- In various studies carried out since the end of the Kosovo conflict in June 1999 an attempt has been made by NATO, Western governments and their defence ministries, international organisations, and various think-tanks to learn lessons from the Kosovo conflict. The main focus of attention seems to have been placed on the military dimension. The Kosovo conflict has made it clear that the Europeans have considerable weaknesses in their military capabilities, in particular with regard to troop deployment, the use of precision-guided missiles, and what is referred to as C4I (Command, Control, Communication, Computing Systems and Intelligence). The decisions of the European Councils of Cologne and Helsinki on European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) bear witness to the will of the Europeans to eliminate these deficiencies.
- As important as these military (and policy) lessons are, they tend to hide another dimension that is at least as important. The question as to what lessons can be learned from the failed crisis prevention measures of the past few years and how the crisis management efforts of the Western countries might be improved has not received sufficient attention. Or, formulated differently: What can the West do to minimise the risks of an escalation of such crises in the future? This question is the focus of the present report. In addition to the fundamental problems of crisis prevention and crisis management it also deals with questions regarding appropriate relations with Serbia and a political solution for Kosovo.
- First of all, the report attempts to analyse specific problems relating to Kosovo and to come to fundamental conclusions on them. However, one should be careful about concrete lessons, since history is not a linear projection and every conflict and every crisis has its own cause. Secondly, the aim of the report is to connect the genesis of the conflict over the previous ten years to the current problems in Kosovo and in the region and to draw conclusions from the resultant parallels. In this connection one needs to be aware that there are no perfect solutions for any of the complex problems discussed in the following. The fact is that in Kosovo the West is faced with only bad solutions with extremely uncertain implications.
II. CRISIS PREVENTION AND CRISIS MANAGEMENT
A. EARLY WARNING AND PREVENTION
- As the conflict between Serbia and the Kosovo Albanians escalated in the course of 1998 and, in the spring of 1999, NATO air attacks were carried out against Belgrade, many people asked whether it would not have been possible to avoid this development. After all, the explosiveness of the conflict had been known since March 1989, at the latest, when Belgrade unilaterally revoked the autonomous status that had been granted to Kosovo in 1974 and subjected the province to repressive direct rule. In the years that followed there were numerous voices who warned of the smouldering conflict potential in the region (scholars, journalists, politicians, non-governmental organisations, and diplomats).
- The West did indeed register certain early warning signals. In August 1992, for instance, the OSCE sent a long-term mission to Kosovo as part of a promising Western initiative. However, the mission had to be broken off after less than a year, because Serbia refused to extend its mandate. Numerous initiatives undertaken by the West to internationalise the Kosovo question were frustrated by resistance from Belgrade. It also did not enjoy any special priority on the agenda of the international community. This was not the case until the winter of 1997/1998, perhaps too late to avert the impending disaster.
- The failure of the Western countries to intervene early and energetically enough in the conflict makes it clear that - in the words of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan - it will need to develop a "culture of prevention" if it wants to avoid similar crises in the future. To this end there is a need first and foremost to study the causes that led to the pattern of neglect observed in the course of the 1990s with regard to the Kosovo question. There are both structural and crisis-specific causes that can be named in this regard.
- Among the general difficulties of an effective crisis prevention policy is the hypothetical nature of the prediction of a conflict. Substantiated reports enabling us to make predictions that are as precise as possible, giving us conflict analyses, and outlining options for action are a basic requirement for an active crisis prevention policy. Such information seems to have been available to a sufficient extent in the case of the Kosovo conflict. Where there was a deficit was in communication at the interfaces between early warning and political action. Pragmatic expert reports connected with specific recommendations for action, e.g. a policy paper written in the summer of 1997 in the EU Commission by the Conflict Prevention Network (CPN) failed to make it up to the decision-making levels of government.
- It is also a problem that massive preventive efforts and investments are hard to mobilise in the early stages of a conflict, i.e. at a point in time when it is not yet clear whether or not a crisis is actually going to break out. Added to this is the fact that preventive action does not produce direct and quantifiable benefits which governments are able to attribute to themselves as political successes. This is how the UN Secretary General put it in his report last year: "While the costs of prevention have to be paid in the present, its benefits lie in the distant future. Moreover they are not tangible; they are the wars and disasters that do not happen." It needs to be emphasised that successful preventive policy pays off financially. Both the military resolution of conflicts as well as reconstruction efforts afterwards are many times more expensive than timely prevention.
- A further structural obstacle to crisis prevention lies in a number of key principles of the present international system. The generally accepted principles of territorial integrity, non-intervention in the internal affairs, the sovereignty of states respectively, and non-use of force places restrictions on the ability of governments and international organisations to exert pressure on the parties concerned. In the course of the Kosovo conflict Serbian President Milosevic hid behind these principles up to the last, using them to cloak his policy of suppression and expulsion. The debate as to the extent to which and under what circumstances the three named principles should be relativised or restricted by those constituted by the right to self-determination, the internationalisation of human rights violations, and humanitarian intervention and what effects this could have on the world order has by no means been completed.
- Among the crisis prevention problems specific to Kosovo was the lack of will on the part of the international community to intervene early on and massively in the smouldering conflict. To begin with, a number of European countries were hesitant to violate the above-named central principles of the world order. Secondly, specific traditions and interests of some countries played a role. The failure of efforts to bring Russia into alignment with the NATO countries on the Kosovo question prevented more energetic involvement in the crisis region. Last but not least, prevention efforts were hampered by the fact that in recent years Western policy towards the former Yugoslavia had been focused on ending the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and on the ensuing Dayton peace process. This tied up human and financial resources which could otherwise have been employed in Kosovo.
- Drawing up a list of reasons for the failure of a European prevention policy is by no means intended to serve as an excuse. On the contrary, it is intended to form a basis for the lessons that need to be learned from this failure. The central question is, thus, what structures and legal foundations need to be created to prevent a situation such as the one in Kosovo from arising. This question is highly topical, since no one can rule out the possibility that the next conflict in the Balkans is just around the corner. The relationship between Montenegro and Serbia as well as the Albanian minority in southern Serbia are two problem areas with considerable crisis potential. For this reason we need to make sure that at least our "after-the-fact" prevention efforts in the Balkans are successful.
B. CRISIS MANAGEMENT EFFORTS ON THE PART OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
- With the escalation of violence in Kosovo in the spring of 1998, the preventive efforts of the international community failed and the phase of non-military crisis management began. In retrospect it can be said that in this phase, too, the international community proceeded in a manner that was unco-ordinated, too hesitant, and lacking in the necessary impetus.
1. The problem of co-ordination
- A central problem for crisis management in Europe is something often jocularly referred to as "interblocking institutions" as opposed to "interlocking institutions". The unclear relationship between regional and global systems of collective security plays a role here as well as the circumstance that many international organisations see European security as their field of activity and are, in this sense, to a certain degree in a competitive relationship with one another. This situation is aggravated by the fact that the European states which are important in security policy terms and the United States have different priorities with regard to the way roles are distributed among the various organisations. The priorities for the most part reflect the weight the state in question has in a given INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION. While the United States and the United Kingdom see NATO as a key instrument for crisis management, France continues to favour the European Union and the United Nations, where it has a permanent seat on the Security Council. With regard to Kosovo, Italy urged that primary responsibility be transferred to the Balkan Contact Group consisting of Russia, the United States, Germany, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom, since it was only in this body that it had a prominent position. It was supported in this by Russia which furthermore attempted to use the OSCE and the UN Security Council as leading agencies for crisis management in addition to the Contact Group.
- This situation contributed to the fact that primary responsibility for crisis management in Kosovo before, during, and after the air strikes changed hands several times among the international organisations. The Contact Group was the first to appear on the scene. In an initial position statement issued in September 1997 it called upon the parties to the conflict to come to a peaceful settlement. Two months later the Kinkel-Védrine Initiative emerged from its midst which held out the prospect of reintroducing trade preferences in exchange for a negotiated settlement of the Kosovo question. When the crisis began to escalate in the spring of 1998 the Contact Group was unable to agree on measures for exerting pressure on Belgrade due to a Russian blockade.
- NATO took over the leadership of the crisis management effort and attempted to motivate Belgrade to assume a co-operative stance by means of threatening gestures such as the Determined Falcon military exercise held on the border to Kosovo in the summer of 1998. An attempt by the United Nations to assume responsibility for crisis management in this situation failed, since the five permanent members of the UN Security Council were able to agree at the end of September only on Resolution 1199 as their smallest common denominator, but which was too weak to impress Belgrade. A little later the Contact Group turned the initiative over to Washington in the person of US special representative Richard Holbrooke who negotiated an international presence in Kosovo with the leader of the Belgrade regime in October. Surprisingly Holbrooke brought the OSCE into the deal, which was to monitor the agreement concluded by Milosevic and Holbrooke with its Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM).
