Chapter 5: Kosovo

On This Chapter


History’s stepchild


The final lap to independence

Contested statehood and war

International trusteeship

The Ahtisaari plan


Contested statehood, again

Alternative futures



Kosovo has experienced several rounds of contested statehood. The first began in 1991 when the territory seceded from Yugoslavia (effectively Serbia) and declared unilateral independence. Not a single state recognized its purported statehood. In 1999, after NATO’s war against Yugoslavia, Kosovo became a ward of the international community. This heralded a new period of international contestation over Kosovo’s political fate as its final status was being negotiated by interested parties. Then came Kosovo’s second unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008. Although over 40 states including major Western powers had formally recognized its statehood within three months, Kosovo’s right of independence has remained contentious – albeit far less so than in the 1990s. Its current spell of self-proclaimed independence admittedly fails to meet our requirement of at least three years’ duration, but when Kosovo’s earlier experience of life in international limbo is added its inclusion in this inquiry seems justified.

History’s stepchild

Serbs and Albanians have for ages been locked in conflict over title to Kosovo. The origins of the dispute can be traced back to the second half of the 12th century, when the Kingdom of Serbia was founded in southeastern Europe. Kosovo was soon annexed to the expanding Serbian Kingdom, which reached its territorial zenith around 1350. Thereafter Serbia crumbled as the Ottoman Empire expanded northwards. A watershed event in its break-up was the famous battle of Kosovo Polje (‘the Field of the Blackbirds’) in 1389 between Serb and Ottoman forces. The Turks prevailed, breaking Serbia’s military power. Kosovo, the ‘cradle of Serbia’ and seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church since the late 13th century, was moreover wrested from the Serbs. To rub local salt into the externally inflicted wounds, Kosovo’s Albanian population made common cause with their Ottoman co-religionists against the Serbs. Serbia thereafter acknowledged Ottoman suzerainty, until its annexation to the Ottoman Empire in 1459. Serbia’s nationalist myth-makers have long seized on the historic 14th century battle to provoke ethnic and religious hatred of the Kosovar Albanians.1

The decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century led to the restoration of Serb independence in 1878. The date also marked the launch of an Albanian nationalist movement in Kosovo. While all Albanian territories, including Kosovo, remained part of the Ottoman Empire, the growing Albanian national consciousness found expression in calls for the unification of all Albanian lands in a single Albanian state. This ideal was thwarted by a 1912 agreement between Serbia and Bulgaria that assigned Kosovo to Serbia. The same year the independent state of Albania was proclaimed and granted international recognition in terms of the Treaty of London concluded in 1913. At the end of that year the great powers, under the Protocol of Florence, endorsed Serbia’s acquisition of Kosovo. This meant that at least half of the total Albanian population found themselves outside their newly established national homeland of Albania, creating a source of enduring conflict between diaspora Albanians and their local rulers. This also applied to Kosovo, where the Albanian community became deeply resentful of their mistreatment at the hands of the Serbs. To be sure, these feelings were matched by Serb animosity towards the Albanians of Kosovo.2 With such entrenched ancient hatreds, Kosovo was doomed to protracted inter-communal violence.

The first round of that struggle took place during World War I when Serbia suffered heavily under the aggression of Germany and Austria-Hungary. In this unsettled atmosphere Kosovo witnessed violent clashes between Serbs and Albanians, the latter trying to exploit the vulnerability of their besieged Serb rulers. Afterwards the Entente Powers, far from being concerned about the fate of Kosovo, were keen to reward Serbia for its valiant contribution to the Allied victory. That took the form of support for the establishment in 1918 of a new Serb-dominated Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes – with Kosovo remaining part of Serbia.3 During the interwar period conditions for the Kosovar Albanians, constituting over 60 per cent of the territory’s population in 1921, deteriorated. The Albanians’ disloyalty during the war was not forgotten by the Serbian authorities. Albanians were given a stark choice: assimilate or emigrate. Assimilation was pursued through such measures as closing down Albanian-language schools in Kosovo and ordering that all official business be transacted in the Serbo-Croatian tongue. Kosovar Albanians who resisted were pressurized to emigrate, which well over 100,000 may have done. To fill their place and change the territory’s demography, the largescale settlement of Serbs and other Slavs in Kosovo was officially encouraged. Not surprisingly armed resistance emerged in the shape of an Albanian guerrilla group called the Kac¸ak movement. Active from 1918 until the mid1920s, the rebels were eventually overwhelmed by the brute force of the Serbian authorities. The imposition of a royal dictatorship and the renaming of the state to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (meaning South Slavs) in 1929 brought no respite for the persecuted Albanians of Kosovo.4

The next phase in the struggle for Kosovo coincided with World War II. Axis powers invaded and occupied Yugoslavia in 1941. The country was carved up, with the bulk of Kosovo becoming part of ‘greater Albania’ under Italian rule while the mineral-rich north-eastern part of Kosovo was placed under German control. The majority of the Kosovar Albanians welcomed the Axis forces as liberators from the yoke of Serbia and took revenge on the Serbs in the territory. The occupying forces permitted Albanian schools and media in Kosovo and also gave the Albanians the right to carry arms. In the wake of the liberation of Kosovo by Yugoslav Partisans in late 1944, the tables were turned and the Albanians again paid dearly for collaborating with the losing side. The retribution to which they were subjected (including massacres) continued the now familiar cycle of grievous ethnic violence in Kosovo.5

With the adoption of its first post-war constitution in 1946, Yugoslavia was reconstituted as a federal state comprising six so-called sovereign republics. A special arrangement was made for the Republic of Serbia, one of the six primary units: it had two sub-units, the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and the Autonomous Region of Kosovo-Metohija, as it was then styled. While both the latter entities enjoyed representation in the federal legislature, they had no independent decision-making authority and their internal affairs (for example education) were determined by the Serbian Republic, not the federal government. The peoples of Yugoslavia were in turn classified as either nations (Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians and Montenegrins) or national minorities, subsequently changed to nationalities (encompassing all the rest, including the Albanians). The Kosovar Albanians were thus left without any meaningful autonomy, a feature reinforced by a further enhancement of central power under constitutional amendments in 1953. The Albanians’ powerlessness left them vulnerable to persecution at the hands of the Serbian authorities, which continued more or less unabated until a respite in the late 1960s.6

Following demonstrations and rioting by Albanians in Kosovo in 1968, ostensibly in support of demands for the territory’s elevation to republican status and hence autonomy, the federal and Serbian authorities uncharacteristically made some concessions. These included the founding of the Albanian-language University of Pristina, the establishment of Albanian cultural organizations, and the promotion of educational and cultural exchanges between Kosovo and Albania. Amendments to the federal and Serbian constitutions in 1968 and the adoption of a new Yugoslav constitution in 1974 expanded the independent authority of Kosovo and Vojvodina, allowing them to make their own laws within the framework of the two constitutions and to participate in the federal government in their own right. They were given seats in the Federal Assembly and the federal Constitutional Court and, like the six republics, the provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina each acquired a central bank and separate educational, judicial and police services. Redefining the two autonomous entities as constituent units of the Yugoslav federation, Kosovo and Vojvodina achieved the de facto status of sovereign republics, except that they were not granted a right of secession. A further landmark feature of the 1974 Constitution was the enshrinement of national distinctions. With the exception of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the republics and provinces were all built on national identity (meaning the majority nation within each unit).7 As the first article of the Constitution of 1974 put it, Yugoslavia was ‘a federal state having the form of a state community of voluntarily united nations’.8

