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  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Kosovo has implemented much of the Ahtisaari plan – the blueprint for its democracy, providing substantial rights for Serbs and other minorities – and deserves to be fully independent, but there should be no slippage, and remaining parts of the plan should be honoured. The Pristina government mostly abides by it, and many Serbs south of the Ibar River now accept its authority, obey its laws and take part in political life in a way unimaginable four years ago. These achievements are threatened, however, by the tense Kosovo-Serbia relationship, declining Serb numbers and Pristina's frustration at its inability to extend its sovereignty to the Serb-majority northern areas and to achieve full international recognition. A surge in ethnically-motivated attacks shows peace is fragile. The government should remain committed to the Ahtisaari requirement for minorities. But the plan was not meant to work in isolation and cannot be separated from the overall Kosovo-Serbia relationship. Belgrade needs to earn Pristina's trust and acquiescence for its continued involvement on Kosovo territory, especially the south.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans, Pristina
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In the ten years since Belgrade ceded Kosovo to UN and NATO control, integration of the Serbs into Kosovo's political life has been one of the greatest challenges. Since the former Serbian province's declaration of independence in February 2008, this challenge has become still more complicated. The rejection of Kosovo's independence by the vast majority of its Serb inhabitants has been encouraged by Belgrade, which has developed and, since February 2008, extended a framework of parallel structures that provide Serbs with tangible evidence of the continued presence of the Serbian state and hope that one day Kosovo's independence may be overturned. This hope is also kept alive by Belgrade's diplomatic activities, above all through the case it brought at the International Court of Justice in October 2008 seeking to have the independence declaration ruled illegal. It is encouraged by the support of Russia and by five EU member states that have not recognised Kosovo.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Kosovo, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The preferred strategy of the European Union (EU) and the U.S. to bring Kosovo to supervised independence through the United Nations Security Council has failed, following Russia's declared intention to veto. With Kosovo Albanians increasingly restive and likely soon to declare unilateral independence in the absence of a credible alternative, Europe risks a new bloody and destabilising conflict. To avoid chaos on its doorstep, the EU and its member states must now accept the primary responsibility for bringing Kosovo to supervised independence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: A new Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), former Finnish Prime Minister Harri Holkeri, has taken up his post at the helm of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). While UNMIK is in its fourth year, the current period is one of the most sensitive since the war. The province's elected Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) are gradually gaining more responsibility, and final status discussions are approaching. However, recent security incidents, including the killings of a UN police officer and two Kosovo Serb teenagers in August 2003, are a stark reminder that stability is not yet deep-rooted. Frustration is growing with the poor state of the economy and the delay of the international community in addressing status. In the midst of these challenges, the crucial relationship between UNMIK and the PISG has become dangerously strained. Holkeri will need to come quickly to terms with the legacy of confrontation and tension left by his predecessor, Michael Steiner, and instil in his team a new attitude of respect for PISG and a reflex for consultation rather than unilateral action.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The right of internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees to return to their homes in Kosovo is indisputable, and has become a top priority of the international community, and the United Nations Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: An independent, effective, and transparent justice system will be the cornerstone of a stable and democratic society in Kosovo. Ensuring that such a system is developed in a sustainable manner must be one of the top priorities of the United Nations Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Provisional Institutions of Self- Government (PISG). In this report, ICG argues that although progress has been made, serious obstacles and challenges remain.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In late February, violence flared in Albanian-inhabited villages in northern Macedonia close to the border with Kosovo. In mid March, the violence spread to Macedonia's second largest city, Tetovo. The rebels claimed to be defending themselves against Macedonian security forces, i.e. their own government, and to be fighting for Albanian national rights in Macedonia. The coalition government in Skopje promptly raised the alarm, blaming Kosovo Albanian elements for exporting rebellion to Macedonia, and calling for the NATO-led forces in Kosovo (KFOR) to seal the border. The rebels claimed they were local Albanians, numbering 2,000 and recruiting dozens of volunteers from the surrounding area every day.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: This report seeks to describe the current position of the three major religious communities in Kosovo. In part, it aims to clarify misconceptions about the involvement of religion in the Kosovo conflict. It also proposes some areas where religion might serve as a means to encourage reconciliation among the peoples of Kosovo.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Religion, Ethnic Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Ten Years after independence, Macedonia's two largest ethnic groups continue to lead very separate and distinct lives. The uneasy co-existence between ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians has only just withstood the violent breakup of Yugoslavia and the continuing instability in Kosovo. Valid concerns about Macedonia's security are too often being used to justify postponing hard decisions about internal problems. Political leaders on both sides of the ethnic divide, while negotiating privately for piecemeal improvements, publicly cater to the more extreme nationalists in their respective parties, and positions are hardening. There is a continued reluctance to squarely confront the compromises that would legally safeguard Macedonia's multi-ethnic composition: if that reluctance is not soon overcome, Macedonia and the region face renewed instability.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: During the spring of 1999, more than 450,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees flooded into Albania, many of them forcibly deported by Serb forces in Kosovo. Despite Albania's acute poverty, many Albanians opened their homes to provide shelter to the incoming refugees and the government spared no effort, organising humanitarian relief and putting the entire country at the disposal of NATO. As a result, in the eyes of its people, Albania has secured its position as the spiritual motherland of all ethnic Albanians, and as such expects to play a prominent role in future pan-Albanian aspirations.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Albania