- However, the KVM was unable to fulfil the task it had been assigned. The OSCE had difficulties in coping with the demands imposed by the mission in organisational terms, and the personnel and financial support provided by the member states were totally inadequate. Given the lack of independent military protection for the observers and some obstruction by the Milosevic regime, the stationing of the KVM only brought about a temporary de-escalation. In the wake of these developments the Contact Group was reactivated, something which was seen as a major mistake from the NATO standpoint. The Contact Group was the key body involved in the Rambouillet negotiations. NATO itself was not represented as an organisation but rather only in the form of a number of its weightier members, the so-called "quint", i.e. the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy. Although these five countries did not have decision-making authority for NATO as a whole they nonetheless threatened to carry out NATO air strikes. According to General Naumann, this situation threatened to undermine NATO cohesion and took away part of its decision-making autonomy: "When the Contact Group failed in Rambouillet and Paris and gave the baton back to NATO, the latter had no other options left".
- At the same time, the mix of decision-making authority between NATO and the Contact Group in the negotiations allowed the Serbs to draw wrong conclusions with regard to the credibility of the threats. On the one hand, NATO members in the Contact Group were threatening the use of military strikes while, on the other hand, Russia, which categorically rejected military strikes, was also involved in the negotiations through the Contact Group.
- While NATO carried out military strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), other organisations began to engage in an active search for a peaceful settlement. The EU assumed a key role in this in close co-operation with the Contact Group, the UN, and the G8. It was an EU peace plan that was later accepted by the G8 and in the end constituted the basis for UN Security Council Resolution 1244. It is noteworthy that the actual breakthrough in the negotiations was brought about in the end by two mediators who were both not from NATO countries, the Finnish EU mediator, Ahtisaari, and the Russian special envoy, Chernomyrdin.
- The confusing interplay of international organisations continued in connection with setting up an organisational structure for the post-war situation in Kosovo. It was originally not planned for the UN to head the reconstruction effort in Kosovo, given that its involvement in Bosnia had not been particularly successful and it had been passed over in the mandate question. In April 1999, during the air strikes, President Chirac of France proposed placing Kosovo under EU administration until a final political settlement was reached. In the end the United Nations was given primary responsibility for the reconstruction of Kosovo. The fact that the decision in favour of the United Nations was taken extremely late and that afterwards there was no close co-ordination with the G7/8 and the EU meant that the UN was relatively poorly prepared to take on this challenge. Many of the initial difficulties experienced in deploying what was referred to as a "civil presence" can be attributed to this circumstance.
- This review of events makes it clear that there is a need for better co-ordination among the international organisations that deal with European security matters. As Richard Holbrooke once noted, crisis management is more comparable to "jazz" than to "architecture", since rapid response to and improvisation as a result of unforeseen events is required instead of ready-made solutions. Nonetheless, it needs to be asked whether or not structures should be established which would facilitate co-ordination among the various international organisations in crisis management situations.
2. Threat of force and credibility
- In addition to the problem of co-ordination, crisis management by the international community was negatively affected by a lack of credibility. A hesitant attitude towards Belgrade contributed towards this just as much as the voicing of non-credible threats of force.
- In the wake of the Drenica massacre in early March 1998 the Contact Group met and threatened Belgrade with sanctions if it did not withdraw its special forces from Kosovo by 25 March and enter into a dialogue with the Kosovo-Albanian leadership without imposing preconditions. None of the conditions had been fulfilled by Belgrade when the Contact Group met again two weeks after the ultimatum had expired. However, it was unable to approve the decision to make good on its threats. This hesitancy continued over the next three months.
- The paralysis of the Contact Group caused primarily by Moscow's blockade and renewed Serbian offences, causing increasingly large refugee flows, resulted in the activation of NATO in late May 1998. NATO immediately began to threaten Belgrade with military action and underscored its threat with a demonstrative air force exercise in June 1998. Operation Determined Falcon was carried out against military advice, as the former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Klaus Naumann, notes today: "At that point in time NATO was still far from making good on this threat. Milosevic, who was presumably monitoring internal thinking in the NATO Council, doubtless came to the conclusion that NATO wasn't serious". Naumann concludes that one should never threaten the use of force if one is not willing to use it when it comes to the crunch.
- Two problems resulted from this for NATO. Firstly, NATO had put itself under pressure and manoeuvred itself with hasty ultimatums into a situation where it had placed its credibility on the line. After several extensions of deadlines for ultimatums the Serbian side probably no longer took these threats seriously. Secondly, by playing the escalation card too quickly NATO denied itself the option of de-escalation, and this at a point in time when non-military options may not yet have been exhausted.
- Among the most important lessons to be learned from this war is the need to strengthen the European capability for effective crisis prevention. In the future, prevention efforts will need to be carried out earlier, more intensively, more energetically, with better co-ordination, and with a much larger financial commitment. It is not out of place to speculate that a stability pact initiated in the early 1990s might have prevented the disaster in Kosovo. A further important lesson lies in the need to maintain one's own credibility in the course of crisis management. This includes the need to co-ordinate the interplay of international organisations and their key players better and to respond immediately with sharp sanctions to non-compliance with ultimatums by the other side, but also not to voice threats of force that cannot be carried out immediately if necessary.
III. DILEMMAS IN THE WAY THE WEST HAS DEALT WITH SERBIA
A. DAYTON DILEMMA
- After his appointment as leader of the Serbian Communist Party in 1987 and after his direct election as President of Serbia three years later Milosevic focused more and more on Greater Serbian nationalism as a new basis of political support. Together with the repeal of Kosovo's autonomy in 1989 and increasingly repressive policies this fomented movement towards independence on the part of the other republics in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and led in the end to successive decisions on the part of Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia to leave the SFRY. War was the consequence in all three cases and Milosevic bore a large part of the responsibility in each case.
- However, Milosevic was needed as a negotiating partner for the Dayton peace agreement which temporarily put an end to the tragedy in the Balkans. The agreement required the approval of the players in the region, and Milosevic's pressure on the Bosnian Serbs was a prerequisite for the compromise found in Dayton. The relationship of the West with Milosevic was marked for a number of years by a certain amount of ambivalence as a result of the need for co-operation that had existed in Dayton. The West concentrated on the peace process in Bosnia, ignoring the problems posed by the deficiencies that existed in Serbia with regard to democracy and freedom and placing the Kosovo problem on the back burner. This resulted in a lack of coherence in Western policy with regard to Kosovo. In late February 1998, on the eve of the escalation of violence in Kosovo, US envoy Bob Gelbard praised Milosevic with a view to his co-operative stance on Bosnia and Herzegovina and held out the prospect of lifting some of the sanctions that had been imposed on Belgrade - sanctions whose aim had been, first and foremost, to put Milosevic under pressure in the Kosovo question. In connection with the assessment expressed publicly at the same time by Western envoys that the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) was a terrorist organisation this could have sent the wrong signals to Belgrade.
- The West did not have a consistent strategy for dealing with Milosevic, with Serbia, and with the overall region. This could be traced back to the early years of the Balkan conflict, and we should not shy away from taking a critical look at our own actions with a view to learning from this for the future. Particular attention should be dedicated in this context to the question of Serbia's political and economic isolation.
B. POLICY OF ISOLATION
- In 1992 the FRY was excluded from the activities of the OSCE and the United Nations. With this measure the international community wanted to punish the FRY for its gross disregard of the principles of the United Nations as well as of the CSCE/OSCE. The steps taken were thoroughly understandable in view of Serbia's policies. However, they resulted in a number of problems for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, particularly with regard to the OSCE. On the one hand, the suspension of Serbia's involvement in the international community made communication with Belgrade more difficult, even though it continued to be necessary, and, on the other hand, it motivated Milosevic even more not to adhere to OSCE principles. The reason Belgrade gave for refusing to extend the mandate for the OSCE long-term mission established in Kosovo in 1992 was Serbia's continued exclusion from the organisation.
- After the conclusion of the Dayton agreement in 1995 and suspension of the embargo measures against the FRY in 1996, the OSCE was not willing to comply with Belgrade's demand to repeal its suspension from activities in the organisation prior to renewing its approval of the mission so that both sides assumed a stance that blocked progress up until the conclusion of the Holbrooke-Milosevic agreement in October 1998. As a result of its policy aimed at isolating Belgrade the international community deprived itself of one of the most important instruments for crisis prevention.
C. POLICY ON SANCTIONS
- In view of the hostilities in Slovenia, and in Croatia in particular, the United Nations Security Council imposed a weapons embargo on all the warring parties in September 1991. Towards the end of the same year the European Community imposed the first economic sanctions on Belgrade, including a suspension of financial aid. Only a few months later, in the context of escalating military activity in Bosnia, the United Nations Security Council endorsed this measure and imposed a total economic embargo on the FRY. All academic, cultural, and sports-related contacts with Belgrade were banned. It was not until 1993 that the international community also got around to imposing comprehensive financial sanctions which denied Belgrade access to international financial organisations and to international loans. These sanctions were imposed by major international financial organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
- The results of the sanctions imposed in the first half of the 1990s were mixed. On the one hand, they brought the Serbian economy to the brink of collapse in 1995 and, in doing so, contributed significantly, as some studies have suggested, to the efforts that were undertaken to get Serbia to the negotiating table in Dayton. On the other hand, isolation deformed the political systems and societies of Serbia and Montenegro, promoted criminal and mafia structures, and plunged large sections of the civilian population into poverty with destabilising consequences for the entire region.
