Albanian Language Media:
- COVID-19: 63 new cases, no fatal cases (media)
- Kosovo war crimes court at The Hague confirms first arrest (media)
- EULEX: We provided operational and logistic support to the SPO (RTK)
- Hoti does not know if Kosovo-Serbia meeting will take place (Koha)
- Osmani writes to her Israeli counterpart about start of cooperation (RTK)
- Hoti: President to be discussed in February 2021 (RTK)
- Hoti: Railway also to be discussed at the meeting of two governments (media)
Serbian Language Media:
- SPO arrests Salih Mustafa (media)
- Witnesses in proceedings relating to war crimes in former Yugoslavia must be effectively protected and supported (Council of Europe, media)
- EC: We never announced that a meeting in Brussels would be held on September 28 (Kosovo Online)
- Vucic: Ready for talks, ZSO inevitable topic (Kosovo-online)
- Second round of dialogue in Brussels canceled due to Pristina? (Tanjug, B92)
- Vucic: For the first time division of Gazivode is talked about, which is good for Serbia (Kosovo-online)
- The head of the DFC Belgrade office in Pristina today (Kosovo Online, RTV Puls)
- Ellis: Leak of confidential documents from The Hague could jeopardize the work of the court (Kontakt plus radio, RFE)
- Vucic tells UN GA Serbia won’t accept humiliating solution for Kosovo (Beta, N1)
- Spanish MFA: We will not change stance on Kosovo (N1)
- Belgrade daily: Proposal to pull out of peace operations to Serbian Foreign Ministry (N1)
- Serwer and Bieber: Washington Agreement not a major step towards normalization, will be forgotten in US soon (EWB)
- Kosovo President Warns Leaked Hague Court Files Harm Indictees (Balkan Insight)
- Ukraine accepts Kosovo passports – Deputy FM Bodnar (unian.info)
Albanian Language Media
COVID-19: 63 new cases, no fatal cases (media)
Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health announced in its briefing today that of 592 samples tested for coronavirus, 63 resulted positive during the last 24 hours.
At the same time, 87 patients have recovered and no fatal cases have been recorded.
The majority of the new infections (24) are from the municipality of Prishtina.
Kosovo war crimes court at The Hague confirms first arrest (media)
Former KLA superior in the Llap Operational Zone, and former chief KSF intelligence Salih Mustafa was arrested today in Kosovo by the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office, after an arrest warrant was issued for him and his transfer to The Hague was ordered.
“Salih Mustafa was arrested today in Kosovo by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, pursuant to an arrest warrant, transfer order and confirmed indictment issued by a pre-trial judge of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers.
Mr. Mustafa is being transferred to the Detention Facilities of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague and will appear before the pre-trial judge without undue delay.
Under the Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, police within the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office shall have the authority and responsibility to exercise powers given to Kosovo police under Kosovo law. The Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office also provides that a person against whom an indictment has been confirmed shall, pursuant to an order or an arrest warrant of the Specialist Chambers, be taken into custody.
Further details will be provided in due course,” informed the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office.
EULEX: We provided operational and logistic support to the SPO (RTK)
The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) informed on its Facebook page that it provided operational and logistic support to the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office during Sali Mustafa’s arrest today.
“As mentioned in the press release issued today by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) https://www.scp-ks.org/en/specialist-prosecutors-office-arrests-salih-mustafa, Salih Mustafa was arrested today in Kosovo by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, pursuant to an arrest warrant, transfer order and confirmed indictment issued by a pre-trial judge of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers.
The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) provided operational and logistic support to the SPO in line with its mandate and in accordance with the Kosovo legislation,” EULEX informed.
Hoti does not know if Kosovo-Serbia meeting on 28 September will take place (Koha)
The Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti said he does not know if the meeting with Serbia foreseen for 28 September will be held after Serbia’s conditioning its participation in the dialogue with Kosovo’s expression of readiness to implement the agreement on Association of Serb-majority Municipalities. Hoti said at a press conference today that this issue is closed.
“The Association will not be discussed because it is a closed subject. I do not know if the meeting in Brussels will be held, but we will see in the coming days. But we are for moving the dialogue ahead,” he said.
He added that the biggest compromise that Kosovo made is accepting dialogue for peace with Serbia. “Kosovo is over with its compromises,” he said.
Just before Hoti’s press conference, the European Union said in a response to the paper that they will soon inform about the dates of the next meetings between Kosovo and Serbia, after the occurring obstacles for the next meeting.
