Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Fourth Report


KOSOVO AFTER THE WAR

Ensuring public safety and order

DEMILITARISING THE KLA AND OTHER COMBATANTS

196.  From the perspective of many Kosovo Albanian fighters, a war was won and the victors should enjoy the spoils of victory. It is natural for former combatants to wish to bask in a little glory and, as John Sweeney said, "it is going to take a long time before the schoolteacher and the honest businessman is more heroic than the guy who fought the Serbs."[509] It has therefore been a priority for KFOR and UNMIK to try to demilitarise the KLA. The first requirement has been the handover of weapons; and then former KLA fighters have been offered the opportunity to enlist as members of the new Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC)—intended to be a disciplined but civilian force to be used essentially for civil defence purposes. Tasks allotted to the KPC include refuse clearance, ice and snow clearance and housing reconstruction. The strength of the KPC is intended to be just over 5,000—2,000 of whom will be reservists not on active duty. Ten per cent of posts are reserved for minorities, but none have yet been recruited. We understand that 15,000 KLA fighters registered for the KPC. Those who were not accepted (other than those not accepted because of their involvement in crime) will have priority for other public service posts, including posts with the police. It is clearly of great importance that former KLA fighters should be given employment—the temptation will arise otherwise to carry on fighting in areas like the Presevo Valley,[510] or perhaps to become involved in organised crime.


197.  The Foreign Secretary told us that 12,000 weapons had been handed in by, or confiscated from, the KLA, and that KFOR regarded the demilitarisation as having been effective.[511] We received a similar message from KFOR commanders in Kosovo, though they made it plain that weapons were ubiquitous in Kosovo, and that they were certain that large numbers remained hidden. There are, however other concerns about the KPC. First of all, it appears to the outside observer to be more akin to a paramilitary force than a civilian force. It is uniformed and has a military command structure. It is not unarmed—300 KPC personnel are allowed personal protection weapons, 300 weapons are used for guard duty and 2,000 further weapons are in store. The March report of the UN Secretary General also referred to minority community concern about its composition and the location of its buildings, to allegations of illegal law enforcement activities and illegal taxation by KPC members and to their participation in "political rallies and other incidents of ethnic intolerance."[512] The report also records that victims of crime committed by KPC members are afraid to report them for fear of reprisals, and that the local judiciary has freed KPC members who have been arrested. There is clearly a major concern that the KPC will become, in effect, a legitimised KLA. That will be alarming not just for minorities in Kosovo, but for ordinary Kosovo Albanians. We recommend that a very close watch is kept on developments in the Kosovo Protection Corps to ensure that its avowed civilian and multi-ethnic purpose is not subverted.

198.  There are also persistent allegations that the KLA continues to exist as a criminal, Mafia-type fraternity, involved in drug-running, prostitution and other forms of organised crime. The Foreign Secretary did not confirm KLA involvement, though he did say that he had "no doubt whatsoever" that "criminal organisations who may have contacts in and around Kosovo" were involved in the transhipment of heroin to Western Europe.[513] He went on to refer to the British initiative to establish a Criminal Intelligence Unit in Pristina to tackle organised crime—an initiative particularly singled out in the March report of the UN Secretary General.[514] Twenty police and Customs officers are being contributed by the United Kingdom to this unit.[515] The chronic lawlessness of Kosovo, and its strategic position, are of great potential concern for law enforcement agencies in Western Europe. We welcome the Government's support for the fight against organised crime in Kosovo.

AVOIDING FURTHER VIOLENCE

Mitrovica

199.  During this year, Mitrovica has been a difficult security challenge. The Mitrovica area contains around half of the Serbs who remain in Kosovo, and is near Serbia proper. Many Kosovo Albanians fear that the Serbs are attempting to partition Kosovo, attaching Mitrovica to Serbia.[516] Effectively the city has been divided into Serb territory north of the river, and Albanian territory to the south. There have been grenade attacks, sniper-fire, looting and arson, and stand-offs at the main river bridge. If anywhere has been the manifestation of the difficulty of establishing the harmonious and safe Kosovo which is the aim of UNSCR 1244, it has been here. There are accusations and counter accusations against elements in KFOR, but it would be wrong for us to speculate about mistakes which may have been made. We agree with the Foreign Secretary [517] that it would not help KFOR or the international effort in Kosovo "if we got into the argument of national buck-passing or putting the blame on others." What is clear is that KFOR has not instigated the violence—that has been the responsibility of Kosovans. We note, too, the view of KFOR on the ground, endorsed by Mr Vaz, the Minister of State at the FCO, that there is no evidence of direct support for the trouble in Mitrovica being given to local Serbs by Milosevic's government.[518]

