EUdemands justice for Kosovo Mitrovica rioters

EUdemands justice for Kosovo Mitrovica riotersBrussels - Rioters in Kosovo who targeted international peacekeepers should be brought to justice as soon as possible, the European Union said Wednesday, two days after ethnic violence in the Serb enclave of Mitrovica left a French peacekeeper injured. "The EU will press for anyone who endangers the lives of (EU and NATO) personnel, as well as any other law-abiding citizens, to be brought swiftly to justice," the bloc said in a statement.

The 27-member bloc, most of whose members recognize Kosovo's independence, is "deeply concerned" by the violence, which also saw international peacekeepers targeted in two separate hand-grenade attacks, the statement said.

The violence began when ethnic Serbs in the enclave protested against moves by ethnic Albanians to rebuild houses in the area which they had been forced to flee when fighting broke out between the two communities in 1999.

The EU "defends and supports people's right of return to houses and property that they legitimately own, regardless of their ethnic origins," the statement said.

The EU currently has some 1,700 international staff in Kosovo helping to train the country's police and judiciary, while NATO has over 15,000 peacekeeping troops in the country. (dpa)