There were just some parts of a Feb. 13th article I wanted to highlight, which appeared on an international news feed called “World Crunch” that’s associated with Le Monde:

Lessons from Kosovo: What Europe Couldn’t Achieve

…[General Xavier Bout de Marnhac] is the outgoing chief of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), where 2,000 European prosecutors and judges, police officers and customs officials lend technical assistance to the local authorities. A supposedly neutral presence that has no one fooled.

So this is known even to novices: EULEX=not neutral.

General Bout de Marnhac has executive powers. His employees have penal immunity. The cases they investigate – which are very sensitive – involve the country’s elite…

Kosovo’s elite — its leadership — at the highest levels — are under investigation. Nonetheless, they continue to be published by Amerk’n media, with Roll Call most recently carrying the byline of kidney thief Hashim Thaci in a Feb. 20th article titled — no less — “Thaci: Kosovo’s Strides Toward Freedom Are Inspired by America’s Founding

Indeed, politicians from Florida Republican Rep. Connie Mack to Democratic Vice President Joe Biden have compared Thaci to George Washington, as The Economist noted and Thaci’s office boasted in 2010 on an office web page titled “Vice President Joseph Biden: Hashim Thaçi is Kosovo’s George Washington.”

(The URL for Thaci’s office is www.kryeministri…, presumably Albanian for “prime minister,” though, appropriately enough, it looks like it sounds like “crime minister.”) (Why didn’t I think of that?)

After the independence, the EU took from the UN and created the largest civil mission in its history – EULEX…more than 600 million euros in five years for EULEX – and the methods used beg the question: what is the price of stability and peace? On this subject, suspicions are growing: is the EU turning a blind eye to corruption and organized crime?

Post-war Kosovo — where that “forgotten,” insignificant little war happened not so long ago — has “the largest civil mission” in EU history. Anyway, it may have taken 14 years, but “suspicions are growing.” A bit too late for that.

…The mission cannot work properly in the northern towns, which are populated by Serbs. [OH NO! The handover to the terrorists is being impeded by Serbs!] EULEX vehicles are not always able to pass through the roadblocks….


Map of EU member states and their stance on recognising Kosovo’s independence
[Freudian slip? (Choice of color for EU countries that have recognized: green. As in, Islamic green.)]
Source: Wikimedia

…EULEX expats, who are well paid (8,000 euros) have a tendency to answer more to their governments than to their hierarchy. They don’t spend enough time in Kosovo – one or two years – to know the local issues and mindset, even if many have previously worked with UNMIK…It is not likely that the EULEX mission will end in June 2014, as expected. The Kosovar justice system doesn’t have the freedom, the means, or the competence to deal with the sensitive cases on its own.

One of the cases that made the most noise was the Limaj case. Fatmir Limaj, a former transportation minister, was targeted by several criminal investigations. One of the key witnesses in his war-crimes trial committed suicide in Germany. [Note: a professional reporter would have used the word “allegedly,” since Kosovo-related suicides aren’t often suicides.] But Limaj, after a first acquittal, was incarcerated in November 2012.

Now, as we know, November saw two high-profile Croatian Serb-killers acquitted at The Hague, followed quickly by the acquittal of witness-killing former Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj, plus a few convictions of Serbs. Something had to give, for futile appearances’ sake, and it was just Limaj’s bad luck that his (third?) trial happened to happen at around that time. It would have been finally noticeably outrageous (too many people were looking in Balkan justice’s direction then), and so he was a sort of fall guy. Whereas in previous prosecutions of him, he got off as easily as all his buddies.

The West has been giving Albanians 160% of what they demand, but suddenly it was looking more like 159%. While that may sound like still a pretty good deal to the average civilized, bipedal observer, check out this reaction:

“Can you think of another European country where the ruling party has been targeted by so many investigations?” asks Vice-Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci. “Your judges and policemen despise us. They are not accountable for their actions. They shouldn’t be allowed to take over cases from our magistrates without even telling them.”

“Can you think of another European country where the ruling party has been targeted by so many investigations?” And that’s with turning a blind eye as often as possible! Gee, maybe Kosovo isn’t “European,” or a “country”? (Meanwhile, I at first thought that opening quote was going to be a commentary on the sad character of Kosovo, but then I saw whom it was coming from.) Everything else aside, did we read that correctly? The Vice Crime Sinister is complaining about…unaccountability? Which is basically what he’s demanding by complaining about investigations. Incidentally, one big reason EULEX is finally doing any of these investigations at all is that Kosovo opposition parties are demanding it. Back to the article:

…“Only the small fish end up in jail, not the big sharks. Limaj is in jail so that Prime Minister Thaci doesn’t have to go to prison,” says Albin Kurti, the leader of the Vetevendosje nationalist movement. He wants Europe to send teachers and doctors instead of judges and police officers.

Indeed. If the big guys don’t go to jail, no one should. Never mind that as a KLA commander Limaj had a hands-on part in the tortures and deaths of seven Serbs and an Albanian, and was indicted for “inhumane acts during war.”

Avni Zogiani, an anti-corruption activist, has similar doubts concerning EULEX’s motivations. “We gave them files and evidence,” he says, “they carried out investigations but in the end, they didn’t charge anyone. EULEX gives impunity to those – in the elite – who are the most docile.”

Albanians complaining about the Albanian impunity that was a condition of the internationals being allowed to operate in Kosovo in the first place. This anti-corruption activist seems to have a problem with Albanian impunity only when it applies to the powerful, but not to the rest of “Kosovars,” for whom impunity has been the guiding rule as Albanians — names known to all — attacked Serbs and churches and graves.