The KP started installing security cameras in N.Mitrovica, SL: A reality show?

nadzorne kamere
FOTO: Pixabay/Ilustracija

The Kosovo Police started installing security cameras at three locations for the purpose of surveillance and security of citizens in North Mitrovica, the police confirmed for KoSSev. Srpska Lista party condemned the move, demanding the cameras be removed immediately.

The deputy commander of the Kosovo Police, Veton Elshani, confirmed today that the KP has started installing security cameras in North Mitrovica.

Elshani told KoSSev that the cameras are being set up as a result of the attacks that took place in North Mitrovica, particularly after the last attack in which an ethnic Serb man was attacked by a group of young men.

The deputy commander specified that the security cameras will be installed in three locations: near the bus station, the Technical School and in the town centre, near the monument to Prince Lazar.

„As per the law, we are the only institution that can monitor public areas. We decided to have more cameras in public areas for security reasons,“ stated Elshani.

He added that security cameras will most likely be installed in three other northern municipalities, not specifying when exactly this will happen.

SL: What’s next, yellow badges?

Srpska Lista criticized the installation of cameras in North Mitrovica.

They alleged that simply installing cameras and filming citizens represents „the most terrible violation of the right to privacy of citizens“, stressing that it is especially worrying that such a thing is happening in front of the eyes of the entire international community.

„We wonder who has the right to threaten the privacy of our citizens and where does anyone get the right to film our children?“

They are shared concerns over the cameras reportedly being installed without any consultations, or any legal grounds.

„The fact that someone wears a uniform, or has power in his hands – does not give him the right to do what he wants and violates basic rights. Without an answer as to what is the purpose of these recordings, who controls them, and who has ever asked citizens for their opinion on this topic.“

They claimed that with this behaviour the north is turning into “some kind of reality show“ in which children are also participating.

„After Kurti failed to record Serbs at the polling stations and misuse those recordings to oppress and mistreat the Serbian people, he went a step further and decided to film all citizens and even minors and children on the streets of our towns, as if we were part of some kind of reality program.“

„We expect that in the coming days, Kurti’s regime will order Serbs to wear yellow arm badges, and thus show the character of their government so that Serbs can be distinguished from citizens of other ethnicities in those videos,“ the party remarked.

Demanding the immediate removal of these cameras, they also call for a reaction from the international community.

„We demand the immediate removal of these cameras and the protection of the privacy of our citizens, as well as the reaction of the Quint countries and international missions, primarily EULEX, UNMIK, KFOR and the Office of the European Union in Pristina, to this drastic violation of the rights of our citizens,“ SL said in a statement “on behalf of the citizens.”

More cameras, less sense of freedom and closure of investigations

The Kosovo Police started installing surveillance cameras in the north, if special police bases are excluded, at the end of 2022, namely, in the Bosniak Mahala settlement in North Mitrovica.

At the same time, they removed video surveillance in the north, and other Serb-majority areas, which were controlled by Serbian structures until last summer.

In Serb-majority areas, the removal of video surveillance controlled by Serbian structures actually began in July 2022, in Štrpce.

Just two days earlier, Milan Radoičić, who was on a run from the Kosovo authorities, declared in a video shot at a hill near Leposavic: „I’m here and you know what that means. There’s no surrender.“

Earlier this month, the KP also installed cameras at Radoičić’s seized restaurant Grey in North Mitrovica.

This is not the first time the issue of surveillance cameras in the north has been brought to the fore.

Back in 2012, when Aleksandar Vulin served as the head of the Kosovo Office of the Government of Serbia, the pre-paid installation of a video surveillance system in the municipality of Zvečan in Kosovo was approved. That job, worth about 900,000 euros, was given to the private company „DBS Konsel“ from Belgrade, owned by Uroš Čubrilović. The details of this acquisition, even though it was paid for from the republic budget, were kept strictly confidential by the Government of Serbia for years, and even distinguished media outlets in Belgrade failed to find out the details about the acquisition.

Although this questionable acquisition occurred only a few months after Vulin paid 205,000 euros for an apartment, the Anti-Corruption Agency stated in the report submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime that this should be taken into account when investigating the origin of the money and the acquisition of disputed cameras.

Vulin said that he borrowed 205,000 to buy an apartment in Belgrade from his wife’s aunt from Canada. The case went through three prosecutor’s offices and none of them were able to determine where his money came from. However, all proceedings against the minister were suspended.

For years, the north was covered by surveillance cameras controlled by the Serbian side, with an explanation that that was an issue of security.

Even though North Mitrovica was plastered by surveillance cameras did not help to shed light on the case of Oliver Ivanović’s murder. Thanks to these cameras, only the vehicle used to follow Ivanović and from which he was allegedly shot was found.

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