Statement from U.S. Embassy Pristina, 14 May 2019

The United States remains deeply concerned by the Government of Kosovo’s appointments of unqualified individuals to senior government positions – including individuals convicted of war crimes, under active indictment for serious crimes, and suspected of serious 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.  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.  Nominating these unqualified individuals undermines the public trust Kosovo is attempting to build, deprives the country of competent and reputable individuals best qualified to perform the work of government, and dishonors the victims of these individuals’ past offences.  Further, it impedes Kosovo’s progress toward building an international reputation that would make it a desired partner of other nations, and strengthens the position of adversaries who would claim Kosovo is not committed to the rule of law.

Of course, individuals should have the opportunity to rebuild their lives following past transgressions:  as American lawyer and humanitarian Bryan Stevenson said, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we have ever done.”  But even as history recalls the positive contributions of individuals as well as their failings, some behaviors should be permanently disqualifying from holding public office:  involvement in serious crimes should raise a red flag about a person’s suitability to ever hold such a position again.

We urge Kosovo’s citizens as well as its leaders to reflect on what face they wish Kosovo to show to the world.  We call on Kosovo’s leaders to take this issue seriously and stop and reverse this trend in appointments of individuals, some of whom the Embassy has already named, whose selection appears to advance short-term political goals rather than the legitimate needs of the citizens of Kosovo or the credibility of the state.