The Serbian List has said it will consider participating in Kosovo’s local elections on October 17, after accusing Pristina of violating the Brussels Agreements.
The reaction of the largest party of Kosovo Serbs comes after the decision of the Court of Appeals in Kosovo, which upheld the verdict of the Basic Court in Pristina, according to which the member of the Assembly of Kosovo from the Serbian List, Ivan Todosijevic, was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of inciting national, racial, religious or ethnic hatred, dissension or intolerance.
The Serbian List says it will decide whether or not to run in the local elections after consulting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
“Given that Pristina continues to violate the Brussels Agreement to the detriment of Serbs in consultation with President Aleksandar Vucic and our leadership, we will consider whether to run in the next local elections,” the party said in a statement.
The mayors of the Serb-majority municipalities of northern Kosovo: Mitrovica North, Zubin Potok, Zvecan and Leposavic also reacted to the decision of the Court of Appeals.
According to them, the decision flagrantly violates the Brussels Agreement in the field of justice and endangers the fundamental rights of Serbs.
They said they would also consider participating in local elections in Kosovo.
Representatives of Kosovo Serbs in their reactions said that the decision was taken by a single ethnic panel of judges and according to them the Brussels Agreement on Justice between Kosovo and Serbia provides for a panel with ethnic mix.
Todosijevic was convicted after saying in a rally in March 2019 that “the reason for NATO aggression was the so-called humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo and the fabricated Recak massacre.”
His statement coincided with the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslav army – a campaign that ended the war in Kosovo.
He at that time held the post of Minister of Administration and Local Self-Government in the Government of Kosovo, but was dismissed by the then Prime Minister of the Government of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj.
Following the decision of the Basic Court, the defense of the defendant had appealed to the Court of Appeals, stating in the appeal that “the defense considers that the action charged by the accused is not a criminal offense and for this the indictment should be dismissed.”
According to the defense, the incriminating act did not cause riots, violence or other serious consequences as provided in the serious form of this offense by the Criminal Code. The defense was also invoked in the right to freedom of expression.
However, the Court of Appeals in its decision said, among other things, that the statement of the accused in the gathering with citizens, on the critical day, can not be treated as freedom of expression, but it in itself contains the form of incitement to hatred. and disunity towards the Albanian population in Kosovo.
The Recak massacre is known as one of the events that marked a turning point in international diplomacy in relation to Serbia and Kosovo, preceding the processes that led to the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia’s military targets.
The killing of 45 Albanian civilians by Serb paramilitary forces in Recak was considered a “crime against humanity” by the former head of the Verification Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador William Walker. / REL