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UN lifts immunity of police officers connected to deadly shootings in Kosovo

UN lifts immunity of police officers connected to deadly shootings in Kosovo

The United Nations has lifted the immunity of four police officers from Jordan detained for questioning in connection with Saturday’s deadly shootings of three of their international colleagues in Kosovo, a UN spokesman said today.

Fred Eckhard told reporters the immunity of the officers, who have been serving with the Jordanian Special Police Unit (SPU) of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), has been lifted during the arrest, detention and pre-trial investigation process.

The UN Police Commissioner in Kosovo, Stefan Feller, said yesterday that an investigation has begun into Saturday’s shootings at the Mitrovica Detention Centre, which occurred when at least one of five officers from the SPU on guard fired at a group of 24 correctional officers leaving the centre in a convoy after a routine day of training. The officers in the three-car convoy returned fire.

Two correctional officers from the United States – Kim Bigley and Lynn Williams – and the officer from the Jordanian SPU who opened fire were killed, and 11 others – one Austrian and 10 US officers – were injured in the shoot-out, which began about 3:20 p.m.

Mr. Eckhard said today Secretary-General Kofi Annan was deeply saddened at the deaths of Ms. Bigley and Ms. Williams, and wished to convey to the families and friends of the victims “his profound and heartfelt sympathy at these tragic deaths.”

The Secretary-General also expressed his concern at the injuries to the 11 injured officers, some of whom are in critical condition, and wished them a swift and full recovery, the spokesman added.