The new official recognition of cultural diversity contributed to the major educational and cultural advances that Kosovar Albanians made in the 1970s. Yet they still felt aggrieved at not formally achieving the dual constitutional status of a ‘nation’ and a ‘republic’. This resentment spilled over into sporadic demonstrations and the customary heavy-handed responses of the authorities. In the wake of the death in 1980 of Josip Broz Tito, the founding father of communist Yugoslavia, the ties binding the diverse components of the federation came under enormous pressure. This also affected Kosovo, which witnessed renewed Albanian assertiveness on the one hand and the spill-over of a resurgent Serb nationalism on the other. The Albanian population protested repeatedly against human rights abuses and occasionally called for the unification of Kosovo and Albania proper and even for the independence of Kosovo. The community’s major demand between the mid-1970s and the mid-1980s was, however, the relatively modest one of more autonomy for Kosovo within the Yugoslav state.9

Another chapter in the Kosovo saga coincided with the leadership of Slobodan Milosevic. Positions on both sides of Kosovo’s ethnic divide became radicalized, feeding the spiral of violence. In 1986 Milosevic became leader of the League of Communists of Serbia and from the outset played on Serbs’ nationalist sentiments, including their claims to Kosovo. He soon proposed that the autonomy enjoyed by Kosovo and Vojvodina be curtailed and even revoked. Outraged, Kosovar Albanians stepped up their demands for secession from Serbia. Elected President of Serbia in 1989, Milosevic pushed amendments to Serbia’s constitution through the republic’s legislature and then bludgeoned the Kosovo Assembly into passing constitutional changes that stripped the province of its autonomy and de facto republican status.10 Kosovo descended into turmoil as Albanians vented their anger in public. The federal authorities imposed emergency measures in Kosovo in 1989 and deployed large numbers of federal troops.11 In this highly charged atmosphere Milosevic addressed a huge Serb rally to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo Polje on 28 June. In an inflammatory nationalistic speech he reaffirmed Serbs’ historical claims to Kosovo, giving an intimation of further conflict to come.12 In his determination to strengthen Serbia’s hold over Kosovo, Milosevic inadvertently intensified the resolve of the province’s Albanian majority to free themselves from Serbian rule.

The final lap to independence

The year 1990 saw the Serbs and Kosovar Albanians drifting further apart, straining to breaking point the formal ties binding Kosovo to Serbia. The repeal of Kosovo’s autonomous status prompted more human rights violations and discriminatory government policies aimed at Serbianizing the province.13 Amid mass demonstrations and fatal confrontations between police and Albanian protesters, a full-fledged state of emergency was declared in Kosovo in January and federal police and military detachments were deployed in the province. Although federal authorities relaxed the emergency measures in April, their decision to leave matters in Kosovo to the Serbian government and the latter’s dismissal of thousands of state employees in the province only aggravated the already volatile situation.14

In July 1990 Albanian members of the Kosovo Assembly proclaimed the Republic of Kosovo as an equal member of the Yugoslav Federation, thus separate from but on par with Serbia and the other republics; Kosovo would thus remain within the federal structure of Yugoslavia, not seek independence from it. The Serbian Assembly promptly declared the Albanian proclamation illegal and for good measure disbanded the Assembly of Kosovo.15 In no mood for compromise, Albanian legislators adopted the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo in September 1990. Kosovo, in the words of the constitution, was ‘a democratic state of the Albanian people and members of other nations and national minorities who are their citizens’. Even so, the ‘state’ of Kosovo was defined in the constitution as a member of the ‘Yugoslav community’, confirming that Kosovo was seceding from Serbia but not from the Yugoslav federation.16 The process of separation continued nonetheless, with an ‘underground referendum’ on independence for Kosovo held among the local Albanian electorate in September 1991. Kosovo’s supposedly dissolved parliament responded to the positive verdict (over 90 per cent in favor) by proclaiming independence the following month. Both the Serbian and Yugoslav authorities rejected the referendum, but the Kosovar Albanians – emboldened by the fragmentation of Yugoslavia – had raised their sights from a restoration of autonomy (as provided by the 1974 constitution) to independent statehood for the territory.17

The adoption of Kosovo’s constitution had accelerated the development of parallel Albanian institutions of government. These ‘underground’ structures operated alongside the official Serbian institutions, which were largely ignored or boycotted by the Albanian majority. The Albanians maintained more than a mere shadow cabinet of the kind formed by opposition parties in parliamentary democracies. There was a president (Ibrahim Rugova) and a government of six ministers, five of them living in exile. While the elected Kosovo legislature was unable to hold plenary sessions, several commissions functioned. A particularly noteworthy one was for education, which the Albanians conducted from home or in underground schools. Health care was provided through a network of private hospitals and clinics. There was also an Albanian sports league, cultural associations and media. Underground business firms operated and a form of income tax was levied on Albanian migrants working abroad. Many of these institutions, it should be noted, had already existed before 1990 but acquired a new importance after Kosovo declared independence in 1991.18 There was apparently also an attempt to create a parallel police force in Kosovo, as witnessed by the conviction of nearly 70 Albanians by a Serbian court in 1995 on such charges.19 The dual system of government reflected the existence of two separate societies in Kosovo, namely the Albanians constituting about 82 per cent of the territory’s population in 1991 (exceeding 90 per cent in 1994) and the Serb minority.20

The Serbian authorities were willing to tolerate Albanian self-organization as long as it did not extend to the creation of the institutions of independent statehood. Determined to retain control of traditional state functions, Belgrade refused to recognize the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, treated as illegal all actions of the formally disbanded Albanian-dominated legislature, and rejected Albanian-organized elections.21 Deprived of its autonomy, Kosovo was expected to use the remaining channels of political participation at national level in the shape of a (Belgrade-approved) member in the collective federal presidency as well as representation in the federal Assembly.22 These structures held no appeal or legitimacy for an Albanian community determined to loosen the constitutional bonds with – and free itself of the bondage of – Serbia and also Yugoslavia. They were obviously inspired by the drives for independence in Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia (all attaining confirmed statehood in 1991) and the consequent unravelling of the federal state of Yugoslavia.

