No. 25, Spring 1998
Institute of International Politics and Economics

Belgrade, Yugoslavia

The Kosovo and Metohia Problem and Regional Security in the Balkans


Predrag Simic (1)

1. Introduction

Serbian-Albanian relations and, in particular, the problem of the Serbian autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohia (2) where the national aspirations of the two nations are in conflict, are among the most complex contemporary ethnic, territorial and security problems in the Balkans and in Europe. For the Serbs, Kosovo and Metohia is part of their national territory, a region of great strategic and economic importance besides being the cradle of the medieval state of Serbia - a place with a concentration of Serbian historical, religious and cultural monuments and where the legendary battle against the Ottoman conquerors had been fought in 1389. In other words, it is an area that sublimes the collective identity of the Serbian people just as Jerusalem does, for instance, for the Jewish nation. For the Albanians, Kosovo and Metohia is a territory where they comprise an ethnic majority, where Albanian national movement was born in 1878 and where is still the focus of Albanian irredentism. In brief, Kosovo and Metohia has an important place in the national consciousness of both Serbs and Albanians - for the Serbs, it stands for Ancient Serbia, whereas, for the Albanians, it is their Piedmont - and this made ethnic conflict over Kosovo and Metohia intractable from the very beginning. The problem of Kosovo and Metohia is consequently a dispute over the historical rights of the Serbs and the ethnic rights of the Albanians, two conflicting principles of international law, that made any attempt of international mediation in this dispute extremely complicated.

The Kosovo and Metohia problem is, however, much more than an ethnic and territorial dispute between the Serbs and Albanians. This is, above all, a region with the highest population growth in Europe: in the period 1948-1981, its population had doubled, completely upsetting the ethnic balance that had existed among the Albanians and Serbs. (3) In a matter of twenty years (1961-1981), the local Albanian population increased by 90 per cent bringing its percentage in the overall population up from 66.2 to 77.4 and the Serbian down from 23.6 to 7.3, with Montenegrins accounting for 1.7 compared with 3.9 per cent previously (see Tab. I). Furthermore, half the ethnic Albanian population is under the age of 20, so it is expected that there will be another doubling of its numbers in the next decade. Second, despite large investments on the part of the federal government, Kosovo and Metohia has remained the most underdeveloped region of FR Yugoslavia precisely because of its high demographic growth, its traditional social structure, misguided investments and for various other reasons. Third, this is the religious and cultural problem, as the ethnic Albanians are largely Moslems whereas the Serbs are Christians. In addition, it is a political and geostrategic problem since this is an area crucial to Serbia's and FR Yugoslavia's stability and security and the boycott ethnic Albanians are conducting by abstaining from the political life of the country (they make up 16.5 percent of the population of FR Yugoslavia), has created a major gap on its political scene. Fifth, it is also an economic problem as some of the main natural resources and industrial facilities of Serbia are located in this province. Last, but not least, it is also a regional and European problem, because any kind of emergency situation in the area would destabilize all neighboring states (above all the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), causing broader conflicts in the southern Balkans.

From a contemporary point of view, one could say that the crises and civil war that broke out in the former SFRY had been detonated by the Serb-Albanian dispute over Kosovo and Metohia. Violent demonstrations of ethnic Albanian that occurred in April 1981, hardly a year after the death of Marshal Tito, gave an initial blow to the ethnic balance of the "Second Yugoslavia", inciting nationalism in all the Yugoslav republics which, ten years later, brought about the ultimate dissolution of the Yugoslav Federation. The Albanian national movement of that time in Kosovo had come out demanding that this Serbian province be given the status of a seventh Yugoslav republic which, under the constitutional order of the SFRY meant a step towards secession from the Republic of Serbia and the SFR Yugoslavia as well, and creation of a "Greater Albania". (5) The irredentist movement of the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo an Metohia roused strong national mobilization in Serbia - the largest of the Yugoslav republics which was already antagonized by the constitutional changes of 1971 and 1974 which had established an asymmetrical relationship between this republic and its two autonomous provinces (Voyvodina and Kosovo and Metohia). Serbia's demands for reform of the Yugoslav Federation were at once countered by Slovenia and then by Croatia, which, in a covert way at first and then quite openly, took the side of the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo and Metohia seeing them as allies in their power struggle with Serbia; this ended in their actual secession and the dissolution of the SFRY, following which both of them lost interest in Kosovo and Metohija.

On a broader scale, the problem of Kosovo an Metohia had, over the past fifteen years or so, transformed itself under the influence of the changes that were occurring in Europe. In the bipolar Europe SFRY was a respected member and one of the leading countries of the non-alignment movement whose stability was supported both by Washington and Moscow. Albania under Enver Hoxha, on the other hand, was a rigid communist dictatorship and all its attempts at internationalizing the issue of Kosovo did not meet with significant support from the international community. Most of the illegal political groups of Albanians from Kosovo shared, under the influence of the regime in Tirana, a radically leftist, Stalinist or Maoist ("Marxist-Leninist") orientation that isolated them even more. The crisis that exploded in the Soviet bloc and the policy of the West during the eighties upset this balance and the Eastern European nationalist movements in time became allies in the struggle against the communist regimes indirectly also affecting the international position of SFRY which had lost its privileged status of a "strategic buffer" between East and West. Consequently, the nationalist movement of the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo gradually attracted the attention of influential Western circles, especially after the collapse of Enver Hoxha's dictatorship in Albania. The well-organized Albanian emigration in the USA and Western Europe (especially in Germany, the Benelux and Scandinavia), had much to do with this.

An analysis of the CIA, published in the New York Times in November 1990, predicted that civil war would break out in SFRY within next eighteen months and that it would actually flare up in Kosovo. Although war did actually start six months later, the prediction prove to be wrong, since the war did not started in the ethnically mixed and poverty stricken province of Kosovo and Metohia, but in Slovenia that was the richest and only ethnically homogenous republic of the former Yugoslavia. While the war went on in the western republics, Kosovo and Metohia maintained its relative peace, primarily because of a balance of fear in which the leaders of both ethnic communities estimated that a conflict between them would surpass even the violence that had come to expression in Bosnia and Herzegovina and be fatal to the interests of both nations. Despite their mutual distrust and their profoundly disrupted relations, the Serbs and Albanians of Kosovo took care not to exceed a point that would inevitably provoke a breakout of conflict. Thus, quite unexpectedly, the gravest ethnic problem in Yugoslavia escaped from being drawn into the Yugoslav civil war, but relations between the two ethnic communities remained frozen, in a way unprecedented in Europe. With its constitutional amendments of 1989 and 1990, Serbia did away with the disputed provisions of the 1974 Constitution. This, however, was met with resistance from the Albanian political parties of Kosovo that resorted then to creating their own para-state with the result that two parallel systems of government - one legal and the other illegal - came into being. Although the participation of Albanian political parties in the Republic and Federal elections would probably have made them runner ups to the leading group in the country opening opportunities for the institutional solution of these open problems, they have remained adamant in their boycott, regardless even of the fact that such a policy has become counterproductive to the best interests of the Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohia.

