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Kosovo
Monthly Review
Comprehensive Information on Complex Crises April 2012

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Governance Security Economic Development Humanitarian Affairs Socio-Cultural Development ABOUT THE CFC
The Civil-Military Fusion Centre (CFC) is an information and knowledge management organisation focused on improving civil-military interaction, facilitating information sharing and enhancing situational awareness through the CimicWeb portal and our weekly and monthly publications. CFC products link to and are based on open-source information from a wide variety of organisations, research centres and media sources. However, the CFC does not endorse and cannot necessarily guarantee the accuracy or objectivity of these sources.

This document provides an overview of developments in Kosovo from 01—30 April with hyperlinks to source material highlighted and underlined in the text. For more information on the topics below or other issues pertaining to the region, please contact the members of the Mediterranean Basin Team, or visit our website at www.cimicweb.org.

Governance
Serbian Elections Serbia’s President Boris Tadic announced his resignation ahead of Serbia’s 06 May parliamentary elections in what is considered an effort to help his party’s chances and pave the way for his re-election, says BBC. Tadic is ending his presidency 10 months early, but the move is expected to allow for Serbia’s presidential elections to be held alongside parliamentary elections on 06 May. According to Press TV, Serbia’s Speaker of Parliament Slavica Djukic Dejanovic will become acting president until a new head of state is elected. Tadic has worked to build closer ties to the European Union during his presidency and succeeded in helping Serbia achieve success in their bid for candidacy as a member of the European Union (EU). Tadic’s main opposition in the upcoming election will be nationalist candidate Tomislav Nikolic. During a recent visit to Washington DC, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci commented on Serbian officials giving the impression that there may be a partition of northern Kosovo, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). Thaci told a Washington think tank that Serbs in Kosovo need investments and social programmes rather than “old messages”. He later claimed that integration is the only option he will accept for Kosovo’s Serbian population. Thaci has rejected calls for greater autonomy for Serb communities in northern Kosovo, and has also rejected the possibility of a territory swap with Serbia. As reported in the Irish Examiner, Thaci was quoted saying, “[t]here will be no territorial swap, there will be no autonomy, no special favour. There will be only integration.” Thaci also said he is discussing a possible truth and reconciliation commission that would help heal the wounds of the regions’ conflicts. Serbia’s Secretary for the state electoral commission, Veljko Odalovic, sent a letter to the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) requesting a clear answer on whether the organisation would take part in administering Serbia’s elections in Kosovo. UNMIK has declined taking part in administering these elections, saying to hold the elections in Kosovo would be against UN Resolution 1244. Odalovic told Tanjug News Agency that he expects a clear response from UNMIK after State Secretary for the Ministry for Kosovo Oliver Ivanovic was quoted saying an earlier response by UNMIK was “not clear enough”. Nevertheless, NewEurope reported on 16 April that Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanovic made it clear that Serbia would not conduct local elections in Kosovo based on stipulations outlined in Resolution 1244. “We do not intend to break UNSC Resolution 1244 in any way and endanger Serbs living south of the Ibar river”, said Bogdanovic. He further explained that, following the upcoming elections, new negotiations would need to be held with UNMIK to discuss future issues of local governance for Serbian communities in Kosovo. Despite assurances by Bogdanovic that the elections will not be held, local officials in northern Kosovo say they will continue planning for the upcoming elections. A later press release from the government of Serbia indicated that Serbia would do everything possible to ensure that presidential and parliamentary elections are held in Kosovo-Metohija, saying it is not in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. In a meeting with the Head

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Kosovo Monthly Review

of the Office for Europe and Latin America of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Peter Schmitz, Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanovic and Schmitz agreed on the importance of reaching an agreement on Serbia’s elections in Kosovo and preventing further aggravation of the tense situation. Kosovo’s Interior Ministry announced in late March that local police forces were preparing an operational plan to prevent “illegal” Serbian elections from being held in Kosovo, says ANSAmed. According to the article, the Kosovo authorities have given the goahead to arrest individuals and representatives of Serbian institutions currently active inside Kosovo. As stated by the Kosovo government, people arrested in possession of electoral material “have violated Kosovo’s constitutional order and will therefore have to answer to magistrates”.