In a bold act of defiance, Kosovo’s alternative government staged presidential and parliamentary elections in May 1992. Although denounced as illegal by the Serbian government, the contest attracted a high voter turnout – almost exclusively Albanian – that gave the process a strong measure of legitimacy. The presence of eight election monitoring teams from abroad added to the credibility of the poll. Rugova, leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (DLK), was elected President and his party won a majority of seats in the legislature. To drive home the message that they were no longer interested in participating in the politics of Serbia and what remained of Yugoslavia, the majority of Kosovo’s Albanians refused to vote in federal and republican elections.23

Kosovo met the basic empirical requirements of statehood. It had a defined territory of 10,686 km2, constituting 15 per cent of the land area of Serbia-plus-Kosovo. This compares in size with Lebanon or Jamaica. Kosovo had a population of approximately two million, including roughly 100,000 ethnic Serbs and far smaller numbers of Bosniaks, Roma, Turks, Gorani and Croats.24 Kosovo had considerable experience of self-rule and the basic structures of government were in place. The entity was probably capable of engaging in international relations, but collective nonrecognition left it in international limbo. A more pressing handicap was Kosovo’s severe socio-economic under-development. It was the poorest region in the Balkans and one of the poorest in Europe. Roughly 45 per cent of its inhabitants lived below the poverty line and 14 per cent in extreme poverty. A root cause of the high rate of poverty was unemployment, which at 50 per cent was again the highest in the Balkans. Health indicators were among the worst in Europe, especially with regard to infant mortality (between 18 and 44 per 1,000 births).25 Kosovo’s undecided status, the European Commission observed, hindered badly needed economic and social development.26

Contested statehood and war

The Kosovar Albanian leadership was from the outset keen to gain international recognition of their self-proclaimed state. Immediately after the independence referendum in September 1991, Rugova appealed to Lord Carrington in his capacity as chairman of a European Community diplomatic initiative on Yugoslavia to give his ‘full and immediate consideration’ to the Republic of Kosovo’s request to be recognized as a sovereign independent state. Carrington did not deign to reply.27 President Rugova was received by the Albanian Prime Minister, who went no further than expressing Tirana’s unqualified support for Kosovo’s eventual (internationally recognized) independence. Kosovo’s Prime Minister and his deputy visited several European capitals and also the Vatican, but got little more than polite receptions.28 Kosovo was tasting the bitter fruits of collective non-recognition.

Although a case could be made in international law for Kosovo’s unilateral secession from Yugoslavia – on the basis of systematic oppression and the denial of Kosovar Albanians’ right of self-determination29 – no state was at the time prepared to champion this view. The world community drew a distinction between the legitimacy of Kosovo’s claims to statehood and those of the former Yugoslav republics of Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia, which had been admitted to the UN upon assuming independence. Scores of major powers had already been reluctant to accept the dismemberment of Yugoslavia and appeared even more unwilling to countenance fragmentation-within-fragmentation by supporting a subordinate entity (Kosovo) within a Yugoslav republic (Serbia) to break away. Such a process could moreover encourage imitators beyond Serbia, as restive minorities in Croatia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina may wish to create their separate states too. Another consideration behind the international rejection of Kosovo’s statehood was the need to avoid alienating Serbia even further. As the major remaining partner in the downsized Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Montenegro being the junior associate) established in April 1992, Serbia’s cooperation was vital in resolving the bloody conflict over Bosnia and Herzegovina’s bid for statehood (formally proclaimed in March 1992). In the first half of the 1990s leading powers were indeed heavily preoccupied with addressing the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, culminating in the Dayton peace talks in 1995. The fate of Kosovo was not on the agenda at Dayton.

While the international community opposed Rugova’s objective of statehood for Kosovo, they commended his commitment to non-violent means. On the home front, however, Rugova had to contend with a rising tide of dissatisfaction over the paltry results of his strategy of passive resistance against Belgrade. Militants impatient with the President’s approach formed the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1996. Not involved with Rugova’s parallel government, the KLA chose armed struggle to settle the final status issue.30 The uncompromising KLA soon had something to show for its pains: by mid-1998 the movement controlled between 30 and 40 per cent of Kosovo’s territory, with a vital corridor to the Albanian border.31 However, the KLA could not hold on to its gains in the face of a concerted Serbian counter-offensive that had started earlier in the year. Kosovo became engulfed in a vicious war characterized by grave human rights abuses, including ethnic cleansing and mass executions. Between 300,000 and 500,000 people (out of a population of roughly two million) had been displaced by August 1998.32

This time the Serbs could not count on an indifferent international community that would allow them to have their way in Kosovo. Towards the end of 1997 the Kosovo issue had at long last made its way on to the international political agenda. The six-nation Contact Group supervising the implementation of the Dayton peace accord for Bosnia and Herzegovina (Russia, the US, Britain, France, Germany and Italy) then for the first time considered the situation in Kosovo as a separate issue.33 In September the Group laid down the parameters for a peaceful settlement of the conflict over Kosovo: ‘We do not support independence and we do not support maintenance of the status quo. We support an enhanced status for Kosovo within the FRY’ (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) that would ‘fully protect the rights of the Albanian population’.34 These guidelines were endorsed by other international bodies like the OSCE, EU, G-8 and the UN Security Council as they became involved in the Kosovo issue in the late 1990s.35

Milosevic, elevated to President of Yugoslavia in July 1997, protested vehemently that Kosovo was an internal Yugoslav affair out of bounds to foreigners.36 It was to no avail. NATO, for instance, in March 1998 declared that its member states and the world community at large had a ‘legitimate interest’ in events in Kosovo, not least because of their impact on regional stability.37 The same month members of the Contact Group resorted to mild diplomatic and economic sanctions against Yugoslavia for its ‘unacceptable use of force’ against Kosovar Albanians.38 The UN Security Council followed suit with resolution 1160 of 31 March 1998, which imposed an arms embargo against Yugoslavia (including Kosovo) and reaffirmed the now familiar terms for a settlement, namely an ‘enhanced status for Kosovo which would include a substantially greater degree of autonomy and meaningful selfadministration’.39 In a subsequent resolution (1199 of September 1998) the Council declared that the worsening security and humanitarian situations in Kosovo threatened international peace and security. The Security Council confronted Belgrade with a set of demands to end the hostilities, allow international humanitarian relief and permit foreign monitoring of developments in the province. The following month Milosevic undertook to implement the demands contained in Security Council resolution 1199, including the creation of an international verification regime to monitor events on the ground in Kosovo.40

The next major step in the search for peace in Kosovo was the Rambouillet conference convened by the Contact Group in France in February 1999. Here the parties representing the Yugoslav Federation and Kosovo were presented with an interim settlement proposal that provided for ‘substantial autonomy for Kosovo’ while maintaining Yugoslavia’s territorial integrity, the deployment of a NATO force in the territory and the disarmament of the KLA.41 Milosevic’s refusal to agree to the settlement terms – in effect presented as an ultimatum at Rambouillet – unleashed the wrath of the Western community.

On 24 March 1999 NATO launched Operation Allied Force, 11 weeks of sustained air strikes against targets in Yugoslavia, including Kosovo.42 While the NATO attacks were in full swing, Serbian security forces stepped up their campaign of mass expulsions and large-scale massacres of Kosovar Albanians. Such was the scale of excesses that the Serbs have been accused of genocide. By mid-May approximately 600,000 ethnic Albanians had fled Kosovo for refuge in neighbouring states. Thousands more were internally displaced and over 10,000 Albanians died in the hostilities.43

International trusteeship

The NATO assault ended only after Milosevic in June accepted a package of proposals presented to him jointly by the EU and Russia. In no position to put up further resistance, Milosevic agreed to end violence and repression in Kosovo, the withdrawal of his armed forces from the province, the establishment of international security and civil presences in Kosovo, and the creation of an interim administration allowing the people of Kosovo substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.44 These terms were confirmed in UN Security Council resolution 1244 of 10 June 1999. While Kosovo’s self-declared independence had come to an end, the endgame for Serbian-controlled Kosovo was about to begin.

