KOSOVO: NATO peacekeeper in Kosovo charged with raping female employees; sent home to face charges

Friday, June 3, 2011
The Winnipeg Free Press
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 

A NATO official in Kosovo says a peacekeeper has been charged with raping several women working in a military camp in the west of the country.

Cpt. Hans Wichter said the 37-year-old Austrian peacekeeper "intimidated the women and used his position as their superior to rape them and coerce them into sexual acts."

Wichter said the member of Austria's reserve force was sent home Friday, where he will faces charges at a local court. NATO peacekeepers in charge of securing Kosovo are exempt from local prosecution.

NATO has some 8,000 troops stationed in Kosovo but aims to reduce them by half this year.

The force was deployed in 1999 after the bombing of Serbia to stop a crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians.