|09PRISTINA480||2009-11-03 15:05:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Pristina|
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 PRISTINA 000480
1. Following is Part One of Kosovo's 2009 INCSR report (narcotics
and chemical control).
2. Begin report.
Though Kosovo is primarily a transit country for Afghan drugs
destined for Europe, anecdotal evidence from the Kosovo Police (KP)
suggests a growing domestic narcotics market. Kosovo faces
challenges in its battle against narcotics trafficking: its borders
are porous and there is corruption among the Kosovo Border Police
(KBP) and Customs officers. The KP continues its efforts to combat
the drug trade, but suffers from limited resources and the low
priority of its counternarcotics branch. The Kosovo Government, led
by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) adopted its national
counternarcotics strategy in July 2009 but has yet to find the
resources to implement it fully.
Kosovo has not yet become a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
Its unique history under UNSCR 1244 as a United Nations-administered
territory previously prevented it from entering into most bilateral,
multilateral and international agreements, including the Convention.
Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008 and the United
Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) began to transfer competencies to
the Kosovo Government starting on June 15, 2008 when Kosovo's
constitution came into force. Kosovo now possesses the authority to
sign treaties and agreements and is currently reviewing and
prioritizing the most important treaties for future ratification.
The European Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) was declared operational
December 9, 2008, replacing most of UNMIK's civilian police,
prosecutors and judges, but with a significantly different mandate.
EULEX, unlike UNMIK, has very limited executive authority, focusing
on the roles of mentoring, monitoring, and advising. The United
States and the European Union continue to provide rule of law
technical assistance, including training and equipment that will
help Kosovo combat narcotics trafficking more effectively over time.
II. Status of Country
The Kosovo Border Police (KBP), an element of the KP, lacks basic
equipment, and narcotics traffickers capitalize on weak border
controls in Kosovo. The KBP patrol all border crossing points
except two entry points in northern Kosovo, which are staffed by
EULEX and the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR). EULEX provides police
and customs advisors to the KBP at all other border crossings. The
KBP and KFOR jointly patrol the "Green Border," the area where there
are no official manned borders or administrative boundary line
gates, along the borders with Albania (112 km), Macedonia (159 km)
and Montenegro (79 km). At this time, KFOR alone patrols the 352 km
border with Serbia. This patrolling along the "Green Border"
extends up to the actual border, but traffickers nevertheless take
advantage of numerous roads leading into Kosovo that lack border
controls. Narcotics interdiction is not part of KFOR's mandate.
KFOR soldiers seize narcotics they happen to encounter while
performing their duties, but they do not actively investigate
narcotics trafficking. A proposed drawdown of KFOR troops would
place additional border management responsibilities on the KBP.
Information on domestic narcotics consumption is gathered by UNICEF
and NGO Labyrinth, who agree that there is a growing local market
and that illegal drug use is on the rise. They add that the levels
of narcotics consumption among teenagers and university-aged young
adults, the primary users, are close to those in most Western
European countries. There are no reliable estimates of the number
of drug users, but UNICEF places the figure around 20,000, mostly
heroin users, although cocaine seems to be gaining popularity. The
vast majority of addicts referred for treatment are heroin users.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
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Kosovo has made limited progress on counternarcotics policy
initiatives in 2009. The country's national counternarcotics
strategy, developed by the MOIA, was released in July 2009 but has
yet to be implemented, in part due to financial constraints. The
new national strategy calls for better coordination with other
organizations such as the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry
of Education, and for better communication within the KP. For
instance, street-level drug enforcement is managed by the KP
Department of Order while higher-level drug crimes are managed by
their Department of Crime. Although these two departments do not
communicate well now, a proposed reorganization of the KP should
address that problem.
The MOH, in its strategic plan and budget for 2008-2013, included
the goals of accurately assessing the extent of the drug problem in
Kosovo, developing a national strategy for preventing drug use among
adolescents and youths, creating regular mechanisms for monitoring
drug use levels among adolescents and youths, and increasing
services to drug addicts. In December 2007, the MOH compiled the
National Strategy on Mental Health, which includes treatment and
services for drug addicts, but implementation has been slow due to
lack of funding.
The MOIA reported that it is working to increase Kosovo's narcotics
investigative capacity and plans to meet European Partnership
Agreement Program goals by training counternarcotics officials,
procuring technical equipment, and strengthening interagency
Law Enforcement Efforts.
