EU, U.S.: Priština should adopt amnesty law urgently

PRIŠTINA -- International officials in Kosovo asked on Wednesday for the Kosovo parliament to urgently adopt an amnesty law.

EU high representative in Kosovo Samuel Žbogar and ambassadors of EU countries and the U.S. believe that "a speedy adoption of the law on amnesty would be the decisive step towards the normalization of the relations between Kosovo and Serbia and safe integration of all the people in Kosovo into its institutions."

The amnesty concerning economic crimes refers only to northern Kosovo, which is predominantly populated by Serbs.

This law, in its proposed form, affects a narrow area and excludes crimes that resulted in serious injuries or death, but only pardons the economic crimes that were committed in relation to the calls for resistance, a joint statement says.

The signatories of the statement commended the Kosovo government's efforts to keep within the law the elements agreed on during the talks between Belgrade and Priština, which were facilitated in Brussels by the EU.

At the same time, a petition against the amnesty law is up for signing in Priština, where the assembly is set to vote on the bill on Thursday. A committee has accepted the draft.

The petition was started by a number of non-governmental organizations.

The Self-Determination Movement is still the greatest opponent of the law, while the remaining parties in the opposition have supported its adoption in general.

The bill did not get a two-third majority on July 4.

Unlike the first draft, when the amnesty was partial, the current one gives complete amnesty to all those who committed the crimes listed in the bill.

Radio Free Europe reported earlier that "the crimes include actions against the Constitutional system, armed rebellion, undermining the territorial integrity and Constitutional system, spying, illegal border crossing, inciting national, racial and religious hatred, unrest and intolerance, destruction or damage to property, arson, illegal possession of weapons, tax evasion and smuggling."