Representatives from both the international community and the PISG reaffirmed their support for the important work of solving the conflict-related property disputes in Kosovo on a KPA donor conference on 1 November.
Principal Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Kosovo (PDSRSG) Steven P. Schook chaired a donors’ conference hosted by the Kosovo Property Agency (KPA) Supervisory Board at UNMIK HQ on 1 November. Participants at the meeting included Minister of Finance and Economy Haki Shatri, Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Ardian Gjini, representatives of 15 diplomatic offices and donor organizations, the European Union, the OSCE, KFOR, UNDP and UNHCR.
The PDSRSG briefed the conference on the new mandate of the KPA following the promulgation of UNMIK Regulation No. 2006/50 of 16 October 2006. The KPA now has the exclusive jurisdiction to resolve claims for repossession of private immovable property, including commercial properties and agricultural land, directly related to or resulting from the armed conflict in 1998 and 1999. The Supreme Court of Kosovo will be the judicial body of appeal for these claims.
“The work of the KPA will not only ensure the fair and rapid resolution of property disputes from the conflict, but it is also paramount for sustainable return and to create an environment conducive to economic development,” Mr. Schook said. “Resolving these disputes is clearly a prerequisite for attracting necessary investment in Kosovo and indispensable for promoting economic growth and prosperity in the region,” he added.
Briefing the press after the donors’ conference, the PDSRSG said, “We have come up with a very good system, a very fair system, one that takes individual rights into account, one that takes into account the needs of the society and one that has a separation of compensation from property decisions. It is a system that has been devised from the lessons learned from both our own property experiences here in Kosovo and those within the international community.”
KPA Executive Director Knut Rosandhaug informed that almost 4,000 out of an expected 11,000 claims have been received thus far. The KPA will now start processing the claims received and the first decisions are expected to be delivered early next year.
In today’s meeting Switzerland confirmed their donation of an estimated one million euros to be distributed over three years (2006-2008). The Government of Serbia offered to help defray the costs of advertising for the upcoming KPA media campaign. In addition, the EAR, U.K., U.S., Norway, UNMIK and the Kosovo Government have already made commitments to the KPA. Representatives from the diplomatic missions and the donor community expressed satisfaction with the promulgation of the new Regulation and reaffirmed their support for the important work of solving the conflict-related property disputes in Kosovo.