Kosovo Population Rejects EULEX Special Police Commander
PRISTINA, Kosovo — Reportedly the EU Kosovo Law-and-Order Mission EULEX hired the Romanian Marian Petre as the head of the EULEX' Special Police Department. As to Romanian sources, Colonel Petre "was trained within the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Gendarmerie and he successfully passed through all the stages of his professional carrier.” Apart from an individual judgment regarding the respective officer, the appointment caused expressions of rejection within parts of the Kosovar public opinion.
Statements from different political parties and NGOs particularly focused on accusations concerning the involvement of Romanian UNMIK police officers in the killing of two spectators at a peaceful demonstration of the "Movement for Self-determination" (Vetevendosje) in February 2007. The respective Romanian police officers at that time were said to have shot at protestors by using prohibited versions of gum bullets, containing a special iron core. In addition to the two killings more than 80 persons got injured. The accused officers were brought out of the country. Results of (deeper going) investigations were never made public.
Moreover, according to Kosovar newspapers, EULEX police officers from Romania were allegedly involved in smuggling of people and caught 'in flagranti' by Macedonian customs officers at the border to Kosovo, trying to illegally transport cigarettes and alcohol in an official EULEX bus. Due to all this Romanian police officers seemingly "do not have a good reputation among the Kosovo Albanians": The representative of the 'Council for Defense of Human Rights and Freedom', Behxhet Shala, was quoted as saying that “the appointment of this person from Romania can be considered as a provocation.” The political organization "Vetevendosje" stated, "the appointment of a representative of the Romanian police forces ... represents a serious insult to the people of Kosovo". Subsequently "Vetevendosje" head Albin Kurti approached Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, with the request to withdraw this decision.Continued on the next page