Thursday, June 10, 2010

On the Limaj case

The Financial Times has the most comprehensive article "Governance: EU’s justice mission pursues corruption at the highest level" I have seen yet on the Limaj case. Scroll also to the bottom of the page for four other articles on Kosovo in the same FT issue: Sovereignty chafes at outside supervision, Peja: Local efforts have been key to rebuilding, Youth culture: A vibrant night without fights or drunkenness and Retail: Keen to keep the customers satisfied in three languages.

The article points out that last year family members of Limaj were caught at the airport while trying to export millions in cash. It laments the weak procedures of procurement and the lack of priorities and raises doubt whether Kosovo will be able to finance the new highway to Albania. It also mentions that some of the new roads already show signs of decay.

According to B92, Koha Ditore has reported that Limaj asked for 10 to 13 percent of a tender from the Gnjilane construction company Inter Kosova.

Given the witness intimidation at Limaj's ICTY process I doubt whether EULEX will be able to finish this case. Skodra, the main witness in the Inter Kosova case already conveniently died in a car accident. I suspect much of the proof will have to come from the financial records. But I suspect EULEX has two goals: even when they don't manage to prove Limaj guilty they may prove enough serious mismanagement to disqualify Limaj from being a minister.

Meanwhile the international community doesn't speak with one voice and the US seems to oppose the EULEX drive against corruption with USAID playing a rather peculiar role.

Postscript (6-7-2010): Avni Zogiani of the Kosovan anti-curruption organisation COHU has written an article about how the anti-corruption drive has been undone, mainly through American pressure. He mentions three big orders for American companies (the highway, the airport and the power plant) as the main motive.

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