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Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 - Kosovo

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 30 April 2014
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 - Kosovo, 30 April 2014, available at: [accessed 22 October 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: The Government of Kosovo continued to cooperate with the United States on counterterrorism-related issues in 2013, and demonstrated progress in improving its counterterrorism measures. Kosovo adopted amendments to legislation, including part of a new Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), and made strides in law-enforcement actions against terrorists. Because the security and political situation in northern Kosovo continued to limit the government's ability to exercise its authority in that region, the cooperation of the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR) and EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) with the Kosovo Police was particularly important to maintaining a safe and secure environment and strengthening the rule of law, including at the borders. Although Kosovo and neighboring Serbia did not directly cooperate on counterterrorism issues, in 2013, the governments implemented an Integrated Border Management (IBM) agreement with joint checkpoints. In April, Kosovo and Serbia signed an EU-facilitated agreement on normalizing relations, which should help address the security situation in the north and improve the ability of the government of Kosovo to exercise its authority there. Kosovo government institutions have been aware since 2012 that a small group of Kosovars have traveled to fight in Syria.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Kosovo's Criminal Code (CC) allows for prosecution of terrorism crimes, including participation in terrorist groups. It defines a terrorist group as a structured group of more than two persons, established over a period of time and acting in concert to commit terrorism. Kosovo does not have a specific statute that criminalizes participation in or support for a military group that operates outside of Kosovo.

Kosovo's parliament approved a new CC and Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) in December 2012 that took effect on January 1, 2013. The new CC preserves the UN model on counterterrorism criminal legislation established in the previous code. It raises the punishment for terrorism-related crimes and creates additional terrorism offenses, such as weapons offenses or intrusion into computer systems. In addition, the new CC permits prosecution for attempt to commit a terrorist act. The new CPC grants Kosovo authorities a greater flexibility to investigate criminal acts during the planning stage to prevent crimes and terrorist acts. Furthermore, the CPC includes an integrated confiscation process that should ensure the confiscation of instrumentalities of criminal acts, such as terrorist funds or weapons. Also in January, Kosovo passed the Law on Extended Powers of Confiscation, which gives even greater powers to confiscate property even if the defendant is deceased or a fugitive. Kosovo courts will admit evidence from other countries more easily, thus allowing prosecution of international counterterrorism investigations in Kosovo.

Kosovo Police (KP), the Kosovo Customs Authority, and the Kosovo Border Police (KBP) have received ample counterterrorism training and equipment from U.S. and European organizations. However, problems exist with communications and information sharing among police units, and KP faces resource constraints that can interfere with its ability to track suspected individuals. Prosecutors have received minimal training in prosecuting terrorism cases.

The KBP monitors entry and exit at all border crossing points (BCPs), including the airport, via the Border Management System (BMS). At the request of Police Directorates, KBP can track suspects' movements in and out of Kosovo and inform the relevant authorities as necessary. However, BMS does not always function properly and is often offline. The KBP assisted the Directorate Against Terrorism in tracking potential suspects of terrorism activities, including five of seven arrested in November 2013, who were listed in the Kosovo Border System Watch List. (This Watch List contains approximately 200 persons considered to be potential suspects for terrorism.)

Since 2012, Kosovo has issued Biometric Passports. In December 2013, it also began issuing Biometric ID cards. These documents contain advanced biometric data. As of 2013, KBP at Pristina's Adem Jashari Airport receives the Advanced Passenger Name Record (APNR) list from Turkish Airlines via e-mail. KBP is currently working with the Civil Aviation Agency to receive APNR through an automated database. The Law on Border Control that entered into force in January 2013 requires that air carriers submit the APNR. During 2013, KBP officers attended and completed a number of training events or courses related to detecting and combating terrorism.

Implementation of the 2012 Integrated Border Management (IBM) agreement, under which Kosovo and Serbia jointly manage four crossing points and exchange data related to preventing and detecting criminal activity, has helped strengthen Kosovo's border security. Despite implementation of IBM, however, much of the traffic into northern Kosovo enters through illegal bypass roads that circumvent the official checkpoints. Despite KFOR, EULEX, and Government of Kosovo cooperation, weak rule of law in the north and a porous northern border limited counterterrorism efforts.

In November, the Government of Kosovo arrested seven people in Pristina and Gjilan/Gnjilane accused of plotting terrorist attacks in Kosovo. Two are believed to have participated in fighting alongside Syrian rebels. Two others are also suspected in an attack against two American missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Four of the suspects were arrested as they attempted to buy weapons from undercover KP. Weapons and explosives were found in the suspects' houses.

In 2013, the Directorate against Terrorism opened 10 cases. Most were for terrorism-related offenses, and one was related to preparation of a terrorist act. In two cases, the Directorate filed criminal proceedings against six individuals, resulting in their detention. The Directorate also assisted with six cases in one EU country. Exchange of information with different countries has improved. In several cases, the Directorate assisted and cooperated well with U.S. authorities.

Problems that deter effective host-government law enforcement and border security efforts include the absence of legislation to prosecute foreign fighters. The KP's Directorate against Terrorism experienced resource constraints and communications problems in investigating and tracking suspicious individuals.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Kosovo is not a member of a Financial Action Task Force-styled regional body. In December 2012, the Kosovo Parliament adopted revisions to the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, thus strengthening legislation passed in 2010. The amendments brought Kosovo closer to full compliance with international anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance standards, created enforcement mechanisms for the examination of reporting entities, and more narrowly defined terrorist financing. Kosovo still lacks an appropriate registration and monitoring system to track NGOs that receive funding from suspicious entities, however. The Central Bank of Kosovo (CBK) and Kosovo's commercial banks have begun monitoring cross-border banking operations in order to adhere to international oversight requirements. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:

Regional and International Cooperation: Kosovo's membership in many regional and international organizations has been blocked because many countries do not recognize its independence, which impedes cooperation on many issues, including counterterrorism.

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