HomeDOCUMENTSSeminar ReportsARCHIVE 200320-22 MARCH 2003 - ROSE-ROTH SEMINAR, BELGRADE, SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
20-22 MARCH 2003 - ROSE-ROTH SEMINAR, BELGRADE, SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
1. The 52nd Rose Roth Seminar was held in Belgrade from March 20-22 in extraordinary conditions; Serbia's Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic, had been assassinated several days before the seminar's opening, and the country's leaders had just declared a state of emergency. Many participants saw the decision to go ahead with the seminar in spite of the situation as expressing the strong commitment of the Serbian and Montenegrin hosts to deepen the dialogue with the Euro-Atlantic Community. Not surprisingly, the assassination and its implications emerged as a central theme of the seminar and provided a framework for broad discussions on the state of Serbian and Montenegrin society, political, constitutional and defence reform, relations with the War Crimes Tribunal, and the country's relations with the rest of the region and the Euro-Atlantic community. The Secretary General read a statement by Doug Bereuter, NATO PA President, expressing his regrets at not attending the seminar and his condolences for the death of Prime Minister Djindjic (see annex).
2. The President of the Chamber of Citizens, Dragoljub Micunovic, discussed the current political climate in his introductory remarks, emphasizing both the danger of the moment and the institutional vacuum left by the Milosevic regime. The task of the present government, he argued, is to rebuild these institutions. Until the state is properly organized, economic recovery will be problematic, and organized crime will continue to flourish. The challenge is all the more severe because criminal elements in Serbia and Montenegro have managed to cast themselves as patriots and this has helped organized crime burrow deeply into state institutions. The state of emergency represented an effort by genuinely democratic forces to expunge this criminal element so that Serbia and Montenegro can accelerate reform and integration.
3. Mr. Micunovic also addressed the problem of Serbian-Montenegrin compliance with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. He disputed the contention that that government does not wish to cooperate with the Tribunal, noting that two former Presidents are now in The Hague. Relations with the Chief Prosecutor are admittedly difficult, according to Micunovic, but she should be more sensitive to the challenges the government faces. Carla del Ponte would subsequently challenge this contention.
4. Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt provided a broad overview of the challenges to Serbia and Montenegro and the region as a whole. He too paid tribute to the fallen Prime Minister, saying that Mr. Djindjic had been compelled to manoeuvre between the forces of "heaven and hell". "He was not a saint, but he became a hero. Without him far less would have been achieved".
5. Mr. Bildt suggested that the Balkan wars should have taught the West important lessons of relevance to the current Iraq crisis. Democracies are sometimes confronted by an evil that cannot be appeased. This, in turn defines the limits of diplomacy. Paradoxically though, force is never sufficient to spark positive transformation. The key question in the Balkans is whether its people can, with Western support, build and sustain state structures that will allow the region's myriad ethnic groups to live together peacefully. In this sense, the most critical choice the West and the people in the region face is between integration and disintegration. The disintegration option oftentimes seems like the least complicated. With military force it is possible to separate states and people. But such "Balkanisation" promises no stability and will never ensure peace.
6. Mr. Bildt also discussed the region's economic burdens, asserting that it was incumbent upon the West to help the Balkans lower the region's massive military expenditures. Finally, he appealed for a strategic vision readily embracing cosmopolitanism - the very attribute that has been the source of European greatness. Europe, he said, needs to reclaim its cosmopolitan past, and it must do so by transcending its most tribal instincts.
RELATIONS BETWEEN NATO AND SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
7. NATO's Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, Günter Altenburg, participated in the seminar in what was his first visit to Serbia and Montenegro as a NATO representative. On behalf of NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson he expressed his condolence for the passing of Prime Minister Djindjic, which he characterized as "a loss for all of us. "
8. Ambassador Altenberg also expressed NATO's determination to help build security and stability in South-eastern Europe and to help other organizations like the EU and OSCE to work effectively with local authorities. NATO has begun to rationalize its forces in the region by reducing the number of troops in KFOR and SFOR. At the same time, the European Union has assumed responsibility for its mission in Macedonia. In addition, NATO is cooperating with the Serbian-Montenegrin government in a range of areas including air space transport and in calming the situation in Southern Serbia. Contacts between NATO and Serbian-Montenegrin militaries are also expanding.
9. Nonetheless, little progress has been made on integrating Serbia and Montenegro into the Partnership for Peace Program (PfP). NATO first wants tangible proof that the government is dedicated to the notion of military reform and genuinely embraces civilian command and control of the national defence establishment. Obviously, this reform process need not be completed before joining PfP, but NATO authorities have not yet seen sufficient dedication to these principles.
