The attack in the north of Kosovo / EULEX refutes Serbia, rejects Vucic's claims
The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) rejected claims by Serbian officials that it was not allowed to participate in the police operation on September 24 in Banjska, after the Kosovo Police was attacked.
"EULEX has in no way been prohibited from participating or observing the operations that were carried out by the Kosovo Police on September 24", - said to Radio Free Europe from this mission of the European bloc. The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, and the head of the office for Kosovo in the Serbian Government, Petar Petkovic, have said that Kosovo did not allow EULEX to participate in the police operation, after an armed group attacked the Kosovo Police in Banjska to Zvecan.
Vucic, during a meeting with QUINT and European Union representatives on September 26, said he asked them why "EULEX was refused" to participate in the operation in the north.
"After the attack on the Kosovo Police and after the intervention of the Police, the mobile patrols of the EULEX police unit and the Reserve Police Unit, as well as other members of the EULEX staff, have been in close contact with the Police Kosovo and have gone to the area around the Banjska monastery in the north of Kosovo" , EULEX said.
From this mission, they added that they closely monitored the police operation and were in close contact with the Kosovo Police and the NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, KFOR. The masked and armed group - which according to the authorities in Kosovo consisted of about 30 people - initially attacked the Kosovo Police in Banjska, as the order authorities launched an action to remove a barricade on the road.
Afterwards, the attackers took refuge in the monastery of Banjska and from there they fought all day with the police officials. As a result of the exchange of fire, three suspected attackers were killed. Both Vucic and Petkovic have claimed that two Serbs were killed after they surrendered and have demanded that EULEX be involved in the investigation and that the mission mediate allowing Serbian investigators to perform autopsies on the slain attackers. This EU mission did not indicate whether it has accepted such a request from Serbia, but said that it does not have an "executive mandate to conduct investigations".
"The mission has monitored and will continue to monitor the activities carried out by the authorities in Kosovo related to the attack, such as investigations, confiscations and raids. In accordance with the mandate they have and the legislation of Kosovo, EULEX representatives were present during the autopsy, in the capacity of monitors" , it was said in EULEX's response.
Kosovo has blamed Serbia for the attack in Banjska, which it describes as a terrorist attack, and has requested an international investigation into this event. Serbia has denied having a hand in this event. The attack has been strongly condemned by the United States and the European Union./ REL