Kosovo: End of 'supervised independence' declared
last update: September 11, 10:44
Pristina and Belgrade, 11 Sept. (AKI) – Western powers overseeing Kosovo have announced the end of their supervision of the tiny Balkan nation
But Belgrade, which does not recognise Kosovo's secession dismissed the sovereignty announcement as meaningless and renewed claims that the Kosovo Liberation Army was involved in human organs trafficking.
“The supervision of Kosovo is finished," Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith, the highest international representative in Kosovo, told a press conference.
"The International Steering Group has decided to end the period of supervised independence," he said, speaking in Albanian.
Since declaring independence in February 2008, Kosovo has been overseen by the ISG, composed of 23 European Union countries, the United States and Turkey.
United States president Barack Obama sent congratulations to Kosovo leaders, pledging support and saying Kosovo had made a “significant progress” and marked a “historic milestone in the past four and a half years.
But as Kosovo's parliament held a special session celebrating “full independence” late Monday, Serbian television aired a testimony of an alleged protected witness who described in detail KLA soldiers removing organs of Serb and non-loyal Albanians prisoners to sell them on the international black market.
The illegal organs trafficking by KLA soldiers, who in the 1990s fought a guerilla war for Kosovo's independence, and allegedly also top officials, was first reported by Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty in December 2010.
Marty said the operation was carried out in northern Albania during the 1998-1999 Kosovo rebellion and subsequently.
European Union Rule of Law mission in Kosovo (EULEX) entrusted US prosecutor Clint Williamson to further investigate the allegations, but his research has so far yielded no tangible results.
Kosovo foreign minister Enver Hodzaj said Belgrade was just trying to “cast shadow” over Kosovo celebration.
“We had advance information that Serbia will come up with bad news about Kosovo,” he said.
“We don’t know the details of this information, but surely Serbia will try to cast shadow on a great day for Kosovo,” Hodzaj told media.
But Serbian deputy prosecutor for war crimes Bruno Vekaric told media his office had worked with the protected witness for the past sixteen months and would make him available to Williamson and international investigators.
“We don’t want to deceive ourselves nor others by statements we are not sure of,” Vekaric said, adding that “only one per cent has been aired on television of what the witness has said”. He didn’t reveal, however, when and how Serbian prosecutors got the hold of the alleged witness.
Despite the declaration of full independence some 6,500 NATO soldiers will remain in peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. Likewise, EULEX will continue its police, judicial and customs mission there.
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