The following media round up on international, legal and foreign policy issues from around the Balkans for the period from 24 September to 30 September 2021. The Guernica Group will provide bi-weekly media updates with a focus Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia . Should you wish to contribute or submit a media summary, opinion piece or blog, please send to Ned Vucijak at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Montenegro – 24 September 2021
The Montenegrin Higher Court confirmed the indictment of the former mayor of Podgorica, Slavoljub Stijepovic, for assisting in money-laundering as part of a criminal organisation in a case known as ‘Envelope’.
Albania – 24 September 2021
Concerns have been raised that Albania hesitated in asking Interpol to issue an international ‘red notice’ for the arrest of former General Prosecutor, Adriatik Llalla, after he disappeared following the court verdict confirming his two-year prison sentence for illegally concealing assets.
Albania – 24 September 2021
The Special Court of Appeals Against Corruption and Organised Crime in Albania ruled that the case against Fatmir Mediu, who was defence minister in 2008 when an ammunition dump explosion killed 26 people, should be reopened.
Serbia – 28 September 2021
After the most recent round of EU-mediated talks between officials from Serbia and Kosovo in Brussels earlier this month, it was reported that the negotiators had agreed to open up their wartime archives to establish the whereabouts of over 1,600 people who are still missing from the 1998-99 Kosovo war.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 28 September 2021
High Representative Christian Schmidt emphasises that under no circumstances will he allow that the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina will be redrawn, whose territorial integrity is guaranteed by the General Framework Agreement for Peace and international law.
Kosovo - 30 September 2021
The remains of seven Kosovo Albanian war victims were handed over to the Kosovo authorities at the Merdare border crossing, four months after they were exhumed from a mass grave at an open-cast mine in southern Serbia. In April 1999, the Serbian forces entered Rezalla in the municipality of Skenderaj/Srbica and killed 98 ethnic Albanian civilians. The following day, they buried the bodies in a mass grave. Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that the massacre was “one of the things that prove Serbia’s genocide in Kosovo”.
Kosovo – 30 September 2021
An EU official confirmed that Serbia and Kosovo have reached an agreement to ease the situation on their border. The EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkan regional issues, Miroslav Lajčák, stated that “after two days of intense negotiations, an agreement on de-escalation and the way forward has just been reached”, thanking Serbia’s Petar Petković and Kosovo’s Besnik Bislimi who led the technical teams, "for their readiness to negotiate and agree for the good of the people".
Croatia – 30 September 2021
Interpol has issued a red warrant for Fikret Abdic called Babo, the current mayor of Velika Kladusa and a convicted war criminal. The Interpol office in Zagreb, at the request of the Croatian judiciary, is looking for Abdic on suspicion of a criminal offence committed 20 years ago for abuse of office.