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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, September 25

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• COVID-19: 63 new cases, no deaths (media)
• Specialist Chambers publish indictment against Salih Mustafa (media)
• KSC calls on victims to apply for participation in proceedings (media)
• KLA war veterans: Salih Mustafa’s arrest, a sad day for Kosovo (media)
• Thaci tells T7: Mistake to discuss Association now; was not asked about ‘Yellow House’ (media)
• Abazi: Security institutions know where ‘SPO files’ are coming from (media)
• Kastrati: Specialist Chambers must be stopped (RTK)
• Hoti: We will use Ujman Lake as we did in the past (RTK)
• Lajcak: Dialogue to continue Monday, Association not on agenda (media)
• Grenell says parties agreed to rename disputed lake to Lake Trump (media)
• Abbott: We don’t encourage Kosovo to open embassy in Jerusalem (Klan)
• Haradinaj requests UK’s active involvement in dialogue (media)
• Von Cramon: Kosovo and Serbia to engage on hard topics (media)
• Meta: International community would also benefit from Kosovo’s UN seat (Koha)

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  • COVID-19: 63 new cases, no deaths (media)
  • Specialist Chambers publish indictment against Salih Mustafa (media)
  • KSC calls on victims to apply for participation in proceedings (media)
  • KLA war veterans: Salih Mustafa’s arrest, a sad day for Kosovo (media)
  • Thaci tells T7: Mistake to discuss Association now; was not asked about ‘Yellow House’ (media)
  • Abazi: Security institutions know where ‘SPO files’ are coming from (media)
  • Kastrati: Specialist Chambers must be stopped (RTK)
  • Hoti: We will use Ujman Lake as we did in the past (RTK)
  • Lajcak: Dialogue to continue Monday, Association not on agenda (media)
  • Grenell says parties agreed to rename disputed lake to Lake Trump (media)
  • Abbott: We don’t encourage Kosovo to open embassy in Jerusalem (Klan)
  • Haradinaj requests UK’s active involvement in dialogue (media)
  • Von Cramon: Kosovo and Serbia to engage on hard topics (media)
  • Meta: International community would also benefit from Kosovo’s UN seat (Koha)

Kosovo Media Highlights

 

COVID-19:  63 new cases, no deaths (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health announced in its briefing yesterday 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.

The number of active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo is 1,966.

Specialist Chambers publish indictment against Salih Mustafa (media)

Media report that the Specialist Chambers have published the indictment against former KLA commander Salih Mustafa, taken into custody yesterday and transferred to detention facility in The Hague.

The indictment, confirmed by a pre-trial judge on 12 June 2020, accuses Mustafa with arbitrary detention, cruel treatment, torture and murder as war crimes committed in the context of and associated with a non-international armed conflict in Kosovo. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in April of 1999 in at the detention compound located in Zllash/Zlaš, Kosovo, against at least six persons.

The indictment has been made public with redactions, due to security concerns.

KSC calls on victims to apply for participation in proceedings (media)

Following the confirmation of the first indictment, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) called on victims to apply to participate in future proceedings.

“Persons who can demonstrate that they have personally suffered harm, including physical, mental or material harm, as a direct result of alleged crimes contained in a confirmed indictment, may now apply to participate in the proceedings. A Judge will then decide whether the person who applied can become a participating victim before the KSC,” a statement issued by the Specialist Chambers reads.

President Ekaterina Trendafilova said victims’ role should not be disregarded in order for justice to be served. “At our court, victims are given the opportunity to partake in the proceedings, to partake in justice being done.”

KLA war veterans: Salih Mustafa’s arrest, a sad day for Kosovo (media)

Hysni Gucati, head of the KLA War Veterans Organisation, spoke on Thursday about Sali Mustafa’s arrest by the Specialist Chambers.

Speaking about the patriotic activity of Salih Mustafa-Cali, before, during and after the war in Kosovo, Gucati expressed surprise at how it is possible for this man to be arrested again, when it is known that he was imprisoned by Milosevic’s government from year 1992 to 1997.

