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