29 Common Security and Defence Policy:
EULEX Kosovo: allegations of corruption |
|Committee's decision||Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested
|Document details||Council Decision amending the budget of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX KOSOVO)
|Legal base||Articles 28, 42(4) and 43(2) TEU; unanimity
|Department||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Summary and Committee's conclusions
29.1 EULEX Kosovo was established in 2008 to provide support to
Kosovo's fledgling judiciary, police and customs institutions.
It also has an executive mandate to investigate serious crime
including high-level corruption and war crimes. The extension
of its mandate until June 2016 reflected continued difficulties
with the Rule of Law.
29.2 Nonetheless, some progress having been made,
EULEX is to become a smaller and more focused presence, concentrating
on capacity building throughout Kosovo, security and the implementation
of agreements reached in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue in the
north; and beginning to phase out its executive functions in the
justice sector as part of a handover of responsibility to Kosovo,
while completing its work on ongoing serious cases.[ 276]
29.3 In September 2014, the Minister for Europe (Mr
David Lidington) confirmed that Kosovo had agreed, in principle,
to create a special court regarding EULEX's Special Investigative
Taskforce.[ 277] EULEX
would have an important role in assisting Kosovo with the operation
of this court, including discussions with a potential host state
concerning the relocation of judicial proceedings, in order to
prosecute and adjudicate criminal charges arising from SITF investigations.
Our predecessors had expected to hear from the Minister in the
New Year about how these changes were working out.[ 278]
29.4 In the meantime, on 6 November 2014, he wrote
concerning allegations of corruption within EULEX's ranks made
by a UK national seconded to EULEX as a prosecutor, and "secondary
allegations" relating to "EULEX's handling of this issue
and of the UK staff member concerned". He noted that the
UK, along with other Member States, had quickly made it clear
to the European External Action Service (EEAS) that a thorough
response was needed, which not only investigated the allegations
but also ensured that public confidence was maintained in EULEX's
handling of such cases; that the EU High Representative for Foreign
Affairs and Security Policy (HR; Federica Mogherini) had announced
that an external investigation would take place into the matter.
29.5 Subsequent to the Minister's 6 November 2014
letter, the HR announced that she had appointed Mr. Jean Paul
Jacqué as independent expert to review EULEX Kosovo mandate
implementation with a focus on the handling of the corruption
allegations, describing him as "a distinguished law professor
with over 40 years of experience", adding that "his
tenure as Director of the Council Secretariat legal services offers
him a unique expertise and perspective to review these allegations"
and saying that she had asked Mr. Jacqué to revert to me
within 4 months with his report and his recommendations".
29.6 The previous Committee subsequently asked the
Minister for Europe for further information about this process.
Further details are set out in our predecessors' 19 November[ 279]
and 10 December 2014 Reports.[ 280]
The Minister's responses are summarised below and detailed in
their most recent previous Report.[ 281]
29.7 This further draft Council Decision proposes
a budget of 77,000,000 to cover EULEX Kosovo's operations
in the period 14 June 2015 to 15 June 2016 (see below and the
Annex to this chapter of our Report for details).
29.8 The draft Council Decision raises no questions
in and of itself.
29.9 We accept that, with no budget beyond 14
June 2015, the Minister was obliged to override scrutiny.
29.10 But we are disappointed that he has failed
to answer any of our predecessors' most recent requests concerning
the Jacqué investigation and progress on establishing the
special court. Their requests were clear cut:
the Jacqué investigation had produced its report:
summarise its findings, say if he regarded it as a "thorough
response" in terms of independence, timeliness, transparency
and "much-needed external scrutiny" and, if so, to illustrate
outline what further steps are then due to take place, what criminal
investigations are under way or what might in other ways be reasonably
holding up publication of the European Ombudsman's own investigation;
general views on the general satisfactoriness of the process overall;
the position then is with regard to the UK national seconded to
EULEX as a prosecutor who made the original allegations.
regard to the proposed special out-of-country court, hearing more,
when he submitted the next Council Decision on EULEX Kosovo for
scrutiny, about subsequent developments and his assessment at
that time of the response of the Kosovar political establishment
and what that meant for the prospects for taking further forward
Kosovo's Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
29.11 Instead, all the Minister does is to refer
us to a "readacted (sic) version of the report" on the
EU Commission website.
