Kosovo shaken by EULEX corruption allegations

05 November 2014 by Una Hajdari, Pristina (Kosovo)

Kosovo was rocked last week by accusations in the country’s leading daily, Koha Ditore, that top officials from the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), which prosecutes corruption and war crimes cases, took bribes to release two defendants.  

Koha Ditore journalist Vehbi Kajtazi cited internal EULEX documents that seem to show EU officials met with intermediaries of the defendants, gave them access to confidential court material and accepted bribes to free some of them. Kajtazi’s report is backed up by claims from EULEX prosecutor Mariah Bamieh, who was suspended on 21 October, days before the allegations hit the media. She says she had accidentally discovered the same information via wiretaps of the defendants’ cell phones. The British prosecutor filed two reports in 2012, citing her concerns about the officials, Judge Francesco Florit from Italy and Czech chief prosecutor Jaroslava Novotna.

In a press conference last week, EULEX mission head Gabriele Meucci insisted he “cannot comment on an on-going investigation” when asked about the claims. An EU spokesperson in Brussels said that EULEX had already opened an investigation in 2013 into “allegations of the corruption cases you have seen in the media”, but gave no further details.

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