PRISTINA – Principal Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Kosovo (PDSRSG) Steven Schook today stressed the important role of the Kosovo Property Agency (KPA) in resolving property disputes for which the Agency has already received more than 10,000 claims. The PDSRSG was speaking to the press after the KPA Supervisory Board meeting that was attended among others by Prime Minister Agim Çeku, Head of the British Office in Pristina David Blunt, Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Ardian Gjini and AKP Executive Director Knut Rosandhaug.
Mr. Schook noted the good progress made by KPA since it took over from the Housing and Property Directorate (HPD) in July last year. “I could not dream that we would move so quickly and so responsibly on this critical issue,” he said. He thanked the Prime Minister for his “personal support, involvement and leadership” in getting the concept off the ground, and Mr. Blunt for his initiative in securing the British donation of 500,000 euros to the KPA.
The PDSRSG stressed the importance of resolving private property ownership that is a lingering issue in the former Yugoslavia and many other countries across the world. He described the KPA as “the result of a lot of lessons learned on how to do that quickly, efficiently, effectively and responsibly”. He added: “I also think we should gather all possible lessons learned from HPD and apply them to the KPA, so that any mistakes that may have been made under HPD are not repeated and individual property interests are addressed in a responsible way.”
Mr. Schook called on donors for additional financial support to the KPA, which would need another 6 million euros to finish its mandate.
The KPA has, subject to appeal to the Supreme Court of Kosovo, exclusive jurisdiction to resolve claims for private immovable property, including agricultural land and commercial properties, arising from the 1998-99 armed conflict. Of the more than 10,000 claims received so far, the KPA has started to process more than 3,000 claims by issuing legal notification to the current occupants and/or by verifying the validity of documents submitted as evidence to support the claims. After the case processing has been finalized, the claims will be presented to the Kosovo Property Claims Commission (KPCC) for a decision. The inaugural session for the KPCC will be held in late March