29.12 We therefore ask the Minister to respond
fully to our predecessors' requests within the next ten working
days. In the meantime, we shall retain the Council Decision under
details of the document: Council Decision
amending Joint Action 2008/124/CFSP on the European Union Rule
of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX KOSOVO): (36919), .
29.13 The Minister undertook to "update the
Committee in due course as the situation develops". In the
first instance, our predecessors asked:
he was satisfied with the steps announced by the High Representative:
in particular, whether the appointment of someone with M. Jacqué's
background, and a four-month mandate, constituted the "thorough
response" he was seeking, in terms of independence, timeliness
and the requirement for "transparency and much-needed external
scrutiny" that he rightly highlighted;
had transpired from the contacts made by his officials with EULEX
and the EEAS, in view of the prosecutor making the allegations
and some of the individuals named in secondary allegations being
UK nationals seconded to EULEX by the FCO; and
generally, whether he in any way shared the reservations some
seemingly had about the real effectiveness of this costly Mission.
29.14 The previous Committee also asked what the
state of play was on the establishment of a special court, in
order to prosecute and adjudicate criminal charges arising from
investigations by EULEX's Special Investigative Taskforce.
29.15 The Minister said:
was too soon to say how the investigation will proceed or what
its conclusions will be. But it is being conducted by someone
with no connection to EULEX. There are also likely to be complementary
investigations by the European Ombudsman and the EU's Anti-Fraud
Office (OLAF). He is confident that, together, these investigations
are an adequate response "for the time being"; he looked
forward to their findings, and had asked officials to monitor
· in relation
to matters affecting UK secondees, he and his officials had focused
their efforts on ensuring that the welfare and rights of FCO staff
are respected and that due process is followed on any disciplinary
matters, with EULEX remaining in charge of pursuing any appropriate
investigations. Once again, the various EU processes in train
had yet to reach a conclusion, so it was too soon to say what
the consequences for the UK might be; also, it would not be appropriate
to comment in detail on individual cases. But officials were in
regular contact with EULEX and with FCO staff seconded to the
mission, and are prepared to provide assistance as appropriate;
had been in place for many years and had made significant progress
on a number of issues, such as building up the Kosovo police,
dealing with cases of serious crime, and facilitating implementation
of the 19 April agreement between Serbia and Kosovo on matters
concerning customs and border controls. As well as the 20
million cut to EULEX's budget for its new mandate beginning in
October, UK officials had also secured an agreement that the mission
must work towards a handover of responsibilities to the Kosovan
authorities as it headed towards its mandate end date of June
2016, which "sets us on the right track" for further
downsizing if the appropriate conditions could be met. Depending
on how these plans proceeded, they would "go some way"
towards addressing concerns about ongoing cost-effectiveness;
was no further progress to report at this stage in relation to
the establishment of a special court: the prosecution's work in
building its case continues, but establishment of an out-of-country
court, which relied on the Kosovo Assembly passing a number of
laws, had been stymied by the political impasse following the
June parliamentary elections; however, as there were "now
signs that Kosovo will form a government shortly", he expected
progress would "resume in due course".
Our predecessors' assessment
29.16 Though the Minister was somewhat guarded in
his response concerning the steps announced by the High Representative,
our predecessors agreed that it was too soon to draw any conclusions.
