From: Bledar Qalliu
Kosovo Won’t Suspend Dialogue with Serbia despite War Crimes Indictments

The government of Kosovo will not suspend the dialogue for the normalization of relations with Serbia, despite a request by the junior coalition ally, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK).

The AAK of Ramush Haradinaj requested the government on Friday through its Minister of Justice Selim Selimi what they had articulated in public a day earlier, namely the suspension of talks with Serbia. Selimi argued that the indictments of political leaders for war crimes weaken Kosovo’s international stance and its position in the dialogue, therefore it should be suspended.

Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti’s advisor Antigona Baxhaku-Idrizi told KOHA newspaper in Pristina that the government won’t suspend the dialogue.

“In the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue taking place in Brussels with the mediation of the European Union, the Republic of Kosovo participates to realize its own interests and not those of Serbia. Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti assesses that the Government of the Republic of Kosovo has no reason to suspend cooperation with the institutions of the European Union. On the contrary, he vows to work diligently and honestly to fulfill his constitutional obligations and responsibilities,” she said. 

Hoti’s advisor added that the government won’t interfere in the work of the judiciary in respect of the principle of separation of powers. She urged all in Kosovo to show “a high political culture” and trust the court.

Last week, The Kosovo war crimes court located in The Hague published indictments and arrested four former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA): President Hashim Thaci, former speakers of parliament Kadri Veseli and Jakup Krasniqi, and the head of the parliamentary group of the largest political party, Vetevendosje’s MP Rexhep Selimi.

The indictment charges them with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed from March 1998 through September 1999, during the Kosovo war.

The Kosovo parliament established the war crimes court based in The Hague in August 2015. It came after increasing international pressure following a 2011 Council of Europe report by Swiss Senator Dick Marty, who alleged that members of the KLA had committed crimes against ethnic minorities and political rivals during the war against Serbia.