It started with the "ethnic cleansing" of the Kosovo Albanians1, but one year after the entry of peacekeeping forces into Kosovo, the tables have turned2.
The KFOR peace force entered Kosovo on the 13th of June 1999 with the aim of guaranteeing peace and security to all the citizens of the Serbian southern province with the support of the UN civil authority as well as a number of humanitarian and non-government organizations3. Since then over 180,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians have fled or have been driven out of the province, 3,688 terrorist attacks have been perpetrated, 739 people have been killed, 611 injured, 688 kidnapped and over 70 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries destroyed or damaged. According to journalistic data the majority of Kosovo's towns have been all but cleansed of Serbs. About 2,500 Serbs have remained in Orahovac and Velika Hoca, while from the village of Brecja near Kosovo Polje, across Drenica and Metohija to the Albanian border not more than a few tens of Serbs remain. Around a hundred Serbian families have remained in Prizren, six old women have found shelter in the Djakovica church, and two women in the Pec Patriarchy. A larger number of Serbs, about 100,000 have remained in the Kosovo basin, the Morava valley of Kosovo and in Sririnik region of the Sar mountains.4
Obviously, the state
of affairs in Kosovo after the arrival of peacekeeping forces has been
Some6 believe that Kenings' statements contradict statements issuing from NATO's military and political leadership, that the Alliance is presently the only credible and effective force for the containment of conflict anywhere in the world especially when having in mind that, as a the result of the same NATO policy, the Albanian authorities in the region are caving in under the pressure from the criminal clans of Hasim Taci and other KLA leaders who receive extra profit from narcobusiness and the arms trade.
Four months after the bombardment of Yugoslavia, secret documents, signed by the general secretary of NATO, Javier Solana, were leaked. These documents analyze the manner in which the KLA is financed and comment on its Mafia connections and the routes by which arms reach Kosovo. All NATO members were familiar with the contents of the documents dated 10 February 19997. However, this did not stop them from launching the air-campaign against Yugoslavia only 45 days later.
According to the precise, secret data in the document, the KLA received arms and financial support from the Albanian Diaspora and different criminal groups. Traffic in narcotics provides the basic part of income. A significant role is played by the Mafia from Croatia, consisting of Croats who left Kosovo from 1989 to 1990. It controls the drugs traffic in Zagreb and gives economic support to the KLA. The routes along which arms travel to Kosovo are the same ones used by humanitarian organizations, and arms are hidden in the same trucks carrying food and medicine. Besides some internationally known humanitarian organizations, this is true of Albanian humanitarian organizations such as "Help for Kosovo" with central offices in Tirana. According to a further NATO report the largest help to the KLA comes from Europe, but also from North America and the Middle East. The arms routes go through Bosnia, Italy, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro. The countries from which the KLA has bought arms are: Rumania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey, Cyprus, China, Israel, Bosnia, Croatia, South Africa and Switzerland. The center of economic operations is in Switzerland and the money is transferred further via banks. Bosnia has become the center of arms trade due to its special position . After the war in Croatia and Bosnia a large quantity of arms has remained there, while SFOR "... allows smugglers freedom of movement...". In one part, the report suggests measures to be used to prevent the arms trade, arms delivery and financial support to the KLA, but in the same breath it continues: "these measures should be taken if this is the result we require".
