UN envoy to Kosovo orders suspension of 12 KPC officers pending inquiry

3 December 2003

The head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has ordered that 12 Kosovo Protection Corps officers be suspended, with pay, for six months while a police investigation takes place into their role in the demolition of a railway bridge in the northern Kosovo town of Loziste in April.

Harri Holkeri, the Special Representative for Kosovo, was not prejudging the investigation’s result or presuming guilt, according to a joint statement by UNMIK and KFOR, the multinational force in Kosovo, that was issued today in Pristina.

But Mr. Holkeri said the initial findings against the 12 officers, all serving members of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), after a joint UNMIK-KFOR inquiry were “sufficiently serious” to warrant both a police investigation and the suspensions.

The statement said Mr. Holkeri and KFOR Commander Holger Kammerhoff met the Commander of the KPC, Lt. Gen. Agim Ceku, today to inform him of the suspensions.

The statement added that Mr. Holkeri “recognized that, with a few exceptions, the KPC members act professionally and in keeping with the standards expected of them…It is important to ensure that the inquiry findings are followed up to protect the good name of the KPC.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Holkeri, who is also the chairman of the Task Force on Returns in Kosovo, said next year would be critical for the return of people still displaced after war. The Task Force is calling for more financial support from within and outside Kosovo so that it can carry out its work of assisting people to move.

In another development, UNMIK’s Missing Persons Unit, together with Kosovo’s Office on Missing Persons and Forensics (OMPF) and the Serbia and Montenegro authorities, have arranged for a group of bodies to be transferred from Serbia to Kosovo tomorrow.

The transfer of mortal remains, identified by DNA after they were exhumed from a mass grave at Batajnica, will be completed following verification procedures at a transfer facility near the Serbia-Kosovo border.

 

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