A Lithuanian member of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo was killed on the morning of Thursday 19th September 2013.
EULEX released a statement giving details of the incident:
At approximately 0730 this morning, two EULEX vehicles, carrying six staff members, on regular rotation from Gate 1 came under fire from unknown persons in the vicinity of Municipality Zveçan/Zvečan.
The incident resulted in the death of one EULEX staff member. Task Force Mitrovica was immediately activated and a murder investigation is ongoing. The area has been sealed off. No effort will be spared in bringing the perpetrator to justice.
EULEX condemns in the strongest terms possible this act of cowardly violence against its staff members. We appeal to the local community that anyone who has been a witness, or knows anything about this incident to come forward and contact us on 00381 38 78 5555 or 00381 38 78 5556.
EULEX extends its sincere condolence to the family of the deceased.
Bernd Borchardt, Head of Mission EULEX Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, added:
“…Our EULEX staff member was a Customs Officer dedicated to ensuring the stability of Kosovo, and contributing to the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. He was young man who leaves behind a wife and family. Our hearts go out to them, to whom we offer our deepest condolences.
“Currently this is a mixed investigation between Kosovo Police and EULEX police. I also appreciate the offers of assistance from colleagues in Belgrade. No effort will be spared in bringing the perpetrator or per to justice.
“I would like to thank KFOR for its assistance, and the medical staff in Mitrovica…”
NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, condemned the killing, and said that the missions in Kosovo would remain unaffected:
“KFOR will continue to take the necessary measures to fulfil its mandate – to contribute to a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement in Kosovo. We will continue to do this in close coordination with EULEX.”
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, added her voice to the messages of condolence, and reiterated the commitment of the European Union to the normalization of relation within and between Kosovo:
“The European Union is determined to continue its engagement and commitment in Kosovo and will press on with its work in the context of the EU-facilitated dialogue.
“I appeal to all parties to redouble their efforts to implement the agreements reached, to normalise relations and to improve the lives of the people on the ground in northern Kosovo.”
As part of its mandate in Kosovo, the EULEX mission combats corruption, oversees visa liberalization and promotes the rule of law in Kosovo with special priority on the North.