Gucati was convinced that the arrest is based on the files compiled by Serbian courts. “Therefore, this extremely concerns us. We are for genuine justice, but not a selective justice, where members of one ethnicity are prosecuted,” Gucati said.

In a statement to Insajderi, deputy head of the KLA War Veterans Organisation  Nasim Haradinaj said that Mustafa’s arrest is related to the voting of the Specialist Chambers by the deputies of the Assembly of Kosovo.

“It is a consequence of the giving up, the Special Court was voted in the Assembly of Kosovo and now the citizen is arrested in his country by someone else,” said Haradinaj.

The secretary of the Organization of KLA War Veterans, Faton Klinaku, has expressed his revolt against Thursday’s actions of the EULEX mission.

He told RTV Dukagjini that the Specialist Chambers has kidnapped the former fighter Salih Mustafa.

“This was not an arrest but a kidnapping. The Special Court expired on 2 August. These have committed kidnapping. Arrests in Kosovo can only be made by Kosovo police officers,” he said.

Thaci tells T7: Mistake to discuss Association now; was not asked about ‘Yellow House’ (media)

President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said the discussion of the Association of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo would be a big mistake as it would start disintegration of Kosovo from the inside.

Speaking to T7, Thaci said: “The association means a Serbian Republic in Kosovo without the recognition.”

“Discussing the Association now in Brussels is a big mistake. This is not a grudge. Why should the land within Kosovo be discussed with Serbia. It is a cancer for the state of Kosovo. No person in Kosovo’s land has the right to discuss about the Association.”

Speaking about his interview with Specialist Prosecutors in The Hague, Thaci said he was not asked about organ trade allegations or the so-called “Yellow House”.

“I was asked questions from my birth onwards including about the 90s. I can confirm that at no time or moment was I asked about organ trafficking. I was also not asked about the ‘Yellow House’ or any killing,” Thaci told T7. He said his interview instead focused on his political role during the war and also his participation in it.

Thaci said ‘someone’ was not happy that an agreement with Serbia was close to being reached in Washington in June and that this was why the proposed indictment against him was made public. He said he got the news of the indictment while on the plane bound for the U.S.

Abazi: Security institutions know where ‘SPO files’ are coming from (media)

Haki Abazi from the Vetevendosje Movement said Kosovo’s interior ministry and the intelligence agency possess the information as to where the files alleged to belong to the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office are coming from.

“They dare not act and this is why they they create spectacles,” Abazi wrote on Facebook.

He added:  “Thaci’s removal from politics should also free the LDK from the clique of SHIK and those who ordered the killings committed during and after the war. The Ministry of Interior is captured and controlled so that the files of murders and orchestration of cases are not opened, including the murder of journalists and witnesses.”

Kastrati: Specialist Chambers must be stopped (RTK)

Qendron Kastrati, mayor of Kamenica, reacted on social media to yesterday’s arrest of the former KLA commander Salih Mustafa on the indictment raised by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers.

Kastrati said the indictment against Mustafa was a “PR stunt” and called for the dismantling of the Specialist Chambers.

“This court that is damaging our state, cannot stain KLA values and of all those heroes who put down their lives for freedom,” he said adding: “We want justice for all in Kosovo, regardless of ethnicity. But from the Specialist Chambers we will get a distorted idea of freedom. Therefore the Specialist court needs to be stopped! This would be confirmation of statehood.”

Hoti: We will use Ujman Lake as we did in the past (RTK)

The Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti said the Ujman Lake will continue to be used by Kosovo as it did in the past.

“A U.S. team will only come to complete feasibility. I do not understand those who are making political accusations about this issue. Let them find other causes. Remember demarcation? They burned the entire Kosovo, and see now,” Hoti said.

“You should know that a part of the Lake is in Serbian side. Despite of being artificial, it was built in another state.”

Hoti further said that the agreement reached in Washington is a great international achievement of Kosovo.

