#AceNewsServices – BRUSSELS – Nov.30 – Europe’s Ombudsman has opened a fresh enquiry into the EU’s handling of corruption allegations at Eulex, its rule of law mission in Kosovo.

Emily O’Reilly, who heads the watchdog, notified Patrick Child, the top official in the European External Action Service (EEAS), which runs Eulex, about her “own-initiative” probe in a letter last Friday (14 November).

Citing press articles on the furore, she said “there are doubts” as to whether “EEAS/Eulex Kosovo has properly investigated/is properly investigating the allegations of serious irregularities reported by the … Eulex prosecutor”.

The prosecutor – a seconded British official, Maria Bamieh – complained to her superiors that her colleagues took bribes to shut down criminal cases and stymied an internal affairs probe.

She was later fired on suspicion that she leaked documents to a Kosovo daily, Koha Ditore.

But both she and the paper deny she leaked the files.

O’Reilly’s letter notes that EEAS/Eulex “have stated that a joint investigation was launched in 2013”.

It also notes the EEAS recently appointed a French academic, Jean Paul Jacque, to “assess the matter”.

The EU last week asked the UN to partly lift the immunity of one of the Eulex suspects, Italian judge Francesco Florit.

But with Bamieh claiming the 2013 internal investigation is “a lie … a complete joke”, O’Reilly complained that: “EEAS/Eulex Kosovo appear to have repeatedly declined to provide any information on what exactly the scope of this investigation was or what stage it has reached”.

O’Reilly added that Jacque’s mandate – to “check whether Eulex has adequate procedures to prevent corruption and whether it followed due process” – is so limited that she wants to make her own assessment “notwithstanding” his efforts.

She underlined that she will not look into Bamieh’s allegations as such, but will “verify whether EEAS/Eulex have taken all the necessary steps to examine” them.

She also asked Child to forward her “all the documents” related to the affair, promising to protect files which he “identifies as confidential” from “third parties”.

The EU Ombudsman, a Strasbourg and Brussels-based body, has around 90 staff and oversees “maladministration” in EU institutions.

Its reports are non-binding, but EU bodies have a track record of following up on its recommendations.

O’Reilly herself is an award-winning Irish journalist, who was also Ireland’s Ombudsman from 2003 to 2013.

Source: EUobserver Report – EEAS – EULEX


#corruption, #alleged, #ombudsman


#AceWorldNews – MOSCOW – Nov.26 – The Moscow Muslim Spiritual Department (DUM) has made inspections of Moscow mosques following Internet reports alleging that some of the mosques were used to recruit militants for operations in the Middle East.

' Muslim religious leaders in Moscow carry on regular work for prevention of extremism, the Moscow Muslim Spiritual Department said '

‘ Muslim religious leaders in Moscow carry on regular work for prevention of extremism, the Moscow Muslim Spiritual Department said ‘

As a result of the inspections, DUM representatives in an official statement have denied the reports as “groundless.” /TASS/. reported. 

“The Moscow mosques cannot serve as recruitment centers for militants deployed to fight in Syria because Muslim religious leaders carry on regular work for prevention of extremism,” the statement said. “Unauthorized gatherings or any recruitment activities are banned in the Moscow mosques; any attempts to violate the ban are resolutely cut short,” the statement said.

“The Imams of the Moscow Mosque regularly conduct seminars and deliver lectures for purposes of prevention of radical propaganda and protection of spiritual and moral values advocated by Islam,” it said.

The Internet report claimed that the alleged recruitment centre for volunteers to fight in Syria was in a mosque in Prospect Mira street in Moscow.


#alleged, #ban, #extremism, #militants, #recruitment