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UNMIK Headlines 2 February

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• EULEX mandate expected to be extended by two more years (Koha Ditore)
• Sahatqija: Elections postpone integration process for one year (Telegrafi)
• Konjufca: Referendum on agreements or elections (Kosova Sot)
• Serwer: US doesn’t get involved in president’s election (Zeri/Gazeta Express)
• DPM Stojanovic claims “armed Islamists” were arrested in Decan (Koha)
• Abrashi assures KLA veterans that they will receive pensions (Telegrafi)
• Two prosecutors for war crimes (Telegrafi)

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Headlines – 02.02.2016

EULEX mandate expected to be extended by two more years (Koha Ditore)

The paper reports on the front page that the mandate of the EU rule of law mission (EULEX) is expected to be extended by at least two more years. A number of unnamed sources told the paper that the ongoing negotiations between the government of Kosovo and the EU seem to suggest that the mission is not about to leave Kosovo and will continue retaining the same competencies. The presence of EULEX is also seen as necessary because of the establishment of specialist chambers. The EU Office in Kosovo confirmed negotiations with the government of Kosovo on the EULEX mandate adding that the EU member states are in the process of performing a strategic review of the EULEX mandate.

Sahatqija: Elections postpone integration process for one year (Telegrafi)

Kosovo Assembly MP from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), Teuta Sahatqija, told Rrokum TV after her visit at the European Parliament that she was assured by Brussels authorities that no more reports will be requested for visa liberalization. Asked if the elections will be held this year, Sahatqija said that she was told during her visit that elections would postpone the integration process for one year.

Konjufca: Referendum on agreements or elections (Kosova Sot)

The Vetevendosje Movement parliamentary group chief, Glauk Konjufca, said yesterday the government of Kosovo has three options in order to overcome the current political crisis. “The first one is the government should withdraw from recent agreements with Serbia and Montenegro; second one is to announce a referendum in order to see what people think about these agreements, and the third one is to go to extraordinary elections now,” Konjufca said. He made these statements during a meeting with opposition activists in Gjakova/Djakovica where they are preparing for opposition’s protest on 17 February.

Serwer: US doesn’t get involved in president’s election (Zeri/Gazeta Express)

US Balkans expert Daniel Serwer said yesterday the United States will not get involved in the election of Kosovo president.  He said that early elections can hardly settle disputes about the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities and border demarcation with Montenegro.  He also commended President Atifete Jahjaga for doing a wonderful job in presenting Kosovo in the international arena, but “she would need the support of the Parliament in order to gain another mandate.” 

DPM Stojanovic claims “armed Islamists” were arrested in Decan (Koha)

While the Kosovo Police has no information tying to any terrorist activity the recently arrested persons in the vicinity of the Decani Monastery for illegal weapon possession, the Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Branimir Stojanovic said in a statement to the media that the arrested persons were part of “armed Islamists” most likely part of a well-organised group. Stojanovic called on security institutions, including KFOR, to boost security measures around Serb Orthodox religious sites. Meanwhile, Kosovo government spokesperson Arban Abrashi said Stojanovic’s remarks do not represent those of the government. He said that initial indicators suggest the case at hand relates to criminal activity of a minor scale and is not related to a potential terrorist attack.

Abrashi assures KLA veterans that they will receive pensions (Telegrafi)

Kosovo’s Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare issued a press release saying that it the process of verification and implementation of the payment scheme for Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) veterans is a complex and lengthy process but that all those entitled to a pension will receive one.  The Ministry sai that in January it paid pensions to around 15,000 veteran fighters and that another 3,400 are still under the verification process. “This scheme is being implemented for the first time after 16 years and as such it requires effort to avoid any mismanagement and abuse,” the statement reads.

Two prosecutors for war crimes (Telegrafi)

The Special Prosecution of Kosovo has nominated two prosecutors at the Department for War Crimes as of January. The Chief Prosecutor at the Special Court Reshat Millaku told Tribuna Channel that he did not want to make the names of the prosecutors public.  The process of the nomination has been delayed from the last year, with the justification that prosecutors did not want to take over war crimes. Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly deputy Agustin Conde stressed in his report that the group of EULEX judges published in 2014 an open letter which says that Kosovo judges will not be able to treat efficiently the cases of the senior level and those of sensitive war crimes. One of the supposed reasons mentioned in the letter was influence of some of the senior politicians who publicly support former comrades accused for war crimes.

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