|Fatmir Limaj will now have to face war-crimes charges.|
Kosovo Politician Arrested on Corruption Now to Face Retrial on War Crimes. The supreme court of the partially recognized Republic of Kosovo ordered on November 20th that a former cabinet minister who was arrested last week by NATO police on corruption charges be retried on charges of war crimes, including the murder and torture of Serbian prisoners during the war for independence from Serbia. The minister, Fatmir Limaj, Kosovo’s former minister of transport and communications and currently a parliamentarian and the deputy chairman of the republic’s ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (P.D.K.), was a member of the Kosovo Liberation Army (K.L.A.) during the 1998-99 Kosovo War. Limaj was originally tried in May on the same charges but was acquitted after the former prison guard, Agim Zogaj, who was chief witness against him was found hanging dead from a tree in a park in Germany. His written testimony was deemed inadmissible, but this week’s ruling reverses that and brings Limaj back to court. Three other former K.L.A. rebels will be retried with Limaj.
Fiji Becomes 95th Country to Grant Kosovo Diplomatic Recognition. The Republic of Fiji has become the 95th country to grant diplomatic recognition to the Republic of Kosovo, according to a November 20th announcement by the office of Kosovo’s prime minister, Hashim Thaçi. This follows closely on the heels of recognition by Timor-Leste (reported on last week in this blog), Burundi, and Papua New Guinea (as reported earlier in this blog). Now Kosovo is only three short of 98, which would make it recognized by a majority of the world’s 193 generally-recognized sovereign states. The Republic of Serbia still claims Kosovo as its territory.
Grenade Explodes at Kosovar Administrator’s Home in Serb-Ruled North Kosovo. Another grenade blast rocked the Serbian-administered sliver of the Republic of Kosovo called North Kosovo on November 19th, according to police. The grenade went off in the town of Zvečan (spelled Zveçan in Albanian), the residence of Dušan Milisavljević, deputy chief of the Republic of Kosovo’s administrative office for the town. Zvečan is a Serb-dominated town which is administered through the Republic of Serbia, though officially it is under Kosovar sovereignty. Police were investigating. The following day, incidents of stone-throwing between Serb and ethnic-Albanian construction workers in Kosovsko Mitrovica, North Kosovo’s de facto capital, led to gunfire, but no injuries were reported. At issue in that incident was the controversy over construction of new homes for ethnic Albanians in North Kosovo. Eight Serb police in North Kosovo were suspended in the wake of that incident.
Serbia’s Ex–Deputy Premier, a Vojvodina Nationalist, Nabbed on Corruption Charges. A former deputy prime minister and nationalist politician who represents the Republic of Serbia’s ethnic Hungarians was arrested on November 20th on corruption charges. The politician, József Kasza (that’s is Hungarian name; Serbs call him Jožef Kasa), used to head the Union of Vojvodina Hungarians and was part of the democratic reforms that swept the Serbian nationalist war criminal Slobodan Milošević out of power in 2000. The province of Vojvodina is home to Serbia’s Hungarians and was part of the Hungarian-aligned Banat Republic after the First World War and, under the name Danube Banovina, an expanded Axis-aligned Hungary during the Second World War. Kasza is accused of intentionally issuing bad loans while managing a state-run bank. Critics point out that the Serbian government’s aggressive anti-corruption campaigns, which are part of its attempts to qualify for membership in the European Union (E.U.) seem to focus exclusively on opposition parties.
[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas. Look for it in spring 2013. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]