberalisation for Kosovo (Gazeta Metro)
  • Trial on Oliver Ivanovic’s murder to start on 30 December (RTK)
  • Veseli: “Syri i popullit” activated to hide failure of LDK – LVV agreement (Express)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Serbian List: Edita Tahiri’s statement raises unrest and incites hatred among communities in Kosovo (TV Most) 
  • Balkans 2020: No brightening (DW, B92)
  • UNMIK Head Zahir Tanin reacts to desecration of Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan (Social media)
  • OSCE Mission in Kosovo condemns desecration of Serban Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan (Social media)
  • Zyberaj: Pacolli forwarded evidence of Serbia’s genocide to prosecution; Djuric: Primitive chauvinist campaign (KoSsev)
  • Dacic: Albanians frustrated because of incoming indictments (Tanjug, TV Happy)
  • Serbian List won’t prevent forming of Kosovo institutions (Beta, N1)
  • Politika: Calling the elections on March 8th, to the polls on April 26th (NMagazin, Beta)
  • UAE: Serbia’s journalist is on ‘blacklist’ on some other Govt. request (N1, B92, Beta, Tanjug)
  • Ivanovic’s nephew: There is no indictment for execution and organization of murder (Radio kontakt plus)
  • Oliver Ivanovic murder trial on December 30th (Kosovo Online, RTV Puls)
  • Lawyer Vasic: Prosecutor proposes house arrest measure for Markovic, Jovanovic and Arsovic (Kosovo online)
  • Lawyer Halimi: No new evidence against Rosic (KoSSev)
  • Odalovic: Serbia cannot shed light on destinies of missing persons alone (RTS)
  • Ombudsman: There is no improvement in the accountability of institutions (RTV Puls) 
  • Lawyer Vlajic: We will appeal when the Todosijevic verdict arrive (Kosovo Online)

International:

  • BIRN Launches Updated Map of Balkan War Crime Verdicts (Balkan Insight)
  • Belgrade Appoints Serb Officials in Northern Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Gorazdevac: Young people are most disappointed and most dissatisfied part of society (KoSSev, Radio Gorazdevac)
  • Serbian Museum Puts Mestrovic’s Vidovdan Sculptures on Display (Balkan Insight)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Constitutive session of new Kosovo Assembly next Thursday (media)

Most news outlets quote Kosovo Assembly President and leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Kadri Veseli, as saying that the constitutive session of the new Assembly will be held next Thursday, December 26, at 15:00. 

“On December 26, at 15:00, we will have the constitutive session of the seventh legislative. This was a procedural meeting. We determined the framework for holding the session. I believe we will have the new legislative very soon, a new chapter of politics in Kosovo. The Democratic Party of Kosovo will be in the opposition. We hope that the other new institutions, which are very important, will be formed very soon … The PDK will be consistent in protecting the rights of the citizens,” Veseli told reporters after the meeting of the Assembly Presidency.

Asked if he believes the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) will soon reach a coalition agreement, Veseli said: “I believe in God and in my nation, the rest does not impress me much … Kosovo needs to move forward because we don’t have the luxury of being late. This is why we expect seriousness and for the institutions to be formed as soon as possible”.

Thaci turns down invitation to Balkans Mini-Schengen summit (media)

The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, has turned down an invitation from Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama to attend the summit on the Balkans Mini-Schengen, which will be held this weekend in Albania, most news websites report.

Thaci took to Facebook to say that as long as Serbia continues to deny crimes committed against the people of Kosovo and does not recognise Kosovo as a state, initiatives for regional cooperation are meaningless. 

Thaci wrote: “I thank the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, my friend Edi Rama, for the invitation to the regional meeting of Western Balkans countries. As President and on behalf of all the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, I express the highest gratitude for the continuous support from the Republic of Albania.

Mutual support and cooperation between Kosovo and Albania are natural and permanent. However, unlike the Republic of Albania, the Republic of Kosovo continues to face serious obstacles in the consolidation of its statehood. Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle comes from Serbia which uses all forms and possibilities to continuously undermine our efforts to consolidate our statehood. 

