KOSOVO: Eight Years of Unlawfully Harbouring Crime and Corruption

The international community has denounced the opposition's violence calling on it to resolve the political crisis in Parliament.

Thousands of ‪Kosovo‬ opposition supporters gathered in the capital, ‪Pristina‬, Wednesday calling for the government to resign, accusing it of violating the country’s constitution in reaching deals with ‪Serbia‬ and ‪Montenegro‬.

Shouting anti-government slogans, most of the participants held ‪Albania‬‘s red-and-black national flag. Far fewer Kosovo ones were visible, along with a few ‪US‬. and ‪German‬ flags. “Kosovo will not allow itself to be led by people who have violated the constitution, its sovereignty,” said Visar Ymeri, leader of the main opposition Self-Determination Movement party. “Such a government has a clear mandate. It has the legitimacy to serve the citizens who trusted it with the majority of votes in a democratic process accepted by the whole political spectrum in Kosovo,” said Prime Minister Isa Mustafa.

The international community has denounced the opposition’s violence calling on it to resolve the political crisis in Parliament.


Vedat Xhymshiti, Independent Journalist

Vedat Xhymshiti, Independent Journalist

Eight years after the declaration of independence Kosovo is not an independent Republic with full rights. The ‪#‎EU‬’s attempt to positively influence Kosovo has been significantly weakened (if it hasn’t entirely failed) by the fact that some of its high officials within the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo [EULEX Kosovo (Official)] have been accused of involvement in the very same organized crime and corruption that they have been mandated to combat in joint efforts with local institutions.

Prime Minister Isa Mustafa promised the citizens that he would fight the corruption at the foundations of the country’s government in late 2014, but several months later he was seen to be complicit amongst the many alleged cases, as local media has reported. His deputy, Hashim Thaçi, is heavily accused by the Council of the European Union of involvement in crime and corruption, including being suspected of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, for example alleged “organ harvesting” during the war against ‪Serb‬ forces in 1999. In an analysis of Kosovo written by the German intelligence service, the BND, and a confidential report contracted by the German army, the ‪Bundeswehr‬, both ‪Thaci‬ and Ramush Haradinaj, the leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK‬), as well as Xhavit Haliti, a member of Thaci’s ruling ‪PDK‬ party and Rexhep Selimi, member of the chairing council of leading opposition party Lëvizja VETËVENDOSJE!’, are accused of involvement in extended organized crime, including warlord-like behaviour. “The key players (including Haliti, Haradinaj, and Thaci) are intimately involved in inter-linkages between politics, business, and organized crime structures in Kosovo,” reported the German newspaper DIE WELT in 2008, citing BND and the Bundeswehr commissioned report.

According to diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks and NATO intelligence files from 2011, the geographical spread of criminal gangs in Kosovo is located along with alleged familial links and business ties. They include leading members of Thaci’s ruling ‪PDK‬ party such as assembly speaker Kadri Veseli, as well as those in opposition political parties such as the AAK of Ramush Haradinaj, and the ‪Vetevendosje‬ party of which Rexhep Selimi is a leading member, as well as several other small groups that act as fronts for crime clans through order of ‘‪Kanun‬.’ So, the revelation of NATO intelligence files and allegations within German intelligence, indicates that The United States and some other Western European powers that support the government of Kosovo have had extensive knowledge for several years of criminal ties to former rebels and also PDK leader Hashim Thaci, including the whole structure of political parties in the country, without exception.

Foreign political, military, police, and justice powers in Kosovo, have scandalously kept silent for over 16 years, granting crime a lawless and consequence-free paradise. Those findings suggest that the foreigners would continue to turn a blind eye to crime gangs on their doorstep, if there were no insiders to reveal the evidence of their tacit involvement. It is obvious that much of the leadership of the country is involved in political crime and corruption and that this can only change when those responsible, from across the political spectrum, are put behind bars; but in fact it seems impossible, as none of the political forces in the country will ever be willing to prosecute those leading members who are involved in crime; the political will does not exist to tackle the problem. In reality there will be no progress or better future for citizens of the country, unless there is to be a political class free from corruption, but nevertheless evidence suggests that foreign powers have been all too willing to support corrupt political elites in return for political influence.


Kosovo is the poorest and most isolated country in Europe, with millionaire politicians steeped in crime. A third of the workforce is unemployed, and corruption is widespread. Youth unemployment (those aged 25 and under) stands at two in three, and nearly half of the estimated 1.8 million citizens of Kosovo are considered to be in poverty. From December 2014 until February 2015, about five percent of the population were forced to leave the country in an effort to find a better life, studies and more dignified jobs, by taking the uncertain path towards wealthier countries in the EU. Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by 111 countries, including the U.S. and major European Union nations. But it is rejected by Serbia, with support from Russia, which has blocked Kosovo from becoming a U.N. member. Kosovo and Serbia are holding EU-mediated talks to try to overcome their differences.

Vudi Xhymshiti; is an independent journalist, editor and photographer. He is focusing on the issues of the domestic politics of Kosovo, Foreign Policy of the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the Middle East. Xhymshiti is also focused on the issues of the politics of race, gender, identity, migration as well as displacement of people due to climate change and armed conflicts. He has been published in various media including Der Spiegel, NY Times, TIME, Paris Match, Le Monde etc. Xhymshiti is also a print media critic and founder of THE Frontliner.

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