In the last few years it has been said that the majority of Kosovar citizens are paying the energy debt of other Kosovar citizens, namely the ones who live in the northern part of our republic. This fact was confirmed in recent days. Arben Gjukaj, director of KEK, confirmed that Kosovar citizens “are paying the debt of the citizens of the north and of Kosovo’s enclaves,” confirming this shocking practice that has taken place in Kosovo in recent years.
With this confirmation, these legitimate questions follow: “Why are we only paying energy bills?” “What about other debts?” “Who is paying for losses in other sectors?” “Who pays the Kosovo budget’s annual losses?” etc..
If a citizen, in the name of forced solidarity, pays another citizen’s energy bills and no one reacts, this opens the way for solving many other problems that Kosovo faces in the process of consolidating its democratic institutions.
Seeing that Kosovo’s sovereignty is contested in the northern part of the country, our institutions face difficulties in ensuring implementation and rule of law. Thus laws and other provisions that are implementable in Kosovo do not apply in that part. And Kosovo is always criticized for a lack of rule of law, for failing to fight organized crime, and so on. What can Kosovar institutions do in this case? All relevant Kosovo institutions (the government, Assembly, the police, inspectorates, courts, prosecutions) can compile: The Strategy of Involuntary Solidarization (SIS).
What is SIS?
The Strategy of Involuntary Solidarization, or SIS as it would soon be abbreviated to in daily media discourse, would be a concrete step by all relevant Kosovar institutions for improving the level of rule of law in the country.
A group of experts representing all relevant Kosovar institutions would initially conduct a feasibility plan in the northern part of the country, identifying challenges and problems, and putting in place mechanisms for cooperation and communication with relevant institutions from this region.
SIS would create a registry of all crimes and violations — which are punishable in accordance with the Criminal Code of Kosovo — that were committed in the north of Kosovo from 2008 to 2018. Being a pragmatic and forward-thinking strategy, and knowing the complexity of the situation in that part of the republic, as well as the inability of the state to exercise its power in that region, relevant Kosovo institutions would immediately take concrete steps for bringing all these crimes before justice. But not their perpetrators with them.
Kosovo makes progress in the field of rule of law
This is the headline for many local and international media in the third year of implementation of SIS. Kosovo’s prosecution and courts will have proceeded thousands of cases of violations and crimes, will have issued thousands of sentences such as jail time and fines, all in accordance with the Kosovo Criminal Code. Visas will have been liberalized, Kosovo’s budget will be 3.5 billion euros, Kosovo will have applied for the status of candidate state for joining the EU. All this thanks to the implementation of SIS. And you will ask: How were the perpetrators sentenced? That is where the grandeur of the Strategy of Involuntary Solidarization lies.
The group of experts that came up with the idea to compile this strategy were based on an example from the field, from the energy bills that are invoiced to Kosovo citizens. They drew the following parallel: “If citizens pay for energy that they did not waste, why not have them pay for water that they did not waste? Why not have them pay for registering cars that they do not own? Why not have them pay taxes and contributions for wages and pensions that they don’t receive?” Up to the magic question: “Why not put them in jail for crimes that they did NOT commit?”
“It is logical,” is the conclusion of the chief of the group of experts, bearer of many processes in Kosovo.
Action Plan for Implementing the Strategy of Involuntary Solidarization
An implementation plan will also have been developed for implementing the strategy. This plan will foresee a sort of public invitation, a sort of public appeal to all Kosovar citizens (mainly citizens of non-northern parts) to agree (involuntarily, as the title of the strategy suggests) to pay off the country’s debt. It will foresee that citizens who work and have income (more than minimal) must take responsibility for violations that are punishable by fines. This would be valid more so for citizens of urban areas, because of their standard of living and the spiritual burden that could be inflicted upon them from being locked within four walls and constantly eating the same food, and so on.
Unemployed people, who barely survive, who live on remittances, who receive social benefits, would take responsibility for all violations that are punishable with jail time. This would be valid more so for citizens of rural areas because they can more easily endure living within four walls, because the village life is monotonous anyway, right?
Naturally, seeing that these sentences or fines are issued for crimes committed by others, Kosovar institutions would take into account all circumstances — economic, social and others — and would foresee facilitations in relation to sentences and obligations. For example, a crime that is punishable by up to six years jail time would earn a person acquittal with only two years jail time, a fine of 2,000 dinars would be payed off with 1,000 dinars, and so on. Everything is done with sympathy.
Undoubtedly the most important result is that all residents of Kosovo’s north would be clean as a whistle within four years, ready to be a part of an equal Republic of Kosovo.
Is this not what Kosovo has always wanted?
Feature image: Majlinda Hoxha / K2.0.