- Vetëvendosje presents new offer to LDK, proposes enlarging government to 14 ministries (KTV)
- Quint: Reçak Massacre prompted NATO allies to end a humanitarian catastrophe (Most monitored broadcasters, KTV)
- Petrovic meets Ambassador Kosnett, complains about pressure from Srpska List (KTV)
- HRW: Problems with respect of human rights in Kosovo (KTV)
- Serbia buying de-recognitions for Kosovo with bribes, Hoxhaj says (KTV)
- Kosovo prosecutor seeks fine for Russians charged with illegal border crossing (Radio Free Europe)
- Lumezi tells “incapable” prosecutors: Ask for additional training (KTV)
- Kosovo war crime witness was killed last month (GazetaExpress)
- “Repentant” Kosovo woman who joined ISIS pleads guilty (GazetaExpress)
- Thousands left Kosovo, Statistics Office says (N1)
Vetëvendosje presents new offer to LDK, proposes enlarging government to 14 ministries
Besnik Bislimi, deputy chairman of Vetëvendosje Movement, on Facebook published the latest offer of Vetëvendosje to LDK for forming government. He also confirmed the reports about enlarging government from 12 to 14 ministries.
He said that the offer was sent on Monday evening to the LDK leader Isa Mustafa. According to him, by drafting this proposal, Vetëvendosje believes that a very big compromise has been made, given that the willingness to increase the number of ministries that does not bring any benefit to VV, which will only be exposed to dissatisfactions of the public, which will rightly attack VV for not keeping its pre and post-election promises to reduce the number of ministries down to 12.
“Based on the fact that the country is before a vital crossroad, which will strongly determine perspective of the country and its orientation towards a crucial, positive change, or further sinking into crime, corruption and misery, it is of utmost important that the decision/recommendation of members of the LDK’s General Council be an accurate reflection of their expectations and beliefs. The attempt to impose their stances through earlier public statements of those persons, who from the very beginning implied that they do not prefer a coalition with VV, may turn up to be extremely harmful in the context of seriousness of the current situation,” he added.
Finally, Bislimi published also the letter of the Vetëvendosje leader Albin Kurti, which was sent to Mustafa.
The first proposal is to increase the number of ministries from 12 to 14, where VV would have five, and LDK six ministries. The extra ministry for LDK is because VV has one of the biggest ministries. Minorities will have three ministries. The first deputy Prime Minister belongs to LDK and the second one to VV.
Point 2 provides that Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sport will be split, so that Culture and Youth will merge with Education, and Sport will merge with the Ministry of Health. Ministry of Local Government Administration and Ministry of Regional Development are two of the three ministries that will be granted to minorities; the third one is the Ministry for Communities.
Point three states that a joint formulation will be made regarding the issue of the President of the Republic of Kosovo, based on the initial draft from LDK, which includes the stance about the current President, the effort for consensus, and restriction to possible agreements with former PAN”.
“I hope you will accept our proposal, so that without further due we can form the government and implement our harmonized government platform,” Kurti concluded.
Quint: Reçak Massacre prompted NATO allies to end a humanitarian catastrophe
(Most monitored broadcasters, KTV)
Embassies of Quint countries in Kosovo remembered the Reçak massacre that happened 21 years ago.
In a press statement, the United States Embassy, on behalf of embassies of France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, said “twenty-one years ago, the massacre that occurred in Reçak eventually prompted NATO allies to intervene and end a humanitarian catastrophe.”
“We honor the memory of those who were lost in Recak and all the other massacres in Kosovo two decades ago by working together to build a future of peace, justice, and prosperity for the next generations,”, reads the statement issued by US Embassy in Prishtinë/Pristina.
Further, the statement reads that the governments of Kosovo and Serbia need to ensure victims and their families have full access to justice, and to information about the fate of their loved ones.
“Citizens of all ethnicities should feel at home and free to live and work in peace with their neighbors. As the Declaration of Independence of this country says, Kosovo is a country ‘committed to confronting the painful legacy of the recent past in a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness. Dedicated to protecting, promoting and honoring the diversity of our people.’ Our shared aim is to continuously support Kosovo on this path,” the statement of Quint countries ends.
