Kosovo Report Card
Over its first 15 months the international mission in Kosovo has a number of accomplishments to its credit. These include negotiating an agreement with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to disband and to publicly commit to hand over its weapons – although few believe the KLA’s disarmament has been complete; heading off, in the early months after the war, an incipient conflict between backers of the KLA and the other major political force in Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova’s Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK); creating the framework of an administrative structure for Kosovo, and mobilising humanitarian assistance that helped feed and get more than one million Kosovo refugees into homes or temporary shelters before the first post-war winter.
Neither the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) nor the UN were prepared to deal effectively with the violence that unfolded in Kosovo after the war as returning Albanian refugees sought revenge against Serbs. Over half of Kosovo’s Serb population fled and the rest now live a separate and heavily guarded existence in isolated enclaves or to the north of divided Mitrovica, which KFOR and the UN have until recently left for many purposes under Belgrade’s control. As Kosovo moves toward local elections scheduled for 28 October 2000 political violence among Albanian groups is growing. The international mission has yet to develop the capacity to uncover and move against the illegal armed groups that appear to be acting under the surface in Kosovo, just as it has failed to move against the influence that Milosevic continues to exert over the Kosovo Serbs.
Impatience among Kosovo’s majority Albanian population is growing with the international mission’s slowness in putting in place some of the basic structures of normal life – 15 months after the end of the war the judicial system is still getting started and Pristina suffers prolonged daily power outages. The UN police, although nearing its level of authorised deployments, has yet to deal effectively with the climate of lawlessness and disrespect for public authority. Albanians have seized with both hands the opportunities for creating a flourishing small business economy – thanks in part to the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) chief Bernard Kouchner’s decision to introduce the DM as the Kosovo’s currency – but the international community has yet to begin the process of privatisation and market reform that is critically necessary to restart the Kosovo economy and to channel investment into legitimate economic activity and away from the quasi-legal grey economy.
Underlying virtually all of Kosovo’s problems is the international community’s continued unwillingness to resolve the issue of Kosovo’s final status. With neither the Albanian nor the Serb communities nor the international mission itself having any idea what Kosovo’s status will be in the future, it is unrealistic to expect either successful moves toward reconciliation or long-term investment. There is no magic wand on this issue – the international community is if anything even more divided on the issue of Kosovo’s future status than it was at the end of the 1999 war – but failure to address this problem will have growing consequences that in the end could cause the entire mission to unravel.
1) The international mission should state publicly that it will not allow Serb military and police personnel to return to Kosovo.
2) KFOR member states should drop restrictions on the employment of national contingents outside their respective zones.
3) KFOR and UN police should adopt a more aggressive posture in protecting all threatened minorities.
4) KFOR and UN police should adopt a more aggressive posture toward finding and eliminating armed groups operating beneath the surface in Kosovo.
5) KFOR should continue vigorous efforts to locate covert weapons caches and take prompt action against those responsible for them.
6) KFOR and UN police should remove “bridge watchers” from northern Mitrovica, followed by political and economic measures to re-unite the city.
7) KFOR should adopt a more aggressive posture in backing up UN police. 8) UN police should receive additional specialised equipment and personnel needed to function as a modern police force.
9) Additional resources and training should be provided to the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) to allow it to take on primary police responsibilities in Kosovo by 2002.
10) Financing of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) should be regularised by including it in the Kosovo budget.
11) Resources and equipment for the KPC should be increased to allow it to carry out its assigned civil missions.
12) Vigorous investigation and prompt action should be taken against KPC members found to engage in improper activities.
13) During the election particular attention should be taken to enforcing the ban on KPC political activities.
14) The international community should make clear, in a way that does not involve commitment at this stage to Kosovo’s formal independence, that Belgrade has forfeited all moral and legal right to return to Kosovo in a ruling capacity.
15) Interim self-government institutions should be agreed by the end of 2000 with Kosovo wide elections early in 2001.
16) The international community should make clear to the people of Kosovo that how the issue of final status is resolved depends on how they handle self-rule in such areas as minority rights and good relations with neighbours.
17) The interim self-government arrangements should allow Serbs the right to their own local institutions within Kosovo, with participation open to all who register as Kosovo residents.
18) UNMIK should make establishment of a functioning judicial system its highest administrative priority, by deploying more foreign judicial personnel, devoting more resources to local judicial personnel and infrastructure, and introducing modern criminal and civil law codes by the end of 2000.
19) The international mission needs to undertake a concerted security, legal, and political campaign against political violence, including moves against political leaders and parties identified with the violence.
C. Economic 20) The international mission should promptly create a mechanism to resolve issues of enterprise ownership and begin the process of privatising state and socially owned enterprises early in 2001.
21) The international mission should draw up a comprehensive document showing the elements of the Kosovo infrastructure that it plans to reconstruct and set out a strategy for financing the rest through long-term capital loans and internal financing.
Pristina/Brussels 28 August 2000