Osmani writes to her Israeli counterpart about start of cooperation (RTK)
Kosovo’s Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani wrote to her Israeli counterpart Yariv Levin about the start of cooperation ‘between the two countries and institutions.’
In this letter, Osmani says that Kosovo and Israel eleven days ago established diplomatic relations, and that it is her honor to establish contact between the parliaments for the first time.
“I am looking forward to meeting with you. Please let me know when we could schedule a video call to discuss about ways how we could cooperate. I am particularly interested to discuss about formation of the Parliamentary Friendship Groups to institutionalize the cooperation of our parliaments,” Osmani wrote.
Hoti: President to be discussed in February 2021 (RTK)
Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti spoke today about the issue of election of the President of Kosovo.
He said the president cannot be elected only by the governing coalition, without involvement of the political spectrum in the country.
“The President is in his office, based on his constitutional competencies. When February 2021 comes, we should sit and find a solution together with the political specter about the election of the president… One thing is clear: this governing coalition cannot elect the president alone, but we should sit beyond the coalition in order to overcome this matter,” Hoti said.
Hoti: Railway also to be discussed at the meeting of two governments (media)
After Wednesday’s information that the meeting between the governments of Kosovo and Albania was postponed due to the Kosovo Assembly session, the Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti said he is the only one to decide on the agenda of the government.
“Tomorrow, during a very important meeting of the Assembly of Kosovo, where the governing cabinet has to be present, among many points, is the law on economic recovery, the €400 million that citizens and businesses can profit from,” he said.
He also said that among a number of agreements expected to be signed between the governments of Kosovo and Albania, is the Prishtina-Durres railway.
“The railway that connects Prishtina with Durres, with Adriatic port, connects Prishtina also with Thessaloniki, and Istanbul, also with Central Europe, Belgrade, Budapest and beyond, this is how this should be seen. A special agreement for the railway… We also have the support of the United States to move forward with this project and consent of the PM Rama to include the agreement on the railway, the initial phase of course, among the agreements that we will sign,” Hoti said.
He also spoke about the so-called Mini-Schengen.
“We have made a commitment to become part of this regional initiative, we will see in the meetings of the leaders of the Western Balkans in the future how Kosovo will become part of this initiative on an equal basis, completely equal as any country, with the orientation that this is a temporary project, in the long run we all try to become part of the European Schengen area,” Hoti said.
Serbian Language Media
SPO arrests Salih Mustafa (media)
The Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office arrested the former head of the intelligence service of the Kosovo Protection Corps and the official of the Ministry of Defense, Salih Mustafa today, pursuant to an arrest warrant. An indictment issued against Mustafa by the pre-trial judge of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers has been confirmed.
Mustafa is being transferred to the Detention Facilities of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague and will appear before the pre-trial judge.
Further details will be provided in due course, reads a statement of the SPO. However, no details were revealed as to what charges were brought against him.
Salih Mustafa was the head of the KLA in the Lab operational zone during the Kosovo war. In mid-October last year, he was summoned for questioning by the SPO, however, at that time it was not revealed when and in what capacity he would be questioned.
As the Kosovo media previously wrote about Mustafa, he joined the ‘’National Liberation Movement’’in 1988, which was led by Afrim Zhitia, Fahri Fazli, and Fadil Vata.
Serb authorities arrested him in 1993, sentencing him to five years in prison. After his release, Mustafa joined the KLA by organizing and deploying these units in the region of Pristina, Kosovska Kamenica, Obilic, Gnjilane, and Vitina.
After the war, Mustafa became the head of the intelligence service of the Kosovo Protection Corps and was an adviser to the then Kosovo Prime Minister and former KSF Minister, Agim Ceku.
For three weeks now, the media has been extensively reporting about the affair related to the alleged leak of thousands of documents from the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague. These files were delivered to the headquarters of the ‘’KLA War Veterans Association’’on three occasions. Moreover, some media outlets have also recently published these allegedly leaked files. The well-known Albanian TV station “Top Channel” started publishing documents which it claimed were confidential and allegedly delivered to this media outlet from the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office.
The SPO did not react to this affair until this Tuesday, when they published a press release, praising the ‘’ethical journalists“ who refused to publish these documents. At the same time, the SPO reiterated that they are committed to vigorously investigating and prosecuting individuals who commit any such crimes, “including the disclosure of the identity of individuals who may be called before the court or any information that could lead to their identification.”
