22 August 2013
In the last months there have been a lot of misunderstandings and misinterpretations about EULEX’s investigations into war crimes. On 22 august EULEX Chief Spokesperson Anne Blanksma Ceta gave a live interview during RTK main evening news to explain EULEX’s role. Below you can find the video and the transcript of the interview.
Question: How many war crime investigations has EULEX initiated?
Blanksma Çeta: There has been a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation in the last couple of months about EULEX investigating war crimes. This was a bit reflected in the news yesterday [Wednesday, 21 August]. I am very happy that I am here to explain the situation. First of all let me answer your questions: there are 94 ongoing war crimes investigations led by EULEX. The suspects belong to all ethnicities and we have investigations into the massacres in Meja, Dubrava, and Krusha. We have fifteen war crime convictions so far, which are half Kosovo Albanian and half Serbs.
Question: Does EULEX have jurisdiction on crimes that were committed in Kosovo by persons who are now living in Serbia?
Blanksma Çeta: Yes, we can investigate all crimes that happen in Kosovo. But we have to stick to the Kosovo law and what that concretely means is that EULEX has only territorial jurisdiction within Kosovo. All investigative actions like interviews, gathering of evidence and arrests can happen only in Kosovo and not in Serbia. We do not have an agreement with Serbia for extradition or any other agreement which would allow us to arrest persons in Serbia.
Question: Is there a Serbian military leader that is being investigated?
Blanksma Çeta: At the moment we have 13 arrest warrants outstanding for the accused Serbs but for whom we believe that are outside the Kosovo territory. So I say that we are dependent on others where these persons are and from where they can be extradited.
Question: Is there cooperation between EULEX, Interpol and Europol on investigating war crimes committed in Kosovo by Serbs?
Blanksma Çeta: EULEX has a complete willingness to investigate war crimes but we are depending on the willingness of other states where the perpetrator or possible perpetrators are. We are making use of the international legal system, we are making use of Interpol but we are depending on cooperation with other countries.
Question: How do you overcome these obstacles?
Blanksma Çeta: The only way is to work according to the Kosovo law and that is the way that we are working. The only way is to request from other countries to cooperate in arrests and investigations and that is how it goes.
Question: What is concretely happening with the cases of massacres in Dubrava, Meja, Recak, Qyshk, Izbice, Obri, Krushe, and other massacres that happened during the war?
Blanksma Çeta: I’ve already told you we have ongoing investigations regarding Meja, Dubrava and Krusha massacres. It is very difficult for me to comment on ongoing investigations. Now why is that? It is a very frustrating message to bring to the people, especially to victims, because if I comment more on these investigations I might harm the investigations itself, the procedures of the court and the security of these witnesses. That is why we hesitate to reveal details about these investigations.
For more information about EULEX and war crimes look here.