Wednesday, November 07, 2007

EU's Kosovo report scathing on graft, justice

BRUSSELS, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Serbia's United Nations-run Kosovo province is plagued by graft, human rights abuses and cronyism because of weakness in the province's authorities, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

The EU executive's annual progress report concluded there was little progress in the province and institutions were weak, mainly due to widespread corruption at all levels.

"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.

There was little control on how politicians and officials got their wealth and "civil servants are still vulnerable to political interference, corrupt practices and nepotism."

"Kosovo's public administration remains weak and inefficient," the report added.

In a reference to a widespread perception in Kosovo of cronyism, the report said that "the composition of the government anti-corruption council does not sufficiently guarantee its impartiality."

"Some but uneven progress can be reported in combating money laundering," and "little progress can be reported in the area of organised crime and combating of trafficking in human beings."

The report is an indictment for the U.N. bureaucrats running the province since 1999, and for the province's ethnic Albanian leaders, who are seeking independence from Serbia, political analysts said......Reuters

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