Global perspective Human stories

New commissioner takes over as head of UN police in Kosovo

New commissioner takes over as head of UN police in Kosovo

A veteran British police officer with wide experience in international law enforcement has taken over as the new United Nations police commissioner in Kosovo after his predecessor was asked to resign following the deaths of two people in a clash with pro-independence demonstrators in the Albanian-majority Serbian province.

Richard Monk, first Director and Senior Police Adviser to the Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) from 2002 to 2006, was appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to replace Stephen J. Curtis, who stepped down last month.

Mr. Ban’s Special Representative in Kosovo Joachim Rücker asked for Mr. Curtis’s resignation after police used rubber bullets against pro-independence demonstrators in the province, which the UN has run ever since North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid brutal ethnic fighting.

The demonstration followed the unveiling of UN proposals for the future status of the province, where Albanians outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1. The provisional plan, drawn up by Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy for the status process Martti Ahtisaari, calls for Kosovo to have the right to govern itself and conclude international agreements, including membership in international bodies, with an international civilian and military presence supervising the new arrangements.

But it does not specifically mention independence, which Serbia rejects and which many ethnic Albanians seek.

During his time at OSCE Mr. Monk founded and was head of the Strategic Police Matters Unit responsible for capacity/institution-building, particularly in the former Soviet republics in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. He also carried out a ‘Study of Policing in Yugoslavia’ that forms the basis of international police aid to Serbia and Montenegro.

As Commissioner of the UN International Police Task Force (IPTF) in Bosnia during 1998-99, he was responsible for rebuilding and reforming the police forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2000, he was a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel on Peace Operations, which reviewed criticisms of past peacekeeping operations.

As a police officer for 35 years in the United Kingdom, Mr. Monk served in several senior positions including as Head of Scotland Yard Branches dealing with Crime, Community Affairs and Crime Prevention and as Assistant Chief Constable (Crime) for the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.