26 June 2023
Giovanni Pietro Barbano, a Major General of the Italian Carabinieri with more than 40 years of experience in law and order, policing activities, and peace operations, took office today as Head of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX). He succeeds the Swedish diplomat, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, who completed his term as Head of Mission on 25 June.
“It is with a great sense of responsibility that I take up my functions today as Head of EULEX, a strategic partner of Kosovo in rule of law and security. Fully aware of the Mission’s vital mandate, I will work with integrity and professionalism to live up to the Mission’s motto ‘Partnership for Justice’, make a positive impact on the ground, and advance our shared goals for the rule of law in Kosovo,” Barbano said.
The new Head of EULEX acknowledged that the Mission operates in a still difficult context, amid heightened tensions, and added: “The Mission is an excellent tool for the EU’s wider response to security challenges, as EULEX is Kosovo’s second security responder. Within the confines of its mandate, the Mission will continue to support stability in Kosovo, as well as the security of all its communities.”
Speaking about EULEX’s robust monitoring mandate, Barbano said: “EULEX will continue to closely monitor selected cases at police, prosecutorial, judicial, and correctional level to assess how these cases are handled by the Kosovo authorities. Among other things, monitoring will focus on respect for human rights, fair trial guarantees, as well as equal treatment for all, including members of non-majority communities in Kosovo.”
“I am humbled by the trust and confidence the Member States have placed in me, and I look forward to building on the legacy of my predecessor, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark,” concluded Barbano.
EULEX was launched in 2008 and its current mandate covers the period until 14 June 2025 based on Council Decision 2023/1095. EULEX’s overall mission is to support selected rule of law institutions in Kosovo. In particular, the Mission is Kosovo’s second security responder within a three-layer security responder mechanism, where Kosovo Police acts as first and KFOR as third responder; advises Kosovo Police’s Region North Directorate and the four police stations under its command on number of issues related to the provision of policing services; assists the Kosovo authorities in strengthening the rule of law institutions by conducting robust monitoring of cases at police, prosecutorial and judicial level; supports the Kosovo Correctional Service through monitoring, mentoring and advising; works together with its local counterparts at the Institute of Forensic Medicine to determine the fate of missing persons by offering expertise and advice; assists the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor's Office; continues to manage its own witness protection programme; and supports the Kosovo Police in the field of international police cooperation by facilitating the exchange of information between the Kosovo Police and INTERPOL, Europol or the Serbian Ministry of Interior.