Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content

UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 11, 2024

Albanian Language Media: 

•    Kurti: Our problem is with the Serbian govt, not with Kosovo Serbs (media)
•    Vulin reacts to Hovenier and uses derogatory term for Kosovo Albanians (media)
•    Hovenier: Dialogue should conclude with recognition (RFE)
•    Maqedonci: Kosovo will join coalition for demining of Ukraine (media)
•    Kurti: I have good relations with Prime Minister Rama (media)
•    Municipality of Mitrovica North continues to free public spaces (media)
•    KFOR: Italian soldiers conduct on-foot and motorized patrols along ABL (media)

Serbian Language Media: 

•    On expropriation first hand: What will happen to the base? (KoSSev)
•    Petkovic: Kurti's messages about democracy and the rule of law in Kosovo a joke (Kosovo Online)
•    High time to continue the work on finding the missing, families say (Radio Mitrovica sever, RTS)
•    Media in Albanian and Serbian – is there enough cooperation? (KoSSev)
•    Vucic: US Embassy in Sarajevo to get answer to its claims about All-Serbian Assembly (Tanjug)
•    Dacic: Claims Assembly conclusions erode Dayton Agreement are hypocritical (Tanjug, media)
•    Djuric: Serbia ready to create network of friends in new EP (Tanjug)


•    Digital defence: Kosovo’s newly formed center aims to educate public officials on cyber security (Prishtina Insight)
•    Icons of liberation: The interesting ways that Kosovo pays tribute to Clinton, Blair, Albright (RFE)
•    Kosovo convicts Serb ex-policeman of war crimes (BIRN)

Albanian Language Media

Kurti: Our problem is with the Serbian govt, not with Kosovo Serbs (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said today that Kosovo has no problems with local Serbs in the northern municipalities but rather with the government of Serbia “that did not distance itself from Milosevic of that time and Putin of the present time”. He said that Kosovo guarantees the rights of local Serbs in Kosovo and has enabled their full integration. “10 out of 38 municipalities have a Serb majority; 17 percent of members of municipal assemblies in all municipalities are Serbs. We have good cooperation, and they have a ministry for communities. We want the integration of Serbs in Kosovo. We have four percent of the Serb population there, but we also have other minorities that we want to respect. We want cooperation with the communities, to create a democratic republic based on the people. I don’t believe there should be any ethnic divisions,” Kurti said in his address at the Western Balkans 2024 summit in Pristina.

According to Kurti, Kosovo’s problem “is not with the people of the northern neighbor, but rather with the government of Serbia, and in no way with the Kosovo Serbs that are integrating”.

Kurti also said that “Kosovo is in the lead in terms of economic growth and rule of law in the Western Balkans. We are expecting an increase in investments too. Kosovo has a lot to offer to the European Union in terms of security and partnership, by strengthening democracy, economic development, and can help create a region and developed and vibrant region”.

Kurti said that the main challenge of countries of the Western Balkans is overcoming historic stereotypes and added that these countries have also proved that there can be reconciliation.

“The communities in Kosovo are coming together to build a better future and this spirit of cooperation will continue to thrive. Kosovo is postponed for growth in the future,” he said.

Vulin reacts to Hovenier and uses derogatory term for Kosovo Albanians (media)

Several news websites report that Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vulin used a derogatory term when referring to Kosovo Albanians, during a visit to Moscow. Vulin also criticized the U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, Jeffrey Hovenier, for his reaction to the declaration adopted by the All-Serbian Assembly in Belgrade on June 8.

Hovenier: Dialogue should conclude with recognition (RFE)

U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, Jeffrey Hovenier, said in Pristina today that the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia is a challenge that needs to be overcome only through mutual recognition and nothing less. “The end of this process should be recognition between the two countries, because anything less than that does not fulfill the vision that we have for a free, prosperous and peaceful Europe,” he said.