200.  The Foreign Secretary told us that it was the policy of UNMIK to ensure that there is a common circulation area in the centre of Mitrovica, and that UNMIK would be adopting a more assertive role in the area, though it would be "extremely difficult" for it to realise its aims.[519] The March report of the UN Secretary General[520] suggested that "the political and security imperatives of the two sides are...not irreconcilable if moderate interests on both sides can be engaged." A programme of confidence-building is being undertaken by UNMIK, and "ultimately, the aim is to establish a visibly different administration for the city of Mitrovica—the joint administration of a 'united city' which can serve as an example elsewhere in Kosovo." The report went on to say that this far-reaching ambition was dependent on the establishment of a secure environment in the city, and expanded public services and economic development, both of which have received less assistance in northern Kosovo than other parts of the territory.

Presevo Valley

201.  The political and security situation in the Presevo Valley area of south eastern Serbia has been tense, with clashes between armed groups of Albanians and Serb security forces.[521] Around 70,000 Albanian speakers live in this part of Serbia, which is described by some Albanian nationalists as Eastern Kosovo. From the point of view of Belgrade, the area contains important rail and road links. Albanian insurgency has been met by an increased Serb security presence which has in turn resulted in refugees crossing from Serbia into Kosovo. Under the Military Technical Agreement, KFOR can operate 5 km into Serbia in the interests of security, but has no mandate to go further.

202.  The Foreign Secretary told us that the principal cause of instability in the area was the "activity of Albanian hardliners infiltrating over the border." Some of these had links with the former KLA, and were intending to act as "terrorist formations" in the Presevo Valley. In his view, their intention was "to create trouble in the hope that it will provoke Milosevic to be repressive in the expectation that will provoke floods of refugees coming to Kosovo, in the expectation that in turn will suck NATO into a wider conflict with southern Serbia." Instead, he told us that KFOR had mounted raids on suspected headquarters of "Albanian extremists" and had seized weapons. He also gave the clear message that NATO could not necessarily be expected to intervene if trouble was created across the border.[522] Although attempts have been made to step up policing of the border, it is not possible to seal it entirely. According to recent press reports, the Presevo Valley remains a cause for concern.[523] We conclude that the situation in both Mitrovica and the Presevo Valley demonstrates that extremism and terrorism remain grave threats to Kosovo, and we support action by KFOR to suppress those who seek to inflame violence there or elsewhere in Kosovo.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

The concerns

203.  Deficiencies in the criminal justice system—police, courts and penalties—are matters of the utmost concern. The commander of KFOR, General Reinhardt, took this concern directly to the UN Security Council on 6 March 2000 when he was reported as saying that Kosovo needed a police force and a working and effective judicial system. These matters were frequently emphasised to us during our visit to Kosovo, and it was made crystal clear that there was no chance of developing a society where all could feel safe until the absence of law and order was rectified. As Dame Pauline Neville-Jones told us, any political development in Kosovo is dependent upon people feeling secure.[524] Security is in turn dependent on law and order.


204.  Ultimately it is for the people of Kosovo, and especially the majority Albanian community, to accept responsibility for a fair and functioning criminal justice system. There are too many examples of them not doing so. As the Foreign Secretary said, "if they themselves will frustrate every attempt to achieve a judicial process to punish the criminals, they are not going to have a successful society whatever we do."[525] This is grim but true. We now look at three areas: police, courts and prisons.

