21 June 1999
Crisis in Kosovo and situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Political Affairs Committee
Rapporteurs : Mr András Bársony, Hungary, Socialist Group and
Mr Peter Bloetzer, Switzerland, Group of the European People’s Party
The Assembly calls on the people of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to support democratic reforms, indispensable for stability in the region.
It urges the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to refrain from acts of vengeance and to implement the agreement with KFOR.
The Assembly will organise a Conference on the parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact.
The Committee of Ministers should ensure that the Council of Europe takes a leading role in areas of its specific competence within the framework of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.
I. Draft recommendation
1. The Assembly welcomes the agreement on a political solution to the Kosovo crisis based on the principles proposed by the G-8, and the resulting withdrawal of Yugoslav military, police and paramilitary forces from Kosovo. It further welcomes the adoption of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1244 (1999), deciding the deployment in Kosovo of international civil and security presences.
2. The Assembly pays tribute to the diplomatic efforts undertaken by the President of Finland, Mr Ahtisaari as special representative of the European Union, Mr Chernomyrdin, special envoy of Russia’s President Yeltsin, and Mr Talbott, US Deputy Secretary of State. It deeply regrets, however, that the Yugoslav authorities accepted a political solution only following the intensive use of military force by NATO.
3. The Assembly notes that, under UNSC Resolution 1244, KFOR is ensuring the security presence and that the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) is setting up, on an interim basis, a civil presence, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), led by Mr Sergio Vieira de Mello as the UNSG’s Special Representative.
4. The Assembly considers that the reconstruction of Kosovo and the establishment of democratic self-governing institutions will be an immense and difficult task, which will require an enormous and concerted effort by all states and international organisations involved. The Council of Europe has an important contribution to make together with other organisations such as the UNHCR, OSCE and European Union, and should therefore be properly represented in UNMIK.
5. The Assembly expresses its horror at the mounting evidence of mass executions and other atrocities carried out by Yugoslav forces in Kosovo. It strongly supports the efforts of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to collect evidence and bring those responsible to justice.
6. The Assembly is deeply concerned about the mass urgent departure of the Kosovo Serbian population. These people should be guaranteed adequate protection.
7. The Assembly considers that there can be no stability in the region before genuine democratic reforms take place in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However, this will not be possible as long as Mr Milosevic and other indicted war criminals remain in power. The Assembly therefore calls on the people of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia openly to support such reforms. Besides providing humanitarian assistance, the international community should also support democratic forces and the free media.
8. The Assembly, in this context, welcomes and supports the courageous position taken by the government of Montenegro during the conflict. If its policy is to be a catalyst for change within the whole Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the government of Montenegro should be able to count on the full support, and material assistance, of the international community.
9. The Assembly welcomes the adoption, at the initiative of the European Union, of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, in Cologne on 10 June 1999, with the Council of Europe as a full participant. The organisation, including the Parliamentary Assembly, should now play a major role in its implementation, notably as regards democratisation and human rights.
10. The Assembly notes with satisfaction the adoption by the Committee of Ministers of a stability programme for South East Europe, which contains both urgent action to assist returning refugees and displaced persons, and other civilian victims of the Kosovo conflict in the region, as well as longer term measures for the establishment of democratic institutions.
11. The Assembly considers that the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities has an important role to play in the establishment of local self-government in Kosovo, and welcomes the proposals made by the Congress in this respect.
12. The Assembly urges the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) fully to implement the Agreement with KFOR signed on 21 June 1999 requiring the KLA to disarm within 90 days. The Assembly condemns all attacks against the Serb civilian population as well as the threats made against the Russian component of the security presence. The KLA should refrain from acts of vengeance and work together with all political forces of the Kosovo Albanian population in the establishment of democratic institutions. Representatives of the Serbian population of Kosovo should be enabled and encouraged fully to participate in this process.
13. The Assembly calls on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to investigate the crimes allegedly committed by members of the KLA and to act accordingly.
14. Therefore, the Assembly
a. Resolves to organise a conference on the Parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact, to be held in the region in the coming months.
b. Recommends that the Committee of Ministers :
i. concerning the implementation of the UNSC Resolution 1244, ensure:
a. the proper representation of the Council of Europe in UNMIK at the level of Deputy Special Representative and an active role in the fields concerning human rights, local self-government, legal affairs, democratisation, civil affairs, in particular culture and education, human resources and governance ;
b. a leading role for the Council of Europe as regards:
i. the monitoring of the human rights situation ;
ii. the establishment of the Office of Ombudsman;
iii. the development of political parties;
iv. the training of judges;
ii. adapt its own stability programme to the new situation in Kosovo, to include the opening of a Council of Europe Office in Pristina;
ii. ensure a major contribution by the Council of Europe in the implementation of the Stability Pact, notably as regards Working Table I (Democratisation and Human Rights).
