Agim Çeku

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Agim Çeku
Agim Ceku 2006.jpg
Minister of Security Forces of Kosovo
In office
22 February 2011 – 9 December 2014
PresidentHashim Thaçi
Prime MinisterIsa Mustafa
Preceded byFehmi Mujota
Succeeded byHaki Demolli
4th Prime Minister of Kosovo
In office
10 March 2006 – 9 January 2008
PresidentFatmir Sejdiu
Preceded byBajram Kosumi
Succeeded byHashim Thaçi
Personal details
Born (1960-10-29) 29 October 1960 (age 59)
Ćuška near Peć, Yugoslavia
(now Kosovo[b])
Political partyNone as PM (sponsored by AAK)
PSDK
Today PDK after PM term

Agim Çeku[a] (born 29 October 1960) is a Kosovo Albanian politician, currently the Minister of Security Forces in Kosovo[a] and formerly the Prime Minister. Of military background, he was a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) that fought against Serbian rule in 1998–1999, earlier being a commander in the Croatian War of Independence in Croatian Army.

Çeku is an ethnic Albanian who served as an officer in the Croatian Army during the Croatian War of Independence and was military commander of the KLA during the 1998–1999 Kosovo War, and then commanded the Kosovo Protection Corps under the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.

Early life[edit]

Çeku was born in Ćuška (Qyshk in Albanian),[1] a village near Peć, at the time part of the Kosovo-Metohija Province of PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia.

Military career[edit]

After Agim Çeku finished the secondary military school in Belgrade, he attended the Zadar Military Academy. Shortly afterwards, he joined the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) as an artillery captain. In 1991 the Yugoslav wars broke out and he deserted from the JNA and joined the Croatian National Guard (which transformed into the Croatian Army), when the Republic of Croatia fought a war in breaking away from Yugoslavia. The Croatian Army fought the Serb breakaway Republic of Serbian Krajina. He participated in several military operations, he first was in Operation Maslenica when he was the head of Velebit's artillery section, from January to February 1993, Operation Medak pocket near Gospić, in which he was wounded, and Operation Storm in August 1995 that captured most of the Krajina territory. Subsequently, he continued the advance as head of Croatian forces into the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina fighting in western Bosnia against the forces of the Serb Republic in Operation Maestral.

After the war the Croatian Army was reformed and President Franjo Tuđman named Çeku commanding officer of the Fifth District Region in Rijeka. In 1998 he filed a request for retirement in order to go to Kosovo to join the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) that fought Serbian rule, which was officially fulfilled in February 1999 with his resignation.

Kosovo War[edit]

Çeku had developed contacts with the KLA in the mid-1990s. When was broke out in Kosovo, the KLA initially did very badly against the Yugoslav forces, due in part to poor leadership under senior commander Sylejman Selimi, a militarily inexperienced individual who had been given the post largely because of his influence in the Drenica region (the KLA's heartland).

In May 1999, Çeku was appointed the KLA's chief of staff, replacing Selimi. He immediately set about reorganising the KLA and implementing a proper military structure within the organization. In the closing days of the Kosovo War, the KLA began providing systematic intelligence to NATO as well as mounting attacks to lure Serbian forces into the open, enabling NATO warplanes to bomb them. According to reports at the time, Çeku was the principal liaison between NATO and the KLA.[citation needed]

Kosovo Protection Corps[edit]

Following the end of the war in June 1999, Çeku oversaw the demilitarisation of the KLA and its transformation into the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), an ostensibly civilian organization charged with disaster response, demining, search and response and humanitarian projects. Although the international community insisted the KPC was a civilian organization, Çeku and its membership said they believed the KPC should evolve into the future army of an independent Kosovo.[citation needed] Çeku managed ably many difficult challenges for the KPC, including allegations that its members were supporting the ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia in 2001.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

