Kosovo minister says Belgrade backing criminals

NEWS 10.08.2022 22:38
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Dželjalj Svečlja
Source: N1

Kosovo Internal Affairs Minister Xhelal Svecla told N1 on Wednesday that criminals in Kosovo have the political backing of Belgrade for their illegal activities.

According to the minister, Kosovo has been a virtual El Dorado for criminals over the past 20 years. He said that Serbs, Albanians and Bosniaks are involved in crime which has political support from Belgrade and cited the example of Serb List deputy leader Milan Radoicic who has been blacklisted by Washington and is wanted on corruption charges in Kosovo and still enjoys the support of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. The Minister said there is no cooperation between Belgrade and Pristina on the Radoicic case.

“A look at the security situation in the north leads us to realize that this is not just a recent crisis. The north of Kosovo, the four (majority Serb) municipalities in the north were a black hole in terms of rule of law. This is an area with a very high level of smuggling and various crimes committed with impunity,” Svecla said. “We have criminals who went from poverty or middle class to becoming multi-millionaires thanks to criminal activity which has been tolerated for more than 20 years. I have received dozens if not hundreds of complaints from people who were pressured by criminal groups. Those groups don’t just want to be rich, they are an obstacle to normal life with their arrogant bandit behavior. Our priority is to establish legality there,” the minister said.

The minister recalled that the Kosovo police discovered five drug laboratories and illegal Bitcoin mining operations in the past few months alone as well as truckloads of smuggled goods.

“There is a clear link between politics and crime and when I say crime I mean multi-national links. We arrested a number of criminal groups made up of Albanians, Serbs, Bosniaks from both Kosovo and Serbia,” Svecla said.

According to the minister, the Serbian government is tolerating those criminal groups and supporting them with the intention of exerting pressure on the local population in the north of Kosovo.