Kosovo increases security after killing of Serb assembly member

20/01/2014

Kosovo authorities said the slaying was intended to spread fear at a time when the government is trying to consolidate rule of law in the Serb-dominated north.

By Linda Karadaku for the Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 20/01/14

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EULEX is helping Kosovo police conduct an investigation into Dimitrije Janacievic's death. [AFP]

Kosovo authorities are increasing security in northern Mitrovica following the fatal shooting of Dimitrije Janicijevic, a newly elected Serb assembly member in northern Mitrovica, at his home on Tuesday (January 16th).

"Kosovo police, assisted by EULEX, will increase their presence in the north of Kosovo to make citizens feel safe, and especially the legitimate municipal representatives of the citizens [feel safe]," Kosovo interior ministry told SETimes in a statement.

Task Force Mitrovica is conducting a joint investigation with Kosovo Police and the prosecutor's office, EULEX spokeswoman Irina Gudeljevic said.

"EULEX appeals to anyone who may have witnessed the attack or anyone who may have information about it to contact Kosovo police or EULEX," Gudeljevic said.

Kosovo authorities said they believe the murder was intended to destabilise Kosovo and spread fear among the citizens at a time when the Kosovo government is trying to consolidate rule of law in the Serb-dominated north.

"It is a direct attack against the will of the citizens in northern Mitrovica and against establishing rule of law and legitimate institutions in that part of Kosovo's territory," the Kosovo government said a statement.

Serbia Prime Minister Ivica Dacic offered assistance to EULEX and the Kosovo police in identifying the perpetrator of the murder.

"Any destabilisation of the situation in Serbia, including violence and incidents such as Janicijevic's murder, threaten to disrupt the peace and security of citizens," Dacic said.

In Brussels, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton warned she "expects a swift investigation into the killing so that the perpetrators are brought to justice."

"Any use of violence is completely unacceptable," Ashton said.

Kosovo officials pledged they will conduct full investigation.

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"The authors of this murder will be brought to the organs of justice and receive the deserved punishment," Kosovo's interior ministry said in a statement.

A division among Serbs has occurred in the north, making the functioning of the Kosovo institutions an even more pressing issue to avoid more significant consequences, said Mentor Vrajolli, Kosovo researcher at the Centre for Security Studies in Pristina.

"The additional security in this part of the country will have to be a welcome step from all sides involved there whose aim is the well-being and prosperity of the citizens," Vrajolli told SETimes.

What should the Kosovo government do to secure the safety and well-being of Serbs in the north of Kosovo? Share your opinion in the comments space.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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