Hovenier also highlighted the importance of implementing the agreements that Kosovo and Serbia have reached in the dialogue for the normalization of relations. “There are a number of U.S. officials, including myself, that spend a lot of time for the full implementation that Kosovo and Serbia have assumed from the EU-facilitated process,” he said.
Hovenier reiterated his position that he does not agree with a declaration adopted by the All-Serbian Assembly in Belgrade on June 8 which referred to Kosovo as “an inalienable part of Serbia”. “We have recognized Kosovo as an independent and democratic country and this cannot be discussed,” he said.

Maqedonci: Kosovo will join coalition for demining of Ukraine (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Defense, Ejup Maqedonci, said that on June 13, Kosovo will become part of the coalition for demining Ukraine. The minister further said that this coalition will be signed together with Lithuania. "Kosovo is continuously helping Ukraine. I, as the Minister of Defense, together with the commander of the Kosovo Security Force, participate in the meetings of the contact group for Ukraine. These meetings are usually held in Brussels. Being part of these meetings, we are aware that we are part of the responsibility that is required from each member of the contact group for supporting Ukraine", said the minister.

"We have conducted several trainings in the field of demining, here in Kosovo for Ukrainian troops. We are continuously keeping a team, a training contingent in the United Kingdom, as part of the "Interflex" operation.

"Our instructors are giving their best, and presenting in the best way, not only the Ministry of Defense and the Kosovo Security Force, but also the Republic of Kosovo as a whole."

He has also mentioned the support packages that Kosovo has made to Ukraine. "On June 13, I will be part of the contact group for Ukraine, and before this meeting we will sign together with Lithuania a letter of intent, by which Kosovo becomes part of the demining coalition where are some other NATO countries for their contribution to Ukraine", Maqedonci said.

Kurti: I have good relations with Prime Minister Rama (media)

Several news websites report that Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said today that he has good relations with his Albanian counterpart Edi Rama. Kurti made the statement after attending the Western Balkans 2024 in Pristina and did not elaborate any further. News websites also note that during his stay in Pristina on Monday, Rama met with Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani but not with Kurti.

Municipality of Mitrovica North continues to free public spaces (media)

Several news websites cover a post on Facebook by the municipality of Mitrovica North which notes that it is enforcing the initiative to free public spaces from usurpation and offering them for use to the citizens. “Public spaces are meant to be used by the citizens and this is why we are continuing to free them by removing every obstacle that hinders freedom of movement. Today work has concluded in removing a coffee bar that worked illegally for years and no action by inspectorate officials of the previous government. In the coming days too, the municipality will continue its engagement until all spaces that obstruct freedom of movement and endanger the citizens are freed … We thank the citizens for cooperating with the local government and at the same time we encourage them to inform the municipal bodies for every irregularity they see in the city,” the post notes.

KFOR: Italian soldiers conduct on-foot and motorized patrols along ABL (media)

NATO’s peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, KFOR, said in a Facebook post today that “Italian soldiers from the 1st Bersaglieri Regiment, assigned to the Regional Command West of the NATO-led KFOR mission, conducted on-foot and motorized patrols along the Administrative Boundary Line. These efforts are part of KFOR's daily mission across Kosovo to guarantee a safe and secure environment for all people living in Kosovo. KFOR continues to implement its mandate - based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999 - to provide a safe and secure environment for all communities living in Kosovo and freedom of movement, at all times and impartially. KFOR is the third security responder, after the Kosovo Police and EULEX, respectively, with whom we work in close coordination”.

Serbian Language Media

On expropriation first hand: What will happen to the base? (KoSSev)

By Dragutin Nenezic

I am writing this text as someone who represents the honorable Jaksic family from Kolasin in the expropriation procedure, if one even can call it a properly regulated procedure, with the intention that this text for a change will be short, clear, more epic than lyrical, and above all legally concise.
Since my previous statement for KoSSev, I have learned both things that I did not know at the time - I saw the entire decision (which actually is not complete, but more on that later), and I learned that the case in which I am involved has not yet been ruled by the appellate court - unlike colleague Vlajic’s, whose clients have final judgments in their favor.

