Saturday, August 8, 2009

Kosovo-Serbia Territorial Exchange "Wrong Approach"

Pristina 08 August 2009
Northern Mitrovica. The idea of an exchange of territories between Kosovo and Serbia, circulating in the media, is wrong-headed, former envoy Albert Rohan believes.
Rohan, who served as the deputy special envoy for talks on Kosovo’s status, was unequivocal in his rejection of territorial exchanges in an interview with Kosovo's Daily Express on Thursday: “My answer is very clear - no [...] the exchange of territories is not a solution.”Rohan and then-chief negotiator Martti Ahtisaari led talks between Pristina and Belgrade on Kosovo’s political status, under the supervision of the six member states of the Contact Group.

The idea of exchanging north Mitrovica and the Presevo valley was put forward earlier this week by US Congressman Dana Rochrabacher. Justifiying his proposal, Rochrabacher argued that the exchange would allow the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. Northern Mitrovica in Kosovo has a large population of Kosovo Serbs, many of whom live in areas administrated by Serbian institutions. Ethnic Albanians predominate in the southern Serbian town of Presevo and some nearby villages. Ethnic tensions are often high in both areas.Referring to the territorial exchange proposal, Rohan said: “Neither privately nor officially was this idea present [in the status talks]. To me, this is completely new.

No one has ever thought about this. It’s a wrong idea,” he said. Rohan added that similar ideas were expounded after the Second World War and are dangerous. “I don’t know how the exchange of territories would begin, because immediately [...] you would have others asking for the same thing." Rohan said. Even though neither Brussels nor Washington have conditioned Serbia’s membership in the EU on a resolution of the dispute over Kosovo's status, according to Rohan, “no one in the EU wants to bring this conflict into the EU”. “I don't think it is possible for Serbia to join the EU without [Serbia reaching] some sort of accomodation on the existence of Kosovo as a country,” he said.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is expected to rule on a Serbian challenge to Kosovo's independence declaration next year. While purely advisory, it is believed that the ICJ opinion will have an impact on relations between Serbia and Kosovo.“One thing is for sure, Kosovo’s independence is irreversible and nothing can change this,” said Rohan.

Wanted Albanian Criminal Kills Five in Shootout

Tirana 08 August 2009

Dritan Dajti, police mug shotOne of Albania’s most wanted criminals, Dritan Dajti, killed five people in a shootout on Friday, including four police officers.

At least two others were wounded in the exchange of fire in the Albanian resort town of Durres. The shooting started as police moved in to arrest Dajti. Dajti was shot three times before being taken into custody. He had escaped from a Tirana court room in 2003 while standing trial for the murder of a businessman.

He has been named as a suspect in a series of murders and kidnappings. Local media reported that, after police called on Dajti to surrender, having identified him at around 2 pm on Durres beach, he opened fire killing the four officers and at least one passerby.

It is alleged that the suspected murder was notified at the last moment that the police were about to arrest him, precipitating the gunbattle. The shootout caused panic in the area which is popular with tourists from Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia.

Albania - Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Clean-Up Project : progress report on the implementation of the management action plan in response to the inspection panel investigation report

Part of Report...
5. The Bank is providing assistance for an independently observed case-by-case
review before the Albanian Judiciary of the Requesters' claims that they were harmed as
a result of the April 2007 demolitions and that they should be compensated as a result of
those demolitions. In addition, a Social and Vulnerability Assessment has begun, which
includes the development of criteria and procedures for assisting people who may lose
their primary residence or main source of livelihood due to demolition. The resulting
assistance package will be applied retroactively to poor and/or vulnerable affected by the
April 2007 demolitions. The following provides details on the progress of specific

