Limaj, who used the fighting name of Celik (Steel) during his time as a KLA commander, had already been acquitted of similar charges in 2005. Several members of the KLA took high-level posts in the Kosovan government after the war, including Limaj, who was transport minister in the previous government of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.
The trial was hampered by the disputed September 2011 suicide of Agim Zogaj, a pivotal witness in the trial. According to the indictment, Zogaj killed two Serb police officers imprisoned in Klecka under orders from Limaj. Many of the charges against Limaj, which had been based on the evidence provided by Zogaj, were dismissed after Zogaj’s death.
Serbian authorities expressed their anger following Limaj’s acquittal. The office of the Serbian war crimes prosecutor called the decision “shameful and unjust” and questioned whether “anybody in Kosovo will ever be convicted for crimes committed against Serbs.”
In the wake of several violent attacks committed by young Roma, Mlada fronta DNES, the country’s best selling serious newspaper, takes a look at the Czech Republic’s “lost generation of Roma adolescents.”
Writer Ivana Karaskova went to the ghettos of northern Bohemia and southern Moravia and spoke with Roma who grew up in unemployed families.
Unlike under communism, when everyone was forced to work, contemporary Roma adolescents have often never seen their parents with a job and thus lack role models. They also suffer from the stagnation of the Czech educational system, which has failed to develop effective ways to teach children from poor or troubled families. The newspaper also postulates that the abolition of obligatory military service has removed one way in which young Roma used to have discipline imposed on their lives. And assimilation has diminished the authority of traditional Roma elites.
Those featured in the article tend to come from large families. Unable to find jobs and forced to fend for themselves, they earn money by collecting scrap metal or turning to petty crime. Often they end up addicted to drugs and involved in violence.
But the example of 18-year old Jirka, who plays guitar in a band and studies at a secondary school specializing in information technology, suggests hat subsidized housing and integration through education may yet bear fruit.
Bulgaria’s attempts to escape its reputation as a haven for corruption took another blow on 3 May after an organized-crime police squad busted more than 30 customs officials for alleged kickbacks.
During the raid at the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint on the Turkish-Bulgarian border, police caught the officials as they were portioning out the profits from one shift, The Sofia Echo reports.
In what was apparently an established system, the customs officials would extort bribes for letting smuggled goods through. In this case, officials netted the equivalent of around 7,000 euros ($9,200), the newspaper reports.
The custom officials said they had found some of the money in a restroom at the checkpoint. According to the Novinite news agency, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov called that explanation “quite strange.” He said searches of the homes of two customs officials had also uncovered a load of contraband cigarettes.
Bulgaria regularly ranks among the most corrupt EU countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, though Freedom House’s latest Nations in Transit report notes “indirect evidence [that] suggests that existing anti-corruption structures and slowly changing practices may be producing some positive results.”
In just two days, more than 1 million people have viewed a YouTube video produced by a branch of the Russian pro-government youth group Nashi that depicts a brawl between its members and the family of a Chechen official.
The youth group’s latest “Stop the Cad” initiative involves pasting large stickers saying “I don’t care, I park wherever I want” on the windshields of illegally parked cars. The process is filmed, edited, and uploaded on YouTube.
The trouble began on 1 May when an activist politely asked a woman who had just stepped out of her black Lexus in front of a shopping center to park her car in the parking lot. The woman refused and when she noticed the camera started yelling, “Erase what you have there now! God forbid it will appear on YouTube. I’ll get you – your legs will be torn off! You’ll be crawling like this, on your hands, is that clear?” she said. She immediately got on her phone and a group of 10 to 15 people soon arrived in three cars, reports Gazeta. A fight broke out as several of the young men chased down those filming and tried to pressure them into erasing the footage.
The incident was rapidly picked up and discussed by bloggers who say a young man in the video is the son of Tamerlan Mingayev, a Kremlin aide in Chechnya. The woman at the center of the controversy is apparently Mingayev’s wife.
“I know the Mingayev family as a respectable one and in this case I believe it was a provocation,” a Chechen official told RIA Novosti. “This situation should be looked into.”
A retrial will be held for Hisen Musliu, a former police employee in Macedonia who had been charged with altering police files that identified senior ethnic Albanian politicians as spies. Musliu was initially sentenced to three months in jail before a Skopje appeals court ruled the first verdict “unclear” over exactly what crime had been committed, Balkan Insight reports.
The scandal, which came to light in October 2010, has ratcheted up the already bitter rivalry between ethnic Albanian parties in Macedonia. The photocopied files, which Musliu gave to the country’s lustration committee, named several high-ranking officials from the junior partner in the ruling coalition, the Democratic Union for Integration, as former secret police informants. The DUI is an ethnic Albanian party, and Musliu was accused of adding phony information and a photo of DUI leader Ali Ahmeti to them.
Some news reports have said that Musliu was a member and adviser to the opposition Democratic Party of Albanians at the time, while other articles say the party has denied any connection with him.
The prosecution has not produced the disputed files and the court has said it must see them to determine whether a crime was committed.
Musliu maintains his innocence.