So, what happened: the Kosovo government made a final decision to expropriate plots of land only from those who did not sue it, and in court it defeated that government (although perhaps not legally), with the aim of building bases that were certainly already built even before that decision was made. My clients are not covered by that decision, but all the more I have to announce myself this way, so whoever has ears should hear it.

The final decision on expropriation is burdened with shortcomings, and here I would like to point out the following:

•    Court rulings overturned the preliminary decision on expropriation. This means that the Kosovo government should have made a new preliminary decision (because the old one was overturned), instead a final decision was made. Therefore, the Kosovo government made a mistake in conducting the procedure;

•    Additionally, the final decision includes only persons who have not sued the Kosovo government, which makes no sense at all. When a decision is overturned in court, it is overturned in its entirety, regardless of who sued. Therefore, with its decision, the Kosovo government effectively narrowed the effect of the verdict, or, more broadly, it does not respect the court's decision;

•    Again, if we are already dealing with lawsuits, we should wait for final judgments, which was not the case - at least not for Jaksic's. Otherwise, there is a risk that, for example, the appeal will rule in favor of the Kosovo government, whereby the land of the unsuccessful plaintiffs, according to the principle by which the Kosovo government operates, could be the subject of the final decision. In this sense, the Kosovo government itself is acting  against its own interest;

•    The decision does not contain any information about compensation for expropriation, but colleague Vlajic has already commented on this. It is certainly a significant procedural defect, due to which the final decision is legally unsustainable;

•    The decision still insists on some kind of infrastructure projects, even though it is obvious that it is a base (which is already there), and even though they subsequently tried to change the law so that the construction of the base is explicitly recognized as a permissible goal of expropriation, but that is another topic. 
In other words, if the Kosovo government wanted to respect its own laws, it should have, to begin with, not made any decision, but removed the bases. If it wanted to place them after that, it should have conducted the consultation process from the beginning, and made a new preliminary decision, with a true explanation. And all this regardless of on whose land those bases would be placed, but not to complicate things... Only then could we talk about the rule of law.

The Kosovo government did everything the opposite, and thereby showed that it does not care about its own laws, but only about revenge against the Serbs, out of one of a million reasons, all of which fall into the domain of political (and not only such) pathology. There is no rule of law, only bare force, and stupidity reigns. At the same time, it seems that by doing so, they made it impossible for that part of the Serbs who actively opposed them to sue them (again), because their land parcels were left out of the final decision. But is it really so?

It's not!

With this, the Kosovo authorities made one more in a series of their messes, because now the expropriated land, for the purposes of this text, looks like a chess board - somewhere it is expropriated by a final decision, somewhere it is not due to lawsuits. Thus, expropriation was replaced by usurpation, and certainly such usurpation can be attacked through the courts. Therefore, the intention of the Kosovo authorities to make it impossible for us to oppose them failed at the start.

As far as my clients and I are concerned, we are certainly awaiting the appeal decision. If that decision is in our favor, we will act in accordance with the effect of the verdict - it overturns the preliminary decision in its entirety, and therefore the final decision, figuratively speaking, has nothing to stand on. That is why, in addition to conducting the proceedings for the execution of the judgment, we will also file criminal charges against everyone involved in this mess, and use all other available legal means, including self-help, in order to remove the illegal base in question.

In my opinion, and those who were not lucky enough to sue, or to have their lawsuit accepted by the court, can always turn to the Constitutional Court (although from my experience with the complaint about the dinar ban, it may take action only when some comet wipes out all the expropriated land, or not even then - since in the procedure, which according to its native constitution should be urgent, it did not announce about the ban of the dinar even when the dinar essentially disappeared). They can also turn to the ombudsman if they have extra time. In both cases, I am willing to help them, and I am easy to get in contact with, at least. If we are already playing with the rule of law, let's play until the very end.