The Kosmet "gray
zone" which is more and more in the state of collapse, due to the
More than 10,000
prostitutes are thought to be working in Kosmet, recruited from Kosmet,
According to the statements of OSCE mission co-workers in Kosovo, the takeover of one of the largest energy complexes, Obilic, by the Kosmet Albanians the Thaci clan has secured another source of riches. At this moment the power station produces at least 700mWATTs of electrical energy, but only 150mWATTs reach the consumers. This means that the rest of the energy is illegally exported to Macedonia, Albania and possibly to Serbia, and the income thus gained ends up in the pockets of the Thaci family. According to the UN experts, this source of income is second in importance after drugs trafficking but the present administration cannot halt it due to an apparent lack of evidence. In the UN and OSCE mission some believe that the UN mission chief Bernard Koucner takes his cut of this profit, via Thaci. Such rumors were be heard in Kosmet particularly after the release of Thaci's brother who had been arrested at the beginning of January this year because of illegal possession of arms and released only a couple of hours later, following the personal intervention of Kouchner12. Thus the Thaci clan and their associates can expand their influence on political developments, the organization of local government and the police, the distribution of humanitarian aid and the expansion of crime while, at the same time, carrying out terrorist acts against the non-Albanian population, thus forcing them to flee the province. There are additional indications that the KLA is preparing for the physical liquidation of persons on the KLA lists13. Those targeted would be politicians, journalists, members of the Yugoslav Army and Police force, undesirable for the KLA but also for the "underground diplomacy" of Albania and some countries of the KFOR mission.14 Taci's intention seems to be to launch terrorism within Serbia proper, everywhere where Albanians live, primarily in Bujanovac, Presevo and Medvedja where Albanians constitute a significant presence15. The resistance of the Albanian village militias is also to be expected, since they are against KLA plundering and enforcement of their will in ethnically pure Albanian environments. In this context the possibility of activating a part of the KLA in Macedonia should not be excluded, and this would be within "Brigade KLA 121"16.
However, the Albanian "civil option" in Kosmet and other ordinary citizens have reacted against the Thaci clan on a number of occasions, some of them even say that "it was better at the time of Serbs"17, but those political players have no room for maneuver at present. They are awaiting another phase with a clearer form of KLA transformation and probably a more stable picture of political actors in Belgrade who have to understand that the solution exists only from inside, and not outside, and that it is high time speeches about Kosmet's and country's fate were delivered inside the Serbian territory rather than in neighboring countries or luxurious offices and hotels in abroad.
* Member of the Eurobalkans staff and postgraduate researcher at the University of Kragujevac, Faculty of Law
1 Këshilli për mbrojtjen e të drejtave e të lirive të njeriut (council for the defence of human rights and freedoms): Raport mbi shkeljen e të drejtave e të lirive të njeriut në Kosovë gjatë vitit 1999: Dhuna e terrori i institucionalizuar serb mori dimensionin e hapur shfarosës gjenocidal të shqiptarëve
2 Këshilli për mbrojtjen e të drejtave e të lirive të njeriut (council for the defence of human rights and freedoms): quarterly report on the violation of human rights and freedoms in kosova in the course of January - March 2000, Pristina, May 2000
3 Joska Fiser, Kosovo: Izazovi i Sanse, autorski tekst za Blic, 24/3/2000; Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, European Security Post-Kosovo, Oxford's Konigswinter Conference 23/3/2000.
4 Crucified Kosovo,
