Kosovo’s Minister of Security Forces, Agim Ceku, has been appointed as the new head of the commission tasked with verifying the status of KLA veterans.
Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci on Tuesday appointed Ceku, former Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, commander to head the commission in charge of verifying the status of the war veterans following the last month’s resignation of Azem Syla.
The president of the KLA War Veterans organization, Muharrem Xhemajli, confirmed to BIRN that Ceku will chair the next meeting of the commission.
Ceku currently serves as the Minister of the Kosovo Security Force, KSF, which many see as the future army of Kosovo, although it is mandated only to conduct crisis response operations, civil protection operations within Kosovo and to assist in dealing with natural disasters.
He was the last commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps, the successor of the KLA, that disbanded in January 2009.
During the Kosovo war, Ceku also succeeded Syla as the Supreme Commander of the KLA.
Azem Syla resigned from the post three weeks ago, saying that he did not have sufficient time to devote to the commission’s work, given his current workload.
The commission, created in January this year, aims to ascertain the exact number of the members the KLA and verify the identity of those who fought and died for the KLA during the war against the Serbian security forces in 1998 and 1999.
At the end of the Kosovo war in 1999, the Provisional Interim Government of Kosovo claimed that it had some 20,000 members which fought against the Serbian security forces.
But 13 years later, that estimate has increased to over 40,000 KLA fighters, according to the war veterans association OVLUCK.
This has led to an outcry by a number of injured veterans and veterans associations, who have complained that state assistance is not reaching the right persons.