The British MP, Alicia Kearns, has stated that if the attack was carried out with the support of the Serbs from Serbia, there should be actions taken by the UK, the US, and the EU, as the responsibility for these actions is primary, especially for Belgrade, which has constantly avoided consequences.
Kearns wrote that there is no room for 'false balance' when the vice president of a political party has taken up arms and committed the murder of a police officer on duty.
"Worryingly, Radojicic claims that he is happy to be sent to Serbia to face the prosecution, but not to Kosovo where the crime was committed and where a family is mourning. Radojicic must face justice in Kosovo, where a family's most loved one has been stolen, he can face him in court. But the responsibility extends beyond this immediate act. Given the type of equipment the militants had, there are serious questions as to whether they were directly supported and organized by the Government of Serbia. The leader of the armed group - who claimed responsibility - was Milan Radojicic, vice president of the Lista Serbe party and a confidant of the president Vuçiq. The current situation in Kosovo and Serbia requires a determined and statesmanlike response. Impunity for acts that foster contempt for law and order cannot be tolerated. Accountability, open dialogue and strong security measures are essential to guarantee lasting stability in the region. It is time for Great Britain to adopt a stronger policy in the Balkans", she wrote in an opinion piece for Politiko.
Alicia Kearns: Great Britain must find its foothold in the Balkans
Impunity breeds contempt for the rule of law and order. We are seeing this in the Balkans, where organized attacks on law enforcement and increasingly frequent violence by Serbian secessionists in Kosovo and Bosnia require urgent international attention.
The consequences of failure for a region that has already suffered so much in recent times cannot be imagined. We urgently need the international community to reassess its approach, prioritize accountability and strengthen security measures to pave the way for a peaceful and prosperous future free from the conflicts of the past.
Recent events in Kosovo have revealed a deeply disturbing escalation of violence. A policeman was tragically killed this weekend during a brazen attack in the north of the country. Looking at the thirty or so combatants in charge, we see more soldier-like individuals armed with personnel carriers and military grade systems. I warned about the danger of such groups operating in the north of Kosovo before in a parliamentary speech in July.
Given the type of equipment the militants had, there are serious questions as to whether they were directly supported and organized by the Government of Serbia. The leader of the armed group - who claimed responsibility - was Milan Radojicic, vice president of the Lista Serbe party and a confidant of the president Vuçiq. If the attack was carried out with the support of Serbs from Serbia - which he claims it was not - there should be action taken by the UK, US and EU. There is no room for 'false balance' if it appears that the vice president of a political party has taken up arms and committed the murder of a serving policeman.
Responsibility for these actions is paramount, especially for Belgrade, which has consistently avoided the consequences. Worryingly, Radojicic claims he is happy to be sent to Serbia to face the prosecution, but not to Kosovo where the crime was committed and where a family is mourning. Radojicic must face justice in Kosovo, where a family's most loved one has been stolen, he can face him in court. But the responsibility extends beyond this immediate act.
Despite Kosovo's commitment to cooperation with Great Britain, the US and the EU, it has faced a series of unfair accusations, starting after the Serbian government supported a boycott of municipal elections by Kosovo Serbs in the north. We and our allies expressed our support for elections to be held before we withdraw and punish Kosovo for appointing mayors, due to the lack of participation of ethnic Serbs. There was little or no criticism of the Serbian government, despite their well-documented ties to the Lista Serbe party and their support for the boycott.
It is time for an urgent reassessment that places fairness and balance at the heart of our approach to Kosovo-Serbia relations. The recent trend of punishing Kosovo and encouraging it Vuçiqincreasingly autocratic, it is taking us deeper into a cycle of violence, instability and malice, while the light at the end of the tunnel of normalization, and EU membership for both sides grows darker and darker.
It is also worth remembering that Serbia has a GDP of $63 billion and a military budget of $1.4 billion compared to Kosovo's GDP of $9.4 billion and military spending of just over $54 million. This is not an equal race and our approach must recognize Kosovo's vulnerability and need for assistance.
First, we need to strengthen security measures. The United Kingdom, as a member of the Quint, should take a more active role in the peace dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo. Our current passivity is unsustainable in the face of such a volatile situation. The US and EU must also take a firm stand when addressing Serbia's leadership for its role in fueling instability, alignment with Putin, and increasingly autocratic tendencies at home and abroad. President Vuçiq should not be exempt from criticism. In fact, his first meeting the morning after the policeman's murder was with the Russian ambassador to Serbia.
Achieving a balance between incentives and consequences is vital to ensure accountability and progress. Prompt and equal accountability for acts of aggression is essential to deter further violence while undermining any notion of appeasement. These basic 'tenants' of negotiation need to be remembered and reintegrated into Quint's collective approach.
We must also negotiate from a position of strength by increasing deterrence measures and adding 4,500 KFOR troops. The UK is also due to rejoin the EUFOR peacekeeping force in Bosnia when it is renewed in November. If Russia vetoes its renewal, NATO must be ready to deploy an alternative peacekeeping force in Bosnia to avoid a power vacuum.
Any escalation in the Balkans would have ripple effects across Europe, making it necessary to strengthen security measures. EULEX should conduct an impartial investigation, without political interference, to shed light on the involvement of Belgrade authorities or actors in the murder of the Kosovar policeman and the alleged orchestrated road blockades. If Belgrade is found to be involved in any way, there should be swift and strong consequences. Additionally, KFOR must share information on weapons caches and movements with participating member states to effectively combat illegal activities.
We must promote inter-ethnic dialogue and understanding. The Government of Kosovo must outline its unwavering commitment to support the Kosovo Serb communities, ensuring their representation and active participation in democracy without unjustified foreign interference. The commitment of the five EU states that do not recognize Kosovo's sovereignty will provide a significant boost to Kosovo's trajectory towards EU and NATO membership, strengthening the inviolability of its territorial integrity.
Finally, the creation of a security alliance between the US, Great Britain, other NATO member states and Kosovo should be explored until Kosovo achieves full NATO membership. Such an agreement would address immediate security concerns and pave the way for long-term stability in the region.
The current situation in Kosovo and Serbia requires a determined and statesmanlike response. Impunity for acts that foster contempt for law and order cannot be tolerated. Accountability, open dialogue and strong security measures are essential to guarantee lasting stability in the region. It is time for the UK to adopt a stronger policy in the Balkans. We are no longer limited by the EU consensus and non-recognising states, and we need to be more innovative in our diplomacy, so we need to find not only our voice, but also the backbone, stop standing on the sidelines and take action where we have a duty to support our allies.
We own the potential success and failure of Kosovo and have a greater responsibility than most to stand by them and ensure that we do not see a return to the brutality of the 1990s.
Failure is not an option in the era of preventive diplomacy, and action must be taken now to prevent further escalation and ensure a peaceful future for all in the Balkans.