Police

205.  It is KFOR's view that police should take over functions which soldiers are still discharging and this is a clear aim of UNSCR 1244. However, this transfer of responsibility has not been possible because the international community has conspicuously failed to provide the number of police necessary to bring the UNMIK force to the strength of 4,718 requested by the UN Secretary General in November 1999.[526] British Ministers have said that they agree with this assessment of need.[527] Fewer than half this number were in post on 2 March 2000, as Table 2 demonstrates. These are the latest comprehensive figures available to us, though the FCO told us on 16 May that 2898 police were deployed in Kosovo as of 17 April 2000.[528] It is not just numbers of police who are required, but police who can properly discharge the sensitive task of policing in Kosovo. The diversity of cultures and backgrounds is obvious from the list of 45 countries in Table 2. With the best will in the world, some police sent to Kosovo have simply not been up to the task, as we heard from a number of authoritative sources when we visited Kosovo. This has meant that the numbers of effective police are even smaller.

NUMBER OF UNMIK POLICE AND KFOR BY COUNTRY
COUNTRY
NUMBER OF POLICE OFFICERS ON
2 MARCH 2000
NUMBER OF KFOR TROOPS ON
9 MARCH 2000
Argentina
38
111
Austria
49
470
Azerbaijan
34
Bangladesh
31
— 
Belgium
5
1146
Benin
5
Bulgaria
60
39
Canada
94
1382
Czech Republic
6
180
Denmark
26
752
Egypt
71
Estonia
5
10
Fiji
33
Finland
20
812
France
78
4860
Georgia
34
Germany
243
5685
Ghana
136
Greece
1186
Hungary
10
307
Iceland
2
2
India
87
Ireland
99
Italy
45
5970
Jordan
48
104
Kenya
39
Kyrgyzstan
2
Latvia
10
Lithuania
9
30
Luxembourg
2
Malaysia
47
Morocco
347
Netherlands
1
1615
Niger
5
Nigeria
11
Norway
15
1261
Pakistan
88
Philippines
23
Poland
9
756
Portugal
25
341
Romania
48
Russian Federation
122
3141
Senegal
16
Slovakia
39
Slovenia
6
Spain
34
1226
Sweden
45
826
Switzerland
133
Tunisia
5
Turkey
49
1088
Ukraine
30
240
United Arab Emirates
1262
United Kingdom
60
3368
USA
478
6065
Zambia
57
Zimbabwe
52
EU sub total
631 (=26.7%)
28358 (=63.1%)
NATO sub total
1180 (=50.0%)
37192 (=82.8%)
TOTAL
2361
44939
Bold Type indicates that country is member of EU
Italics indicates that country is member of NATO
Bold Italics indicates that country is member of EU and NATO

Sources: March Report of UN Secretary General; HC Deb 13 March 2000, Col 38W


206.  While the United Kingdom's contribution to KFOR and to policing has been extremely high in terms of quality (and, of course, British troops were among the first to arrive in Kosovo), in simple manpower terms we are not at present being overgenerous. The two tables below (Tables 3 and 4) demonstrate this by aggregating the figures for police and troops from Table 2 for NATO and EU countries, and relating them first to gross national income, and secondly population. While these are crude comparators, it is clear that there are no grounds for self-satisfaction.

Personnel in Kosovo forces - ranked by country's GNI
RankCountry
GNI
Personnel in Kosovo
  
1997 (b)
Number
Per US$1bn
  
(US$bn)
 
GNI
1Greece
124.6
1,186
9.5
2Norway
152.4
1276
8.4
3Hungary
41.9
317
7.6
4Finland
120.0
832
6.9
5Turkey
193.5
1,137
5.9
6Poland
142.0
765
5.4
7Italy
1,148.6
6,015
5.2
8Denmark
166.3
778
4.7
9Belgium
247.1
1,151
4.7
10Netherlands
383.4
1,616
4.2
11Sweden
230.7
871
3.8
12Czech Republic (a)
52.4
186
3.5
13Portugal
103.7
366
3.5
14France
1,411.0
4,938
3.5
15Germany
2,104.6
5,928
2.8
16United Kingdom
1,329.7
3,428
2.6
17Austria
205.5
519
2.5
18Canada
600.9
1,476
2.5
19Spain
554.1
1,260
2.3
20Ireland
70.4
99
1.4
21United States
7,853.1
6,543
0.8
22Iceland
7.3
4
0.5
23Luxembourg
17.8
2
0.1
Note:
(a) GNI figure estimated from GDP data.
(b) Converted at market exchange rates.

