Human rights panel slams violations by UN mission in Kosovo

Human rights panel slams violations by UN mission in Kosovo
By bne IntelliNews July 15, 2016

A UN Human Rights Advisory Panel (HRAP) has issued its eighth and final annual report, in which it found that the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) committed human rights violations in 83 cases out of 88 considered during the period January 1, 2015 – May 31, 2016.

HRAP has now closed a total of 527 cases, received between 2006 and 2010. The panel said it has been made aware there are significantly more people who want to submit complaints concerning violations by UNMIK, but the latter has arbitrarily set March 31, 2010 as the cutoff date for the panel’s temporal jurisdiction to accept complaints.

Some of the cases in the last batch were similar in nature to the ones considered in previous years, and involved the alleged lack of adequate criminal investigations in relation to disappearances, abductions and killings, as well as alleged violations with respect to the inhuman and degrading treatment of family members and other close relatives of victims.

There was also a case concerning the use of excessive force by UNMIK police during a crowd control operation in February 2007. Another involved lead poisoning and other health problems that resulted from UNMIK’s placing members of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in contaminated camps in northern Kosovo for many years.

HRAP presiding member Marek Nowicki highlighted again, as in previous annual reports, the lack of implementation of the panel’s opinions, “especially with regard to UNMIK paying financial compensation to the complainants, as well as the lack of significant progress of EULEX or Kosovo law enforcement institutions’ continuing investigations regarding the panel’s cases related to abductions, disappearances and killings."

Nowicki added that there remains hope that at least some of these cases will be examined by the special tribunal being created by the international community and Kosovo authorities – the Kosovo Relocated Specialist Judicial Institution (KSJI) – whose jurisdiction includes “serious crimes allegedly committed in 1999-2000 by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) against ethnic minorities and political opponents.”

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