CEOL - New judges to purge Kosovo of crime


MORE judges and prosecutors are to be appointed in an attempt to curb lawlessness in Kosovo, the province's United Nations administrator said yesterday.

In June, the UN Security Council placed Kosovo under international administration and gave Nato a mandate to enforce peace there. But, though there is no more fighting, much of the province remains anarchic, and revenge attacks on Serbs by the Albanians have cost at least 400 lives.

Bernard Kouchner, the UN Special Representative in Kosovo, said 400 more officials would be appointed to unblock a paralysed legal system which had contributed to the law and order problems. He said the laws that would apply were those that operated in Kosovo before Slobodan Milosevic stripped it of its autonomy in 1989.

The judges who are left in Kosovo - all Albanians - have refused to apply the Serbian legislation, since it is based on a system they consider illegal. Mr Kouchner said that, without his legal reforms, it would be like "asking Nelson Mandela to operate under apartheid law".

"With all these steps, Kosovo should enter the new Millennium as a more secure place, where crime is not tolerated and justice is available to all," he said. Despite the presence of more than 40,000 peacekeepers and nearly 2,000 international police, fresh killings and kidnappings are reported almost every week.

7 December 1999: Violence and atrocities still part of Kosovo life
30 November 1999: Serb dragged from car and killed by Kosovar revellers
13 October 1999: Albanians murder UN worker in Kosovo
6 October 1999: Albanians stone Serb to death in riot
15 June 1999: 200 troops an hour pour in to keep peace

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