The Kosovo Police accused UNMIK official Mikhail Krasnoschekov of helping violent protesters during the recent police action in Zubin Potok combating organised crime. Regardless of other facts, it is very clear that the inviolable rights of immunity of the two staff members from arrest and detention has been violated, along with other protocols, despite the clear identification of these persons as United Nations staff. The evidence strongly suggests excess and unjustifiable use of force by arresting officers, responds UNMIK.
There is an ongoing investigation and public debate to establish the precise circumstances of detaining and injuring the two UNMIK staff members on Tuesday, May 28, in the Zubin Potok area while conducting a Kosovo police organised crime combat operation, known as “Smuggling”. The police raid that took place on Tuesday was launched in 5 municipalities in the north and resulted in the arrest of 19 police officers, 10 citizens’ (suspects), 9 other civilians who obstructed police officers in performing their duties as well as one UNMIK official, the police reported (although UNMIK claimed two – an international and a local staff member).
While the police action went smoothly in other areas, the one in Zubin Potok region resulted in unrest, where at a place called „Klisura”, unknown persons placed roadblocks such are trees, setting fire and heavy vehicles and semi-trucks, the police clarified in its latest press release.
The two UNMIK staff members were on duty to monitor and report on the unfolding situation in accordance with UMIK’s mandate, UNMIK clarified to KoSSev.
“In addition, there are allegations raised that police applied force against clearly-identified UN staff. UNMIK has yet to receive adequate communication from the authorities as to the reason for their detention. The details regarding the incident are still being clarified” – UNMIK wrote in its written response to KoSSev earlier today.
The Kosovo Police however accused UNMIK official Mikhail Krasnosсhekov of helping violent protesters, by placing his official vehicle in the middle of the road, in front of suspected persons and the barricade, where it was observed that from the passenger’s side was a chainsaw was taken out, which was used by the suspects to cut wood and place them on the barricade. The police went further with their accusations by claiming that the UN staff member rejected the police orders by refusing to communicate, identify himself and to free the road even though police officers have repeatedly asked to vacate the road, by repeating the request in English.
“Police officers were found in a strained situation in a dangerous area and took him from the car by force and arrested him and accompanied him to the police station. The person in question was initially provided with medical assistance at Mitrovica hospital”.
In a lengthy press release, the Kosovo Police has not however, laid down the details on the nature of injuries sustained by the UN diplomat. Furthermore, it did not mention the case of another UNMIK local staff member who was also arrested, injured and later brought to the court, with visible injuries.
Mikhail Krasnosсhekov, who is a Russian citizen, was transferred to Belgrade Military Hospital two days ago after spending two days in the North Mitrovica hospital. He sustained serious injuries, both sources at the hospital and UNMIK separately confirmed. He was yesterday visited by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the Russian ambassador to Serbia Aleksandar Chepurin.
“By the order of the Chief Prosecutor of Mitrovica, the UN person, even though suspected of illegal actions, by respecting the immunity of the person concerned, he was not detained or stopped and was released along with the vehicle and was handed over to UN staff in Mitrovica, however, the case was processed for obstructing police officers in performing their duties and participating in the crowd” – claimed Kosovo Police.
“In view of the fact that the UN is already involved in inquiries to determine the precise circumstances surrounding the arrest of and injuries to its two staff members, the Mission will not comment on or characterize the details being reported publicly, from any source, at this stage”, said UNMIK Spokesperson Sanam Dolatshahi this evening to KoSSev.
“We can however note that the information presented by Kosovo Police in its own latest press release is not at all in line with our information on the events, and no concrete evidence has so far been shared with the United Nations by relevant Kosovo police and other Kosovo authorities,” she however highlighted.
„We repeat that, regardless of other facts, it is very clear that the inviolable rights of immunity of the two staff members from arrest and detention has been violated, along with other protocols, despite the clear identification of these persons as United Nations staff. The evidence strongly suggests excess and unjustifiable use of force by arresting officers,“ also said Dolatshahi.
In line with international law and the law applicable in Kosovo, all UNMIK personnel, whether locally- or internationally-recruited, are immune from legal process in respect of words spoken and all acts performed by them in their official capacity. They cannot be detained, or face any form of legal process, whether from administrative, executive or judicial authorities, without the United Nations’ consent, UNMIK clarified to our portal earlier today.
Krasnochekov was however declared persona non-grata by Kosovo Primer Minister Ramush Haradinaj, and claimed the UN official was „a camouflaged spy“, in this accusation accompanied by other top Kosovo official. The Kosovo foreign ministry also submitted a request to UNMIK to abolish his immunity, Kosovo media reported.
„Any official request to waive immunity will be forwarded by UNMIK to United Nations Headquarters. Such requests will be considered in accordance with established United Nations procedures, consistent with applicable laws and regulations. UNMIK Regulation No. 2000/47 Section 6.1 sets out the relevant considerations“ – UNMIK clarified further.
As underlined by the Secretary-General’s Spokesperson on May 31 at a noon briefing „the doctrine of persona non grata does not apply to, or in respect of, United Nations personnel. The doctrine applies to diplomatic agents who are accredited by one State to another in the context of their bilateral relations. The United Nations is not a State and its personnel are not accredited to the States where they are deployed, but work under the sole responsibility of the Secretary-General.”
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