Agreement with Government concerning the case-by-case Judicial Review

6. An Agreement confirming the Government of Albania's assent to an
independently monitored case-by-case judicial review was signed by the Minister of
Finance on April 16, 2009. The Agreement affirms the Government's consent to World
Bank payment of the Requesters' legal fees and the hiring of an Independent Observer
who will report on a confidential basis to Management. The Government also commits to
making good faith efforts to ensure that the process is expeditious, while respecting the
independence of the judiciary, and to comply with any judgment resulting from the

Funding Legal Representation for the Requesters

7. Basic approach. Management has worked to put in place an appropriate
mechanism to assist the Requesters through funding their legal expenses. A guiding
principle has been that the Bank should not be engaged in the process of selecting,
contracting or briefing the lawyers, to avoid any perception of Bank involvement in the
lawsuits or in the attorney-client relationship. Hence, Bank support is in the form of
financing contracts between the Requesters and lawyers that they have selected

8. Ongoing communication with Requesters. The World Bank Office in Tirana has
been in regular communication with the Requesters since the February 17, 2009 Board
meeting. Meetings were held on February 26 in Tirana to brief the Requesters on the
outcome of the Board meeting, and on March 11 in Vlore and April 14 in Jale to discuss
arrangements for Bank support through financing costs of the case-by-case review. In
addition, there has been frequent communication between individual Requesters and the

2These guidance materials are posted on the World Bank Safeguards Website....

Friday, August 7, 2009

Albania refuses "foreign investigations"

7 August 2009 10:20 -> 17:04 Source: FoNet, Beta, Tanjug

TIRANA, BELGRADE -- Officials in Albania have told Council of Europe's Dick Marty that "there can be no organ trade probe based on accusations of Carla Del Ponte or Belgrade".The CoE rapporteur has been appointed to investigate allegations that first appeared in the former chief Hague prosecutor's book, and were later probed by the Serbian War Crimes Prosecution.

The prosecution believes that in 1999, hundreds of Kosovo Serb civilians were kidnapped in the province by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and taken to northern Albania where their organs were removed before they were killed. "Only the Albanian prosecution has a right to carry out an investigation in the territory of Albania," Albanian Minister of Justice Enkeled Alibeaj told Marty, according to an RTV 21 report.

According to the same television, the rapporteur replied, "I refuse to believe that it is true, but I would like that issue investigated". The same source says that the Albanian minister then said that he refuses to answer the request from the Serbian Ministry of Justice, "because it is about untrue pretensions for which there is no proof". Alibeaj also told the Swiss CoE official that "no foreign citizen can conduct procedural investigative actions in the Albanian territory."

"An investigation can be launched only by the Albanian prosecution based on requests coming from other countries. In that case the prosecution undertakes all actions to clear up the issue." According to the television, a similar conversation took place when Marty met with Interior Minister Bujar Nisani and representatives of Albania's state prosecution. Alibeaj also said that Albanian institutions' official position related to the investigation was expressed in the Albanian state prosecution's replay to the Serbian request in October 2008. Meanwhile in Priština, the Kosovo Council for Protection of Human Rights has asked the Kosovo Albanian government in that town to file a lawsuit against Del Ponte.

The council says that the former chief Hague Tribunal prosecutor "launched lies" in her book "The Hunt", published last year, "in which KLA was accused of kidnapping Serbs and trading in their organs in Kosovo and northern Albania". "No surprise"Labor Minister Rasim Ljajić, who heads Serbia's National Council for Cooperation with the Hague, said on Friday that he is not surprised at the fact that the Albanian authorities have declined to cooperate with Council of Europe (CoE) rapporteur Dick Marty.

"Unfortunately, that is nothing new, I can say that the reaction was expected, because other international officials also met with a similar response. There was no cooperation at all from the Albanian side, from the Albanian judiciary or the Albanian authorities," Ljajić told reporters. "I can only imagine how the international community would have reacted if such a reaction had come from the Serbian side," Ljajić said.