- In the wake of the Dayton agreement and the general relaxing of tensions in the region, the sanctions that had been imposed against Belgrade were lifted in September 1996; surprisingly, this also included the weapons embargo; the only exception was the "outer wall" of financial sanctions. After the first instances of expulsions in Kosovo in the spring of 1998 some of these measures were reactivated. The only sanction with universal binding force, however, was the weapons embargo which the United Nations Security Council imposed on the FRY at the end of March. The Contact Group was only able to agree on an export ban imposed in February for "equipment for internal suppression or terrorism". However, this embargo was never written into a United Nations Security Council resolution, since China, among others, refused its approval. The rest of the sanctions announced by the Contact Group between February and June, i.e. financial sanctions, investment bans, an oil embargo, and flight embargoes, were not supported by Russia. This greatly undermined the threats expressed by the Contact Group.
- In the EU there was hesitancy to establish a comprehensive regime of sanctions against Belgrade outside the United Nations framework for economic and strategic reasons. Not even the sanctions approved by the five Western members of the Contact Group were automatically accepted by the EU Council of Ministers. The consequence was a number of sanctions that were rather symbolic in nature, such as the flight embargo that was imposed by the Contact Group in June, but could not go into effect as EU law until September as a result of resistance from the United Kingdom. The financial sanctions and investment bans threatened by the Western members of the Contact Group since early 1998 were not implemented by the EU Council of Ministers until June 1999, after the military action in Kosovo had ended. A comprehensive trade embargo was not imposed at any point in time for fear of a possible "Iraq scenario". The fact that the demand for a sea blockade against Yugoslavia was raised only during the NATO air attacks seems almost incredible in this connection. While NATO planes were bombing Serbian refineries, conscious that this could very well inflict civilian casualties, oil was still being delivered to Yugoslav ports.
- Sanctions imposed against Belgrade before the military action in Kosovo were not implemented rapidly and comprehensively enough. On the one hand, this was the result of Russia's resistance in the Contact Group and in the United Nations Security Council, on the other hand, the Europeans were not willing to apply sufficient pressure. In view of this fact the question needs to be asked whether all the options for achieving a peaceful settlement of the conflict had been exhausted before the military option was pursued.
- While it would have made sense to establish a comprehensive regime of sanctions in the escalation phase of the conflict, there is a need to ask critically whether these sanctions today still fulfil their purpose. The economic sanctions currently in place against Belgrade are having three negative effects. Firstly, they are strengthening the Milosevic regime instead of destabilising it as a result of the fact that they are severely affecting the civilian population. Secondly, they are fomenting movement towards secession in Montenegro. And thirdly, the economy of the entire region is suffering as a result of them.
- A large part of the boycotts against Belgrade are helping to strengthen the Belgrade regime. Milosevic is exploiting the sanctions for propaganda purposes, branding westward-looking politicians as enemies of the Serbian people. At the same time he is building bridges, repairing roads and hospitals; in doing so he is able to conjure up the myth of the heroic Serbian people. The Serbian opposition has been disappointed by the EU, too. While the opposition's action plan calls for the sanctions to be lifted by the international community, the EU refused to lift the oil embargo against Serbia in February this year and was only able to agree to lifting the flight embargo. Serbian opposition leader Zoran Djindjic noted critically in this connection that having the EU as a partner was "a disaster" for the Serbian opposition.
- The second negative effect of the sanctions lies in the fact that they are indirectly helping to aggravate the relationship between Montenegro and Serbia. The economic decline caused by Montenegro's ties with Belgrade is strengthening the secessionist tendencies shown by Montenegro's moderate president, Djukanovic.
- Montenegro is expressly excepted from the oil embargo, but as long as the republic is part of the Yugoslav federation it will be very difficult in legal and practical terms to exclude it from the "outer wall" of sanctions affecting financial institutions and the EU ban on investments. As The Economist noted soberly: "The EU and the IMF cannot rescue Montenegro, unless it becomes an independent country". Direct financial assistance to balance the projected budget deficit of DM 107 million in 2000 might help to alleviate the problem.
- Finally, and this is the third point, some people argue that all the neighbouring countries are suffering as a result of the sanctions regime against Serbia. Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov pointed out that the Balkan countries were paying for the sanctions against Serbia. Bulgaria has also expressed its concerns about the fact that the losses being suffered by the neighbouring countries as a result of the sanctions are not being compensated for by the international community.
- The following conclusions can be drawn from what has been said. Firstly, sanctions need to be focused on the government and not affect the general population, in order to avoid a solidarisation effect that would benefit the regime. Accordingly, the EU decision to suspend the flight embargo and to extend the suspension until March 2001 is to be welcomed. Since the oil embargo primarily affects the general population, it should also be lifted. While the visa ban and financial embargo actually weaken the Milosevic regime and should be maintained for this reason, consideration should be given to how the ban on investments might be tailored more specifically to affect the Belgrade regime.
- Secondly, sanctions must not take place gradually in acute crisis situations, they need to be imposed rapidly and comprehensively so that the regime in question is not able to adapt to the situation and to find ways and means of circumventing the embargoes.
- Thirdly, all important countries, first and foremost the United Nations Security Council members, and Russia in particular, need to be involved in connection with the threat of sanctions and their implementation. Otherwise they are a blunt sword. In the present situation the financial sanctions as well as the oil embargo are not fully effective. The Serbian regime receives financial support from China. In December 300 million dollars were transferred from Chinese accounts to Belgrade, enough to prevent hyperinflation in the next six months and to pay the salaries of the special police and the military. The oil embargo is being undermined by Moscow. According to information from Serbian sources, Russia will double its oil and gas deliveries to Serbia this year on a barter basis.
- Fourthly, when sanctions are imposed against a country the effects on the surrounding region must be taken into account. Compensation payments to neighbouring countries who are strongly affected by the sanctions should be given consideration for two reasons: on the one hand, in order to counteract the incentive to engage in illegal trading and smuggling activities, and, on the other, in order not to cause economic damage to the entire region. As such, it is recommended that those institutions (UN, EU, etc.) which advocate imposing an economic embargo should also make a potential damage assessment and establish a special fund. Payment should be made from this special fund to affected countries or companies who apply for compensation.
D. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AND THE BUILDING OF A DEMOCRATIC CIVIL SOCIETY
- The focus of efforts undertaken by the community of Western nations must be on building a democratic civil society in Serbia. The key to resolving the most serious problems in the region lies in the democratisation of Serbia. There continue to be differing views within the Alliance as to the best strategy to pursue in order to achieve this goal. Some countries, notably the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, hold the view that pressure and isolation are the appropriate strategy, whereas France, Germany and others tend to favour a strategy aimed at bringing about change in Serbia through relaxed sanctions and increased contacts with Serbian society.
- The "Energy for Democracy" programme was introduced by the EU in November 1999 against strong resistance from the United States. Although in January the programme was expanded from two to six "free" Serbian cities, its effectiveness suffered in the beginning from the fact that oil deliveries to the opposition-controlled cities were being hampered by Serbian authorities. Less well known than the scenes of the blockade of the initial convoys on the border is that heating oil for DM 10 million had been supplied under the Energy for Democracy programme by March 2000 and that the level of discomfort was considerably lessened in those cities governed by the opposition. DM 10 million was also provided for educational measures and a further DM 1 million for repairing damaged roads.
- Of particular importance are the twinning project partnerships that EU and oppositional Serbian cities have established with one another. Approximately 44 EU cities, particularly in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Italy as well as a number of NGOs have entered into partnerships with Serbian and Montenegrin cities where they are funding projects such as supplying computers for schools, improving water supplies, or providing medical assistance for a total of DM 22 million. This promising approach needs to be expanded; not all oppositional Serbian cities have found Western partners yet and their number is expected to increase after the opposition's success in September's local elections.
- Closely connected with the city-twinning project partnerships is the "Szeged Process" in the framework of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe. While the Belgrade regime continues to be excluded from working together with the Stability Pact, in Szeged in southern Hungary representatives of the Serbian opposition, the independent media, and the "free cities" of Serbia regularly meet with representatives of the Stability Pact and other international organisations. Communication and co-operation with members of the Serbia opposition are extremely important in a number of ways. A key objective was to motivate the divided forces of the Serbian opposition to work together. Political foundations and political advisory institutions assisted them in formulating a common position and designing the election campaign.
