Head of UNMIK signs three new regulations: The head of UNMIK, Dr. Bernard Kouchner, has signed three new regulations, UNMIK spokeswoman Susan Manuel said today. The regulations are on the establishment of the Department of Justice, the registration and operation of political parties and the admissibility of certain witnesses in preliminary investigations. The Department of Justice will be responsible for the overall management of matters relating to the judicial system and the correctional service. It will implement policy guidelines formulated by the Interim Administrative Council for the judicial system and the correctional service. The regulation on political parties will govern the registration, operation and dissolution of political parties in Kosovo. A party may apply for registration with the UNMIK Civil Documents Unit once it has a minimum number of 4,000 members who have signed the application. The third regulation would allow written witness statements by a law enforcement officer to be admissible during a preliminary investigation. This provision only applies when the witness has not yet been examined by an investigating judge and is inaccessible to the relevant authorities.
Swiss Government to give over one million dollars for civil registration: Today UNMIK and the Swiss Government are scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Understanding by which UNMIK will receive a donation of 1.9 million Swiss francs ($1.15 million) for civil registration. UNMIK spokesperson Susan Manuel said the total cost for the civil and voter registration is $20 million. The EU, UK, Germany and the US have already contributed fudning, and the Canadian Government is expected to donate 1.4 million deutsche marks ($690,550) soon. "At this point, we largely have the funding we need to launch civil and voter registration, which is supposed to start next month, " said Ms. Manuel.
UNMIK to impose sanctions for unregistered vehicles: Motorists driving vehicles without registration papers will be fined 20 deutsche marks ($10) or have their vehicles impounded and charged a 50 deutsche marks ($25) towing fee and storage costs, UNMIK announced today. UNMIK spokeswoman Ms Susan Manuel said all motor vehicles in Pristina and Prizren should now have been registered in a process that began four months ago. UNMIK Police will begin to check vehicle registration papers starting 31 March.
Small loans for women entrepreneurs: The Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) opened its first microfinance operation in Kosovo today, UNMIK said. Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan will launch the project in Prizren, which will provide loans to women entrepreneurs. FINCA pioneered the Village Bank method, whereby small loans of working capital (normally from $50 to $200) are provided to women from low-income families to start up small businesses.
Fourth class begins at the Kosovo Police Service School: The fourth class of new police cadets begins today at the Kosovo Police Service School, a month before the third class is to graduate. UNMIK spokesperson Susan Manuel said this is the first time that two classes of recruits will be attending the school at the same time. The 240 new cadets will be joining 230 students already at the police school in Vucitrn. The new class is expected to include 31 women, 21 Serbs and four other minorities.
UNMIK Police reports murder and arson attacks against minorities: UNMIK police reported today that there was one murder and several cases of arson and other attacks against minorities in Kosovo over the weekend. In Gnjilane on Saturday, a male Bosniak was shot dead in the village of Barane. This brings the total number of murders last week in Kosovo to five.
In Gnjilane on Saturday, two Serb males were injured when a hand grenade was launched at their home. On Sunday, after a march by some 1,000 Albanians which began in the morning at the Kosovo Polje train station, two Serb houses were set on fire. Unidentified persons also set on fire two vacant Serb houses in Lipjan and in Crkvena Vodica on the same day and in Prizren, an explosion occurred in the centre of Dragash. The owner of the building was a Goran, who was the former deputy chief of police in Dragash, living currently in Serbia. UNMIK Police detained 23 persons in the vicinity of the crime. On Saturday in Prizren, a Roma male was abducted to the village of Vlashnija, where he was assaulted.
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