II. Explanatory memorandum by MM. Bársony and Bloetzer
The Rapporteurs consider that the situation in Kosovo is sufficiently known to members of the Assembly so as to make a detailed explanatory memorandum superfluous.
As an aide-memoire for the debate, a chronology of events is herewith presented together with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) (Appendix I)
The Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe (10 June 1999) is available in Doc 8449 Addendum.
Chronology of events from 23 March to 18 June 1999
23. The Secretary General of NATO, Javier Solana, gave the order for air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
24. First NATO air strikes.
25. Belgrade broke off diplomatic relations with Washington, London, Bonn and Paris.
26. OSCE withdrew almost all of the 1400 members of its Verification Mission from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
27. NATO referred to "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo.
28. Thousands of Kosovo Albanians began to leave Kosovo.
31. Three American soldiers were taken prisoner by Serb forces in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. They were released on 1 May.
1. President Milosevic received Ibrahim Rugova, the moderate leader of the Kosovo Albanians, whom he was holding hostage. The pictures of the meeting were broadcast around the world.
3. NATO bombed central Belgrade for the first time.
7. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia allowed the presence of a NATO military force on its territory.
12. A bridge at Grdelicka (south of Belgrade) which a passenger train was crossing was struck by a NATO bomb with the loss of 55 lives (according to the Serbs).
Allied air raids caused the deaths of some 500 civilians (Serb information not confirmed by NATO).
17. NATO launched its “Allied Shelter” humanitarian operation in Albania.
18. Belgrade broke off diplomatic relations with Tirana.
21-30. NATO launched air strikes against its main target, the symbols of Milosevic's power and regime: the headquarters of President Milosevic's Serbian Socialist Party (SPS) on the 21st, his official residence on the 22nd, Serbian state television headquarters on the 23rd and the Yugoslav military headquarters and the Federal Ministry of the Interior on the 31st.
23. NATO imposed a ban on deliveries of oil to Yugoslavia.
25. The Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister, Vuk Draskovic, announced that he was in favour of a UN peacekeeping force in Kosovo. He was dismissed on the 28th.
29. Unsuccessful visit to Belgrade by the Russian envoy, Viktor Chernomyrdin.
The Finnish President and Special Representative of the European Union, Martti Ahtisaari, together with the Russian envoy, Viktor Chernomyrdin, and the American Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, criss-crossed Europe in an effort to find a political solution to the conflict.
1. NATO bombed a bus on a bridge in Luzane, close to Pristina. The following day, the allies used graphite bombs to put Yugoslav electricity plants out of service.
6. G8 adopted seven principles to settle the conflict, including "deployment in Kosovo of effective international civil and security presences" under the auspices of the UN.
President Milosevic's home town, Pozaverac, was bombed.
8. NATO bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade by mistake.
9-11. In Beijing, Viktor Chernomyrdin failed to persuade China not to oppose the adoption by the
Security Council of a resolution setting forth a peace plan for the Kosovo crisis.
10. Belgrade announced that it had begun withdrawing its forces from Kosovo. NATO said there was no proof of this.
13. The HCR estimated at 915 000 the number of Kosovo Albanians who had left the province since the beginning of the conflict.
14. NATO bombed the village of Korisa in the south of Kosovo causing 87 deaths. The Alliance, which claimed that it had struck at a "legitimate military target", surmised that Belgrade was using "human shields".
18. Demonstrations took place against the war in Serbia and the number of deserters rose.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belgrade described the G8 declaration as "an element of a peace plan and we are open to that, in spite of some reservations".
The President of Serbia, Milan Milutinovic, confirmed this statement in a telephone conversation with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lamberto Dini.
19. Belgrade said it was prepared to discuss a solution for Kosovo "on the basis" of the principles laid down by G8.
Viktor Chernomyrdin and Slobodan Milosevic said they were in favour of settling the conflict within a UN framework with Belgrade's participation in implementing the G8 principles. They demanded that NATO first stop its bombing.
23. The President of the United States, Bill Clinton, said that he did not rule out any of the military options.
24. NATO countries decided to increase the number of men in the future peacekeeping force in Kosovo (KFOR) from 28 000 to 45 000. Once Belgrade had approved a peace agreement, this force would protect refugees returning to their homes.