- Western support for the independent media in Yugoslavia is of decisive importance. Since February this year the Belgrade regime has stepped up its campaign of repression against local radio and regional television stations that are critical of its policies. Seizures of broadcasting equipment, withdrawal of licences, and horrendous fines are the order of the day. The US government is doing an exemplary job here, supplying technical broadcasting equipment, materials for journalists to work with (e.g. paper, photocopiers, etc), and financial assistance. The "Ring around Serbia" project is also being carried out under American aegis, in the context of which four major American and European radio stations broadcast to Serbia in Serbo-Croatian from neighbouring countries in a manner patterned after "Radio Free Europe".
- One section of the Serbian opposition has received only limited attention. During the war NATO dropped leaflets calling on soldiers to desert from the Yugoslav armed forces. Serbian conscientious objectors (COs) who heeded the call, on the basis of their religious faith or political opinions, are still facing difficulties. Many COs were imprisoned by the authorities, while others were able to flee the country. An estimated 1,300 COs have taken refuge in neighbouring Hungary. These men and women are quick to show their gratitude for the security offered to them by Hungary. However, their future remains bleak and uncertain. Many have not returned home, as to do so would risk imprisonment. They live in often poor conditions and say they frequently fail to be recognised as bona fide refugees. While it is possible for refugees to take paid employment in Hungary, language restrictions and lack of documentation restrict the refugees' options in this regard.
- It is therefore crucial that the international community urge Yugoslav authorities to pass an amnesty and in the meantime offer Hungary assistance to help share the burden of providing for the refugees, i.e. by inviting them to other NATO countries.
E. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS/OPPOSITION WINS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: THE BEGINNING OF CHANGE?
- In early July Milosevic pushed through constitutional amendments that would allow him to spend another term in office and, surprisingly, announced a presidential election for 24 September 2000. He reckoned that it would be easy for him to defeat the disunited opposition parties at the polls and in doing so eliminate all doubt on the part of the West as to the legitimacy of his government. The situation seemed to be in his favour. Milosevic knew he could depend on the effects of the state-controlled media and also that if he needed to he could influence the results of the election by stuffing ballot boxes. He miscalculated. The fact that this happened can be seen as a success for the policies pursued by the Alliance, who undertook several initiatives to support the opposition.
- The opposition had long been urged to unite in order to have a chance of bringing about democratic change in the FRY. After the elections were called all the democratic opposition parties were told emphatically and repeatedly how important it would be to agree on a common presidential candidate. Despite personal rivalries all the parties in the democratic opposition (DOS), except for Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), came together and presented Vojislav Kostunica, a long-time opponent of the system as their common candidate. The SPO lost heavily in the election due to its failure to support the democratic opposition and Draskovic's history of co-operating with Milosevic.
- The OSCE decided not to monitor the election, since it did not want (any more than the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) did) to give legitimacy to an election victory by Milosevic achieved under dubious circumstances. After the appeals by the Montenegrin government and the Kosovo Albanian political leaders to boycott the election there was a particularly strong risk of massive election fraud in Kosovo. UNMIK let the Serbian parties carry out the election but set up a "witness programme" which registered the voter turnout and in this way prevented the transmission of inflated numbers in favour of Milosevic.
- A few days before the election the EU foreign ministers signalled in a declaration that sanctions would be lifted immediately if the people decided in favour of democratic change. EU Commissioner Patten and Stability Pact Co-ordinator Hombach announced that in this case Serbia would be able to reckon with reconstruction assistance on a scale similar to what has been granted to Kosovo.
- In the run-up to the election the opposition received planning, technical and logistical support from abroad to help them carry out their election campaign and above all to ensure independent election observation and vote counting throughout the country. Both were necessary in order to create a counterweight to the state media and election commission and in this way to prevent massive election fraud. Last year the United States provided $10 million in support of the Serbian opposition and this year $25 million. The EU spent a comparable amount.1
- With this help the opposition succeeded in making public well founded information on the voting trends early on. This made it impossible for the regime to deny Kostunica's victory. According to information provided by the DOS he received 54.7% of the vote as opposed to 35% for Milosevic. The difference corresponds approximately to the lead Kostunica had in the polls before the election. The state election commission, on the other hand, maintained that he had received only 48% of the vote in order to give Milosevic, who they said had received 40%, an opportunity to try again in a second round. The opposition is insisting on Kostunica's victory in the first round and is attempting to force the regime to recognise their victory through mass protests and a general strike. They are being encouraged in this by other countries. After a meeting with Russian President Putin on 25 September German Chancellor Schröder said they had agreed that Yugoslavia had voted for democratic change. While the opposition also made considerable gains in the local elections, in the parliamentary election the parties close to Milosevic won as expected. At this level he continues to have a power base. At the conclusion of this report the conflict continues over recognition of the election results.
- The election success is by no means primarily a result of Western support. All too obvious support would probably have had a negative effect for presidential candidate Kostunica. Milosevic was unable to play the nationalist card against the democratic Serbian nationalist, who likes to compare himself to Charles de Gaulle. Accusations of corruption had no effect against a 56-year-old professor of law. Since he also was a strong critic of the NATO air strikes and had recurrently criticised the consequences of the sanctions regime it was not possible to defame him as a "traitor to the country". The vote for the uncharismatic professor is to be understood first and foremost as a vote against Milosevic and will open up a chance for democratic change in Serbia. Even if Milosevic were forced to recognise defeat, a change of government would not put an end to all the problems. Kostunica has spoken out against the independence of Montenegro and Kosovo. However, under a democratic government the opportunity would be given to agree on a procedure for resolving the problems in the region. This could be done, for instance, in the framework of a summit conference proposed by French President Chirac, which is to take place in Zagreb on 24 November 2000 after the local elections in Kosovo.
- In the light of the fundamental changes emerging as a consequence of the elections held on 24 September, the Rapporteur will present the Political Committee with a brief update taking into account the latest developments since the report was concluded.
IV. THE SECESSION AND STATUS QUESTION
A. BACKGROUND AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE STATUS QUESTION
- The origin of the Kosovo conflict is frequently dated back to the year 1989, when Belgrade revoked the autonomy status which had been granted to Kosovo in 1974. For fifteen years as an "autonomous province" of Serbia Kosovo enjoyed virtually the same privileges as the republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, i.e. Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Montenegro. Kosovo had its own constitution and government, its own national bank, and an equal voice in the Federal Council. However, a basic principle of Yugoslav federalism prevented Kosovo from attaining the status of a republic and, with that, the right to secession. The architects of the federal system determined that republic status could only apply to nations (narodi), but not to nationalities (narodnosti). According to the definition laid down at the time, the former have their homelands inside the Yugoslav federation, the latter have their homelands outside it.
- In 1991 the European Community created a commission of legal experts headed by the president of the French Conseil Constitutionnel, Robert Badinter, which was to discuss legal questions connected with the disintegration of Yugoslavia on behalf of the EC. In the question of recognising the successor republics the Badinter Commission based its views on the Yugoslav constitution of 1974 and decided that the republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had the right to secede from the Yugoslav federation. There was no Commission statement on "regions" such as Kosovo, but the fact that it based its views on the Yugoslav constitution of 1974 meant that it implicitly denied them the right to secession. Accordingly, a request for recognition of Kosovo's independence was rejected by the EC in December 1991.
- This fact has been a subject of criticism from a number of quarters, and the accusation was made that there was an element of "arbitrariness" in this. Thus, the decision to make the Yugoslav constitution the sole basis of legal judgements was opened to question. In expanding the frame of reference from constitutional law to international law, in connection with the right to secession it is by no means the status of the federal body (republic, autonomous province, or region) that is relevant, but rather the question as to whether the Kosovo Albanians are to be considered a people or a minority. While experts in international law are agreed that minorities do not enjoy the right of secession, this right is definitely conceded in exceptional situations to peoples. With reference to the Charter of the United Nations and the United National General Assembly "Declaration on Friendly Relations" (1970) prevailing legal opinion is that a right to secession can go into effect in cases of serious and sustained violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The opinion of a majority of experts on international law tends to be that Kosovo Albanians are to be seen more as a minority than as a people in themselves. However, this question is a subject of controversy.
- However, in the early 1990s the Western countries established their position, not just in legal terms but also in political terms, that they would not, on any account, contemplate an independent Kosovo. The recurrent argument was that it was necessary to prevent a "balkanisation of the Balkans". This has been criticised from numerous quarters. The main accusation is that the pacifistic strategy of the Kosovar shadow president, Rugova, was punished by ignoring his objective of national independence. The fact of the matter is that the lack of support Rugova received for his political objectives contributed towards the radicalisation of the Albanian population. This reaffirmed the position taken by the UCK that the goal of independence can only be achieved by force. A second item of criticism is that the focus on bringing about an internal Serbian solution restricted latitude for international negotiations. It can be assumed that leaving the status question open would have served as an instrument for pressuring Belgrade and an incentive for the Kosovo Albanians to be cooperative. The Western countries will need to examine the argument that they virtually encouraged Milosevic to view the Kosovo question as an internal affair and in doing so permitted him to conceal his policy of repression beneath the mantle of national sovereignty.