Resolution 1244 provided for the deployment, under UN auspices and with the cooperation of Yugoslavia, of ‘international civil and security presences’ in Kosovo. The security presence would take the shape of the Kosovo Force (KFOR), consisting of NATO and non-NATO troops. Its responsibilities included deterring renewed hostilities, demilitarizing the KLA, establishing a secure environment for the return of refugees and displaced persons, and ensuring public safety and order. The main tasks of the international civil component of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) included ‘the establishment, pending a final settlement, of substantial autonomy and self-government in Kosovo’; performing basic civilian administrative functions; developing provisional institutions for ‘democratic and autonomous self-government’, protecting human rights, and maintaining civil law and order. Also part of UNMIK’s brief was to handle Kosovo’s external relations, especially with international organizations entrusted with particular tasks in the territory (the UN and its partners, including the OSCE, NATO and EU).45

It was the first time that the UN had assumed such extensive administrative authority in a state or part thereof.46 (A few months after the approval of resolution 1244, the Security Council created a comparable arrangement for East Timor.) Resolution 1244 placed Kosovo under de facto UN trusteeship (or what others called a UN military protectorate) ‘for the dual purpose of governing the province and suppressing the territorial dispute’ – while leaving aside the vexed issue of the entity’s final status.47 Supreme authority over Kosovo vested in the UN Security Council, while in practice legislative, executive and judicial authority was delegated to UNMIK – the effective government of Kosovo. While UNMIK focused on civil administration, its partner organizations took charge of humanitarian assistance (the UN High Commissioner for Refugees), institution-building (OSCE), economic reconstruction (EU) and security (NATO). A Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General served as overall head of mission.48

The ‘general principles on a political solution to the Kosovo crisis’, enshrined in resolution 1244, explicitly acknowledged the ‘sovereignty and territorial integrity’ of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and other states in the region. This may well have implied that the final settlement alluded to in the resolution would have to be devised within these parameters. If so, both independence for Kosovo and amalgamation with Albania should be ruled out. The ‘substantial autonomy and self-government’ that had to be developed during the interim period may then have been the final status that at least some of the authors of resolution 1244 had in mind for a Kosovo still legally part of a federal Yugoslavia. Realities on the ground would soon dictate otherwise.

UNMIK’s assigned tasks were rolled out in five distinct phases.49 The first three proceeded relatively smoothly, considering the enormity of the challenges in a deeply divided, war-scarred society. In the first an interim civilian administration was created. The previous Serbian-controlled administration had collapsed as thousands of Serbs, many of them public servants, fled Kosovo under persistent Albanian attacks. To complicate matters UNMIK initially had to contend with two rival Albanian structures of authority: the elected Rugova government of the Republic of Kosovo and the Provisional Government of Kosovo established in 1999 and headed by KLA commander Hashim Thac¸i. Both these were dissolved in early 2000, leaving the field to the new interim administration.50

The second phase saw the beginning of the gradual transfer of the administration to the local population through the establishment of the Interim Administrative Council on which local Albanian and Serb representatives sat. In the third period municipal elections were held throughout Kosovo (October 2000), followed by a general election (November 2001) for a new Kosovo Assembly. The actual constitution of the elected bodies marked the fourth stage. The freshly elected Assembly convened for the first time at the end of 2001 and in 2002 Rugova was (again) elected President of Kosovo and a ten-member cabinet assumed office. These and other institutions, including courts of law, were established in accordance with the Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government adopted in May 2001. While Albanian parties by and large participated in the new arrangements, Serb politicians in Kosovo boycotted them. In the final phase, when Kosovo’s future status had been determined, the provisional institutions and the overall administration of the territory would be transferred to a locally controlled permanent civil administration.51

An idea canvassed in UNMIK circles held that Kosovo should have reached a certain degree of ‘political maturity’ before its end-status could be resolved and the territory could enter the ultimate stage of its transitional process. More concretely, local institutions had to achieve specific standards of democracy, human rights and good governance as a precondition for discussions on Kosovo’s final status. This notion of ‘standards before status’ indeed informed the Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government. The requisite benchmarks were spelled out in an official set of Standards for Kosovo produced by UNMIK in 2003. At the core was the development of a ‘truly multi-ethnic, stable and democratic Kosovo’ approximating European standards of democracy and market economy. In March 2004 a Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan, defining precise actions to be taken and the conditions under which standards would be met, was announced.52

An authoritative assessment of Kosovo’s progress in achieving the set standards was released in October 2005. Compiled by Kai Eide, special envoy of the UN Secretary-General, the report presented a very mixed picture of conditions in Kosovo. The economic situation was bleak, respect for the rule of law was insufficiently entrenched and the foundations for a multi-ethnic society were shaky.53 While an evaluation of the UN’s trusteeship falls beyond our remit,54 it is appropriate to record that the international administration had indeed improved Kosovo in many respects but a major failure was its inability to transform the territory into a tolerant multi-ethnic society respecting the rule of law. This was painfully illustrated by the ongoing inter-communal violence, in which the dwindling Serb community was now the principal victim. The worst incident was a two-day pogrom in March 2004 that left 19 people dead, hundreds of Serb homes damaged or destroyed and 36 Serb Orthodox churches or cultural sites desecrated.55 Eide duly conceded that standards of implementation in Kosovo had been ‘uneven’, yet he recommended that ‘the time has come to move to the next phase of the political process’ because the status quo was unsustainable. Nearly six and a half years of international administration was approaching its end.56

By then the face of Serbian and indeed Yugoslav politics had changed drastically. Milosevic had been forced to relinquish the Yugoslav presidency in October 2000 and in mid-2001 he was hauled before the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in The Hague. While still being tried on charges of crimes against humanity perpetrated in Kosovo and elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia, Milosevic died in detention in March 2006. Milosevic had immediately been succeeded as Yugoslav head of state by Vojislav Kostunica, who presided over the normalization of the country’s international relations (including its readmission to the UN after an absence of eight years) and the consolidation of democracy at home. In February 2003 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was officially replaced by the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro – with Kosovo still included in the new dispensation as a part of Serbia.57 A mere three years later Montenegro exited its union with Serbia, opting for independence by mutual agreement. Serbia, which had all along strenuously resisted the fragmentation of the Yugoslav state, had suffered another grievous blow. Now the Republic of Serbia, as the shrunken state called itself, was left to face its most painful and daunting challenge of dismemberment: the likely loss of Kosovo.