Serbia is suffering much damage because it has not completed its cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, he said, and yet this is a matter of an investigation by an international organization that speaks in very precise terms about 400 bodies transferred from Kosovo and Metohija to the territory of Albania. "The international community is not reacting, nor is anyone from the Albanian side expressing readiness to take part in the investigation on that issue," Ljajić concluded.

Berisha`s administrate is preparing genocide against Hellenic People of Himara Community

During the last his visit in Himara Region, Berisha calls to destruct abusive houses selected by his administrate in Ionian Coast. He inaugurated public works financed by World Bank, even the World Bank has stooped financing of the project of Menagment of Ionian Coastal, after the Berisha Government demolished a Greek village in Jala, Himara Region.

Those days, the officials of State Urban Inspection have monitoring as abusive building dozen of houses of himariotes who come back from emigration in their properties, selecting only houses of the Greek Community.

According to the Law of the Urbanisation 8405, article 45, (ratified by Albanian parliament and the President of the Republic of Albania) on 16, March 2009, enter 45 days every private subject has the rights to approve in "silence" by Local Authorities the request of proprietor.

The situation makes more complided when the Governmanet of Berisha has aproved to legalis about 260 thousand of buildings of albanians who have built on abusive lands particularly form north of Albania.

Making double standards undwr the national tourism strategy, selecting separated favoring Albanians than Greeks (who have their properties), the government has approved especially to use the Albanian national strategy against the Hellenic community who lives historicaly on Ionian Coast between Regions Lukovo and Himara the Law 9780 on 16/07/2007, creating The National Inspection Administrate, to use the last pressing against popullation.

The facts are facts, Kakomea, Jali, Dralea, Porto Palermo beaches and other resorts of Hellenic people must be property of "albanian state".

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Organ Trafficking Claims Probed

One of Europe’s top human rights investigators is gathering evidence in Serbia and Albania on allegations of organ trafficking during the 1999 Kosovo conflict.

Dick Marty, rapporteur for the European Council, is leading an investigation into claims that members of the Kosovo Liberation Army were involved in organ trafficking. The allegations have been strenuously denied.

The Swiss senator is visiting Serbia from August 3 to 5 and will be in Albania from August 5 to 6, the European Council said in a statement. In both countries he will meet high government officials, prosecutors, and NGOs representing families of missing persons from the Kosovo conflict.

After the visits, Dick Marty will issue a report.
Claims of human organ trafficking in Kosovo were first revealed by former Hague tribunal prosecutor Carla Del Ponte in her book The Hunt: I and the war criminals.

In 2005, Marty led an investigation by the Council of Europe into the CIA’s alleged use of secret prisons in Europe, and use of “extraordinary renditions”, the illegal transfer of prisoners from one state to another.

Monday, August 3, 2009

New proposal on "Greater Albania" space

Serbia: Ethnic Albanians Seek "Presevo Valley Region"

Belgrade 03 August 2009

Ethnic Albanian officials in southern Serbia have launched a new initiative for the formation of a separate region in the Presevo Valley with its own institutions and organs.
The proposal was raised in the assembly of the Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac municipalities and envisages the creation of an ethnic Albanian-led governance structure for the area.
The president of the local Presevo assembly, Skender Destani, told Balkan Insight that the assembly of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac municipalities passed the demand to the Serbian government and parliament and is awaiting an answer.

“I don’t think the initiative will be accepted in Belgrade, but it’s worth trying. We want to convince the other side [Serbian government] that the solution, which we opt for, is in both our interests,” Destani added.Riza Halimi, leader of the ethnic Albanian Party of Democratic Action, told Balkan Insight that the proposal confirms a 2006 declaration, which envisaged giving ethnic Albanians in the region the right to self-determination. He has described this weekend's initiative as the only solution for local Albanians to keep their national, cultural and religious identity.

“The newest document is a response to the irresponsible approach the Serbian government has taken to the demands and problems of the Albanians in the south,” Halimi said.
The declaration criticises the recent actions of Serbian special police, alleging these are a continuation of ongoing efforts to collectively criminalise Albanians. The document demands proportional representation in employment practices and representation in Serbian state structures and public institutions, especially within local and border police forces.