After the initial support given by some international circles to the Albanian national movement of Kosovo and Metohia, the international community has changed its attitude taking the standpoint that any attempt at the forced secession of this province from Serbia and FR Yugoslavia would undoubtedly first draw neighboring FRY Macedonia into the conflict (as a strengthening of Albanian parties in the borderline area had come about in the early nineties), and then all the other neighboring countries as well. When the civil war in the former Yugoslavia began to be unraveled as a result of the Dayton peace agreement, the international community's stand that the problem of Serb-Albanian relations in Kosovo be settled within the framework of Serbia and FR Yugoslavia, certain changes began taking place within the Albanian and Serbian political parties creating possibilities for a new approach to Serbian-Albanian relations in the Balkans. The two ethnic communities will, however, need to face the difficult heritage of their past and find new constitutional models of autonomy for ethnic Albanians living in Serbia, different from those the Yugoslav communist federalist model had developed. The new model of autonomy must, therefore, be sought within the standards established by the OSCE (CSCE), and the Council of Europe, but above all in existing European models of autonomy for ethnic communities. The motive for doing this should not merely be on account of the pressure of the international community: The development of democratic institutions in Serbia will hardly be possible if the Kosovo and Metohia issue is not solved, and vice versa, the problem of Kosovo and Metohia cannot be resolved without strengthening democratic institutions in Serbia, that is, without the political participation of the Albanian segment of the population in the political life of Serbia and FR of Yugoslavia.

2. Kosovo and Metohia: the Burden of the Past

In mediaeval Serbia, the present region of Kosovo and Metohia was not a separate administrative entity; reference to it as the Vilayet of Kosovo appears only towards the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th Century in the territorial organization of the Ottoman Empire where it covered broader area with administrative center in Skoplje. After the end of the First Balkan War in 1912, the Kosovo region became part of Serbia, whereas Metohia became part of Montenegro. This was internationally recognized by the London Peace Conference of 29 July 1913, when the present State of Albania was also recognized. Kosovo and Metohia appears as a distinctive territory only in documents of the Yugoslav Communist Party in this century at the end of the twenties. Although during World War II it had come under "Greater Albania" which had been created as an Italian protectorate, Kosovo and Metohia was not given any special territorial status. It is only in 1946 that Kosovo and Metohia became a separate administrative "district" within Serbia, under the first constitution of "Second Yugoslavia. (6)

Contrary to contemporary stereotypes, Serbian-Albanian relations had not been antagonistic during the middle ages, nor had the two nations been at odds before the period of Ottoman conquests in the Balkans. In the medieval State of Serbia, the Albanians were an active factor: Albanian feudal lords were recognized as was their property and titles, and they were treated without discrimination under the laws of the Serbian Nemanjic Dynasty. (7) The Serbs and Albanians resisted the Turkish invaders together and it is recorded that Albanians were part of the Serbian formations in the Battle of Kosovo. The core of the political, economic and cultural life of the medieval State of Serbia, between the 12th and the 15th Century, was in Kosovo, as numerous monasteries and the remnants of medieval cities and other cultural monuments testify. (8) Kosovo an Metohia retained this status throughout the first centuries of Ottoman occupation (15th and 16th Century), and it is only at the end of the 17th Century (1690) that the first great exodus of Serbs from this area took place.

It was then that Albanians began to be converted to Islam and there are many who were given influential positions in the hierarchy of the Ottoman Empire (9) and became the stronghold of its rule in the Balkans. The Ottoman authorities fostered this process through tax and other concessions which induced most of central Albania to switch to Islam in the 16th Century (Albanian Catholic and Orthodox communities had persevered only in the north, in the area around Skadar). This conversion to Islam first embraced the feudal lords, then the townspeople and finally the villagers. The privileges of the Moslems and discrimination towards the Christians ignited the first controversies between the Albanians and Serbs in the area of present-day Kosovo and Metohia, where Albanians began settling in increasing numbers during the 18th and 19th Century, assimilating and pushing the Serbian population northwards. (10) Ottoman repression against the Christians grew in the 17th Century because the Empire's expansion into Europe had been halted and the Habsburg armies during the 17th and 18th Century made deep thrusts into the Balkans. Two waves of exodus of Serbs took place under this pressure - in 1690 and 1737 - and the Habsburg princes settled these Serbian refugees along what they called their Military Boundaries (Milit„rgrenze) in Voyvodina, southern Hungary and the so-called Krayinas (11). Thus gradually weakened the resistance from the local Christian population in the area of present-day Kosovo and Metohia against the pressure of the Albanian colonizers who had settled in these parts for economic reasons (in search of cultivable land), and social reasons, too (to escape blood feuds), as well as by planned resettlement which the Ottoman regime had organized.

Intensive settlement in the area took place in the last two centuries of the Ottoman Empire's existence, the idea probably being to prevent any homogenization of the Slav population which was revolting against the Ottoman authorities and also to prevent the formation of new national states in the Balkans. The First Serbian Uprising of 1804-1813, which marked the beginning of national revolutions in the Balkans, opened a new phase in Serbian-Albanian relations. In its first national program - the Nacertanije (the Plan) of Ilija Garasanin of 1844 - Serbia set itself the task of freeing the Southern Slavs from Ottoman occupation in cooperation with the other Balkan nations. Thus, ties were established with the Catholic Albanian tribe Miriditi which agreed to their common struggle against the Turks in 1849. The endeavor to incorporate Albanians in the liberation movement of the Balkan nations was significant, because as much as 70 percent of the Albanians were converted to Islam by the middle of the 19th Century and were interested in safeguarding the Ottoman Empire and its institutions. The resistance against the Ottoman Empire's reforms of 1839 (tanzimat) provoked unrest among the Islamicised Albanian feudal lords which had its repercussions on the Christian population which they considered responsible for the suspension of the privileges they used to enjoy. Further Albanian colonization of the Kosovo and Metohia region was intensified at that time, developing into mass terror and ethnic cleansing of the local Serbian population.

