Resolution 1375 (2004)1
Situation in Kosovo
1. The upsurge of ethnic violence in March 2004 in Kosovo bluntly illustrates
that, despite a multitude of efforts by the international community, Kosovo
still has a long way to go before becoming multi-ethnic and democratic.
2. Whilst the main responsibility for the present situation lies with the
continuing ethnic nationalism of the communities concerned, the international
community is partly to be blamed. Since the overturn of the Miloevic
regime in 1999, other world events have increasingly captured international
attention and insufficient interest has been paid to the developments and
to the lack of progress in Kosovo.
3. The Parliamentary Assembly strongly condemns the perpetrators of the
recent events which resulted in many deaths, injuries and severe damage to
property including important cultural monuments and which could be characterised
as ethnic cleansing of the non-Albanian population. In this respect, it is
essential that the Kosovo criminal justice system is made as efficient and
effective as possible, in line with Council of Europe standards in the field,
including ensuring that the new criminal code and code of criminal procedure
are introduced smoothly and successfully. In order to restart confidence-building
among the different communities, it is of the utmost importance and urgency
to investigate who was responsible for the ethnic violence and to bring the
perpetrators swiftly before a fair and impartial court of justice.
4. The March events present a tragic setback to the reconciliation process
that the international community, including the Council of Europe, has been
working towards over the last five years and have reversed the return process
of displaced persons, with 4 100 Serbs, Roma and other non-Albanians leaving
Kosovo since the events. Today, reconciliation between the Albanians and
the Serbs remains elusive. A Kosovo where every member of every community
is able to live in a safe and stable environment and move about freely is
still far away. Full respect for the rule of law and effective protection
of human rights, in a context of general stability and security, are essential
preconditions for the success of the returns projects and for the future
survival of the Serbian, Roma and non-Albanian communities in Kosovo. The
Assembly therefore considers that every effort should be made to bring all
public authorities in Kosovo whether local or international within
the jurisdiction of a judicial mechanism capable of providing effective remedies
for all human rights violations, if possible subject to the supervision of
the European Court of Human Rights.
5. The Assembly is aware that the Committee of Ministers is considering
the applicability of Council of Europe conventions in Kosovo and emphasises
the importance of arriving at a conclusion in the near future. In the meantime,
it urges the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (Unmik)
to apply and to promote relevant Council of Europe legal instruments.
6. Unmik, which assumed control of the province in June 1999, has made progress
over the last five years but this has been insufficient to ensure the transfer
of a part of its responsibilities to the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government
(PISG), and especially to local politicians. Much remains to be done and
without a clear plan and unconditional engagement from the international
community to swiftly make local politicians fully responsible for the political
future of all citizens, the desired progress cannot take place.
7. The Assembly welcomes the decision of the Kosovo authorities to accept
responsibility for repairing the damage caused in the March riots and to
allocate funds for this purpose. It stresses however the need for damage
assessment and restoration work to be carried out by local and international
experts selected without regard to ethnic or religious belonging.
8. The only legal basis for the Kosovo settlement remains the United Nations
Security Council Resolution 1244, adopted on 10 June 1999, one of the key
issues of which is the disarming of the extremists in Kosovo, and which provides
a framework for the transition to self-government. Regardless of the nature
of Kosovos future status, full implementation of the Standards for
Kosovo, endorsed by the Security Council on 12 December 2003, is the key
to achieving stability and drawing Kosovo closer to Europe.
9. The Assembly welcomes the launching by Unmik of the Kosovo Standards
Implementation Plan (KSIP) on 31 March 2004. The KSIP sets out the actions
and policies required to reach the standards set out in the Standards for
Kosovo. Care must be taken to prevent this becoming an artificial exercise
and to ensure that it brings about actual fulfilment of standards through
concrete actions and tangible progress. Local politicians must be fully involved
in its implementation, as it provides concrete means to allow various ethnic
communities to live in peace without the presence of Unmik and the Kosovo
Stabilization Force (Kfor).
10. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe has contributed an independent
expert report including detailed proposals, following a call by the United
Nations for this expertise, concerning reform of local self-government and
public administration in Kosovo (the Civiletti Report, SG/Inf
(2003) 40, delivered to the United Nations in November 2003). It is now for
Unmik and the PISG to follow up on these recommendations. Although the March
events have made it more difficult to reach consensus on a strategy of decentralisation,
the Assembly believes the recommendations are still valid and considers that
their implementation would make an important contribution to promoting the
participation of citizens from all ethnic backgrounds in public life and
to strengthening the PISG.
11. Kosovo is one of Europes poorest regions, with an extremely high
unemployment rate and more than half the population living in poverty. The
combination of a young and politically restless population and high unemployment
is an explosive one and provides fertile ground for violence and the development
of a black economy rife with economic crime and trafficking in
drugs and humans. This, together with the uncertainty surrounding Kosovos
future political status, serves to discourage foreign investment and thereby
stifles economic growth. The international community, prominent within the
European Union, therefore must review its priorities for the region in order
to remedy the present critical situation.
12. The Assembly calls on Unmik to:
i. make the implementation of the Standards for Kosovo a priority and
ensure the full participation of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government
in this process;
ii. ensure that the Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan provides
sufficient guarantees for minorities living in Kosovo and allows safe return
of the displaced population;
iii. implement the reform of local self-government and public administration,
drawing extensively on the recommendations made by the Council of Europe
(the Civiletti Report), which are valid regardless of the final
status of Kosovo;
iv. consider why extremist forces continue to play a major role in Kosovo
and take concrete measures to eradicate them and to restore confidence
among the different ethnic communities;
v. take full responsibility, together with Kfor, to ensure the security
of all ethnic groups, freedom of movement and protection of cultural property.
13. The Assembly calls on the Kosovo political
leaders and the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government to:
i. work in real partnership with Unmik to create conditions for a multi-ethnic
and democratic Kosovo;
ii. adopt a responsible attitude towards implementation of the Kosovo
Standards Implementation Plan;
iii. make the reform of local self-government and public administration
a priority and explain in a positive manner the importance of this task
to the population;
iv. demonstrate clearly their genuine commitment to protecting minorities,
building a multi-ethnic society where there is freedom of movement, and
punishing violent extremists;
v. establish a comprehensive and efficient returns plan and contribute
to creating conditions, including reconstruction of damaged houses, monasteries
and churches, that would allow displaced persons to return to their homes;
vi. discontinue active backing or passive support for the extremist groups
inflaming ethnic violence against Serbs and other non-Albanians;
vii. take concrete action to address the causes of the ethnically-motivated
violence and bring perpetrators to justice.
14. The Assembly calls on the Government of Serbia
and the Council of Ministers of Serbia and Montenegro to:
i. co-operate in a constructive manner with the Kosovo Standards Implementation
Plan and in the process of achieving the Standards for Kosovo;
ii. dismantle all parallel structures it supports in Kosovo, which at
present impede the construction of a multi-ethnic society and the reconstruction
of cultural property;
iii. implement in an efficient manner the Council of Europe legal instruments
that it has ratified, notably in the field of the protection of human rights,
including protection of minorities and prevention of torture;
iv. contribute to creating conditions that would allow the Serbs who fled
violence to return to Kosovo.
15. The Assembly calls on the Kosovo Serb leaders to fully rejoin the political
process and re-enter the central and municipal political institutions from
which they have withdrawn and thus contribute to achieving the Standards
debate on 29 April 2004
(14th Sitting) (see Doc.
10157, report of the Political
Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Lloyd; and Doc.
10170, opinion of the Committee
on Culture, Science and Education, rapporteur: Mr OHara).
Text adopted by the Assembly on 29 April 2004 (14th Sitting).