Illustration. Photo: Instagram/pravdars

Serbia Orders Police Custody for Kosovo Police’s Deputy Director

Serbia has not explained why Dejan Jankovic was arrested on Wednesday, but Kosovo claimed Belgrade was taking revenge for the vote for Kosovo to join the Council of Europe.

Serbia’s Ministry of Interior on Thursday ordered 48 hours of police detention for Dejan Jankovic, the Kosovo Police’s Deputy Director, after his arrest a day earlier.

The Ministry told Tanjug news agency that custody had been ordered “in order to determine the facts and the necessary checks regarding the security of the Republic of Serbia”. It previously confirmed that four people were arrested during controls at the border crossings. Three were released meanwhile.

It did not answer BIRN’s questions about the reasons for detaining them, their alleged crimes or other details.

Germany’s ambassador in Kosovo Jorn Rohde posted on X that “detention of Kosovo law enforcement officials, including Kosovo-Serbs, by Serbian authorities is unacceptable and certainly not what can be expected of an EU-candidate country”.

US ambassador to Kosovo Jeffrey Hovenier said that “Jankovic is well known from the US embassy and many others. We are especially concerned. .. he spent a lot of energy and time in the police helping the integration of the Serb community in the Kosovo police and protecting Kosovo’s cultural heritage. We are concerned and hope he will he released soon.”

Kosovo media reported on Wednesday that buses with over 300 Kosovo citizens were stopped at various Serbian cross borders. Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said on X on Wednesday that, one day after the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe voted in favour of Kosovo’s membership in the Council of Europe, “Serbia retaliated against Kosovo civilians”.

“Since this morning, over 300 of our citizens – including children – have been arbitrarily detained at the border, deprived of food & medication. A gross violation of human rights!” Kurti said.

Kosovo’s Foreign Minister, Donika Gervalla, on Wednesday said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had started to implement his threats following the vote for Kosovo’s membership in the Council of Europe.

“We are witness to Vucic’s threatening statements and he has threatened not only Kosovo, but also international partners that the vote for Kosovo will have consequences. In this context, I see the ban on travelers there. Not only in the buses, but also in cars and especially the detention of many police officials,” she said.

Serbia’s Interior Ministry denied the accusations, saying it had only increased border controls.

But EU spokesperson Peter Stano said on Wednesday that the situation “constitutes a violation” of the Agreement on Freedom of Movement reached within the dialogue facilitated by the EU, and called on Serbia “to refrain from such unilateral and uncoordinated actions and immediately return to respecting the agreement”.

On Tuesday, the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, PACE, voted on to recommend membership for Kosovo, which Serbia has sharply opposed. The final decision is expected in May.

and 18/04/2024 - 18:56

18 April 2024 - 18:56

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