The 1876-1878 wars against the Ottoman Empire brought the Serbs and Montenegrins into their first serious conflict with the Albanians. As the Serbian army's advancement went through territory that was colonized by the Albanians, the Porte mobilized these Albanians to fight the Serbs. The operations of the Serbian army in southern Serbia, when Kosovo was briefly taken over in 1878, provoked a wave of refugees in the opposite direction as well high 30,000 Albanians deserted those parts of the country which the Serbian army had occupied. However, that same year, the Berlin Congress brought a stop to the liberation movements of the Balkan nations and began partitioning the Ottoman Empire. Thus, a "League for Defense of the Albanian Nation" was founded at Prizren in June 1878 ("The First Prizren League"), and the first Albanian national program was adopted then. Its objective was the creation of an Albanian state which would cover four regions: a) southern Albania and Epirus with Joannina as its capital; b) northern and central Albania (Skadar, Tirana and Elbasan); c) Macedonia (Skoplje, Debar, Gostivar, Prilep, Veles, Bitola, Ohrid); d) Kosovo with parts of southern Serbia and Macedonia (Pec, Djakovica, Prizren, Novi Pazar, Mitrovica, Sjenica, Pristina, Gnjilane, Presevo and Kumanovo). In short, the First Prizren League laid down the terms for the creation of a "Greater Albania" which has even to this day remained the objective of Albanian Irredentism. Although the League enjoyed the support of the Turkish authorities at the start, after the Berlin Congress, the Albanian movement took a turn against the Porte which liquidated it in 1882 and the whole area was thrown into a state of anarchy and violence. Repression against the Serbian population inhabiting the area of present-day Kosovo and Metohia, led to the exodus of around 400,000 people into Serbia between the years 1878 and 1912. (12)

The First Balkan War of 1912 had ended Ottoman rule in the Balkans but had also sparked off open conflicts among the national programs of the Balkan states. Serbia had entered the war intending to liberate the Serbian people living under Ottoman administration and to secure an outlet to the Adriatic Sea which inevitably brought it into conflict with the Albanians. Underestimating the power of the Albanian national movement, Serbian politicians of the time counted on the assimilation of the Albanians into Serbia, possibly extending them autonomy in those parts where they comprised a majority. This opinion has been strengthened by the relatively weak resistance of the Albanians against the advance of the Serbian army through Kosovo and Metohia and northern Albania. The situation then soon took a different turn when the Albanian national movement won the strong support of Austria-Hungary and Italy which were interested in creating an Albanian state that would be under their influence and in preventing other Balkan states from establishing any strongholds along the Adriatic coastline. A compromise was reached among the big powers at an ambassadorial conference in London in 1912-13 when a territorial demarcation was made between the new Albanian state and its neighbors. Despite the fact that neither the Balkan states nor the big powers (Italy in particular (13)) truly respected the decisions of the ambassadorial conference, these boundaries have by and large remained as delineated then to this day.

Serbia, like the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians founded in 1918, had no set policy with respect to the Albanians who found themselves within her borders in 1912. Under the Peace Treaty concluded in Berlin in 1878, Serbia had committed herself to protect the religious minorities within its territories (14); this was amended only in 1919 under the terms of the Peace Treaty signed at Saint Germains constituting part of the Versailles Peace Treaties. The newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes committed itself to protect the lives and freedom of its people, regardless of origin, nationality, language, race or creed; the equality of all citizens before the law; everyone's right to speak his own language, and so on. In practice, however, the situation was quite different: Except for the Albanian feudal lords and the townspeople who found their place in the new state regime (especially through the Moslem Jemiet party (15)), ethnic Albanians were deprived of these rights. Albanian terrorist activities, known as kachak, which evoked retaliation from the authorities, encumbered the situation. (16) In the area of present-day Kosovo and Metohia, the new state had two main objectives: to conduct an agrarian reform (to liquidate the Ottoman feudal system), and colonization (to achieve an ethnic balance in its population). The chaotic way in which the policy was carried out and the abuses inflicted by the local authorities, only broadened the gap between the Serbs and Albanians. In the period between 1922 and 1941, 12,000 families (about 60,000 people) were settled in Kosovo and Metohia, which made up about 9.2 percent of the prewar population. Negotiations were conducted between Turkey and Yugoslavia in the thirties on the resettlement of a larger number of Albanians into Turkey "in the way in which Romania, Bulgaria and Greece had solved the problem of their Moslem population", but nothing had come of it. The position of Serbian and Yugoslav left, in the first place of the Serbian Social Democratic Party (17), and the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) in the period between the two world wars, strongly opposed the policy of the Serbian ruling circles towards the Albanians.

The Albanian population of Kosovo, thus, welcomed the break-up of Yugoslavia and Fascist occupation as its liberation, which the occupying forces instigated by annexing the territory of present-day Kosovo and Metohia to "Greater Albania" which has been established as an Italian protectorate. Between 1941 and 1945, the non-Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohia was exposed to terror and ethnic cleansing, particularly the Serbs and Montenegrins who were colonized and together with a large number of their indigenous compatriots were banished to Serbia. In his lecture on "Greater Albania" at the Royal Italian Academy on 30 May 1941, the president of the Albanian puppet government, Mustafa Kruya, had pointed out that "with the victory of the axis powers and establishment of the new world order, Mussolini and Hitler will ensure the Albanian people a national state that will cover its broadest ethnic borders and be indissolubly linked with fascist Italy". The leaders of the pre-war Moslem Jemiet party of Kosovo had at that time founded a new Albanian political organization with a pronounced irredentist program - the Lidhja kombetare shquiptare. Upon Italy's capitulation, the policy of this party continued to be supported by the Third Reich which contributed to the formation of the "Second Prizren League" at the end of 1943. At that time, the Yugoslav communists also appeared on the scene and through their representatives in Albania and in Kosovo and Metohia organized the Albanian communist and anti-fascist movement, opening a new phase in the history of Yugoslav-Albanian relations.