10. Secondly, NATO cannot move ahead on PfP unless Serbia and Montenegro is willing to cooperate completely with ICTY. Simply put, NATO wants all indicted criminals turned over to The Hague. Finally, Serbia and Montenegro must fully respect the Dayton Peace Accords in both Bosnia and Kosovo. Ambassador Altenburg stressed that NATO is prepared to assist Serbia and Montenegro in all of these endeavours, but it needs to see greater willingness on the part of the government to accept its responsibilities.
11. In his remarks, Miroslav Filipovic, the Head of the Delegation of Serbia and Montenegro to the NATO PA, insisted that defence sector reform will be a priority of the new government and every effort will be made to fulfil obligations to the ICTY. He indicated that Serbia and Montenegro will formally ask for Associate Status in the NATO PA and his government will continue to work toward joining the PfP. He added as well that Prime Minister Djindjic had wanted to engage all concerned parties in a conversation on the future of Kosovo. The problem, he suggested, has been finding leaders in Kosovo willing to reciprocate. Petre Roman, a member of the Romanian Senate, added that decisions to grant Kosovo more autonomy without consulting Djindjic had been a mistake. Belgrade, he said, needs to be consulted on matters related to Kosovo.
12. In response to a comment about the alleged military role of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), Mihai Karp from the NATO Staff asserted that the Corps exists to perform civil emergency tasks and should not be seen as a future Kosovo army. Senator Nieddu from Italy challenged this, reporting that he had just returned from Kosovo where he had learned that many in the KPC had also been in the KLA. He pointed out that many in the region see the KPC as a military organization, many members of which are also involved in criminal activities.
SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO: A NEW COUNTRY, A NEW FOREIGN POLICY
13. Goran Svilanovic, Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro, suggested that the Djindjic assassination demonstrated that Serbia and Montenegro's greatest threats are internal. Quasi-patriotic nationalist criminals, a slice of the political elite, elements in the security service and some of the most vociferous critics of cooperation with the ICTY stood to benefit from an assassination they expected would slow cooperation with the West. The assassination took place at a very sensitive moment of constitutional change. Serbia and Montenegro now stands at a cross roads between Europe and stasis. Internal reform is the key to normalizing "relations within the region" and building good relations with the rest of the world.
14. In the new constitutional order, Montenegro will have a voice in the articulation of the state union's foreign policy. Each Republic will have substantial powers and great efforts will be needed to coordinate and harmonize policy. Compromise between the two entities will be essential to avoiding further disintegration, and the European framework should help.
15. The government currently has two central foreign policies goals: joining the EU and NATO's Partnership for Peace. Both will be critical to restoring Serbia and Montenegro's reputation as a reliable partner. Most public opinion polls demonstrate very high support for EU and PfP membership. Mr. Svilanovic indicated that while national leaders are immediately compelled to solve the criminal problem, Serbian and Montenegrin ministers must together lay out an action plan for an eventual stabilization agreement with the EU. The country has made important strides in a number of critical sectors. Economic and banking reforms are underway, as is an effort to align the legal code with the EU's acquis; yet much more work remains.
16. A central problem involves the future status of Kosovo. Officials readily concede that Belgrade will never regain the influence it once exercised there, but they insist that any border change would be risky. The UN intends to start a dialogue on a range of practical matters such as energy, telecommunications, identification cards, and licence plates; Serbian and Montenegrin officials are open to this but also want to include security and human rights issues as well as prospects for decentralization. These are not necessarily final status issues, but all are of immediate importance. Compliance with the ICTY constitutes a second major imperative. Mr. Svilanovic insisted that Serbia has no choice but to confront the truth - something that holds out the key to the country's moral regeneration and its return to the family of the nations.
17. In terms of complying with the Dayton Accords, the Minister indicated that the government has ended all financial support for the military groups in Republika Srbska. Serbia and Montenegro has signed agreements recognizing the territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina and is engaged in efforts with Croatian and Bosnian officials to deal with refugee issues. The Milosevic regime, in contrast, had no bilateral relations with Slovenia or Bosnia-Herzegovina. It maintained only low-level contacts with Croatia and a broken relationship with Albania. Serbia and Montenegro now has ambassadors in all of these countries. Last year the government forged a free trade agreement with Croatia that included cultural and educational cooperation. Discussions are underway on a proposed bilateral law on minorities and the government has signed agreements on social insurance and pensions with other countries in the region.
