Senior Lieutenant Ihor Kinal, a UN policemen from the Ukraine, died last night from shrapnel injuries sustained yesterday from Serbian protesters. In fact, all twenty Ukrainian officers from the Special Police Unit involved in the situation in Mitrovica are in the hospital due to injuries. All of this started yesterday when United Nations police arrested thirty-two protesters (none of them were minors or “youths”) who were illegally occupying the courthouse in Mitrovica.
None of these thirty-two protesters were hurt at all by police, nor anyone else for that matter inside the courthouse. To be sure, several police came into the building armed and with protective gear. But that was a precaution in any type of case where police are entering a building such as this and particularly when there was a grounded belief that the protesters may have weapons (due to the fact that a grenade was found last Friday in the courtyard of the courthouse after the protesters removed the gates and stormed the building).
The protesters were arrested on the minor charge of Unlawful Occupation of Real Property, which carries a sentence of between a fine to 1 year imprisonment. These protesters were released yesterday after questioning in Pristina. It is unclear why they were released when the police certainly did not complete their full investigation, but I am sure there was a political component that sidelined a full and complete police investigation. I’ll save that for a later post, but journalists should ask the Police Commissioner and the Head of the Department of Justice about who forced them to sideline their investigation. Unfortunately, the answer is business as usual, because while those residing in the UN’s Main HQ preach volumes about judicial independence and the rule of the law, their actions are precisely contrary to that.
Anyway, as the 32 protesters were being placed into vehicles for the drive to Pristina for processing, a large group of Serbian protesters (none of them were minors or “youths” as some have reported) began throwing stones and other objects at the vehicles. The police were able to remove the 32 protesters safely from Mitrovica, but not before several UN vehicles were destroyed or set ablaze by the Serbian protesters. At that point, KFOR released tear gas and only tear gas.
Angry that the 32 protesters were arrested for illegally occupying the courthouse and apparently believing that tear gas was a lethal threat to their lives, several Serbian protesters began shooting AK-47s and throwing grenades at the KFOR soldiers. The shrapnel from one of these grenades thrown by a Serbian protester caused the death of Senior Lieutenant Ihor Kinal. Other law enforcement officials were injured severely as well due to the attacks by the Serbian protesters.
It was only after Serbian protesters began directing lethal force at KFOR did KFOR respond. Even then, KFOR’s response was muted due to political pressures.
For his part, and to prove to the world that he is in touch with reality, Serbia’s President Boris Tadic publicly and vehemently accused the UN and KFOR of using “excessive force.”
WTF?! What the hell planet is he from? And to think he’s the “moderate” one?