27. Slobodan Milosevic and four other Yugoslav leaders, including Milan Milutinovic, were charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal (ICT)for former Yugoslavia.
29. President Milosevic said he accepted "the general principles" laid down by G8.
1. NATO claimed that in the space of ten weeks it had destroyed two-thirds of the Serb forces’ heavy weapons in Kosovo. The Serbs, they said, had over 10 000 dead or wounded.
3. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia accepted the peace plan for Kosovo drawn up by Russia and NATO. President Milosevic was given one week to pull his troops out of the province.
7. Discussions between NATO leaders and Yugoslavia on the plan for the withdrawal of Serb forces from Kosovo broke down. NATO announced resumption of intensive air strikes.
In Bonn the Russian demands forced G8 to defer the adoption of a UN draft resolution on Kosovo to the following day. The negotiations stalled on the question of who would command an international peacekeeping force and the timetable for the peace plan.
8. The G8 foreign ministers, meeting in Cologne, agreed a draft resolution on Kosovo to be submitted to the UN. They also agreed a timetable ("sequencing") for restoring peace in the region.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (HCR) estimated at over 985 000 the total number of refugees that had left Kosovo since the beginning of the conflict in March 1998.
9. In a press release giving details of its night air sorties, NATO said that it had bombed the Serb forces in Kosovo and military installations in the rest of Serbia used to support these forces. NATO had scaled down its air campaign but had nevertheless continued strikes against the Serb troops during the night of 8 to 9 June while Serb and Western generals were in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia discussing the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from Kosovo.
10. The United Nations Security Council approved a peace plan for Kosovo and authorised an international security force, composed mainly of NATO troops, to ensure that almost one million Kosovo Albanian refugees returned safely to their homes. It gave the go-ahead to set up a UN administrative body to pave the way for autonomy.
Resolution 1244 was adopted by the United Nations Security Council by 14 votes in favour and one abstention (China).
The resolution demands an immediate end to the repression of Kosovo Albanians, the step-by-step withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from the Serb province and the deployment of a peacekeeping force led by NATO.
After verifying that Yugoslavia had actually started withdrawing its forces, NATO announced that it was stopping the air strikes against Yugoslavia, which had begun on 24 March.
The resolution calls on all parties to co-operate fully with the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
Meeting in Cologne under the leadership of the President of the Council of the European Union, Joschka Fischer, foreign ministers of some thirty countries, and international organisations, including the Council of Europe, adopted the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, proposed by the European Union to help restore peace and development in the Balkans.
The pact establishes a framework for consolidating peace, prosperity and democracy in the region. The framework includes holding free and fair elections, the rule of law, respect for human rights and establishing market economies.
11. President Boris Yeltsin claimed a diplomatic victory for Russia because of its contribution to the ending of the war in Yugoslavia. Moscow reiterated that it rather than NATO should be given responsibility for maintaining order in certain parts of Kosovo.
A convoy of Russian troops from Bosnia entered northern Serbia at Pavlovica Cuprija border crossing.
The negotiations between Moscow and NATO faltered over the question of whether Russia should be granted control over a sector in Kosovo.
It was announced that investigators from the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia would travel to Kosovo the following week to gather evidence on the atrocities committed.
The Deputy Prosecutor of the ICT, Graham Blewitt, said that 70 investigators from the ICT and 350 forensic experts from various countries would visit Kosovo the following week to gather evidence on the atrocities committed. A dozen teams of investigators would be deployed throughout the province.
12. A convoy of Russian troops entered Pristina and stopped at the entrance to the capital’s airport, which was supposed to serve as bridgehead for the KFOR advance force and as headquarters for KFOR’s British commander, General Michael Jackson.
The first NATO forces entered Kosovo via Blace at the border with the former Republic of Macedonia and entered the capital, Pristina. General Jackson arrived in Pristina.
The Serbs in the province started fleeing to the north and to Serbia itself, accompanying the withdrawal of the Yugoslav Army and fearing the arrival of KFOR and the return of the refugees. More than 2 600 Slavs from Kosovo (Serbs and Montenegrins) flooded into Montenegro.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed the current UN humanitarian co-ordinator, Sergio Vieira de Mello, as his special representative for Kosovo on an interim basis.
13. Members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) opened fire on workers at Belacevac colliery, ten kilometres from Pristina, and kidnapped four Serbs.
In accordance with the Kumanovo (former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) accords between NATO and Belgrade, several hundred Serb military personnel left Pristina.
KFOR had control over three-quarters of Pristina.
