Suspended prosecutor talks about "dark side of EULEX"
EULEX prosecutor Maria Bamieh, who has recently been suspended, has called for an independent international investigation into the work of EULEX.Source: Tanjug
According to the Priština-based Albanian language daily Koha Ditore, she warned of attempts to "cover up the cases" that this mission deals with.
"It is not my goal to cause damage to EULEX. I think an independent international investigation should be carried out into the manner in which EULEX has operated in Kosovo, as the people currently with EULEX and those who operate from Brussels are trying to cover up things instead of deal with them," the British prosecutor was quoted as saying.
In her first interview after the paper reported allegations of a corruption scandal, Bamieh spoke about the "dark side" of the EU mission, including political interference, "trading in judicial processes," bribing, as well as interference from Brussels so such cases are not made public.
The newspaper said that Bamieh has worked for EULEX "for seven years," and that she prosecuted criminal case including Kačanik Major Xhabir Zharku, a group from Uroševac that organized "bombings," former KLA commander Sami Lustaku, deputy prime minister of Kosovo, Bujar Bukoshi, Minister for Returns Branislav Grbic, and former advisor to the Kosovo Ministry of Health Ilir Tolaj.
Bamieh is now suspended and under investigation on suspicion that she gave secret documents to Koha Ditore.
She pointed out during the interview that she "never hid the information she had neither from the defense nor from the court council."
Speaking about the Tolaj case, she said that during the whole process she received "hostile treatment," and that the reason for this was the decision to include information obtained from wiretapping in the case, "which included chief prosecutor Jaroslava Novotna and former president of EULEX judges Francesco Flori".
"That's why the judges were against me during the whole process," she asserted, and added that was "never treated in such a way as a prosecutor - it seemed as if I was the criminal in this case, not Ilir Tolaj."
Bamiej also revealed that she "personally told Francesco Flori he had been found out during the wiretapping and asked him if he met with people that were wiretapped."
"He admitted that he met with those people and signed a statement that he met with Ejup Kamberi. He told me that Kamberi told him he wanted to talk about the (Fatmir) Limaj case, but Francesco nevertheless again met with this man in connection with the Tolaj case," said Bamieh and wondered "what business did Flori have meeting with people connected to the investigation."
"They want to charge me for procedural violations and they want to arrest me, and all the while Flori was meeting with people during investigative procedures of that case," she added.
Bamieh claims that chief prosecutor Jaroslava Novotna blackmailed her, and "demonized her in various secret correspondence that she sent to Brussels," allegedly because of her poor performance, "in fact because Bamieh demanded an investigation against Novotna as well," writes the daily.
According to her, Brussels has now started to deal only with the investigation against Flori, but not Novotna.
Speaking about investigations into privatizations, the suspended prosecutor said she started working on those but was "stopped" and cited as an example the case of the American University.
When asked, she confirmed that in one case the name of the first deputy prime minister of Kosovo, Behgjet Pacolli, was mentioned, and noted also the case of Egia Bau from Prizren, as well as the FAN factory in Podujevo.
Bamieh believes that "the case when a bomb was planted in a Priština cafe" will not "end well" because of the lack of time, and that "they want to close the case because there are allegations of corruption."
She warned about "tremendous costs" that the EULEX mission has in its investigations and cited as an example deputy chief prosecutor Jonathan Ratel's "trips around the whole world" while investigating the Medicus illegal organ transplantations case, "while it all ended with a six month imprisonment (ruling)."
Bamieh also mentioned her own cases that resulted in convictions from three to 25 years in prison.
Asked what political influence the government of Hashim Thaci had on investigative processes led by EULEX, Bamieh said:
"There was a certain Romial Pochar. He is from France. He was a political adviser to then Chief of Mission Xavier De Marnhac and was very close to Thaci. In fact, he went to work for Thaci after he ended his employment with EULEX. He was a political adviser and also one of the people who were contacted by an intermediary of Tolaj with the goal of setting Tolaj free. And for all this there is surveillance (data) that confirms it," the daily quoted the prosecutor as saying.