2009 Country Reports on Terrorism - Kosovo
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||5 August 2010|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2009 Country Reports on Terrorism - Kosovo, 5 August 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c63b63b8.html [accessed 12 December 2013]|
|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.|
In 2009, there were no direct acts of terrorism in Kosovo, although Islamist extremists were involved in domestic and international terrorism plots and extremists continued to maintain links to organized crime. The Kosovo government and the European Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) monitored suspected terrorist activity throughout the year. The recently-established Kosovo Intelligence Agency (AKI) and EULEX suspected that some of the many Islamic non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Kosovo were involved in suspicious activities, particularly in laundering money for future terrorist acts in the Middle East. The government sought to prevent extremists from using NGOs to gain a foothold in Kosovo.
The Kosovo Police (KP) and EULEX Police Counterterrorism Units (CTUs) were primarily responsible for Kosovo's counterterrorism efforts. The KP's CTU continued to suffer from a lack of resources, training, and expertise. On July 22, the KP CTU became fully independent, with EULEX acting only in a monitoring, mentoring, and advising role. The KP CTU focused on preventing terrorist attacks and training and equipping its officers.
Porous borders that were easily crossed by individuals trafficking in people, weapons, and narcotics hampered Kosovo's counterterrorism efforts. The Kosovo Border Patrol (KBP) and KFOR (NATO Kosovo Force) jointly patrolled the "Green Border" perimeter, the area where there are no official manned borders or border gates. The KBP and KFOR patrols along the "Green Border" were conducted with their cross national counterparts along the Macedonian, Montenegrin, and Albanian borders. Poorly paid border and customs officials were susceptible to bribery and corruption.
Still, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has made modest progress improving border security. Kosovo passports have a wide range of security features; including rainbow printing, optically variable ink, and UV light reflection.
The Kosovo Special Prosecutor's Office (KSPO), which was established in September 2006, conducted all governmental terrorism investigations in 2009. The KSPO reported that it had one case with terrorism charges in the trial phase and was pursuing an additional 10 active cases. Five cases, including holdovers from prior years, were inactive at year's end. On March 13, the Kosovo Supreme Court, consisting of a combined panel of three international and two local judges, overturned Florim Ejupi's June 2008 conviction on terrorism-related charges and acquitted him of all charges, citing a lack of evidence. Ejupi had been sentenced to 40 years imprisonment for the 2001 "Nis Express" bus bombing case near Podujeve/Podujevo that killed 11 Kosovo Serbs and injured 40 others.
The Government of Kosovo cooperated closely with the United States on combating terrorism. On September 23, it deported Betim Kaziu, a U.S. citizen, to the United States. On September 24, the Eastern District of New York charged Kaziu with conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. According to the indictment and other documents filed by the government, Kaziu traveled to Pakistan to obtain training for violent activities and then attempted to join al-Shabaab, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization that operates in Somalia. In addition, Kaziu attempted to travel to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Balkans to fight against U.S. armed forces. Ultimately, Kaziu traveled to Kosovo, where he was arrested by Kosovo law enforcement authorities in late August.
On July 27, FBI agents in North Carolina arrested Hysen Sherifi, along with six other men preparing for acts of terrorism. Sherifi, a 24-year-old Kosovo native, was a legal U.S. resident living in North Carolina. Sherifi was charged with multiple counts of conspiracy. As part of the conspiracy, the indictment alleges Sherifi traveled to Kosovo in July 2008 to engage in violent extremist activities, then returned in April to raise support for the mujahedin. Sherifi and the others were arrested before they could carry out any terrorist acts.
 Prior to that, EULEX's Police Executive Department (PED) exercised direct supervision over its KP counterparts. The KP and EULEX received information and analytical support from the Office of Criminal Intelligence, a division within EULEX's PED and the KP Department of Criminal Analysis.