Democracy and Institution Building
Forensic experts hand over evidence on Kosovo: A representative of the German police today provided the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague reports and evidence of the German forensic experts work in Kosovo over the past six months. This evidence will be used by the Prosecutor of the Tribunal to build her case with regard to Kosovo, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said in a press briefing today in New York. Mr. Eckhard did not give details on the nature of the evidence.
Germany was one of the 14 country teams that provided forensic expertise to assist the Tribunal's investigation in Kosovo. Partial results from the forensic teams have been submitted to the Tribunal by virtually all of the teams to date, which also include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Britain and the United States. The Prosecutor now expects to receive information and evidence from the teams' national police agencies, Mr. Eckhard added.
Reconstruction and Economic Development
Villagers plant trees to halt soil erosion and generate income: Kosovar villagers have planted more than 200,000 pine tree seedlings over the past two weeks in a programme aimed at reforestation and employment creation. A statement issued by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) today said 574 workers from the villages of Desetak and Cirkovice have planted the trees as part of the Village Employment Rehabilitation Programme (VERP) which plans to plant about 1.2 million seedlings by the end of this year. The programme is undertaken by UNDP with financial support from the European Union.
There are currently 37 VERP projects throughout Kosovo, generating temporary employment for about 10,000 people and promoting reforestation and soil conservation, irrigation, rubble clearance and road repair. The projects also help to promote a sense of ownership in local communities, UNDP said. "Despite the fact that there is no heavy physical damage caused by war in this region, 70 per cent of the population is currently unemployed and have no source of income whatsoever," said Colonel Wouters, commander of the Belgian Kosovo Force (KFOR) battalion that is monitoring the implementation of the project in Desetak and Cirkovice. The villages are in an area populated mainly by Kosovar Serbs and about 35 Roma. About 1,500 unskilled and semi-skilled workers are gaining income from this particular effort which is expected to put another 200,000 seedlings in the ground before Christmas, UNDP said.