Home Page
News 30 Mar 12

Kosovo Serbs Jailed for Spreading Hatred

Four Kosovo Serbs arrested for breaching Kosovo’s Constitutional Order and suspected of organising Serbia’s election in Kosovo, are now being charged with inciting hatred and intolerance among ethnic groups.

Fatmir Aliu, Gordana Andric BIRN Pristina, Belgrade

A Kosovo prosecutor amended charges against four Serbs arrested for allegedly carrying material to be used in the Serbian local elections.

Instead of charging them for breaching Kosovo’s Constitutional Order, charged them with inciting hatred and intolerance among ethnic groups.

Kamenica’s Municipal Court President, Zijadin Spahiu, told Balkan Insight on Friday that the defendants were brought before his court on Thursday afternoon and charged with inciting hatred under Clause 115, Article 1 of the Penal Code of Kosovo which carries a maximum penalty of five years.

The Court ordered the four suspects should be put under house arrest for 30 days.

“They have no right to contact each other or anyone else, other than members of their families,” Spahiu said.

Serbian minister for Kosovo, Goran Bogdanovic, said the arrests were “ethnically motivated” with the aim to frighten Serbs who are engaged with Serbian institutions on Kosovo.

“These counts are ridiculous, this is abuse of law and selective enforcement of the law by so-called Kosovo authorities.

„The fact they were working for Serbian insitutions and they were carrying election lists is no basis for acusations of spreading hate and intolerance. This is indeed absurd,“ Bogdanovic told Balkan Insight.

A Balkan Insight source explained that the prosecutor has the right to amend charges filed by the police, then change them again when filing the indictment, after the period of house arrest expires.

Given that another article of the Kosovo's Penal Code Clause 115 includes the breach of Constitutional Order the prosecution can add more charges later.

According to the source, Kosovo prosecution is planning to expand the case by adding the charges for breach of Constitutional Order at a later stage.  

The Kosovo Serbs were arrested on Tuesday night at the Kosovo-Serbia border crossing of Dheu I Bardhë/Bela Zemlje.

They included the Mayor of Vitina, Srecko Spasic, two of his employees, and a police officer from the Ferizaj/Urosevac police. The four were on their way to Gnjilane/Gjilan.

After their arrest, the police found a list of eligible Serb voters in the municipalities of Gjilan and Vitina in their possession, and another list of those working for the Serb parallel institutions in Kosovo.

The Serbian police retaliated by arresting two Kosovo Albanians on Wednesday. Hasan Abazi, the President of the Metalworkers Union, was arrested for alleged espionage, while Adem Urseli was arrested for drug smuggling.

Both sets of arrests have drawn criticism from non-governmental organisations, who describe them as politically motivated and based on the men's ethnic background.

Earlier this month, Serbia announced that it was extending its May 6 local elections to Kosovo, which it still considers part of its territory, even though the country declared itself independent in 2008.

This move was condemned by the Kosovo government and by the international community as a violation of Kosovo's territorial integrity and sovereignty, which Belgrade does not recognise.

The Kosovo Police announced on Thursday that is has drawn up operational plans for implementing the government’s call to prevent the Serb ballots within the territory of Kosovo.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Serbia - Kosovo Relations: Latest Headlines

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.

higher-education-is-reinforcing-kosovo-s-ethnic-divide-04-04-2017 Comment 04 Apr 17 Higher Education is Reinforcing Kosovo's Ethnic Divide

Despite years of international efforts aimed at integration, the system of higher education in Kosovo continues to reflect and replicate the country’s deep ethnic divisions.

kosovo-serbs-with-no-stance-on-demarcation-border-03-30-2017 news 31 Mar 17 Kosovo Serbs' Return Revives Hope for Border Deal

The return to parliament of Kosovo Serb MPs has prompted much speculation that the long-delayed controversial border deal with Montenegro may finally go to parliament.

kosovo-approves-serb-pm-visit-03-28-2017 news 28 Mar 17 Pristina Allows Serbian PM Vucic to Visit Kosovo

The Kosovo government is allowing Serbian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vucic to visit the northern part of country for three hours on Wednesday.

serbian-pm-visits-kosovo-amid-election-uncertainty-03-28-2017 News 28 Mar 17 Serbian PM Mulls Kosovo Visit amid Election Uncertainty

Serbia’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vucic is set to visit northern Kosovo, where locals hope for a chance to vote fairly.

srpska-lista-ends-boycott-to-push-municipalities-deal-in-kosovo-03-27-2017 news 27 Mar 17 Kosovo Serb MPs End Boycott of Parliament

Serb MPs returned to Kosovo parliament after six months to speed up the formation of an Association of Serb Municipalities but also to try to stop the formation of a Kosovo Army.