Double homicide in Pec part of a long list of political assassinations in Kosovo, Beqaj: Unsolved assassinations encourage new ones

FOTO: Kosovo Police FB

PDK candidate for mayor of Pec/Peja, Astrit Ademaj, and former candidate for mayor of Decani, Blerand Kadriaj, were shot dead in Pec last night. According to media reports, it is presumed that Kadriaj killed Ademaj, after which Ademaj’s brother, who was also wounded, gunned down Kadriaj. Ademaj’s brother was then arrested.

According to the initial information, a discussion about the local elections in Kosovo scheduled for October 17th resulted in a confrontation between the two party colleagues.

Top Kosovo officials called on the competent authorities to shed light on the case as soon as possible.

This was not the first time a politician was murdered during the pre-election and post-election campaign in Kosovo.

On the same day – January 16th, four years apart (2014-2018), two mayoral candidates, Dimitrije Janicevic and Oliver Ivanovic were gunned down from behind in North Mitrovica. Their murders, which had a strong impact on Kosovo Serbs, still remain unsolved.

In November 2013, also in North Mitrovica, a candidate of the Civic Initiative Srpska for the mayor of North Mitrovica, Krstimir Pantic, was attacked, as he claimed, by two masked assailants in front of the building where he lived. At the time, Pantic told reporters in Belgrade that they intended to assassinate him. The then politician from Kosovo, Petar Miletic, was also wounded in a shooting in North Mitrovica.

Almost at the same time, a councilor candidate from the ranks of AAK, Bekim Birinxhiku, was killed in Srbica/Skenderaj.

In mid-June of 2014, a PDK MP candidate, Elvis Pista, was killed in Orahovac/Rahovec. He was gunned down from behind while leaving a restaurant with his wife.

In November of last year, early in the morning, the charred remains of a former member of the KLA, Qerim Kelmendi, were found in his car in the village of Zahac in the municipality of Pec. Kelmendi was one of the first members of the KLA, the brother of politician Ibrahim Kelmendi. According to unofficial information, Qerim Kelmendi was a potential witness in The Hague.

Kelmendi, however, was not the first potential witness to be eliminated. In the spring of 2016, a former member of the KLA, Bedri Curri, who was also believed to be one of the potential witnesses, was found dead in a mountain near the school in Gornja Korotica. The issue of protection, i.e. the elimination of witnesses, has been one of the most sensitive issues during the past two decades.

In November 2000, an assassination attempt was made on Xhemail Mustafa, Ibrahim Rugova’s adviser. Mustafa was found dead at the entrance to the building where he lived in Pristina. In January 2002, Smajl Hajdaraj, an LDK MP and former FARK member, was killed 37 days after taking the oath of office in the first post-war Kosovo Assembly.

The current president of the Kosovo Assembly, Glauk Konjufca, said at the time that his party did not hide the fact that political assassinations had taken place and that they had not been solved these past 20 years. He also revealed that up to 40 political assassinations were recorded in just three years in the late 1990s and the post-war period.

„There have been many political assassinations in Kosovo. The  Self-Determination never hid that, even though someone in Kosovo has been constantly trying to hide it… And Behajdin Allaqi and Xhemajl Mustafa and Smajl Hajdaraj. Thirty or forty of them might have been killed in Kosovo in 1999 and 2000, up to 2001.“

Beqaj: Light must be shed on unresolved murders to avoid new ones

Political scientist and university professor, Belul Beqaj, stated that the largest number of unsolved political murders took place in the region of Dukagjini – Metohija, namely Pec, Decani and Istok.

„It is neither harmless nor accidental, I may be wrong, but that should be taken into account,“ he told KoSSev.

Beljulj Bećaj
Beljulj Bećaj (Belul Beqaj), rođen je u Prizrenu 1957, gde je završio osnovnu i srednju školu. Diplomirao je na Fakultetu političkih nauka Univerziteta u Beogradu, magistrirao na Pravnom fakultetu Univerziteta u Prištini i doktorirao političke nauke na Univerzitetu “Kiril i Metodije“ u Makedoniji. Autor je stotine javnih i naučnih radova.

In his words, this actually shows how much Kosovo society and politics are „deeply steeped in crime, corruption, unresolved political issues.“

Speaking of unresolved political issues, Beqaj says:

„This is especially true of these unsolved political assassinations in Mitrovica. It is probably not just a question of crime, but there are unresolved political issues related to the political party – by that, I mean the case of Ivanovic’s murder.“

Addressing last night’s double homicide in Pec, Beqaj underlined that the real question is „what are the names of such people even doing on the lists of candidates.“

„They would still be alive if they had not been candidates, that is my impression. The question is much more complex when those candidates who do not have a clear ethical and political profile are placed as candidates. What kind of president and what kind of party nominates people who later become the reason for the murder.“

Beqaj emphasized the importance of resolving unsolved murders in the next two to three years at the latest – in order to avoid new ones.

„The point is that if light is not shed on all suspicious murders, they’ll actually encourage new murders,“ Beqaj concluded.




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