ECPMF supports whistleblower Maria Bamieh in legal battle against EU Kosovo mission

by Pauline Betche

After revealing an alleged corruption scandal within the judicial system of Kosovo, Maria Bamieh lost her job. Then she was investigated for a breach of secrecy and now finds herself in a legal battle about the rule of law against the EU Kosovo mission and the UK government. ECPMF supports her case.

Legal hammer_900X600 Public domain photo.

Bamieh, a former prosecutor for the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), claims that the EU mission in charge of fighting corruption may itself be corrupt.

EULEX is the EU’s largest civil mission in Kosovo, launched to strengthen the rule of law in the country. The mission monitors and mentors the judicial system. Bamieh worked in the mission as a prosecutor until October 2014 and helped to reveal corruption in the country, showing links between organised crime and corrupt politicians.

When she came across evidence of possible corruption within the ranks of EULEX, she requested an internal inquiry against her own colleagues. According to her, for two years no investigation took place – a claim EULEX rejects.

A month before her contract ended, she was fired and the mission accused her of revealing secret information to the daily newspaper Koha Ditore. Although she confirmed the validity of the documents, Bamieh denied the allegations that she had given information to the press illegally.

After she had to leave her job, she decided to speak out publicly and accused the mission of neglecting her requests for an internal investigation. EULEX said the prosecutor only denounced the organisation because she lost her job.

She then decided to fight for her rights. Bamieh has sued EULEX and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom before an Employment Tribunal in London for unfair dismissal. ECPMF is supporting her case with 4,000 euros to cover her legal expenses.

“The case of whistleblower Maria Bamieh is yet another example showing how difficult it is for workers to disclose information about their employers that is clearly in the public interest. We hope the judicial system will recognise her as whistleblower and offer the protection she deserves,” said Flutura Kusari, legal advisor of the ECPMF.

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For more information about the case of Maria Bamieh, see this article written for the European Institute for Journalism and Communication Research.

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