European Union extends “rule of law mission” in Kosovo

Right after Kosovo declared independence in 2008, the European Union sent EULEX, a permanent “rule of law mission” to the country. From EULEX’ mission statement:

The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) is the largest civilian mission ever launched under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The central aim is to assist and support the Kosovo authorities in the rule of law area, specifically in the police, judiciary and customs areas. The mission is not in Kosovo to govern or rule. It is a technical mission which will monitor, mentor and advise whilst retaining a number of limited executive powers. EULEX works under the general framework of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and has a unified chain of command to Brussels.

This is an extra territorial mission (as in, Kosovo is not part of the European Union) and yet, the mission employs 3,200 people to act as a de facto controller in legal, police related and border control matters. The border control (euphemistically referred to as “customs” in EULEX mission statement) is of particular interest for the EU considering the ongoing effort to prevent undocumented migrants from reaching its borders.

Yesterday, Kosovo Parliament and the Council of Europe unanimously approved extending EULEX mandate for two more years. Turkish Weekly reports

The agreement also includes the provisions for the international judges and prosecutors, permission for EULEX staff to hold weapons and guaranteeing the immunity of staff.

Dren Doli, researcher for the Kosovo Group for Legal and Political Studies had something to say about how effective EULEX is for Kosovo:

Doli said that although EULEX has been mostly “ineffective and powerless” in establishing the rule-of-law agenda, especially in the northern Kosovo, and “very passive” in terms of fighting corruption and crime all over Kosovo, it can still play a role to ensure that the delivery of justice by Kosovo courts, prosecution and police is supported by an external, professional and standards-driven mission.

Also, from EULEX mission statement:

It will further develop and strengthen an independent and multi-ethnic justice system and a multi-ethnic police and customs service, ensuring that these institutions are free from political interference

free from political interference”. I suppose that doesn’t include the EU meddling with the country’s affairs…

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