Police Integration In North Kosovo: Progress And Remaining Challenges In Implementation Of The Brussels Agreement

Published by:

Security Research Forum

 

Title:

Police Integration In North Kosovo: Progress And Remaining Challenges In Implementation Of The Brussels Agreement

 

Authors:

Maja Bjelos, Bojan Elek, Fjolla Raifi

 

Date:

10 April 2014

 

The findings of this analysis show that by the end of March 2014, 285 former MUP employees had started the integration process. This marked a significant step forward in implementing the Agreement. There were uncertainties and challenges regarding the establishment of the KP Regional Command North, in particular whether the Command should include the four Serbian municipalities in the North alone, or South Mitrovica and Vushtrri/Vučitrn as well. In addition, there were disagreements on the appointment of the Head of the Command, a post currently occupied by acting head Nenad Djurić. Apart from these organizational issues, the main area of dispute concerned the vetting process, which faced criticism due to the limited time available for it and difficulties in applying the generic vetting cycle. The question of who should take ownership of the vetting process was prominent in political discourse in both Prishtina and Belgrade.

Furthermore, the induction training which was organized for former MUP employees was of short duration, which therefore raised the question of proper integration and adoption of KP organizational culture. In addition, during the Brussels talks a list of 337 police officers who were supposed to be integrated was delivered to the Prishtina authorities by the Serbian side. Of these, 285 were invited to join the integration process, while 52 former MUP officers were omitted. These 52 included some who did not want to join the KP, some who had applied but did not meet all the requirements and some who had not received security clearance. In addition, approximately 800 former MUP staff in central and eastern Kosovo have been retired and omitted from the integration process. This caused dissatisfaction among these individuals, as well as complaints about the Brussels Agreement being applicable to the North Kosovo alone.

As part of the discourse, a number of reports appeared in the media which fostered misinterpretation and prejudice regarding implementation of the Brussels Agreement. While the Kosovar media, for example, raised the issue of the loyalty of these officers to the KP chain of command, the Serbian media covered this topic extensively, focusing on technical aspects of the process, such as the challenge of integrating a large number of MUP officers into the KP and the security clearance procedure, among other issues, almost exclusively quoting the Kosovar media.