HELSINKI CHARTER

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NO 125-126

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Helsinki Charter No. 125-126

November - December 2008

 

Eulex in Kosovo

YET ANOTHER SERB "VICTORY"

By Miroslav Filipovic

Eulex was brought in so as to exclude the Security Council, Russia and China from the decision making on Kosovo once forever. To attain this goal EU officials had yes to everything, even to Belgrade's conditions. Once Eulex is deployed denouement of the Kosovo story will be sped up. The world is tired. Both East and West are sick and tired of lying Serb political dwarfs fancying the world turns around them and the thing into which they had turned the once prestigious country in many aspects.

Life is not easy for citizens of Kosovo regardless of their ethnic origin, and officials of the youngest state in the Balkans are more and more in the right when appealing to the international community to let them govern the state on their own. The situation as it is in Kosovo is unprecedented worldwide. It flagrantly mirrors the international community's incapability, hypocrisy and the fact that those gray-haired and rich gentlemen couldn't care less about Kosovo and about Serbia. This statement is nothing but yet another illustration of the situation in Kosovo presently governed by eight different official factors and at least three unofficial. Apart from UNMIK, KFOR, Kosovo authorities and official representatives of the state of Serbia, there are powerful representatives of the Democratic Party and the Serbian Radical Party. No Kosovo related decision can be made unless approved by three major EU bodies. In addition to Eulex, there is the EU Special Representative and there is the Office of the European Commission. All of them play some parts in establishment of the rule of law in Kosovo. Three unofficial though not less powerful "organizations" are Thaši and Haradinaj family-tribal clans and Albania's influential intelligence service. As no institution or body connects and coordinates all those factors in the attainment of the defined goal, Kosovo growingly resembles a "crazy house" or, as Ivo Andric described Bosnia, a poker game in a dirty Balkan pub in which you cannot tell who cheats the most, lies the most and is the biggest criminal of all.

Everything about the above-mentioned seven factors of governance is more or less known. But what about Eulex? Is it the outcome of Belgrade's, Prishtina's, Brussels's or Moscow's victory? Or, as usual, neither of those guesses but yet another game by powerful world centers that made their decision long ago and now just release it in their specific way while leaving to all parties involved to interpret it as they want to and more or less garland their policies?

The same as Slobodan Milosevic, in his time, congratulated citizens of Serbia peace and victory over "criminal NATO soldateska" these days Serb politicians are congratulating Serbs Eulex, representing the organization's deployment as a big victory of the Serb diplomacy and intellect in general. And we won now the same as we won nine years ago.

The story about Kosovo not being an independent state and Serbia's ability to take measures vis-a-vis Kosovo is being told just in two buildings, opposite to each other, at corners of Nemanjina and Kneza Milosa streets. The rest simply calculate two plus two and allow not to be befooled. For, the EU member-states continue to strengthen Kosovo institutions careful even about seemingly insignificant symbols.

Under a joint project of the European Commission and the Kosovo government the old building of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, destroyed during bombardment, will be turned into the seat of the Kosovo Ministry of the Interior. High-ranking Kosovo officials have decided to reconstruct the building. Officials of the European Commission and the Kosovo government together laid founding stone. The reconstruction project is their joint endeavor. The head of the EU Liaison Office, Renco Davidi, said the organization would provide 1.5 million Euro for reconstruction. Premier Hashim Thaši said the plan symbolized restored dignity of Kosovo institutions. According to him, the project will mark "separation of the new state from locations and mentality of the past." The plan is to make the new seat operational in September 2009. The Kosovo Information Center released it would be a five-floor building with 4,700 square meters of office space.

The work on the establishment of Kosovo Security Forces is intensified. The forces are supposed to become operational by mid-2009. The Kosovo Protection Corps is being dissolved and NATO supervises its transition. Lt. General Sulejman Sellimi, commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps, has been appointed the first commander of the Kosovo army. The new army will take over the logistics of the Corps, except for uniforms the supply of which is in process. Kosovo Security Forces will make a formation of 2,500 light-armed soldiers and 800 reservists. Germany which, according to its defense minister, set aside some seven million Euro for Kosovo Security Forces shall take care of the respect for NATO standards. Germany shall also assist resocialization of two thousand members of the Kosovo Protection Corps for whom there are no vacancies in the army for the time being.

In parallel with Germany's unilateral assistance, the European Union continues to bring in considerable sums to Kosovo. Not long ago, in mid-October, EU Commissary for Enlargement Oli Rehn practically brought 122 million Euro to Kosovo to support its integration into Europe. And this happened just a day after the UN General Assembly voted in Serbia's resolution requesting the International Court of Justice to reconsider legality of Kosovo's independence declaration. While handing over the grant documentation Oli Rehn said the money was "a clear signal of Europe's perception of Kosovo." Premier Thaši said one half of the sum would be spent on economic issues, one-fourth on political and the rest on legislation and "other issues." For 2009, the EU promised another 66 million for Kosovo, and for 2010 almost 70 million Euro.

Speaking of the prospects of the new international mission in Kosovo one should bear in mind that the EU's mission would be composed of two elements. The International Civilian Office headed by Special Representative Peter Feith will supervise implementation of the status plan developed with the assistance of Maarti Ahtisaari. A complementary police and judicial mission (Eulex), launched by the European Union in February 2008, will control the reform of the judiciary system and take over the responsibility for war crime trials and other serious crime trials. In this context, Belgrade's diplomatic victory is yet another gross lie Serb politicians have been telling to their compatriots and voters.

Once again several false dilemmas have been imposed on citizens of Serbia: what Eulex mission will be like, will it be status-neutral and will it implement Ahtisaari's plan? The stance that Eulex mission serves well Serbia if deployed under Belgrade's conditions and that those conditions crucially change the mission itself is deceitful.

And how deceitful was the show staged for citizens of Serbia! The show was about the Serb diplomacy's hard, exhausting struggle for imposing condition upon Brussels, Washington and Eulex. And, of course, small Serbia defeated Goliath and, under the brilliant leadership of Vuk Jeremic, beat the tar out of the New World Order. It overpowered them so badly that they had to give in and accept all the six items by Belgrade. Even Albin Kurti was unable to respond.What a story for provincial pubs and barber shops!

The truth is, of course, quite the opposite and rather bleak like everything else coming from Serbia's presidential and ministerial offices. Eulex will not be status-neutral, it will implement Maarti Ahtisaari's plan and will be in the service of citizens of Kosovo and their new state. Anyone speaking differently must have some dirty motive. Serbian politicians, the same one who have been creating Serbia's policy over the past several months and boasting about their diplomatic triumphs, are fully aware of Eulex's role and have accepted it as such. They have been explicitly told everything in Brussels, Washington and Moscow, and said yes. That's politics, they say, and it can be dirty.

Citizens of Kosovo are more and more aware of the realities, and more and more non-Albanians turn to Prishtina for the things one normally expects to be a government's duty. For them, Belgrade turns into a growingly distant and growingly insignificant troubler. Every lie and deceit have their beginning, duration and end.

 

NO 125-126

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