In brief, centuries of Ottoman occupation and Islamization of the Balkans profoundly disrupted relations between the Albanians and other neighboring nations that often saw in them the instrument of Ottoman repression. The gap between the Slavs and the Albanians grew in the 19th and 20th Century when their national programs clashed, creating a vent for the interference of non-Balkan powers which had deftly taken advantage of these animosities for their own purposes. The legacy of such a history has been profound mistrust that at times transpired into national hatred between the two nations which is evident from the pejorative meaning of the word Shquiptar (Albanian) in Serbian, and Shkie (Slav) in the Albanian language. The religious factor should, however, not be underestimated (Islam is definitely accountable for the high demographic growth in Kosovo an Metohia), nor overestimated, for, even from the time of the First Prizren League, the credo of the Albanian national movement has been: "the religion of the Albanians is Albanianism" (feja e shqyptarit ashi shqyptaria). (18)

The Albanian Minority in the "Second Yugoslavia"

At the end of the 19th and in the first half of the 20th Century, the Serbian and Yugoslav left had treated Serbian-Albanian relations within the scope of its aim at having the national question resolved through the creation of a Balkan confederation. The dilemma of the communists was cut short by the Comintern which had decided at its Fifth Congress in 1924 to break up the state of Yugoslavia considering it to be a "product of world imperialism". From then onwards the national policy of the CPY was founded on the Leninist theory about "the reactionary nationalism of hegemonic nations and the progressive nationalism of oppressed people", from which they drew the conclusion as to the need to counter "Greater Serbian nationalism" and for the cooperation of communists with all anti-Serbian nationalist movements. At its Fourth Congress in 1928, the CPY adopted the position of the Comintern that Yugoslavia should be dismembered as it was a country "created in the Balkans by world imperialism to counterrevolutionary purposes aimed against the Soviet Union". This position was modified only in 1936 when the Comintern took a turn towards a "national front" policy and adopted a new policy for Yugoslavia's preservation and defense. In doing so, however, the initial position that Yugoslav communists must support the Albanian national movement was not changed until the beginning of World War II. The CPY played a major role during the war in the formation of the Communist Party of Albania (CPA) and in organizing an anti-fascist movement as well as creating organs of government for the new Albanian state. (19)

A conference that took place in the village of Buyan in Albania from 31 December 1943 to 2 January 1944 was later the cause of considerable controversy. A this conference delegates of the Albanian and Yugoslav communists invited the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo to join in the struggle against fascism with the hope that the victory of the communists would open the way to unification with Albania. Although the stands taken at the Buyan conference were criticized within the caucus of the CPY even before the end of 1944, they revealed two basic features of the CPY's policy in respect of Kosovo and Metohia at that time: Its desire to have the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo and Metohia join the anti-fascist movement and its orientation towards incorporating Albania into a Yugoslav or possibly a Balkan communist federation once the war came to an end. In a letter to the CPA at the end of 1943 concerning the future of Kosovo and Metohia, the Central Committee of the CPY had responded in the following manner: "Armed struggle against the occupying forces can only be clearly indicative of what who wants and forge real democracy and brotherhood of the people, so there is no need to emphasize the fact that such a question cannot constitute a problem where we and democratic anti-imperialistic Albania are concerned ... New Yugoslavia will be a country of free people and there will, therefore, be no place in it for national subjugation of the Albanian minority." (20)

It is the predominant opinion among Serbian historians that there were at least three motives for the creation of the Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohia on 7 August 1945: a) to resolve the status of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo; b) to make way for the incorporation of Albania into a Yugoslav communist federation (21), and c) to create a balance between the Serbs and the other nations of the country based on the Leninist doctrine for resolving nationality questions in multi-national states (so called "Weak Serbia - Strong Yugoslavia" policy). In support of the latter, the argument most often presented is that such autonomous regions were created only within the territory of Serbia and not within Macedonia or Montenegro, both of which also have areas in which Albanian minorities exist, nor for that matter within any of the other Yugoslav republics (Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) which have ethnically mixed populations. (22) The Yugoslav constitution and a special bill passed January 1946, define Kosovo and Metohia as an autonomous region of Serbia and this was reaffirmed in the Serbian constitution of January 1947. The Yugoslav constitution of 1963, however, provided the possibility for the creation of autonomous provinces within the federal republics, leaving it to the republics to decide on this themselves.

The victory of Slovenian and Croatian faction in the League of Communists of Yugoslavia in 1964 made the status of the provinces a major stake in the struggle for power within the Yugoslav federation, which reflected on their status in the constitutional amendments of 1968. Under these amendments, legislative and judicial authority was passed on to the provinces and they were given direct representation in the federal parliament, their rights were determined under separate provincial constitutional laws and Metohia was abolished from the name of Serbia's southern province, so for the first time it was to be known as the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo. It is interesting to note, however, that the first Albanian nationalist demonstrations in "Second Yugoslavia", took place in 1968, but were quickly suppressed by police and the federal army. The constitutional amendments of 1971 further extended the rights of the autonomous provinces of Serbia to the extent that they were given constitutional power and their representation in the Federal Parliament was also broadened; they were given seats in the State Presidency, the Federal Government, the Constitutional Court of Justice and they were to be given a "relative number of posts in the commanding staff of the army, in diplomacy" and so forth. In effect, these amendments in the Yugoslav constitutional system made the provinces almost equal with the republics, making it assume a confederational form. Although the territory they covered continued to be part of the territory of the Republic of Serbia, the provincial leadership dominated by the Albanians began referring to the province as a "constituent element of the Federation".

This development reached a climax with the federal constitution of 1974 which practically evened Serbia with its two provinces (the provinces were given the right of veto to any changes in the republic or federal constitution), creating a collision of competencies in the functions of the Republic (whilst they had no sovereign territory they did have sovereign rights!). Under its own constitutional law, the competencies of the Province of Kosovo were extended even further, so far as to include the right to ratify international agreements. (23) Subsequent analyses of these constitutional reforms from 1974, indicated that they were the basis of "asymmetrical federalism" and even of the "protectorate of the Province over the Republic", which is clearly a violation of the fundamental principles laid down at the Second Session of the Anti-fascist Council of the People's Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ - Antifasisticko vece narodnog oslobo|enja Jugoslavije) in 1943, i.e. of the constitutive acts of the "Second Yugoslavia". Thus, during the eighties, Kosovo became a key problem in the political life of Serbia and of Yugoslavia, provoking major changes not only in Serbia (Slobodan Milosevic's advent to the position of President of the Republic), but in relations within the Federation were positions became sharply polarized. Whilst Serbia and the other eastern republics viewed Kosovo primarily as a political and ethnic problem incited by the actions of the Albanian irredenta, in the opinion of the western republics, Kosovo was an economic and social problem which had assumed the character of an ethnic controversy only after Serbia's policy towards it had changed. One and the other, however, saw the problem of Kosovo in the eighties as a clear example of the failure of the Yugoslav communist policy.

