Kosovo To Seek Extradition Of Serbs From North


By Fatmir Aliu

Kosovo prosecutors are set to ask Serbia to extradite two Kosovo Serbs to face charges including an attack on UN and NATO personnel.

Officials in Kosovo are completing the necessary documentation to request the extradition of the notorious Veselinovic brothers, accused by KFOR of organising barricades and violence in the Serb-run north. The Veselinovic brothers, who are from northern Kosovo, are currently in Serbia facing weapons charges.

“We are in the process of completing the documentation to prove that Zvonko and Zarko Veselinovic are citizens of Kosovo. After that we will send the file to Interpol, and the Ministry of Justice will request their extradition to Kosovo,” Mitrovica Chief Prosecutor Shyqri Syla told Balkan Insight on Wednesday.

“I don’t want to set any date, but I think that the extradition request will be made in January,” Syla said.

Zvonko and Zarko Veselinovic are wanted in Kosovo on nine criminal charges, including the murder of a police officer and an attack on UN and NATO personnel.

It is unlikely that Serbia will extradite the two, as it does not have an extradition agreement with Kosovo and the case is politically sensitive. However, Belgrade will likely be pressured to act on the issue, as the charges involve an attack on NATO soldiers..

Syla said that Zvonko Veselinovic, 31, and his brother Zarko, 26, both from Mitrovica, are suspected of being involved in a number of criminal activities.

“They [Zvonko and Zarko Veselinovic] are suspected of murder and attempted murder of [Kosovo] police officials, assault on UN and NATO personnel, smuggling, criminal union, illegal weapons possession, causing general danger, calls for resistance and obstructing officials on duty,” Syla explained.

NATO’s top commander in Kosovo, German Major-General Erhard Drews, earlier named Zvonko Veselinovic as the chief organiser of an attack in late November on NATO peacekeepers trying to remove roadblocks. Around 50 soldiers were injured during the riots.

The Veselinovic brothers were arrested on December 20 in Serbia, under suspicion that they were involved in producing and transporting weapons and explosive devices.

They will be held in custody at least until January 22, a court in Kraljevo ruled following their arrest.

The authorities in Serbia are not investigating the riots against KFOR soldiers and the riots at the Jarinje border crossing between Kosovo and Serbia.

Mitrovica’s chief prosecutor says he has also issued a warrant seeking the arrest of the alleged ringleaders in the north.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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