By Dragutin Nenezić
In the past three texts, I highlighted the main directions of lawlessness in Kosovo that have been ongoing in recent months. In this text, I would like to somewhat update and expand on my findings, and give some guidelines for further struggle. I deeply believe that the only chance for Serbs in Kosovo, in the north as well as in the south, lies in the joint struggle against lawlessness, separate from the so-called policies of official Belgrade.
Is the dinar a legal currency in Kosovo?
Since my previous text, Bislimi shared the erroneous claim that the use of euros in Kosovo is regulated by an article of the constitution. Of course, he failed to mention that this article does not mention any currency explicitly but leaves this matter to be regulated by law (and not by a decision of the Central Bank). I would set aside another confirmation that Bislimi (alongside Kurti) is so poorly acquainted with the constitution that he does not even know how to apply it, as well as the question of why no one is involved in overturning that decision before the constitutional court. At this point, I would like to underscore the following UNMIK regulations for anyone who still has a dilemma as to whether the dinar can be legally used in Kosovo:
• Regulation no. 1999/4 of September 9, 1999: 4.2 A person wishing to pay in Dinars a compulsory payment that is required under Section 4.1 to be paid in another currency, may do so at the reference exchange rate applicable on the day of payment but shall be charged an additional fee to cover handling and transactions costs.
• Administrative direction no. 1999/2 of October 4, 1999: 2.2 Pursuant to section 4.2 of UNMIK Regulation No. 1999/4, the administrative fee for a person wishing to make compulsory payments in Dinars shall be ten percent of the assessed compulsory payment. 2.3
Administrative fees and compulsory payments, if paid in Dinars, shall be calculated in accordance with the most recent reference exchange rate quoted by UNMIK.
• Administrative direction no. 2011/24 of December 24, 2001: 2.2 Pursuant to section 4.2 of UNMIK Regulation No. 1999/4, the administrative fee for a person wishing to make compulsory payments in Dinar shall be ten percent (10%) of the assessed compulsory payment. 2.3 Administrative fees and compulsory payments, if paid in Dinar, shall be calculated in accordance with the most recent exchange rate quoted by The Banking and Payments Authority of Kosovo.
These directions are still part of Kosovo’s legal order, especially for those who are inclined to refer to Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council, so the question is raised as to why no one refers to these regulations. When it comes to Kurti and Bislimi, the reason is clear – they are not remotely interested in their own regulations, let alone those of UNMIK. Certainly, the dinar is a legal means of payment in Kosovo, as long as these provisions are not revoked.
Certainly, this will not have any effect on the tension in the next few days, especially if the deadline for implementing the (unconstitutional and illegal) decision of the central bank is not extended under pressure from international factors. If this is followed by the seizure of transport of cash, raids on institutions that use the dinar, etc. all this will be another in a series of futile statements in the face of sheer force.
The recall of illegitimate mayors in the North
While we wait to see if and when the vote will take place to recall the illegitimate mayors, or if they will overturn the administrative instruction that regulates this in the constitutional court, I would like to refer to two important issues.
First, in order for the voting to be successful, according to the final voter list officially confirmed by the Central Election Commission before this election (which, of course, is not available in Serbian), 50% of the following number of voters is needed, by municipality:
– Leposavic: 13,318;
– Zubin Potok: 6,661;
– Zvecan: 6,988;
– North Mitrovica: 18,118.
That would mean a total of 22,543 votes; figures by municipality:
– Leposavic: 6,659;
– Zubin Potok: 3,331;
– Zvecan: 3,494;
– North Mitrovica: 9,059.
As a reminder, the following turnout was recorded at the 2021 local elections in these municipalities:
– Leposavic: 8,744;
– Zubin Potok: 4,166;
– Zvecan: 5,765;
– North Mitrovica: 12,117.
Bearing in mind that it is the total number of people who voted, who voted for different political options, it is not impossible for the mayors to be recalled, however, it requires an extremely strong mobilization.
Second, if the recall fails, the petition cannot be repeated in the next 12 months, which more or less coincides with the regular term for local elections.
As a result, the only condition for the success of petitions is extremely high turnout and overall unity. Without that, both with and without the constitutional court, illegitimate mayors will remain in office in the north until 2025.
As far as the constitutional court is concerned, if this turns out to be true, it only means that Kurti is playing it safe, and wants to exclude any possibility that the change of power in the north takes place in any other way than by his will. It may also mean that he does not count on admission to the Council of Europe, since one of the conditions for admission is precisely the replacement of these mayors – or at least that he wants to be the one who will decisively influence that admission – all of which may indicate preparation for extraordinary elections at the central level, as a result of which both options (the north under occupation or the Council of Europe) are hoarded as political capital for those elections.
Finally, this also means that those who do not know and do not implement the constitution (which the court guards) will resort to the constitutional court, only if it can disturb the Serbs in their struggle for their rights, whatever that struggle may be.
The suspension of expropriation and elections in the north, as well as the implementation of the verdict of the Constitutional Court in favor of Visoki Decani Monastery, are mentioned as conditions for Kosovo’s admission to the Council of Europe. Even if the issue of expropriation was resolved by court rulings (which it was not), and the issue of elections was resolved in the manner described, the Decani issue still remains. As no one in Kosovo shows the desire to implement this judgment (see Bislimi’s statement), it is to be expected that a possible failed admission to the Council of Europe will result in accelerated appropriation, throughout Kosovo (the most recent example being Bogorodica Hvostanska).
The only good thing in all of this is that the nature of Kosovo’s politics as anti-Serb and anti-Church is further exposed, so no decent person should talk about „guarantees for the protection of cultural and religious heritage“ in the current political context, just as it is no longer proper to talk about „the rule of law“.
Ban on import as a security measure?
Finally, in the past period, we have heard from Kurti that the import ban is a security measure, not a trade measure. Assuming he knows what he’s talking about (and I’m sure he doesn’t), that should involve implementing the Law on External Trade of 2022. There is indeed Article 30 there, which provides that the government can impose restrictions it deems necessary to protect security. Apart from whether it is materially applicable (and I think it can hardly be argued that it is), the fact is that the ban was introduced in June 2023, i.e. months before the events Kurti is talking about, it can hardly be linked with some kind of security issue.
Moreover, the fact is that there is no legal act that introduced this ban, and according to Article 40 of the same law, it is clear that there is a right to appeal against such an act in accordance with the rules of administrative procedure. This leads us again to the fact that it is an illegal ban, which may not be overturned before the constitutional court (since there is no act introducing it – but perhaps due to the denial of the constitutionally guaranteed right to appeal, a constitutional appeal can be filed), but can certainly be used as a basis for Serbian businessmen in the north to seek compensation.
The opinions and views expressed in the article represent the opinions and views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial office or donors.
The opinions and views expressed in the text represent the opinions and views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial office or donors.
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