Source: Reuters

Meanwhile, Serbian authorities have begun protesting the growing number of Serbian citizens being arrested by police in Kosovo, reports Adnkronos International. At least 12 Serbs were arrested by the Kosovo police during the week of 28 March on suspicion that they worked for Serbian parallel institutions in Kosovo, says Adnkronos International. Among them, five individuals were arrested on 28 March for allegedly carrying Serbian political literature and “fomenting national and ethnic hatred”, while another four were arrested at the Bela Zemlja administrative crossing after being found carrying election materials. The four men were sentenced by the Kosovska Kamenica municipal court to 30 days house arrest, according to Serbia’s Tanjug News Agency. Balkan Insight adds that the men were later charged with inciting hatred under Clause 115, Article 1 of the Penal Code of Kosovo. Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo, Goran Bogdanovic, called the arrests “ethnically motivated” and said they were aimed at creating fear among Serbs active in Serbian institutions in Kosovo. In a retaliatory arrest, Serbian border police arrested a veteran trade unionist from Kosovo on 28 March on an arrest warrant issued in 2005, reports Balkan Insight. Hasan Abazi, President of the Metalworkers Union, was detained while travelling to a European trade union conference in Croatia. Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic told journalists that the arrest was in retaliation for the arrest of four Serbs found carrying election materials for the upcoming Serbian elections on 06 May. Abazi was reportedly released on 20 April after his family paid a EUR 20,000 bail and was last said to be back inside Kosovo, says Balkan Insight. Similarly, Kosovo citizen Adem Urseli was arrested by the Serbian police on charges of drug smuggling. Both arrests have drawn criticism for being politically motivated and based on ethnicity. Serbia’s Tanjug News Agency reported on 20 April that EU Special Representative for Kosovo Samuel Zbogar expressed concern over the lack of progress in Kosovo’s electoral law reforms. The article notes that the mandate for a parliamentary commission created to address electoral reform will end on 22 April and Zbogar called on lawmakers in Kosovo to extend the mandate to allow for continued efforts towards electoral reform. Rule of Law A meeting of the Joint Rule of Law Coordination Board (JRCB) was held at the EU offices in Pristina on 03 April, reports the European Union Rule of Law (EULEX) mission in Kosovo. In his opening remarks, the head of the EU offices in Kosovo, Samuel Zbogar, noted that “the JRCB forms an excellent forum to jointly steer these processes here on the ground, create synergies, coordinate priority actions and track progress in implementation.” EULEX Head of Mission Xavier de Marnhac listed the main objectives of the forum as fighting organised crime and corruption as well as continuing the on-going dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. De Marnhac noted the progress made at a recent meeting held in Brussels that focused on beginning a structured dialogue on Kosovo’s rule of law and the transfer of powers and responsibility from EULEX to the local institutions of the Republic of Kosovo expected to take place sometime this year. The Annual Report of Kosovo’s Prosecution Offices was presented on 18 April. During the presentation, EULEX Chief Prosecutor Jaroslava Novotna noted upcoming changes in EULEX prosecution objectives, tasks and organisational framework following the implementation of its new mandate. Novotna noted the visible progress made by the EULEX mission, adding that “EULEX prosecutors will assist for two more years and will work with you in implementing the new defined goals of the mission through Mentoring, Monitoring and Advising”. The current EULEX mandate will end on 15 June 2012. Five Serbs arrested in late February have been released from detention facilities in Gnjilane and Pristina after the Supreme Court
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annulled a previous EULEX ruling that placed them in detention for 30 days, reports Tanjug. The men will still be required to report to the nearest police station on a daily basis, says lawyer Miodrag Brkljac, but they have now been sent home to the Kosovo-Morava region until further decisions are made regarding the case. The men were arrested on 25 February for allegedly undermining the Kosovo constitutional order by attempting to persuade Kosovo citizens not to recognise the authority of the government in Pristina. The Self-Determination (Vetevendosje) movement Member of Parliament (MP), Florin Krasniqi, has presented a request before Kosovo’s Parliament for an investigation of the ruling party’s former secret service agency, the Sherbimi Informativ I Kosoves (SHIK), reports Balkan Insight. The SHIK originated from the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and later became the intelligence arm of the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK). Charges are widespread that the SHIK was involved in eliminating political rivals of the PDK in 2000 and 2001. Krasniqi has been seeking signatures from other MPs to force an investigation into the workings of the agency and to discover who was involved in the running of the organisation as well as where it received its funding. Anti-Corruption At the second session of the National Anti-Corruption Council, established by President Atifete Jahjaga to increase cooperation and coordination among anti-corruption efforts, EU Rule of Law (EULEX) Deputy Head of Mission Andy Sparkes announced that EULEX will undertake a public awareness campaign on corruption. The campaign will involve a number of initiatives meant to engage the community, such as distributing T-shirts bearing a hotline number, producing TV programs on rule of law and conducting public outreach to engage youth. Kosovo’s top anti-corruption prosecutor has been arrested on allegations that he accepted bribes to drop charges against high-ranking officials, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). EULEX is said to be undertaking the investigation of Nazmi Mustafi, the head of a special anti-corruption task force established by Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in 2010. Meanwhile, two former ministers from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) were charged for illegal contracts made with two film production houses, reports Balkan Insight. Astrit Haraqija and Valton Beqiri are charged with signing contracts with Concordia Pictures and Morina Pictures without opening a competitive tendering process. According to the indictment, the two men abused their official positions by signing the contracts and could face up to eight years in prison if found guilty. Recognition of Kosovo The European Parliament has once again called on five remaining EU member states to officially recognise Kosovo as a sovereign nation, reports ANSAmed. Spain, Greece, Romania, Cyprus and Slovakia were pushed to make the move through a resolution passed by the European Parliament. The resolution also underlined “the importance of improving relations and the representation of Kosovo in international institutions that deal with culture and cultural heritage and sporting organisations”, and therefore called on the International Olympic Committee to allow Kosovan athletes to compete in the upcoming London Olympic Games. Furthermore, MPs backed the start of dialogue on ending the isolation of Kosovo citizens through the liberalisation of visas. On 23 April, Kosovo journalists protested a draft law that would penalise journalists for libel and obliges them to reveal their sources, reports Balkan Insight. The draft law was approved by Parliament and is now awaiting a signature from the President before it can go into effect. The protests were called for by the Association of Professional Journalists of Kosovo (AGPK), which argued that the new law would directly endanger the work of Kosovo’s journalists. According to protestors, articles 37 and 38 of the draft law have not been outlined clearly enough, leaving room for interpretation by judges and prosecutors and creating potential for the law to be misused by corrupt politicians seeking to silence the media.