Destroyed and Desecrated Serbian Orthodox Churches in Kosovo and
5 Berliner Zeitung, 18/1/2000
6 N.D.A. Arvanites, Geopolitika i Balkan: Organizovani kriminal i novi svetski poredak na Kosovu, BACL, Beograd 2000, p. 41-44
7 Assesment of UCK Arms Trafficking, From Secretary General to Permanent Representatives (Council) & Head of Mission of the Three Invited Countries, IMS, SG (99) 0170, 10 February 1999; Rizospastis, 22 August 1999; Stratfor Special Report, Kosovo: One Year Later, 3/3/2000; Tajno pismo clanicama o ilegalnom naoruzavanju OVK, Duga, No 1721; N.D.A. Arvanites, Geopolitika i Balkan: Organizovani kriminal i novi svetski poredak na Kosovu, BACL, Beograd, 2000, p. 19-22, 29-32, 75-86
8 Budimir Babovic,
Iz dosijea Interpola, Beograd 1991; Kosovo: zona bez zakona, Danas,
9 Goran Draskovic, Osnovni pravci medjnarodnog tranzita opojnih droga, ozivljavanje balkanskog puta, in Sprecavanje zloupotrebe droga, Srpsko udruzenje za krivicno pravo, 1999, p.123-131 10 What Happened to the KLA?, International Crisis Group Reports, 3/3/2000 11 Transfer devojaka sa istoka na zapad, Danas 18/2/2000; Mlade albanke belo roblje, Glas, 18/3/2000; NATO Forces Spur Kosovo Prostitution Boom, AFP, 5/1/2000; Frances Kennedy, Albanians Redraw Italy's Crime Map, The Independent, 20/2/2000; James Pringle, Sex Slave Trade Thrives Among Kosovo Troops, The Times, 5/2/2000; Nightclub Shame, Times 24/2/2000; Imer Mushkolaj and Mentor Shala, A Prostitutes Call: We Will Take Over Kosovo, IWPR, No 101, 10/12/1999
12 Kosovo rebuilds
among ruins of the war that never ends, The Sunday Times, 19/5/2000;
13 Radivoje Petrovic,
Likvidacije medju albanskim teroristima, Politika, 11/5/2000; Kosova
14 Lulzim Cota, Russian KFOR troops become target, UPI,7/5/2000; Danica Kirka, Peacekeepers Wounded in Kosovo, Associated Press, 24/5/2000; Serb Working For UN Killed in Kosovo, Reuters, 17/5/2000.
15 Baton Haxhiu, Pse nuk mund te perseritet UCK-ja?: Pse dallojne Kosova Lindore dhe Kosova. Ideja per t'i pershtatur Presheves, Bujanocit dhe Medvegjes variantin e Kosoves eshte aq errezikshme sa mund te kete pasoja te renda per Kosoven dhe per politiken nderkombetare karshi ketij problemi, Revista Klan, No 150; Fehim Rexhepi, Presevo, Boujanovac, Medvedja: Moguca tacka sukoba?, AIM, 5/2/2000; Vukasin Obradovic, Sta se zbiva na jugu Srbije?, AIM, 4/3/2000; Milorad Pavlovic, Presevo i Bujanovac ili prica o najavi vrelog proleca, Duga, No 1737; Riza Halimi, Albanians in Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja, Eurobalkans, No 36-37, http://SOLAIR.EUnet.yu/~nbbm/
16 Slucaj Aracinovo: Stranskite paruznavaci predupreduvat na "proletno scenario", Start, No 53, 28/1/2000; N.D.A. Arvanites, Geopolitika i Balkan: Organizovani kriminal i novi svetski poredak na Kosovu, BACL, Beograd, 2000, p. 23-27, 33-36, 37-39, 45-46, 49-51; N.D.A. Arvanites, Towards the "New Balkans", Eurobalkans, No 36-37, http://SOLAIR.EUnet.yu/~nbbm/
17 Zijadin Gashi, Rugova pridobija birace cuteci, Thaci obustavlja kritike, AIM, 30/1/2000; Lj. Staletovic, Zajednicki zivot uslov opstanka, Glas, 18/3/2000; Srpsko-Albanski dijalog, Helsniski odbor za ljudska prava u Srbiji, Vol I, Beograd 1997 and Vol II, Beograd 1999; Kosovo Albanian Loyal to Serbia Dies, The Associated Press, 13/5/2000- Documents, EUROBALKANS, No 36-37, http://SOLAIR.EUnet.yu/~nbbm/
Kosovo Under the International Receivership
The Territorial Integrity Versus the Self-determination
The UN Resolution number 1244, from June 10 1999, confirmed the sovereignty and integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and simultaneously, with its numerous and widely formulated stipulations, created formal conditions for International receivership over Kosovo. Soon after the publication of the Resolution the sovereignty of the FR of Yugoslavia was factually suspended in Kosovo: The military and police forces of FR Yugoslavia were withdrawn and the receivership was entrusted to the international military and civil mission that became responsible for the realization of the Resolution's decisions.