Additionally, the declaration insists that Kosovo university degrees, signed by the Republic of Kosovo, be recognised, where these were issued after Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008. According to the agency, the assembly also called for either the freeing of members of the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac or their processing by an international legal mechanism, given that those arrested in December 2008 are accused of war crimes.In their declaration, the officials expressed support for speeding the existing process whereby ethnic Albanians are reintegrated politically into Serbia’s state institutions.

The proposal was adopted immediately after talks between local Albanian representatives and Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic, which focused on the means for maintaining political harmony and safety and stability in the region. “Talks have passed well and correctly and they will be continued. I want local citizens to have understanding and support for Serbian security forces in the south. Also, I want to bring our forces together against crime and corruption since it’s in everyone’s interest,” Dacic said.

The Law on Regional Development, which the Serbian parliament is expected to adopt by year's end, will divide Serbia into seven regions. According to the draft, the three southern municipalities (Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac), will combine to form the new "Southern" region.

The declaration com
es after two violent incidents in the area in early July: two people were injured in a bomb explosion in the town of Presevo and two members of the Serbian police were wounded in a grenade attack in the village of Lucani near Bujanovac. Considering these terrorist attacks, the Interior Ministry has launched a security operation targeting those suspected of involvement.

Identity crisis in Greek village in Albania

Albania is set to apply for EU membership, one Albanian mayor says his village should obtain special status as a Greek minority - and has been sentenced to six months in prison for further may be in Albania, it may look like Albania, but this village has something of an identity crisis.
The mayor in question, Vasil Bollano, was pushing for it to go Greek!
The village of Himara in Southern Albania was thrown into the spotlight two years ago, when the mayor ordered the removal of all non-Greek road signs. He said they should be in Greek and Albanian, not just in Albanian. The mayor himself has Greek origins, but like many others here, his family has lived in this area for generations.The removal of the signs caused chaos, because they were along a section of Albania?s coast that is popular with tourists.And soon afterwards, the mayor went one step further, and threatened secession from Albania.
The RT team tried to talk to him, but his offices were closed, and when they finally tracked him down, he refused to talk.Most people in this small sleepy village don?t feel either Greek or Albanian.Albanian vendor Lenin, unlike his namesake who has always been in the headlines, just sells them.
He was born in a nearby Albanian village, and can trace back his roots in the area for generations.“Greeks and Albanians are brothers. We go to each other?s houses, share our food, like one family. We have no problems here,” he says.Like Lenin, Alket Neraxi, a Greek hotel owner, also says his ancestors were among the first in town.The village of Himara in Southern Albania“My great-great grandmother spoke only Greek, my surname doesn?t exist in Albania. So, I think I?m from the Greek island of Corfu, but I don?t have any connection to Greece today,” said Neraxi.
But that is not what the mayor believed. He said enough Greeks live in the area for it to be given special status as a Greek minority – so much so, that's he threatened Albania's desire to be accepted by the West.“He sent a letter to the Greek parliament calling on it not to ratify the accession of Albania into NATO.
This is against our constitution, and carries a penalty of up to five years,” said Genci Terpo, an Albanian lawyer.Prosecutors have filed charges against Bollano for abuse of power, and his sentencing came as no surprise to anyone.Despite his threats, he is not being taken seriously on either side of the border. Local journalist Besar Likmeta says Tirana purposefully treated him with kid gloves.
“Probably their thinking was that he?s just making a fuss, and the story?s going to go away. And also, they are treading very carefully with their bigger neighbour to the south, Greece,” explains Besar Likmeta, editor at the Balkan Insight edition.In April, Albania filed for EU membership, and will want to keep Athens happy.But the mayor of Himara, it seems, was determined to exploit that situation to his own Greek advantage