KP counternarcotics officers face many challenges. Their resources
are limited and counternarcotics is not a top priority for the GOK.
Furthermore, statistics on seizures, arrests and prosecutions are
largely unreliable and inconsistent.
From January through September 2009, according to a report published
by the KP Unit for Planning and Development, the KP confiscated 27.7
kg of heroin, 2.4 kg of cocaine, 19.5 kg of marijuana, 2.2 kg of
hashish and 7278 individual marijuana plants. The KP has found no
evidence of synthetic drug production in Kosovo.
In the first nine months of 2009, the KP has arrested 275 people on
narcotics charges and filed 169 narcotics-related cases, 122 of
which were sent to the Prosecutor's Office. The remaining cases are
still under investigation.
The KP uses a wide range of investigative techniques, from
information collection to interception and surveillance.
"Intelligence-led policing" is an approach being used by the KP to
find traffickers and learn of their activities. It is a logical
extension of community policing and relies on good relationships
formed between the police and local communities. However in
contrast to other countries, this strategy is difficult to implement
in Kosovo because of the tight-knit family and clan structures.
Much of the intelligence gained by police on narcotics trafficking
comes from wiretaps. However, the degree with which the telephone
providers cooperate with the police varies widely.
A common technique used in the West for infiltrating drug
organizations is for an undercover agent to make increasingly larger
buys. In Kosovo, cumbersome regulations often limit the amount of
money available to the investigators, preventing them from going
beyond the lowest level street pusher.
While UNMIK focused its anti-drug efforts on intercepting drugs
smuggled into Kosovo and preventing them from departing to third
countries, EULEX provides mentoring, monitoring and advising
services to the KP. The quality of EULEX advice varies, depending
on the background and experience of the individuals assigned to the
It is difficult to estimate the extent to which corruption in Kosovo
PRISTINA 00000480 003.2 OF 006
influences drug trafficking. Kosovo has taken legal and law
enforcement measures to prevent and punish public corruption that
facilitates the production, processing, or shipment of narcotic and
psychotropic drugs and other controlled substances, or that
discourages the investigation or prosecution of such offenses,
especially by senior government officials. However, results so far
have been mixed.
The "Suppression of Corruption" law, passed in April 2005, is the
prevailing legislation that directs anti-corruption activities.
There are no laws that specifically address narcotics-related public
corruption. The Suppression of Corruption law created the Kosovo
Anti-Corruption Agency, an independent agency that began operations
in July 2006. In early 2009, the Government of Kosovo drafted an
amendment to the Suppression of Corruption law and also an official
strategy against corruption for 2009 to 2011. As of November, 2009,
neither measure had yet been approved by the Kosovo Assembly.
While there is no evidence of systemic corruption in the KP or
Customs, there are reports of individual corruption, which officials
are attempting to address. Cases reportedly involve officers turning
a blind eye to narcotics trafficking or accepting bribes to allow
narcotics to pass through borders. KP officials see the potential
for problems due to the officers' low salaries and lack of benefits,
and they believe corruption exists in the regional counternarcotics
The Police Inspectorate of Kosovo (PIK) is an independent body under
the MOIA designed to promote police efficiency and effectiveness and
investigate and punish serious misconduct. (Note: The PIK has been
run by a temporary director for five months. A permanent director
has not been appointed for political reasons. End note) In May
2009, 47 kg of heroin and a large quantity of money and other
evidence were stolen from a police evidence room. While there are
at least 15 suspects, so far no charges have been brought, nor has
any of the stolen property been recovered. The case is being
investigated by the PIK, while a government official is being
investigated by the EULEX Police Executive Department.
There is no information indicating that the Kosovo Government or its
senior officials encourage or facilitate illicit production or
distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled
substances, or launder the proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties.
The 1902 extradition treaty with the Kingdom of Serbia is now
recognized as being in force by both the United States and the
Government of Kosovo. However, Kosovo will not extradite its
Due to its unique history as a UN-administered entity, Kosovo was
not previously party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention or any other
international convention or protocol. Since declaring independence
in February 2008 and adopting a new state constitution in June 2008,
Kosovo has gained the authority to sign international treaties as
well as bilateral and multilateral agreements; however, this
authority is for practical purposes limited to agreements with the
62 countries which have recognized Kosovo. Kosovo is not yet a UN
The Kosovo Government is currently prioritizing the most important
international agreements for ratification but has not yet become a
party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the UN Convention against
Transnational Organized Crime, or the UN Convention Against
Corruption. The Kosovo Government has reaffirmed its commitment to
existing treaties signed on its behalf by UNMIK and the former
Yugoslavia, including the extradition treaty originally signed
between the United States and Yugoslavia.
Kosovo cooperates and exchanges information with countries in the
region through informal bilateral and multilateral meetings. For
example, the Director of Organized Crime in the KP regularly meets
with his Albanian counterpart. The KP reports that data sharing
with Macedonia and Montenegro on drug investigations is poor while
data sharing with Albania, with whom a data sharing agreement was
PRISTINA 00000480 004.2 OF 006
signed in 2008, is reported to be excellent. Data sharing
agreements with Macedonia and Montenegro are being negotiated. The
effectiveness of EULEX advisors assigned to the narcotics department
has not yet been reflected in increased arrests and prosecutions.
Data sharing between EULEX and the KP could improve due to recently
signed data sharing agreements between EULEX and Serbia and EULEX
and the KP.
Additionally, Customs has memoranda of understanding with both
Albania and Macedonia.
Kosovo is not a significant narcotics producer. The KP has found
some evidence of small-scale marijuana cultivation in rural areas,
mostly in the form of plants mixed in with corn crops or cultivated
in back yards. The police have also found some uncultivated
marijuana plants growing in rural areas. The KPS determine crop
yield by counting individual plants, and the number of plants grown
by any one producer is small enough to make this feasible. There
have been a few reports of seizures of small quantities of precursor
chemicals in Kosovo, but KP officials have found no evidence of
narcotics refining or production labs.
Though Kosovo is primarily a transit country for Afghan drugs
destined for Europe, anecdotal evidence from the KP suggests a
growing domestic narcotics market. Data on drugs entering the
country is weak, but data on drugs leaving the country is virtually
non-existent. The KP reported a sharp drop in heroin coming from
Bulgaria and transiting Macedonia after Bulgaria entered the EU,
while drug flow from Albania has increased. Most of the drug
traffic entering Kosovo is carried in small quantities across rugged
borders on foot or by mule. Most drug seizures do not occur at a
While the most pervasive drug in Kosovo is heroin, synthetic drugs
manufactured in Serbia have been intercepted enroute to Albania
while marijuana grown in Albania has been intercepted heading for
Serbia. Several years ago most of the drug traffic was coming from
Macedonia but now much of it comes from Albania. The street value
of heroin is from 10,000 to 15,000 euro per kilogram uncut while
cocaine is between 50,000 and 60,000 euro. Despite the much higher
cost of cocaine, the KP reports that the amount of cocaine entering
Kosovo from Albania, Montenegro and other sources has been growing.
In fact the KP recently seized a shipment of cocaine coming from
EULEX and KP officials report many small movements of narcotics,
such as two to five kg on one person or 10 to 20 kg in a bag on a
bus. EULEX advisors have observed the KBP allowing buses to pass
without search, and in some cases, without checking passports of the
The Kosovo Government continues its efforts to interdict and seize
drugs transiting Kosovo. However, there have been no significant
changes in the methodology or tactics used by the Kosovo Police or
Customs agencies. The KBP are attempting to acquire drug detection
dogs but have not yet secured funding.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction.
According to NGO Labyrinth, the use of marijuana in schools has been
increasing. Only 18% of 15 to 24-year-olds understand the dangers
of drug use according to recent surveys by UNICEF. Even more
alarming is that the age of first injection has dropped to 14 years.
While there are no reliable estimates of the number of drug users
in Kosovo, UNICEF believes that there are now 20,000, up from 10,000
to 15,000 in 2001. One problem in obtaining data is that parents in
this culture are deeply ashamed if their children use drugs and try
to deny and hide the addiction rather than seek help. Also,
wealthier parents are able to send their children to Slovenia and
Croatia for rehabilitation. One initiative sponsored by UNICEF is
called the Peer Education Network which so far has recruited 1500
young people in 22 municipalities to provide training and awareness
PRISTINA 00000480 005.2 OF 006
to other young people on drug prevention, the risks of HIV, sexually
transmitted diseases, and the risks of smoking. In addition UNICEF
is pioneering a life skills-based education program for eighth
graders which will be expanded to other grades. The program,
already in 500 schools, focuses on health, nutrition, sexuality, and
HIV as well as drug prevention.
