Mr. Ceku's Disorderly House

Published on November 26, 2007, The Wall Street Journal

Category: Organized Crime in Kosovo

The recent column by Agim Ceku ("Kosovo Wants Independence," Nov. 15) presents the critic with what military planners would call a target-rich environment. Virtually every assertion about Kosovo's prospects as an independent state screams out for rebuttal.

For the sake of brevity, let us focus on just one: Mr. Ceku's suggestion that Kosovo, under his U.N.-supervised administration, has "put our structures in place and our house in order." This month's report by the European Commission tells a very different story:

"Due to a lack of clear political will to fight corruption, and to insufficient legislative and implementing measures, corruption is still widespread," the report said. "Civil servants are still vulnerable to political interference, corrupt practices and nepotism" and "Kosovo's public administration remains weak and inefficient," the report added.

Furthermore, "the composition of the government anti-corruption council does not sufficiently guarantee its impartiality," and "little progress can be reported in the area of organized crime and combating of trafficking in human beings."

War crime trials are being "hampered by the unwillingness of the local population to testify" and "there is still no specific legislation on witness protection in place," according to the report. "Civil society organizations remain weak" and "awareness of women's rights in society is low."

If this is the "house" Mr. Ceku claims "is in order" in advance of what he hopes will be conferral of independence, one shudders to think what disorder would look like. To be sure, Mr. Ceku makes use of the usual dodge that Kosovo's progress is limited by the absence of "clarity on our future status," namely independence. But Taiwan, by contrast, has gone without such clarity for over half a century and is nothing like the disaster over which Mr. Ceku presides.

Instead of falling for his fairy tales about Kosovo's fitness for sovereignty the international community needs to open its eyes to the reality of this corrupt, criminal, and nonviable entity. Granting independence to Kosovo, which would mean handing de jure power to those responsible for this state of affairs, can only turn a disaster into a catastrophe.


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