Although the Resolution stipulates that the presence of the two missions is to be established under the supervision of the UN, in annex 2 paragraph 4 there is a note stating that the substantial role is to be played by NATO. In fact, NATO controls the military mission and not only provides it with the commander in chief, but acts independently before the UN's Security Council. Point seven of the paragraph states that "member states and the relevant international organizations are empowered to establish an international security presence ". With this NATO has actually secured the formal framework for entering Kosovo and for control over the military mission.
Resolution 1244 was brought with the central aim to "resolve the serious humanitarian crisis in Kosovo" and to "facilitate safe and free return of all refugees to their homes". In addition to this, the Resolution had set an aim of prevention of renewed hostilities and initiation of political processes towards the resolution of the Kosovo crisis on the basis of substantial autonomy and self governance for Kosovo. The political process that is to determine the future of Kosovo is to take into consideration, as stated in the Resolution, the Rambuillet agreement.
The free space that was created with the suspension of the sovereignty of FR Yugoslavia began to be filled with a form of the sophisticated protectorate, protectorate sui generis, that on the one hand was to leave Kosovo formally within Serbia, and on the other to give de facto independence to Kosovan Albanians in relation to Serbia.
In essence, the fate of the status of Kosovo is in the hands of the "international community" which is to be the supreme arbiter in any dispute and which is to have the final word after the expiry of the transitional agreement. The military mission (KFOR) and the civilian mission (UNMIK) were given a set of wide authorizations so as to have a control over the entire crisis and the peace process until the expiry of the present transitional solution for the status of Kosovo. The duration of two missions was set for a year with the automatic prolongation unless the Security Council decides otherwise.
Although all the authority was placed with the two missions their performance in the first six months of their mandate is essentially unsuccessful. Instead of the real demilitarization of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and other paramilitary formations, the KLA was partly transformed into the Kosovo Protection Corpus, while the large number of ethnic Albanian civilians remained armed outside of the Corpus and not within the reach of KFOR control. Instead of the creation of the security preconditions for the return of all refugees and displaced persons, uncontrollable mass return of the refugees happened in which masses were crossing the unmanned border between Kosovo and Albania. Thus armed gangs from Albania were also allowed into Kosovo who later joined the KLA and other military formations of the Kosovo Albanians in their efforts of driving out of Kosovo Serbs and other non Albanian Kosovan population.
Considering that the military mission (KFOR) in the first phase upon the entry into Kosovo had full security control in its hands, it must thus carry a full weight of responsibility for all security mistakes and failures. An international humanitarian organization for protection of human rights, Amnesty International on December 23 1999 pointed out in one of its reports that the "level of oppression in Kosovo over the Serb and Roma population had dramatically increased in the past six month because of the failures of the UN mission to protect human rights".1
The UN General Secretary also had recognized the failure of the KFOR and UNMIK missions in a report from December 29 1999 which states that ethnic Serbs and Roma in Kosovo are from the mid June 1999 a target of daily oppression perpetrated by numerous ethnic Albanians and that in period since June 1999 some quarter of a million of non ethnic Albanians had actually left Kosovo.2
General tolerance of the present ethic cleansing over the non ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo shows the possible attempts of oversimplification of the current unwanted events so as to reduce the number of the available solutions and facilitation of solving the problem of the Kosovo status. In other words, development of the current trends indicates that the international community's representatives are tacitly agreeing to the creation of the independent Kosovo which can later also be the basis for formal independence, build on the premises that the Kosovo ethnic Albanian are majority and that their leaders are "cooperative". This implies that the Kosovo problem is approached as to the specific and exceptional case as to the principle "normative forces of factual".
This kind of approach of the "international community" can be altered, as indicated by some international community's officials, only with the change of the Milosevic regime. Within the international community the negative stance towards Kosovo independence is still strong, but it is often added to this stance that in the future the status of Kosovo will depend on "if democracy will enter first Kosovo or Serbia".
However, if the interests of Serbia and its citizens are completely ignored then this will not only endanger the future regional stability but will discourage other states with a similar problem to allow for a larger degree of autonomy and collective rights to their national minorities (ethnic communities).
