The EU’s law and justice mission in Kosovo, EULEX, postponed the first trial under its mandate on Monday due to a protest by Serb judicial workers opposed to the work of the mission which they see as supporting Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.
The trial, against two Kosovo Serbs accused of robbery in Leposavic, was postponed for an as yet unspecified date. The two men were indicted in June last year, charged with breaking into the home of an elderly couple in Gnjezane village, assaulting the couple and taking money and other valuables.
“The presiding judge has decided to postpone the trial because of strong advice regarding the security situation”, EULEX said in a statement. An EULEX spokeswoman refused to elaborate on the details of the threat.
Around 150 Kosovo Serbs, mainly former employees of the courts, gathered in front of the court at noon and blocked both entrances to the building, insisting on clarifications on the status and laws ruling EULEX’s mandate before any trials are held.
Kosovo Police Spokesman for Mitrovica, Besim Hoti, told Balkan Insight that the protest was “calm and without incidents, while the protesters disbanded peacefully”.
The courts in Mitrovica shut down last February, two days after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February. After negotiations with Belgrade, the United Nations mission UNMIK opened the Municipal and District Courts in Serb-populated northern Kosovo in October.