EULEX steps up outreach activities

02 mars 2012

EULEX has been increasing its outreach activities to the Serbian community in Kosovo. The latest event was held in Gracanica / Graçanicë where the issue of property rights was discussed.

On 1 March the EULEX Press and Public Information Office along with two Serbian NGO’s, ‘the Centre for Peace and Tolerance’ (CPT) and ‘Herc’ organised a meeting in Gracanica where the issue of property rights was discussed. A wide range of NGO’s, part of the Kosovo Policy Action Network (KPAN), attended the meeting. EULEX was represented by Declan O'Mahony, Property Coordinator of EULEX, Nicholas Hawton, Head of PPIO EULEX and Marija Nedeljkovic, EULEX Communications Officer.

Bojan Teofilovic, the Technical Secretary of "CPT" and KPAN said “All the attendees of KPAN were really pleased with the meeting and the issues and questions that were raised relating to property rights for minority communities in Kosovo, especially for Kosovo Serbs. Hopefully, this is just the start of such meetings and dialogue”.

EULEX representatives explained the Mission’s mandate and activities in the resolution of conflict related property disputes and in particular how the mission only takes executive responsibilities for the resolution of these disputes where there are good reasons to believe that the Kosovo judges cannot or will not complete the cases fairly or free from influence. The audience spoke about their experience of systemic problems in the delivery of justice over property disputes in particular over disputes involving member of the Serbian community in Kosovo.

Declan O’Mahony, Property Coordinator in EULEX said “EULEX was challenged by the audience to demonstrate how it contributes the implementation of the Rule of Law in Kosovo by looking into an existing dispute brought to the forum by a member of the audience. It was agreed that, when the facts were presented to it, EULEX would look into the ways in which the dispute could be resolved fairly and in a timely fashion and that it would report back to another meeting in the near future”.

EULEX also visited the Serbian grammar school at Laplje Selo / Lapna Selë where around twenty-five students and teachers gave a warm welcome to EULEX staff. Presentations were given about the work and mandate of the mission and there was a lively question and answer session.

“I know there are many difficulties such as unemployment and a weak economy, facing all communities in Kosovo,” said Alessandro Tedesco, EULEX Programme Manager, to the students. “But the basis of everything is a strong rule of law system, and that is why EULEX is in Kosovo, trying to help build this.”

The outreach activities to the Serbian community are part of a wider outreach campaign across the whole of Kosovo, with schools and universities being a central focus of the activities.

For more photo’s, see EULEX Facebook page