On 19 September, the EU’s Civilian Operations Commander, Stefano Tomat, the Lithuania’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Ambassador Arnoldas Pranckevičius, the Head of Mission of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), Giovanni Pietro Barbano, and the General Director of the Kosovo Police, Gazmend Hoxha, paid tribute to honor the memory of Audrius Šenavičius, a EULEX’s Customs Officer from Lithuania, who was killed exactly ten years ago in the line of duty, when his vehicle came under fire from unknown persons in northern Kosovo.
The tragic death of our fallen colleague and friend was commemorated in two different memorial ceremonies, held, respectively, in Brussels and in Kosovo.
In his opening speech at the EEAS’s Headquarters in Brussels, the EU’s Civilian Operations Commander, Stefano Tomat, recalled: “At 07.45 hours on the morning of Thursday 19 September 2013, 35 year old Audrius Šenavičius from Lithuania was murdered whilst driving to his work as a customs expert with the EULEX Mission in Kosovo. Audrius was not only a valued colleague, but also a dedicated and loving father, husband, son and a good friend to many. Audrius was serving under difficult and dangerous conditions – he devoted his energy and dedication to his role and lost his life in the pursuit of a worthy cause.
The European Union has honoured the memory of Audrius’ Šenavičius’ life and his sacrifice by dedicating a memorial stone in his honour which he now shares with other EU personnel who have fallen in the line of duty. The memorial placed here in the heart of the EU external action Headquarters is a permanent reminder to all of the ultimate price that some have paid to uphold Europe’s security and its values.”
The Lithuania’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Ambassador Pranckevičius said: "Audrius Šenavičius' service in the EULEX mission in Kosovo required the ultimate sacrifice: his life. I believe that for many of us, his duty, his service and his sacrifice are also a reminder of the importance of the kind of missions that the EU carries out around the world. People like Audrius serve above themselves, they serve justice and the values that the EU stands for - democracy, the rule of law and human rights."
In Kosovo, the General Director of the Kosovo Police, Gazmend Hoxha, opened the ceremony expressing: “Respect for his family and all members of EULEX who have served for rule of law in Kosovo. Honors and respect forever for them and their families.”
The Head of EULEX, Giovanni Pietro Barbano, commemorated Šenavičius and his dedicated service remarking how: “Ten years on, this crime has still not been resolved and the perpetrators have not been held to account. Audrius and his family deserve justice. EULEX and the European Union expect justice. Kosovo and the region need justice,” adding that: “Audrius was tragically murdered while on his way to work, supporting the institutions of Kosovo. Institutions that we monitor, mentor and advise to this very day. His legacy is kept alive through our continued work, and through Lithuania’s steadfast commitment to EULEX and its mandate. In fact, only yesterday, 20 Lithuanian public security officers were deployed to Kosovo to join the existing Reserve Formed Police Unit under the aegis of the European Gendarmerie Force.”
“This is a poignant reflection that a whole decade later, EULEX’s forces on the ground are still needed to support our Kosovo counterparts, particularly as the security situation in northern Kosovo remains fragile. May this ceremony remind us also of the consequences of continued instability in the region, and of the urgency to recommit ourselves to the cause of reconciliation and the rule of law as the best way to honour the ultimate sacrifice of our colleague Audrius.”
EULEX appeals to any person who may have information that can assist the police to come forward. The Mission offers a reward of 82,000 euros for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator or the perpetrators of this murder.
For details on how to report any information regarding the murder of Šenavicius, please contact +383 38 284 181 or click here: Audrius Šenavičius case - EULEX - European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (eulex-kosovo.eu)