There is still no confirmation as to whether the documents from this court were actually leaked – at a time when the first indictments are expected to be filed.
See at: https://bit.ly/303Gs3H
Witnesses in proceedings relating to war crimes in former Yugoslavia must be effectively protected and supported (Council of Europe, media)
“Provision of effective protection and support for witnesses in the context of wartime-related criminal proceedings is instrumental to the fight against impunity for the crimes committed during the wars of the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia. However, over recent days, the name of a protected witness in a war crime case in Bosnia and Herzegovina allegedly implicating the Prime Minister of Republika Srpska has been published in local media outlets, and war crime files containing the names of witnesses allegedly belonging to the Specialist Kosovo Chambers were anonymously transferred to a veterans’ organisation in Kosovo*. These developments are unacceptable and raise a number of serious issues to be addressed by the relevant authorities, prosecutors’ offices and courts”, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic said in a statement.
“Lack of effective protection of witnesses has been an issue of concern in the countries in the region for many years. It has deterred many witnesses from coming forward and giving invaluable testimonies about war crimes and the possible locations of mass graves holding the remains of thousands of persons still missing in the region. Many protected witnesses are war crime victims themselves and live in the same communities as the perpetrators. In some cases where witnesses’ names have been disclosed their lives have been endangered and their families threatened, and some witnesses have been ostracised by their own communities because of their testimonies”, she added.
Read the full statement at: https://bit.ly/2EutQuN
EC: We never announced that a meeting in Brussels would be held on September 28 (Kosovo Online)
The European Union has never announced that a new round of dialogue will be held in Brussels on September 28, Kosovo Online portal was told by the office of the spokesperson of the European Commission.
The date of the next high-level meeting will be announced later.
That information could be published on the EEAS website or on Twitter, said the office of the EC spokesperson, quotes the portal.
Vucic: Ready for talks, ZSO inevitable topic (Kosovo-online)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said today Belgrade is ready for the talks with Pristina in Brussels, adding that the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities (ZSO) is an inevitable topic, Kosovo-online portal reports.
“We are ready for the talks. The Community of Serb-majority Municipalities is an inevitable topic and we shall insist on it”, Vucic told journalists after being asked if there would be a meeting in Brussels on September 28, given the claims of Albanian media that the Pristina delegation will not attend it.
Vucic also said that Belgrade in “the best faith” would continue negotiations with Pristina under the EU’s auspices.
Asked if it would suit Serbia that the US takes over the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina and if there were talks about it recently in Washington, Vucic said this was a rather complex, difficult and complicated issue and he would prefer not to respond to it today.
However, he noted that with the decision of the UN SC the negotiations are being held under the EU’s auspices.
Second round of dialogue in Brussels canceled due to Pristina? (Tanjug, B92)
Next round of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, scheduled for September 28, was called into question by Pristina’s refusal to discuss the Community of Serb Municipalities, B92 reports citing Tanjug news agency.
European diplomatic sources told Tanjug that the next round of expert talks between Belgrade and Pristina, as well as the high-level meeting between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, are “still in question”.
The problem, as said unofficially, is Pristina’s refusal to discuss the implementation of the agreement from 2013, which implies the formation of the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities.
Tanjug sources added the EU told Pristina it could not “choose what it will negotiate and what it will not”, because it has already agreed to the designed agenda, which includes talks on the implementation of all unimplemented agreements from the Brussels Agreement.
Although the meeting between Vucic and Hoti is planned and announced for September 28, the European External Action Service says that they cannot announce that meeting at the moment.
Instead, they note that the dialogue at the expert and high level continues as soon as “everything is in place”, i.e. as soon as the two sides agree.
See at: https://bit.ly/2Eu822z
Vucic: For the first time division of Gazivode is talked about, which is good for Serbia (Kosovo-online)
“For the first time, there is talk of dividing (sharing) the water and electricity resources of Gazivode Lake, which is good for Serbia, because Serbs, from Kosovo and central Serbia, should certainly benefit more from that lake”, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said today, Kosovo-online portal reports.
When asked what US is proposing regarding Gazivode, Vucic said that they were still not proposing anything, because they have yet to do a feasibility study, so that remained to be seen, but “it is certainly good for us that we are talking about the division of resources”.
“For the first time, we are talking about the division of resources, water and electricity. We were not taking a single kilowatt, so it is time to start talking about it”, Vucic added.
