European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo

The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX Kosovo) is a deployment of European Union (EU) police and civilian resources to Kosovo. This Common Security and Defence Policy diplomatic mission [1] is the international civil presence in Kosovo operating under the umbrella of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) established by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244.

Serbia and a number of countries had initially strictly objected to the mission and supported UNMIK, demanding approval by the United Nations Security Council, which was rendered in late 2008.[2] After signing a five-point plan between Serbia and the UN, the UN Security Council approved the addition of the EULEX as an assistance mission subjected to the UNMIK, rather than outright replacing it.

The mission included around 3,200 police and judicial personnel (1,950 international, 1,250 local),[3] and began a four-month deployment process on 16 February 2008.[4][5] In September 2012, the Kosovo Assembly voted to extend EULEX to 2014.[6] In April 2014, the Kosovo Assembly once again voted to extend EULEX's mandate, this time until June 2016.[7] The European Council decided to extend the mandate of the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo until 14 June 2018. Current Head of Mission of EULEX is Ms. Alexandra Papadopoulou [8]


In 2013 "an international panel of judges from the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo"[9] convicted 5 people for illegal organ trade. The charges don’t relate directly to the war years, they are centered on Medicus, a transplant clinic in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital. The prosecution argued that, in 2008, a urologist named Lutfi Dervishi began performing kidney transplants there for money. (The sale of organs is outlawed everywhere in the world except Iran.)

Heads of Mission of EULEX

Head of MissionCountryTerm of office
Alexandra PapadopoulouGreece2016–present
Gabriele MeucciItaly2014–2016
Bernd BorchardtGermany2012–2014
Xavier Bout de MarnhacFrance2010–2012
Yves de KermabonFrance2008–2010

Composition and deployment

A 1,800 to 1,900 strong mission was approved by the European Council on 14 December 2007. This was later increased to 2,000 personnel due to an increase in expected instability due to a lack of an agreement with Serbia.[4] It consists of police officers (including four anti-riot units[10]), prosecutors and judges - hence focusing on issues on the rule of law, including democratic standards. The size of the mission means Kosovo is home to the largest number of EU civil servants outside of Brussels.[11] Head of the mission is accountable to the European Union member states.[12]

The final decision on the mission was planned to be taken on 28 January 2008.[13] This was postponed due to concerns over possible negative effects on the second round of the presidential election in Serbia on 3 February 2008 and the possible signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with Serbia on that date.[14] The officially voiced reason for the postponement is the lack of a legal basis (through a UNSC resolution or something similar) for the mission.[15] A Joint Action was approved on 4 February 2008 and the final decision was made on 16 February 2008.[3][16][17] A joint action is a method of implementing the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and are binding on member states.[18]

Spain does not take part in EULEX mission, since legal questions over how it replaces the UN administration have not been answered. In June 2008, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos told a meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers in Slovenia that Spain will not send its contingent to the EULEX mission until there has been a formal transfer of powers from the United Nations.[19]

Apart from EU members, third parties Turkey, Switzerland, Norway, Canada and the United States also take part.[20]

Political situation

The EU has been divided on whether to recognize an independent Kosovo (for individual member states' stances on recognising Kosovo, see map to the right) without international and Serbian approval. The agreement was seen as ensuring the unity of the EU on the question, however the Presidency announced it would not amount to recognition of an independent Kosovo.[21]

The EU has stated its mission will be legally based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, which introduced the international rule of Kosovo in 1999.[21] However, the EU force, which was previously planned to be covered by Security council's approval of Ahtisaari proposal, has not received a new U.N. Security Council mandate due to the opposition from Russia. Russia specifically blocked transfer of U.N. facility to the EU mission.[22][23] Serbia also views the mission as an EU recognition of an independent Kosovo.[24]

In November 2008, the EU accepted the demand of Serbia not to implement the plan of Ahtisaari through EULEX and to be neutral regarding the status of Kosovo. On the other hand, EULEX will be accepted by Serbia and the UN Security Council.[25]

The Kosovo Parliament is expected to ratify Kosovo's first bilateral agreement with the EU on 7 September 2012, extending the mandate of the EU rule of law mission, EULEX, till June 2014.[26]


On 25 August 2009, the EULEX mission was subject to violent protests, resulting in the damaging of 28 EU vehicles. Three Kosovo police officers were injured in the clashes which resulted in 21 arrests by the Kosovo police. The attack was organised by a group called Vetëvendosja ("Self-Determination") in reaction to EULEX's police cooperation with Serbia and its actions in Kosovo.[27] There is resentment towards the EU mission for exercising its powers over Kosovo while mediating between the state and Serbia. Policies concentrating on crisis management, rather than resolution, as well as the pursuit of ethnic autonomy and its overly broad mandate over Kosovo's governance is at the stem of the discontent with the EU mission.[28]

Intermediary mediation

Special Investigative Task Force

In spring 2011, EULEX, with the full support of all the then 27 EU Member States, decided to set up a Special Investigative Task Force with the view to further the investigation into the allegations contained in the Council of Europe report of Dick Marty, in particular, about alleged organ theft by KLA.[29] On the request of the task force, the Kosovo Relocated Specialist Judicial Institution was proposed, to be based in The Hague.[30]


