Kosovo Police leaks, EULEX says

KospolicePRISTINA, Kosovo — As to Kosovo media representatives of the EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo (EULEX) expressed strong dissatis-faction about close relations of Kosovo Police officers from northern Kosovo with "suspects who are under investigation or prosecution". EULEX Police investigations are said to be repeatedly hampered. Several Police operati- ons seemingly failed due to cooperation of Serb Kosovo police officers with suspects from the mainly Serb populated areas. According to a Kosovo daily, a source within EULEX confirmed that in many cases suspects in the field of organized crime managed to escape before being arrested:

The concerned persons appeared to be informed in advance about investigations or activities planned against them. In this context a senior EULEX official was quoted as saying, that “every time … there is cooperation with the Kosovo Police, there is a leak of information. This does not mean that we should not cooperate with them, but we consider that in sensitive cases it is better to fulfill duties ourselves.”

At the same time EULEX is aware, that it can’t implement operations respectively investigations alone in the north of Kosovo. In order to secure its activities EULEX Police therefore subsequently intends to request further protection from KFOR troops, the international NATO military mission in Kosovo: The recent arrest of the former Yugoslav police officer Jevro Pantelic, who is considered to be a main actor in organized crime in north Kosovo, reportedly underlines the success of this cooperation.

Meanwhile the Minister of Internal Affairs of Kosovo, Bajram Rexhepi, admitted that in the northern and other parts of Kosovo, in some cases information was leaked by the Kosovo Police: “There are … internal investigations " Rexhepi confirmed.

Prior to EULEX complaints, Kosovo Police officials announced publicly to have replaced all commanders of police stations in the Serb populated northern Kosovar municipalities of Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic – and soon also to take over several abandoned stations at the border of Kosovo and Serbia.

Both the arrest of the alleged criminal Pantelic near the municipality of Zubin Potok and the exchange of police officers caused strong rejection from Serb representatives in northern Kosovo municipalities as well as from the government of Serbia. Hundreds of Serb protestors blocked  roads and requested the release of Pantelic. EULEX stated that Pantelic faces investigations on organized crime, money laundering, fuel smuggling, tax evasion and fraud to avoid paying import customs and tax.

Since weeks Kosovo Police and EULEX Police accuse each other not to implement their duties appropriate.

For more news about Kosovo, go to NEWS KOSOVO

This article was first published on Technorati

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