Kosovo Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj has dismissed his adviser, Sylejman Selimi today. Before his appointment, Selimi was convicted of war crimes against the civilian population and is currently on conditional parole. Haradinaj confirmed Selimi’s dismissal on his Facebook profile, stating that it happened at Selimi’s request. It is still unknown whether Selimi will be reinstated as the Ambassador to Tirana, as some Kosovo media have reported, since the Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs has remained quiet on this matter.
The former KLA commander, Sylejman Selimi, who was serving a prison sentence for war crimes against civilians, was released on probation on January 25th. Selimi was appointed as a political adviser to the Kosovo Prime Minister a few days later.
At the time, Kosovo Government spokeswoman, Doneta Gashi confirmed this information for KoSSev. Gashi, however, did not answer the question ‘on the basis of which legal provisions can the Government employ a person who is serving a sentence’.
While some Kosovo officials regard Selimi as „the general of liberty“ and „a hero“, thus justifying his appointment as an advisor, on the other hand, his appointment was criticized by the Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo and both Prishtina and Belgrade branches of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, as well as the US Ambassador to Kosovo, Philip Kosnett, who stressed that „convicted war criminals have no place in the Kosovo government.“
After Selimi’s appointment, the office of the Kosovo Ombudsperson told KoSSev that it did not receive any complaints regarding the appointment of Mr. Sylejman Selimi.
„Therefore, this issue has not been addressed by the IO in terms of whether this appointment is legitimate or not,“ this office underlined.
„I dismissed my political adviser, Sylejman Selimi, at his request. I thanked Mr. Selimi for his contribution to my political office,“ Haradinaj wrote on Facebook.
Kosovo media, citing unnamed sources, recently wrote that Sylejman Selimi, a convicted war criminal in Kosovo who is currently on conditional parole, was appointed the ambassador to Tirana.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Kosovo President remain silent
KoSSev unsuccessfully tried to get in contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, as well as with the Office of the President of Kosovo, seeking an answer to the question whether Selimi appointed as ambassador of Kosovo to Tirana. No reply has arrived in spite of the KoSSev’s continuously requesting information via email from the Kosovo foreign ministry, while the same question was raised with President’s office.
Kosnett: US against the appointment of a convicted war criminal as Ambassador
The US ambassador to Pristina, Philip Kosnett reacted shortly after Pristina media reported on Selimi’s re-appointment as the ambassador to Tirana in late April.
“What message does Kosovo send to the world when it nominates a convicted war criminal to represent it as Ambassador?” he tweeted, adding that the US “advocate strongly against such a move.”
Kosnett, however, did not specify which war criminal he was talking about.
In addition to previous war crimes convictions, Sylejman Selimi also received a call for a hearing from the Special Court in early December. He was supposed to be questioned in Hague on January 9th.
However, two days before the scheduled trip to the Hague, he was admitted to the Clinical Hospital Center of Kosovo with „symptoms of dizziness and vomiting“ which delayed his hearing.
Selimi was then questioned in Pristina on February 6.
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