Thursday, June 08, 2006

Serbian judiciary breaks off ties with UNMIK due to political games - official

Text of report by Serbia-Montenegrin radio Kontakt Plus on 7 June

[Announcer] The [Belgrade] District Court War Crimes Council has not questioned witnesses in the process against war crimes indictee Anton Lekaj yesterday [6 June]. Judge Miroslav Alimpic said yesterday that UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] head Soren Jessen-Petersen had just allowed that witnesses for defence to be heard. Members of the court council who are from Belgrade, Miroslav Alimpic and Dragoljub Stankovic, refused to attend such a hearing, stating that this was a political move and direct interference of executive power in judiciary.

There could be two reasons for such a move it is assumed that Jessen-Petersen wanted to demonstrate that the issue of statehood has already been dealt with or to emphasize his close personal ties with The Hague indictee [former Kosovo Prime Minister] Ramush Haradinaj, who is indicted, together with Lekaj, for war crimes committed in the Pastrik hotel [in 1999].

War Crimes Prosecutor's Office spokesman Bruno Vekaric said that he agrees with the view that this was Jessen-Petersen's political decision, adding that this was not the only reason [as heard].

[Vekaric] There is another reason for concern it is obvious that political games are stronger than a court proceeding, and Serbian judicial bodies are obviously victims of such political games in this case. I think this could harm the procedure, I believe it conveys a wrong message, and, unfortunately, the most important thing is that this is a sort of a break off in our cooperation with UNMIK judiciary.

Source: Kontakt Plus, Kosovska Mitrovica, in Serbian 1400 gmt 7 Jun 06

1 comment:

WARchild said...

What do they mean by has not allowed? Has Petersen issued an order to arrest the prosecution witnesses if they try to cross into Serbia? How can Petersen decide who testifies in Belgrade?