The Ahtisaari plan

Both the Secretary-General and the Security Council endorsed Eide’s recommendation of advancing to the next phase in designing Kosovo’s future. The UN chief appointed former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari as special envoy for the negotiations on Kosovo’s future status. In February 2006 the first round of status talks took place in Vienna.58 The positions of the two main protagonists remained poles apart, though. The Serbian government still rejected independence for Kosovo, whereas the Albanian-dominated Kosovo Assembly resolved that it would accept only independence as final status. The death of Rugova in January 2006 and his replacement as President by Fatmir Sejdiu in no way weakened the resolve of the Kosovar Albanians to achieve full-fledged statehood.59 This commitment to independence was reaffirmed in the victory of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, led by former guerrilla leader Hashim Thac¸i, in the parliamentary election of November 2007.60

After some 14 months of talks chaired by Ahtisaari, the divisions over the future of Kosovo could still not be bridged. In February 2007 Ahtisaari threw down the gauntlet by submitting his far-reaching settlement plan for Kosovo to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN. It consisted of two documents. The brief Report of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Kosovo’s Future Status recommended that the territory acquire the status of ‘independence supervised by the international community’. The Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement spelled out the entity’s future system of government, measures for protecting minority communities and mechanisms for international oversight.61 The proposed mode of governance was based on a familiar set of principles. Envisaged was a multi-ethnic society governed as a constitutional democracy respecting the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The rights of members of communities, including their language, culture, education, religion and symbols, had to be protected. Mechanisms such as public representation and veto rights for the non-Albanian community were prescribed. Decentralization would deepen the Serbian community’s control over its own affairs. The Comprehensive Proposal furthermore provided for a professional, multi-ethnic security sector comprising police and security forces. In short, the Ahtisaari plan allowed for ‘the strongest minority protection regime ever seen in Europe’.62

Turning to Kosovo’s future international status, the settlement plan contained no reference to either independence for Kosovo or the preservation of Serbian sovereignty over the territory. Union with any state or part of any state was, however, specifically proscribed. This provision ruled out Kosovo’s amalgamation with Albania or the joining of Serb-inhabited parts of the territory with Serbia. Kosovo would, however, be awarded such rights of statehood as negotiating and concluding international agreements, acquiring membership of international organizations and adopting its own national symbols (including a flag and anthem). That Kosovo’s future international status would be a special one is clear from the provision that ‘[t]he international community shall supervise, monitor and have all necessary powers to ensure effective and efficient implementation of this Settlement’. A four-fold international presence in Kosovo, to replace the existing UN structures, was recommended. An International Civilian Representative (ICR), also serving as the EU Special Representative and appointed by an International Steering Group comprising major foreign stakeholders, would exercise overall responsibility for the supervision of the implementation of the settlement scheme. This would include the power to nullify decisions or laws approved by Kosovar authorities and to replace officials whose conduct contravened the Status Settlement. The role of an international overseer or governor was modelled on that previously designed for Bosnia.63 A European Security and Defence Policy Mission would monitor and mentor all matters related to the rule of law, including the police, law courts and penal institutions. An International Military Presence, under NATO command, would be tasked to ensure a safe and secure environment until local institutions were able to assume all security responsibilities. Under a further provision the OSCE would be asked to support the democratic development of Kosovo.

Specific guidelines for implementing the settlement plan were also spelled out. During a four-month transition period UNMIK’s existing mandate would remain intact. To ensure the smooth implementation of elements of the plan during this phase, the ICR would monitor the process and make recommendations to UNMIK. During the period of transition the Kosovo Assembly, in conjunction with the ICR, had to adopt a constitution and additional legislation needed to implement the Comprehensive Proposal. UNMIK’s mandate would lapse at the conclusion of the transitional phase and all legislative and executive authority vested in UNMIK would be transferred to Kosovar authorities. Within six months thereafter general and local elections were to be held in the territory. The mandate of the ICR would continue until the International Steering Group decided that the provisions of the settlement plan had indeed been implemented.

Finally, Ahtisaari’s blueprint for international involvement in Kosovo also provided for socio-economic upliftment. The Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement contained elaborate measures to ensure that a future Kosovo would be ‘viable, sustainable and stable’.


The Ahtisaari plan’s proposed internationally supervised statehood for Kosovo represented a compromise between Kosovar Albanians’ demand for outright independence and Serbia’s unqualified rejection of this option. Yet the proposal failed to satisfy either of the protagonists. The Albanian community accepted the plan only grudgingly, while Kosovo’s Serbs and Belgrade, backed by Moscow, rejected the formula.64

An opinion poll conducted by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in April 2007 had found that 96 per cent of the Albanian community still favoured independence.65 The US and most EU member states openly backed independent statehood for Kosovo and endorsed the Ahtisaari blueprint. Ranged against this coalition of supporters of independence was an alliance of opponents consisting of Serbs and Russians. In the UNDP survey 82 per cent of Kosovo’s Serbs came out strongly against independence for the territory.66 In Serbia proper a parliamentary resolution of July 2007 gave the government a free hand to protect Serbian sovereignty over Kosovo.67 The following December the Serbian Parliament reaffirmed that Kosovo was an integral part of Serbia.68 Russia’s view was stated unambiguously by a Kremlin official in June 2007: ‘Kosovo is an inviolable part of Serbia and the question of its future status can be resolved only with the agreement of both Belgrade and Pristina’.69 Russia and Serbia made great play of Security Council resolution 1244’s reaffirmation of Serbian sovereignty over Kosovo while the territory’s final status was being decided. The resolution furthermore provided for a ‘political process’ to ‘determine Kosovo’s future status’. The architects of the resolution had clearly envisaged a negotiated settlement that would then be endorsed by the Security Council. Belgrade and Moscow were adamant that a Kosovo settlement could be reached within this framework only.70 The two allies seemed determined to prevent any deal that allowed for an independent Kosovo. Russia thus reinforced Serbia’s position as a veto state over Kosovo by assuming a similar role itself; it was a unique combination of internal and external veto states.

What explains Russia’s opposition to Kosovo’s independence? Apart from long-standing solidarity with Serbia, Russia was also concerned about the precedent it would supposedly create for other secessionist communities. As Putin asked, ‘[i]f people believe that Kosovo can be granted full independence, why then should we deny it to Abkhazia and South Ossetia?’71 He may as well have added Chechnya, probably Moscow’s main concern. Western backing for Kosovo’s independence no doubt raised Moscow’s hackles. In line with Putin’s determination to assert Russian influence as a global power, Moscow would not be dictated to by Western powers on a major political issue of the day, moreover located in an area of geopolitical importance to Russia.

The issue of Kosovo’s independence placed Serbia in a double bind, a case of ‘damned if you oppose, damned if you approve’. Surrendering the ‘cradle of Serbia’, given Kosovo’s historical, cultural and religious significance for Serbs, may provoke serious resistance within Serbia and among Serbs in Kosovo. A risk Serbia ran in obstructing Kosovo’s independence was exclusion from the EU. True, the EU initialed a stabilization and association agreement with Belgrade in November 2007, a typical step towards membership talks,72 but further progress was unlikely for as long as the Kosovo issue remained unresolved. Should Belgrade agree to Kosovo’s independence, the EU may not only allow the accession process to continue, but could even decide to waive the existing precondition of arresting and extraditing suspects indicted by the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague.73 By the end of 2007 the question of whether EU membership could compensate for the loss of Kosovo was already a central – and highly divisive – topic in Serbian political debate.

