#AceNewsReport – June.16: The continuing presence of British Army personnel in the NATO force, which for over two decades has helped maintain peace and stability in Kosovo, signals the UK’s ongoing commitment to the wider Western Balkans region’s security, stability and prosperity:
MOD GOVUK underlines commitment to Western Balkans with extension of troops in Kosovo: The UK has been a key contributor to the UN-mandated NATO force, known as KFOR, since it first entered Kosovo in 1999 as a peacekeeping force to bring peace and stability following the conflict of the 1990s.
NATO is the bedrock of UK security and it is because our Armed Forces step forward to protect peace alongside our partners that it remains so. The extension of our commitment to KFOR underlines our unwavering commitment to the Western Balkans region, where NATO has helped to bring stability for over two decades.
UK forces have since worked to enhance KFOR’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability, significantly increasing the mission commanders’ situational awareness – ensuring the operation can provide a safe and secure environment for the entire population. KFOR acts as one of the main security providers in Kosovo, with troops contributed by some 30 nations including Italy, Turkey, Poland and the US, as well as the UK. The UK’s contribution includes a battalion-sized high readiness Strategic Reserved Force based in the UK, ready to deploy at short notice.
As set out in the recently-published Integrated Review into security, defence, development and foreign policy and Defence Command Paper, the UK remains committed to NATO which remains the bedrock of our security.
It comes after the Prime Minister announced in November an increase in Defence funding of over £24-billion across the next four years, enabling our Armed Forces to adapt to meet future threats.
#AceNewsServices – BRUSSELS – November 01 – Only an external investigation can restore faith in Eulex, the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo, Maria Bamieh, the British prosecutor at the heart of corruption revelations has told EUobserver.
‘EXTERNAL INVESTIGATION REQUIRED TO RESTORE FAITH IN EULEX OVER MISSION IN KOSOVO ‘
The revelations, first published in Kosovo daily Koha Ditore earlier this week, say: that a senior official colluded with suspects in criminal cases; that another official took bribes to shut down prosecutions; and that a third one quashed internal Eulex probes.
‘Press Conference: Allegations of Corruption against EULEX are being pursued vigorously’
The story cited transcripts of wire-tapped conversations as well as internal letters written by Bamieh to her superiors to alert them of wrongdoing.
In a second story, published on Friday (31 October), Koha Ditore cited other documents showing that Eulex gave confidential information to Serbian intelligence services.
Bamieh told EUobserver on Thursday the EU mission also: turned a blind eye to a miscarriage of justice in a triple-murder case; failed to protect witnesses; and lied to press.
She said two Kosovo men – who are in jail for a bombing in 2007 and for killing three other people the same year – were convicted of the triple murder on evidence “that would never stand up in a British court”.
The men agreed to give Eulex information on the Kosovo mafia in return for promises that Eulex would re-examine the triple-murder case and would guarantee their future safety.
#AceWorldNews – Kosovo(Pristina) – September 17 – Police in Kosovo arrested 15 people on Wednesday in the second major operation in weeks to stem the flow of young ethnic Albanians joining Islamist fighters in Iraq and Syria, Reuters said.
Among those detained are an influential imam of the Grand Mosque in the capital, Pristina, the leader of an Islamic-rooted political party, and a number of other imams, according to local media.
The charges include terrorism, threatening the constitutional order, incitement and religious hate speech, a police source said.
On August 11, 40 people were arrested on suspicion of fighting in Iraq and Syria or recruiting insurgents RT reported.
#AceGuestNews – May 10 – (RFERL) – Having seen decades of war and violence, Omer Karabeg knows the transformative power of words. For 20 years, through his program “The Bridge,” he has sought to forge a dialogue among representatives of the former Yugoslavia’s different political, ethnic, and religious groups, whose views on his carefully chosen, contentious topics often could not be more at odds.
Karabeg’s guests run the gamut from hard-line politicians to political moderates to academics and cultural figures. While his pairings are often daring, he always insists on a civil discussion and mutual respect, qualities that are scarce in the region’s mainstream media.
Arbana Vidishiqi, RFE/RL’s Kosovo Bureau Chief, remembered how in 2002, with the wounds of the Kosovo war still raw, Karabeg gathered influential Kosovo Albanians and Serbs in a face-to-face round-table discussion in Pristina.
“That was so rare at that time, just after the war, to see those two sides talking,” said Vidishiqi. “What was especially interesting was to see these former [Albanian] guerilla fighters talking with Serbs even during the breaks.” Over the course of two decades, “The Bridge” has broadcast more than 800 such dialogues involving more than 1,500 participants.
The 30-minute weekly program began as a radio show and is now also recorded as a Skype broadcast for on-line audiences. On many occasions, the show has broken barriers between figures across political and ethnic divides who have then continued their dialogue in follow-up meetings off the air. Excerpts and quotes from the dialogues are regularly reprinted in high-circulation national newspapers throughout the region.
