U.S. Embassy: Kosovo’s leaders to stop appointing individuals convicted of war crimes

New Born sign in Pristina Kosovo: CC BY-SA 2.0; Gebäude der UNMIK NEW BORN SIGN PRISTINA KOSOVO Giv Owned Image 23 August 2008.jpg

PRISTINA – The Government of Kosovo should stop and reverse the trend in appointments of individuals convicted of war crimes, under active indictment for serious crimes, and suspected of serious abuses of power, because it undermines the public trust Kosovo is attempting to build, reads the statement released by the U.S. Embassy in Pristina.

The Embassy urges Kosovo’s citizens as well as its leaders to reflect on what face they wish Kosovo to show to the world. In addition, they call on Kosovo’s leaders to take this issue seriously and stop and reverse this trend in appointments of individuals, some of whom the Embassy has already named, whose selection appears to advance short-term political goals rather than the legitimate needs of the citizens of Kosovo or the credibility of the state.

“In a democracy, individuals appointed to high-level positions should project an ethical and qualified face to the world. Kosovo’s pattern of appointments, unfortunately, presents the opposite. Unqualified individuals, those whom the judiciary has punished or is actively pursuing for serious crimes, as well as those who have demonstrated willingness to act with impunity and abuse their authority, have no place in public office. Nominating these unqualified individuals undermines the public trust Kosovo is attempting to build, deprives the country of competent and reputable individuals best qualified to perform the work of government, and dishonours the victims of these individuals’ past offences,” says the statement.

Further, it impedes Kosovo’s progress toward building an international reputation that would make it a desired partner of other nations and strengthens the position of adversaries who would claim Kosovo is not committed to the rule of law, the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo underlines.

The statement reminds that individuals should have the opportunity to rebuild their lives following past transgressions, however, some behaviors should be permanently disqualifying from holding public office.

“Involvement in serious crimes should raise a red flag about a person’s suitability to ever hold such a position again. We urge Kosovo’s citizens as well as its leaders to reflect on what face they wish Kosovo to show to the world,” the statement concludes.