Petkovic: Kurti's messages about democracy and the rule of law in Kosovo a joke (Kosovo Online)

The Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petkovic, says that the chauvinist policy of Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti is undisguised to such an extent, that all his messages about democracy and human rights, which are supposedly guaranteed to Serbs, are nothing more than a poor joke.

Petkovic, as stated in the announcement, said that Kurti proves every day that he has no problem with the Serbs in Kosovo by arresting them, confiscating their property and carrying out terror of all kinds, and that his problems with the Serbian people will disappear completely when there won't be any at all Serbs in Kosovo. 
This is why, adds Petkovic, Serbs have a problem with Kurti, who terrorizes and oppresses them every day.

"Kurti's chauvinist policy is so undisguised that all his messages about democracy and human rights that are supposedly guaranteed to Serbs are nothing more than a poor joke. Serbia will continue to pursue a legitimate and international law-based policy of protecting its state and national interests in Kosovo and Metohija, and that policy quite understandably annoys Kurti, because it is incompatible with the separatist and Greater Albania goals of the top in Pristina," says Petkovic.

He adds that Belgrade, despite the daily provocations and senseless statements of Kurti, will continue to advocate for a rational policy of dialogue.

"Kurti, instead of fantasizing about Milosevic and Putin, should take into account his political legacy, which is unfortunately based on rattling weapons, fueling ethnic intolerance and inciting conflict, instead of normalizing relations, building bridges of trust and seeking compromise," said Petkovic.

High time to continue the work on finding the missing, families say (Radio Mitrovica sever, RTS)

25 years after the end of the war in Kosovo, the families of the missing still do not know the fate of their loved ones, reported Radio Mitrovica sever, citing RTS. 
The entire process is obstructed by Pristina, which has been banning the work of the working group to find the missing for three years. From the rally "Cries of the victims' families", they call on international institutions to influence Pristina to continue the process of finding the missing.

On the Kosovo Polje-Pristina-Merdare route, in August 1999, high school student Ivan Majstorovic was kidnapped. Since then, his mother Dragana has been trying to find out where her son is.

"Since school didn't start in Kosovo Polje, he was afraid that he wouldn't finish school, so he set off with his neighbor towards Leskovac to enroll in the fourth year of high school. They were kidnapped on the route. They are still missing and to this day we have no information about them. The investigation has not been conducted," says Dragana Majstorovic.

Olgica Bozanic was left without 19 family members, and three are still being searched for.

"The discovery of the Voluj mass grave near Klina and identification through DNA analysis, it was established that their remains were found, and that an additional crime was committed against them because they were destroyed with explosives," says Olgica. According to her, they only took the remains on October 13, 2006, at the Merdare crossing.
Another 570 people are being searched for. The families testify that most of the  disappearances happened after the adoption of Resolution 1244, under the protection of international forces.

"I convey the family's great wish to our institutions and international organizations that it is high time to start the work on finding people. We know that there are still around 350 remains in the Pristina hospital, which have not been identified. We wonder why they have been kept for 25 years," says Verica Tomanovic, president of the Association of Families of Murdered and Kidnapped People in KIM.

Mirjana Miodrag Bozin from the Coordination of Serbian Associations of the Families of the Missing, Murdered and Deceased from the former Yugoslavia assesses that the issue of the missing has become a political issue.

"No one can pressure them to identify the bodies, compare them with the blood of relatives so that families can find their loved ones who they lost between the nineties to the 2000s," says Bozin.

Intimidation of witnesses also complicates the process, according to the prosecution.

"Last Saturday, a man suspected of having participated in the kidnapping and disappearance of a Serbian police officer was arrested. His family is in Belgrade today, his wife said - who can protect me in Gracanica. We know what happened, we just don't have proof of who did it, because no one will come forward to say their names. Albanians are more successful in intimidation, threats and killing. How many witnesses were killed for Haradinaj, and the epilogue is that he was acquitted," said Miroljub Vitorovic from the War Crimes Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Serbia.

The working group for missing persons did not meet for three full years, due to the obstruction of Pristina. The entire process is trapped in Brussels, claims Veljko Odalovic.