- It is in fact one of the dilemmas of Western policy on Kosovo that they took a position that came much closer to that of Milosevic than to that of the majority of the Kosovo-Albanian population. The categorical rejection of an independent Kosovo, the public and internal assessment of the UCK as a terrorist organisation in early summer 1998, and the relative inactivity of the community of Western nations in view of exaggerated Serbian reactions to attacks by the UCK in the spring of 1998 doubtless reaffirmed Milosevic's assessment that the West was basically willing to tolerate his policy of repression as long as it remained within certain limits. With reference to the ethnic cleansing campaign being carried out already in 1998 the following saying was making the rounds: "A village a day keeps NATO away".
- Having noted all this criticism of Western policy, it should also be said that early fixation of the status question would also have been very problematic. This would have made a negotiated solution very improbable from the outset. Such approaches as the attempt undertaken in 1992 to negotiate the re-establishment of the Albanian school and university system in Kosovo failed. Education was a burning issue too closely associated with sovereignty and status questions.
B. RESOLUTION 1244 AND THE UNCLARIFIED FINAL STATUS
- As a result of the outbreak of hostilities between the UCK and Serbian forces in 1998, and especially after NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia, the stationing of KFOR troops, and the establishment of a UN protectorate in Kosovo the status question presents itself in an entirely new light. For many, a non-violent co-existence of the two ethnic groups is very hard to imagine. According to the UNHCR at least 210,000 Serbs and Roma have left the province or have been driven out, and those who have remained are huddled together in enclaves to escape organised acts of revenge carried out by the Kosovo-Albanian population.
- United Nations Resolution 1244 (1999) states that there should be "substantial autonomy and meaningful self-administration for Kosovo" without going into further detail. This lack of clarity constitutes a huge problem for the reconstruction effort in Kosovo. Kofi Annan referred to this fact when he said Resolution 1244 demanded of the UN that they administrate Kosovo as part of the FRY, even though the people under their administration (the Albanians) demand their independence day after day. Another high-ranking UN official wondered how it was going to be possible to establish a democracy in Kosovo if the territorial framework had not yet been laid out. He and others criticise the fact that the unclarified status question undermines genuine participation in and identification with the peace and reconstruction process by Kosovo Albanians. Moderate Kosovo-Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova made it clear that the population would support the efforts of the international community over the long term only if they have the prospect of political independence.
- Over the medium term NATO is in danger of coming under fire from both sides. It is not improbable that Albanian extremists would risk a guerrilla war against the NATO protection force if the latter were perceived to be the main obstacle on the road to independence. Bernard Kouchner, head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), is aware of the impatience of the Albanian population and the problems the unclarified status question brings with it. It is in this connection that the proposal is to be seen which he put forward in February to establish working groups for the purpose of clarifying the final status of Kosovo.
- Four different scenarios are conceivable for the final status of Kosovo. Firstly, a return to the status quo ante bellum with Kosovo once again a province of Serbia. Secondly, Kosovo as a republic with equal rights within the FRY. This could go hand in hand with a restructuring of the overall federal system, in the course of which the rest of Serbia would be divided up into three or four further republics (for instance Vojvodina, Sandzak, Greater Belgrade, and Serbia). Thirdly, an independent Kosovo. Fourthly, a division of Kosovo.
- The first variant is not a realistic option given the events of recent years and the amount of Albanian resistance to the idea. With regard to the fourth variant, i.e. the division of Kosovo into two parts, a Serbian north and an Albanian south, the objection can be raised that a change in the borders of administrative units in the Balkans would create a precedent that could have unpredictable consequences.
- The third variant, that of an independent Kosovo continues to be strongly opposed by the international community. Rejection of this idea is frequently based on a kind of "domino theory", conjuring up the danger of a "Greater Albania" and a break-up of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This argument is by no means accepted by all Balkan experts. Some refer to Pan-Albanianism as a "figment of the imagination". In actual fact there is hardly anyone in Kosovo who publicly advocates union with Albania. In Albania, on the other hand, there are indeed voices who support the idea of a Greater Albania. In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia this idea is feared by the Slavic majority in connection with an independent Kosovo. However, with reference to the general loyalty demonstrated by the Albanian minority to the State of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, some have described it as "a second founding of the state".
- Those who argue in favour of an independent Kosovo need to be aware that this would require a vote by the United National Security Council and, therefore, approval by Russia and China. Whether these two powers would agree to a change of mandate of this kind is more than uncertain. Unilateral recognition of Kosovo by the West without Russia's approval would be a major problem for the stability of the region and for the long-term relationship between the West and Russia.
- The last variant would be a restructuring of the Yugoslav federal system with Kosovo as a republic on an equal footing with the other republics. Some Balkan experts have expressed doubts that the institutions that have now been established in Kosovo independent of Belgrade could be integrated back into the overall Yugoslav context. Bernard Kouchner's assessment is that there will be "no return to and reintegration in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia". However, focusing solely on the objective of leading Kosovo to independence would be disastrous. Not least of all since this would lead to a renewed solidarisation of large sections of the Serbian population with Milosevic.
- The international community should not opt for any of the four variants indicated. At the moment it is not possible to find a mutually acceptable solution either with the players in the region or in a consensus of the international community. As such, we are faced with a dilemma. It would, in fact, be advantageous to have clear prospects with regard to the status of Kosovo. A decision in favour of an independent Kosovo would secure the participation of the Kosovo Albanians but would turn the Serbs into bitter enemies of the international community.
- An international consensus could most likely be found for the variant where Kosovo would be given the status of a republic within the federal system of the FRY. The fact that this would not reward troublemakers and radical elements on either side speaks in its favour. However, if this is to be a realistic long-term prospect then the indispensable prerequisite for it is a complete democratisation of Serbia. Only a democratic government will be capable of granting a maximum of autonomy, since it affirms and identifies with the concept of autonomy itself.
- It would be difficult to come to a final decision on this matter at the present point in time and, indeed, the question should be left open. However, this does not condemn the international community to inactivity. Every step in the direction of a democratisation of Serbia is a step in the direction of resolving the status question. First and foremost the West should seek to initiate a dialogue on this matter between the democratic opposition in Serbia and the Kosovo Albanians.
- The problem of secession and borders is virulent not only in the case of Kosovo. In the recent past two new acute trouble spots have appeared, i.e. Montenegro and Southern Serbia (see section E). The tensions between Serbia and Montenegro derive primarily from the fact that Milo Djukanovic, a former follower of Milosevic who was elected Premier of Montenegro in 1991, broke with his one-time benefactor in Belgrade in 1997 and began to pursue a policy aimed at political and economic reform as well as opening up to the West. When Milosevic, in a violation of the constitution, appointed Djukanovic's worst political enemy, Bulatovic, Federal Premier of the FRY in January 1998, Djukanovic responded to this provocation with a boycott of the Yugoslav federal institutions.
- In the course of the past year, in particular, relations between Belgrade and Podgorica have worsened to an alarming degree. Belgrade responded to the introduction of the German mark as a second currency in Montenegro in November 1999 with a ban on food exports to the republic. The blockade hit Montenegro hard, since hardly any food is produced there. In early March Milosevic stepped up the trade war against Montenegro and closed off the border completely. Belgrade took this step in response to a loan Germany offered Podgorica in the amount of DM 40 million. Montenegro still does not want a complete break with Serbia, but there have been more and more frequent threats to hold a referendum on independence for the republic. Djukanovic has upgraded his police force to a heavily armed formation of 15,000 men. At the same time, the government of Montenegro accuses Milosevic of filling the ranks of the Yugoslav military police in Montenegro with Djukanovic opponents and of making preparations for intervening in the republic's internal affairs.
- The West could soon be confronted with the unpleasant question of how it will react to a secession and a military intervention by Belgrade. The signals from the West are ambiguous. It is demanding that the Montenegrin leadership be patient and reserved, but at the same time US Secretary of State Albright has assured Djukanovic, as she did in early March, of support in the case of Serbian aggression. This commitment was affirmed by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson in the run-up to the Yugoslav elections, when he warned Milosevic not to underestimate the international resolve in the event of any attempt to undermine Montenegro. The threat was backed up by troop concentrations and military exercises with Croatian forces in the Adriatic Sea. With regard to the use of pressure, the question arises as to whether the consequences of these threats were thought through and whether NATO was actually determined to follow up its words with deeds if Milosevic used force. Even though the feared escalation has not materialised, doubts remain as to whether this threat might have been expressed too soon.
