Kosovo UN regrets withdrawal of Romanian police in probe of demonstrators deaths

The UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), which has run the Albanian-majority Serbian province ever since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid ethnic fighting, said it expected the Romanian authorities to “adhere to their obligations and continue to cooperate and assist fully” with ongoing investigation.“UNMIK regrets that the Romanian authorities did not agree with the request of UN Headquarters that 11 of these officers remain in Kosovo until 6 April to continue cooperation with the investigation,” the mission said in a statement. “If required by the investigation, such cooperation must include an assurance that any of the Romanian police officers who have left the mission area shall be made available as requested for the purposes of the investigation on the territory of Kosovo. UNMIK reaffirms its commitment to ensure that a full and impartial investigation is concluded in a timely manner,” the statement added.The deaths occurred on 10 February during a demonstration by the ethnic Albanian Vetëvendosja (self-determination) group shortly after the UN envoy for the future status of the province, where Albanians outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1, issued a plan widely seen by both sides as proposing independence under international supervision. The group wants immediate self-determination while Serbia rejected independence. At the time Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative in Kosovo Joachim Rücker demanded the resignation of UN Police Commissioner Stephen Curtis without prejudging the probe’s outcome, calling the loss of life tragic regardless of the circumstances. “We are at a critical juncture in the history of Kosovo and nothing must be allowed to interfere in the confidence of those involved in this process,” he said then. 23 March 2007The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Kosovo today asked Romania to make available police officers it had withdrawn, despite a request that they be kept there for a few more weeks, should they be needed in the probe into the deaths of two people when UN police used rubber bullets against pro-independence demonstrators last month. read more