Serbia has committed genocide against the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo and today it not only denies the crimes it has committed but it also keeps on refusing to acknowledge the existence of our state. Under such circumstances, calls and initiatives for regional cooperation are utterly meaningless. Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina do not recognise the state of Kosovo.

This means that these two countries do not want good neighbourly relations and cooperation with Kosovo. Therefore, as long as there is no mutual recognition with these countries, there can be no progress in terms of regional cooperation. Kosovo after all aspires to join NATO and EU and not become part of experimental regional initiatives which are a result of the EU’s inability to open the doors for membership to the Western Balkans countries.

In the end, I want to reiterate that the circumstances that have rendered impossible the participation of the Republic of Kosovo at the first meeting held in Novi Sad and the second meeting held in Ohrid, have not changed. As a result, as President of the Republic of Kosovo and on behalf of our state institutions, I turn down the invitation to attend the third meeting of this regional format which will be held in Tirana”.

Kurti waiting for LDK: Let us see if they barricade further or we reach agreement (Express)

Albin Kurti, leader of the Vetevendosje Movement said today that it remains to be seen if the call of the General Council of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) by Isa Mustafa, will barricade towards the coalition agreement.

Kurti said he believed that he would meet with Mustafa this week, however, he added that he does not want to interfere on LDK which has called the meeting of the Council today.

“I certainly believed that there should be a meeting this week, however, I do not want to interfere in LDK where I learned that they called a meeting of the general council as the most senior structure. In LVV, we believe that calling the council at our entity should happen after the agreement, not prior to it,” he added.

“It remains to see today in the afternoon if this meeting was called to barricade positions, or to enable agreement. I believe that meetings should take place, however, they cannot be held while the most senior structures of this entity are called,” Kurti said.

“Mustafa, Kurti to overcome obstacles before new assembly session” (Telegrafi)

Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) MP and leader of the party’s branch in Prizren, Anton Quni, met on Tuesday evening with Prizren Mayor and Vetevendosje member, Mytaher Haskuka, Telegrafi reports. Quni told the news website that with Haskuka they are partners in the local government and that these meetings are in the spirit of cooperation and furthering partnership for good governance. 

“During the meeting we also discussed developments at the central level and we both agree that a ruling coalition agreement between our two parties would mean the implementation of the people’s will and their votes,” he said.

“The interests that we share are by far greater than the obstacles we currently face and there is maximal engagement and readiness to overcome them,” Quni said. “The approximation for a joint platform for good governance on almost all issues, followed by the agreement to assume responsibilities in a joint government are by far greater than the minor obstacles which I believe Mustafa and Kurti will overcome before the constitutive session of the Assembly”.

“Kosovo, Serbia to implement agreements before finale of dialogue” (Koha)

The Pristina-based Kosovo Democratic Institute (KDI) has organised a conference today entitled “The road to a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia” during which it presented a report “The peace agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, possibilities and challenges”, the news website reports.

The report argues that during the final phase of concluding an agreement, it would be good for both sides to implement some of the agreements reached so far and which affect the daily lives of Kosovo’s citizens, such as the agreement on the mutual recognition of university diplomas, the agreement on energy and the agreement for regional representation and cooperation.

The report notes that recently there is recent impetus from the international community for both countries to return to the dialogue and finalise the agreement. It however adds that imposing certain agendas for negotiations, would be against the will of the people of Kosovo, against the logic of the peace process and that it would seriously discredit the entire process.

Tahiri: War, if Serbia doesn’t recognise Kosovo in current borders (Klan Kosova)

Edita Tahiri, former Kosovo chief negotiator in talks with Serbia, said today in Pristina that Serbia never had sovereignty over Kosovo, the news website reports. During her address at a conference on “The road to a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia”, Tahiri said dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia was not stopped because of the import tariff on Serbian goods, “but because the state of Kosovo was under threat”. “If Serbia doesn’t recognise Kosovo in its current borders, as an independent state, there will be war,” Tahiri is quoted as saying.

Fajon on visa liberalisation for Kosovo (Gazeta Metro)

Tanja Fajon, member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur for visa liberalisation for Kosovo, told the news website today that Kosovo has met all the requirements for visa liberalisation but that there is no development in the process. “Unfortunately, there is no development on the issue of visa liberalisation for Kosovo. The European Commission confirmed the criteria have been met. The European Parliament has approved the mandate of negotiations after the elections … We are expecting developments on this issue,” she said. Fajon also called on Kosovo’s institutions to work closely with EU institutions in order to achieve progress in the process.