The European Court of Auditors in a 2012 report found that EULEX assistance has not been sufficiently effective. Although the EU helped to build capacity, notably in the area of customs, assistance to the police and the judiciary has had only modest success. Levels of organised crime and corruption in Kosovo remained high. The judiciary continued to suffer from political interference, inefficiency and a lack of transparency and enforcement. There had been almost no progress in establishing the rule of law in the north of Kosovo, the 2012 report stated.[31]

According to a February 2016 report by FOL, an accountability NGO in Kosovo, during the first 7 years of operation up until August 2015, EULEX judges delivered 47 verdicts on corruption cases and 23 verdicts on organised crime. This makes a total of 70 verdicts in these respective crimes since 2008. Numbers of convictions resulting from these verdicts was not provided to the researchers. In this period, EULEX prosecutors gained 24 indictments which amount to approximately a 6% indictment rate.[32]

According to Andrea Cappusela, a former ICO high official, from 2008-13, EULEX policy was to not encroach upon the political elite’s interests, or to only do so to protect its credibility; and in these cases to achieve the minimum necessary result. For war crimes, EULEX was much more successful, as these generally had less impact on current elite’s criminal activities and were less likely to expose widespread criminal practices, Cappusela concludes.[33]


In October 2014, British EULEX prosecutor Maria Bamieh, demanded a corruption inquiry against some of her colleagues, after she became aware that a senior civil servant at the Kosovan health ministry, held in prison after corruption charges, discussed his case with her superiors. Ms Bamieh, who claims to act as a whistleblower, cites several cases of corruption, dating back to 2012. She was suspended on 24 October.[34]

EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said she would appoint an independent legal expert to probe Eulex.[35][36]
On 24 July 2015, Parliament of Kosovo voted a resolution proposed by VV! that obligates Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga to ask the High Representative Mogherini to initiate investigations.[37]

See also


  1. "On ratification of the international agreement between the Republic of Kosovo and the European Union on the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo" (PDF). Republic of Kosovo. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  3. 1 2 Eulex website: What is Eulex? Archived 23 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 20 February 2010
  4. 1 2 "Serbia, Russia fury as Kosovo independence draws near | EU - European Information on Enlargement & Neighbours". 15 February 2008. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  5. Renata Goldirova (14 February 2008). "". Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  6. "Kosovo Approves EULEX Extension". Turkish Weekly. 11 September 2012. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  7. "Kosovo assembly adopts law on special court". B92. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  9. An Organ-Trafficking Conviction in Kosovo
  10. John, Mark (16 February 2008). "Factbox: EU launches Kosovo police and justice mission". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  11. de Kuijer, Pim (18 February 2008) [Comment] The 28th member state, EU Observer
  13. "Kosovo leaders agree a grand coalition, independence "top priority"". 7 January 2008. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  14. (12 January 2008). "EU mulling over timing of police mission to Kosovo - People's Daily Online". Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  15. "News - Politics - EU to postpone sending mission to Kosovo". B92. 15 January 2008. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  16. "News - Politics - EU adopts Kosovo mission plan in urgent procedure". B92. 4 February 2008. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  17. Joint Action 2008/124/CFSP of 4 February 2008 on the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, EULEX Kosovo
  18. de Witte, B.; Geelhoed, A.; Inghelram, J. (2008). "Legal Instruments, Decision-Making and EU Finances". In Kapteyn, Paul Joan George. The Law of the European Union and the European Communities: With Reference to Changes to be Made by the Lisbon Treaty. Kluwer Law International. pp. 295–296. ISBN 9789041128164.
  19. "Spain Holds Staff From EU Kosovo Mission". Archived from the original on 2012-07-03.
  20. "Croatia in Kosovo mission". Archived from the original on 17 February 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  21. 1 2 Vucheva, Elitsa and Renata Goldirova (14 December 2007) EU agrees on Kosovo mission, EU Observer
  22. "Premium content". 19 June 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  23. "Premium content". 29 May 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  24. Vucheva, Elitsa (17 December 2007) EU Kosovo mission 'unacceptable' for Serbia, EU Observer
  25. (7 November 2008). "EU accepts Belgrade's conditions for EULEX". Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  27. Phillips, Leigh (26 August 2009). "Violent protests against EU mission in Kosovo". EUobserver. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
  28. Kurti, Albin (2 September 2009). "Comment: Causing damage in Kosovo". EUobserver. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
  29. About SITF Archived 31 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  30. "Special Kosovo war crimes court to be set up in The Hague". Reuters. 15 January 2016.
  31. "Rule of law assistance to Kosovo not sufficiently effective". European Court of Editors. European Court of Editors. 30 October 2012.
  32. Calpin, Shaunna; Crossley, Gabriel David (2016). "EULEX: Anti-corruption and limits of quantitative assessment" (PDF). FOL. FOL. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  33. Calpin, Shaunna; Crossley, Gabriel David (2016). "EULEX: Anti-corruption and limits of quantitative assessment" (PDF). FOL. FOL. p. 15. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  34. Luck, Adam (2014-11-23). "British fraud hunter exposes EU staff on the take... in her own anti-corruption unit". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2014-12-08.
  35. "Kosovo EU bribe claims face independent inquiry". BBC News. 2014-11-05. Retrieved 2014-12-08.
  36. Bytyci, Fatos (2014-11-10). "Prosecutor at center of EU graft scandal in Kosovo says to sue". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-12-08.
  37. Resolution
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