Much has changed since the first broadcast of “The Bridge” in April 1994 which, at the height of the Yugoslav war, focused on how to start the process of reconciliation between the Serb minority and the Croatian majority in Croatia. At that time, much of the former Yugoslavia was separated not only by ideology, but by violence, blocked roads, and broken telephone lines.
But Karabeg says some divides persist. “The most difficult combination to have on the show is nationalists, of course,” he said. “Nationalists don’t like discussion, they like monologues. They usually don’t change their minds after the show, but at least they talk; at least it gives them something to think about later.”
Originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina Karabeg is a veteran journalist who, before joining RFE/RL in 1994 in the early days of the Balkan Service (then known as the South Slavic Service), was a popular prime-time national TV news anchor in Belgrade.
He left Belgrade after refusing to broadcast nationalist propaganda during the war, an act of defiance for which he was called a traitor on national TV by government officials. Karabeg is the winner of the 2010 Erhard Busek South East Europe Media Award for Better Understanding in South East Europe.
He received the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia’s Jug Grizelj Award for promoting friendship and overcoming barriers between the people in the region. He has published selected dialogues from “The Bridge” in two books: “Bridge of Dialogue: Conversations Despite the War,” and “Dialogue on the Powder Keg, Serbian-Albanian Dialogue.”
While Karabeg has seen much progress in the region, he says the deepest rifts remain in Bosnia, where dialogue between politicians from the two main ethnic entities carved out in the Dayton Accords has broken down. “Each side has its own media where the politicians can go on and say whatever they want with no one to challenge them when they lie,” he said.
He added that separatist rhetoric has intensified in Bosnia since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, and that the international community must stay engaged there to keep the dialogue going.
” As the saying goes,” Karabeg said, “It’s better to have 1,000 days of talking than to have war for even one day.”
Courtesy and by Emily Thompson of her News and Views – Radio Free Europe
#AceNewsServices – Brussels – April 2013 – According to (Human rights Watch ) – Kosovo’s parliament should approve the establishment of a special court located abroad to try alleged war crimes and other serious crimes committed during and after the 1998-1999 Kosovo war- http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/04/11/kosovo-approve-special-court-serious-abuses
The parliament should also agree to extend the mandate of the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) and allow it to continue investigating and prosecuting serious and politically sensitive crimes in Kosovo.
The EU is seeking to extend EULEX and to establish the specialized court within the Kosovo court system but with a special chamber based in an EU member state.
The Kosovo parliament plans to review the proposal before it dissolves for elections planned for May 2014.
#AceWorldNews – KOSOVO – April 04 – Western officials are considering a plan for an EU-backed special tribunal to try Kosovo Albanian former guerrillas accused of harvesting organs from murdered Serbs during the Balkan country’s 1998-99 war, Reuters reported.
RT reports that Saturday’s edition of the Kosovo daily, Koha Ditore, will carry an interview with Jonathan Moore, director of the US State Department’s Office of South-Central European Affairs, who said preparations were under way with EU participation for a court based in Kosovo.
BELGRADE – The Serbian Office of the Prosecutor for War Crimes has welcomed the information by Tanjug that came from Brussels, which says that those from the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) indicted for the crimes listed in the report by Dick Marty will be tried in The Hague, and not in Pristina.
The majority of the work will be done outside Kosovo, meaning witnesses will give testimony abroad to protect them.
The move to stage a court stems from a 2011 report by Council of Europe rapporteur, Dick Marty.
There are two possible arguments for intervention without Security Council authorization, but they both require an extension of recognized principles beyond the limits heretofore applied to them. The first is based on a limited right of humanitarian intervention to aid groups held captive or subjected to grave physical danger. The justification for humanitarian intervention is strongest when the intervening states are acting to protect their own nationals, as in the case of Israel’s 1976 raid to release its nationals being held hostage at the airport in Entebbe, Uganda. The extended argument would be that in exceptional cases where peaceful means of alleviating a humanitarian crisis inflicted by a state on its own nationals have failed, and where the Security Council has recognized a threat to international peace, forceful intervention would be lawful so long as it is proportional to the situation.
The second argument is based on an extension of the right of collective self-defense. That right is recognized by Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, if the Security Council has not acted to deal with an armed attack. The right of self-defense, though, has traditionally been regarded as legitimate only in the case of an armed attack on a state. Even if the Kosovo authorities have requested self-defense help from NATO, since Kosovo is not a state under international law, the right of collective self-defense would have to be stretched to apply here. The argument for stretching it would stress the international community’s recognition of the Kosovars as an entity entitled to a substantial measure of autonomy (and thus entitled not only to defend itself, but also to request others to help, so long as the help is proportional to the situation).
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