Trial on Oliver Ivanovic’s murder to start on 30 December (RTK)

The trial for involvement of suspects on the murder of the Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic will start on 30 December.

This was announced by Mahmut Halimi, defense lawyer of one of the defendants. He noted that the preparatory hearing session was set for 30 December at 09:30 hours.

The Special Prosecution of Kosovo has raised charges at the Basic Court in Pristina’s Special Department, against six individuals on Ivanovic’s case.

Veseli: “Syri i popullit” activated to hide failure of LDK – LVV agreement (Express)

Kadri Veseli, leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) spoke after Albin Kurti’s and Glauk Konjufca’s testimony at the Basic Prosecution in Pristina.

Veseli said he will keep the mandate of the Kosovo Assembly MP and added that trial charges against him is only Vetevendosje’s improvisation to avoid failure of creating the coalition.

“I am a member of the Parliament of the Republic, thankful for this. The attempt to escape the truth, incapability to create governing coalition, with this “Syri i popullit” case, is incapability to keep the promise they gave to the citizens of the country,” Veseli said.

“Syri i Popullit” (Eye of the People) is real, there is an injured person, consistent actions, setting vehicles on fire, attacks on escort of the PM, ministers, MPs, families, committed by Syri i Popullit. Those are the ones I mentioned, despite some corrupt prosecutor, or frightened of having open cases under the new circumstances, everyone should give account for their actions. As far as I am concerned, I will follow the legal aspect until the end, and no individual has any impact on me,” Veseli said.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Serbian List: Edita Tahiri’s statement raises unrest and incites hatred among communities in Kosovo (TV Most) 

“The statement by former head of Pristina’s negotiating team, Edita Tahiri, thus announcing the war between Serbs and Albanians is the most dangerous rattling and calling for a conflict, to which all political representatives in Pristina have to react, but also international representatives, especially KFOR, EULEX, the European Union and UNMIK,” the Serbian List assessed today, Zvecan based TV Most reported. 

“It is as if there has not been enough conflict, distress and suffering in previous decades, Edita Tahiri, who, paradoxically, spoke at a rally addressing women’s participation in peace processes, called on conflicts, denying the possibility of finding a compromise, sustainable and peaceful solution to the problem in  Kosovo and Metohija,” the Serbian List said in a statement.

The Serbian List expects that such a statement will encounter with the widest possible condemnation by all, but that also a “zealous” prosecutor’s office in Pristina will launch a case against Edita Tahiri because her statement directly caused citizen upset and incites hatred between the communities in Kosovo.

Balkans 2020: No brightening (DW, B92)

EU policy has failed in 2019. Therefore, next year, 2020 could be a year in which the Balkan ruins will be cleared up to some extent. As early as in the spring, it could be seen how many corpses are left under those ruins, DW writes.

The EU-Western Balkans Summit is scheduled for May next year in Zagreb. The EU Council formally postponed the decision to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania in October this year.

French President Emanuel Macron’s veto has caused alarm across the region as well as in the EU. In addition, it was also breaking the promise from the previous summit. In Germany, the criticism was first of all that the European Union lost its important lever with its vehement refusal – it did not support pro-Western reforms in six Southeast European non-EU countries.

Many hope the May Summit could revise some of the decision made in October, but truly there are slim chances for that. The summit should prepare a new convocation of the European Commission, and its report falls under the responsibility of new Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose policy is followed by Varhelyi, is in favor of EU enlargement to the southeast, but with a completely different agenda than Germany.

Namely, Orban does not share concerns about the state of democracy in the Balkan states. On the contrary. He was the one who saved the formerly corrupt North Macedonian Prime Minister from being imprisoned. The more Hungary is committed to the Balkans, the greater skepticism in France, the Netherlands, but also in Germany. It is feared that Hungary is using the countries of Southeast Europe only to expand its area of influence and thus defend itself against refugees, DW continues.