On the one hand, development of generous autonomy in the sixties and seventies did not satisfied the Albanian population of the province, nor did it ensure its loyalty towards the Yugoslav Federation. On the other hand, the exorbitant investments into capital intensive plants in an area abounding in labor and natural resources but lacking capital, over the sixties and seventies, produced frustrating results: whilst Slovenia's and Croatia's complained that much of their income was being poured into Kosovo as the province continued to lag behind in its economy on the Yugoslav scale, Kosovo was complaining about the unfavorable terms-of-trade that were being imposed in its dealings with these developed republics to which it was selling its raw materials and energy cheaply whilst having to pay high prices for their manufactured goods. The main reason for this lagging was concealed behind the exceptionally high population growth, higher than in any of the neighboring countries even among the Albanians in Albania. Delayed demographic transition, the unsuccessful Yugoslav development policy for Kosovo, limited employment opportunities and the relative openness of "Second Yugoslavia", which opened a window to the world for the young Albanians of Kosovo, gave vent to the emergence of a militant nationalism which exploded in the province in 1981.

A revision of the controversial constitutional provisions of 1974 ensued 14 years later, in 1988, with amendments to the Federal Constitution. Changes in the constitution of Serbia, which were endorsed by the parliaments of its two provinces (26), were effected the following year. Although the controversial competencies were thereby transferred to the Republic Parliament, a three step procedure was ensured to afford the provinces the possibility to abort the passing of any controversial bill (the possibility of giving an opinion, deferment for a period of six months, or conducting a referendum). A year later, the new Serbian constitution was passed determining the status of the provinces as "a form of territorial autonomy", whereby the provinces were given the right to bring their own statutes with the prior agreement of the National Assembly, and the southern province was again renamed Kosovo and Metohia. Serbia's constitutional order was basically reverted to the principles of the 1963 Federal Constitution, which stipulated that the rights of the provinces were to be prescribed in the constitution of the Republic. Furthermore, the controversial constitutional provisions of 1968, 1971 and 1974 were made null and void. When it was confronted with the boycott of the Albanians, the Republic authorities tried to establish general administration over the entire territory of the republic "through centralization of government, political and propagandistic pressure, as well as police repression" (27), but this only widened the gap between the Serbian and Albanian ethnic communities in Kosovo.

Serbs and Albanians: Civilizing the Conflict

These changes and the manner in which they were executed in Kosovo caused a new round of homogenization of the Albanian national movement in Kosovo at the end of the eighties when a major political turnabout occurred. The old Marxist-Leninist parties and movements disappeared from the political scene and were replaced by new Albanian parties and leaders: "Carried by the flood of events in the area of former Yugoslavia, the political leaders of the Albanian national minority chose complete self-isolation from the political and public life of the new FR Yugoslavia and a strategy of passive resistance, and for the creation of a parallel system of government and further internationalization of the 'Kosovo problem', playing on the card of being 'the victim of Serbian repression'". (28) The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and its leader, the writer Ibrahim Rugova, were given the main role in the national movement of the ethnic Albanians. The LDK was founded 23 December 1989 at Pristina, when it declared itself in its program document in favor of a democratic, federal and socialist Yugoslavia, for the government of law and political pluralism, freedom of speech, the press and political organization. The Democratic Forum of Kosovo was founded in Pristina on 1 July 1990 to muster all the newly formed ethnic Albanian parties for the purpose of establishing "the sovereignty of Kosovo as a constitutive entity of the Yugoslav community of equal standing with its other entities", in other words, the status of a seventh Yugoslav republic. A demand was made for annulment of the Serbian constitutional amendments of March 1989, as well as of all the bills brought on the basis of them.

The Albanian political parties of Kosovo and Metohia reacted to the constitutional reforms by radicalizing their demands. In September 1990, two thirds of the Albanian members of the provincial parliament organized a secret meeting at Kacanik and adopted a "Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo" which laid down the demand for the foundation of an "independent Republic of Kosovo". (29) Quite in conformity with their policy of "severance" from Serbia, the Albanians boycotted the first multi-party elections in Serbia of 1990. The aggravation of the country's political crisis at the beginning of 1991, emanating from Slovenia's and Croatia's secession, suited the radical Albanians of Kosovo: in January 1991, Albanian nationalists attacked the police stations at Pec and Kosovska Mitrovica and the following month more than 7,000 Albanians and Croats held joint demonstrations in Frankfurt calling for "the right to self-determination of the peoples of Yugoslavia". On the basis of the "Kacanik Constitution", ethnic Albanians of Kosovo held an illegal referendum in September 1991, and in May 1992 elected their own parliament with Ibrahim Rugova as president of the "Republic of Kosovo". Analyzers consider that "the leaders of the ethnic Albanian political parties had thereby made it known to the Serbian authorities that they were not interested in any kind of autonomy, not even in the constitution of a new provincial parliament, but in constituting their own government authorities leading the way to their withdrawal from Yugoslavia." (30)

"The Coordinating Committee of Albanian Political Parties in Yugoslavia" with Ibrahim Rugova as chairman, passed a political declaration in October 1991 putting forth three options for the solution of "the Albanian question in Yugoslavia":

* If the external and internal borders of the SFRY remain unaltered, the status of a sovereign and independent state with the right of association in a new community of sovereign Yugoslav states, is demanded. Ethnic Albanians within Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro should enjoy the status of a nation and not be a national minority within it;

* Should only the internal borders of the SFRY be changed and not the external ones, the founding of an Albanian Republic is called for, incorporating, apart from Kosovo, those territories in central Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia which are inhabited by Albanians;

* In the event that the external borders are changed, the Albanians would by referendum and the proclamation of a general declaration, declare territorial unification with Albania and the creation of "an undivided Albanian state in the Balkans within Albanian ethnic boundaries" (31), namely, within the boundaries that had been proclaimed by the First Prizren League in 1878 (Fig. 2).

