© 2002 Friends of Bosnia  

Leon Striggot
The UN Interim Administration Mission for Kosovo (UNMIK) was authorized in June 1999 by the Security Council to
control all legislative, judicial, economic, and civilian administrative matters until the future status of Kosovo is resolved. Dr. Bernard Kouchner, former Minister of Health for France, leads this task, unprecedented in UN history for its scope and complexity. Whether UNMIK has succeeded depends upon whom you ask.

Crime remains a major problem in Kosovo. All ethnic groups cannot live together securely, with recent attacks by Albanians on minority Serb and Roma groups. UNMIK is recruiting and training local police officers for an independent professional Kosovo Police Service, which has still not reached its targeted strength.

Leon Striggot, Chief of UNMIK Police, Pristina Regional Operations, feels the UN doesn’t have direction or ability to deal with rampant corruption. “Albanian thugs (from Albania) are ruining everything… Kosovars want the police to be tougher… but payoffs will get you anything here…Policing should be given back to KFOR.”

Fellow UNMIK worker Joann Kingsley agrees. “There is no rule of law here, no one enforces it. ‘Am I helping or hurting?’ I ask myself. I can’t trust anyone here.” She had no support from UNMIK police when she was harassed by Serb extremists in Mitrovica. But she also feels that Serbs in the north are “neglected by UNMIK.” For example, there are no UN-sponsored landmine awareness programs for Serbs there.

In the summer of 2000, UNMIK administered an elaborate process to register all Kosovars for their first democratic municipal elections in October 2000. With much prodding, one million Albanians participated, but less than one thousand Serbs registered, mainly in the northern towns of Zvecan, Zubin Potok, and Leposavic. Serbs who registered were threatened loss of their pensions and paychecks by Belgrade. No Serb political parties registered for the elections.

The first Serb to register, Vladimir from Zvecan, did so because “it is important to know who lives here…and, I am a tough guy.”




Above: Leon Striggot, UNMIK Regional Police.
1) UNMIK’s Joann Kingsley with Djidji her translator and the first Serb to register for fall 2000 elections (far right).
2) Registration posters hung throughout Kosovo.