Mitrovic: You’re abusing your position, the people simply do not want bases

FOTO: KoSSev

“The people are unhappy, we are all unhappy because the people here simply do not want that. This is nothing but an abuse of your position and the function of state bodies. That is why I suggest that you raise the issue in the government and return the situation to the previous state and that, if there is a need for increased security, to expand the existing building in Zubin Potok,“ lawyer Srdjan Mitrovic told the representatives of the Expropriation Department from Pristina at today’s public discussion in Zubin Potok.

The second discussion in the last seven days on the issue of expropriation of land in the north was held in Zubin Potok today. The discussions in question were scheduled only after international pressure, according to locals and some members of the public. Mitrovic, who represents the interests of the injured residents of Zubin Potok municipality, pointed out that the discussion had since acquired „a very bad connotation.“

„Mr. Murati, you are, in fact, insulting our intelligence. What do you mean by saying that something that has already been built, that it’s related to roads? And that it is in the public interest to connect the villages with the municipality of Zubin Potok?“ – asked Mitrovic, noting that the expropriation representative’s presentation showed that the law was not applied properly.

„These are the affairs of the municipality. See point 3, or whatever, on what the government can do. The government can only build intercity roads. It cannot build roads at the municipal level. The municipality is responsible for that,“ he said.

„I believe that you are a serious man and we are all serious people. That’s what you said, you are declaring something that only you can see and none of us can. We see a police base in Jasenovik, nothing else“

He asked the director of the Expropriation Department, Afrim Murati, whether he still stands by the fact that roads are being built on the expropriated land, arguing that the question should be raised as to whether everyone, locals and lawyers alike, should leave the discussion after being talked down to in such a way.

„Do you still stand by it? Someone will record what was said on this day and what you’re telling us. Will these roads connect Zubin Potok with the surrounding villages? But you won’t say that now.“

What kind of public interest are we talking about? This is the most important question.

He showed his support to his colleague’s, Ljubomir Pantovic’s, proposal in connection with the renovation of the run-down police station in Zubin Potok – in response to Murati’s words that expropriation decisions „increase security“.

Mitrovic argued that if the decision is related to the matter of monitoring the border line, then the existing facility can be expanded, or a new one can be built in the vicinity of the lake.

„If there is a need to increase border police patrols, then let us build a building near the lake and the border line. With this, what do we get?! The people are unhappy, we are all unhappy because the people here simply do not want this. This is nothing but an abuse of your position and the function of state bodies. That is why I suggest that you raise the issue in the government and return the situation to how it was previous, and that, if there is a need for increased security, to expand the building in Zubin Potok.“

The lawyer clarified that this is his personal suggestion and that the citizens themselves may not desire such a solution.

More than 138 hectares of land were expropriated in the last six months in Leposavic and Zubin Potok. The Kosovo government justified its decisions in one brief announcement: The expropriations were carried out due to „infrastructural projects of public importance.“ The decision was met by protests from local residents, who expressed their dissatisfaction and concern. It was only after the EU reacted, objecting to the procedure, that the Kosovo authorities decided to schedule two public discussions on the issue.

Even after the second discussion ended, questions from locals, civil representatives and lawyers as to „what is being built“ remained unanswered. The representatives of the Expropriation Department from Pristina kept reiterating the messages on „road construction,“ laying „optical cables,“ „economic development“ and „increasing security“.

They also cited the Law on Expropriation, which they read out loud at the very beginning of the discussion, only to be criticized by lawyers and residents for not referring to it.

The director of the Department also said that he visited parts of Leposavic and Zubin Potok, after which he deduced that there is a lack of economic development, as well as necessary road infrastructure. Representatives of the Kosovo government said that they received requests for the construction of road infrastructure from both the residents of Leposavic and Zubin Potok.

As far as economic development is concerned, today’s guests from Pristina only revealed that projects are in development, without specifying which ones, but in order to implement them, security levels must be increased.

Locals are demanding that their properties be released from expropriation, stressing that they do not want bases near their homes. Furthermore, the claims that everything that is being done is carried out for the benefit of them and their children, they interpret as insulting and degrading.

In the last year, at least two special police bases were constructed in Zubin Potok. The local authorities and official Belgrade reacted only after Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti visited the sites last summer.

Read more:

Pantovic: If you want to talk about increasing security, invest in the run-down police station in ZP – not in new barracks

Nenezic: To paraphrase Reagan’s words to Gorbachev – Mr. Kurti, tear down this base, and then we’ll talk

Mijacic: We want to be an international tourist destination, only to be chased away by special forces as if we were terrorists.



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