German Soldiers

PRISTINA (Own report) |

PRISTINA (Own report) Amnesty International has published a report strongly condemning soldiers of the German Army in Kosovo. The report states that German soldiers in Kosovo and Macedonia have abused women and under-age girls forced into prostitution. Women's support organisations claim that despite their demands for the pursuit and punishment of the German soldiers the Berlin Ministry of Defence ,,always fobs them off". Even the former German UN Head in Kosovo Michael Steiner was unable to improve the lot of Kosovo's women during his period in office.

Amnesty claims that since the entry of KFOR troops and the installation of the UN Administration Kosovo has been turned into a major market place for the trade in human beings. 1)Before the NATO attack on Yugoslavia there was no large scale prostitution in Kosovo, immediately after the UN occupation began there were established the first brothels using forced prostitution near the KFOR camps, the Amnesty expert Jan Digol confirmed. In Prizren, claims the Amnesty report, among the first clients for the abducted women were German soldiers in 1999. According to one television report German soldiers were regular visitors at child brothels. 2)

No improvements

During the term of office of the German UN Administrator Michael Steiner (February 2002 to July 2003) the position of the forcibly abducted Kosovo women did not improve. While the UN Administraion for January 2001 identified a total of 75 buildings in which women were forced into prostitution by the end of 2003 there were 200 such establishments. While Steiner divorced the Administration of Justice in Kosovo from Yugoslavia and therefore interfered greatly in the justice system he omitted apparently to implement a system of protection for victims and witnesses of forced prostitution. An effective attack on the trade in women is therefore hardly possible says Isabella Stock of the Women's Help Organisation Medica Mondiale. During Steiner's period in office there were ,,no changes which would have contributed to an improvement in the situation".

No consequence

While the German Government justifies wars against Islamic States partly on the grounds of fighting for the rights of women, German soldiers are engaged in the sexual exploitation of abducted women without any effective attempts to counteract the scandal. Medica Mondiale has been demanding for years of the German Defence Ministry that they educate their troops and consistently follow up breaches of human rights. Stock claims this was all in vain: ,,We were always fobbed off".

Exceptional service

The German Cabinet has just decided to extend the mandate for the German Armed Services in Kosovo. ,,The soldiers are performing an exceptional service"was the opinion of the German Minister for Defence, ,,and it is thanks to their professionalism and discretion that the fragile stability has survived at all". 3)

1) ,,So does it mean that we have the rights?"Protecting the human rights of women and girls trafficked for forced prostitution in Kosovo; amnesty international 06.05.2004
2) ARD-Weltspiegel 17.12.2000
3) See also earlier article Model