See at: https://bit.ly/35AF2OH

UNMIK Head Zahir Tanin reacts to desecration of Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan (Social media)

“The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK, Mr. Zahir Tanin, expresses serious concern at the further desecration of gravestones at the Orthodox cemetery in Lipjan/Lipljan, after a similar incident in July,” UNMIK said on its social media profiles.  

“Mr. Tanin is closely monitoring the situation and calls on authorities to redouble efforts to ensure all of Kosovo’s communities can live in peace, uninhibited by fear or persecution. All cemeteries should be respected and protected as sacred,” the statement reads.

OSCE Mission in Kosovo condemns desecration of Serban Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan (Social media)

“The OSCE Mission in Kosovo condemns yet another desecration of gravestones in the Serbian Orthodox cemetery in Lipjan/Lipljan,” the Mission said on its Twitter profile.

“Since the latest desecration discovered on 13 July 2019, nine other graves have been damaged or destroyed at this cemetery, possibly in recent days. The latest desecration has occurred despite an ongoing Kosovo Police investigation of the previous incident and the CCTV cameras placed near the site in the meantime. The OSCE Mission therefore calls for further public condemnation of this vandalism and thorough police and judicial follow-up. All graveyards deserve to be respected and protected. Additional security measures are clearly necessary in order to ensure the sanctity of graves and peace of mind for the living.”

Zyberaj: Pacolli forwarded evidence of Serbia’s genocide to prosecution; Djuric: Primitive chauvinist campaign (KoSsev)

The Kosovo Foreign Ministry forwarded documents on the alleged “war crimes and genocide Serbia committed against Albanians in Kosovo“ to the Kosovo Special Prosecutor’s Office, the adviser to Kosovo Foreign Minister, Jetlir Zyberaj announced on Facebook yesterday. Zyberaj also said that the Serbian diplomacy chief, Ivica Dacic will end up in the Special Court thanks to these documents, KoSSev portal reports.

In the same Facebook post announcing the news that documents have been forwarded, Zyberaj called the Council of Europe Special Rapporteur, Dick Marty a “corrupt figure“. Dick Marty wrote a report on alleged inhumane treatment of prisoners and illegal organ trafficking, on the basis of which the Special Court for Kosovo was subsequently formed.

He then went to compare Marty’s work to documents collected by the Nazis against Jews who fought for freedom in the Warsaw ghetto.

Meanwhile, Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija reacted to last night’s news.

“Beghjet Pacolli is a minister of lies and misinformation, because his ‘ministry’, which should not even exist under Resolution 1244, which is still in force, is lying about everything, both about the number of states that have recognized Kosovo unilaterally declared independence and the wave of withdrawals of recognition,“ the Office for KiM said in a statement.

The Office also described the Kosovo MFA’s initiative as a reaction to an “international defeat,“ terming it as “the most primitive chauvinist campaign that completely ignores historical facts and denies the crimes of the terrorist KLA in a highly cynical and inhuman way.“

On the other hand, the Kosovo Humanitarian Law Centre warned that information and documentation gathered by the Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs can only be treated by the prosecution as information, not evidence as it was not collected in the manner prescribed by law and in accordance with criminal procedures.

See at: https://bit.ly/34y8d3M

Dacic: Albanians frustrated because of incoming indictments (Tanjug, TV Happy)

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ivica Dacic said that everything happening these days in Pristina, including the threats that he will end up in The Hague, is a consequence of Albanian frustrations over indictments prepared by the Specialist Prosecution for KLA crimes, Tanjug news agency reports.

According to some the indictments will be raised before the holidays, while others claim it will happen after the holidays, Dacic said, adding whenever it happens it is clear this is no longer an empty story.

Dacic also told TV Happy at this moment Albanians need balance, therefore they come up with various stories that Serbs have committed serious crimes and similar things.

Talking about the general situation in Pristina, Dacic noted one “does not know who is worse there, there is a high culmination of different internal and external factors in one place and there are no positive messages.” He also assessed that post-election coalition talks in Pristina are getting difficult, and one would wonder if Pristina would be ready at all to lead some talks.

