| Bernard Kouchner
-- Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) from 15 July 1999 through 12 January 2001
BERNARD KOUCHNER (France)
Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK)
Founder, organizer and President of Medecins sans Frontieres, Dr. Kouchner was France's Minister of Health until picked by Secretary-General Kofi Annan as his Special Representative for Kosovo.
In the humanitarian field, Dr. Kouchner founded Medecins sans Frontieres, a Paris-based non-profit humanitarian organization made up of voluntary medical personnel who contribute their time and expertise in assisting in situations of emergency or inadequate medical care in the developing world. In that capacity he travelled extensively in all the troubled areas of the world. He organized humanitarian operations to Somalia, El Salvador, Lebanon and Viet Nam. In addition to those countries, his humanitarian assignments took him to Cambodia, Thailand, Uruguay, Peru, Guatemala and Honduras.
Dr. Kouchner has played an important role on the French political scene for the past 20 years, holding a number of ministerial positions in different French Governments. Most recently he served as France's Minister of Health, and before that as Minister of State for Humanitarian Action (1988-1991) and Minister of State for Social Integration (1988).
Dr. Kouchner is the author of several books, and co-founder of the news magazines "L' Evenement" and "Actuel". He is the recipient of several human rights awards, including the Dag Hammarskjold Prize and the Prix Europa.
A medical doctor by profession, Dr. Kouchner was born in 1939 in Avignon. He is the father of four children.
Exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the Security Council on Dr. Kouchner's appointment.
S/1999/748 6 July 1999
S/1999/749 6 July 1999
Bernard Kouchner, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head, United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), (Statement at a press conference following agreement on demilitarization and transformation of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Pristina, Kosovo, Yugoslavia: 21 September 1999)
"It is a good day for us. This is not an end, but a beginning.
Demilitarization is not necessarily accomplished by simply dismantling military structures and collecting soldiers' arms. The concept of completing demilitarization through the transformation of former fighting forces is well established in peacekeeping practice, and it became an integral part of the Kosovo peace process as a result of the KLA Undertaking on Demilitarization and Transformation presented to KFOR Commander Mike Jackson in June.
In close consultation with UNMIK, KFOR subsequently developed a concept for a civilian, disciplined, uniformed and multi-ethnic emergency response service closely modeled on the Sécurité Civile of France that could provide needed emergency and other specialized services, while absorbing substantial KLA manpower and redirecting its aspirations. Yesterday, I signed UNMIK Regulation 1999/8 authorizing the establishment of such a service, the Kosovo Protection Corps.
The Corps will provide disaster response services, including for major fires, and industrial accidents or spills; perform search and rescue; provide a capacity for humanitarian assistance in isolated areas; assist in demining; and contribute to rebuilding infrastructure and communities.
The Corps will consist of up to 3,000 active and 2,000 reserve member who will be recruited and screened on an individual basis, in much the same manner as the Kosovo Police Corps. At least ten percent of the Corps will consist of minorities. Members of the Corps cannot hold public office or actively engage in political affairs, and are prohibited from involvement in law enforcement or the maintenance of public order.
KFOR will provide day-to-day supervision of the Corps under policies and priorities established by UNMIK. A transition period of at least 60 days will be required to stand-up the Corps. These preparations include the processing of applications, the procurement of basic equipment and the development of training programs. Taking into account among other things his enormous contribution to the successful demilitarization of the KLA, I have appointed Agim Ceku as Current Commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps.
I look to him to lead the new members of the Corps in the footsteps of Cincinnatus, the model citizen-soldier of ancient Rome -- who left his plow standing in the field to answer the call to arms & and at the end of the war refused all honors in order to return to his civic duties.
This story of the brave and honorable citizen-soldier has been repeated in virtually every nation represented in KFOR and UNMIK, including my own. Over the centuries, we all have learned that the price of liberty is constant vigilance and readiness to sacrifice. But we have also learned that there is a time for everything, including a time for arms and a time for tools.
"I am absolutely delighted and relieved at the news that Dr. Flora Brovina was released today from prison in Pozarevac in Serbia. I am overjoyed for her family. She should be crossing into Kosovo at this very moment: Let me be among the first to say, Welcome Home, Dear Flora. You have been sorely missed. You have been in our hearts. "... more
Under UNSCR 1244, UNMIK bears the sole responsibility for interim administration in Kosovo. In order to administer any elections within Kosovo, UNMIK must ensure that fundamental international standards are met. There is only one electoral process organized by UNMIK/OSCE in Kosovo, and that will be the Municipal Elections for Kosovo scheduled to take place on 28 October. ".... more
"Last night I was revolted by the news that three Serb males, including a four year old child, Miki Petrovic--as well as Vojin Vasic and Tihomir Simonovic-- were murdered in cold blood during a drive-by shooting in Cernica, a village south of Gnjilane, at around 8:30 p.m. - Two other Serb males were injured seriously and are now being treated in Camp Bondsteel. ".... more
"This evening I received the shocking and appalling news that one of our UNMIK staff members, a young man of Serbian ethnicity, has been murdered. Petar Topoljski was 25 years old. He worked for the UNMIK Pristina Regional Administration".... more
A year ago Kosovo's Albanians were in flight, terrorized by acts of ethnic cleansing unseen in Europe for half a century.... more
Pristina -- This was a very important Imterim Administrative Council, because we are in the middle of a crisis in Mitrovica. We were all together able to deal with this crisis and to take a common position, first on the reestablishment of law and order, to quiet down the situation, to quiet down everything, and then to sart a real discussion next week on strategy for Mitrovica.... more
New Year's Day is the start of a new millennium, a new beginning for the people of the world and more specifically for the people of Kosovo, for all the communities of Kosovo. This is a time to look to the future. I am not saying that we should forget about the suffering.... more
PRISTINA, 13 December -- Six months in Kosovo. Many people say we've been slow, but slow to do what? Does anyone remember what we found here six months ago? Empty streets. Shuttered shops. No water. No work. Smoking ruins. Murders in the open streets. Dead bodies and piles of garbage. Not a newspaper to buy. Not even a loaf of bread. Not a child in school. No fields safe to plow. Most of the livestock lost. No one in charge..... more
PRISTINA, 15 October -- Today is a sad day for the United Nations and its mission members serving across the globe. Today we share grief for a fallen colleague - the untimely death of Mr. Valentine Krumov, who was brutally murdered on 11 October, the same day he arrived in Pristina to join our team. On behalf of all of us, I want to express our deep condolences........more
NEW YORK, 2 July - Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Friday chose Dr. Bernard Kouchner of France to oversee the massive international effort to turn war-devastated Kosovo into a functioning, democratic society. As the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Dr. Kouchner will head the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and be the highest-ranking civilian authority in the province.........more
PRISTINA, 15 July - Dr. Bernard Kouchner arrived in Kosovo today to take up the post of Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Kouchner, 59, a former Health Minister of France, heads the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), mandated with preparing Kosovo for autonomy........more