- It cannot be denied that Montenegro has the right to independence, if the same principle is applied as in the context of the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, i.e. recognition of the administrative dividing lines between republics as national borders, since Montenegro was also a republic in the SFRY. However, a decision by Podgorica in favour of independence would not only bring with it the risk of military intervention by Belgrade, but also of a civil war in the republic itself. A considerable part of the inhabitants of Montenegro would be against a separation from the FRY.
- For this reason it is of decisive importance to convince the Montenegrin leadership that unilateral steps in the direction of independence should continue to be avoided. The beginning of democratic change in Serbia could open up the possibility of reaching a mutually acceptable solution, something Montenegro's Foreign Minister Lucovac indicated on 5 October when he announced the willingness to reconsider the independence option in light of an election victory by the opposition. There is a need now to improve the negative economic situation which has served to strengthen secessionist tendencies. Something that went largely unnoticed by the general public was that last year the international community did quite a bit to stabilise Montenegro. The United States pledged untied budgetary assistance in the amount of $77 million. The EU provided approximately DM 80 million, Germany DM 72 million, France DM 50 million, and the United Kingdom DM 2 million to help cover the budget deficit and to finance projects. The overall volume of about DM 300 million constitutes the considerable amount of DM 500 per capita for a population of 600,000. This time the international community has "put its money where its mouth is". In addition to this economic support, the establishment of an international observer mission should be considered which would signal any escalation of conflict early on and could counteract it. The OSCE would be predestined to assume this task. If status questions such as the exclusion of the FRY by the OSCE should speak against this, then NGOs could be assigned to do this task initially.
D. THE ROLE OF THE UCK
- The Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) emerged from a small group of immigrants in Switzerland and Germany who founded the Popular Movement for the Republic of Kosovo (LPRK) in 1982. After Kosovo's autonomy was lifted in 1989 and after the outbreak of the war in Bosnia, radical members of the organisation began demanding (in 1992) more aggressive advocacy of Kosovar independence than that of President Rugova. After the elections Rugova advocated non-violent passive resistance and the buildup of parallel structures, in particular an Albanian educational and health system. After many years of efforts to achieve international recognition had failed to bear fruit and no improvement of the situation occurred even after the Dayton Agreement, the UCK, which had been formed in 1993, made its first public appearance in 1996, when it claimed responsibility for an attack on Serbian refugees in the Krajina. With the breakdown of government structures in Albania in 1997, the UCK gained access to a wide range of weapons and strengthened its operations. Serbian repression in the Drenica Valley in March 1998 created the first martyrs in this guerrilla movement of less than two hundred members. This increased popular support and triggered an inflow of young recruits.
- Initially the countries in the Contact Group sought to take a neutral position in order to counteract the escalating crisis. The arbitrary violence meted out by Serbia's security forces was sharply condemned, as were the terrorist acts committed by the UCK (e.g. the US envoy to Yugoslavia, Gelbard, in February 1998). As the situation worsened there was increasing partisanship on the part of the West in favour of the Kosovo Albanian victims and, as such, a shift in the direction of the UCK, which in the case of the United States and Great Britain led to clear partisanship for the UCK in 1999. This shift rapidly took place after the first formal meeting with US Ambassador Chris Hill on 15 June 1998 despite the fundamental conflict of interests. While the NATO countries wanted to prevent a massacre and were otherwise interested in stability in the region, and at most advocated restoring Kosovo's autonomy, the UCK sought to worsen the situation in order to motivate the population to take part in an uprising for independence.
- The UCK used the Holbrooke-Milosevic agreement as a pause to regroup and to gather strength after the setbacks suffered during the summer. Under the influence of the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) the level of Serbian repression eased off in the period from October to December 1998. On the other hand, there was a lack of effective measures to curb the UCK, who continued to raise money from donations in the United States and Western Europe - particularly in Germany and Switzerland - to advertise for recruits, and to smuggle weapons across the Albanian border. As of December 1998 there was a strong increase in the number of UCK attacks on Serbian security forces and civilians. The conflict escalated again, creating a humanitarian crisis which motivated NATO to intervene. The alleged massacre of Racak, the circumstances of which have not been fully clarified to this day, created the feeling that there was a need to act and led to the NATO air strikes strongly desired by the UCK after the failure of the Rambouillet negotiations.
- After the end of the war the demilitarisation of the UCK was provided for in the UN Resolution alongside the withdrawal of Yugoslav security forces. Since the UCK had not agreed to this in advance, it succeeded in getting an important concession from KFOR in return for turning over about 8,000 weapons: the formation of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) consisting of 3,000 active duty personnel and 2,000 reservists. The KPC, patterned after the US National Guard, is responsible for tasks such as disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, mine clearing, and support in the process of rebuilding infrastructures. The incorporation of former UCK fighters by the KPC made it possible, on the one hand, to reintegrate guerrilla fighters into civilian society. On the other hand, the successors to the UCK see in this the core element of an army for an independent Kosovo. The KPC is not allowed to have more than 200 firearms. However, the numerous caches of hidden weapons KFOR has found thus far, in some cases in the immediate vicinity of KPC camps, indicate that only a small part of the UCK arsenal was turned in for destruction. Some day these weapons could be used by UCK fighters against KFOR if they have the impression that a protectorate status is being strengthened which would no longer hold out the prospect of political independence.
- So that the KPC, as well as the Kosovo Police Service headed by UNMIK, can be perceived as non-partisan institutions, 10% and 15% respectively of the positions in these forces are reserved for members of ethnic minorities. Thus far Serbs have shown hardly any interest in being involved. For many Serbs the question is still undecided as to whether or not they will be able to stay in Kosovo. Additional recruitment efforts are needed to dispel reservations and to safeguard the non-partisan nature of these new security authorities.
- After the return of the Albanian refugees there were numerous attacks on Serbs and members of other ethnic minorities who were accused of having collaborated with the Serbian authorities. Even though [what was involved] in many cases were individual acts of revenge, in the assessment of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan there seemed to be an orchestrated campaign and a UCK policy of not acting decisively against these attacks and not contributing to the effort to apprehend the perpetrators. The expulsion of the Serbian population and the creation of an ethnically pure Albanian territory could promote the objective of secession. As such, it is among the priority tasks of KFOR to ensure protection of the remaining members of ethnic minorities. At the same time, they must be offered the prospect of being able to survive economically in Kosovo so that refugees will consider returning. Only 5-10,000 are reported to have done so up to September 2000.
- After the end of the hostilities UCK supporters in many areas took advantage of the power vacuum to take over, without legitimisation, positions in local administration. Two provisional governments under Thaci for the UCK and Bukoshi for the LDK were created in addition to UNMIK and attempted to usurp UN authority. Under their influence cronyism and corruption spread. It was only after UNMIK structures were strengthened that it was possible to get the Kosovo/Albanian parties to dissolve their provisional governments in December 1999 and to accept joint institutions with Serbs under the UNMIK umbrella. The international community should promote the forces of moderation, in particular the LDK, in order to improve chances of reconciliation between the different ethnic groups.
- Local elections in Kosovo have been scheduled for 28 October 2000. Since the security situation continues to be tense, doubts are justified as to whether free and fair elections can take place, particularly since only a very limited number of Serbs have registered. The example of Bosnia and Herzegovina shows that early elections involve the risk of strengthening positions of power. What this means in concrete terms in Bosnia is that the nationalist parties which were successful at the time continue to dominate all three parts of the country. This makes interethnic co-operation and alliances difficult. The election of local self-government is of major importance in motivating the population to take part in the reconstruction effort. In Kosovo local elections will provide an opportunity for the forces of moderation around President Rugova, who continues to be popular, to strengthen their status with regard to the radical parties that emerged from the UCK and are divided up into two groups, one under Thaci (Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK) and the other under Haradinaj (Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK).
E. DANGER OF ESCALATION IN SOUTHERN SERBIA
- In the region around the towns of Presovo, Bujanovac, and Medveda near the border to Kosovo there is an Albanian-speaking population of around 75,000. When NATO air strikes began there were still around 100,000 Albanians living here. Today they still account for nearly 80% of the population in the Presovo Valley. The majority of the Albanians living there have never shown serious tendencies towards secessionism. However, Albanian extremists are apparently pursuing the objective of separating the region from Serbia and uniting it with Kosovo. The organisation Ushtria Clirimtare e Presheva, Medvegja e Bujanovc (UCPMB), patterned after the UCK and apparently financed by Albanians living in the West, claims "freed territories" in the region, similar to its predecessor in Kosovo. Incidents of armed violence between Albanians and the Serbian police have become more frequent after the recent elections. It seems to be the objective of the UCPMB to provoke a conflict and then force the international community to intervene when tens of thousands of Albanians are expelled again.
- The international community cannot allow actions to be imposed on it by an extremist minority. NATO needs to do everything it can to counteract the escalation of a conflict in southern Serbia. Above all, the Kosovo border must be closely monitored in the relevant areas to stop weapons smuggling and infiltration of the Presovo Valley by Albanian extremists.
