Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Third Sitting of the Committee on Kosovo-Metohija

At the sitting held on 11 December, the Committee on Kosovo-Metohija considered the Activity Report on the Office for Kosovo-Metohija, in the first 100 days since its creation.

Discussing the Report, the Committee members complained that it contained no data on the funds sent via the Office to Kosovo-Metohija and the purposes they were used for.
The Committee members pointed out that there is no data on the effect of the implementation of the Serbian Government’s Decision to prevent those employed in Kosovo-Metohija to receive salaries from both Belgrade and Pristina. They also complained that the employees of the former Ministry for Kosovo-Metohija are being fired, while new ones are being recruited, and requested information on the number of the newly-recruited.
They also asked why at least one of the Office’s four deputy directors is not in Kosovo-Metohija adding that the Office Director should be in the province more often.
The Committee members accepted the Report by a majority of votes, with some comments and suggestions.
The Head of Belgrade’s team in talks with Pristina, Dejan Pavicevic informed the Committee on the implementation of the agreement on the integrated management of crossings with the provisional institutions in Pristina. Pavicevic said that, for now, there are no bigger problems in the implementation of the agreement, and that the technical problems perceived will be addressed in the tripartite gathering in Brussels.
Discussing the issue, some of the Committee members opined that the implementation of the agreement on he integrated management of crossings establishes a border between Serbia and Kosovo and asked what Serbia would do if the Kosovo Government started charging the entrepreneurs in the north of Kosovo-Metohija customs duties and taxes. What they also mentioned as problematic is the appointment of liaison officers who can be considered ambassadors. On that topic, they asked what their role would be in practice.
The Committee was also briefed on the activities of the War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office in the trial against Ramush Haradinaj before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia so far, and the possible revision of the trial, as well as other activities aimed at gathering evidence and processing the crimes committed on the territory of Kosovo-Metohija.
War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic said that Serbia has sent 198 documents about Haradinaj to the Hague Tribunal, but that the work of the prosecutor’s office was “very sloppy” so witnesses waived their statements, changed them or failed to respond to witness summons. The fiasco that was the trial against Haradinaj is the result of major oversights in the witness protection.
Vukcevic said that the Prosecutor’s Office placed special emphasis on cooperation in the region, necessary for the efficient investigation of war crimes. He said that gathering evidence for a possible revision of the trial can only begin, once the Office of the Prosecutor in The Hague decides whether it would appeal the acquittal of Haradinaj.
The Committee members opined that the Serbian Prosecution had not done its job well enough in this case and that Haradinaj’s acquittal killed the victims a second time. They said that it would be naïve to expect the Prosecution, in cooperation with UNMIK and EULEX, a good part of which is deeply corrupt, to find enough evidence against Haradinaj.
The discussion gave voice to the opinion that the Prosecutor’s Office is not to blame for Haradinaj’s acquittal after all, rather the Hague Prosecution conducted the proceedings poorly, the witness protection was catastrophic, and the ruling itself was scandalous and unacceptable.
The Committee members requested that the discussion be continued and that activities aimed at gathering evidence and processing the crimes committed on the territory of Kosovo-Metohija be launched.
At the sitting, MP Goran Bogdanovic was elected Committee Deputy Chairman.

The sitting was chaired by Milovan Drecun, Committee Chairman.

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