"It is worrisome that we have a special representative, the Secretary General in the UN, who for three years has not been able to use his authority to organize a meeting of the working group under his mandate. If you don't have that multilateral mechanism, you can all sit together and cry and we can't solve anything," says Odalovic.
Luigj Ndou, representative of ICMP points out that they barely managed to convince the EU that this issue of missing persons should be part of the Berlin process.
"Now we are waiting for the new European institutions to negotiate with them - a big meeting in Brussels with the EP and other European institutions to try to increase efforts so that at least the governments make maximum efforts to solve as many cases as possible," says Ndou.

The families are asking the authorities in Serbia to finally pass the Law on Missing Persons, which has been awaited for years.

Media in Albanian and Serbian – is there enough cooperation? (KoSSev)

Debate: Media in Albanian and Serbian – is there cooperation and why isn’t there enough it…
Why is there no trust between newsrooms reporting in Serbian and Albanian in Kosovo? Is there cooperation between them, or are there only individual cases of colleagues helping each other? Is there an initiative to improve and connect the two media ecosystems in Kosovo? What needs to be done to make that happen?

These questions were discussed at yesterday’s debate “With different media platforms to better understanding between communities“ organized by the KoSSev portal and held in the Barabar Center in Pristina.

The gathering of journalists from different newsrooms who report in Serbian and Albanian was marked by a discussion about pre-existing cooperation initiatives, such as the “Aequitas” podcast, jointly hosted by RTV KiM editor Zorica Vorgučić and ATV editor Leart Hoxha.

Moreover, the participants discussed ways to improve cooperation, as well as problems journalists face in their work, including issues faced by all journalists working in Kosovo.

Read more at:

Vucic: US Embassy in Sarajevo to get answer to its claims about All-Serbian Assembly (Tanjug)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced on Monday evening he would on Tuesday respond to claims from the US Embassy in Sarajevo that conclusions adopted at the recent All-Serbian Assembly in Belgrade were not a defense of the Dayton Agreement but an attack on that agreement and the state institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
"The US embassy in Sarajevo has said what it had to say. They will get an answer tomorrow. For the first time as President of Serbia, I will ask them some questions", Vucic wrote in a post on his official Instagram account.

"The problem is that they are not used to the fact that there are independent and sovereign states and leaders who do not want to ingratiate themselves with them, but defend the interests of their own peoples", Vucic added. "It will be an interesting day - I almost thought the people at the US Embassy in Sarajevo are smart enough not to comment on the Assembly and not to be a disgrace to themselves", Vucic also wrote.

Claims that the All-Serb Assembly’s conclusions erode Dayton Agreement are hypocritical (Tanjug, media)

Reactions to the All-Serb Assembly alleging that its conclusions erode the Dayton Agreement are hypocritical because, throughout all these years, we have witnessed the agreement being deliberately eroded by those who are now criticising the Assembly, Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said on Tuesday.

Speaking to Pink TV, Dacic said “some big powers and Muslims” in Bosnia and Herzegovina had never been able to get over the fact the Dayton Agreement had been signed at all.
"The solutions that were reached in the agreement were not invented by anyone here, they are an American proposal, and the Dayton Agreement is the brainchild of the US. They came up with the Dayton Agreement, in which they clearly laid down the constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is unchangeable without the consent of all three peoples and both entities," Dacic noted.

"They wanted to relativise the agreement by constantly reducing the framework of Republika Srpska powers and trying to transfer the powers to some central level, believing that they can outvote the Serbs at that central level," Dacic added.

"Throughout all these years, we have been witnessing Republika Srpska being attacked and declared genocidal, as well as attempts of imposing unitarism in Bosnia and Herzegovina," he said.

"Bosnia and Herzegovina is not based on that principle, but on the principle of equality of all three peoples and both entities. That means they have never accepted the Dayton Agreement, but now someone comes and criticises the Assembly even though the number one starting point in the declaration adopted at it is that we respect the Dayton Agreement and advocate all rights of the Serbs and the Serb entity based on that agreement," Dacic said.