V. THE STABILITY PACT AND THE RECONSTRUCTION EFFORT IN KOSOVO AS EXAMPLES OF CIVILIAN CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AND CRISIS PREVENTION
A. STABILITY PACT FOR SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE
- The complexity of the problems in the Balkans has made it clear that successful prevention needs to take place multidimensionally, i.e. through the integrated use of political, economic, and other civil instruments. In this context the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, approved at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Cologne on 10 June 1999 and based on an initiative of the German EU Council Presidency, constitutes a comprehensive approach to conflict management and crisis prevention. The Stability Pact pursues a two-fold strategy. On the one hand, it seeks to promote the reconstruction of Kosovo and, on the other, to counteract military conflicts in a broader regional framework. There will only be lasting peace and stability in Kosovo if the overall South-Eastern European region can be stabilised and conflicts prevented on the basis of targeted policies.
- Through the wide-ranging involvement of 35 countries and 14 international organisations the Stability Pact constitutes a major challenge for international co-operation. The planning and structure of the Stability Pact are based on successful models for the pacification of Europe after the Second World War: European integration and the CSCE process. The leadership role has been taken over de jure by the OSCE and de facto by the EU, since the EU is able, like no other international organisation, to use civil and economic instruments alongside traditional political and diplomatic instruments.
- The prospect for later EU membership is intended to provide important impetus for co-operation among the countries in the region; EU membership has been offered to all countries including the FRY. Given the current status of preparations and the need to fulfil political and economic criteria for accession in accordance with Article 6 of the EU Treaty, this is a very long-term prospect. It alone will not be sufficient to motivate radical political reforms and self-sustaining economic development. For this reason a clear road map should be developed for EU integration which lays down specific measures in the "stabilisation and association agreements" providing incentives for internal reforms and regional co-operation as the conditions of the agreements are fulfilled. Concrete economic reconstruction assistance is needed first of all to stabilise the situation.
- It is a welcome fact that shortly before the elections in the FRY the European Union took a first step in the direction of an asymmetrical liberalisation of trade. For Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Kosovo the markets were opened up for a few industrial products as well as for products from the more sensitive agricultural sector. Montenegro received a contingent for the import of aluminium products. These concessions are of major importance, since in the short-term it is only through exports of this kind that impetus can be expected for economic recovery in the region.
B. STRUCTURE OF THE STABILITY PACT
- Control of the overall process is in the hands of the "South-Eastern Europe Regional Table" under the leadership of Special Co-ordinator Bodo Hombach. He has three "Working Tables" under his supervision: Working Table 1 on democratisation and human rights, including questions concerning the return of refugees; Working Table 2 on economic reconstruction, development and co-operation; and Working Table 3 on internal and external security issues (justice and home affairs, migratory issues; organised crime, corruption, terrorism; arms control, security and confidence building measures).
- At the second successful Donors' Conference held on 28 and 29 March 2000 more than 2.4 billion euros were committed by the partner countries and organisations for Stability Pact projects. The EU will contribute 530 million euros. The EU member states will match this figure together with the European Investment Bank; Italy will provide 149 million, the United Kingdom 55 million, and France 25 million euros. The United States will contribute 81 million euros. At the Donors' Conference the focus was on "quick-start projects" involving a financial volume of 1.8 billion euros and whose implementation will start within one year.
- In the allocation of financial resources there is a strong emphasis on economic and infrastructural projects (Working Table 2: 75%, Working Table 1: 19%, Working Table 3: 3%). This is understandable in view of the damage caused by the war. In the future there will be a need to see to it that the other Working Tables are not neglected. The building of democratic institutions governed by the rule of law (Working Table 1) as well as guaranteeing public security and fighting organised crime (Working Table 3) are prerequisites for stability and legal security. At the same time they constitute the basis for foreign direct investments and any improvement in economic activity.
- At the last meeting of the Regional Table on 8 June 2000, procedures were discussed for safeguarding rapid implementation and monitoring fulfilment of donor pledges. A number of participants indicated that they would not be able to provide written guarantees of compliance with the pledges they made in March and objected to the establishment of binding timetables. Half a year after the pledging conference implementation has begun for about 20% of the projects. For example a Regional Arms Control and Verification and Implementation Centre is to be opened in Zagreb on 20 October 2000, financed up until the year 2002 with DM 6 million provided primarily by Germany. The centre is to train verification personnel and pave the way for accession to the CFE Agreement or subregional arms control through confidence-building measures in accordance with the 1999 Vienna Document of the OSCE.
- Given that more than a year after the approval of the Stability Pact very little has actually been accomplished on the ground, particularly in the area of 35 infrastructure projects, there is growing frustration in the region. Major projects such as the construction of a second bridge across the Danube between Bulgaria and Romania at an estimated cost of 190 million euros take a long time to get off the ground. The project study is to be completed for 5 million euros and the public tendering process carried out within a year's time. Positive effects for employment, transport, and economic activity will not be forthcoming for the time being. This involves the danger of disappointing expectations people in the region have with regard to the Stability Pact. The impression is being created that the international community has once again made grandiose declarations and then turned its attention to other problems. This could dampen optimism and cool interest in regional co-operation.
- The EU is aware of the problem and is willing to provide 11.5 billion euros in assistance over the next seven years. An average of six to eight years pass before project funds are released in the implementation of external assistance programmes. On the basis of a critical report by EU Commissioner Patton and Secretary General Solana, the Council decided on 18 September 2000 to undertake a comprehensive review of existing structures. The creation of a new Europe Aid Office is intended to expedite these procedures.
- It was clear from the outset that the Stability Pact would be a particularly ambitious project in multilateral co-operation. Overlapping responsibilities and co-ordination problems have made the selection and implementation of specific projects more difficult. This is a result of the institutional fabric the Stability Pact is made up of, where the OSCE, the EU, as well as the staff of the Special Co-ordinator share tasks with various international financial organisations such as the EIB, EBRD, IMF, and World Bank. Co-ordination in practice seems to have improve considerably over recent months. But decision-making responsibilities are fragmented even within the EU, which is the key player here, between the Secretary General of the Council, Javier Solana, the Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten, and the Special Co-ordinator, Bodo Hombach. Despite a self-critical report for the EU summit in Lisbon, no decisions have been taken with regard to the need to streamline these decision-making structures yet.
C. STABILISING THE SITUATION IN KOSOVO AND RECONSTRUCTION
- The military aspects of implementing the peace agreement in Kosovo are being accomplished successfully, but progress is slow in the process of building a civil society. The main problem here lies in the separation of civilian (UNMIK) and military (KFOR) decision-making structures. Here the mistakes that were made in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Dayton Agreement have been repeated. The decision-making responsibilities for civilian reconstruction of Kosovo were once again divided up among the UN, OSCE, EU, and UNHCR. In crisis situations the high level of co-ordination this requires greatly restricts the ability of civilian authorities to act effectively.
- Reconstruction costs are estimated at somewhere between 3.5 and 5 billion dollars for Kosovo alone. One of the key deficits in the stabilisation efforts in Kosovo continues to be a lack of funds for the development of a civilian administration by UNMIK. The NATO member states have been very slow to fulfil their commitments here. This, together with a lack of international police personnel, resulted in a security vacuum in the initial phase of the operation. This, in turn, favoured the spread of mafia structures. Attacks by Kosovo Albanians on members of ethnic minorities, particularly Serbs and Roma, could not be prevented and caused more than 240,000 flee from Kosovo. The problematic security situation was the primary reason that representatives of the Serb community only began taking part as observers in the Joint Interim Administrative Structure (JIAS) in April 2000 and have temporarily suspended it several times since then.
- The difficulties in maintaining public security and order in Kosovo have shown that without appropriate training KFOR soldiers have a hard time performing the functions of civilian police forces. This also ties up military resources that are urgently needed elsewhere, e.g. for border security.
- As of mid-September 2000 UNMIK police had a personnel strength of 4,012, somewhat short of the target of 4,700 set by the UN Security Council, although the head of UNMIK, Bernard Kouchner, had demanded 6,000. In practice this means that UNMIK police will have sole responsibility for public security in only a few regions and that KFOR will continue to be responsible for security questions in large parts of the country under the supervision of the UNMIK policy or on its own. This raises the fundamental question as to what tasks are to be carried out by the police and what tasks by KFOR peacekeepers. In view of different national traditions and responsibilities there will be a need to form a consensus on this within the Alliance.
- It is a welcome fact, however, that at the Feira Summit the European Union drew its conclusions from the deficits in the Kosovo conflict and approved an initial "headline goal" for civilian crisis management capacities. By the year 2003 up to 5,000 police are to be made available for international missions. A force of 1,000 is to be deployable within 30 days. Analogous to the police dimension, the EU should ensure that administrative experts, justice officials, political observers, mediators, or advisers can be rapidly deployed for crisis prevention or for civilian reconstruction after a cease fire. The Council is also considering the Commission proposal to establish a special facility for civilian crisis management ("Rapid Reaction Fund") which would guarantee the rapid provision of financing.
