British judge with corrupt EU mission in Kosovo quits, denies allegations

British judge with corrupt EU mission in Kosovo quits, denies allegations  | Adam Jones

The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, or EULEX, declared on Thursday that it was investigating unspecified offenses purportedly committed by the chief judge of its mission in Kosovo.

The chief judge, Malcolm Simmons, resigned while accusing the mission of not promoting the rule of law but trying to bring down the Kosovar political class.

“Malcolm Simmons has been, over the past year, the subject of a series of independent investigations into serious allegations against him,” EULEX said in a statement.

According to sources, the investigations are being conducted by a team, formed and based in Brussels and chaired by a former judge of the European Court of Justice, the statement went on to say.

However, Simmons told the French newspaper Le Monde that EULEX was "not a mission to promote the rule of law. It is a political mission,” and that “anyone who thinks otherwise is either naive or stupid."

Simmons said that “EULEX wanted to bring down part of the Kosovar political class,” adding that it wanted "certain individuals removed from political or public life."

He further highlighted that he was pressured into convicting a Kosovo politician and ex guerrilla commander, Fatmir Limaj.

The British judge had been working at EULEX since its founding in 2008 before being appointed chief judge in 2014.

“They do nothing,” Simmons said, referring to the EU. “I do not want to be a part of this farce anymore,” he added.

In its statement EULEX said that "Simmons was requested to furnish all evidence in his possession to support his allegations, but - regrettably- has not done so yet."

The 800-person EU mission, which costs 111-million euros a year and that oversees Kosovo's justice system, was established in 2008 shortly after Pristina gained independence from Serbia.

In 2014, a British prosecutor declared that evidence of corruption in its biggest foreign mission – which is supposedly  intended to strengthen the rule of law in Kosovo – was covered up.

The whistleblower, Maria Bamieh, learned in August 2014 that she would be made redundant from the Eulex mission, despite an impressive record of convictions, after revealing evidence of possible bribe-taking at top levels in the mission.

According to 2014 reports, Bamieh’s claims, along with the appearance of compromising documents in the Kosovan media, have reinforced a strong impression in parts of the former Yugoslav province that Eulex has become part of the problem rather than the solution.