Although there had been certain Serbian-Albanian contacts (32) in previous years, their results were meager and the ethnic Albanian political party rank and file considered these contacts with Serbian and Yugoslav officials to be acts of national betrayal. (33) While counting on a weakening of Serbia and the FR Yugoslavia as a result of the civil war in the former Yugoslavia and the possibility of its opening the way for their secession, many Albanians joined the ranks of the Croatian and Moslem army. (34) Their exclusiveness and unwillingness to abstain from their radical objectives brought into being a dual system of government, finances, education, health care and the like. Thus an unexpected modus vivendi was temporarily found by the two ethnic groups, as the Serbian authorities have by and large been tolerating the "parallel authorities" of the Albanians (except the formation of para-military forces). (35) On the other hand, the Albanians under the leadership of the LDK have been withholding from violence having pursuing the of internationalization of their demands and isolating themselves within the "virtual reality" of their para-state. Disregarding the interests of the non-Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohia, the ethnic Albanians seek a dialogue with Belgrade from a power position, accusing the Serbian side for "occupation" and "apartheid". They are refusing direct negotiations with the Serbian or Yugoslav authorities, insisting to be recognized as the representatives of the "sovereign Republic of Kosovo", while the legal Serbian authorities reject this in particular, pointing out that Kosovo and Metohia is the internal affair of Serbia and FR Yugoslavia. The situation has affected relations between Belgrade and Tirana, which Albanian policy considers completely dependent on the Kosovo issue.

It is rather paradoxical that the Albanian boycott of the multi-party elections in Serbia in 1990, 1992 and 1993 had actually strengthened the power of the leading Serbian parties. In the 1992 elections, the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) won 13 mandates in the electoral district of Pristina with 42,396 votes; the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) got 5 mandates with 18,735 votes, and so forth. The situation was repeated in the December elections the following year when the leading SPS in Kosovo and Metohia won a total of 21 mandates (the SRS got 2 and the coalition of the opposition parties DEPOS got 1 seat). Although some prominent Albanian intellectuals of Kosovo and Metohia (Shkelzen Maliqi), called upon the Albanians to individually take part in the elections in Serbia, only two Albanian parties outside Kosovo (the Party of Democratic Activity and the Democratic Party of Albanians) came out and got 2 mandates in the Serbian Assembly. Had the Albanians of Kosovo and Metohia performed their electoral rights in the Republic and Federal elections, they could have counted on taking power in 24 of the 29 municipalities of the province, and have at least 24 seats in the Republic and 12 seats in the Federal parliament. As the dominant Serbian parties would then have lost equivalent number of seats, the participation of the ethnic Albanians in the ballot would have considerably changed the existing political balance in the country.

The ensuing settlement of the Yugoslav drama has been creating visible nervousness among the Albanian political parties in Kosovo and Metohia and polarization as to how the struggle for secession from Serbia and FR Yugoslavia is to be further conducted. In simpler terms, the leaders of the radical wing, Rexhep Qoxia, a writer (president of the Forum of Independent Intellectuals), and Adem Demaqi (president of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights), are against the policy of the LDK and Ibrahim Rugova and are pleading for maximalist objectives (the "third option" mentioned earlier). Rugova, himself, is in favor of an "independent and neutral Kosovo", whereas Buyar Bukoshi, the "prime minister of the Republic of Kosovo in exile", under the influence of circles in the West, is inclined to the idea of a return to the autonomy of 1974. The ethnic Albanians of Kosovo and Metohia had followed the course of the war in Croatia and in Bosnia Herzegovina with mixed feelings: they saw in the establishment of a Serbian state in the Krayina (Croatia), a precedent which could be applied in the case of Kosovo and Metohia (the "K+K" program), but Croatia's assault in the summer of 1995 and the exodus of around 200,000 Serbs in an "ethnic cleansing" that had followed, incited fear among the Albanians that Serbia might attempt to take similar action in Kosovo and Metohia. Naturally, nothing of the kind happened and the Albanian parties are seeking new options in solutions which various international mediators have proposed for Bosnia.

Preoccupied with the drama of the civil war in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbian political parties have not shown much understanding nor readiness to deal with Serbian-Albanian relations in Kosovo and Metohia. Both the government and opposition share the opinion that problem of Serbian-Albanian relations in Kosovo and Metohia are the internal affair of Serbia and FR Yugoslavia, and that things will return to normal once the ethnic Albanians turn their backs on their militant leaders and join in the political life of the country as loyal citizens. The leading SPS has been trying to rally a certain number of ethnic Albanians of Kosovo into its lines (36), whereas the Associated Yugoslav Left (JUL - Jugoslovenska udruzena levica) is expounding its anti-nationalist policy opening itself with more or less success towards all the national minorities in the country. The center and right parties have, in the main, still not declared themselves on the problem nor what model of coexistence between the Albanians and Serbs in the southern Serbian province they are in favor of, probably because they find that the subject would not ensure them any popularity nor the votes of the Serbian voters. The years of conflict and distrust have simply created a deep gap between the political elite of the two nations which is presently the greatest obstacle on the way to resolving this problem.

Despite this, there is little likelihood that Serbian-Albanian relations could now escalate into open conflict; the tragedy of the civil war in Croatia and in Bosnia Herzegovina is sufficient warning that any conflict in Kosovo and Metohia would be fateful to the interests of both nations and would end without any real victor. Thus the end of the war in the region of the former Yugoslavia inevitably places this problem on the agenda since its solution will directly affect not only the internal stability of FR Yugoslavia, but also the stability of the entire Balkans. Hence, it needs to be emphasized that FR Yugoslavia is the largest multi-national and multi-confessional community in the Balkans - with diverse national, cultural, religious and linguistic features: "It is a state with uncompleted administrative organization, a state that is in the process of political constitution, and the features of which are remnants of the normative and institutional order of the former Yugoslavia". (37) According to the 1991 census, there are 10,394,026 inhabitants living on its territory, the majority of whom are Serbs (62.2% or 6,504,048 persons), whereas Montenegrins make up 5 percent (519,757) of the population of FR Yugoslavia. The "Others" comprise thirty odd ethnic groups among whom the Albanians form the largest with 16.5 percent (1,714,768 (38)), Hungarians follow with 3.3 percent (344,147), Moslems with 3.2 percent (336,025), Romanies (Gypsies) - 1.4 percent (143,519), Croats - 1.1 percent (111,650), and so on. The majority of Albanians in the FR Yugoslavia lives in the region of the Kosovo and Metohia province where they are an absolute majority in 25 of the 31 municipalities, whilst the Serbs are the absolute majority in 5 municipalities, that is in 16.1 percent of the territory of this province.

