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Five Slovene Police officers: Matjaz Komericki, Robert Mastnak Mlakar, Matjaz Novak, Robert Podgorelec and Bojan Trupi, who, at the end of November 2005, completed a one-year term of service in the UNMIL CIVPOL Mission in Kosovo, were awarded United Nations decorations at a ceremony held in Banicom Restaurant in Priština on 21 October 2005.

Damir Bedekovic, Elvis Fajkovic, Janez Javornik, Matjaz Kovac, Bostjan Pungarsek, Gregor Simerl, Bostjan Smolej and Saso Zidar, who have been serving in the Mission since April 2005 and who will complete their term after one year, were decorated for their six-months service in the mission.

The ceremony was also attended by a delegation consisting of three representatives of the Slovene Police, which was led by Bojan Luneznik, Adviser to the Minister. During the visit, the delegation met and had talks with all Slovene police officers in Kosovo and was thus able to get directly familiarised with their work and life in the Mission. On this occasion, the delegation brought to the Slovene contingent a songbook entitled "Tristo narodnih in drugih priljubljenih p├ętih pesmi" (Three hundred folksongs and other popular songs). The visit was beneficial in many ways, providing important moral support to the police officers performing very responsible work in the mission.

priznanje294Slovene officers have been participating in UNMIK CIVPOL peacekeeping operations of the United Nations since 3 November 2000, engaged in various job positions at local and regional as well as global police levels. There are presently fifteen (15) officers participating in operations. During the new contingent rotation (November 2005), the Slovene Police complied with the UN Security Council Resolution No. 1325 and sent two (2) female police officers to participate in the mission. Gender mainstreaming represents one of the priorities within the broader peacekeeping context and promotes the equal treatment of sexes almost in every opportunity. In involving Slovene police women in the life and work of the mission, the Slovene contingent was greatly assisted by UNPOL advisor Ms. Tilly Johanna Stroosnijder.

The delegation also paid a visit to Mr. Paul Hutchings the Deputy Police Commissioner, at the UNMIK CIVPOL Headquarters in Priština, where they were briefed about the work of the Slovene officers, their perspectives, problems and work programmes as well as about the future personnel requirements of the mission in Kosovo. Mr. Paul Hutchings highly commended the Slovene officers, their professionalism and their work in the mission. These praises were expressed also in his speech delivered at the medals award ceremony. Despite the gradual reduction of the number of foreign personnel in the mission, which is advancing from the peacekeeping to the monitoring stage, the mission leadership wishes to continue cooperating with Slovene officers who have a high level of knowledge and enjoy the trust of the leadership, colleagues and the inhabitants.

priznanje damir065The ceremony was attended by police delegations from the countries participating in the mission (Austria, France, Germany, The Netherlands, etc.) and representatives of the Kosovo Police. Those that attended the medal parade were welcomed and addressed also by Mr. Anton Pozvek, Acting Director of the Uniformed Police Directorate. He stated that Slovene officers, like their predecessors, perform their work in the mission honourably and responsibly, notwithstanding the occasional circumstantial difficulties. He stressed that the Slovene contingent had contributed considerably to the mission's success and that the Police leadership greatly appreciated the role of the peacekeeping police officers who perform tasks as ambassadors of the Slovene Police and the Republic of Slovenia.

He used the opportunity to thank all those that received decorations, for having performed their tasks well and for their high quality representation of the Slovene Police abroad.

priznanje damir070The delegation took advantage of the reception held after the medal award ceremony and held talks with representatives of the MHQ UNMIK CIVPOL and the heads and representatives of the police institutions of the other 46 countries participating in the mission in Kosovo. The members of the delegation had discussions with military and other Slovene representatives of the OSCE, KFOR, various international institutions and Slovene economic and other representations and organisations in Kosovo.

The ceremony also offered a unique opportunity for promotional activity which included the presentation of Slovenia as a country of tourist interest with a rich cultural and historical heritage that may be experienced in various ways, as a country of friendly people with a dynamic atmosphere, and the presentation of Ljubljana as a business city as well as a city of experiences. Police officers from the Slovene contingent distributed to the guests promotional material on Slovenia provided by the Public Relations and Media Office of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. A promotional film on tourist offers in Slovenia was also shown at the award ceremony.

Prepared by: Dusan Klobasa