By Blerta Begisholli
The US Embassy in Kosovo on Tuesday criticised what it called a series of politically driven appointments of “unqualified” officials who either have war crime convictions or are indicted for serious crimes or suspected of abuses of power.
“In a democracy, individuals appointed to high-level positions should project an ethical and qualified face to the world. Kosovo’s pattern of appointments, unfortunately, presents the opposite,” the US embassy said.
“Unqualified individuals, those whom the judiciary has punished or is actively pursuing for serious crimes, as well as those who have demonstrated willingness to act with impunity and abuse their authority, have no place in public office,” it continued.
The embassy reacted to media reports of a series of recent appointments of individuals with criminal pasts or clearly political connections to official positions.
After Sylejman Selimi, who was convicted of war crimes for torturing a civilian prisoner at a KLA detention site was appointed as political adviser to Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj in February, US ambassador Philip Kosnett on Twitter said: “War criminals do not have a place in the Kosovo Government”, BIRN reported on February 6.
After former KLA fighter Naser Shala was appointed head of the Kosovo Property Comparison and Verification Agency, the German and the British embassies complained that he did not have the qualifications for the position.
The British Ambassador then withdrew from the Board of this Agency in protest – a move that the US embassy supported on Twitter.
More recently, Veton Ademi was appointed as Inspector in the Tax Administration of Kosovo on Tuesday, drawing claims that he owed his post to his membership of the Prime Minister’s party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo.
However, after being contacted by BIRN, Ademi denied that he was hired because of his political affiliation, saying that he was qualified for the post.
Despite the ongoing international criticism of unqualified but politically connected appointments, such candidates are still being picked for senior positions in the public sector.
British diplomats say the government has filled a number of senior public sector posts over the past two years with people of dubious qualifications, overriding advice given by the embassy under a vetting agreement.