But a month had passed since the HR's announcement. They therefore
asked the Minister to write again in two months' time on:
the Jacqué investigation and the others that he anticipated,
updating the Committee on how matters stood and whether they had
fulfilled his criteria, viz., a "thorough response"
in terms of independence, timeliness, transparency and "much-needed
matters affecting UK secondees, including the UK national seconded
to EULEX as a prosecutor who made the original allegations;
establishment of the special "out of country" court,
which was central to the effective execution of the remainder
of the mission's mandate and indicative of the commitment of the
Kosovar political establishment to its work.[ 283]
29.17 The Minister subsequently said about the corruption
Jacqué investigation report, initially planned for the
end of January, was now not expected until March;
· he and
his officials were "continuing to encourage the EEAS to release
the report as soon as it is possible for a thorough investigation
to be completed";
European Ombudsman had concluded her own investigation, but had
decided not to comment on the issue until after any criminal investigation
and the Jacqué investigation had been completed;
had been no further complaints or concerns raised by UK secondees
in relation to the corruption allegations;
he could comment on individual cases, he assured the Committee
that "my officials are in regular contact with EULEX and
the FCO staff seconded to the mission and, where appropriate,
with former staff facing ongoing issues as a result of the corruption
29.18 With regard to the establishment of a special
court, the Minister said:
"in early January the EEAS met with Kosovo Deputy
Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Hajredin Kuçi to
discuss the proposed constitutional and legislative amendments
necessary to enable court relocation to a third state. These amendments
have been agreed at a technical level. We understand the Minister
will now be submitting them to the Kosovo Assembly and for consideration
by the Constitutional Court, a process taking 30-60 days. By April,
we anticipate that the EEAS will revert to the Political and Security
Committee and propose a Council Decision to approve a new budget
and any necessary modifications to the EULEX O Plan to allow EULEX
to continue to play a supporting role in the arrangements between
Kosovo and the third state (EULEX's current budget expires in
June). From there, the implementation and ratification of a formal
host state agreement between Kosovo and a third state, which is
essential for a trial to begin, could take twelve months to complete.
We may, however, see early logistical steps for the establishment
of the court to start to be taken in parallel to this process."
Our predecessors' further assessment
29.19 The previous Committee asked the Minister to
write again, once the Jacqué investigation reported: to
summarise its findings; to say if he regarded it as a "thorough
response" in terms of independence, timeliness, transparency
and "much-needed external scrutiny"; and if so, to illustrate
how; to outline what further steps were then due to take place,
what criminal investigations were under way or what might in other
ways be; and to provide his general views on the general satisfactoriness
of the process overall.
29.20 Our predecessors also asked to know what the
position then was with regard to the UK national seconded to EULEX
as a prosecutor who made the original allegations.
29.21 With regard to the proposed special out-of-country
court, our predecessors asked the Minister, when he next submitted
a Council Decision on EULEX Kosovo for scrutiny, for his assessment
of the response of the Kosovar political establishment and what
that might mean for the prospects for taking further forward Kosovo's
Stabilisation and Association Agreement.[ 284]
The draft Council Decision
29.22 This relates to a proposed budget of 77,000,000
to cover EULEX Kosovo's operations in the period 14 June 2015
to 15 June 2016.
29.23 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 8 June 2015,
the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) says changes in mission
structure have been agreed, which will enable it to "reduce
in size intelligently and operate effectively". EULEX will
focus on capacity building throughout Kosovo, on security and
on the implementation of agreements reached in the Belgrade-Pristina
dialogue in the north of the country. But the mission will start
to draw down its executive functions in the justice sector as
part of a phased handover of responsibility to Kosovo, while completing
its work on ongoing serious criminal cases.
Discussions on what will remain after June
2016 continue in Brussels. We have argued for transition-planning
to begin as soon as possible, and for thinking to develop on the
type of capacity-building and specific executive tasks which should
continue after June 2016.
29.24 With regard to the Jacqué report,
the Minister says:
"the report by Jean-Paul Jacqué
into the handling of corruption allegations at EULEX issued on
14 April. A readacted (sic) version of the report is available
on the EU Commission website."
29.25 Concerning the Special Investigative Task
Force, which has been investigating the allegations of abuses
committed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army during and
after the 1999 conflict highlighted in the 2010 Marty Report,
the Minister says:
"Kosovo has agreed, in principle, to a special
court to hear any trials arising from the SITF's investigations.
As previously agreed, we have supported the establishment of the
SITF as an EU process. EULEX will have an important role in assisting
Kosovo with the operation of this court and the proposed EULEX
budget for June 2015-June 2016 covers SITF funding."
29.26 With regard to the proposed 77,000,000
budget for the period of 15 June 2015 to 14 June 2016, the Minister
"This follows the eight-month transition budget
of 55,820,000 that expires on 14 June 2015. The proposed
budget is less than the current eight-month budget when
extrapolated to one year and delivers the overall savings we expected."