Dacic noted that the declaration made no mention of the much-discussed issue of disassociation to avoid the possibility of it being misused.

Djuric: Serbia ready to create network of friends in new EP (Tanjug)

Serbian Foreign Minister Marko Djuric said on Tuesday the recent European Parliament elections had demonstrated there were major differences among the national policies of EU member states and that the citizens of those states wanted a slightly different policy at the level of European institutions.

Speaking to Euronews Serbia, Djuric said Serbia was analysing the results of the elections closely as they held great significance for its European perspective and integration. "At the (Foreign) Ministry, we are making a list of MEPs with whom we are planning to establish close and intensive cooperation. There are people of Serbian origin there, too. Serbia is preparing seriously to lobby for its case in the EP. And I think it is very important that we approach that in an organised manner from day one", Djuric said.

"We are trying to create a network of friends. There is no caucus in the EP in the way there is one in the US Congress, but Serbia will have a network of friends in the new EP and I think that is good", Djuric added.


Digital defence: Kosovo’s newly formed center aims to educate public officials on cyber security (Prishtina Insight)
The recently established State Training Centre for Cyber Security aims to improve the limited cyber security capacities of Kosovo’s public officials in order to address specific risks of cyber attacks.

Bashkim Sejdijaj, commander of the Cyber Defence Unit within the Ministry of Defence, told BIRN via email that the centre, which started work on March 12, 2024, “will offer training in order to raise awareness for risks in the field of cyber security, to improve professional skills and help raise the level of cyber security in the country, including working with government institutions, operators of essential services and digital service providers to increase capacities for the protection of critical infrastructure”.

A test carried out by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in late April 2024 revealed that officials of the country’s public institutions easily fall prey to simple cyber fraud. 
The Ministry announced that it carried out the test by sending a link to the officials, most of whom clicked on it without verifying if the email was official or not.

Read more at:

Icons of liberation: The interesting ways that Kosovo pays tribute to Clinton, Blair, Albright (RFE)

On March 24, 1999, NATO launched Operation Allied Force, an aerial bombing campaign to expel Serbian troops from Kosovo. After 78 days, the air strikes ended on June 10 with the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, leading to the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces and the establishment of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.
The campaign -- aimed at stopping ethnic cleansing that resulted in more than 13,000 civilians killed during the Kosovo War, which took place from 1998-99 -- facilitated the return of more than 800,000 refugees to their homes.

Twenty-five years later, Kosovars are still honoring the politicians, UN officials, and others who helped them break free of Yugoslavia by naming town squares, streets, businesses, and even their children after those they consider to be their liberators.

When the bloodshed broke out, 24-year-old Sami Begolli was forced to flee his home. He spent his first week as a refugee in a camp in Blace, in what is now North Macedonia, then a month in the Stenkovec refugee camps near Skopje, and later in Spain.

“It was an indescribable feeling when we returned. We didn't even think about eating or drinking because of the joy of having come back," he said.

Read more at:

Kosovo convicts Serb ex-policeman of war crimes (BIRN)

The Pristina Basic Court on Monday found former Serbian policeman Caslav Jolic guilty of involvement in war crimes in the area of Istog/Istok, in 1998 against Kosovo Albanian civilians. Under the first-instance verdict, he was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Miodrag Brklac, lawyer for the defendant, said he will appeal the verdict, which he called “catastrophic”.

“There is no convincing evidence to come to the conclusion that Caslav Jolic has committed the offence he is accused of,” Brklac told journalists. “This is not only contrary to the law but also a sin, a huge sin. There is no evidence against this man ,” he added.

Jolic was accused of using torture against civilians in the municipality of Istog/Istok during the Kosovo war.

In December 2022, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The indictment says that in 1998, a person identified only as Z.M. brought British and Belgian journalists to the site of a Serbian military helicopter crash in the village of Gurrakoc/Durakovac in Istog/Istok.

Read more at: