Home Page
news 14 Mar 13

Dispute Over Judges Delays North Kosovo Deal

Serbian and Kosovo officials have agreed on the executive powers to be ceded to the Serb-run north of Kosovo - but are still at odds over who will appoint judges there, an EU diplomat told Balkan Insight.

BIRN Belgrade

Kosovo and Serbia officials are at odds over who, besides the EU mission EULEX, will appoint judges in the Serb-run north of Kosovo, the Kosovo Serbs themselves or the Pristina authorities, Balkan Insight has learned from an EU diplomat.

The source said that the two sides had already agreed on executive powers for a future "Association of Serbian Municipalities", which will replace the Serbian-financed "parallel" institutions, and operate under the overall control of Pristina.

The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, arrived in Belgrade from Kosovo on Thursday afternoon to try to resolve the future shape of the judicial system in the Serb-run north of Kosovo.

In Pristina, Ashton met the Kosovo President, Atifete Jahjaga, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and opposition leaders.

"We spoke... about the implementation of agreements already reached and about the need to finalise discussions and reach agreements on open issues, notably on northern Kosovo," Ashton said after the meeting.

Meanwhile, Jahjaga said on Thursday that Kosovo had shown it was ready to be “constructive and flexible within its legal framework and the constitution”.

The dispute over the north has been ongoing, and the two sides failed to reach a deal on it in Brussels on March 4.

Kosovo has demanded that Serbia dismantle its so-called "parallel" structures in north, while Serbia wants to see broader autonomy offered for all Serb-populated areas in Kosovo first.

Since the end of the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s, the region has been beyond Kosovo's control while Serbia has continued to finance local security, judicial, health and educational institutions.

Ahead of the next round of EU-mediated talks due on March 20, Serbian officials travelled to Brussels on Monday to meet with Ashton.

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said a deal was within sight, following talks in Brussels in which Kosovo had "relented" over the powers to be given to an "Association of Serbian Municipalities" in Kosovo.

"I'm convinced we are very close, but that now depends on whether people in Pristina are aware that they have to help people or only their political careers," Nikolic said on Monday.

The EU-mediated technical dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia was launched in March 2011. The aim is to normalize relations between the two countries, both of which aspire to EU membership, in the context of Serbia's refusal to recognise Kosovo's independence.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Serbia - Kosovo Relations: Latest Headlines

kosovo-mines-injured-demand-compensation-from-serbia-06-22-2017 news 22 Jun 17 Kosovo Landmine Victims Demand Serbia Pay Compensation

Kosovo’s Association of Mine-Injured Civilians asked Serbia to pay compensation to people injured in landmine blasts during and after the war, and called on the Pristina government to raise the issue in Brussels.

russian-musician-made-a-song-about-kosovo-06-14-2017 News 14 Jun 17 Russian Band Turns Serbia's Kosovo 'Tragedy' Into Song

Russian heavy metal band Kipelov, well known for its ardent Russian nationalism, has come up with a song about Serbia's 'tragedy' in Kosovo.

navigating-the-battlefield-of-kosovo-s-snap-elections-06-05-2017 Analysis 05 Jun 17 Navigating the Battlefield of Kosovo’s Snap Elections

Ahead of Kosovo’s snap elections set for June 11, Balkan Insight profiles the main contenders and their views on key issues the new cabinet will encounter.

kosovo-informs-brussels-that-serbia-denied-jahjaga-entry-06-02-2017 NEWS 02 Jun 17 Kosovo Rounds on Serbia for Refusing Jahjaga Entry

Kosovo's Minister for Dialogue, Edita Tahiri, has accused Serbia of violating the Brussels agreement on officials’ visits by refusing entry to ex-President Atifete Jahjaga, where she had hoped to promote her book on wartime rape victims.

kosovo-election-exposes-deep-rift-among-serbs-05-31-2017 Analysis 31 May 17 Kosovo Election Exposes Deep Rift Among Serbs

Ahead of Kosovo’s general elections, the Kosovo Serb bloc is more divided than ever with Belgrade backing only one list – a decision observers say might backfire.

tacit-thaci-vucic-alliance-again-outsmarts-the-west-05-18-2017 Comment 18 May 17 Tacit Thaci-Vucic ‘Alliance’ Again Outsmarts the West

As the leaders of both Kosovo and Serbia game the West - by feigning a commitment to the EU Dialogue that neither intends to honour – it is time the West came up with a master plan.

rabid-anti-albanian-sentiments-grip-serbian-media-05-16-2017 ANALYSIS 16 May 17 Rabid Anti-Albanian Sentiment Grips Serbian Media

Growing ethnic and political tensions across the Balkans have triggered rabid warmongering and ethnic anti-Albanian ethnic slurs in Serbian media, local experts warn.

kosovo-official-charged-with-anti-serb-hate-speech-pleaded-not-guilty-04-26-2017 news 26 Apr 17 Kosovo Official Pleads Innocent to Hate Speech

Asim Cenaj, a Kosovo municipal officer charged with inciting hate and ethnic intolerance by insulting Serbs at the council building in Decan/Decani, pleaded not guilty in court.

kosovo-mp-haradinaj-faces-ethnic-hatred-lawsuit-04-20-2017 news 21 Apr 17 Kosovo MP Haradinaj Faces Ethnic Hatred Lawsuit

A Kosovo NGO said it will file a criminal complaint against MP Daut Haradinaj for threatening that Serbs could be expelled from Kosovo if his brother, ex-PM Ramush Haradinaj, is extradited to Belgrade.

kosovo-struggles-to-confront-its-painful-past-04-13-2017 Comment 14 Apr 17 Kosovo Struggles to Confront its Painful Past

The failure of the local and international community to properly address Kosovo's traumatic past has left its communities alienated and mistrustful of official initiatives.