Kosovo Serbs Block Police Station

A crowd of Kosovo Serbs stopped representatives of Kosovo’s police and the EU’s Rule of Law Mission, EULEX, from visiting a police station in the northern town of Leposavic on Thursday.

Kosovo’s police director Sheremet Ahmeti and and EULEX’s police director Reiner Kuehn’s entrance into the police station was blocked by some 200 Kosovo Serbs who had gathered in protest to the visit. The two officials had earlier been to the Kosovo-Serbia border crossing in Leposavic.

Kosovo Police said in a statement that the two officials decided to cancel the visit and return to Pristina.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008 and so far has been recognised by over 50 countries, including a majority of EU and NATO members. Serbia, backed by Russia, bitterly opposes Pristina’s move.

The EULEX mission was deployed in December 2008 in order to assist the Kosovo authorities strengthen their rule of law capacity, working specifically with the police, judiciary and customs. Some 2000, including police officers, judges and prosecutors have arrived in the country.

Although Serbia agreed to the deployment of EULEX, this is the second time that Kosovo’s Serbs have put the mission’s efficiency into question. Last week, a Kosovo Serb protest outside a court forced EULEX judges and prosecutors to temporarily postpone a judgment in the ethnically divided city of Mitrovica.

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