Security
A deadly bomb attack took place in northern Kosovo on 08 April, reports Balkan Insight. The attack left one ethnic Albanian dead and two members of his family injured after an explosive device was placed under the window of their apartment in the ethnicallymixed neighbourhood of Mitrovica. Kosovo’s government has condemned the attack and said it will do all that is necessary to bring the perpetrators to justice. The acting Head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Kosovo, Edward P. Joseph, condemned the violence and called on communities to “remain calm, and to leave the matter in the hands of the police”. A similar appeal was made by EU Special Representative in Kosovo Samuel Zbogar, who said “[f]urther acts of violence cannot and must not, be tolerated. Such acts can only threaten Kosovo’s peace and stability”. Following the bombing, ethnic Albanians living in the north called for increased police presence in northern Kosovo. Kosovo Alba30 April 2012 Page 3

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nian representatives met with the mayor of southern Mitrovica and the regional police commander on 10 April to discuss the need for greater surveillance. Kosovo’s Police Spokesperson for Mitrovica region, Besim Hoti, told Balkan Insight that “[p]olice have responded to the situation by increasing their presence in the neighbourhoods where both Albanians and Serbs live”. Police allegedly installed two improvised police stations in the “Three Skyscrapers” neighbourhood where the attack occurred, but they were subsequently destroyed by Kosovo Serbs, says Balkan Insight. Hoti says that no arrests have been made relating to the bomb attack and police are investigating the incident as a “terrorist attack”. According to an article by United Press International (UPI) residents fear that Mitrovica is a “tinderbox” for ethnic tensions and that violence could quickly escalate. Hoti adds, “[w]e have an extremely tense situation [and heightened] concerns of residents – not just in the north, Albanian and Serbian residents – but all other residents in the municipality and beyond”. Similarly, EU police and NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) have stepped up security in the Serb-dominated north. EULEX reportedly “increased its presence in northern Kosovo as a result of increased tensions in recent weeks.” The move is said to be a precaution ahead of the up-coming Serbian elections and the growing possibility of ethnic tensions. International security forces have been engaged in maintaining security in ethnically-mixed parts of the major northern city Kosovska Mitrovica. Several other incidents have occurred which are believed to be acts of ethnic violence in other parts of Kosovo, reports Beta News Agency. Among them, three Serbs were allegedly attacked by two Albanians on a road between Vidomiric and Mali Zvecan in northern Kosovo. The Albanians are believed to have shot at the Serbs from a moving car; there were no reports of injuries. Additional incidents occurred in the town of Pec, involving one man who sustained serious head injuries and another who was attacked by two men while in his car. Spokesman for the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) Dzevat Ibra told Tanjug that two suspects have been placed in 48-hour detention while police continue investigating the attacks. Kosovo Police say they are investigating allegations that armed Albanian groups are patrolling areas of northern Kosovo. The investigation comes after Albania’s Top Channel aired footage of armed men carrying AK-47 rifles and other weapons in northern Kosovo. Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo Boran Bogdanovic recently called for KFOR to disarm Kosovo Albanian militants in the North, though a KFOR spokesperson indicated that KFOR troops could not engage in such activities reports, Balkan Insight. Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci announced on 15 April that the government may be forced to carry out special units operations in the North due to increasing levels of violence, according to NewEurope. Kuci criticised the work of both EULEX and KFOR in the North and called for better cooperation with Pristina. The International Press Institute reported on 29 March that several journalists from the Pristina-based daily Express have been receiving threatening phone calls. Express Editor-in-Chief Leonard Kerquki told South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) that one caller threatened to bomb the paper’s offices. SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic has called on the police to take the threats seriously and to conduct a thorough investigation. The threats are said to have started after Express published an article on fuel quality and distribution in Kosovo. Serbia’s Tanjug News Agency reported on 04 April that KFOR received orders from the NATO command to close the alternative roads in north Kosovo-Metohija. M-Magazine later reported that KFOR denied this information, with KFOR spokesman Uwe Nowicki saying that “[t]his information is not accurate and is not confirmed by KFOR”. Serbs are known to use “alternative roads” to bypass the two official checkpoints between Kosovo and Serbia, which are jointly run by Kosovan and Serbian border police under the supervision of EULEX. Two Kosovan police officers were allegedly “kidnapped” inside the territory of Kosovo by 13 Serbian police, reports Top Channel. Meanwhile, Balkan Insight indicates that the two men were arrested inside Serbian territory. The men were released 48 hours later following intense negotiations between EULEX and the authorities in Belgrade. Serbia’s Ministry of Interior says the men were arrested after being found inside Serbia, while authorities in Kosovo contend that the men were kidnapped during routine operations on the Kosovo side of the administrative border. A statement released by the Kosovo Police indicates that the men were on foot patrol near the village of Dumnica, in the municipality of Podujevo. According to Balkan Insight, KFOR has begun an investigation into the exact location of the men’s arrest along the border.
30 April 2012

Source: B92
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Kosovo Monthly Review

Several Kosovo citizens threw stones at the convoy of a Serbian delegation visiting Pristina on 05 April, reports the EU Observer. The incident drew the condemnation of EU facilitator Robert Cooper, who said “such acts do not comply with the spirit of the dialogue”. The delegation was taking part in a working group for the implementation of agreements reached in Brussels between Serbia and Kosovo. De-mining experts in Kosovo have begun clearing mines following the melt of winter snows. Some 4,500 mine fields were registered in Kosovo following the 78-day bombing by NATO that ended the war between Serbia and Kosovo in 1999. Cluster bombs and land mines are still strewn across the nation. The Kosovo Security Force (KSF) conducted a disaster relief field exercise from 20 to 30 April 2012 in the area of Peja, Prizren and Gjilan, reports NATO Allied Command Operations (ACO). The exercise is meant to improve the competencies of the KSF in the areas of fire fighting, demining, handling of hazardous materials and search and rescue. Exercise “Eagle 1” is a follow-up of a previous exercise, “Agile Lion 4”, which took place in September 2011.

Economic Development
The Austrian company Strabag has announced that it will be selling its Kosovo quarry citing poor sales and its failure to penetrate the small Kosovo market, reports Balkan Insight. Strabag bought the quarry in 2006 for EUR 2.5 million and further invested EUR 6 million in upgrades. Strabag has reportedly begun discussions with several local companies. According to an unnamed expert, construction companies that win large tenders in Kosovo are often given a list of preferred companies to buy materials from, a list which the Strabag-owned quarry was not on. Kosovo politics and it’s somewhat inaccessible business milieu are being blamed by the former manager of the quarry as the cause of the poor sales, according to the article. Despite suggestions made by the deputy Director of the American Chamber of Commerce, Arian Zeka, that Kosovo must make greater progress in improving rule of law, combatting corruption and tackling the informal economy to make Kosovo more attractive to foreign investors, an advisor to the Minister of Economic Development (MED) says that the ministry is doing all it can to “support businesses, and is doing so consistently”.

