On expropriation firsthand: What will happen to the base?

Dragutin Nenezić
FOTO: KoSSev

By Dragutin Nenezić

I am writing this text as someone who represents the honorable Jakšić family from Kolašin in the expropriation procedure, if it can even be called a properly regulated procedure, with the intent that this text, for a change, will be short, clear, more epic than lyrical, and above all legally concise.

Since my previous writings for KoSSev, I have learned both things that I did not know at the time – I had insight into the full decision (which is actually not complete, but more on that later), and I learned that the case in which I am involved has not yet been ruled by the appellate court – unlike my colleague Vlajić, whose clients have received final judgments in their favor.

What happened: the Kosovo government made a final decision to expropriate plots of land only from those citizens who did not sue them, and defeated that government in court (although perhaps not legally), with the aim of building bases that were certainly already built even before that decision made. My clients are not covered by that decision, but that is one more reason to announce myself this way, so if anyone has ears, let him hear.

The final decision on expropriation is fraught with flaws, and here I would like to point out the following:

• Court rulings overturned the preliminary decision on expropriation. This means that the Kosovo government should have made a new preliminary decision (because the old one was overturned), and instead a final decision was made. Therefore, the Kosovo government made a mistake in conducting the procedure;

• Additionally, the final decision includes only persons who did not sue the Kosovo government, which makes no sense. When a decision is overturned in court, it is overturned in its entirety, regardless of who sued. Therefore, with its decision, the Kosovo government effectively narrowed the effect of the verdict, or, more broadly, it failed to respect the court’s decision;

• Again, if we are already dealing with lawsuits, we should wait for final judgments, which was not the case – at least not for the Jakšić family. Otherwise, there is a risk that, for example, the appeal will rule in favor of the Kosovo government, whereby the land of the unsuccessful plaintiffs, as per the principle by which the Kosovo government operates, could be the subject of the final decision. In this sense, the Kosovo government is acting alone against its own interest;

• The decision does not contain any information about compensation for expropriation, but, Vlajić, my colleague, has already commented on this. It is certainly a significant procedural defect, due to which the final decision is legally unsustainable;

• The decision still insists on some kind of infrastructure projects, even though it is clear that it is a base (which has already been built), and even though they subsequently tried to change the law so that the construction of the base is explicitly recognized as a permissible goal of expropriation, but that is another topic entirely.

In other words, if the Kosovo government wished to respect its own laws, it should have, to begin with, not made any decision, instead, it should have removed the bases. If it wanted to set them after that, it should have carried out the consultation process from the beginning, and made a new preliminary decision, with a correct explanation. All this regardless of on whose lands those bases would be built, but I won’t complicate things… Only then could we talk about the rule of law.

The Kosovo government did the opposite, thereby showing that it does not care about its own laws, but only about revenge against the Serbs, for one of a million reasons, all of which fall into the domain of political (and not only such) pathology. There is no rule of law, only raw force and stupidity reign. At the same time, it seems that by doing so, they made it impossible for that part of the Serbs who actively opposed them to sue them (again), because their parcels were left out of the final decision. But is that really the case?

It’s not!

With this act, the Kosovo authorities made one more in a series of their mistakes, because now the expropriated land, for the purposes of this text, looks like a chess board – some parts were expropriated by a final decision, some parts weren’t due to lawsuits. Thus, expropriation was replaced by usurpation, and certainly such usurpation can be attacked through the courts. Therefore, the intention of the Kosovo authorities to make it impossible for us to oppose them failed in the very beginning.

As far as my clients and I are concerned, we are awaiting the appeal decision. If that decision is in our favor, we will act in accordance with the effect of the verdict – it overturns the preliminary decision in its entirety, and therefore the final decision, figuratively speaking, has nothing to stand on. That is why, in addition to conducting the proceedings for the execution of the judgment, we will also file criminal charges against everyone involved in this scandal, and use all other available legal means, including self-help, in order to remove the illegal base in question.

In my opinion, even those who were not lucky enough to sue, or to have their lawsuit accepted by the court, can always turn to the Constitutional Court (although from my experience with the complaint about the dinar ban, it may take action only when some comet wipes out all the expropriated country, or even then – since in the procedure, which according to its native constitution should be urgent, they did not announce the ban of the dinar even when the dinar essentially disappeared). They can also turn to the ombudsman, if they have extra time. In both cases, I’m willing to help them, and at least I am easy to contact. If we are already playing with the rule of law, let’s play until the very end.



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