07 November 2013
07 November 2013
EULEX and KFOR are aware that many commentators have offered opinions as to election security in northern Kosovo related to the municipal elections there on last Sunday. As institutions with many security, crowd and riot control professionals on their staff, we would like to provide some factual information about the situation on Sunday.
Kosovo police were in the lead, as first responder, on the day. EULEX was second responder, and KFOR was third responder.
In line with its responsibilities, EULEX immediately provided additional help to KP following the attack on the polling station in Mitrovicë/a north to secure OSCE and EU Observer Mission staff deployed there. KFOR personnel deployed in the north also intervened, moving additional personnel, including a Quick Reaction Force, to secure the bridges on the Ibar River, thus preventing the escalation of the situation. Another KFOR company moved by the helicopters at the same time over the area, with two KFOR platoons dispatched to Zvečan/Zveçan and two KFOR platoons dispatched to Zubin Potok. The EULEX helicopter was also dispatched, spotted the group of perpetrators and dispersed them.
Our strategic aim was to stop perpetrators from attacking other stations in Mitrovicë/a north municipality and elsewhere in northern Kosovo. This proved successful particularly in Zvečan/Zveçan, where KFOR and EULEX personnel were able to react to a disturbance and quickly restore order.
Actions taken by EULEX and KFOR effectively stopped the escalation of violence and further disruption of the voting process.
EULEX then escorted OSCE personnel, accompanied by ballot boxes, safely back to the count centre in the south from polling stations in the municipalities of Zvečan/Zveçan, Leposavić/Leposaviq and Zubin Potok. KFOR supported EULEX by securing the freedom of movement along the routes through which the election ballot material travelled to the count centre in the south.
EULEX escorted the ballot boxes containing positively high number of votes of people who turned out on the Election Day to vote for their representatives.
The coordination between EULEX and KFOR was excellent: it enabled prompt actions and response, and prevented escalation of extremist actions.
As with any police operation, lessons will be identified in the debriefing process and applied for future operations of a similar nature.