Commenting on the complaint that diplomatic representative of Pristina Vlora Citaku submitted against him to the UN over his statement that she has Serbian citizenship, Dacic said next time he will take with him the list of Serbian citizens, employed in the UN and who are from Kosovo.

According to Dacic, the fact is that they have Serbian citizenship, and work against Serbia, which is important, because this is about status issue, Tanjug news agency reported.

Serbian List won’t prevent forming of Kosovo institutions (Beta, N1) 

Kosovo Serb politician Igor Simic said on Tuesday that the Serbian List would not allow any discrimination of the Serbs and their legitimate representatives. 

Simic, deputy leader of the Serbian List, said that his party would also not prevent the forming of Kosovo institutions for the benefit of the Serbs and other non-Albanians.  

Simic said that the party will demand respect for the rights of the Serb people and “an end to the discrimination of the Serbs in Kosovo and their legally and legitimately elected representatives in institutions”.

See at: https://bit.ly/2EGabVr

Politika: Calling the elections on March 8th, to the polls on April 26th (NMagazin, Beta)

Parliamentary, provincial and local elections in Serbia will be held within the statutory deadline, April 26th next year, according to the Belgrade based daily Politika. 

Politika reported, citing its findings, that the law stipulates that the election campaign lasts from 45 to 60 days. 

As the daily finds out, elections will be announced on March 8th.

“There were two options – to have the elections announced on April 19th and seven days later, and when you look at the calendar, it’s easy to see why the elections will be held on April 26th. It’s Easter on April 19th, and it’s hard to believe that, on that day, religious citizens would go to the polls,” said one of the SNS Presidency members who did not want to be named, Politika wrote.

UAE: Serbia’s journalist is on ‘blacklist’ on some other Govt. request (N1, B92, Beta, Tanjug)

Stevan Dojcinovic, the editor of Serbia’s Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK), is on a flight to Belgrade after being held under surveillance for 12 hours in Abu Dhabi and then deported, KRIK said in a statement on Wednesday.

UAE authorities stopped Dojcinovic at the Abu Dhabi airport and told him he was on a ‘blacklist,’ and could not enter the country.

Drew Sullivan, the editor of the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), broke the news on his Twitter account earlier on Wednesday.

Dojcinovic was supposed to address a UN convention on corruption, Sullivan wrote, adding Dojcinovic was told his name was on some vague list.

“After that, they took me to the airport’s police. They took my fingerprints, photographed me and made a file. Then they left me to wait under surveillance and after five hours told me I would be deported to Serbia next morning,” Dojcinovic said.

He added the police officers who guarded him said he was on the ‘blacklist’ and had to be sent back to Serbia without a proper explanation.

“They told me that it was not UAE that put him on the list, but that it was the request by some other Government, but did not tell me whose government that was,” Dojcinovic said.

The situation was not entirely new to Dojcinovic since the same happened to him in Russia in 2015 when he was banned from entering the country where he was supposed to give a lecture on investigative reporting to Moscow’s students, KRIK reported.

“In comparison to Russia’s authorities, people here were more polite to me. I didn’t end up in detention, and even allow me to buy food,” Dojcinovic said.

Belgrade has traditionally good relationship with Moscow, while it has intensified cooperation with UAE, mainly in the construction business. 

KRIK is investigating and publishing cases of high-level corruption in Serbia. 

See at: https://bit.ly/36L1apP

Ivanovic’s nephew: There is no indictment for execution and organization of murder (Radio kontakt plus)

Civic Initiative Freedom, Democracy, Justice (SDP) official and a nephew of murdered Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic, Aleksandar Ivanovic told Belgrade-based daily Danas that the indictment for the murder of Oliver does not include the immediate execution and organization of the murder.   

He also asked how it is possible that there is no single video footage showing the movement of Oliver Ivanovic on that day and the persons who carried out the murder, despite the large number of surveillance cameras which are controlled by the Serbs in Mitrovica North.

“One thing is certain, the family will never give up on searching for the truth of who has killed our father, brother, uncle and relative,” Aleksandar Ivanovic underlined.

Oliver Ivanovic murder trial on December 30th (Kosovo Online, RTV Puls)

The trial of suspected involvement in the murder of SDP Civic Initiative leader Oliver Ivanovic will begin on December 30th, said defense attorney of one of the indictees, lawyer Mahmut Halimi, for the Kosovo Online Portal.

