Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Preventing a humanitarian catastrophe or facilitating self-determination: Kosovo 1999-2006?

On 24th March 1999 NATO attacked Serbia to prevent the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the apparatus of force of Milosevic's regime. This was the rationale for their action. In 2006 Serbia and Kosovo Albanians are to start negotiations on the future status of the Province. Some members of the contact group are trying hard to impose the solution on the Serbian government and the Kosovo Serbs even before the negotiations start. They (some UK foreign office officials) are sending a clear message: Kosovo will be independent. In order to lead the negotiations in the direction of independence of Kosovo, led by a rather straightforward formula, International players will need and prefer to get Serbia’s consent to such an outcome (international law and common sense require). This formula is clear, if they have to impose the solution on Serbia, then the 1999 war was actually a self-determination war and their actions were revolutionary vis-à-vis the international order. In this way international precedent of self-determination war will be created. How many countries in the world are ready to support this?

1 comment:

Jernej Letnar said...

Your blog input misses the point. The main question is why would Kosovo ask for Sebia/or Serb-Montenegro federation's consent to gain their independence. My anwser is simply there is no need for such a consent, since everywhere where basic human rights have been violated and where international crimes have been committed, people may freely exercise right to self to determination. Kosovo falls in that category no matter how hard Serbian/Yugoslav governemnts try to question it. It may be true that traditional understanding of international law would have precluded, the excercise of right of self determination in case such as Kosovo but this approach is nowadays totally outdated and has no basis on the ground where human rights violations are being committed. East Timor is only one of recent exemples of new progressive approach to right to self-determination.
However, the Kosovo authorities will need to ensure that rights of Serbian minority in Kosovo are protected in accordance with Council of Europe standards, when Kosovo become independent. More on this issue will follow tomorrow at

Also Slovene President Janez Drnovsek presented in October 2005 a sound Plan for Kosovo, which may be read below:

The plan mentions the following starting points:

1. The international community must ensure the safety of members of the Serbian minority in Kosovo.

2. The most sacred Serbian cultural, historical and religious monuments in Kosovo should be assigned extraterritorial status and must be protected by international forces.

3. Serbian municipalities in Kosovo should be given local self-government, on the basis of which they can decide themselves on local issues.

4. The Serbian minority in Kosovo should be guaranteed permanent representation in the Kosovo parliament.

5. Serbians in Kosovo should have a permanent representative in the Kosovo government, who looks after their interests.

6. In 18 months, the international community would transfer all its responsibilities and powers related to the governance of Kosovo to the Kosovo authorities. During this time, elections to the parliament, government and to the office of president would be held.

7. Kosovo would gain the status of an international legal entity, probably within the next five years, providing the international community establishes that fundamental democratic standards and peaceful cohabitation among members of the various national groups has been ensured.

8. The international forces would remain in Kosovo until that time, although it might be possible to reduce their size.

9. The European Union, in cooperation with international financial institutions, should prepare a programme for the economic development of Kosovo, as well as adequate financial instruments for its stimulation. On such a basis, Kosovo should be capable of economic survival and independence in five years.

Slovenia is willing to host an initial informal meeting of the highest political representatives of Serbia and Kosovo, at which we would try to establish an atmosphere of mutual trust and constructive communication in order to reach agreement.