- Agim Çeku
Infobox Prime Minister
name = Agim Çeku
order = 6th
Prime Minister of Kosovo
party = None as PM (sponsored by AAK)
PSDK after PM term
10 March 2006
9 January 2008
birth_date = Birth date and age|1960|10|29|df=y
birth_place = Ćuška near Pejë/Peć,
Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo, Serbia, Yugoslavia
Agim Çeku (
Serbo-Croat: "Agim Čeku") (born 29 October 1960in the village of Ćuška [ [http://www.ks-gov.net/pm/?menuid=1&subid=12&lingo=2 Kosovo Prime Minister's Web Site: Biography of Agim Çeku] . Accessed October 26, 2007.] near Pejë/Peć, in Kosovo, Serbia, Yugoslavia, is a former Prime Minister of Kosovoand a chief of the once guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army
Çeku is an ethnic Albanian. He served as an officer in the
Croatian army during the war against the breakaway Republic of Serbian Krajina, and was military commander of the Kosovo Liberation Armyduring the 1999 Kosovo War, and then commanded the Kosovo Protection Corpsunder the UN administration of Kosovo.
Military and paramilitary career
After Agim Ceku finished the secondary military school in
Belgrade, he attended the ZadarMilitary Academy. Shortly afterwards, he joined the Yugoslav People's Armyas an artillery captain. In 1991 the Yugoslav warsbroke out and he deserted from the JNA and joined the Croatian National Guard, when the Republic of Croatia started its war of independence from Yugoslavia.
He was closely involved in the subsequent Croatian War and the against the breakaway
Republic of Serbian Krajina. He participated in several military operations, he first was in Operation Maslenicawhen he was the head of Velebit's artillery section, from January to February 1993, Operation Medak pocketnear Gospic, in which he was wounded, and Operation Stormin August 1995 that captured most of RSK territory. Subsequently he continued the advance as head of Croatian forces into the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovinafighting in western Bosnia against the forces of the Serb Republicin Operation Maestral.
After the war the Croatian Army was reformed and President
Franjo Tudjmannamed Ceku commanding officer of the Fifth District Region in Rijeka. In 1998 he filed request for retirement to go to Kosovo to join the Kosovo Liberation Army with which it maintained links, which was fulfilled in 1999.
Çeku developed contacts with the
Kosovo Liberation Army(KLA), a guerrilla group fighting Serbian rule in Kosovo, some time in the mid-1990s. He resigned from the Croatian Army in February 1999. When the Kosovo War broke out in March 1999, the KLA initially did very badly against Serbian/Yugoslav forces, due in part to poor leadership under its senior commander Suleiman Selimi, a militarily inexperienced individual who had been given the post largely because of his influence in the Drenica region (the KLA's heartland).
In May 1999, Çeku was appointed the KLA's chief of staff, replacing Selimi. He immediately set about reorganising the KLA and implementing a proper military structure within the organization. In the closing days of the Kosovo War, the KLA began providing systematic intelligence to
NATOas well as mounting attacks to lure Serbian forces into the open, enabling NATO warplanes to bomb them. According to reports at the time, Çeku was the principal liaison between NATO and the KLA.Fact|date=March 2008
Following the end of the war in June 1999, Çeku oversaw the demilitarisation of the KLA and its transformation into the
Kosovo Protection Corps, an ostensibly civilian organization charged with disaster response, demining, search and response and humanitarian projects. Although the international community insisted the KPC was a civilian organization, Ceku and its membership said they believed the KPC should evolve into the future army of an independent Kosovo.Fact|date=March 2008 Ceku managed ably many difficult challenges for the KPC, including allegations that its members were supporting the ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia in 2001. Fact|date=March 2008
The Serbian Government claims that Çeku is a war criminal, [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4769726.stm "Serbia denounces Kosovo PM plan"] , "BBC News", March 3, 2006. Accessed October 26, 2007.] though Serbia's jurisdiction in the matter is not recognised by the
United Nations. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia(ICTY) has stated that all indictments issued for war crimes in the former Yugoslaviahave been issued, and that no further indictments are planned Fact|date=September 2007 . Though Çeku has not been the subject of any ICTY indictment, he was briefly detained in Sloveniain October 2003 and in Hungary in March 2004 on the basis of an Interpolwarrant issued by Serbia. Çeku was quickly released in both instances following pressure by UNMIK.Fact|date=January 2008
During the Kosovo War in what is known as "The Cuska Massacre" Serbian forces composed of soldiers, police and paramilitaries killed Çeku's father and brother and another 42 innocent Albanians from Çeku's village. [ [http://www.hrcberkeley.org/specialprojects/avillagedestroyed/thecase.html A Village Destroyed Flash ] ]
10 March 2006Çeku was elected Prime Minister of Kosovoby the Kosovo Assembly. After being sworn in, he declared his support for Kosovo independence, whilst promising to protect the rights of the Serbian minority. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4794258.stm "New Kosovo PM wants independence "] , "BBC News", March 10, 2006. Accessed October 26, 2007.] Çeku's appointment was backed by former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who resigned in early 2005 after the ICTY had indicted him for war crimes. In his first one hundred days in office, Çeku prioritized the implementation of the UN-endorsed "Standards" for good governance and multi-ethnicity, earning praise from UN Kosovo chief Soren Jessen-Petersen and Contact Groupcountries. On 24 July 2006, Çeku traveled to Viennafor the first high-level meeting between the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Serbia and Kosovo to discuss Kosovo's future status.
He stated that he would found a new political party after stepping down as PM, disspelling rumours that he would join the
Reformist Party ORA. [ [http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/newsbriefs/setimes/newsbriefs/2007/12/26/nb-06 Kosovo's Agim Ceku reiterates intention to create new party (SETimes.com) ] ] However, he joined the Social Democratic Party of Kosovoon 10 April 2008, and did not rule out that the party would unify with ORA. [ [http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90853/6390658.html Kosovo former PM returns to politics - People's Daily Online ] ]
He is married to a woman from Croatia Dragica Ponos whom he met in Zadar. The family lives between Kosovo and the Croatian town of
Zadar, where they reside most of the time.
* [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12616474/site/newsweek Respect and Rights]
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