Page 609 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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ca and Lab areas), were crushed and pushed into the mountains towards the albanian border (the junik area). With many crimes against civilians, committed by both sides, plus the high percentage of civilians, mostly alba- nian, displaced to neighbouring countries, interethnic re- lations sank to their lowest level since the Second World War.195 Nonetheless, it was the brotherhood of the Ser- bian monastery of Dečani that sheltered some 200 local albanian women and children trying to escape from per- secution and revenge.
according to UNHCR data on 25 May 1999, there were 957,913 ethnic albanian refugees who left Kosovo since the first armed attacks of the KLa on the Serbian police in March 1998. The large-scale exodus of albanians from Kosovo was, from the albanian standpoint, variously ex- plained: first, as ethnic cleansing organized by Serb para- military forces; second, as flight from Kosovo to avoid the NaTO bombing; third, Kosovo albanians found them- selves coerced by the KLa. indeed, the KLa made an ef- fort to legitimize the NaTO air strikes and “secure” the arrival of NaTO troops in Kosovo. During april 1999, it was also a way for a part of the defeated KLa units to be transferred to albania or Macedonia along with the refu- gees in order to avoid destruction by the Yugoslav army
195 Predominantly pro-albanian interpretation of the events in the report of the international Crisis Group, The Kosovo Spring. The international Crisis Group Guide to Kosovo (Brussels 1998); for Ser- bian attitudes, see pp. 77–82. Cf also D. T. Bataković, “Kosovska kriza:izazoviiishodi”,Književnenovine971,Belgrade,1april1998.
(Vojska Jugoslavije) and police forces of the Milošević re- gime.
The Hague Tribunal (iCTY) indictment against Milo- šević for war crimes unsealed in the middle of the NaTO bombing campaign contributed significantly to his deci- sion to accept the total withdrawal of Serbian military and police forces from Kosovo, with the proviso that the new international protectorate should not extend to other parts of Serbia which were to remain under his control. accord- ing to the military-technical agreement signed in Kuma- novo on 9 june 1999, Kosovo, after the withdrawal of all Serbian forces, was placed under the NaTO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) military protectorate. The authority of the United Nations civil administration was introduced by UN SC Resolution No 1244 of 10 june 1999. although an international protectorate, Kosovo and Metohija, by the provisions of UN SC Resolution 1244 legally remained within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.196
The centuries-long interethnic conflict between Serbs and albanians in Serbia’s troublesome province of Koso- vo and Metohija, still heavily burdened by religious, na- tional and ideological antagonisms, remained unsettled, and was only deepened after the unprecedented seventy- eight day-long NaTO bombing campaign in the spring of 1999—the alliance’s first and last attack on a sovereign nation in post-Second World War europe.
Serbian church monuments in Kosovo-Metohija, 1998
Kosovo and Metohija: History, Memory, identity
   For a legal aspect, see Robert M. Hayden, Blueprint for a House Divided The Constitutional Logic of the Yugoslav Conflict (ann ar- bor:UniversityofMichiganPress,2000),167–180.

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