News 31 Oct 14

Probe Demanded Into EULEX Corruption Allegations

The European Parliament’s Vice President, Ulrike Lunacek, said allegations that an official at the EU's Kosovo law mission EULEX took bribes to shut down cases must be investigated.

Nektar Zogjani
BIRN
Pristina
Ulrike Lunacek.

Lunacek said that allegations by a suspended EULEX prosecutor, Maria Bamieh, that a official judge took bribes to close certain high-profile cases “cast a dark shadow” on the reputation of the EU's rule-of-law mission.

The claims “must be duly investigated by an external and independent body and the reasons why she has been suspended must be clarified and immediately disclosed; the EU must guarantee her full protection”, the statement said.

Bamieh this week accused her former EULEX colleague, Italian judge Francesco Florit, of taking a bribe of 300,000 euro to clear a man accused of murder, as well as seeking another bribe in a corruption case against a Kosovo transport ministry official.

Bamieh said EULEX officials ignored her demands to open an investigation into the allegations and suspended her instead.

Florit has strongly denied the corruption claim.

The statement said a new audit of EULEX was needed involving the eventual reconfiguration and redefinition of the mandate of the mission.

“Due attention should be paid to the criteria for selection of personnel both of EULEX and of future Rule of Law CSDP missions in third countries,” it said.

The parliament's vice president asked Federica Mogherini, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, together with the EULEX Head of Mission, Gabriele Meucc, to report about this case to the European Parliament.

“Mogherini should clarify whether the rumours according to which former HoM [head of mission Bernd] Borchardt was aware of the investigations and withdrew because of this, in spite of his mandate being extended by then HR/VP [High Representative/Vice President Catherin] Ashton are true,” reads the statement.

The European Union Rule of Law Mission, the largest such civilian mission ever launched, aims to assist the Kosovo authorities in the field of rule of law, with a specific focus on the judiciary.

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