The Kosovo Problem in the light of the Helsinki Principles
The UN resolution 1244 which orders to UN members to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the FR of Yugoslavia is also calling on Helsinki's principles which specifically treat the relationship between the territorial integrity and the right on self-determination. In fact, the 1975 Final Helsinki Act, in the declaration on principles of the relationship, is mentioning two elements as of equal legal weight: the respect of the territorial integrity (the fourth principle) and the right on national self-determination ( the eight principle). The state's borders are especially "protected" in the third principle, the principle of the inviolability of borders . Inaviolability of existing borders is the essential part of the notion of self-determination, not because the borders are necessarily rightly drawn and just, but because the respect of the borders is taken as necessary if peace and stability are to be maintained.3
This subtle relationship between the two principles is a consequence of specific international relations at the time of their formulation, but obviously that their importance is respected nowadays too, which is confirmed with the UN resolution 1244, as well as with the previous resolutions which address the problem of Kosovo and Metohia (1203, 1199, 1160).
to the Final Helsinki Act and to other international treaties, the right
The principle of self-determination should be interpreted in reference to the relevant international norms of the international law, especially in reference to the aims and principles of the UN.4 The UN Charter and relevant European documents are encouraging and supporting the existence of the states that are racially, ethnically, and nationally mixed and that are also secular, non-discriminatory, pluralistic and which are based on recognition of human rights and freedoms for all.
On the other hand, the responsibility of individual governments towards their own citizens became through the OSCE one of the international standards. That is, in relation to respect of human rights and regional security, sovereignities of states are internationalized. Concern over human rights had limited sovereignties of the OSCE member states and it made possible that the OSCE's interest in such issues is not taken as infringing into the internal matters of one state. Simultaneously, the internationalization of sovereignty had made relative a need for the national state as the protector of human rights., which is precisely what ethnic Albanian leaders in Kosovo are insisting on.
Leaders of the ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and the Serbian regime, as well as the FR Yugoslav government had often called upon the international norms and on the Helsinki Principle. But the norms and the principles were often interpreted in a selective and/or restrictive manner. What was advantageous for one's political aims was stressed and what was not was ignored. For instance, the right of self-determination, upon which the ethnic Albanian leaders are calling, does not mean necessarily the right for an independent state. Similarly FR Yugoslavia, if it is to rightly call upon the Helsinki Principles for the recognition of the principle of territorial integrity, must firstly adopt in full all Helsinki Principles and respect the standards of OSCE.
In fact, the point
is that the Helsinki Principles should be respected in their integrity
Giving an advantage to one or the other principle, irrespective of whether the principle is in a conformity with other basic principles such as human and minority rights, leads to trivializing these principles. In other words, insisting on territorial integrity and disregarding the present level of oppression in a given state or supporting given separatist tendencies and disregarding their aims and nature, are all trivializing these principles. In addition, giving an advantage to one or to another principle in a case where all sides are acting outside of the Helsinki framework, that is biased international arbitrage, also can provoke negative consequences, regionally as well as on the wider, international scale.
Temporary Receivership in Kosovo and its Regional Repercussions
In spite of the fact that all relevant international documents written in regard to the Kosovo crisis are persistent in respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of FR Yugoslavia, the real situation is different. After the withdrawal of the Serbian and Yugoslav security forces from Kosovo, and after the initial state of anarchy, instead of FRY sovereignty a kind of a state of a dual rule took shape, the rule of international receivership and the rule of the transformed KLA. This dual rule had facilitated, or it made possible, an ethnic cleansing of non ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo, and the politics of factual and rigid separation of Kosovo from Serbia and FR Yugoslavia.
