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Miller's reaction to the abduction of Kosovan Border Police by Serbian Special Units is an appalling betrayal of justice
The US Department of State's response to the abduction of Kosovar border police by Serbian Special Units undermines justice and raises doubts about its commitment to international law.
In a startling display of diplomatic negligence and moral equivocation, the US Department of State's Office of the Spokesperson issued a press statement three days after Serbian armed forces brazenly entered Kosovo and abducted Kosovar border police officers. The belated statement, titled "For Immediate Release" and attributed to Matthew Miller, the spokesperson, begins with a troubling choice of words: "Detention of Kosovo Police." One must question the rationale behind such language, as it conveniently downplays the severity of a foreign army's invasion and abduction of border police officers. If the situation were reversed and a Canadian special unit police force had infiltrated US territory to abduct American border guards, would the US government still insist on calling it a mere detention?
The use of the term "detained" to describe the Serbian armed forces' actions reveals a glaring disregard for the fundamental principles of international law. When a foreign army, representing an adversarial state, brazenly enters the territory of another nation and abducts its border police officers, it cannot be viewed as a detention, nor can it be classified as an arrest. To do so is to trivialize the severity of the act, undermining the very foundation of justice and accountability.
The subsequent passage in the statement compounds the outrage, as it calls on President Vucic and the Serbian government to "immediately and unconditionally release" the three Kosovo police officers who were unlawfully taken on June 14. However, the use of the term "detained" once again minimizes the gravity of the situation. Moreover, the statement goes on to claim that the officers' "arrest and ongoing detention on spurious charges has exacerbated an already tense situation." This language is not only deeply flawed but also scandalous. By referring to the illegal abduction of border guard officers by a foreign entity on foreign soil as an arrest, the United States essentially legitimizes this act of aggression. It raises the disconcerting question of whether, if Ukraine were not of geopolitical interest, the Russian military's aggression against it would be similarly justified. Regrettably, this is not a matter of interpretation but rather an alarming indication of how US foreign diplomacy is dangerously playing with fire in the Balkans, appeasing and enabling a Milosevic-inspired fascist Serbia led by Aleksandar Vucic, a former propaganda minister of the Milosevic regime who has justified war crimes and crimes against humanity as confirmed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Adding insult to injury, the statement makes an audacious call for both Serbia and Kosovo to adhere to the three-point plan outlined by the European Union (EU) and promptly return to the EU-facilitated dialogue. How can Kosovo be expected to engage in a dialogue with a country like Serbia, which not only aligns its foreign policy with the Kremlin since September 2022 but also consistently supports armed militia groups that have repeatedly sought to undermine the constitutional order and territorial integrity of the democratic and independent Republic of Kosovo?
The US Department of State's response, as articulated in this scandalous statement, not only trivializes the violation of Kosovo's sovereignty but also betrays the very principles of justice and international law that the United States claims to uphold. This abdication of responsibility and justice risks perpetuating instability in the Balkans and undermines the credibility of the US as a defender of human rights and democratic values. It is imperative that the US government reassesses its approach, adopts a firm stance against such transgressions, and works diligently to restore justice and accountability in Kosovo.