Sources:
Personnel: Table 2
GNI: OECD, National Accounts, 2000 vol 1 - data on disk


Personnel in Kosovo forces ranked by country's population
RankCountry
Population
Personnel in Kosovo
    
1997
Number
Per million
    
(millions)
  
population
1Norway
4.4
1,276
289.7
2Finland
5.1
832
161.9
3Denmark
5.3
778
147.3
4Belgium
10.2
1,151
113.0
5Greece
10.5
1,186
113.0
6Italy
57.5
6,015
104.6
7Netherlands
15.6
1,616
103.6
8Sweden
8.8
871
98.5
9France
60.2
4,938
82.1
10Germany
82.1
5,928
72.2
11Austria
8.1
519
64.3
12United Kingdom
59.0
3,428
58.1
13Canada
30.0
1,476
49.2
14Portugal
9.9
366
36.8
15Spain
39.3
1,260
32.0
16Hungary
10.2
317
31.2
17Ireland
3.7
99
27.0
18United States
266.8
6,543
24.5
19Poland
38.7
765
19.8
20Czech Republic
10.3
186
18.1
21Turkey
63.7
1,137
17.8
22Iceland
0.3
4
14.8
23Luxembourg
0.4
2
4.7
Sources:
Personnel: Table 2

Population: OECD, National Accounts, 2000 vol 1 - data on disk



207.  When Dr Jones Parry appeared before the Committee in November 1999, he somewhat played down the policing problem, speaking of the need for "a little bit of re-inforcement."[529] However, Jonathan Steele described the situation in January, when only a third of the requisite force had arrived as "really a disgrace" while Professor Roberts described the police as "disappointingly under-supported by outside powers."[530] Dr Woodward told us that the greatest problem facing Kosovo was "organised crime, gangs, disagreements among political factions both within the Albanian community and between the Albanians and the minorities," and that the only way to solve the problem in the short term was "an infusion of police forces."[531] For Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, police were "very, very important."[532] Kosovo Albanian leaders whom we met, including Dr Rugova, recognised the crucial importance of developing the police.

208.  The United Kingdom had increased its police commitment to Kosovo since the beginning of March. The Foreign Secretary promised on 16 March that "within the next month or two," there would be 180 British police officers working in Kosovo—120 on patrol with UNMIK, 40 working in the police school and 20 providing the core of the organised crime unit.[533] According to a written answer given in early April, the contribution has been further increased to 190.[534] The first 60 officers were drawn from the RUC—a force with more experience and skill in policing divided communities than any other in the world. Wherever we went in Kosovo, we heard praise for the RUC.[535] The police involved in training and in combatting organised crime will also be officers of experience, with a very special contribution to bring to Kosovo. We welcome the increase in police numbers sent from the United Kingdom, and we recognise the very high quality that the British police bring to Kosovo. We recommend that the British contribution should now be further enhanced.

209.  One particular problem in deploying British police to Kosovo is that UNMIK officers are armed. This has meant that only officers from armed police forces in the United Kingdom have so far been recruited for patrol duties. The first 60 have been from the RUC, and the next 60 from the Ministry of Defence Police. We were told by senior police commanders in Kosovo that British police who were not firearms trained could easily and quickly be trained to the level necessary. The Foreign Secretary was sceptical about this, telling us that he would "hesitate to lobby [his] colleagues in the Home Office to send out people who would be expected to use weapons there who had not been trained in the streets here."[536] Nevertheless, we believe that the issue of the requisite level of firearms skill is one which should be resolved at a professional level. We recommend that the FCO arrange for an experienced police firearms trainer (a) to visit Kosovo to discuss with the UNMIK Police Commissioner the level of firearms skill necessary to patrol in Kosovo and (b) to report to the FCO on the training need which this would imply.

210.  Of course, we understand that Chief Officers in Great Britain are hard-pressed in police manpower terms, and unlikely willingly to give up officers for service in Kosovo. However, we were told by UNMIK police commanders that newly retired British officers would be extremely welcome in Kosovo, where some non-United Kingdom officers had been as old as 70. It might well be attractive for newly retired officers with firearms skills to have the challenge of a short period of service in Kosovo. The Commissioner understandably believes that the principal asset a foreign police officer can bring is the experience of policing which gives him or her the confidence to defuse a difficult situation. Older police officers are likely to be more successful at this. We took this matter up with the Foreign Secretary, who described the idea as "a very interesting one" and he promised to reflect on it.[537] We recommend that the FCO urgently study with the Home Office and the Scottish Executive the feasibility of deploying recently retired firearms-trained officers in Kosovo.