He pointed out that Serbia did not mind having Belacevac Mine, Obilic, the entire Metohija using the water, but it was good that Serbs in Kosovo, as well as from central Serbia, in addition to beautiful beaches, restaurants and places, had more benefits from Gazivode.
The head of the DFC Belgrade office in Pristina today (Kosovo Online, RTV Puls)
The head of the Office of the American Corporation for Development and Finance (DFC) in Belgrade, John Jovanovic, will visit Kosovo today, the Embassy of the United States of America in Serbia confirmed.
“I thank Radio Television of Serbia for the opportunity to meet the new managing director of the DFC office that covers the Western Balkans and the Aegean. John will be in Pristina on Thursday to advance the White House agenda for regional economic cooperation,” the embassy said on Twitter.
Jovanovic was appointed head of the DFC office, which was officially opened in Belgrade, in the presence of Trump’s envoy Richard Grenell and DFC chief Adam Boehler.
Ellis: Leak of confidential documents from The Hague could jeopardize the work of the court (Kontakt plus radio, RFE)
I think this is a real crisis, with these words Dr. Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association based in London, comments on the events related to the leak of allegedly confidential documents from the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague.
“This is pure intimidation and an attack on the court, an attack on the process, on a fair trial. If you are in an environment where groups or individuals provide information about the names and addresses of witnesses, then essentially the whole process is imploding. It can’t work,” said Dr. Ellis in an interview with Radio Free Europe.
He adds that only the prosecution is responsible for firmly holding to the protection of the identity of witnesses.
“This must stop. Otherwise, the entire court process is endangered,” he points out.
Ellis, however, points out that the credibility of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office will be jeopardized if it does not react immediately and does not take strong measures against those involved in the alleged leak of sensitive documentation.
“In my opinion, this is such a serious violation of the court procedure that everyone, including the Prosecutor’s Office, should be extremely concerned and should do everything, not only that it does not repeat, but to make it clear that they will react against anyone who publishes this information in public,” he says.
Ellis also emphasizes that the very fact that the documents are published indicates that “there is a problem in the process, in the protection of information, and that should be resolved through an internal investigation.”
“When subjects or individuals violate rules and principles, the response should be urgent, strong, and I believe there should be a consequence, including a criminal indictment against any subject or individual who provides or allows witness information to become public,” Ellis said.
Now, according to him, the cooperation of witnesses with the court can be an absolute challenge, “which was exactly the intention of those entities that provided information to the public.”
He adds that the responsibility is also on the international community, which should be “loud on this issue due to the importance of witness protection in any court process.”
Vucic tells UN GA Serbia won’t accept humiliating solution for Kosovo (Beta, N1)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told the UN General Assembly that Belgrade believes the Kosovo issue can be solved through dialogue but warned that the solution must not be “humiliating and unacceptable”.
“I believe that a solution can be reached following a long and hard dialogue but be assured that Serbia will never accept humiliation. Anything that is not a compromise which will have to be equally satisfactory and unsatisfactory to both sides is not acceptable for us,” he told the 75th UN General Assembly by video link. He said that a big step had been taken with the White House Agreements to normalize economic relations and praised what he said was the very constructive role of US President Donald Trump’s administration.
He said that European Union membership remained Serbia’s foreign policy goal but added that it did not exclude deeper cooperation with other countries. “We maintain partnership relations with Western countries, including intensive cooperation with the US but at the same time we are proud of our excellent relations with Russia and China,” he said and added that cooperation with African and South American countries was part of the country’s foreign policy but that promoting regional cooperation was a basic tenet of foreign policy.
Vucic said that Serbia attached great importance to UN peacekeeping efforts across the world and recalled that Serbia was the leading country in the Western Balkans and ninth in Europe in terms of contributions to military and police contingents in UN peace operations.
He said that the coronavirus pandemic confirmed the need to strengthen the role of the UN and what he said was the irreplaceable role of its specialized agencies. “The UN must be adjusted to the new circumstances and ready for a joint response to the challenges of the modern age. The new reality in the world is another proof that modern challenges do not know the borders of states,” Vucic said.
See at: https://bit.ly/3kCMobE
Spanish MFA: We will not change stance on Kosovo (N1)
Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry (MFA) said that according to the current situation this country has no reason to change its stance when it comes to the recognition of Kosovo, N1 reports. “We would like to inform you that based on the current situation Spain has no reason to change its stance, which is fully in line with the international law”, Spanish MFA told Pristina-based portal Lajmi.
