Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies Press Release: Rada Trajkovic is the judge, jury, and executioner

Given the complex political and security situation in which negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina are happening on the one hand, and the demonstrations by a part of the opposition under the slogans #1in5million and #StopTheBloodyShirts that are allegedly held also because of the failings in the rule of law on the other, CEAS is inviting the democratic public in Serbia, members of the international community from the West, local reporters as well as correspondents of the western media, both independent and public, to pay attention to the statement by Rada Trajkovic, who has recently become very present in certain media outlets.

In a series of interviews and public statements, like the one she made on Saturday 12th January, Trajkovic demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of the criminal proceedings, from the way the process is initiated, to who has the authority to initiate it, how is the principle of legality ensured, and which conditions need to be met in order to make possible the restrictions of the freedoms and the rights of a suspect in a criminal proceeding.

Trajkovic is heading a NGO that is not very familiar to the wider public, called European Movement of Serbs from Kosovo, and not the European Movement of Kosovo and Metohija, which is the way the name is styled in almost all of the media. Information on the activities, structure, donors and other detail of this organization is almost nowhere to be found.

As a speaker at the aforementioned protest last night, Trajkovic has repeated her request to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to “extradite Milan Radoicic to Pristina and stop making Belgrade a safe haven for criminals and mafia.”

CEAS would like to remind that the tendentious spin about the expansion of the indictment in the case of the murder of Oliver Ivanovic which allegedly relates to Radoicic, on which the political actors from minor opposition parties who are behind the protest are obviously insisting, including Trajkovic herself, is a spin that is unfortunately reported without commentary by many allegedly free and independent media in Serbia, despite a swift denial by Kosovo’s Special Prosecutor Sul Hoxha. In a statement for Insider television program, Hoxha decidedly said that Kosovo’s Special Prosecutor’s Office has not made a decision to expand the investigation in the case of the murder of the leader of the SDP Civic Initiative Oliver Ivanovic.

Trajkovic is showing a large degree of confidence in Kosovo’s judiciary, which is rather contradictory to the assessment of their work by Kosovo’s Humanitarian Law Center, especially when it comes to processing crimes against Serbs.

Without going into business or other activities of aforementioned Radoicic, it seems quite inappropriate for Trajkovic to compare his situation with “the safe haven” Serbia has been for Karadzic and Mladic, as she has been announcing from the rooftops these past few days.

Comparing the situation of a controversial local political and business actor from a small territory to the consequences of the actions of convicted war criminals (Mladic in the first degree) is offensive for all of Mladic’s and Karadzic’s victims. Also, their policies were at least silently supported by Trajkovic, having in mind the parties she was in at the time when these crimes were committed. Trajkovic seems to be forgetting that the two leaders of the opposition who are supporting the protests she addresses were in power exactly during that long period before Mladic and Karadzic were finally arrested by these same authorities, after enormous pressure from the political West.

Since the week ahead will be politically very intensive, including the anniversary of the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, CEAS would again like to call on Serbia’s democratic public and the international community from the West involved with the region to especially pay attention to the scandalous statement by Trajkovic, given just a couple of days ago: “If Oliver was able to spend three years in prison during the investigation process, why would Radojicic not be extradited to Pristina, since he is much less valuable to the Serbs.” Please remember what kind of political regime would determine the length of the investigation process or other legal proceedings by arbitrary value of a suspect’s contribution to an ethnic community.

After a series of warnings it issued, CEAS considers that such behavior by Trajkovic cannot be considered as plain ignorance which Trajkovic is proudly boasting by making tens of statements, but rather that it is very deliberate practice of presenting lies. It is time for Trajkovic’s statements to be checked by some of the many organizations and web magazines debunking false news and reporting on corruption, but also by correspondents’ offices of foreign public media in Serbia that used to have an excellent reputation of professionalism. Now it seems, because their governments do not agree with the current idea of reaching a peaceful multidimensional compromise agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, opposed by Trajkovic and the politicians behind the protests, these correspondents’ offices do not refrain from one-sided, wrongful and tendentious reporting on these events.

In Belgrade, January 13, 2019