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Serbia and Montenegro: Freedom of movement still limited in Kosovo-Metohija

Belgrade/Pristina, July 11, 2005 - Kosovo-Metohija Ombudsman Marek Antoni Nowicki said in his fifth and final report for 2005 that the province is in a "legal chaos", that the freedom of movement is still limited, and that there are no mechanisms to protect human rights.
In the report, Nowicki proposes setting up a human rights court in Kosovo-Metohija as well as the creation of a special office for constitutional issues with the aim of bridging the lack of mechanisms to protect human rights.

According to the document, Serbs and Roma have no access to local courts and health services and they are denied the opportunity to cultivate their land or sell farm produce in local marketplaces.

The Ombudsman also criticised UNMIK for lack of action in resolving the "legal chaos" in the southern Serbian province and he warned that local courts are suffering from a lack of independence and shortage of judges.

Nowicki also called on the UNMIK chief to endorse an extension of the mission of the international ombudsman until the ending of international presence in Kosovo-Metohija.

According to a decision earlier this year, the international ombudsman will be replaced with a local ombudsman at the end of the year.

Nowicki's report has been handed over to UN Administrator Soren Jessen-Petersen.