Humanitarian Affairs
Balkan Insight reports that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has ranked citizens from Serbia and Kosovo as fourth in terms of the number of global asylum seekers residing in industrialised countries. According to UNHCR, in 2011, 21,200 individuals from Serbia and Kosovo sought political asylum, or international protection, in other countries. The number is down from 2010, during which time 29,600 asylum seekers from Kosovo and Serbia sought asylum, a 50% jump from 2009. UNHCR claims the increase registered in 2010 resulted from the EU visa-free entry policy for holders of Serbian passports which started on 19 December 2009. The 2011 figure for Serbia and Kosovo reveals 41% of asylum seekers were from Kosovo, a decrease from 74% originating from Kosovo in 2009. The Government of Montenegro has signed an agreement with the Red Cross of Montenegro and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to assist refugees to more fully integrate into Montenegrin society. The agreement focuses on Kosovo refugees and seeks to assist them in resolving their legal status and enhancing their access to education. The Red Cross has agreed to assist in education efforts for refugees at the Konik refugee camp by providing school supplies and meals. OSCE and the Montenegrin Bureau for Care of Refugees will work together to help the refugees acquire the necessary documentation for resolving their legal status in Montengro, says Balkan Insight. Thus far, over 4,000 refugees have been given the status of “foreigner with permanent residence” in Montenegro, while another 3,000 applications are still being processed. In related news, the EU is seeking to close all refugee centres in Serbia within the next two years, reports Balkan Insight. The article claims that only 27 of nearly 600 refugee centres that existed on Serbian territory in 1996 still remain, and the EU intends to assist Serbia in closing them. The EU has granted EUR 315,000 (approx. USD 415,000) to build apartments for the refugees wishing to remain in Serbia, while additional funding has been provided by the Swiss Agency for Support and Cooperation and the municipality of Vranje, in the south of Serbia. According to UNHCR, Serbia currently hosts the highest number of refugees in Europe, with the Ministry for Labour and Social Politics indicating that there are 74,500 refugees living in Serbia and 200,000 internally-displaced people from Kosovo. The EU has played a key role in constructing housing units and various other efforts to solve the problem of refugees in Serbia. The issue of Roma who fled Kosovo to Belgrade after the 1999 war has been a major source of controversy over the years. Today,
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the Roma are considered the most vulnerable population in Serbia, facing discrimination and poverty, says Balkan Insight. Forced to build informal settlements, many Roma are now being evicted as the sites are to be used for commercial construction. Kosovo Roma refugees were told to either choose to be resettled into refugee centres or sent back to Kosovo. Amnesty International, however, claims that these refugee centres lack basic infrastructure and are not an adequate housing option. Amnesty further adds that the Serbian government has not offered the evicted Roma assistance in returning to Kosovo. According to Balkan Insight, the Directorate for Human and Minority Rights is seeking to address the problems facing Kosovo Roma refugees while Amnesty International has been working to make forced evictions in Serbia illegal. The number of Kosovo Roma refugees residing in Serbia is estimated at between 22,500 and 40,000 people.

Socio-Cultural Development
A non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Kosovo has initiated a one-day clean-up event that will take place on 24 May 2012, says the Economic Initiative for Kosovo (ECIKS). The NGO “Liria-l” is in the process of creating a clean-up action plan for the day-long event. The day is envisioned to bring together institutions, organisations, embassies, waste management companies and individuals in an effort to pick-up garbage and beautify the country. According to the coordinator of the initiative, Mr. Luan Hasanaj, “[o]ur citizen initiative does not end on May 24 th, this day is just the beginning of a new approach towards environment protection”. The event is being organised as part of World Cleanup 2012, which will involve 90 countries that have all agreed to plan events activities meant to promote environmental protection and beautification. In early April, the president of the European Commission recognised the Serbian Orthodox monasteries in Kosovo as among the most important saSource: Transconflict cred places in the Mediterranean region. Among the monasteries are Gracanica, the ancient Patriarchate of Pec and the Monastery of Decani. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called for special protection to be placed on the sacred sites, further stating that the monasteries should be a source of inter-cultural dialogue rather than continued conflict.

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