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news 17 Oct 17

Kosovo Blames Serbia, EU for Justice Deal Debacle

Pristina blamed Belgrade and Brussels after Serb candidates for judges and prosecutors did not arrive at the Kosovo presidency to be sworn in as previously agreed under an EU-mediated deal.

Die Morina
BIRN
Pristina
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. Photo: Twitter/Federica Mogherini.

Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci on Tuesday accused Serbia of thwarting the start of the implementation of the agreement struck in Brussels which is intended to integrate Serb judges and prosecutors into Kosovo’s justice system.

A total of 42 judges and 14 prosecutors from what Thaci called “non-majority communities” had been expected to arrive at the presidency to be sworn in, but they did not appear.

“They did not show up because they were prevented by the Republic of Serbia, with the only purpose being to not allow their integration into Kosovo’s judicial and prosecutorial system,” Thaci alleged in a statement.

Thaci also accused the European Union, which helped broker the justice agreement, of poor mediation.

He blamed the “inability of the European Union to mediate this process of implementing the Agreement on Justice”.

He urged the other signatories to the deal to reconsider their actions.

“Despite this intentional failure, orchestrated by Serbia, the Republic of Kosovo will continue to function based on the constitutional principles of all-inclusiveness, so we once again invite the parties to the Agreement on Justice to fulfil their obligations,” he said.

However the director of the Serbian government’s office for Kosovo, Marko Djuric, said that he expects that “work regarding the application” of the agreement will be complete by Friday.

Djuric said that the implementation of the deal would mean that Serb judicial officials would now hand down justice in the Serb-majority north of Kosovo.

“This is the first time since 1999 that we will have a court with Serb majority, a Serb president over the court in [the northern town of] Mitrovica and a mostly Serb prosecutor’s office,” Djuric told Serbian public broadcaster RTS.

Maja Kocijancic, the spokesperson for EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, told BIRN that the implementation should begin wthout delay.

“The European Union expects a constructive engagement for the full implementation of all agreements reached within the EU-facilitated dialogue. It is crucial for the justice integration to happen without any further delay,” Kocijancic said.

She also confirmed that “Pristina has met its commitments in connection with the implementation of the dialogue agreement on justice”.

The agreement, which is intended to integrate the justice system in the Serb-run north of Kosovo with the system in Kosovo generally, was signed between Kosovo and Serbia in February 2015 in Brussels.

It foresees the implementation of Kosovo laws and a unitary justice system over the whole of the country.

 

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