Monday, November 10, 2014 6:08 pm
EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said Monday she appointed a 72-year-old Frenchman to investigate allegations of corruption at the European Union’s justice mission in Kosovo.
EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) and Kosovo judicial authorities have already launched a joint probe into allegations that some top EULEX officials accepted bribes to drop high-profile cases against local criminals.
Jean Paul Jacque has been asked to report back in four months’ time.
“Today, I have appointed Mr. Jean Paul Jacque as independent expert to review EULEX Kosovo mandate implementation with a focus on the handling of the corruption allegations,” Mogherini said in a statement.
“I have asked Mr. Jacque to revert to me within four months with his report and his recommendations,” Mogherini said.
The bribery allegations were made two weeks ago by Maria Bamieh, a British prosecutor at EULEX, who has been suspended pending an internal inquiry into leaks of confidential documents.
She accused EU mission chief prosecutor Jaroslava Novotna, a Czech national, and former EU chief judge Francesco Florit of Italy of taking bribes from local criminals to drop three cases of organised crime, including murder. The bribes were allegedly taken in 2012 in 2013.
EULEX is the EU’s largest civilian mission. It was launched in 2008 in order to strengthen the rule of law in Kosovo, just months after it broke away from Serbia. Currently it has some 1,500 members.
EULEX prosecutors and judges have the power to step in and take on sensitive cases that cannot be handled effectively by the local judiciary.
Mogherini underlined 72-year-old Jacque’s more than 40 years experience as a law professor, including at the University of Strasbourg, as well as his work directing legal services for the European Council from 1992 to 2008.