08 May 2009

Colombia expels Kosovo terrorist leader

The Kosovo terrorist leader and war criminal Agim Ceku was expelled from Colombia yesterday.

The AP report and others imply Ceku was expelled as a result of an Interpol 'red notice', although this is not accurate.

Back in 2006, Interpol had clarified its position with regard to Ceku in a press release.

According to the AP, Colombia had invited Ceku for "a conference on demobilizing guerrilla movements...which was organized by President Alvaro Uribe's peace commissioner and attended by Uribe himself as well as by Guatemala's president, Alvaro Colom."

It is not clear who invited Ceku to the conference.

In the US Joshua Keating of FP is trying to imply this is a political issue and trying to equate it with Interpol's red notice on Rosales who fled to Peru.

Here is my reply to Keating:

"Mr. Keating, sorry to have to say this but you obviously haven't done any research about this and you don't really know what you're talking about.

Firstly, Interpol never issued a 'red notice' as you state. In fact, Ceku has been the subject of a 'diffusion' notice since 2002. This was suspended while he was PM of Kosovo, as the Interpol press release explains, but as he ceased to be PM in Jan 2008, there is now no cause for immunity:

"Mr Ceku was never the subject of an INTERPOL international wanted persons notice, otherwise known as a Red Notice. In fact, Mr Ceku was the subject of a ‘diffusion’ notice sent to INTERPOL by Serbian authorities on 4 June 2002 via INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Belgrade. That diffusion requested his arrest with a view to extradition based on an arrest warrant issued on 18 March 2002 by a Serbian court on genocide charges. That diffusion was duly registered in INTERPOL’s database of wanted persons.

On 10 March 2006, Mr Ceku was appointed Prime Minister of Kosovo. In line with international jurisprudence that international arrest warrants against persons enjoying immunity under international law – such as Foreign Affairs Ministers and Heads of State and Heads of Government – should not be issued, INTERPOL’s policy is not to process such information, or if already processed and registered, not to maintain it in its active databases in such circumstances.

Accordingly, based on the above and the status of the civilian government of Kosovo under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999), the General Secretariat decided to suspend all information concerning Mr Ceku currently registered in INTERPOL’s databases during the time he continues to serve as the Prime Minister of Kosovo. All INTERPOL National Central Bureaus in its 184 member countries have been informed of this decision.

Contrary to media reports and public statements by certain officials in Serbia, INTERPOL did not ‘abolish’ the Serbian arrest warrant, since INTERPOL cannot and does not attempt to abolish arrest warrants issued by national courts. Nonetheless, INTERPOL is required by its rules not to circulate and register information or otherwise co-operate with national authorities when the requested co-operation is not compatible with the organization’s rules."

What is a 'diffusion' notice? Interpol again explains:

"Another useful tool in the apprehension of fugitives is the ‘diffusion’, a wanted persons message sent by NCBs (National Central Bureaus) through I-24/7. Unlike the more formal notice, a diffusion can be sent immediately by an NCB to some or all INTERPOL member countries."

[In this case it was the Serbian NCB as confirmed by BBC Mundo (in Spanish).]

Presumably you are also aware of Ceku's past? Jane's Defence Weekly (10 May 1999) confirmed that Ceku had "masterminded the successful HV [Croatian] offensive at Medak [in 1993] and in 1995 was one of the key planners of the successful Operation ‘Storm" which resulted in what EU Special Envoy to the Former Yugoslavia Carl Bildt called on Aug. 7, 1995, "the most efficient ethnic cleansing we've seen in the Balkans." Both these actions resulted in 'sealed' warrants being issued by the ICTY. (THE SUNDAY TIMES (UK), Sunday, September 3, 2000 EUROPE
KLA faces trials for war crimes on Serbs, Inquiry turns on Albanians, Tom Walker, Diplomatic Correspondent)

You are also presumably aware of the crimes of the Kosovo Protection Force (KPC) described in a UN report in 2000 as "criminal activities-killings, ill-treatment/torture, illegal policing, abuse of authority, intimidation, breaches of political neutrality and hate speech"

Your post also suggests that the Rosales warrant is political, but you don't back this up with any facts. The man is charged with illicit enrichment while in public office. Perhaps you would care to explain how he became so rich with properties in Venezuela and Miami while in public office? Perhaps you are so used to turning a blind eye to the illicit enrichment of your politicians that you think it normal?"


Update: Interpol press release on Rosales red notice:

"Following a request from Venezuelan authorities, the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters has issued a Red Notices, or international wanted persons notice, for a former mayor wanted for corruption.

Manuel Antonio Rosales Guerrero is wanted by Venezuela in connection with charges relating to the time he held the position of Governor of Zulia between 2004 and 2008.

A Red Notice is only issued by INTERPOL if the request from the member country (Venezuela) meets the requirements of the Organization’s constitution which prohibits any actions of a political, racial, religious or military character.

Each of INTERPOL’s 187 member countries is a sovereign nation and it is the decision of the country where a person subject to a Red Notice is located, to make an independent determination whether its national laws permit the individual’s arrest or extradition and under what circumstances.

"INTERPOL is fully committed to the rule of law, and it believes that the best forum for challenging arrest warrants or requests for extradition by national judicial authorities is in front of the relevant judicial body in the country where the person being sought is located,” said Ronald K. Noble, INTERPOL's Secretary General.

Red Notices are one of the ways in which INTERPOL informs its 187 member countries that an arrest warrant has been issued for an individual by a judicial authority and that the requesting authority will seek the person’s extradition if apprehended. An INTERPOL Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant.

Red Notices are only issued to INTERPOL member countries if the requesting National Central Bureau has provided all the information required by the General Secretariat, including details of a valid arrest warrant from the country in question.

Many of INTERPOL’s member countries however, consider a Red Notice a valid request for provisional arrest, especially if they are linked to the requesting country via a bilateral extradition treaty. In cases where arrests are made based on a Red Notice, these are made by national police officials in INTERPOL member countries."

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