The chief of the UN civilian mission Bernard Kushner had used given discretionary rights by interpreting the UN resolution 1244 and had returned the laws that existed in Kosovo priory to March 22 1989. With this, on the one hand, the Milosevic ten year rule was symbolically annulled, and on the other hand, a direction of the future political process towards the solution was shown. What is additionally concerning ethnic Serbs in Kosovo, and in Serbia, is that the vital political decisions are made without the participation in the decision making process by their representatives. So, when the Kosovo Protection Corpus, the temporary administrational council of Kosovo, and temporary administrative committee of Kosovo (temporary government), were formed, the local ethnic Serbian representatives which consists of Archbishop Artemije and Momcilo Trajkovic was not consulted in spite of their good will shown for cooperation with theinternational community. The decisions were rather made and offered to them for confirmation of already done. So, after the representatives of UNMIK and of Kosovo ethnic Albanians had signed an agreement on the creation of a temporary administrative council on December 15, 1999, a copy of the agreement was just forwarded to the ethnic Serb representatives. Similar behavior was repeated while creating other important documents.
As recent experience shows, tolerating or supporting the separatist tendencies on behalf of the "international community" is explained with the fact that there "is a justified basis" for believing that the secession can lead to a greater protection of human rights and other basic freedoms, while such an action does not represent a great risk to regional stability or to global peace.5
In the case of Kosovo, however, there are no signs, let alone assurances, that indicate a situation in which independence will lead to the protection of human rights and basic freedoms. On the contrary, erruption of violence, lack of ethnic tolerance, and marginalization of soft political options all took place and are not coming down nine months after the arrival to Kosovo of the international military and civilian presence. This shows that the calculation about the greater protection of human rights and basic freedoms if Kosovo secedes is wrong.
On the other hand,
there is a risk of sending a message to the region that would potentially
In Macedonia there are steadily amplified voices (as old as the Yugoslav crisis) that Macedonia should be organized as the state of Albanians and Macedonians. In other words, ethnic Albanians are asking not only for their University and collective rights, but constitutional changes that would transform Macedonia into a two-nation federation als well. Frequent meetings and joint public appearances of Hasim Tachi and Arben Xaferri (leader of the radical political stream of the ethnic Albanians in Macedonia) are provoking fears and animosities with their neighbors, Serbs and Macedonians alike, and are enlarging the appetite of ethnic Albanians in several Balkan states.
In Montenegro, one
of the ethnic Albanian political parties, the Democratic Union of
Amongst the ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo the appetites are rising, in spite of the situation that the independence is not a sure thing. In the Serbian proper region of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja, west out side of Kosovo, largely populated by ethnic Albanians, there is a belief that this area is actually "Eastern Kosovo". A strong recent pressure on this region by the Albanians from Kosovo should be connected with the crisis in Kosovska Mitrovica, the only town in Kosovo that still can maybe labeled as multi ethnic. Maybe it is multi ethnic exactly because the two peoples live in two separate parts of the town, divided by the river Ibar and by the KFOR whose personnel guards the river frontier that divides the southern larger ethnic Albanian part from northern and smaller ethnic Serbian part of the town. This town and northern Kosovo in general are connected to the scenario of the division of Kosovo, which is publicly rejected by all actors in the crisis, but which still dominates some public debates.
This scenario on the Serbian side is normally associated with Dobrica Cosic, the first FRY president. The first large public reactions though came only after the talk given in Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences on its annual gathering in June 1996 by its member Aleksandar Depic. Then he stated that there is a need for evaluating prospects for the creation of civic Serbia that would be acceptable to ethnic Albanians. If that would appear as not possible than, according to Depic, "talks should commence with those who advocate the secession about a peaceful and civilized divorce and departure, so as to avoid the repetition of tragic recent experiences."
The ruling Serbian regime at the time swiftly rejected the idea about the division of Kosovo, as did the democratic opposition having concerns about forthcoming local elections in November 1996, but also having concerns for an emotive relationship between Serbs and Kosovo. Leaders of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo were most often negatively taking the idea about the division of Kosovo apart from those instances when the division was taken as the secession of Kosovo from Serbia with a possibility of a minor correction as to the principle of an exchange "of a part of Kosovo for a part of the territory of Serbia proper". In other words, the region around Kosovska Mitrovica would be exchanged for the region of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja.
