Friday, January 13, 2006

Dussourd: It Is not in Kosovo’s Interest to have Internationals stay Indefinitely

In an op-ed published in the Belgrade based daily DANAS the Head of UNMIK’s
Police and Justice Pillar Jean Dussourd presented a series of facts related to the
recent establishment of ministries of internal affairs and justice: “The
establishment of these new ministries and a gradual transfer of competences have
been planned for some time and in a transparent manner, announced widely as
soon as July 2005, including through the SRSG’s public presentations of plans
and progress to the UN Security Council. Furthermore, this step has been taken
with the agreement of UN Headquarters and the international community, in
particular the Contact Group.

The UN’s Legal Office in New York has agreed that the establishment of the
ministries is in line with UNSCR 1244 and does not prejudge Kosovo’s future
status. Moreover, it has been made clear that the SRSG will retain ultimate
authority over justice and police until the end of UNMIK’s mandate. A strong
international presence will continue to monitor the exercise of transferred
competencies and can intervene if necessary to ensure an impartial police and
justice system.

This will occur according to UNMIK’s mandate and to the guiding principles of
the Contact Group, which also foresee a persisting international presence to
strengthen the Rule of Law enforcement, in particular to fight organized crime and
terrorism - for which the European Union and the OSCE will most likely play a
role. In addition, I would like to emphasize that UNMIK is taking a step-by-step
and cautious approach. At this first stage, the responsibilities transferred are
largely administrative, legal and technical.

More substantial competencies, such as operational control of the Kosovo Police
and Correctional services, are deferred to the next phase of transfer. That will
take place only if UNMIK is satisfied of firm progress made by these new
ministries, in their first few months, towards professional and impartial justice
and police, working for the good of all people, and therefore all communities, in
Dussourd writes that much still remains to be done to reinforce the rule of law in
Kosovo: “However, further progress will be made only when the institutions in
Kosovo begin to take responsibility for the rule of law. We cannot call upon them
to do so and held them accountable for the strengthening of Rule of Law, without
giving them the tools to do the job.”

Duissourd adds that simultaneously with the establishment of the new ministries,
the SRSG has promulgated a Regulation on the Framework and Guiding
Principles of the Kosovo Police Service: “The Regulation is an important political
step and requires concrete guarantees for communities and especially the Serbian
community, including the establishment of police sub-stations in consultation with
their representatives, to reinforce the fourteen ‘village police stations’ already
opened since the summer 2005 in areas with substantial populations from other
communities. It also requires the creation of municipal and local committees
whom police must consult on matters related to policing and public safety. The
Regulation establishes as well a new role for municipal assemblies in the selection
of their local police station commander, to ensure the presence of police officers
belonging to local communities. In 2006, the strengthening of guarantees for other
communities, and especially the Serbian community, will continue to be a key
standard for the rule of law and one of the most important tests for the new
ministries. UNMIK will remain firmly engaged with the new institutions to ensure
that they meet their responsibilities,” concludes Dussourd.

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