Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Kosovo (YIHR Kosovo) and Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Serbia (YIHR Serbia) condemn and strongly oppose the decision of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj to appoint the former KLA commander, Sylejman Selimi as his political advisor.
This decision came days after Mr. Selimi was released on bail, after serving more than 5 years in prison of his total serving of 7 years. Sylejman Selimi was convicted for war crimes against the civilian population during 1998-1999.
In addition to Mr. Haradinaj generous action, other state leaders have visited Sylejman Selimi after his release from prison and have described him as a hero of Albanian people. President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, said that “With the living hero in freedom, General Sylejman Selimi, Kosovo is better and safer”.
Such appointments and statements are extremely concerning and therefore unacceptable for us. Persons who committed war crimes should stay away from state institutions. The decision to appoint Mr. Selimi as a political adviser points to the lack of seriousness and lack of Government’s commitment to justice, reconciliation and peace.
YIHR – Kosovo and YIHR – Serbia as organizations working in dealing with the past and transitional justice call on all political leaders in Kosovo to stop any plan for involvement and glorification of war criminals in political and public arena. Instead, their main focus should be on recognizing and achieving justice for victims, survivors and missing persons from the war in Kosovo.
We, as young people from Kosovo and Serbia, will always be against glorification of war criminals in both states. And we are determined to continue opposing biased and nationalistic narratives and working to build peace on the basis of respect for all victims.