Halimi said last night that a preliminary hearing was scheduled for December 30th at 9:30 a.m.

Lawyer Vasic: Prosecutor proposes house arrest measure for Markovic, Jovanovic and Arsovic (Kosovo online)

The special prosecutor in the murder case of Oliver Ivanovic has proposed a measure of house arrest for Dragisa Markovic, Silvana Arsovic and Zarko Jovanovic, who were at liberty, said Dragisa Markovic’s lawyer Dejan Vasic for the portal Kosovo Online.

“In my opinion, this is very unfounded. Determining such a measure at this stage is completely unnecessary. If either of them wanted to escape or otherwise avoid that trial, they would have certainly did it by now. I think this same issue will be addressed on December 30, when the preparatory hearing is scheduled, as well as the question of plea of all other defendants,” Vasic specified.

Lawyer Halimi: No new evidence against Rosic (KoSSev)

The indictment in the case of assassination of Oliver Ivanovic was delivered to Marko Rosic’s defense yesterday, his lawyer Mahmut Halimi confirmed for KoSSev. The first reading of the indictment will be done at a hearing scheduled for December 30th. According to Halimi, the prosecution “did not offer new evidence of Rosic’s involvement in the murder of Oliver Ivanovic“ in the indictment.

After seeing the indictment, Halimi said that his client was charged “with what he had been charged with since day one.“

“Based on two leads, which cannot in any way prove his possible involvement in the commission of the act he is charged with – a statement by the brother of the deceased and some note allegedly found in Ivanovic’s wallet after some time,“ Halimi explained, adding that the indictment continues to rely on “those two pieces of evidence.“

“There is no other evidence to confirm another fact, that is, a circumstance that may raise reasonable doubt,“ he underlined.

See at: https://bit.ly/2s1MOCG

Odalovic: Serbia cannot shed light on destinies of missing persons alone (RTS)

Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary General Veljko Odalovic who is also a chair of the Government Commission for Missing Persons said Serbia cannot resolve the issue of missing persons alone, RTS reports. 

“Everything that was up to Serbia and everything what was expected from it, Serbia has done. There are a few more requests related to the archives and permanent searches are underway,” Odalovic said.

According to him the bodies of missing persons Serbia is looking for are either in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina or in the territory of Kosovo and one cannot escape from that.

“There must be a readiness in the region to deal with this issue in an open and transparent manner and to try to end the agony of these families, as well as resolve the process that burdens the most future relations,” Odalovic underlined.

Ombudsman: There is no improvement in the accountability of institutions (RTV Puls) 

The institution of the Ombudsman presented the preliminary work report from January 17 to the present day for the completion of the calendar year 2019.

Ombudsman Director Hilmi Jashari said the institution was working on issues in the area of legislation, but also dealing with laws that have not yet been fully implemented.

Jashari highlighted visits to minority communities, people with disabilities as the main activity this year, but also the fact that several reports with recommendations were published.

Jashari also cited the security of national minorities in the village of Janjevo. 

“Members of the community have drawn the Ombudsman’s attention to the uncertainty they feel when it comes to security. The Ombudsman asked the Kosovo police to increase the capacity of its members to provide security to the people that sought protection,”Jashari said.

He noted that the Ombudsman Institution in Kosovo had launched a new anti-torture mechanism under the new mandate.

“It’s one activity that has been very active. 86 visits were carried out where there was detention of persons in collective centers, police stations, psychiatric and social care. 64 recommendations were issued to the competent authorities. No cases of detention of media representatives or cases of physical abuse were recorded.” 

Another temporary issue was the suspension of the implementation of the Law on Wages, which was approved by the Kosovo Constitutional Court on the proposal of the Ombudsman.

Ombudsman Legal Advisor Labinot Sheremetin points out that the Ombudsman received about 1867 complaints.

“With regard to the treatment of these complaints, the Ombudsman decided to open investigation for 867 complaints, and the rest has declared as inadmissible in accordance with its mandate. Another important part of the Ombudsman’s mandate is to investigate the case on its own initiative. The Ombudsman can open a case if it finds that there are human rights violations. The Ombudsman used this mandate in 51 cases during the year,” Sheremetin said.

