UN official in Bosnia and Herzegovina warns police to steer clear of politics

3 April 2001

A senior United Nations official in Bosnia and Herzegovina has warned police in the country to steer clear of politics, stressing that officers are prohibited from supporting the unconstitutional concept of Croat self-rule.

The Commissioner of the United Nations International Police Task Force (IPTF), Vincent Coeurderoy, issued his warning on Monday following a meeting with the Federation Minister of Interior, Muhamed Besic. Mr. Coeurderoy reminded police officers of their oath to serve every citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to uphold the rule of law.

"The personal lives and safety of all citizens have been placed in their trust and it is their responsibility to carry out their duty regardless of the political turmoil around them," he said.

The Commissioner called on the officers not to allow anything or anyone to detract them from their solemn pledge, and reminded them that under the Code of Conduct, "any officer found to be engaged in political activities will face firm action by the IPTF which could result in their no longer being able to exercise police powers."

Mr. Coeurderoy stressed that demonstrating support for the unconstitutional concept of Croat self-rule would clearly be seen as a breach of the Code of Conduct. "We understand that officers are under great pressure," he said. The Commissioner acknowledged that intimidation was being applied "ruthlessly by those who do not have the true interests of the Croat people at heart" and asked police officers to "stand firm at this difficult time."

The Security Council set up the IPTF in December of 1995 to help train a professional, multiethnic police force in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

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