The top judge in the European Union mission that oversees Kosovo's justice system has resigned and is under investigation for unspecified offenses, the EU mission said.
The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, or EULEX, said on November 16 that a team overseen by the EU's highest court is investigating "serious allegations" against Malcolm Simmons, who before resigning was a judge with the mission since its founding in 2008. He was appointed chief judge in 2014.
The EULEX statement did not say the nature of the investigation but said "the EU and EULEX operate a zero-tolerance policy toward inappropriate behavior and wrongdoing."
Simmons, in announcing his resignation, also aired complaints against EULEX. He told France's Le Monde newspaper in an interview published on November 16 that he resigned because neither Britain nor the EU supported calls to investigate "corruption" in the Kosovo program.
Simmons told Le Monde he had complained about the "piracy of my private e-mail by another EULEX judge" and a romantic relationship between that judge and a Kosovo jurist who allegedly received favoritism in a trial assignment.
"All of this goes against normal procedure," Simmons said in the Le Monde interview. "I asked the U.K. Foreign Office and the EU to refer it to the police. They both refused to support me."
The EU mission in Kosovo responded by saying: "Simmons was requested to furnish all evidence in his possession to support his allegations, but -- regrettably -- has not done so yet."
Simmons in the Le Monde interview also attacked EULEX itself, saying it is "not a mission to promote the rule of law. It is a political mission. Anyone who thinks otherwise is either naive or stupid."
"EULEX wanted to bring down part of the Kosovar political class," he asserted, adding that it wanted "certain individuals removed from political or public life."
Apparently responding to the claim, EULEX said "it is a Rule of Law Mission with the mandate to assist Kosovo authorities."
EULEX was established in 2008 shortly after Pristina declared independence from Serbia with a misson to support Kosovo on its path to European integration in the areas of rule of law and fighting corruption.
EULEX employs about 800 people. Its prosecutors and judges can take on cases deemed too sensitive for the local judiciary.
With reporting by AP and AFP