Page 956 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 956

Kosovo and Metohija at the Crossroads
May 10th, 2007
Archimandrite Fr Sava Janjić, Abbot of the Dečani Monastery
Status before standards—Road to stability Eor a new tragedy?
ight years after the beginning of the UN Mission in Kosovo, the southern Serbian province finds itself be- tween different options ranging from the internation-
ally supervised autonomy offered by Belgrade to the su- pervised independence proposed by the plan of the Special envoy of UN SG Martti ahtisaari and supported by the USa and the eU. in both cases, the status quo seems to be untenable because the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMiK) is no longer in the position to resolve the crucial issues that await the Province.
The strategy of the international community expressed by the motto “standards before status” was abruptly re- placed by the new motto “standards and status” after the outbreak of the 17th March 2004 violence in which 4,000 Serbs and Roma were driven out of their homes, and an- other 35 Serb Christian Orthodox churches torched within only two days. The March violence was hardly a simple consequence of the Kosovo albanians’ impatience, but rath- er an organized campaign against the Serbs and interna- tional officials intended to speed up the process of status resolution. although the first Western reactions to the March violence acknowledged that it had been organized and planned, since mid-2004 the riots have been practi- cally exonerated as an understandable social reaction of Kosovo albanian youth frustrated because of the unre- solved status of the Province. Since then, the international efforts have been even more intensively directed toward the transfer of competencies despite the fact that only some individual perpetrators of the March 2004 violence were brought to justice and the main organizers remained un- punished. in those days Kosovo institutions demonstrated an astounding lack of accountability, with some of the lead- ers even trying to justify the violence with arbitrary accu- sations against the Serbs, falsely blamed for the death of three Kosovo albanian boys who had drowned in the ibar River.
UNSC Resolution 1244 was considered by the West dif- ficult to implement from day one because Milošević was still in power in Belgrade and any development of Kosovo institutions within the framework of the “substantial au- tonomy” envisaged by the UNSC Resolution was often dis- missed as unrealistic. after the democratic changes in Bel- grade in October 2000 there were attempts to revert to the spirit and letter of UN Resolution 1244. One of them was Čović–Haekerrup agreement on cooperation between Bel- grade and UNMiK reached in Priština in 2001, but barely any of its provisions were ever implemented. Belgrade lacked a clear idea of full reintegration of Kosovo amidst a variety of political challenges marking the first years of dem- ocratic government, while provisional Kosovo institutions had already been developed in such a way that no link with Belgrade could be easily established. Since the end of 2004, throughout 2005 and 2006, albanian-controlled Kosovo provisional institutions have been given more and more powers, and the international efforts have not been focused on developing the provisional institutions along the lines of substantial autonomy envisaged by the UNSC in 2004, but as political institutions of a future independent state. Some analysts have concluded that the March pogrom against Serbs in 2004 was a crucial point in the post-war Kosovo period because the Kosovo albanian leaders saw democratic developments in Serbia as a growing threat that would eventually force the international community to implement UN Resolution 1244 and to give up the idea of creating a new albanian-dominated state in Kosovo. at the same time the slow dynamics of democratic develop- ment, hampered by the failure to cooperate with the iCTY, and lack of readiness to dismantle security structures in- herited from Milošević’s times seriously damaged the cred- ibility of Serbian democracy vis-à-vis the future of Kosovo and Metohija.

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