UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN KOSOVO -PRESS BRIEFING-

13 February 2007
Transcript of Principal Deputy Special Representative of the UN
Secretary-General in Kosovo Steven Schook and UNMIK Police Commissioner
Stephen Curtis press point following their meeting with Prime Minister Agim
Çeku
Curtis: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. First of all can I express my  sincere condolences to the families of the two persons who died in the  tragic events on Saturday following the violent demonstration by  Vetëvendosja. There can be no greater loss than a family member in such  tragic circumstances and myself and all my colleagues in the Police Service  would offer our sincere condolences. On that point, I would deliver to you  the news from the autopsies that both persons died as a result of rubber  bullet injuries to the head.

If I may just for a moment tell you what is happening in regard to the  inquiries, late on Saturday afternoon when I understood that there had been  serious injuries, I opened an inquiry into those injuries – which later  turned to deaths on Sunday – under the Deputy Commissioner of Crime, who is
newly arrived in Kosovo. In fact, Saturday was his first day at work. So he  is actually conducting investigations surrounding the events of Saturday,  particularly focusing on the deaths and the circumstances leading up to  that.

The second part of the inquiry is basing itself on Vetëvendosja and the  actions of Albin Kurti and others within that movement and about their role  in leading up to the violent demonstrations that took place outside the  Government Building and spilled over into the city.

For your information, I will share with you the fact that prior to this  demonstration we did try to engage with Albin Kurti and his team in order to  see how we could best control the demonstration and stop its barrelling out  of control, because in recent demonstrations we did see from Vetëvendosja a
propensity to greater use of violence. For instance, on the 28th of November  they attacked both the Government Buildings and the UN building and this was
clearly going to be unacceptable. Mr. Kurti rebuffed our efforts to meet him  with UNMIK personnel and clearly some significant responsibility will follow  from that.

We also made searches of Vetëvendosja offices in order to obtain material,  both written material and computer material, in order to ascertain the  events leading up to the demonstration. Also, on Sunday morning, once it
became apparent that two persons had tragically died, I personally invited  the Police Inspectorate of Kosovo, which is an independent organization, to  scrutinize the investigation. I did this for two reasons. One, to ensure that the police investigation was seen to be open, transparent and thorough.
And indeed it will be open, transparent and thorough, and all aspects of  this will be brought to light. There will be no hiding place for any facts  in regard to this. And, secondly, because I wanted to ensure the people of  Kosovo that the police have got nothing to hide in terms of providing facts
and information. I am very grateful to say that the Chief Inspector of the  PIK accepted my request for him to undertake oversight of the investigation
and that is now taking place. So, as I say, that is now happening.

Today Mr. Albin Kurti will be appearing before the court and we will see  what happens in regard to that. But the investigation into Vetëvendosja and  their activities prior to the event will continue and the wider  investigation into the deaths of the two persons will also continue. As you
can imagine, with some 2,500 demonstrators plus over 500 police this is a significantly complex inquiry. But nothing, and I repeat, nothing has greater urgency than this. So full resources are being deployed on this. The
results, as soon as they are known, the interim results will be shared with  the PDSRSG, with the Department of Justice and of course with the Prime  Minister. Both the PDSRSG and myself have just been in another briefing with  the Prime Minister, and he and the government will be kept fully up to date  about the police investigation. And the PD will no doubt be relating other facts to him as well.
Schook: First of all, good morning and thanks for begin here this morning.  We just finished a meeting with the Prime Minister; I think it is the fourth  one that you have had since the tragic events of Saturday. I want to start
off first with, again, my condolences and UNMIK’s condolences on behalf of the SRSG for the tragic deaths, the needless deaths that occurred on Saturday. And to the families and to all of Kosovo, my deepest and sincerest sadness is felt. And I was very upset when this happened this weekend – very
upset. But it happened. And now we must be very responsible to make sure that we do all the right things because it did happen.

I would like to speak on two things that Steven mentioned. First, I give my personal assurance, and I’ve been down to the Police Department and I’ve been with the political leadership of the government – that I want a very, very thorough, transparent, optically seen investigation into the cause of
these deaths. I want no stone left unturned. And I want to ensure that we do everything right in determining why and how this happened. I’ve also asked
Stephen to make sure we make whatever adjustments we learn as we do this investigation immediately, so that we don’t have a repeat of anything like this. And I give you my personal assurance that we will work this very, very
hard.

Secondly, on the investigation of Vetëvendosjia. No stone will be left unturned in determining the plans, the insights, the foresight, the rationale of why, why there has been a continued escalation of violence in how they have tried to portray a democratic principle. All of you know that
the 28th of November wasn’t the first violent demonstration. There has been a gradual escalation since April of last year. Every single one of them has gone up a notch. We have gone from air being let out of tires with notes, to assault on police this past summer in front of UNMIK and the Government
Building, to destruction of the Government Building, destruction of UNMIK property, to injuries of police, and this one was escalated even more.

I am deeply disturbed by some of the recruitment outside of Kosovo to participate in this demonstration. Deeply disturbed. And I will ensure you that no stone will be left unturned in determining what they did, why they did it and the purpose of why they were doing it. This is not the time in Kosovo for violent demonstrations on democratic principles. The Unity team has spoken, the government has spoken and we are going down a path. If you disagree with that, there are peaceful ways to convey that message. So I don’t want this to turn in to solely the effect and result of the events, but also the cause of the events. And I’ll be very clear about that.

Next, I want to send a message to all the leadership of Kosovo that this is also not the time to try to attack the government for whatever happened on Saturday. In case we had forgotten, we are in a very critical process right now. And I can assure you from the phone calls that I’ve been receiving from
around the world that everyone is looking very closely to see how Kosovo Albanians react.

What I ask for is: allow these investigations to be conducted. We will do them in a transparent manner. We will do them in a responsible manner. Allow them to be conducted, and let’s see what the results are. Let’s not jump to conclusions. Let’s not make decisions until we have them. My experience in
anything like this is that the first conclusions are probably wrong. Let’s let the facts be the facts. So I ask for everyone to be responsible in that manner.

The other message I had to the government leaders last night is, look, I want, right now, these investigations to occur. And I also want peace and calm and a mature approach to these investigations to be the watchword throughout Kosovo right now. That doesn’t mean that we can’t be angry. That doesn’t mean that we can’t be sad. That doesn’t mean that we can’t disagree.
But at least allow the investigation to occur and let’s have responsible behaviour as we continue our way through this very critical process. That’s my plea.

I want to thank all of you very, very much for coming here today. Stephen and I are now going to depart. We have several other meetings. Thank you all very much.

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