Page 937 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 937

The Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija 1999–2007
Surviving in Ghetto-like enclaves
Dušan T Bataković
The legal position of Serbia’s troublesome autono- mous province of Kosovo and Metohija was redefined after the seventy-eight days of NaTO bombing cam-
paign (from 24 March to 10 june 1999). The bombing cam- paign, lacking UN approval, consisted of a massive air-strikes operation in order to stop the “humanitarian catastrophe” of the Kosovo albanians and their fighting units (KLa) confronted by the Yugoslav armed and police forces. The Military-Technical agreement between NaTO and Yugo- slav military representatives was signed in Kumanovo (FY- ROM) on 9 june 1999.
Under the Kumanovo agreement, Kosovo and Meto- hija—constitutionally an autonomous province within Ser- bia, a member state of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia— was to be entrusted, after the eventual withdrawal of all Yu- goslav military and police personnel, to the military protec- tion of a NaTO-led 48,000-strong Kosovo force (KFOR). The bilateral Military-Technical agreement that finally ended the bombing campaign was a prerequisite for UN Security Council Resolution 1244, adopted on the east Riv- er in New York the following day, 10 june 1999. Kosovo and Metohija (referred to only as Kosovo by the UN Resolu- tion) were placed under the administration of the United Nations.1
Calling for the disarmament of albanian paramilitary units (the Kosovo Liberation army), UNSC Resolution 1244 reaffirmed the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Yugo- slavia over Kosovo and Metohija and foresaw the return of an agreed number (less than 1,000) of Yugoslav (i.e. Serbian) security and military forces to the Province. The UN Reso- lution also envisaged the establishment of “a substantial autonomy” for Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia—since june 2006 the legal successor of both the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (april 1992-February 2003) and the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (February 2003-june 2006).2 The
1 D.T. Bataković, “Kosovo: from Separation to integration,” Serbi- an Studies Journal of the North American Society for Serbian Stud- ies, vol. 18, No 2 (Washington DC 2004), 311–320.
2 The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, renamed the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro on 4 February 2003, was eventually suc- ceeded by the Republic of Serbia on 5 june 2006, after the referen- dum on independence of Montenegro.
main purpose of UNSC Resolution 1244—at least the one officially declared as such—was not to bring about the sep- aration of Kosovo and Metohija from the rest of Serbia, but to rebuild this war-torn area into a new democratic, tolerant multicultural society that would eventually, enjoying the highest possible degree of autonomy, be reintegrated into a future democratic framework of the Republic of Serbia.
Under UN administration since june 1999, the autono- mous Province of Kosovo and Metohija and its albanian- dominated Provisional institutions of Self-Government (PiSG) were under obligation to restore the protection of fundamental human rights and to ensure freedom of move- ment for all of Kosovo inhabitants, regardless of their eth- nic origin or religious affiliation. Furthermore, according to UNSC Resolution 1244, they were obliged to provide for the fast and safe return of internally displaced persons and to create a stable legal framework as the main precondition for the restoration of multicultural, multi-ethnic society in compliance with fundamental UN and european standards regarding human rights, property rights, and so on.
However, none of these solemnly proclaimed goals have been achieved, not even partially, within the first eight years of UN administration, despite the fact that democracy was finally restored in Belgrade after the ousting of the author- itarian regime of Slobodan Milošević in October 2000, and the new authorities were eager to co-operate closely with both the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMiK) and NaTO-led KFOR. Furthermore, both the federal and Ser- bian governments were offering serious negotiations with the legitimate representatives of Kosovo albanians, to sup- port the fulfillment of the requirements of UNSC Resolu- tion 1244. Belgrade’s democratic approach to the Kosovo problem was manifested in the rapid liberation of all Koso- vo albanian civilian prisoners of war detained in Serbian prisons, while efficient cooperation with KFOR was estab- lished in managing the security in the Ground Safety Zone established between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia after june 1999.
in contrast to the open and democratic policy of Bel- grade, the whole post-june 1999 process of rebuilding Ko- sovo and Metohija as a democratic, multi-ethnic society failed, as it made little or no progress in most of the sensi-

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