The first United Nations humanitarian convoy entered Kosovo.
Russia obtained agreement in principle to an area of responsibility in Kosovo, but the question of “unified command” for KFOR remained open.
14. The Pentagon estimated that almost one third of the 50,000 Serb soldiers, police and other paramilitary personnel had already left Kosovo.
Following their arrival in Kosovo, KFOR troops discovered numerous communal and mass graves.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced that the European Union would be responsible for the reconstruction of Kosovo in the framework of the UN peace plan for the province.
UN representatives visited a mountainous region near Pristina where 20,000 displaced ethnic Albanians had been found.
15. New violence erupted between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, a few hours ahead of the deadline fixed for the end of the first phase of the Serb withdrawal from the province.
16. Six Yugoslav soldiers and two Kosovars were injured in two separate incidents at the border between Kosovo and Montenegro.
The Pentagon announced the arrest in Kosovo of two men who might be accused of war crimes, as well as the opening of an inquiry.
The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and NATO agreed on the outline of a plan for disarming the KLA fighters.
The Kosovar fighters refused to lay down their arms in northern Kosovo until the Russian troops were placed under the command of KFOR.
The US Defence Secretary, William Cohen, and his Russian counterpart, Marshall Igor Sergeyev, began a series of discussions in Helsinki designed to settle the dispute on Russia’s role in the international peace force in Kosovo.
17. After two days of intensive discussions in Helsinki between the Russians and the Americans, deadlock on the allocation of a separate sector in Kosovo to Russia prevented the conclusion of an overall agreement on the arrangements for Russian participation in KFOR.
18. The Russian and American Defence Ministers, Marshall Igor Sergeyev and William Cohen, resumed their marathon talks in Helsinki on Moscow’s role in the peace force in Kosovo (KFOR).
British and French NATO troops discovered a “torture centre” in a Serb police “headquarters”.
After three days of negotiations in Helsinki, Russians and Americans finally concluded an agreement on the participation of Russian forces within the peace plan in Kosovo.
The agreement enters into the framework of Resolution 1244 of UN Council of Security and military technical agreement between KFOR and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
On the one hand, it guarantees the unity of command within KFOR, and on the other hand it gives Russia “an entire political and military control” of the Russian forces (up to 3,600 troops) serving in the US, German and French sectors of Kosovo, and at Pristina airfield in the British sector.
The airport will be open to NATO, Russia and other international flights under KFOR air control.
A single system for controlling airspace over KFOR mission will be created and a single system for controlling ground movements will be formed.
Reporting committee : Political Affairs Committee
References to committee : Doc 7553, 7734, 7986, Res. 1146 (98), Rec. 1400, References 2082, 2154, 2158, 2251, 2303, 2355, 2370 and Reference 2402 of 21/06/99 (requests for urgent procedure)
Budgetary implications for the Assembly : to be assessed
Draft recommendation unanimously adopted by the committee on 21 June 1999.
Members of the committee : Mr Ruffy (Chairman), Mrs Ojuland (Vice-Chairperson), Mr Toshev (Vice-Chairman), MM Arzilli (alternate: Andreoli), Atkinson, Bársony, Behrendt, Bergqvist, Björck, Blaauw, Bloetzer, Bühler, Daly, Davis, Demetriou, Dokle, Domljan (alternate: Obuljen), Dreyfus-Schmidt, Fico (alternate: Weiss), Gjellerod, Gligoroski, Glotov, Gül, Mrs Iotti (alternate: Mr Evangelisti), Mr Iwinski, Mrs Kautto, MM Kirilov, Krzaklewski, Kuzmickas, Mrs Lentz-Cornette, MM Lopez Henares, Lupu, van der Maelen, Maginas, Martinez, Medeiros Ferreira, Meier, Micheloyiannis, Mota Amaral, Mutman, Nallet (alternate: Mr Baumel, Vice-Chairman), Nedelciuc, Mrs Nemcova, MM Neuwirth, Oliynyk, Pahor, Palmitjavila Ribo, Prusak, Mrs Ragnarsdottir, MM Schieder, Schloten, Schwimmer, Selva, Sinka, Mrs Smith (alternate: Mrs Fyfe), Mrs Stanoiu, Mrs Stepová, MM Surjan, Thoresen, Timmermans, Urbain, Vella, Volcic, Zhebrovsky.
N.B. The names of the members who took in the meeting are printed in italics.
Secretaries of the committee : Mr Kleijssen, Mr Sich, Mrs Ruotanen, Ms Hugel