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Top UN official in Kosovo welcomes weapon amnesty programme

Top UN official in Kosovo welcomes weapon amnesty programme

The United Nations top official in Kosovo, Michael Steiner, has welcomed a second round of a weapons amnesty programme designed to encourage citizens to turn in illegal firearms and ammunition in anonymity and without fear of punishment or prosecution.

“Kosovo is not at war anymore, so you don’t need weapons – they are simply dangerous,” Mr. Steiner said over the weekend in reaction to last week’s announcement of the amnesty, which will run from 15 March to 15 April and is a joint action of the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the international security force (KFOR).

“From the 15th on, there is one month for handing over weapons that you still have in your homes,” he said. “This is a golden opportunity for anyone who has still these dangerous weapons at home to hand them over without any prosecution, without any disciplinary actions.”

Weapons possession is banned for all residents of Kosovo except those holding weapons authorization cards under UNMIK Regulation 2001/7. Those found in possession of illegal weapons can face a prison term of up to eight years or a fine of up to €7,500.

KFOR and UNMIK will set up designated collection points, the Mission said. However individuals may also notify KFOR or police units to pick up weapons or ammunition that may be risky to transport.