Petrovic meets Ambassador Kosnett, complains about pressure from Srpska List
Serbian Independent Liberal (SLS) Party leader Slobodan Petrovic and Acting Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development Dijana Zivic met on Tuesday with the US Ambassador to Prishtinë/Pristina Philip Kosnett to discuss current situation in Kosovo.
At the meeting, Petrovic and Zivic informed the US diplomat on the problems facing the Serb community, plans for the future work of the SLS, and the pressures faced by members of the party even after the completion of the October 6 election process by the Srpska List, KosovaPress writes.
At the end of the meeting, Petrovic expressed his great appreciation to Ambassador Kosnett for the support he gives to Serb community in Kosovo and for his sincere commitment, recalling that SLS aspiration is to continue to preserve peace and stability in Kosovo.
HRW: Problems with respect of human rights in Kosovo
The international organization Human Rights Watch published the annual human rights report on Tuesday, where the section on Kosovo starts with responsibility for war crimes.
The report says the Hague Prosecutor’s Office, which handles war crimes in Kosovo, has called Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj for an interview, who subsequently resigned.
While no indictment has been filed yet, the report states that former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army are expected to be indicted.
The report, among others, mentions the case of Goran Stanisic, a former member of Yugoslav forces, who was taken into custody by the Basic Court in Prishtinë/Pristina for allegedly participating in crimes against Albanians in the village of Sllovinje in April 1999.
The report states that, during 2019, the United Nations did not apologize or pay individual compensation to victims of poisoning who, after the 1998-99 war, were forced to live in several camps in northern Kosovo led by United Nations Interim Mission in Kosovo – UNMIK.
Apology and compensation have been recommended by the Human Rights Advisory Panel, an independent mechanism set up in 2006 to handle complaints of abuse by UNMIK.
The victims were members of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities.
These communities, according to the Human Rights Watch report, have continued to have difficulty in securing personal documents.
No concrete progress has been reported in their integration, the report states.
“Interethnic tensions continued during 2019, especially in the divided north of Kosovo,” the report stresses.
Serbia buying de-recognitions for Kosovo with bribes, Hoxhaj says
Former Kosovo Minister of Foreign Affairs Enver Hoxhaj said that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Ivica Dacic are continuing Slobodan Milosevic’s policy towards Kosovo.
In a Twitter reaction, Hoxhaj mentioned methods used by Serbia to buy de-recognition of Kosovo.
“Serbian lobbying campaigns against Kosovo through bribing, selling weapons illegally and similar nasty actions are now confirmed also by Belgrade. Typical of authoritarian regimes like Vucic’s and a Soviet pawn like Dacic, who continue Milosevic’s policy on Kosovo,” Hoxhaj wrote.
Kosovo prosecutor seeks fine for Russians charged with illegal border crossing
(Radio Free Europe)
A prosecutor in Kosovo has demanded that two Russian nationals detained in the north of the country on suspicion of illegally crossing the border from Serbia be fined for their actions.
Nikola Kabasic, chief of the Basic Court in the city of Mitrovica, on January 14 told RFE/RL that the court has received prosecutor Slobodan Bakic’s request that the two Russians — a man and a woman — be fined and that a decision is likely on January 15.
People familiar with the matter told RFE/RL that the Russian nationals asserted to Kosovar authorities they intended to reach Lukovska Banja in southern Serbia — but that their navigation system had mistakenly sent them across the border with Kosovo.
Kosovo, which was formerly a province of Serbia, has tense relations with its Balkan neighbor. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 — a move never recognized by Belgrade, its traditional ally Russia, and five EU member states. It is recognized by more than 110 countries, including its close ally, the United States.
Prosecutor Bakic told RFE/RL the two had earlier attempted to cross the border at Jarina but were turned back because they did not have visas.
The Russians “then used an alternative route in the village of Sharpel and attempted to cross the border illegally,” he said, adding that he had ordered a 24-hour detention before they were to appear before a judge.
The prosecutor said the detention took place on January 13 in Leposavic, a town mainly populated by ethnic Serbs.
He identified them as Igor Krasikov and Marina Vladimirovna Krasikova.