18. Igor Luksic, Deputy Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro, also addressed the new constitutional arrangements. The new constitution adopted by the three parliaments, he said, represents an important landmark. Relations are now normalized and this, in turn, makes it possible to initiate stabilization negotiations with the EU. He suggested that relations with the EU would constitute a litmus test of the capacity of both states to define shared interests.
DEFENCE REFORM IN SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
19. Petre Roman, member of the Romanian Senate, introduced the session with a few remarks on the Romanian experience in reforming its armed forces. The first obstacle that the new democratic leaders had to face was the size of their army, as Soviet style militaries were overly large. Romania had started with 200,000 men and reduced it by more than half. The second obstacle was obsolete equipment. The third obstacle was public perception of the military as a bastion of national defence: this sometimes led to resistance to change. The key to success, according to Roman, was political will and guidance from friendly countries. Romania had strong support from NATO allies, and particularly from the United States. One key lesson from this experience was that, in reforming their militaries, countries always have to match ambitions with resources. Because Romania wanted to join NATO, the government put some important resources into the defense sector and now allocates 2. 4% of the country's GNP to the armed forces. As a consequence, Romania was also able to support operations in Afghanistan with some specialized brigades.
20. George Katsirdakis, the Deputy Director, Defence Partnership and Cooperation Directorate, discussed defence reform from NATO's perspective. He asserted that all countries need defence reforms, including NATO members. That said, countries in transition face a particular challenge because political and economic transition cannot be completed until old military structures are adapted to radically altered conditions. Establishing full democratic and civilian control of the military is perhaps the most important element of these reforms. Indeed, failure to embark on these reforms can put the entire transition process at risk.
21. Katsirdakis pointed to several specific phases of defence reform for transition societies. First, national leaders must dedicate themselves to building a consensus on the direction of defence reorientation. They must engage the public, the media, the private sector and the military itself in a sustained dialogue and all elements of the government should be engaged in defence reform.
22. Social safety nets for redundant military officers can smooth the road to change. In the same way, aid to communities where bases have been closed can be critical to helping local economies adapt to change. All of this suggests that defence reform is costly; foreign assistance and expertise can therefore play a very helpful role.
23. Force planning systems are also needed, and this demands Ministerial guidance. Objectives must be realistic, clear and time-specific. Monitoring systems are essential so planners are able to generate feedback to test the effectiveness of implemented reforms. Leaders should not exclude interior forces from the reform process. Indeed, those forces are often dedicated to a status quo that is no longer relevant under new political conditions and can threaten the transition process.
24. Boris Tadic, Minister of Defence of Serbia and Montenegro, then examined the state of defence reform in his country. He agreed that defence reform constitutes a central plank of broader political, institutional and social reform. The Supreme Command Council, he noted, has recently established an inter-ministerial council to define the national strategy and is using white papers from other countries to guide the effort. It was unable to formulate a national strategy until the constitutional charter was completed. That charter is now in place and the effort to define a new national defence strategy is set to begin.
25. The following will be necessary to advance the reform agenda: a strategic blue print that will define national security and the role of the military; a national military doctrine; laws on defence, the army and civil defence; democratic control over the defence establishment in peacetime and in war; Ministry of Defence restructuring; a proper planning structure based on an 8-10 year outlook; an effective resource planning system and a modern budgeting system; military resizing to strike a balance between means and missions; public support for defence reform, a democratic and open public debate and an effective communications strategy; alignment of civil defence to international standards; and development of crisis management models to enhance Serbia and Montenegro's capacity to deal with terrorist challenges and to work better with its partners. The government is convinced that membership in NATO's PfP would help Serbia and Montenegro make progress on all these fronts.
26. In his remarks, General Branko KRGA, Chief of General Staff, also discussed the enormous changes that have taken place in national military forces over the past decade and the dialogue the national military is conducting with the other European military forces. The Hungarians have been playing a particularly helpful role here. Serbia and Montenegrin military units have recently been sent to East Timor under a UN flag, while a medical team was dispatched to the Congo. According to General Krga, the military has established good cooperative relations with KFOR and SFOR.
27. Miroslav Hadzic, the Director of the Centre for Civil Military Relations, discussed the work of his institute on Serbian-Montenegrin forces. The Djindjic assassination graphically demonstrated that this country could not build lasting security without radical reform of its security apparatus. The adoption of NATO standards, he agreed, would be central to this effort. The obstacles, however, are enormous; Serbia and Montenegro confronts a 19th century challenge of building a nation while simultaneously coming to grips with 21st century security challenges.
