Kosovo: Press Briefing Transcript for briefing of 08 Oct 2008

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UNMIK Spokesperson Russell Geekie

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. We have no statements so we open the floor to questions.

If there are no questions then we should all go to lunch. Okay?

Kosova Sot: Russell, what is the court in the north doing right now? Is it working? Is it completely functioning?

Russell: Well, as you know, on Friday, the personnel, UNMIK personnel - two international Judges, two international prosecutors and support staff, court staff - moved into the courthouse. They are settled into their offices. They are now rolling up their sleeves and beginning work. The first order is to decide which cases will be heard by the court. And we hope that by next week, we can tell you some of these cases as well. So everything went smoothly. Again, this is an interim measure; it's only phase one, but so far, so good.

Zëri: Russell, has Mr. Harland left his post as Principal Deputy of the SRSG? And, if yes, who will succeed him?

Russell: I can answer the first question; I cannot answer the second one. Yes, Mr. Harland went back to New York, to his post there. I don't know that there will be a successor but that is really a question for New York. As soon as we have any information about it, we will let you know.

Kosova Sot: Is this move part of reconfiguration?

Russell: I lose track of what is part of reconfiguration and what isn't. It may depend on needs in the future, as we go forward. But if it is above Alex's pay grade, it's certainly above mine. This is really a question for New York. But at this time, there are no immediate plans to have a PDSRSG.

Kosova Sot: So let me ask you, in the first phase of reconfiguration, you will deal with police, with transformation of police, UNMIK to EULEX. But are there plans that some UNMIK police will still stay, in enclaves for example. Will this postpone the reconfiguration?

Russell: Just a minor correction. That's really the second part of reconfiguration. Our first part is more administrative, it involves offices like the Department of Public Information. Those who are - on October 17th we will be sending out the letters to staff. [Police] really comes after.

A lot of that will depend on EULEX. You know the plan is to deploy throughout Kosovo; that's the goal and we expect it to happen. The when is what we don't know and we have to adjust accordingly. The main thing is - and all sides agree - that we don't want to have UNMIK only in the north, whether it is regionally based or ethnically-based. All sides are on the same page on that. Again, I would refer you to EULEX. Belgrade and Brussels are of course holding discussions on this - to get EULEX deployed. There will be, regardless, downsizing of UNMIK police.

Kosova Press: Earlier on, you have said that the first cases in the court will be the emergency cases, criminal cases. Will there be included incidents that happened during the riots of the Serbs and the murder of a police officer? Will the court deal with these cases?

Russell: That's a good question. I'm sorry I can't give you an answer right now. I can tell you that the court workers are looking at this today - I mean literally as we speak. Just give us about a week and we should be able to tell you at least the first cases that will be heard by the court.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Have a great day.