The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) is the biggest international mission of the EU, with more than 1,600 staff members and an annual budget of more than 100 million Euros. The biggest foreign mission has been accused last year of using its powers to try to silence a whistleblower who claims to have uncovered evidence of possible corruption.
Whistleblower Maria Bamieh, former EULEX prosecutor, claimed that the EU mission, which is in charge of fighting corruption may be corrupt itself. Bamieh filed internal official requests to start an investigation against two of her colleagues suspected of taking bribes to shut down criminal cases, but no actions were taken.
In October 2014 she was suspended for allegedly “leaking” documents to a local newspaper in Kosovo and a formal investigation against her has been launched to keep her under pressure. Maria Bamieh, who previously served as a barrister and a public prosecutor in the United Kingdom, maintains that she went public only after she was suspended by EULEX.
THE Frontliner learned that threat of prosecution by Eulex remained to be an attempt to stop her from publishing claims about culture of impunity and corruption.
The Eulex mission to Kosovo, is taken to an employment tribunal by the London-based lawyer Maria Bamieh. She claimed back in 2014 that she was forced from her job as a prosecutor after exposing evidence of bribery among senior staff.
The Employment Judge has confirmed on Monday for THE Frontliner that Eulex have applied to have the Court Trial to be anonymous and reporting restricted orders placed on this case which have all been refused. The case will be held in public in the future.
Kosovo is the poorest and most isolated country in Europe, with millionaires politicians steeped in crime. A third of the workforce is unemployed, and corruption is widespread. About two in three under the age of 25 are currently unemployed, and nearly 50% of the 1.8 million citizens of Kosovo are considered to be poor. During last December only, more then 200-thousands of Kosovars were forced to leave the country in an effort to find a better life, studies and more dignified jobs.
NATO files published in 2011 in international media, showed that the United States and some other Western powers who supported Kosovo’s government has extensive knowledge (for a few years!) of the criminal connections of former head of rebels and also PDK leader Hashim Thaçi and some members of other political parties in the country.
After a conflict between Yugoslav forces of Serbia and Albanian rebels in 1999, NATO intervened with air strikes bombing Serbia for 78 days, in a bid to stop the massacre and ethnic cleansing of Serb forces against Kosovo Albanians, a violence, which had caused a wide rebellion in the region.
NATO’s intervention eventually forced the Serbian Parliament to grant political autonomy for Kosovo, while keeping it within its territorial borders. Nine years after the war, Kosovo declared its independence, but its status as the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo, has been recognised only by the 111 countries of the 193 member states of the United Nations.
Serbia has not recognised Kosovo’s independence, but in August it signed key agreements to normalise ties, a condition for its own EU accession.