April 2, 2012
Serbian authorities today released two ethnic Albanian policemen from Kosovo who had been arrested on suspicion of entering Serbia’s territory, local media reported. “They were questioned and released but the case is still under investigation,” investigative judge Ivan Rakic told the Beta news agency.
A spokesman for the Kosovo police confirmed that the men were released and have arrived back in Kosovo. According to spokesman Arber Beka, the EU rule of law mission mediated the release of the men arrested on Saturday close to the Merdare border crossing while patrolling the region.
Serbian police said at the time that they had entered into Serbian territory, but Kosovo authorities claimed the arrest happened on the Kosovo side.
Kosovo authorities last month arrested five Serbian policemen from the eastern Kosovo town of Gjilan suspected of “exerting undue pressure” on local Serbs there not to recognise Kosovo government agencies.
They were released over the weekend.
Serbs in the region not to recognise institutions of the Kosovo government. In 2008 Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia and has been recognised as an independent country by around 90 states, including the United States and most members of the European Union.
However, Serbia has never accepted the move and still considers the territory its southern province, leading to continuing tensions between Belgrade and Pristina.