- It will be of crucial importance for the success of the operation to accelerate the build-up of a civilian administration and justice system with the involvement of the local population and all ethnic groups, including the Kosovo Police Service. It is only then that international assistance can be used effectively and an international presence will no longer create the sense of living in a "protectorate".
- UNMIK has made some progress. From March 2000 to September 2000 it completed the transition from emergency aid to the establishment of sustainable administrative structures. It was possible to reduce the influence of radical forces, and the forces of moderation among the Kosovo Albanians were able to come to the fore once again. The local elections, to be held on 28 October 2000, will play a key role in this process. Since UNMIK is unable to hold out the prospect of independence desired by the Kosovars, it will be necessary to pursue a strategy that will hold out the opportunity for effective participation in decision-making on everyday affairs. The Serbian minority is showing little interest in the elections. As such, the election will inevitably lead to the establishment of ethnically based parties in office, as was the case in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It would be unrealistic to assume that there could be a reconciliation between the ethnic communities here in the near future. All that can be hoped for is coexistence protected by KFOR and controlled by UNMIK. In order to preserve the confidence of Kosovo Albanians in the process it will be necessary to take a further step in the direction of genuine autonomy by the end of 2001 or in 2002. Then the elections of a Kosovo-wide representation will be due, whose mandate will need to be carefully defined in order to avoid prejudicing the status question.
- Although progress is being made here as well as in connection with the return of refugees, the still extremely tense situation shows that a long-term involvement in the region will be necessary on the part of the international community. This includes civil reconstruction and the building of institutions for the non-violent resolution of conflicts as well as the provision of military security for this process by SFOR and KFOR.
D. RUSSIA'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE STABILISATION OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE
- Since 1997 Russia has been involved in the efforts undertaken by the international community to avoid an escalation of the Kosovo conflict and to work towards peaceful resolution of the conflict. A primary interest of the Russian government in this context has been to ensure its recognition as a major power and as a key player in the region. Russia always insisted on making key decisions in the framework of the UN Security Council, since it has a veto there. Russia categorically opposed NATO's military action against Yugoslavia on the basis of the principles of non-interference in internal affairs and the territorial integrity of states. Russian fears that a humanitarian intervention in Kosovo could create a precedent for ethnic conflicts within the Russian Federation played a key role in this. A national security concept adopted in January 2000 sees secessionist movements, such as in Chechnya, and other internal threats as the greatest risks to Russia's security.
- At the diplomatic level Russia attempted to bring about a political solution to the conflict from the outset of the crisis. When NATO operations were initiated against Yugoslavia, the Russian side suspended relations in the Russia-NATO Permanent Joint Council (PJC) until June 1999. However, the Russian military continued to co-operate in Bosnia in the SFOR framework. Outside the NATO framework Finnish President Ahtisaari and Russian Special Envoy Chernomyrdin succeeded in getting Milosevic to accept the G8 conditions (Petersberg Tasks). After the end of NATO military operations Russia was willing to take part in peacekeeping operations. In contrast to Bosnia, the Russian contingent of around 3,600 men is fully integrated in the KFOR command structure. Non-insistence on its own sector and integration in the NATO command structure documents Russia's pragmatism. This constituted an important contribution to the credibility of the overall operation. Not least of all, Russian involvement in KFOR is a signal that the concept of a multi-ethnic Kosovo is being pursued seriously in practice.
- Russia is also involved in the civilian and economic areas of crisis management for the region. Here the Russian ambition is clearly expressed to appear as a key player at various levels. Russia was actively involved in formulating the Stability Pact (Petersberg Text) and, as such, showed a strong interest in helping to shape the post-war order in South-Eastern Europe. Despite a difficult economic situation and fundamental reservations as a result of the fact that the FRY is excluded as a recipient of assistance, Russia is actively co-operating in two areas in particular. In the context of Working Table 2 Russian companies are participating in the bidding for infrastructure projects and seeking a seat on the Business Advisory Council. Russia has also provided a large contingent of experts as well as technology for the clearance of antipersonnel mines.
- Russia is willing to contribute towards stabilisation of the region at all levels. In the military and diplomatic sectors Russia has been willing to co-operate, despite considerable reservations, and has been reliable and pragmatic in the peacekeeping sector. Whether Russian involvement in KFOR is to be continued will be decided by the Duma in the winter of 2000-2001. In addition to active involvement in the formulation of the Stability Pact, clear efforts have been undertaken to exert influence on UNMIK. Here Russia vehemently demands protection of the Serbian minority and the return of Serbian refugees. With a view to the local elections on 28 October 2000, Russia has expressed its reservations with regard to security. From the Russian standpoint the participation of Serbs is not guaranteed. This, they feel, could detract from the legitimacy of elected authorities and pose an acute threat to the objective of achieving a multi-ethnic Kosovo and to stability in the region.
- In the future, the international community will need to carry out prevention activities earlier, more massively, more energetically, in a more co-ordinated manner, and employ a considerably larger volume of funding.
- Countries which commit serious human rights violations must no longer be allowed to hide behind the principles of national sovereignty and non-intervention in internal affairs.
- Sanctions can be an effective means of applying non-military pressure. However, standards for this should be required. Firstly, sanctions should be focused on the governments in question and avoid effects on the general population as much as possible. Secondly, sanctions should be imposed in a focused and forceful manner. Thirdly, they should be legitimated and implemented in as comprehensive a manner as possible.
- In connection with the imposition of sanction regimes consideration should be given to offering compensation payments or trade compensation to neighbouring countries.
- In view of the negative side-effects, at least the oil embargo against Belgrade should be lifted immediately, since it is affecting the general population more than anything else.
- In the course of crisis management it is necessary to maintain credibility. For this reason failure of the other side to meet deadlines set in connection with ultimatums should be responded to immediately with sharp sanctions; secondly, threats to use force should not be voiced if they cannot be carried out immediately if necessary.
- Border changes, if necessary, should be carried out in accordance with CSCE principles, i.e. only in agreement with all the parties concerned. On the other hand, there is a need to be aware that early concentration on the principle of territorial integrity and ignoring independence movements can have negative consequences. It narrows leeway for political options and may aggravate the conflict situation in the region.
- The democratisation of Serbia is one of the keys to resolving the central problems that exist in the Balkans. For this reason there is a need to be more active in pursuing the goal of building a democratic civil society in Serbia. The city twinning project partnerships, the "Szeged Process", and the independent media in Serbia should continue to be given strong support.
- The international community should advocate an amnesty for Serbian conscientious objectors, offer them shelter, and provide them with protection against deportation and political persecution.
- Montenegro should be discouraged from any unilateral moves and massive economic assistance should be continued to counteract the secessionist tendencies there.
- The international community should adhere to the objective of a multi-ethnic society in Kosovo even though for the foreseeable future it will not be possible for the Albanian and Serbian communities to live together but rather only for them to coexist peacefully.
- KFOR should strengthen its efforts to protect the members of ethnic minorities and UNMIK should provide them a prospect for economic survival. The return of Serbian refugees to the Krajina and Bosnia and Herzegovina should be a top priority for the international community and could contribute to confidence-building in Kosovo.
- The filling of quotas reserved for members of ethnic minorities in the KPC (10%) and the Kosovo Police Service (15%) should be pursued systematically. It is only then that there will be a chance that the Serbian minority will begin to have confidence in these local security authorities.
- It has to be made plain to the Kosovo/Albanian leaders that any ethnic violence and discrimination is unacceptable, and that if they wish to secure international respect and assistance, they must take responsibility for the safety of all citizens and actively encourage a society to develop in which minority communities feel safe. Those responsible for ethnic violence must be promptly brought to justice.
- In southern Serbia everything possible should be done to prevent radical elements on both sides from escalating the conflict there. The international community must not let its actions be dictated by an extremist minority.
- All the parties involved in the Stability Pact should comply with the financial pledges they made and should seek to increase their support in order to prevent disappointment in the region and to ensure the success of the project.
- The financing of UNMIK should be placed on a secure foundation. Supplementary to contributions to the general budget made by the member states (considerably less popular than project assistance), UNMIK will have to take measures in order to increase the volume of local revenues, for instance by introducing a fuel tax in Kosovo.
- The stabilisation of South-Eastern Europe cannot be achieved only on the basis of the prospect of EU membership; it will also require a substantial commitment on the part of the NATO and EU member states. In addition to economic assistance with medium-term effects, consideration should be given over the short term to an asymmetrical liberalisation of trade, particularly in the areas of agriculture and the steel industry. The EU has taken a first step in the right direction; others should follow suit.
- The Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe constitutes an ambitious project in international co-operation. A streamlining of decision-making structures between EU bodies is needed so that the EU can be more effective in its leadership role.
- The international community should get used to the idea that a long-term civilian and military commitment in the region is going to be necessary in order to be able to stabilise it successfully.