Given the fundamentally different positions held by Russia and the West on Kosovo’s future, the Security Council was left paralyzed, unable to endorse Ahtisaari’s settlement proposal and revoke resolution 1244 of 1999. In an effort to break the deadlock, the six-nation Contact Group initiated a new round of negotiations between the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia. Beginning in August 2007, the talks were facilitated by a ‘Troika’ of diplomats from member states of the Contact Group. In December the Group had to concede defeat: it reported to the Secretary-General of the UN that no compromise could be reached on a status settlement for Kosovo.74

Contested statehood, again

While the Serbs and Russians were still challenging Kosovo’s right of independence, the entity’s Albanian government forced the issue by proclaiming Kosovo as ‘an independent and sovereign state’ on 17 February 2008. Regretting that internationally sponsored negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina over Kosovo’s future political status had not produced agreement, the founding document of the new state emphasized that the declaration of independence ‘is in full accordance’ with Ahtisaari’s Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement. Kosovo fully accepted the obligations contained in the Ahtisaari plan and the state’s future constitution would incorporate all the relevant principles of the blueprint. The founding document specifically welcomed an international civilian mission to supervise implementation of the Ahtisaari plan, an EU-led rule of law mission, and NATO’s continuing leadership of the international military force present in Kosovo. The various foreign missions would continue functioning ‘until such time as Kosovo institutions are capable of assuming these responsibilities’. On foreign affairs, the independence declaration gave notice of Kosovo’s intention to obtain full membership of the EU and other (unnamed) international organizations. A final noteworthy feature of the founding declaration was its observation that ‘Kosovo is a special case arising from Yugoslavia’s non-consensual breakup and is not a precedent for any other situation’.75 The latter remark was clearly designed to assuage critics who feared international recognition of Kosovo would open the proverbial Pandora’s box full of aspirant states.

Whereas Kosovo’s previous proclamation of independence failed to attract any international recognition, the second met a radically different external response. By the end of February Kosovo had received de jure recognition from 21 confirmed states, among them 12 EU members (notably France, Germany, Britain and Italy), America, Turkey, Albania, Australia and Senegal.

Taiwan, always keen to win friends, recognized Kosovo within days. By midJune 43 states, with a further eight EU members among them, had formally recognized Kosovo. Japan, South Korea and Liberia were among the nonWestern states that joined the list, as were Kosovo’s neighbouring countries of Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Bulgaria. Muslim states seemed reticent to do likewise: by mid-June Turkey, Afghanistan and Senegal and were the only members of the 60-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference to have recognized Kosovo.76 The most notable absentees were of course Russia and Serbia, while China’s absence might be explained by Taiwan’s quick recognition of Kosovo.

Serbia and Russia have not been content to limit their opposition to Kosovo’s statehood to merely withholding recognition. Moscow predictably denounced the declaration of independence as illegal and indicated that it would use its veto in the Security Council to block Kosovo’s admission to the UN.77 Belgrade vented its displeasure by annulling Kosovo’s independence declaration and filing criminal charges against the entity’s leaders for an ‘unlawful attempt to bring about the secession of a part of Serbia’s territory’.78 While these were largely symbolic gestures, Serbia also took some concrete steps to undermine Kosovo. Belgrade strengthened its links with Serb-dominated parts of Kosovo by staging local elections there in May 2008 and instructing Kosovo Serbs to form parallel municipal councils based on these elections. UNMIK called the Serb elections illegitimate while Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu demanded that the ‘illegal’ parallel structures be dismantled. Belgrade also encouraged Serbs in Kosovo to maintain their allegiance to Serbia as if they were still its citizens, and to boycott Kosovo’s new government institutions. By these means Serbia was suspected of trying to bring about a ‘soft’ or ‘functional’ internal partition between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo.79

Undaunted, Kosovo in June 2008 took another major step in formalizing its statehood by introducing a new constitution. Sole decision-making authority was transferred from the UN administration to the governing institutions of Kosovo. However, the international presence in Kosovo would not end. The constitution stipulated that the EU would take over a supervisory role from the UN, as envisaged in the Ahtisaari plan. Russia and Serbia objected that this would be illegal unless authorized by the UN Security Council.80 To break the impasse and accommodate the ‘new reality on the ground’ created by Kosovo’s constitution, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon ‘reconfigured’ the UN mission in Kosovo to allow the EU to deploy its mission under the UN umbrella headed by the Secretary-General’s special representative for Kosovo. The arrangement permitted the EU to assume an ‘enhanced operational role’ in Kosovo ‘under the overall status-neutral umbrella of the UN’ – a formula clearly designed to address the fears of Russia and Serbia that an EU mission could be biased against Kosovo’s Serbs. The EU’s main responsibilities would be in the fields of rule of law (through its Rule of Law Mission, EULEX), policing, justice and customs. All this would be done in terms of Security Council resolution 1244, which remained the legal framework for the UN’s mandate until the Council decided otherwise. These parameters also applied to KFOR’s 17,000 troops whose security mandate would continue in independent Kosovo.81 By using his authority to reconfigure the UN role in Kosovo instead of seeking a new mandate for an EU role, the Secretary-General avoided a potentially rancorous Security Council session in which Russia could have vetoed implementation of the Ahtisaari plan.

Alternative futures

Kosovo’s latest declaration of independence may, unlike the first, prove irreversible and launch the new state on the path to general international recognition. It would nonetheless be useful to compile a short inventory of alternative status solutions that have been proposed for Kosovo.82 These emanate from various quarters, including the Serbian government and the Contact Group’s Troika of diplomats. We list the plans because they add to the diverse range of alternatives to contested statehood and may be of relevance to some other wannabe states. It is then not necessary to assess the merits of the various proposals in the context of Kosovo. Excluded from the survey is of course a return to Kosovo’s status as a subordinate unit of Serbia, which had little support outside Serbia and Russia. Since Kosovo’s de facto status as trusteeship territory was designed as a transitory arrangement only, it cannot be included among final status options either.