29.27 The Minister provides an overview of the proposed
budget within the table reproduced at Annex 1 of this chapter
of our Report, which contains a breakdown of the preceding eight-month
budget. The Minister says that, for ease of reference:
"I have also included columns which extrapolate
the subhead lines of the current eight-month budget to one year
and highlight the variance between the proposed budget and the
current (extrapolated) budget."
29.28 The Minister also notes that:
"The UK contributes a proportion to the pre-agreed
CFSP budget, not the individual programmes within it. Funds for
EULEX's budget will be found within existing resources in the
CFSP budget, so this proposal does not present additional costs
to the UK."
29.29 In a separate letter of the same date, the
that he believes the budget delivers value for money, and that
his officials will continue to keep close track on progress and
his letter of 4 March informing the Committee that the renewal
of the mandate would occur during dissolution, and says:
"Were I to wait for the Scrutiny Committees
to reconvene, the mission would no longer have a budget to continue
its operations. This would not be in the interest of UK foreign
policy. I therefore regret that I find myself in the position
of having to agree to the adoption of this Council document before
your Committee will have an opportunity to scrutinise it."
Previous Committee Reports
None, but see (36259), : Thirty-seventh Report
HC 219-xxxvi (2014-15), chapter 28 (18 March 2015), Twenty-fifth
Report HC 219-xviv (2014-15), chapter 14 (10 December 2014), Twentieth
Report HC 219-xix (2014-15), chapter 16 (19 November 2014) and
Ninth Report HC 219-ix (2014-15), chapter 43 (3 September 2014):
also see (36004), : Fiftieth Report HC 83-xlv (2013-14),
chapter 15 (14 May 2014) and the Reports referred to therein;
also see Third Report HC 219-iii (2014-15), chapter 11 (18 June
Annex 1: the Minister's overview
of the proposed budget (figures in )
||15 October 2014 to 14 June 2015
||2014/15 budget extrapolated to 12 months
||15 June 2015 to 14 June 2016
Proposed budget against 2014/15 (extrapolated)
|3. Running costs||14,093,841
|4. Capital costs||1,040,249
|Total (1 to 5)
|Total (1 to 6)
"- Personnel Costs - (57,337,973):
"Personnel costs account for approximately 75% of total expenditure.
Proposed expenditure represents a slight decrease against the
previous budget (extrapolated). This subhead also includes staff
and training costs of 4,440,808 in respect of the SITF and
Court Preparation Team (CPT).
"- Missions Expenditure (2,000,200):
"This expenditure relates to the costs incurred in implementing
the mandate and includes transportation, per diems and accommodation.
In comparison to 2014/15 (extrapolated) expenditure for the year
from June 2015 will rise by 150,064 (7.5%).The key contributor
is Daily Subsistence Allowance, which has increased to cover the
costs of the SITF and CPT for Long-stay Mission in Brussels.
We judge the proposed expenditure to be reasonable.
"- Running Costs (13,505,732):
"This covers a range of costs such as transport, IT, communications
and goods & services. Savings for the year from June 2015
compared to the previous budget (extrapolated) amount to around
The new budget of 3,016,051 signifies a reduction of nearly
65% on the current budget (extrapolated). The largest cost is
for helicopter services (1m). Helicopter related costs have
fallen considerably, as they were 4m in the previous eight-month
budget. This is because the EULEX helicopter service has been
discontinued. The proposed expenditure of 1m is to cover
approximately 100 hours of KFOR assets and plus any private hire
costs incurred; In addition, the car fleet has been reduced to
609 from 916 vehicles in June 2014.
running costs: This subhead covers IT warranties, parts, goods
and services and maintenance of software, printers and copiers.
Proposed expenditure of 1,593,041 represents a saving of
approximately 5% when compared to the current budget (extrapolated).
This is for GSM, landline and satellite costs, internet, maintenance
and postage, and rental of hilltop sites to enable communications
in the north. The new budget of 938,578 represents a saving
of around 13% when compared to 2014/15 (extrapolated).
rent and services: This subhead covers
a range of expenditure including inter alia office rents, heating,
generators, air conditioning maintenance, cleaning and waste removal.