Both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education run
domestic prevention programs, and community police officers visit
schools throughout Kosovo to educate students about the risks
associated with drug use. NGOs such as Labyrinth assist with both
education and treatment. Labyrinth says that based on the number of
people asking for treatment for cocaine addiction, usage of cocaine
has increased considerably in the last five years, an opinion
supported by the KP. Labyrinth currently has about 600 clients in
various stages of treatment. The number of new clients is ten to
eleven per month, up from seven to eight per month two years ago.
In addition only about 3% of Labyrinth's clients remain drug-free
compared to about 25% in the European Union. Labyrinth attributes
this to lack of follow-up and social services, cultural norms
according to which a child can be disowned from his or her family
for using drugs, and lack of economic or educational opportunities
for young people.
The Pristina University Hospital Psychiatry Department, which also
provides drug treatment, reports that on average two to four people
are receiving in-patient treatment at any given time. The
overwhelming majority of the patients are heroin addicts.
Approximately 120-140 addicts receive out-patient treatment each
year. The staff at Pristina University Hospital is limited, with
only one doctor and one nurse devoted to treating drug addicts.
Other regional medical centers' psychiatry wards reportedly do what
they can to assist drug addicts, but they do not devote staff
exclusively to their treatment.
The Hospital notes that the number of patients is increasing and
sees an urgent need for a better drug treatment program that
includes more and better trained staff, individual and group
therapy, and separation from the psychiatric ward. Hospital
officials consider the construction of a separate drug treatment
facility a priority. They believe that the current arrangement that
places drug addicts alongside psychiatric patients in the same ward
creates a social stigma that prevents all but the most severe cases
of drug addiction from seeking treatment.
Methadone has not been prescribed by public health services due to a
technicality in the law although NGO Labyrinth has been using it as
part of its rehabilitation program. Last year the Global Fund
awarded Kosovo $5.6 million for a five-year methadone treatment
program. The methadone, taken orally, will be administered and
tracked by Labyrinth and other clinics under this program beginning
in December 2009. Labyrinth reports a success rate of only 12
percent using methadone to treat heroin addiction, and it attributes
this low rate of success to the absence of a long-term maintenance
and follow-up program.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Kosovo cooperates with the United States on counternarcotics issues
to the extent possible.
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice's OPDAT program (Overseas
Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training) conducted
training for prosecutors in the new Kosovo Special Prosecutors
Office, which handles narcotics trafficking and other complex
crimes. Projects included instruction on how to handle Trafficking
in Persons cases and the Confiscation of Documents, as well as a
course in Terrorism, Organized Crime, Interagency Decision Making,
Consequence Management, and Border Management. In past years, the
United States Government has provided technical assistance and
equipment donations that directly or indirectly support
counternarcotics work in Kosovo. The USGs Export Control and
Related Border Security (EXBS) program donated a large amount of
border security equipment, including x-ray machines, density
measuring kits, and other equipment. The United States Government
PRISTINA 00000480 006.2 OF 006
funded and contributed 80 police officers, one judge, and three
prosecutors to EULEX's rule of law mission.
In partnership with the North Carolina US Attorney General's office,
OPDAT has led a series of trainings in both Kosovo and the United
States aimed at teaching the KP and Kosovar prosecutors US methods
of drug detection, investigation and prosecution. OPDAT will also
provide the KP with much-needed equipment including field test kits
and specialized communications and tracking gear.
The Road Ahead.
The United States will continue to provide rule of law assistance to
Kosovo for the foreseeable future. USG-funded police, prosecutors,
and judges will continue working in Kosovo as part of the EULEX
deployment. The U.S. Government is coordinating its rule of law
assistance goals and priorities for Kosovo with the EU, and it will
continue to provide training, technical assistance and equipment to
the KP and Kosovo's criminal justice sector that directly and
indirectly support counternarcotics work. Among the USG's
contribution of police officers to the EULEX police mission in
Kosovo, some officers will possess special organized crime and