  • Several proposals revolved around an enhanced status for Kosovo that would grant it some of the substance of independence without actually creating a new state. One variant would place Kosovo more or less on par with South Tyrol-Alto Adige in Italy or the Swedish-inhabited Åland Islands relative to Finland. Another was an ‘Ahtisaari-plus’ proposal of a loose union or association between Serbia and Kosovo to complement the internal government structures set out in the Comprehensive Proposal. There was also talk of an ‘Ahtisaari-minus’ status, which accepted the bulk of the plan (including the UN’s replacement by the EU) but deferred the determination of Kosovo’s final status until a future review. A variation on the autonomy theme placed Kosovo in the same relationship to Serbia as the Serbian enclave (Republika Srpska) vis-à-vis Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serbia variously proposed ‘more than autonomy, less than independence’ for the disputed territory and a ‘minimum integration’ formula that would leave Kosovo with ‘95 per cent’ jurisdiction over its own affairs. Another of Serbia’s proposals was a so-called Hong Kong model of loose integration: Kosovo could enter into direct links with international financial institutions, while Belgrade’s powers over the entity would be confined to borders, foreign affairs and defence (although the latter would be delegated to international bodies).
  • A different form of association drew on the Basic Treaty concluded between East and West Germany in 1972. This agreement paved the way for the normalization of relations between the two German states and their admission to the UN. Applied to an independent Kosovo, it would involve the signing of an accord on good neighbourly relations between Pristina and Belgrade – without renouncing their fundamental differences over the future status of Kosovo.
  • Under a ‘formalized regime of special relations’ between Kosovo and Serbia, Belgrade would neither govern Kosovo nor maintain a physical presence there but the two sides would ‘establish common bodies to implement cooperation’. Kosovo would be entitled to enter into a relationship with international financial institutions, become involved in the EU’s Stabilization and Association Process and become fully integrated into regional structures. A related idea was that Kosovo and Serbia establish a coordination council for defence matters and share a foreign ministry.
  • A Belgian think-tank advanced the idea of Kosovo being offered ‘special status as part of the EU’. By being drawn into the framework of European integration, Kosovo would no longer be subject to the UN’s ‘legal-procedural conventions regarding international recognition’.
  • Another unusual status involved the conversion of Kosovo into a free region on the lines of the free zone of Trieste. It would fall under tripartite supervision by a joint Serb-Albanian commission with the EU serving as guarantor.
  • A formal confederal arrangement was also advocated. One version was modelled on the EU-brokered compromise for the transitional State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Serbia and Kosovo could be joined in a common state for a period of three years after which Kosovo would be entitled to stage a referendum on independence. A suggestion in the same vein granted Kosovo most of the features of statehood – including the right to join the UN – but reserved defence, foreign policy, borders and the status of the Serb minority in the territory for a confederal institution composed of delegates from Serbia, Kosovo and the EU.
  • A so-called Andorra solution envisaged an EU-Serbian condominium over a largely autonomous Kosovo.
  • Partition came in several variants, of which the most common was dividing Kosovo at the Ibar River. The territory to the north, housing some 40,000 of Kosovo’s Serbs, would be joined up with Serbia while the rest of Kosovo would be granted independence. It would simply mean that both sides formally renounced what they in any case did not possess: Belgrade’s control over the bulk of Kosovo and Pristina’s control over the Serb enclave in northern Kosovo.
  • A less drastic form of partition was the ‘cantonization’ of Kosovo into ethnically homogenous zones, similar to arrangements in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The majority Serb parts in the north could lend themselves to cantons, together with ethnic enclaves elsewhere in Kosovo.
  • A ‘greater Albania’ could be created through territorial ‘rightsizing’. It would involve the amalgamation of Kosovo (either as a whole or the bulk of the territory inhabited by ethnic Albanians) with Albania.
  • Finally, outright independence within existing borders and without strings attached was the first prize for Kosovar Albanians. Because Serbia and Russia vigorously opposed what they regarded as a zero-sum option, conditional independence for Kosovo was put forward as a compromise. Seven years before the Ahtisaari final settlement plan was produced, the Swedish-initiated Independent International Commission on Kosovo had recommended quasi- or conditional independence. The conditionality would involve a security guarantee provided by NATO and international supervision of human rights protection in Kosovo. Furthermore, Kosovo would be integrated into a Balkan stability pact and eventually also join the EU. Another early version spoke of a multilateral treaty – comparable to the 1955 accord on the re-establishment of an independent and democratic Austria – prohibiting an independent Kosovo joining any other state (read: Albania). Such an agreement would also oblige the government of an independent Kosovo to uphold minority rights and provide for international monitoring of treaty obligations.


Kosovo has experienced two very different spells of contested statehood over the past 17 years. Its first round followed Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence in 1991, when not a single confirmed state recognized its purported statehood. Worse was to befall the pretender state in the late 1990s when it was the target of a particularly brutal war unleashed by Serbia to bring the break-away province to heel. The enormity of the violence prompted the international community to intervene, both to protect Kosovar Albanians and punish the Serbs. In 1999 international engagement in Kosovo changed to that of UN trusteeship while the entity’s final status was being negotiated. Trusteeship of course spelled the end of Kosovo’s first period of self-proclaimed independence. Kosovo’s route out of the interim status of a ward of the world community was provided by the Ahtisaari plan, a blueprint for internationally supervised statehood. Implementation was, however, delayed by the implacable opposition of Kosovo’s two veto states, Serbia and Russia, to any notion of independence for Kosovo. Exasperated, Kosovo threw down the gauntlet with a unilateral declaration of independence in early 2008.

This time Kosovo found its self-declared independence promptly recognized by most EU member states, America, Turkey and a host of others. One reason for the positive international reception was the new state’s commitment to implementing the Ahtisaari plan; another was the lack of international sympathy for the obstructive role played by Serbia and Russia. Still, the vast majority of states had by mid-2008 still not recognized Kosovo and Russia may well veto its admission to the UN. This leaves Kosovo’s statehood still being contested, although the chances are that the challenge will wane rather than wax. In the meantime the comprehensive international presence in Kosovo should assist the new state in overcoming its severe deficiencies in empirical statehood and so enhance its prospects for stability.