According to their respective constitutions, FR Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro are defined as being the states of their citizens, not as national states. Accordingly, members of both majority and minority nations all enjoy equal human rights and freedoms (39), and the provocation of national, racist, religious and other inequalities, and equally so the provocation of national, racial or other hatreds and intolerance are regarded as constitutional offenses and are punishable. (40) Under the Federal Constitution, members of the national minorities are guaranteed freedom of expression of their national identity and culture, the use of their native language and alphabet, the right to education in their mother tongue, the right to public information in their own language, the right to educational and cultural organizations and associations financed on a voluntary basis which the government may support, the right to establish and maintain mutual relations with their compatriots within the FRY and abroad without interference (however, not to the detriment of FRY and its republics), and also the right to participate in international non-governmental organizations on condition that this is not to the detriment of the interests of FRY and its republics. In short, the constitutional order of FR Yugoslavia and her republics does not represent an obstacle for the ethnic Albanians to partake in the political life of the country, the problems arise in practice which is still very different from the legal norms.

Under the circumstances, it would not be realistic to expect any lasting solution to the disturbed Serbian-Albanian relations in the near future. What might be expected is the commencement of a dialogue that would create conditions for the return of ethnic Albanians to the political institutions of Serbia and FR Yugoslavia and for the institutional solution of the open issues. The main obstacle to the commencement of such a dialogue, despite certain encouraging signs, is the overwhelming radicalism of the ethnic Albanians whose political parties are still not ready to give up the idea of an "independent state of Kosovo" and a "Greater Albania" which would have the same consequences for the security of the Balkans and of Europe as would the creation of a "Greater Croatia", a "Greater Serbia" or a "Greater Bulgaria". On the other hand, Belgrade's hesitation at present to offer a political dialogue may be comprehended as delaying in the hope that extremists on both sides will weaken and create conditions for negotiations over the autonomy of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and Metohia which will be able to reach a sustainable compromise between the legitimate demands of the Serbs and the Albanians. It is hard not to discern that the only real basis for the commencement of such a dialogue and for defining the autonomy of the ethnic Albanians in Serbia and FR Yugoslavia, both in the territorial as well as in a normative sense, is the so-called "minority standards of the OSCE (CSCE)" formulated in Paris in 1989, in Copenhagen (l990) and in Moscow (1991), as well as the European models of autonomy for ethnic communities which have had their confirmation in practice (Southern Tyrol and the like). However the framework for such a solution could only be presented with the expansion of European integrations into the Balkans, for it is only in this case that the solution of the Serbian-Albanian controversy in Kosovo and Metohia would not mean a zero sum game, but a way for the two nations to satisfy their legitimate interests. Unfortunately, considering the discouraging results of past mediations in the Yugoslav crisis, it is difficult to expect that European integrations will be prepared to make sustained efforts in this direction in the near future.


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Footnotes:


1) Institute of International Politics and Economics, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

2) The area of the present-day Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohia consists of two separate geographic entities. The first is Kosovo, a valley between Pristina and Drenica, 84 km long and about 14 km wide, densely populated, with significant agricultural and mineral resources and a network of important transport connections in this section of the Balkans. The other constitutes the territory known as Metohia (in medieval times metoh was the term for the holdings of the monasteries), which the Albanians include in a broader area called Dukagyin. It is about 80 km in length and over 40 km in width, and, compared with Kosovo, is primarily agricultural. The area of the Autonomous Province is 10,887 sq. km, which is 12.3 percent of the area of Serbia and 10.6 percent of the total area of FR Yugoslavia. Its population is 1.954.747 or 20.5 percent of the total population of Serbia, that is 19 percent of that of FR Yugoslavia. See: Branislav Krstic, Kosovo Between Historical and Ethnic Rights, Kuca Vid, Belgrade 1994, pp. 11-20.

3) On this point, see: Milos Macura, The Development, Social and Demographic Problems of Kosovo, in: Kosovo Today and Tomorrow, Jugoslovenski pogledi, No. 2/88, pp. 389-390.

4) B. Krstic, op. cit., p. 90.

5) Apart from Kosovo and Metohia, the eastern parts of Montenegro, parts of central Serbia, half of the FYR Macedonia and southern Epirus in Greece (Chameria in Albanian), would form part of it according to the maximalist Albanian national program.

6) The first Yugoslavia (1918-1941) was a constitutional monarchy under the rule of the Serbian dynasty Karadjordjevic; the second Yugoslavia (1945-1991) was a communist type federation consisting of six republics (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia).

7) Dimitrije Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu (Book About Kosovo), Serbian Academy of Sciences and the Arts, Belgrade 1985, pp. 23-35.

8) D. Bogdanovic, Kosovo in the Culture of Mediaeval Serbia, in: Knjiga o Kosovu, op. cit., pp. 40-47.

9) For instance, the Albanian family of K?prul? gave a whole dynasty of grand viziers at the height of the Ottoman Empire. See: Georges Castellan, Histoire des Balkans, XIV-XX SiScle, Fayard, Paris 1991.

10) See: D. Bogdanovic, The Dispersion of Albanians Throughout the Yugoslav Countries in the 17th and 18th Century, in: Knjiga o Kosovu, op. cit., pp. 85-125.

11) Krayina means frontier in the Serbian language. On this point, see: Predrag Simic, Le conflit Serbo-Croate et l'eclatement de la Yougoslavie, Politique ‚trangSre, No. 1/94, pp. 129-144.

12) J. Jovanovic, Southern Serbia from the End of the 18th Century up to Liberation, Belgrade 1941, pp. 39-41.

13) At the Versailles Peace Conference at the end of World War I Italy asked for protectorate over Albania. The representatives of the newly founded Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes particularly defied these Italian aspirations, being in favor of having an independent Albanian state in its neighborhood.

14) Article 35 of this Treaty reads: "Differences of religion and religious denomination cannot be held as an obstacle for anyone to be excluded or to be prevented from enjoying his citizen's or political rights, from not being accepted in public service and positions, and not to be accorded honors or not to be able to perform various trades or professions in whatever location this may be in Serbia. Freedom to conduct public church ceremonies in all religious faiths will be guaranteed to all citizens of Serbia and to foreigners and no obstacle shall be made in their relations with their spiritual fathers." Quoted after: D. Bogdanovic, op. cit., p. 184. Citizen equality regardless of religion was provided for in all the fundamental laws that Serbia promulgated in the period from 1888 to 1919.

