Kosovo. In July, the message came from the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which, at the request of Serbia, tested whether Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008 was in accordance with international law. The UN Court answered the question, which for Kosovo was a historically important success. Yet only 69 of the world’s countries had recognized the new state, including the United States and 22 of the EU’s 27 members. In the capital Priština, residents celebrated in the streets, but Serbs in northern Kosovo protested.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Kosovo has a population of 1.81 million. The Belgrade government also criticized the decision, saying that Serbia will never recognize the unilateral outbreak of the province. Despite this, in September Serbia said it was ready for direct talks with Kosovo, following pressure from the EU.
Shortly thereafter, Kosovo went into a political crisis when a court surprisingly ruled that President Fatmir Sejdiu could not simultaneously be the head of state and party leader. Sejdiu resigned and his party LDK (Kosovo Democratic Party) left the coalition government. In early November, Prime Minister Hashim Thais’s government lost a vote of confidence. The crisis caused the planned talks with Serbia to be frozen, and important economic reforms slowed down.
New elections were announced until mid-December. The election was conducted under calm conditions. The Thai party PDK received 34 percent of the votes and declared themselves victors. But accusations of cheating were made and the electoral authority decided that the election should be redone in five locations, in January. A few days after the election, the Council of Europe presented a report in which Thaçi was appointed as the leader of a mafia-like criminal in the 1990s. murder and organ trafficking. Thaçi, who was guerrilla leader during the 1998-99 fighting, dismissed all charges.
According to softwareleverage, Central Bank Governor Hashim Rexhepi was arrested in July in connection with a corruption investigation by the police and the EU legal authority EULEX. Rexhepi was the highest ranking person arrested for suspected corruption, but several other suspects had also had their offices searched. Kosovo’s leadership is accused of widespread corruption and is clearly aware that action must be taken if the desired EU membership is to be relevant.
In July, the UN Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia decided to resume the trial of former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who was released in 2008. The court referred to new witnesses. See DIGOPAUL for map and location of Kosovo.