  1. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, Kosovo: From Crisis to Crisis, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2001, pp.3–7. Also see Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History, Macmillan, London, 1998.
  2. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, pp.10–12; AW Palmer, A Dictionary of Modern History, 17891945, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1972, p.296; The Independent International Commission on Kosovo, The Kosovo Report: Conflict, International Response, Lessons Learned, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000, p.33.
  3. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, pp.12–13.
  4. Julie A Mertus, Kosovo: How Myths and Truths started a War, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1999, pp.285–6; Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, pp.13–14.
  5. Julie A Mertus, p.287; Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.14. 6 Julie A Mertus, pp.288–9.
  6. Julie A Mertus, pp.290–2; Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, pp.15–16; The Independent International Commission on Kosovo, pp.35–6.
  7. Quoted by Julie A Mertus, p.292.
  8. The Independent International Commission on Kosovo, pp.36–7; Peter Radan, The Break-Up of Yugoslavia and International Law, Routledge, London, 2002, pp.196–7.
  9. Julie A Mertus, pp.294–6; Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, pp.18–19; Peter Radan, p.197.
  10. Julie A Mertus, pp.295–6.
  11. Joyce P Kaufman, ‘The politics of negotiation: A comparative study of Dayton and Rambouillet’, in Howard M Hensel (ed.), Sovereignty and the Global Community: The Quest for Order in the International System, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2004, p.138.
  12. The Independent International Commission on Kosovo, p.41.
  13. Julie A Mertus, pp.296–7; Joyce P Kaufman, p.138.
  14. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.19; Juliane Kokott, ‘Human rights situation in Kosovo 1989–1999’, in Christian Tomuschat (ed.), Kosovo and the International Community: A Legal Assessment, Kluwer Law International, The Hague, 2002, p.5; Julie A Mertus, p.297.
  15. Quoted by Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.19 and by Peter Radan, p.199.
  16. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, pp.20–1; Shkëlzen Maliqi, Kosova: Separate Worlds, MM Society, Pristina, 1998, p.184; Michael Waller et al (eds), Kosovo: The Politics of Delusion, Frank Cass, London, 2001, p.174; Miranda Vickers, Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo, Hurst & Co, London, 1998, p.261.
  17. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.21; Shkëlzen Maliqi, pp.182–4; Juliane Kokott, pp.4–6.
  18. Julie A Mertus, p.306.
  19. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.21; Juliane Kokott, p.4; Miranda Vickers, p.289.
  20. Shkëlzen Maliqi, pp.184–5.
  21. Julie A Mertus, p.297.
  22. Julie A Mertus, pp.301–5; Miranda Vickers, p.260; The Europa World Year Book 2006, Routledge, London, 2006, p.3816.
  23. European Forum, ‘UN envoy Ahtisaari presents “compromise” proposal on Kosovo’; The Economist, 4 November 2006.
  24. United Kingdom, Department for International Development, ‘Kosovo’, December 2007,; The World Bank, ‘Kosovo: Country Brief 2006’, September 2006,…
  25. European Commission, Economic and Financial Affairs, ‘Kosovo: An economy on hold’, Issue 8, October 2007, article_6170_en.htm.
  26. Alex J Bellamy, Kosovo and International Society, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2002, p.26.
  27. Miranda Vickers, pp.259–62.
  28. Juliane Kokott, pp.6–9; Gerd Seidel, ‘A new dimension of the right of selfdetermination in Kosovo?’ in Christian Tomuschat (ed.), pp.203–15.
  29. Julie A Mertus, p.307; Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.22.
  30. Michael Waller et al, p.175.
  31. Julie A Mertus, pp.308–9; Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, pp.22–3.
  32. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.27.
  33. Quoted by Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, pp.28–9.
  34. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.27.
  35. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.29.
  36. Quoted by Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.27. 38 Quoted by Joyce P Kaufman, p.140.
  37. Quoted by Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.31.
  38. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, pp.33–4; Joyce P Kaufman, pp.137–47.
  39. Quoted by Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, pp.34–5.
  40. On the legality and legitimacy of NATO’s air campaign, see The Independent International Commission on Kosovo, pp.4–5, and Ivo H Daalder & Michael E O’Hanlon, Winning Ugly: NATO’s War to Save Kosovo, Brookings Institution Press, Washington DC, 2000.
  41. The Europa World Year Book 2006, p.3822; Tonny B Knudsen & Carsten C Laustsen, ‘The politics of international trusteeship’, in Knudsen & Laustsen (eds), Kosovo between War and Peace: Nationalism, Peacebuilding and International Trusteeship, Routledge, London, 2006, p.13.
  42. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, pp.37–8.
  43. Michael Bothe & Thilo Marauhn, ‘UN administration of Kosovo and East Timor: Concept, legality and limitations of Security Council-mandated trusteeship administration’, in Christian Tomuschat (ed.), p.241.
  44. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.105; Lene M Søbjerg, ‘The Kosovo experiment: Peacebuilding through an international trusteeship’, in Tonny B Knudsen & Carsten B Laustsen (eds), p.71.
  45. Tonny B Knudsen & Carsten B Laustsen, ‘The politics of international trusteeship’, p.15; Peter Radan p.201.
  46. Lene M Søbjerg, pp.65–6.
  47. Lene M Søbjerg, pp.66–7.
  48. Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, p.130; The Europa World Year Book 2006, p.3823; The Independent International Commission on Kosovo, p.104.
  49. Lene M Søbjerg, pp.66–7; Iain King & Whit Mason, Peace at any Price: How the World failed Kosovo, Hurst & Co, London, 2006, pp.270–4; The Europa World Year Book 2006, p.3823.
  50. Lene M Søbjerg, pp.69–70; Rasmus A Kristensen, ‘Administering membership of international society: The role and function of UNMIK’, in Tonny B Knudsen & Carsten B Laustsen (eds), pp.141–5.
  51. Iain King & Whit Mason, p.vii.
  52. See, for instance, Iain King & Whit Mason; Richard Caplan, International Governance of War-Torn Territories: Rule and Reconstruction, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005; Michael Bothe & Thilo Marauhn, pp.217–42.
  53. Iain King & Whit Mason, pp.5, 22–4.
  54. Quoted by Iain King & Whit Mason, p.vii; Kosovo Countdown: A Blueprint for Transition, Europe Report No. 188, 6 December 2007, International Crisis Group, Brussels, p.5.
  55. The Europa World Year Book 2006, pp.3817–20.
  56. Iain King & Whit Mason, pp.vii, 278; The Europa World Year Book 2006, p.3824.
  57. The Europa World Year Book 2006, p.3824.
  58. The Economist, 24 November 2007.
  59. Kosovo Countdown, p.1; European Forum, ‘UN envoy Ahtisaari presents “compromise” proposal on Kosovo’, 2 February 2007, news/340.
  60. Chris Patten, ‘A ticking clock on Kosovo’, The Boston Globe, 10 August 2007. 63 The Economist, 9 June 2007.
  61. The Economist, 24 March 2007.
  62. Martin Pabst, ‘Der kosovarische Knoten, Europaeische Sicherheit, No. 56, December 2007, p.21.
  63. Martin Pabst, p.21.
  64. Chris Patten.
  65. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 29 December 2007.
  66. Quoted in ‘Kosova: US President takes strong stance’, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, Abkhazia June 2007,
  67. Kosovo Countdown, p.16; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 15 October 2007.
  68. Quoted in The Economist, 1 December 2007.
  69. ICG, ‘Serbia: “Double trouble”’, 14 November 2007, home/index.cfm?id=5167&1=1.
  70. The Economist, 15 December 2007.
  71. Kosovo Countdown, p.1.
  72. BBCNEWS, ‘Full text: Kosovo declaration’, 17 February 2008, http://newsvote.…
  73. ‘Who recognized Kosovo as an independent state?’ 15 June 2008, http://www.… ; IntelliBriefs, ‘Whether Kosovo will create a precedent for other territories?’, 22 February 2008, 2008/02…
  74. The Economist, 23 February 2008.
  75. The Economist, 23 February, 2008.
  76. ICG, New Briefing, ‘Kosovo’s first month’, 18 March 2008, http://www.crisisgroup. org…; ICG, ‘Reassuring Kosovo’s Serbs’, 20 March 2008, http://www.crisigroup. org/home/index.cfm?id=5348&1=1; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 26 March 2008; UN Security Council, Update Report No. 5, ‘Kosovo’, 13 June 2008.
  77. International Herald Tribune, 15 June 2008.
  78. UN Security Council, Update Report No. 5, ‘Kosovo’.
  79. The single most comprehensive source on status options for Kosovo is the ICG’s report Kosovo Countdown, pp.3–6. The alternatives listed in our survey are also drawn from Michael Waller et al, p.124; Shkëlzen Maliqi, pp.186–7; Miranda Vickers, p.287; Anna Matveeva & Wolf-Christian Paes, The Kosovo Serbs: An Ethnic Minority between Collaboration and Defiance, Bonn International Center for Conversion, Friedrich Naumann Foundation (Belgrade) and Saferworld (London), 2003, pp.47–9; International Crisis Group, Conflict Prevention and Resolution, 1 May 2005,….; Rasmus A Kristensen, ‘Administering membership of international society: The role and function of UNMIK’, in Tonny B Knudsen & Carsten B Laustsen (eds), pp.142–3; The Economist, 22 July 2006, p.35; Gerd Seidel, ‘A new dimension of the right of self-determination in Kosovo?’ in Christian Tomuschat (ed.), pp.212–15; The Independent International Commission on Kosovo, p.284; Dick Leurdijk & Dick Zandee, pp.145–8; Miranda Vickers, pp.269–70; Martin Pabst, pp.20–2; The Economist, 12 May 2007.

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