The regime in Belgrade is exploiting conflicts of a low intensity in the north of Kosovo, as well as in the region of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja on the south of Serbia proper, as a means of drawing the attention away from the existential problems that are faced by Serbian citizens, towards the higher (national) interests and issues, and for the stimulation of fear amongst the Serbian citizens of renewed hostilities with NATO. On the other hand, ethnic Albanian extremists by upholding low intensity conflicts are not only preventing any normalization in Kosovo but are also orchestrating a further exodus from Kosovo of the remaining non ethnic Albanian population.
Neither the notion
of Macedonia as a dual federation, nor the notion of a special status
A Status for Kosovo - Future Prospective
Once more, this
time through the Kosovo issue, a controversial question of rights to
The role of the "international community" will be decisive in the case of Kosovo, given the fact that, as relevant international documents state, it actually took over the role of the major arbiter of any future decision making process on the status of Kosovo. It remains to be seen how exactly the international community will arbiter in a conflict between an ethnic right called for by Albanians in Kosovo and a historic right called for by Serbs, that is, how the contradiction of the two international principles - the right on self-determination and the right on territorial integrity - will be resolved: The actors of the process of decision making taken on behalf of the "international community", unless they decide to enter the major reconstruction of the relevant international principles, will have to take into consideration several present components6 such as:
a) The one about the nature of the state that secession is taking a step from.
If the state is undemocratic, that is, if there is not a representative system that would encompass the entire population irrespective of its ethnicity, then the prospects of secession are increased. If the secession is leading towards the greater efforts aimed at the achievement of the generally accepted values (i.e. democracy, market economy, protection of human and minority rights ), then the support to secessionists will be justified with support to the general values of the "international community", and simultaneously the principle of territorial integrity would be rejected as the country in question is undemocratic and discriminatory, a state that is not taking care of all of its citizens. Thus, the notion of self-determination is not a simple one, unless the nature of the state that loses territorial integrity is of that kind that the secession is a "lesser evil", and as such is in interest of the "international community". In other words, in principle "unacceptable claims" on behalf of secessionist movements can be viewed as practically acceptable as a claim for emancipation from a repressive state.
On the other hand, if there is a democratic representative system in a given state, that is if there is an institutionalized possibility for expressing and achieving ethnic minorities needs within the given state, then the maximum what any given national minority can expect from the "international community" is its support for "internal self-determination", that is, self-determination within given and unviolatable international borders.
b) About the status of an ethnic community that asks for secession in society as a whole.
The more the ethnic community is disadvantaged and the more the oppression is present, the more likely it is that the support for secession will be granted from the "international community". Presence of discrimination and substantial abuse of human rights, as the attempts at regional destabilization, increasingly after the fall of the Berlin wall had became a reason for transformation of an internal question into a problem of "international community". Thus the state that ignores this fact is potentially endangering its sovereignty and territorial integrity over the regions in crisis.
c) About the nature of secessionist movement.
This is about if the movement represents the large majority of an ethnic community, what are the real aims and especially what are the methods that are used in achieving political goals. Even those authors who are supporting the right on self-determination in its extreme form are stressing that the right on self-determination can have a government which represents all the people that live on its territory irrespective of race, religion affiliation or the color of the skin.7 Representatives of the "international community" more than once had stressed that the KLA and ethnic Albanian leaders' aims (independent Kosovo or Greater Albania) are unacceptable as are the methods employed by the KLA. Assassinations and cleansing of non ethnic Albanians by KLA, which aims at governing Kosovo ever since Serbian security forces left, shows that the KLA does not represent all people that inhabit Kosovo and Metohia, which in principle reduces the chances for obtaining support from the "international community" for the project of independent Kosovo.
d) About potential sustainability of the newly formed state.
of Kosovo state is directly proportional to the will and readiness of
e) About repercussions of secession on neighboring states and regional stability.