EULEX has a mix of office and camp accommodation in Pristina and
Mitrovica. Proposed expenditure of 4,149,841 represents
a decrease of approximately 15% when compared to the current eight-month
budget, when extrapolated.
This includes external security costs, access control systems
and fire extinguishers. The proposed budget of 683,200 will
generate a saving of around 6% when compared to the existing budget
Assistance & Outsourced Services:
This is for hiring a range of expertise which is not available
within the mission. The majority of expenditure is for the SITF
and CPT which require inter alia: translation services, development
of an electronic court management system, IT development, court
audio visual experts and forensic expertise. The budget proposes
expenditure of 1,164,658 which will save approximately 20%
compared to 2014/15 (extrapolated).
operational costs: Expenditure
here is for SITF witnesses and investigations, civilian protection
measures, Special Prosecution Office of Kosovo (SPRK) experts,
witnesses, support & expertise and small scale projects. Compared
to the current budget, when extrapolated, the proposed budget
of 1,149,000 for 2015/16 will be down by approximately 25%.
Costs: This is for uniforms and protective
clothing, high visibility items, flags, cards and publicity campaigns.
Planned expenditure of 377,800 in 2015/16 represents an
increase of around 19% when compared to the current budget (extrapolated).
The increase is due to increased public information activity by
EULEX against the background of work in the north, implementation
of the April 2013 dialogue agreement between Belgrade and Pristina,
transition/reconfiguration of the mission's mandate, support to
Kosovo's move towards accession to the EU, and implementation
of the justice system. We judge the proposed increase to be reasonable.
- "Capital Expenditure
(1,685,163): "This covers vehicles and workshop,
and equipment and works for: communications, premises, medical,
security, civilian protection, and equipment for SITF and CPT.
Proposed spend represents an increase of just over 2% compared
to the extrapolated budget for 2014/15. Notable expenditure relates
to the replacement of central heating systems, new generators,
installation of a sprinkler system and works on the sewerage treatment
plant; SITF and CPT also require equipment (mainly ICT and software
related) at a cost of 692,556. We judge this expenditure
to be reasonable.
- "Representation (84,000):
"Proposed expenditure is down by 19% on the current budget
- "Contingencies (2,386,928):
"The proposed 40% increase is to allow for severances and
other consequences of drawing down a mission".
276 See (36004), -: Fiftieth Report HC 83-xlv (2013-14),
chapter 15 (14 May 2014) for full details of the two-year mandate
277 Special Investigative Task Force (SITF): a part of EULEX since
2011, which has been investigating the allegations in the 2010
Council of Europe Marty Report of organ trafficking and other
serious crimes committed immediately after the 1999 conflict. Back
278 See Ninth Report HC 219-ix (2014-15), chapter 43 (3 September
2014) and its Annex for further background and the detailed budget;
also the earlier Reports cited at the end of this chapter of our
279 See Twentieth Report HC 219-xix (2014-15), chapter 16 (19 November
280 See Twenty-fifth Report HC 219-xviv (2014-15), chapter 14 (10
December 2014). Back
281 See (36259), -: Thirty-seventh Report HC 219-xxxvi (2014-15),
chapter 28 (18 March 2015). Back
282 The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) constitutes
the framework of relations between the European Union and the
Western Balkan countries for implementation of the Stabilisation
and Association Process. The agreements are adapted to the specific
situation of each partner country and, while establishing a free
trade area between the EU and the country concerned, they also
identify common political and economic objectives and encourage
regional co-operation*. In the context of accession to the European
Union, the agreement serves as the basis for implementation of
the accession process. In 2008 the EU repeated its willingness
to assist the economic and political development of Kosovo "through
a clear European perspective". The EU and Kosovo chief negotiators
initialled the SAA between the EU and Kosovo in Brussels on 25
July 2014. Back
283 See Twenty-fifth Report HC 219-xviv (2014-15), chapter 14 (10
December 2014). Back
284 See (36259), -: Thirty-seventh Report HC 219-xxxvi (2014-15),
chapter 28 (18 March 2015). Back