As for the ethnicity of the complainants, the majority were Albanians as much as 89 percent, while 4.6 percent were Serbs. And Bosniaks and Ashkali 1.3 percent each, as well as Egyptians and Roma, Sheremetin said.

Lawyer Vlajic: We will appeal when the Todosijevic verdict arrive (Kosovo Online)

Lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic, who represents former Minister of Administration and Local Government Ivan Todosijevic, told Kosovo Online that he did not receive a written verdict, so he would submit an appeal with the Court of Appeal, once he received it.  

Court of Appeal President Hasan Shala confirmed that he has not yet received the appeal in the Todosijevic case, but stressed that when the appeal arrives, the court will consider it in the short term, reported Pristina based Lajmi. 

 

 

International 

 

BIRN Launches Updated Map of Balkan War Crime Verdicts (Balkan Insight)

BIRN has published an updated and improved version of its War Crimes Verdicts Map, an interactive tool that offers an overview of hundreds of court rulings on the crimes committed during the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia.

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network on Wednesday published its updated and improved War Crimes Verdicts Map, enabling users to search rulings in cases from courts across the former Yugoslavia and from the UN tribunal in The Hague.

The map includes all the final war crimes verdicts that are available from 42 different domestic courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia.

The map is available at: https://warcrimesmap.balkaninsight.com/

Full article is available at: https://bit.ly/2rYotOg

Belgrade Appoints Serb Officials in Northern Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

As discussions continue on forming a new government in Kosovo, officials from the main Belgrade-backed Kosovo Serb party have already taken up new positions in the Serb-run north.

As talks in Kosovo drag on between Albin Kurti’s Vetevendosje movement and Isa Mustafa’s Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, on forming a new coalition government, officials from Belgrade-backed Srpska Lista, the main Serbian party in Kosovo, have already taken up their new posts in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo.

More than 20 Srpska Lista officials on Tuesday took up the roles assigned to them by the Serbian government after most of the appointments were approved at meetings on November 21. Belgrade exercices de facto control over the far north of Kosovo.

See at: https://bit.ly/2PWmLor

 

 

Development/Humanitarian

 

Gorazdevac: Young people are most disappointed and most dissatisfied part of society (KoSSev, Radio Gorazdevac)

The lack of cultural, sports and other activities that affect the quality of life of children and youth are typical of the village of Gorazdevac. The number of students of Gorazdevac secondary school is decreasing with each passing year.

Many young people do not see themselves living here anymore, while there are no jobs for those who do complete their education. In a reportage produced by Radio Gorazdevac with the support of KoSSev, IOM and the British Embassy, the Gorazdevac residents spoke about what drives young people to leave this village.

Andjelko Zdravkovic studies in North Mitrovica but spends every day off in Gorazdevac. According to him, for the young people who live here, every day is the same.

“We mostly gather at a nearby cafe, we play sports a little, do some recreation and a lot of people mostly study in North Mitrovica and in other cities in Serbia. Unfortunately, there are not many young people in this village anymore. Those of us left – we try to make our lives a little more interesting, because we live in an enclave. I would say that our most important issue is finding a job, because that is the reason why a large number of young people have left Gorazdevac,“ Zdravkovic told Radio Gorazdevac.

Zdravkovic recalled the time when young people from Gorazdevac gathered around the Cultural and Art Society, which closed down in the meantime due to a lack of support and poor conditions.

Full article is available at: https://bit.ly/35BWYbK

Serbian Museum Puts Mestrovic’s Vidovdan Sculptures on Display (Balkan Insight)

Serbia’s National Museum has put 40 works by the famous Croatian sculptor on show, mostly done before World War I and reflecting his strong engagement with the idea of South Slav unity.

An exhibition of sculptures by Ivan Mestrovic from the collection of the Serbian National Museum in Belgrade opened on Tuesday night at the museum. 

During December and January, visitors to the museum will have an opportunity to see 40 works by the famous Yugoslav sculptor, most of them created before World War I, the so-called “Vidovdan fragments”.

See at: https://bit.ly/35AUMRM

 

 

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