EU Kosovo authorites arrest 6 Serbia government agents

EU Kosovo authorites arrest 6 Serbia government agents

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[JURIST] The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) [official website] announced Monday that it arrested six Serbian officials [press release] in Kosovo [BBC backgrounder] on Saturday, under allegations that they were “suspected of exerting undue pressure […] not to recognize Kosovo institutions.” In a closed hearing [B92 report], a judge determined that five of the suspects will be held for a month for further investigation. One suspect was released by the special prosecutor. Several of the detained Serbians carried Minister of the Interior (MUP) [official website] credentials, and one had papers from the International Police Association (IPA) [official website] of Serbia. Ivica Dacic, the Serbian Interior Minister, denounced the arrests and called them an abuse of power by Kosovo-Albanian forces. The Serbian Orthodox Church [official website] also criticized the arrests and accused the EULEX of brutality against the detainees and Serbian citizens incidental to the arrests.

Kosovo was recognized as an independent state by the US and several major EU countries in February 2008, and the EULEX has been investigating war crimes [JURIST reports] since December 2008. In November, Kosovo politician and parliamentarian Fatmir Limaj went on trial [JURIST report] for war crimes allegedly committed during the 1998-99 Kosovo war with Serbia [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. In October, the EULEX sentenced a former ethnic Albanian rebel fighter [JURIST report] to five years in prison for crimes committed against civilians during the same conflict. In September, the EULEX charged 10 former members [JURIST report] of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), including Fatmir Limaj, with war crimes.