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Kosovo: Forces should use firearms only if unavoidable

The human rights organisation has underlined that, in accordance with international standards, law enforcement officials may resort to the intentional lethal use of firearms only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

Amnesty International believes that the recurrence of ethnic violence in Kosovo underscores the failure of the UNMIK as well as the authorities in Serbia and Montenegro to seriously address the legacy of human rights violations and abuses in Kosovo. These include the continuing impunity for the perpetrators of inter-ethnic violence, and a continuing failure to resolve the fate of those who 'disappeared' and were abducted during, and following, the conflict in 1999.

Amnesty International remains extremely concerned at the lack of progress made in the last four years by the Serbian authorities in bringing to justice those suspected of the 'disappearance' of thousands ethnic Albanians in Kosovo when the province was administered by Serbia.

The organisation is also extremely concerned at the lack of progress by the Kosovo authorities in bringing to justice those responsible for the abduction of some 1,200 Serbs, Roma and members of other minority communities.

Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the situation in Kosovo where reportedly over 20 people have died and hundreds been injured including members of the security forces. As well as the dead and injured there have been a number of reported attacks on Serb property and churches.

Many Serbs living in small enclaves scattered throughout Kosovo have been forced to flee or been evacuated by KFOR (the international military force in Kosovo) troops. Amnesty International is also seriously concerned at reports of attacks by Serbs on mosques in Belgrade, Nis, and other cities in Serbia in response to the violence in Kosovo.

The organisation calls on all sides to show restraint and urges the authorities in Kosovo and Serbia to take the necessary steps to restore law and order while abiding by international standards on the use of force.

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