Thaci requested for the son of an MP interrogated by the SPO to be appointed consul in Prague

Foto: Fejsbuk, Fljakron i Hadži Šalja ispred zgrade Specijalizovanog tužolaštva

The former Kosovo President Hashim Thaci ordered the appointment of the son of AAK MP Haxhi Shala, Flakron Shala, as a consul general in Prague in the same month Shala was interrogated at the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague.

The Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague, in its request for the arrest and detention of Thaci, warned the pre-trial judge that Kosovo officials had used official posts to influence potential SPO witnesses. They cited examples of convicted war criminals – Sylejman Selimi and Rustem Mustafa, who worked as advisers to the then Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, or President Hashim Thaci. The SPO also expressed suspicions of illegal transfers from the Division of Financial Support for Potential Accused Persons, which covered the witnesses’ expenses previously covered by the prosecution.

Pristina-based Koha recently reported about the appointment of Flakron Shala as Kosovo’s consul general in Prague. Koha linked this appointment to the fact that Haxhi Shala, on the eve of the vote for Avdullah Hoti’s government which was held on June 3rd, changed his mind and voted in favor, despite announcing that he would vote „against“.

However, the proposal to appoint Shala as consul was sent to Hashim Thaci by Ramush Haradinaj on September 28. Thaci accepted and implemented Haradinaj’s proposal with a decree of October 20th this year, when he ordered the Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take steps to appoint him.

Haxhi Shala announced on August 24th that he was summoned by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office for questioning. On October 8th, he was questioned in the capacity of a suspect. As his friend who accompanied him to The Hague announced at the time, the interrogation lasted only 15 minutes, and Shala defended himself by remaining silent.

LVV MP Rexhep Selimi, who has been charged with a war crimes indictment together with Thaci, once claimed that Thaci placed pressure on witnesses to „defend themselves by keeping silent“ in The Hague. Ramush Haradinaj also accused Selimi of „spilling the beans“ in the court. Selimi responded to this accusation by alleging that Hashim Thaci was „the person responsible for that lie“.

Thaci was arrested and transported to The Hague on November 5th– which makes the appointment of Flakron Shala as consul one of the last personnel decisions in Kosovo’s Foreign Service signed by Thaci.

Osmani: I will annul the appointment of Shala, it is contrary to diplomatic practice

The acting President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani reacted today to Shala’s appointment. She stated that it was „contrary to any diplomatic and consular practice of democratic countries,“ announcing that she would annul that decision.

„The appointment of the Consul General in Prague and other appointments that are being announced these days were made by former President Thaci, and not me as the acting president… Consulate General cannot be opened in the same city in which we have an embassy. Unfortunately, this is not the only such case. It is a bad practice that must be stopped. Therefore, those decrees will be repealed,“ Osmani wrote in a Facebook post.

Shala: I have the right to be appointed to an official position like any other citizen of Kosovo

Flakron Shala reacted on his Facebook page earlier today, stating that he was honored that „as the son of a former KLA soldier, he had the opportunity to obtain a master’s degree and become a PhD candidate“ at VSE University in the Czech Republic.

„I was appointed to the position of Consul General of the Republic of Kosovo as per the law in force on the proposal of the MFA and the decree of the President of Kosovo. This entire process was based on my biography and five years of experience as a state manager for the Balkans region and as a member of the board of directors in the Czech company Elanor a.s.,“ Shala wrote.

The website of the company Elanor states, however, that Shala was appointed to both of these positions in the company, which has an office in several European countries – including Serbia, on August 1st of this year. The website also reads, however, that Shala joined their team 3 years ago.

According to Shala, the fact that he is „the son of an MP and a former member of the KLA“ should not trigger a public debate on his appointment because „every citizen of Kosovo has the right to be appointed to a state post, including me.“

„I am ready to represent Kosovo everywhere, at every meeting, activity or task of the Consul General, by using my experience from the West, with dignity, professionalism and care,“ he stressed.

Hoti: I was not involved in this appointment

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti also reacted to Shala’s appointment, stating that he learned about it from the media. Hoti underlined that he was not involved in it.

„The government is analyzing and reviewing the functioning of the network of diplomatic missions. After this analysis, we will take all necessary actions to ensure the efficient functioning of diplomatic missions. We will make sure that the composition of those missions is in accordance with the law,“ the Kosovo Prime Minister said. A minister in Hoti’s government carried out this appointment at Thaci’s decree.

The Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs is led by AAK member, Meliza Haradinaj Stubla.

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