28. Serbia and Montenegro needs to define a proper security framework at a time when national-centric perspectives are rendered less relevant in the face of mass terror, humanitarian intervention and new doctrines based on pre-emption. Regional security is currently in the hands of the EU and NATO, and making the region once again responsible for of its own security poses a genuine conundrum for both the West and the region itself.
29. Serbia and Montenegro also faces problems of organization. Its forces are not properly integrated and only the army functions at the state union level. That government, consequently, does not have the power to reform other forces. The new constitution, Mr. Hadzic argued, is very vague on matters related to ordering the national military and this could come back to haunt national leaders. The national leadership must directly confront the role the military played in the Balkan wars if it is to have any chance of affecting positive change. Finally, the civilian sector needs to be engaged both in this reckoning and in the reorganization effort.
"SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO AND THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA"
30. Carla Del Ponte, the Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY, also paid homage to the slain Prime Minister, who she said had understood the importance of bringing war criminals to the ICTY. She regretted that his vision was not shared by many Serbian elites. Unless the criminals and their mafia cohorts are dealt with through this legal process, she cautioned, a distorted view of the past will stoke distorted and undemocratic nationalism.
31. Full and genuine cooperation with the ICTY is above all in Serbia's interest. Those who claim otherwise are propagating a very dangerous and short-term view. There are currently 19 indicted people in Serbia and Montenegro who the state has not turned over to the Tribunal. The lack of cooperation is slowing the tempo of investigations. Ms. Del Ponte pointed out that the Tribunal is dedicated to bringing to trial those most responsible for torture, enslavement, rape, murder and the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of people simply because they were from another ethnic group. Yet, these trials are about individual and not collective responsibility. Ms. Del Ponte asked how bringing those people to account could be called a source of instability in the Balkans. A culture of impunity and equivocation is not only working against the establishment of democratic norms in the region, it is also encouraging extremists involved in Mafia activities. She argued that it would be asking too much for fragile and cash strapped societies to conduct such trials on their own.
32. In the discussion, Ms. Del Ponte pointed out that the Prosecutor's investigations would likely end in 2004. Trials would proceed until 2008, and with appeals, the Tribunal should conclude its work by 2010.
"COMBATING ORGANISED CRIME IN SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO"
33. Dusan Mihailovic, the Minister of Interior of Serbia and Montenegro, stated unequivocally that the Zemun gang was responsible for the murder of Prime Minister Djindjic. That gang has dominated drug smuggling in Serbia and Montenegro and maintains close ties to criminal groups in Europe and South America. It is also linked to members of the security service and, in particular, to the commander of the special services. The Serbian people, however, are rallying around the government while the ruling coalition has closed ranks. The acting President of Serbia has announced a state of emergency, and security forces have moved quickly to arrest those suspected of the assassination and involvement in criminal activities. Many of those incarcerated were previously considered "untouchable. " The Minister stressed that the state of emergency will not curtail civil liberties. The people both support the measures taken and are helping to identify members of this group. After the completion of its investigation, the government will form a state commission to pinpoint responsibility for the assassination.
"THE ROLE OF SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO IN THE BALKANS"
34. Ivan Vejvoda, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Serbia for European Integration and Foreign Policy, was optimistic about the growing cooperation among the countries of South-eastern Europe. Officials are in constant contact to cultivate cooperation in everything from culture to transportation. Nonetheless, civil societies must forge new links-a process that the region's business community has already begun.
35. During the discussion, Mr. Vejvoda noted that Prime Minister Djindjic had developed a very modern and rational approach to the Kosovo problem. He reconfirmed Serbia's support of UN 1244, but well understood that Kosovo was sliding toward a sovereign status. At the end of the day, Mr. Vejvoda said, a compromise solution will be essential in which all sides make concessions.
36. Ambassador Maurizio Massari, Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro, endorsed the argument that the future of South-eastern Europe lies in its full integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. Prime Minister Djindjic, he said, recognized that Europe does not want to embrace a country whose problems it has to solve. Serbia and Montenegro must not forget that it has a primary responsibility not only to its people, but also to the region and to Europe as a whole. This is precisely why the country's leaders must deal firmly with organized crime, corruption and trafficking.
37. Ambassador Robert Beecroft, Head of OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, echoed these sentiments. The assassination, he said, unfortunately confirmed that there are still powerful individuals who will do whatever is necessary to prevent democracy from interfering with their illicit activities. He suggested that a profound cultural neurosis downgrades the dignity and role of the individual throughout the region. Within civil society an absence of individual initiative is evident. The country's institutional deficiencies mirror this weakness. At one point, there were twelve different education ministries when one would have sufficed.
