The headquarters of the Veterans Organization of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the Qafa neighborhood in Pristina was raided on Friday morning by about 50 disguised and armed international police officers. These police officers stayed for several hours inside the veterans' offices until when they came out taking with them the president of this organization, Hysni Gucati. He was taken out handcuffed by dozens of EULEX police officers.
This arrest of Gucati was a surprise as there was no indictment filed against him by The Hague. He has never even been interviewed by the Hague prosecutors. But it is thought that the reason may be the issue of the publication of the files, which was done by the OVL of the KLA.
This is what is reported by the Kosovar media about what happened on Friday at the headquarters of the KLA Veterans. It should be recalled that the last week has been full of developments in relation to the Tribunal. The Association of War Veterans has continued to publish several files that have leaked to the Tribunal. An unidentified person has sent thousands of pages of files to the Association's headquarters.
The files of the Special Tribunal are considered confidential and even the law punishes any disclosure of persons who in any form are part of the investigation of the Hague Prosecution. Each time the OVL published files, EULEX police and Special Investigators raided their offices and confiscated the files. On Friday, the police took Gucati with them.
The documents published by the OVL, which are not known if they are original, disclosed the names of the protected witnesses, the names of the accused, the types of charges and much more. Some of them were published by a medium in Albania.
The President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, who was interviewed by the Special Court in The Hague a few months ago expressed doubts on the authenticity of these files on Thursday evening in an interview on the show "Opinion". He said: "On one hand, the truth and originality of these documents. On the other hand, it takes time for the competent authorities to have their say and not the media or incompetent people. Until it is proven whether they are original and leaked by the court, we must be very careful so as not to fall into the trap of any mistake to damage the image of Kosovo."
However, without prejudging the decisions of the Special Court, a court whose creation was voted by the Kosovo Parliament, the EULEX operation has been criticized over its Friday action. This is due to the fact that it is not allowed to make arrests something which can only be done by the Kosovo police, which was not present at the time of Gucati's arrest. They came to the scene 1 hour after the event.
The vice president of this organization, Nazim Haradinaj, was also handcuffed.
He refused to get into the car of the Special Investigators waiting until members of the Kosovo Police arrived. "I do not go with them, I go only with the Kosovo police," said Haradinaj.
The question arises, who authorized EULEX for this arrest and can it be called legal?
Does EULEX create conflicts with Kosovo institutions, specifically with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kosovo?
Does EULEX recognize the Kosovo police?
All these and other questions need to be answered by this international institution which is in Kosovo to support the relevant rule of law institutions but with limited response capacity as cited in the EULEX mission.
But today EULEX has surpassed these competencies.
Secretary of the KLA Veterans Organization, Faton Klinaku told the media that the raid was illegal.
"Today there was an illegal raid, because the Special Court has no mandate since August 2 and they came as at the time of Yugoslavia. The raid lasted because I refused it to be conducted without being present in each office because I was afraid they would do something. They did not receive documents, but only a few computer cases," he said.
Meanwhile, lawyer Tomë Gashi confirmed that President Hysni Gucati and Vice President Nasim Haradinaj are in the process of being sent to The Hague.
"The EULEX raid in OVL KLA lasted over 8 hours. I believe we have seen a completely unnecessary scene. In the first place, the Kosovo police should have been present and all these raids and arrests should not have been done by EULEX," he said.
Friday's event has already taken its direction to The Hague and we will see what this whole show will produce in the KLA offices in the future.
Beyond that, beyond the whole objective of the Special Court of Kosovo, the silent clash of the institutions of the Government of Kosovo and international missions was highlighted on Friday.
Today was EULEX, yesterday was KFOR. It should be recalled that the international peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, KFOR almost led to a serious incident between the Serbian gendarmerie and the citizens of Kosovo in early August this year.
The media in Kosovo published images and reported on the entry of the Serbian gendarmerie in the village of Karacevo in Kosovo in the municipality of Kamenica. Regarding this event and the footage that was seen, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti said that state bodies are drafting a detailed report to see what happened. The actions of the institutions "will be in accordance with the Constitution and the law, as well as coordinated with all security mechanisms in the country," Hoti said.
This reaction of the Prime Minister of Kosovo himself clearly showed how the head of the government had no such information, much less the ordinary citizens of Karacevo
Only after many political exchanges a reaction by the NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, KFOR, would come saying in a press release that "in the Municipality of Kamenica they have carried out a synchronized patrol with the Serbian armed forces along administrative border line near the village of Hodonoc." A routine mission, according to peacekeepers, showing once again that the Kosovo government was not only asked but also warned about this joint exercise with the Serbian military forces.
Such institutional negligence on the part of KFOR could lead to serious incidents between Serbs and Albanians.
This panorama on yesterday( August) was like a bell for what happened on today (Friday 25 september 2020)
Although at first glance they are different, the problem is essentially the same: international missions do not recognize or still do not trust Kosovo's elected institutions.
Maybe the time has come for Kosovo to walk on its own feet so as not to get more confused with crutches, even if these crutches are "MADE IN EU".