Lajcak: Dialogue to continue Monday, Association not on agenda (media)

The EU Special Representative for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, said that chief negotiators of the parties will meet on Monday to continue discussions on financial claims and property.

“Chief negotiators will meet on Monday to continue discussions on financial claims&property. Association/Community won’t be on the agenda as one party is not yet ready to discuss. But this must be addressed as part of the Comprehensive Agreement as agreed in the leaders’ meetings,” he tweeted.

Koha confirms that Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti has received invitation to meet Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic. Officials from Hoti’s cabinet said he will soon respond to the invitation.

Grenell says parties agreed to rename disputed lake to Lake Trump (media)

The U.S. special envoy for Kosovo-Serbia negotiations Richard Grenell, said that delegations of Kosovo and Serbia agreed to rename the Ujman/Gazivode Lake to Lake Trump.

“What to call the lake that is in Kosovo and Serbia has been a serious sticking point despite the U.S. forged compromise to launch a feasibility study to create jobs and more energy for the region….so both sides have agreed to a new name: Lake Trump,” Grenell wrote on Twitter.

Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti welcomed the proposal. In a Facebook post, Hoti said the renaming of the lake would be a sign of respect for President Trump’s role in achieving a historic agreement for normalisation of economic ties between Kosovo and Serbia “as a step towards the final political agreement which should result in mutual recognition.”

Abbott: We don’t encourage Kosovo to open embassy in Jerusalem (Klan)

British Ambassador to Kosovo, Nicholas Abbott, commented on Kosovo’s plans to open embassy in Jerusalem saying that such a move should be thought out cautiously.

“Because of ongoing negotiations, I think our advice would be to think more on this. I would not encourage Kosovo to place embassy in Jerusalem as yet,” he said.

“At the end of the day, recognition from Israel is a good thing, it is good for Israel was ready to such a thing, it is a good opportunity for Kosovo to build relations with the rest of the world and, as we saw from last week’s celebrations, I think this is very important for the Jewish community in Kosovo, and this is an added value,” Abbott told Klan Kosova.

Abbott was also asked to comment on the alleged leaking of Specialist Prosecutor’s Office documents saying that this is seen as an attempt to discredit the work of the Specialist Chambers. He said someone must be organising the documents being delivered to the KLA war associations. “This is up to the Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office to decide and communicate.”

“I hope the mission of the Specialist Chambers should be respected as it is part of commitments Kosovo has made towards t the rule of law and for the international community it is important for Kosovo to stick to these commitments,” he added.

Haradinaj requests UK’s active involvement in dialogue (media)

Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj Stublla received on Thursday the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Kosovo, Nicholas Abbott. They discussed the latest political developments, dialogue with Serbia, Washington Agreement and its implementation.

On this occasion, Haradinaj Stublla stressed the need of active involvement of the Great Britain in the epilogue of the dialogue with Serbia, as a stakeholder in Kosovo’s achievements so far.

She also expressed appreciation for UK’s continuous support for Kosovo, especially through Chevening scholarship program, from which 11 students benefit each year to study in Great Britain.

Von Cramon: Kosovo and Serbia to engage on hard topics (media)

European Parliament rapporteur for Kosovo, Viola von Cramon, said she hoped talks between Kosovo and Serbia will continue as planned.

“Both sides need real engagement even in the hard topics & it is not enough to sign a treaty, implementation has to be followed-up & evaluated,” she added in a Twitter post.

Meta: International community would also benefit from Kosovo’s UN seat (Koha)

President of Albania Ilir Meta said in his remarks during the UN General Assembly’s 75th session that Kosovo gaining a seat at the UN would be not only beneficial for Kosovo but for the international community as well.

Hailing the Washington agreement on normalisation of economic relations between Kosovo and Serbia, Meta said that “we remain hopeful that this agreement will inject a new momentum in relations between Kosovo and Serbia.” He added that under the EU facilitation, the two sides should reach a final and legally binding agreement for mutual recognition and full normalisation of relations.

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