News 19 Sep 13

Kosovo President Approves Controversial Amnesty Law

President Atifete Jahjaga has signed amnesty legislation that was passed in a bid to help integrate Kosovo’s Serb minority by forgiving past resistance to the authorities in Pristina.

Edona Peci

Jahjaga’s office announced on Wednesday that she had signed the law, which is considered a key part of the EU-mediated agreement to normalise relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

The legislation, which immediately entered into force, had a troubled passage to the statute book and was only signed by Jahjaga after being amended by the constitutional court.

It was approved by parliament in July after a previous version was voted down on the grounds that it could amnesty people for serious crimes including murder.

It was then sent to the constitutional court by the opposition Vetevendosje Movement, which bitterly opposed the idea of such amnesties.

The constitutional court ruled on September 3 that several parts of the legislation should be struck out, demanding the removal of sections suggesting amnesties for offences such as the destruction of property, assisting offenders after they have committed crimes, and the falsification of documents.

The legislation aims to help integrate Serbs in north Kosovo by ensuring they are not prosecuted for resistance to the Pristina authorities in the past, which would prevent them from taking roles in Kosovo public institutions in the future.

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