Wednesday, May 24, 2006

UNMIK chief notes decline in ethnically motivated offences in Kosovo

Text of report in English by independent internet news agency KosovaLive

Prishtina [Pristina], 24 May: The head of UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo], Soeren Jessen-Petersen, today called on all concerned to refrain from propagating misinformation on the security situation in Kosova [Kosovo], particularly with respect to the Kosova Serb community.

"I have noted with concern periodic statements from certain quarters that risk creating a climate of fear and insecurity among the Kosovo Serbs," the SRSG [Special Representative of the Secretary General] is quoted as saying in a press release issued by the UNMIK Information Office.

He said, "All too often ethnic motives are alleged for crimes merely because the victims happen to be from the Kosova Serb community. Whereas we always deplore any attack on any citizen, statements of misleading nature are not helpful and are in fact contrary to the interests of the Kosovo Serbs. This kind of misinformation not only erodes their confidence level, but has a cascading negative impact on interethnic relations."

Crime statistics for the first quarter of this year (January-March 2006) reveal a marked decline in potentially ethnically motivated crimes, that is, cases where the possibility of an ethnic motive has not yet been ruled out. As compared to 72 incidents recorded during January to March 2005, there were only 19 such incidents during the same period this year. Of these incidents, 12 involved Kosova Serb, six Kosova Albanians, and one Kosova Croatian victims. Among the Kosova Serb victims, one was a case of attempted murder, two assaults, three intimidations and six cases of criminal damage.

The UNMIK Police recently analysed 1,408 Kosova Serb convoys that were escorted by the Kosova Police Service [ShPK] during January to early May this year. It was found that there had been six incidents of stone throwing at these convoys and police had made five arrests in those cases.

In December 2005, on the directions of the SRSG, the police launched Operation Stringent Security, focusing on vulnerable communities and localities. This operation has since involved 85,502 vehicle check points, 94,315 foot/vehicle patrols and 18,758 police visits to graveyards. 1,269 arrest warrants have been executed, 1,735 persons arrested for various crimes, and 476 weapons seized. This high intensity police operation has, among other things, substantially contributed to reducing crime levels particularly with respect to the minority communities.

In view of continuing perception of insecurity among the Kosova Serbs, the SRSG has asked the police commissioner to further enhance international police deployment in minority areas to support the ShPK efforts to prevent any incident and to help increase community confidence.

Source: KosovaLive website, Pristina, in English 24 May 06


Wim Roffel said...

It is good to read that the SRSG is becoming more active in fighting inter-ethnic crime. But I miss something: they have 19 possibly ethnic incidents and they have made 1735 arrests. This is definitely not the whole story.

I tried to find a police report with more details, but no luck so far.

On some other website (I have forgotten the location) I read that the violent ethnic crimes had decreased while the economic had increased.

NYoutlawyer said...

I guess they missed this one. Oh well, can't report everything I guess. Peace to all the peoples.

Kosovo Albanians attack U.N.-escorted Serb lawyers
25 May 2006 15:52:15 GMT
Source: Reuters

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro, May 25 (Reuters) - U.N. police in Kosovo fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of ethnic Albanians who stoned a United Nations convoy escorting Serb defence lawyers in the west of the province on Thursday.

Three U.N. police officers and one translator were wounded when villagers blocked a road and lobbed stones at vehicles escorting two Serb members of a defence team accredited to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, a U.N. statement said.

"Police then had to clear the crowd, unfortunately resulting in injuries to a number of citizens who received medical treatment from an ambulance at the scene," it said.

The stoning of Serb convoys in Kosovo is not uncommon.

The province, legally part of Serbia, has been run by the U.N. since 1999, when NATO bombs drove out Serb forces accused of ethnic cleansing in a two-year war with separatist guerrillas.

An estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanians died and another 800,000 fled into neighbouring Macedonia and Albania.

U.N. prosecutors in The Hague say Serb police killed 100 men in the village of Mala Krusa two days into the 78-day NATO bombing campaign.

The case is included in the indictment against former Serbian president Milan Milutinovic, whose trial begins in July.

The U.N. governor in Kosovo, Soren Jessen-Petersen, said he was "outraged and disappointed" by the incident.

"It is important for the people of Kosovo to understand that their quest for justice can only be achieved through the course of justice, not by extra-judicial means," he said.

Signs of reconciliation in Kosovo are rare. Around half the Serb population fled a wave of revenge attacks after the war and the 100,000 who stayed live on the margins of society, targeted by sporadic violence.

NYoutlawyer said...

Given the record of Christian persecution in Kosovo while under the supervision and protection of the UN, what could be expected from an independent province administered by Albanian Muslim politicians and security forces?