Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Mistakes made during UNMIK police intervention in Mala Krusa - official

Text of report in English by independent internet news agency KosovaLive

Prishtina [Pristina], 7 June: The head of UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo], Soeren Jessen-Petersen, has instructed his principal deputy and the police commissioner to go back to Krushe e Vogel [Mala Krusa] village this week to share the results of the investigation on 25 May incident with the village residents.

The spokesperson for UNMIK, Gyorgy Kakuk, made it known at the press conference.

Kakuk said that the SRSG has received from the UNMIK Department of Justice the report on the findings on the preliminary investigation into the incident of 25 May, when a visit by the defence team of General Ojdanic to Krushe e Vogel led to confrontations between police and village residents in which a number of persons sustained injuries.

"The key finding of the preliminary investigation is that a number of mistakes were made in the process of approving and planning this visit. Not enough was done to ensure that all aspects of the visit, including security and political factors, were properly assessed and evaluated. In particular, the operational planning was made on the basis of inadequate information on the sensitivity of the visit and the history of the village. As a result of this, the visit was arranged without prior preparation of the villagers, including the necessary explanation and information about its purpose," the SRSG is quoted as saying.

"The unannounced visit caused considerable suspicion, anxiety, and misunderstanding among the village residents. In those circumstances, the explosive response provoked by the visit is understandable. At the same time it is highly regrettable that any violence resulted. The investigation has confirmed that it was necessary for the police to use reasonable means to enable the convoy to be evacuated safely. But I have no doubt that all of this could have been avoided if only adequate preparation for the visit, including a full explanation for the villagers, had taken place."

The SRSG stressed that these are only the preliminary findings. "We will need to carry out further investigation to ensure that we learn the lessons from this unfortunate incident and avoid any repetition," he said.

Thirty local injured mainly women and children were injured during their reaction from the visit of two Serbs. The local residents said that they knew the men and that they have participated in the massacre against the village residents. Krushe e Vogel has suffered the most during the war. The Serb military and police forces have killed and massacred 130 village residents.

Source: KosovaLive website, Pristina, in English 7 Jun 06

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