The Ministry also underlined their stance towards Kosovo is not unjust, on the contrary it is fully in line with the international law.
Asked if the agreement between Kosovo and Serbia would open the possibility for Spain to recognize Kosovo, MFA responded that they support the dialogue.
“We will continue supporting the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue aiming at reaching a comprehensive political agreement on final status of Kosovo territory”, Spanish MFA said.
Spain does not recognize Kosovo independence as it deems it unilateral and contrary to the international law. One of the strong reasons why Spain refuses to recognize Kosovo is because it sees it as a potential scenario for Catalonia, N1 recalled.
Belgrade daily: Proposal to pull out of peace operations to Serbian Foreign Ministry (N1)
Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti said on Wednesday that the Defense Ministry sent the Foreign Ministry a proposal to withdraw all Serbian military personnel from European Union peace operations.
The daily was told unofficially that the proposal was sent to the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday morning. It added on its web site that the government can’t discuss the possible withdrawal of Serbian military personnel from peace missions before the Foreign Ministry gives its opinion.
Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on September 11 that a final decision has to be taken on peace missions. Speaking after the Serbian authorities decided to pull out of military games in Belarus in line with EU policy, Vulin said that if internal military activities are being discontinued, the same should be done with peace mission personnel regardless of whether they are under UN or EU command, adding that the military will implement any government decision. He told a promotion ceremony later that the military had discontinued its engagement on some 200 international military cooperation activities.
See at: https://bit.ly/3cpRULO
Serwer and Bieber: Washington Agreement not a major step towards normalization, will be forgotten in US soon (EWB)
MITROVICA – The Washington Agreement does not have any novelty value, because number of its points have already been addressed in the EU-led dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, said Florian Bieber, professor at the University of Graz and member of the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG). The agreement is not a major step towards normalization and will be forgotten whoever wins the upcoming US elections, claims professor at the Johns Hopkins University Daniel Serwer.
During the webinar debate organized by the Mitrovica Social Club titled “Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Process: A Triangle of Constructive Ambiguities”, Daniel Serwer and Florian Bieber discussed the Belgrade-Pristina negotiations in Washington and Brussels and focused on the agreements reached, as well as the implications of the presidential elections in the United States for the region.
Discussing the implications of the Washington agreement for Serbia and Kosovo Daniel Serwer said that the Agreement does not represent a major step forward in the relations between Pristina and Belgrade. He added that that, despite the very low level of interest of the American public, the Agreement is widely seen as an important tool in Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
See at: https://bit.ly/2Eu2pBj
Kosovo President Warns Leaked Hague Court Files Harm Indictees (Balkan Insight)
President Hashim Thaci said the leaking of what are claimed to be war crime prosecutors’ files to Kosovo Liberation Army veterans could harm former guerrillas’ defence in trials at the Hague-based Kosovo Specialist Chambers.
President Thaci warned on Wednesday evening that the publication of what are claimed to be files leaked from the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague to the Kosovo Liberation Army War Veterans’ Organisation could harm indictees’ ability to defend themselves against war crime charges.
Publication of the files “could be used as a pretext to limit the rights of the accused during the criminal procedures, be it by restricting their freedom of movement or by restricting them the right to question fully and comprehensively witnesses against them”, Thaci told Kosovo TV channel T7.
The Kosovo Liberation Army War Veterans’ Organisation claims to have received three anonymously-delivered batches of leaked court documents this month, and has urged Kosovo media to publish them without disclosing witnesses’ names.
See at: https://bit.ly/3j0nzpR
Ukraine accepts Kosovo passports – Deputy FM Bodnar (unian.info)
There is no consensus in the world regarding the recognition of Kosovo as an independent state.
Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasyl Bodnar has said Ukraine has started to accept passports issued by Kosovo.
“We have not officially recognized Kosovo, but there are certain steps (towards). Last year we decided to work with Kosovo passports. Now our ambassador here (in Albania) and ambassadors in other parts of the world have received instructions to accept these passports and not restrict travel. Perhaps starting with such small steps, we can move towards certain results,” he told the Albanian TV channel RTV Ora in an interview, according to the Ukrainian-registered European Pravda news outlet.
At the same time, Bodnar said the situation with Kosovo has nothing to do with the “self-determination” of Crimea, which is often stated in the Russian Federation.
See at: https://bit.ly/32Zwcv8