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UN failure to account for Kosovo rights violations 'tarnished reputation': HRW

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said in a briefing paper [text] for the European Union (EU) released Thursday that the United Nations had "tarnished its reputation and undermined its legitimacy" by failing to hold individuals in the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR) accountable for human rights violations committed by their members. HRW warned the EU against risking its own legitimacy in its own follow-up mission in Kosovo [official website] by failing to "subject its own [human rights] record to independent scrutiny." HRW's Europe and Central Asia director Holly Carter, urged [press release] the EU to "allow real scrutiny of its human rights record from day one." An EU-led mission supervising Kosovo's judiciary, police, and political institutions is expected to take over the current UN/NATO operation under a new plan for Kosovo autonomy [JURIST report] proposed by UN special envoy and former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari [profile]. The plan is still before the UN Security Council.

HRW said a February 2007 incident between UNMIK police and protesters in Pristina that left two protesters dead illustrated the "accountability gap" that has plagued the UN and NATO missions. Amnesty International criticized [Amnesty statement] criticized UNMIK for not conducting a transparent investigation of the incident. AFP has more.

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