Image by jicégé, via Wikimedia Commons.  Accessed 21.06.2018

 

A number of businessmen with links to organised crime and parallel security structures in the Serb-dominated part of Kosovo have been allowed to establish themselves as legitimate businessmen in Serbia and join a wider patron-client network in exchange for enforcing Belgrade’s political directives in a region that has been cut off from Serbia since 1999.

It is now known that some of those individuals played the role of informal diplomats who helped secure a deal which installed Kosovo’s current Prime Minister into power. However, the price of such arrangements is reflected in the further degradation of the rule of law and increased systemic corruption.

Impact Points

  • The political and business footprint of these informal officers of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) is the price the SNS paid to gain firm control over political representatives of Kosovo Serbs. It also reveals the scale of informal governance in a captured state.
  • According to press reports (N1, Danas), personal and business connections of two particular individuals influenced voting in Kosovo’s new government. The votes of Serb deputies in the Kosovo parliament – under the direct control of Belgrade – provided the thin majority needed to allow Ramush Haradinaj to become Prime Minister last September. The Kosovo Albanian guerrilla leader-turned-businessman is wanted by Serbia for alleged war crimes committed during the 1999 war in Kosovo.
  • With the assistance of politically exposed persons from the inner circle of Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vučić, the newly-established businessmen were able to insert themselves as subcontractors on several lucrative infrastructure projects.