15) Nevertheless, members of the Jemiet and other Albanian political organizations nurtured their irredentist objectives and in 1941 were recruited to work in offices of the puppet state of "Greater Albania" which was created under Italian protectorate.

16) The activity of Albanian terrorists in Kosovo and Metohia had the support of the Albanian and Italian authorities. The Italian minister of foreign affairs, Count Cianno, had written at that time: "We must lull the Yugoslavs. But later, our politics must energetically deal with Kosovo. This will keep the irredentist problem alive in the Balkans, engage the attention of the Albanians and be a knife aimed at the back of Yugoslavia." Quoted after: D. Bogdanovic, op.cit., p. 191.

17) The positions of Serbian Social Democrats on relations between the two nations may be found in the book of their leader Dimitrije Tucovic, Serbia and Albania - A Contribution to Critics of the Aggressive Policy of the Serbian Bourgeoisie, published in 1914, in which he criticizes the policy of the Serbian government towards the Albanians during the Balkan wars. Contemporary Serbian historians are of the opinion that Tucovic's views about Serbian-Albanian relations were under the influence of Austrian social democrats.

18) See: Rexhep Ismaili, Albanians and South-Eastern Europe (Aspects of Identity), in: D. Janjic and S. Maliqi (eds.), Conflict or Dialogue - Serbian-Albanian Relations and Integration of the Balkans, Open University, Subotica 1994.

19) See: Milan Komatina, Enver Hodja i jugoslovensko-albanski odnosi (Enver Hoxha and Yugoslav-Albanian Relations), Sluzbeni list SRJ, Beograd 1995.

20) Vladimir Dedijer, Yugoslav-Albanian Relations, pp. 126-127.

21) On this point , see: M. Komatina, ibid.

22) D. Bogdanovic, op. cit., p. 239.

23) After the promulgation of the 1974 Constitution, a "positive discrimination" of the Albanians in Kosovo took place: bilingualism became a condition for employment in public services; 80 percent of the available posts were reserved for Albanians on a parity basis; national quotas were strictly applied when nominations were made for public functions; the University of Pristina became the largest Albanian higher school; the Academy of Science and the Arts of Kosovo was actually an Albanian academy; in the mid-eighties an Albanian (Sinan Hasani) became president of the Presidency of the SFRY, and so on. Total Albanization of public life, that is the establishment of ethnic Albanian domination in the province, resulted in discrimination of the non-Albanian population in everyday life and their "ethnic cleansing" out of Kosovo and Metohia.

24) Source: B. Krstic, op. cit., p. 193.

25) Source: B. Krstic, op. cit., p. 243.

26) Voyvodina's Assembly in February, and the Assembly of Kosovo in March 1989; out of a total of 180 members of parliament in Kosovo, only 10 had voted against and 2 abstained.

27) Dusan Janjic, Socialism, Federalism and Nationalism, Sociology, Vol. XXXIV, No. 3/1992, p. 319.

28) Zoran M. Lutovac, Minorities, the CSCE and the Yugoslav Crisis, IDN & IMPP, Belgrade 1995, p. 113.

29) It deserves to be noted that already by 22 October Albania had recognized the "independence of Kosovo" and opened a "diplomatic mission of the Republic of Kosovo" in Tirana in an obvious attempt at internationalizing the "Kosovo issue". Endeavors of the Albanians of Kosovo to get the support of the European Community and the United Nations for a "Republic of Kosovo" (a request was even made for the deployment of the "Blue Helmets"), did not bring any results, however. See Dusan Janjic, National Identity, Movement and Nationalism of Serbs and Albanians, in: D. Janjic and S. Maliqi (eds.), Conflict or Dialogue..., op.cit., p. 161.

30) Ibid, p. 115.

31) Kosovo as a State, special edition of the magazine Republika, No. 3.

32) The convention of Serbian and Albanian intellectuals in Budapest and the visit of a delegation of the Democratic Alliance in Belgrade 1993; meeting held at the Swiss Embassy in the summer of 1994; contacts between the SPS and the Socialist Party of Albania in 1995, etc.

33) On their return from a visit to the Institute of International Politics and Economics of Belgrade in October 1993, which had a strictly academic character, three representatives of the Democratic Alliance of Tirana were accused in Albania and among the Albanians of Kosovo for national treason and collaboration with Belgrade!

34) "Albanians joined the Croatian army voluntarily and with their weapons ... It is a known fact that there were many esteemed Albanian officers of high rank who joined the Croatian army and not just ordinary soldiers; they contributed to Croatia's victories so far against the Serbian army." Behar Zogiani, Granic's Pro-Serbian Position on Kosovo, Buyku, quoted after: TANJUG BBS, 27 February 1996.

35) Apart from the Albanian language media controlled by the official authorities of Kosovo, there are a number of independent newspapers and magazines in Albanian language expressing very critical attitudes towards the authorities of Serbia.

36) So far, only one Albanian, Hayrie Rugova from Pristina, has been elected at the last party congress (March 1996) to the leading bodies of the SPS.

37) Zoran M. Lutovac, op. cit., p. 97. On this matter see: Vladimir Goati, Dilemmas Concerning the Institutional Development of Third Yugoslavia, Arhiv za pravne i drustvene nauke, No. 2/1994, pp. 247-270; Vladan Kutlesic: State of the Constitutions of Serbia and Montenegro, Their Constitutionality, Legality and Conformity with the Yugoslav Constitution, Arhiv za pravne i drustvene nauke, No. 3/1994, pp. 382-392.

38) As the Albanians had boycotted the 1991 population census, an estimate was made on the basis of the previous 1981 census (the number of Albanians in the whole of the former Yugoslavia was then 1,340,796) and data relating to the natural demographic growth. Albanian political parties deny this figure and claim that there are more than 2,000,000 Albanians living in FR Yugoslavia. The census boycott in Yugoslavia in 1991 and in FYR Macedonia in 1994, the latter conducted under international supervision, make the data produced in Albanian sources open to founded suspicion.

39) Article 20 of the Constitution of FR Yugoslavia reads: "All citizens are equal without distinction as to national origin, race, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, education, social status, property and other individual features. All are equal before the law. Everyone is obliged to respect the freedom and rights of others and is responsible for same."

40) Article 50 of the Constitution.