Haki Abazi. | Photo: BIRN.

Abazi: There is no legal system in Kosovo

In an interview for Jeta ne Kosove, director of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for Western Balkans Haki Abazi discusses the wall in Mitrovica and the politicization of the judiciary and education.

In a special interview for BIRN’s television program Jeta ne Kosove (Life in Kosovo), Abazi declared that the recent skirmishes over the reopening of the Mitrovica bridge are a clear sign that the Brussels-mediated dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo is losing steam.

“The wall is in reality a reconfirmation that among the negotiating parties. Kosovo is not a stakeholder,” said Abazi.

“The wall shows that all the commitments to the agreements are just buying time for a new situation that could be created where we have to review Kosovo’s status in relation to Serbia.”

For years Prishtina and the EU have tried to reinstate vehicular traffic on the central Mitrovica bridge that once united the city and now has become the symbol of its ethnic division.

The opening of the bridge was planned for January 20th, but the EU has confirmed that the event has been postponed.

In early December, as part of the construction work on Kralja Petra street, a wall-like structure was erected on the northern side of the Ibar river. After much protest from Kosovo institutions, the EU office guaranteed that the structure was going to be turned into “elevated stairways.”

“What happened with the wall is that they turned the barriers that were made of earth and rocks into concrete,” said Abazi, adding that it is clear to the Serbian government and the Lista Srpska party that “the Brussels process is very superficial.”

Abazi also talked about the condition of the judiciary and prosecutorial systems. Referencing the Pronto 2 affair, a series of leaks published by the news portal Insajderi that showed that high-ranking MPs and government officials were involved in political appointments, Abazi said it showed that “the legal system doesn’t even exist” in Kosovo.

“We have seen endless initiations of investigations in Kosovo after the war, and this is why no one believes that Kosovo has a rule of law; it builds EULEX, builds the Specialist Chambers, because starting an investigation doesn’t guarantee rule of law,” said Abazi citing various people who are either on the run, or continue to hold their official positions even though sentenced with abuse of office, such as the Prizren mayor Ramadan Muja.

“We have other cases that linger, are put aside, expire, before the verdict gets executed,” said Abazi.

“This form of functioning of the Kosovo prosecution and judiciary doesn’t leave space to think that it could be different in 2017 if we don’t determine a standard that no one is above the law.”

Disclosure: Rockefeller Brothers Fund is one of BIRN’s donors.

19/01/2017 - 20:30

19 January 2017 - 20:30

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.