News / Europe

    Kosovo Adopts Amnesty for Minority Serbs

    FILE - Ethnics Serbs attend an Orthodox Easter mass at Saint Sava church in Mitrovica, Kosovo, May 5, 2013.FILE - Ethnics Serbs attend an Orthodox Easter mass at Saint Sava church in Mitrovica, Kosovo, May 5, 2013.
    x
    FILE - Ethnics Serbs attend an Orthodox Easter mass at Saint Sava church in Mitrovica, Kosovo, May 5, 2013.
    FILE - Ethnics Serbs attend an Orthodox Easter mass at Saint Sava church in Mitrovica, Kosovo, May 5, 2013.
    Reuters
    Kosovo adopted an amnesty on Thursday for minority Serbs who previously rebelled against the government, a significant step in settling relations with former master Serbia so both can move closer to the European Union.
     
    The law pardons local Serbs who agitated against the authority of Kosovo's government after the majority-Albanian territory declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
     
    It is an important component of an EU-brokered deal between Kosovo and Serbia, signed in April, that opened the door to EU accession talks for Belgrade and allows Pristina to extend its authority to a northern, Serb-populated pocket of Kosovo for the first time since a 1998-99 war.
     
    “In a fragile democracy, such as the one in which we live, laws aim to change reality for good,” Kosovo's deputy prime minister, Hajredin Kuci, told lawmakers before the vote.
     
    Ninety of parliament's 120 deputies voted in favor. Only the opposition Vetevendosje (Self-determination) party opposed the bill.
     
    The law pardons offenses including armed rebellion, espionage, inciting national, racial, religious or ethnic hatred, arson, illegal possession of weapons and endangering the territorial integrity of Kosovo.
     
    Some 50,000 Serbs in northern Kosovo have long rejected the authority of Pristina, its government, laws and courts. They have lived in a legal limbo since the war, their enclave operating de facto as part of the Serbian state.
     
    Armed Serbs burned down border posts after Kosovo's declaration of independence and erected barricades to cement the partition.
     
    Under the April accord, the north will be integrated into the Kosovo legal system, though implementation is fraught with risks in a region bristling with weapons and deep animosity.
     
    Serbia hopes it will be enough to clinch the start of EU accession talks in January 2014.
     
    Kosovo's Western backers urged the adoption of the amnesty this week as a “critical step” in integrating all of Kosovo's 1.7 million people.
     
    Serbia lost control over its southern province in 1999, when NATO bombed for 11 weeks to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanians by Serbian forces trying to crush a guerrilla insurgency.
     
    Kosovo has been recognized by 100 countries, including the United States and 23 of the EU's 28 members.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora