Serbian judges and prosecutors officially resign, their Albanian colleagues take over urgent cases
The wave of resignations of Serbs in Kosovo’s institutions in the North is subsiding. Now judges, prosecutors and other court staff have done the same. Although the president of the court told the media that the Judicial Council tried to help with certain issues by appointing the chairman Zogaj, nevertheless, she stresses that parts of the Brussels Agreement on the judiciary were still violated.
“This is the realisation of the announcement I made two days ago. Today, the judges who failed to send their resignations to the Kosovo Judicial Council yesterday have done so by official email. Our Albanian colleagues and administrative staff remain working in the court, and all the Serbian administrative staff and judges have resigned. Now we are simply waiting for the way in which we will deal with the cases and the equipment, and the office we used. I speak for myself, I am not going back, and I leave the rest to politicians,” said Nikola Kabasic, a judge of the Court of Appeal in Pristina and member of the Judicial Council in Pristina.
“I said everything I had yesterday, and we had a good plan with my colleagues this morning to make sure that we don’t miss the deadlines and that everything is coordinated as it should be.” Our Albanian colleagues have taken over our cases, cases of an urgent nature, and I think they have a big problem at the moment how to organise all this,” said Ljiljana Stevanovic, President of the Basic Court in Kosovska Mitrovica.
She adds that she is sorry, but they have tried to help as much as they can.
“Today, we had a nice agreement with our colleagues and we did the handover and that’s it.” Everybody stopped working and only the Albanian colleagues worked,” the judge stressed.
Asked whether she would return to work at the court, Stevanović replied that the question was “inappropriate at this moment”.
“I would not comment on that and these are things that we all have to sort out.” Since we have been here, we have been pointing out some of the things where the Brussels Agreement is being violated.”
The police officers from the north handed in their equipment this morning at the station in North Mitrovica, situated near the court. There have been no police officers or patrols on the streets since this morning. Serbs working as external security for EULEX have also withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the 10 Serbian List MPs finally handed in their mandates to the Kosovo Assembly this morning. After repeated announcements about the outcome, with specific deadlines missed, they have finally delivered on what they have been promising for years.
All political and institutional representatives of the Serbs, including the police and the judiciary, have decided to leave all Kosovo institutions in the north. Although several officials and employees said that they would submit their irrevocable resignations, they set two conditions for their return – for the Prime Minister of Kosovo to withdraw the decision on (re)registration of license plates to RKS and to form the Association of Serb Municipalities.
A new number plate crisis is underway in Kosovo. The Kosovo government has decided to gradually implement its spring decision to remove the remaining Serbian licence plates of cities in Kosovo from vehicles on the ground by 21 April. This is opposed by Belgrade and Srpska Lista, which claim that the KM plates remain, i.e. demand the return of the so-called status-neutral KS plates.
International diplomats support the decision of the Kosovo authorities, indicating that it is part of the Brussels agreement, but demand that Pristina suspend all actions for the next 10 months. However, the first phase – issuing warnings – is still ongoing, and the Northern Region police and mayors announced earlier this week that they will not implement this decision. Subsequently, the Police Commander of the Northern Region was suspended, which was followed by a mass departure from the institutions./KoSSev