Lumezi tells “incapable” prosecutors: Ask for additional training
All prosecutors who feel incapable of handling a particular case may ask for voluntary training.
This is what the Chief State Prosecutor Aleksandër Lumezi said on Tuesday at this year’s first meeting of Kosovo Prosecutorial Council, where a regulation on training and professional development in the prosecutorial system was adopted.
It was also announced that advancement of the prosecutors’ performance appraisal system is one of the main objectives of KPC this year.
Recommendations of the report of Commission for transfer and promotion of three state prosecutors were also endorsed in this meeting.
However, due to the failure to meet the requirements of a candidate for prosecutor, the vacancy in the Basic Prosecution in Mitrovicë/Mitrovica will be re-announced.
KPC decided that a group of prosecutors will attend the mentoring program in four modules during March, June, September and November 2020 in London, and the costs will be covered by the British Government.
Kosovo war crime witness was killed last month
A Kosovo forest guard who was shot dead last month near the Badvoc Lake, was a protected witness of the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (SPO), established to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
Nazmi Rrustemi (63) who on 18 December 2019 was found dead near the artificial lake of Badovc, just outside capital Pristina, was a protected witness of the Hague-based international prosecutors, his family confirmed. His wife Elmaze Rrustemi told T7 broadcaster that her late husband was even interviewed three months before his enigmatic death last month in his capacity as a witness. His family members told the TV channel that Nazmi Rrustemi was once held as a prisoner by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during Kosovo war in 1998-1999. Kosovo authorities have not solved the case. The Specialist Prosecutor’s Office has not commented whether Rrustemi was in the program of protected witnesses. His wife called on rule of law authorities to solve killing of her late husband.
Since January 2019 more than 200 people, most of them former members of the KLA have been questioned by international prosecutors either as witnesses or suspects but no indictment has been filed yet. The Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, which operate as part of Kosovo’s justice system but are staffed by internationals and based in the Netherlands, were established in 2015 and are tasked to investigate and try alleged crimes committed by the KLA.
“Repentant” Kosovo woman who joined ISIS pleads guilty
A Kosovo-born woman who is the widow of an ISIS fighter has pleaded guilty to join the terrorist organisation of ISIS in Syria.
The woman identified as Edona Berisha, during initial hearing at the Basic Court in Pristina has pleaded guilty of joining ISIS claiming that she went there to be close to her children. “I plead guilty on this criminal charge. I am guilty. My aim was to be close to my children, after my late husband Burim Demolli went there, and asked to have children by his side, this was the reason, why I went after my children, not to leave in his hands,” Berisha said.
Berisha told the court that she tried to escape from Syria and return to Kosovo, but was stopped by the terrorist group of ISIS. “I always wanted to return to Kosovo and despite efforts to return I was caught by the ISIS who have stopped me, but now I feel god that I have returned in my country together with my children,” she said. Her lawyer asked the panel of judges to take into consideration that her client voluntarily pleaded guilty and has repented for joining ISIS and was ready to cooperate with the rule of law authorities in Kosovo. The judgment in this case will be delivered on 15 January. The Special Prosecution of the Republic of Kosovo has on 30 December 2019 filed an indictment against Edone Berisha, accused of criminal charges “organisation and participation in a terrorist group.”
A total of 110 citizens of Kosovo were repatriated from Syria last year, of whom 74 were children, 32 were women and four were men. Nine children returned without parents because they were killed in the fighting in the Middle East.
Thousands left Kosovo, Statistics Office says
More than 28,000 people left Kosovo in 2018, three times more than a year earlier, the Kosovo Statistics Office said on Tuesday.
According to the data released by the Statistics Office, a total of 28,164 people emigrated from Kosovo using legal or illegal routes that year. The main reason why Kosovo residents decided to live abroad is to connect to family members, find jobs or study. Some 7,000 people came to live in Kosovo in 2018.
“Also in 2018, a number of migrants requested asylum in European Union member states, including the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members,” the Statistics Office said, adding that some of the people who left Kosovo went to the US and Canada and Turkey.
The Statistics Office said that some 9,000 people changed their place of residence within Kosovo in 2018.