Kosovo PM Haradinaj curbed the length of prosecutor Elez Blakaj's investigation into KLA veterans’ lists, also requesting a personal written report of his findings, a letter from the PM's office reveals.
In a letter sent to resigned prosecutor Elez Blakaj, who was charged with investigating the veterans’ list for the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj granted him full access to the archive of the Prime Minister’s Office, but set the length of investigation to 30 days, requesting a full report from him afterwards.
Syle Hoxha, prosecutor of the Special Prosecution of Kosovo, said that no prosecutor is obliged to report to the prime minister, yet did not comment on whether Haradinaj’s request can be interpreted as pressure on Blakaj.
“We do not report to the prime minister or any other political party, we only do so to the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council and the Office of the State Prosecutor, our superiors,” Hoxha said.
An English translation of the letter, which was sent only a few weeks after Haradinaj took office in September 2017, was forwarded alongside the original Albanian to multiple ambassadors in Prishtina on Thursday.
The Albanian letter differs from the English translation, the latter beginning with “In full agreement with the former Prosecutor…” implying that there was a prior agreement between the two.
Although Haradinaj sets a limit to the length of the investigation in the letter, according to the Kosovo Penal Code, investigations by the prosecution are able to last up to 24 months and the time can be adjusted only by the court.
Avni Arifi, advisor to Haradinaj, said that the letter to the ambassadors was written including some context of prior discussions with the prosecution, rather than a literal translation, and nobody asked of Blakaj to halt the investigation after 30 days.
“When the letter was written, it was written from context and I believe that this also should have been clarified because nobody gave him 30 days to investigate and then give us a report on who is being accused,” he said.
Arifi said that the letter sent to the ambassador was for clarification purposes, and that Blakaj was never asked to report to Haradinaj about the content of the investigation.
“We requested a report with a description of the work and whether anyone hampered [the investigation], a report on the monitoring according to his request… the report was [requested] to show whether the procedures went in accordance with the prosecutor’s request,” Arifi said.
On Monday, Blakaj publicly resigned from his position as special prosecutor, claiming that he received threats from KLA war veterans and intimidation from Kosovo Chief Prosecutor Aleksander Lumezi during his investigation on the KLA veterans’ lists, whose growing numbers have been described as “overblown”.
After Blakaj’s resignation, Haradinaj said that the former prosecutor cannot evaluate the number of veterans because “he fled to Bllaca [refugee camp in Macedonia during the Kosovo war],” further calling him a “punk” and “petty thief”.
On Wednesday, hundreds of protestors took to the streets of Prishtina, demanding that Lumezi resign as chief prosecutor. Although the protest was not party-affiliated, Vetevendosje, the Social Democratic Party, and Alternativa all separately supported it.
23 August 2018 - 16:39
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