[JURIST] The Kosovo parliament on Friday voted 98-10 to eliminate the mention of a western-led supervisory commission from its constitution, effectively closing the office. The International Civilian Office (ICO) was created by a coalition of nations that recognized Kosovo's independence from Serbia and had the power to fire public officials and block legislation that threatened the liberty of Kosovo's Serb minority. The ICO has never exercised any of these powers [Reuters report]. While the parliament voted to eliminate the ICO, they also voted to extend the an EU mission supplying police, prosecutors and judges for the nation. The ICO is expected to close officially on Monday.
In June Kosovo's parliament approved a penal code with new laws that require journalists to reveal their sources [JURIST report] and make defamation a crime. In May Moshe Harel was arrested in connection with the organ trafficking operation [JURIST report] in Kosovo during the 1998-1999 Kosovo War. This organ trafficking scandal has been receiving more attention after a report implicated [JURIST report] Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in the scheme. Since then, an EU prosecutor began investigating organ trafficking in Albania [JURIST report] in October 2011. In August of that year a US prosecutor began investigating Thaci's role in the scandal [JURIST report]. In February 2011 UN Special Representative to Kosovo Lamberto Zannier requested [JURIST report] that the UN Security Council open an independent investigation into alleged incidents of organ trafficking. That January the COE also demanded that Albania and Kosovo investigate the claims [JURIST report].