211.  Another issue is the period of engagement which police officers must serve with UNMIK. At present a lengthy 12 month tour is required. This is longer than any normal military engagement overseas, and is unlikely to be attractive to younger officers. The Chief Constable of the RUC told us that "a six month tour would be much more attractive to volunteers. If you can win agreement for this, I think it would be more likely that the commitment to UN missions could be maintained over prolonged periods as is likely to be the desire in Kosovo."[538] The Foreign Secretary promised to "look again" at the question of the period of engagement.[539] We recommend that the Government press for a reduction to six months in the minimum period of engagement for UNMIK police officers.

212.  We have already referred to the exemplary contribution of the RUC to Kosovo. It is expected that RUC numbers will decline substantially if peace continues in Northern Ireland. As the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland said, "we found virtually no dissent from the view that, if the [Good Friday] Agreement holds and Northern Ireland becomes a more peaceful society, police numbers should be substantially reduced."[540] We recommend that the FCO explore with the Northern Ireland authorities the possibility of recruiting more RUC officers for service in Kosovo.

213.  UNMIK police are developing a local police force, the Kosovo Police Service (KPS).[541] KPS cadets are initially trained at an OSCE-run police training school, and then continually monitored—and mentored—by UNMIK officers as they work the streets. Cadets must pass through 19 weeks of field training, six subsequent weeks of career rotation and one week of examinations before they qualify for subsequent phases of the KPS programme. A number of the cadets are former police officers, expelled from the police after 1989. The March report of the UN Secretary General described the KPS as "one of the few multi-ethnic institutions operating in Kosovo."[542] It has goals of 15 per cent ethnic minority and 25 per cent female participation. At the time of that report, there were 54 Kosovo Serb cadets and 30 cadets from other minorities out of a total of 582 cadets. Over 20 per cent were women. Three cadets have been dismissed for involvement in criminal activity. OSCE has a mandate to train 3,500 officers by July 2001.[543] We believe that UNMIK is to be congratulated on recruiting a multi-ethnic local police force in Kosovo, and we recommend that the British Government give full and generous assistance to the equipping and training of the Kosovo Police Service.

214.  Like the KPC, we hope that the KPS will be strictly monitored by UNMIK so that it turns into a force which retains the confidence of all the communities of Kosovo. Sir John Goulden was somewhat pessimistic when he gave evidence in November 1999 and asked the rhetorical question "how do we train a mixed force of Kosovans to become a legitimate police force when there is not much of a tradition there at all, and how do we make sure that the international community does not have to do that job itself indefinitely?"[544] But it is not an exaggeration to say that, if the KPS does not succeed, Kosovo will not succeed. We believe that the development of the KPS should be an important priority for the international community.


509   QC201. Back

510   See para 201. Back

511   QQC381, 406. Back

512   S/2000/177 paras 32 and 62. Back

513   QC399-but see HC Deb 16 March 2000, col 292W where a Treasury Minister said that there was no evidence that any heroin seized in the previous 12 months in the UK originated from Kosovo. Back

514   S/2000/177, para 42. Back

515   HC Deb 16 March 2000, col 286W. Back

516   See para 245. Back

517   QC478. Back

518   HC Deb 2 March 2000, col 400W. Back

519   QC478. Back

520   S/2000/177 para 23. Back

521   HC Deb 10 March 2000, col 875W. Back

522   QQC382, 493-4. Back

523   See Private Eye 4 May 2000, page 15. Back

524   QC296. Back

525   QC472. Back

526   HC Deb 10 March 2000, col 875W. Back

527   HC Deb 14 March 2000, col 144W. Back

528   Ev. p. 374. Back

529   QC109. Back

530   QQC191-2. Back

531   QC290. Back

532   QC296. Back

533   QC463. Back

534   HC Deb 6 April, col 564W. Back

535   QC380. Back

536   QC463. Back

537   QC463. Back

538   Ev. p. 373. Back

539   QC465. Back

540   Para 13.2. Back

541   QC466. Back

542   S/2000/177, para 45. Back

543   HL Deb 16 March 2000, WA232. Back

544   QC111. Back


 
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