Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Kosovo
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||31 July 2012|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Kosovo, 31 July 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/501fbcb0c.html [accessed 26 December 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This 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 cooperated with the United States on terrorism-related issues and made progress in advancing counterterrorism legislation, including the new Criminal Code and another package of laws that were in the Assembly at year's end. This legislation should enhance cooperation among Kosovo's departments to better control its borders and individuals entering the country as part of an integrated border management (IBM) plan. The Kosovo Police (KP) acquired biometric information capture equipment, which will contribute to the ability of authorities to process cross-border traffic and identify and locate individuals of interest in Kosovo. The KP Counterterrorism Unit (CTU) shed some of its personnel and responsibilities and was renamed the Department of Counterterrorism (DCT). The DCT was operational on an intelligence-gathering level, but needs to develop a cooperative relationship with relevant government agencies and the religious communities. The security and political situation in northern Kosovo limited the government's ability to exercise its authority in that area, where the NATO-led international security presence known as Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) bear responsibilities for contributing to a safe and secure environment and strengthening rule of law, including at the borders, respectively. Kosovo and neighboring Serbia had no direct cooperation on counterterrorism issues, as Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as an independent, sovereign country, although EULEX played an intermediary role on some law enforcement cooperation matters.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Kosovo made progress in advancing legislation to counter terrorism. The Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with U.S. Department of Justice resident legal advisors, drafted and submitted to the Kosovo Assembly a new Kosovo Criminal Code that has several articles to address terrorist acts, terrorist financing, and support for terrorism. The new articles substantially increase the penalties for terrorism offenses. The Kosovo Assembly also moved forward on three laws that together will enable Kosovo authorities to better control the country's borders and deal with aliens who raise terrorist concerns. When passed and implemented, the Law on Border Control will establish an IBM center to strengthen cooperation among government departments and require advance traveler data from airlines operating in Kosovo. The law will also promote cooperation with Kosovo's regional partners and strengthen the ability of the government to enforce existing laws by allowing for punitive measures against individuals who violate Kosovo's borders. The Law on Foreigners and the Law on Asylum will streamline the process for individuals seeking asylum or foreign resident status in Kosovo, making it easier for the KP to establish the identity of aliens who raise terrorist concerns; these laws will also make the system more resistant to abuse by individuals who try to enter Kosovo illegally and then transit to a third country.
In addition, government authorities worked closely with U.S. European Command officials who donated a number of mobile biometric information capture devices to the KP as part of an initiative to identify known or suspected terrorists, individuals who facilitate terrorist activity, and aliens who raise terrorist concerns. Using the devices, the Kosovo Border Policy (KBP) is now able to capture fingerprints, iris, and facial images of individuals who are refused admission at the Pristina airport or at a Kosovo Border Crossing Point; arrested for attempting to illegally enter or exit Kosovo; violate customs procedures; or apply for asylum or immigration benefits.
U.S. training programs, supplemented by donations of equipment through the office of Export and Border Related Security, improved the ability of Kosovo Customs and the KBP to control Kosovo's borders and detect and interdict weapons and other contraband at border crossing points.
The DCT is operational but continued to develop its capacity to fully perform functions outlined in its mandate. In 2011, the DCT focused on intelligence gathering operations and had a good working and information sharing relationship with regional partners and the U.S. government. There was good coordination between the DCT and other departments within the KP, including the KBP, and other government agencies such as Kosovo Customs and the Kosovo Intelligence Agency. There were 20 officers assigned to the DCT in 2011. Members of the department took part in a number of trainings in conjunction with U.S. funded programs, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and European partners.
The Kosovo Assembly established the Agency for Data Protection in early 2011 and initial steps were taken to establish the Agency during the course of the year.
Countering Terrorist Finance: The Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (LPMLTF) was adopted in 2010 and implemented in 2011. The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) that had operated under UNMIK auspices was recast as the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and the government made progress in transferring competencies to the new agency. Reporting requirements on transactions above 10,000 Euros (U.S. $12,400), suspicious transactions, structured transactions (repeated transactions below the threshold for reporting in an effort to avoid the reporting requirements), and most of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirements were implemented. Kosovo is still working to fully implement FATF requirements.
The U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance Economic Crimes Team placed an advisor in Pristina in April 2010. That advisor has worked with various counterparts to: improve the capacity of the FIU to gather financial intelligence and identify and analyze suspected money laundering and terrorist financing; improve the capacity of the Kosovo Police Economic Crimes and Corruption Directorate to investigate and prosecute money laundering and other economic crimes; enhance the Gaming Department's ability to monitor and deter potential money laundering through casinos and other gambling houses; improve the ability of the Tax Administration of Kosovo to promote voluntary compliance with tax law by increasing its capacity to identify and prosecute criminal tax violations; and increase the capacity of Kosovo Customs to identify and interdict bulk cash smuggling.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: The Government of Kosovo developed a number of initiatives to increase its cooperation within the region, most notably in connection with its immediate neighbors on the issue of border control. The KBP actively cooperated with Albania, Macedonia, and Montenegro to establish joint information centers and develop operational cooperation through joint patrols of the land borders between the countries. Over the summer, Albania and Kosovo operated a joint border crossing point at Vermica and the two governments now have plans to operate all mutual border crossings on a joint basis. The Government of Kosovo has also entered into discussions with the Government of Montenegro to operate a joint border crossing. The KP also supported regional law enforcement relationships and worked with the governments of Bulgaria and Turkey on border-related issues.