MPs decided not to investigate alleged rights abuses during the prosecution of former Kosovo guerrillas accused of killing a family for revenge in the high-profile ‘Kiqina’ case.
Lawmakers on Tuesday dismissed a proposal to set up an ad-hoc parliamentary commission to probe claims of human rights violations during the Kiqina case, under strong pressure from EU and US representatives in Kosovo not to interfere with the judiciary.
Instead they voted by 39 to eight to refer the issue to the “relevant authorities”, without specifying what these were.
Kosovo Democratic Party MP Ramiz Lladrovci, who originally proposed the commission, had alleged during a parliamentary debate on Friday that there had been “grave procedural and human rights violations” during the prosecution of five former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters convicted of killing the Hajra family in 2001.
The EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo has suggested that the murders were revenge killings because the father, Hamze Hajra, was a police officer during the rule of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
On Friday, the EU’s special representative to Kosovo, Samuel Zbogar, called on parliament “to refrain from engaging in any actions that could be interpreted as an attempt to influence or overturn any court decisions”.
The US embassy in Pristina said in a statement meanwhile that the Kiqina debate “just confirmed the criticism of those who say Kosovo political leaders tend to interfere in rule-of-law procedures and undermine the independence of the judiciary”.
Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga also condemned parliament’s actions.
She told media in Pristina that it was “a bad precedent and a violation of parliament’s regulations to put such issues on the agenda”.
In 2002, Blerim Kiqina admitted killing the Hajra family and incriminated four other suspects, although he withdrew his statement several days later.
Kiqina, along with Burim Ramadani, Arsim Ramadani, Arben Kiqina and Jeton Kiqina – all former Kosovo Liberation Army members involved in fighting Serbian forces during the late 1990s conflict – were found guilty of the killings.
Burim Ramadani, Arsim Ramadani and Arben Kiqina were jailed for 30 years, Jeton Kiqina for 16 years and Blerim Kiqina for 11 years imprisonment.