This is one of the weakest points in separatist politics of Kosovo Albanian leaders because, on the one hand, the Albanian question in Macedonia, Montenegro, and Greece is sharply open, while on the other hand, the example is given to other Balkan states that in a similar situation they can also call upon the Kosovo example and sort out their ethnic problem in the same manner.
Several other components should be taken into the account, such as: About the level of ethnic territorial homogeneity and historical, strategic or spiritual importance that the territory represents for the state from which secession takes place; About persistence of secessionism and its comparison to persistence of a state to prevent it; and about the regional and international powers' balance, that is if the state is not contradicting the interests of "great" countries then the chances for secession are lesser.
To summarize, if all the possibilities for ethnic conflict resolution are not explored within the given state, than the secession is in international practice is regarded as unacceptable. As for the current situation the "international community" will wait for the change of the Slobodan Milosevic regime in Serbia and thus offer a chance to a new echelon of Serbian politicians to solve the Kosovo problem within the state framework. But if the regime in Belgrade stays in power for longer or if the new government ignores the criterion set in front of it, than the political project of independent Kosovo will be nearer to international support. On the other hand, what is primarily expected from Kosovo Albanians is a change of their attitudes towards the non ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo.
If both sides move into the direction they are expected to than there are strong prospects of reaching a solution within the given state framework. But if both sides continue as until now with antagonism, than the long term international presence is likely as well as international arbitrage in favor of one of the two parties.
* Research fellow, Belgrade's Instutute for Social Sciences.
1 "Assassinations, kidnappings, looting, maltreatments and burning houses are all dailly occurrences in the same amount as in June 1999 when the KFOR and UNMIK forces arrived to Kosovo" is stated by Amnesty International, stressing that only during the first week of December 1999 24 assassinations occurred. "A vacuum created by the lack of law and order, is also the consequence of the fact that UNMIK has not so far managed to establish an independent and fair judicial system AI is concerned because it appears that UNMIK and KFOR are hesitating to arrest to justice those from the KLA and Kosovo Protection Corpus who are infringing the human rights of others". Please see "Failure of the UN Missions", report by an independent NGO for the protection of human rights, Amnesty International (BETA Belgrade news agency, Belgrade's daily Danas, December 24 1999, p. 2)
2 "The level and nature of the ongoing Kosovo violence, especially over the Kosovo's minorities, are still unacceptable Repeatedly I am calling upon all Kosovar political leaders and the general population to halt those acts of oppression, terror and disruption", said the General Secretary asking for a speedy distribution of the international policein Kosovo, that presently is 1800 strong as opposed to the agreed 4700. See: "Koffi Annan had Criticized the Violence Over non Albanian People in Kosovo", Belgrade's daily Danas, December 24 1999, p. 2)
3 More on this: Kapelman Max, "Secession and the Right to Self-determination: An Urgent Need To Harmonize Principle With Pragmatism", The Washington Quarterly, 1993, Vol. 16, No. 3, p. 10.
4 In UN Charter the term of self-determination is treated as a principle, and not as a right.
5 See: Millerson Rein, International Law, Rights and Politics, Developments in Eastern Europe and the CSI, Routledge, London and New York, 1994, p. 72.
6 These are but a few of relevant components that are not pretending to comprehensively treat the problem, but rather to stress the level of contradiction that exists in a relationship between the principle of self-determination and various barriers that stand before its practical realization in its extreme form: a secession. There are various approaches when determining the criteria for an evaluation of given secessionist claims. Some of these can be found in: Millerson Rein, International Law, Rights and Politics, Developments in Eastern Europe and the CSI, Routledge, London and New York, 1994; Hannum Hurst, "Rethinking self-determination", Virginia Journal of International Law, 1993; Bucheit Lee C, Secession: The Legitimacy of self-determination, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1978.
7 Thornberry Patric, "Is there a Poneix in the Ashes.", Texas International Law Journal, Vol. 15, No. 3, Summer 1980, p.452.