38. Ambassador Beecroft also suggested that the rule of law must take precedence over elections. The OSCE has helped organize six elections in six years. Until the police, the judiciary, the courts, the prisons and the law are reformed, elections will not achieve very much. It is fundamental, according to the OSCE ambassador, that the police and the judiciary be reformed and kept within the democratic system. Only this could guarantee that the population have confidence in the role of the judiciary system. In Bosnia Herzegovina this process was extremely difficult. In particular, Ambassador Beecroft explained that the development of local police forces whom local communities could trust was indispensable for the long term stability of the country. The decline in the number of those external military forces responsible for ensuring a secure and stable environment and of the UN international police, as the EU took over the police role with different mandate were both worrying developments which made even more urgent the provision of local police.
39. In Bosnia-Herzegovina the OSCE must also address fundamental management problems. Last year, for example, the OSCE audited the military budget of Bosnia-Herzegovina and discovered that the Ministry of Defence spent 180% of its allocated budget. Other investigations have unambiguously demonstrated financial links among political parties, mafia groups and state owned entities. Until those links are broken, investors will shun Bosnia-Herzegovina, particularly as there are few legal protections for investors.
40. The OSCE has also made refugee return a priority. OSCE officials drafted basic property laws, which are fundamental to refugee returns. The pace of return has subsequently picked up, and those who feel they cannot return are now, at least, in a position to sell their property. There has been some success in improving border controls. Yet, dealing with borders is only a small piece in the greater challenge of unifying the economy. The government of Bosnia Herzegovina has signed a number free trade agreements and the Stability Pact is working on creating a free trade area. The European Union has strongly supported this process, which is pivotal for countries in the region if they are to be considered serious candidates for EU membership.
THURSDAY 20 MARCH, MORNING
Moderator: Miroslav FILIPOVIC, Head of the Delegation of Serbia and Montenegro to the NATO PA
Opening remarks by Dragoljub MIĈUNOVIĈ, President of the Assembly of Serbia and Montenegro
Introduction by Simon LUNN, Secretary General of NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Presentation by Ambassador Günther ALTENBURG, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, NATO HQ
THURSDAY 20 MARCH, AFTERNOON
Moderator: José LELLO, Member of the Portuguese Delegation to NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Keynote presentation by Carl BILDT, former Swedish Prime Minister and former UN Special Envoy to the Balkans
"Foreign Policy of Serbia and Montenegro"
Presentation by Goran SVILANOVIĈ, Foreign Minister, Serbia and Montenegro
Presentation by Igor LUKSIC, Deputy Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro
Evening reception at the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro hosted by Dragoljub MICUNOVIC, President of the Assembly of Serbia and Montenegro
FRIDAY 21 MARCH, MORNING
"Defence Reform in Serbia and Montenegro"
Moderator: Petre ROMAN, Associate Special Rapporteur on South-East Europe, NATO PA Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security and Member of the Romanian Senate
Presentation by George KATSIRDAKIS, Deputy Director, Defence Partnership and Cooperation Directorate, NATO Headquarters
Presentation by Boris TADIC, Minister of Defence of Serbia and Montenegro
Presentation on Defence Reform by Branko KRGA, Chief of General Staff, Armed Forces of Serbia and Montenegro
Presentation by Miroslav HADZIĈ, Director, Centre for Civil-Military Relations, Belgrade
FRIDAY 21 MARCH, AFTERNOON
"Serbia and Montenegro and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia"
Moderator: Franco ANGIONI, Vice-Chairman of the Defense and Security Committee and Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies
Presentation by Carla DEL PONTE, Chief Prosecutor, ICTY
"Combating organised crime in Serbia and Montenegro"
Presentation by Dusan MIHAILOVIĈ, Minister of Interior of Serbia
Evening reception at the Parliamentary Club, Tolstojeva, hosted by Miroslav FILIPOVIC, Head of the Delegation of Serbia and Montenegro
SATURDAY 22 MARCH, MORNING
"The role of Serbia and Montenegro in the Balkans"
Moderator: Loic BOUVARD, Member and Former President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Presentation by Ivan VEJVODA, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Serbia for European Integration and Foreign Policy
Moderator: André ROUVIERE, Member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Presentation by Ambassador Maurizio MASSARI, Head, OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro, on the Role of Serbia and Montenegro in the Balkans
Presentation by Ambassador Robert BEECROFT, Head, OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina
SATURDAY 22 MARCH, AFTERNOON
Excursion to the town of Topola, birthplace of Karadjordjevic, (former Serbian royalty)