On 10 March 2006, Çeku was elected Prime Minister of Kosovo by the Kosovo Assembly. After being sworn in, he declared his support for Kosovo independence, whilst promising to protect the rights of the Serbian minority.[2] Çeku's appointment was backed by former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who resigned in early 2005 after the ICTY had indicted him for war crimes. In his first one hundred days in office, Çeku prioritized the implementation of the UN-endorsed "Standards" for good governance and multi-ethnicity, earning praise from UN Kosovo chief Søren Jessen-Petersen and Contact Group countries. On 24 July 2006, Çeku traveled to Vienna for the first high-level meeting between the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Serbia and Kosovo to discuss Kosovo's future status.[citation needed]

He stated that he would found a new political party after stepping down as PM, dispelling rumours that he would join the Reformist Party ORA.[3] However, he joined the Social Democratic Party of Kosovo on 10 April 2008, and did not rule out that the party would unify with ORA.[4]

On 23 February 2011, Çeku was made Minister of Security Forces of Kosovo.[5]

War crimes accusations[edit]

The Serbian government has accused Çeku of war crimes.[6] Although Çeku has not been the subject of any ICTY indictment, he was briefly detained in Slovenia in October 2003 and in Hungary in March 2004 on the basis of an Interpol warrant issued by Serbia. Çeku was quickly released in both instances following pressure by the UNMIK.[citation needed] The ICTY issued the last indictments in late 2004 and limited all further investigations to ongoing cases only.[7]

In May 2009, Colombian authorities expelled Çeku from a conference held in the country due to Serbia's extradition request based on possible war crimes committed by him during the Kosovo War.[8][9]

On 23 June 2009 he was arrested in Bulgaria under the Interpol arrest warrant issued by Serbia for alleged war crimes in Kosovo against non-Albanian population.[10] The Bulgarian authorities decided to release him from custody, but requested that he remain in the country for up to 40 days as officials consider Serbia's extradition request.[11][12] On 30 June, he returned to Kosovo, after the Bulgarian prosecutors decided not to appeal the court's decision for his release.[13]

Family life[edit]

He is married to Dragica, who is half-Serbian, half-Croatian. They have three children and the family divides its time between Pristina and the Croatian town of Zadar.[14]

Notes[edit]

a.   ^ Albanian spelling: Agim Çeku. Croatian spelling 'Agim Čeku', Serbian spelling: 'Агим Чеку'.
b.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement. Kosovo is currently recognized as an independent state by 99 out of the 193 United Nations member states. In total, 112 UN member states recognized Kosovo at some point, of which 13 later withdrew their recognition.
  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference status was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kosovo Prime Minister's Web Site: Biography of Agim Çeku Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed October 26, 2007.
  2. ^ "New Kosovo PM wants independence", BBC News, March 10, 2006. Accessed October 26, 2007.
  3. ^ Kosovo's Agim Ceku reiterates intention to create new party (SETimes.com)
  4. ^ Kosovo former PM returns to politics - People's Daily Online
  5. ^ "Composition of new cabinet government of the Republic of Kosovo, led by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci" Archived September 25, 2014, at the Wayback Machine kryeministri-ks.com 22 February 2011, Link retrieved 23 February 2011
  6. ^ "Serbia denounces Kosovo PM plan", BBC News, March 3, 2006. Accessed October 26, 2007.
  7. ^ "Investigations". icty.org. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Gulf Times – Qatar's top-selling English daily newspaper - Americas". Gulf-times.com. Archived from the original on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
  9. ^ Colombian Administrative Department of Security: Press release 019[permanent dead link], Bogotá, 6 May 2009 (in Spanish). – Retrieved on 24 June 2009.
  10. ^ "Ex-Kosovo PM arrested by Bulgaria on Serbian warrant", Reuters, 23 June 2009. - Retrieved on 24 June 2009
  11. ^ "Bulgaria releases ex-Kosovo PM wanted in Serbia", Reuters, 25 June 2009. – Retrieved on 25 June 2009.
  12. ^ Brunwasser, Matthew (27 June 2009). "Bulgarian Court Frees Former Kosovo Leader". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  13. ^ "Ceku arrives in Kosovo", Makfax, 30 June 2009. – Retrieved on 30 June 2009.
  14. ^ [1] Letter from Kosovo; The Countdown- The New Yorker

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Bajram Kosumi
Prime Minister of Kosovo
2006–2008
Succeeded by
Hashim Thaçi