Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Fourth Report


103. In its scale and ambition the international administration of Kosovo remains unparalleled.[202] The head of UNMIK,[203] the UN Secretary General's Special Representative, has wide powers under UN Security Council Resolution 1244: UNMIK's first regulation vests in him "all legislative and executive authority with respect to Kosovo, including the administration of the judiciary."[204] This concentration of authority, in comparison to the international administration in Bosnia, has allowed Kosovo to make rapid progress in some areas. Charles Crawford identified another way in which Kosovo was particular: "because of the civil disobedience that went on there it was almost like a greenfield site in terms of institutions when we went in there. For all the problems in Bosnia at least at the end of the war there were three functioning ethnic spaces where there were police, there were sorts of courts. In Kosovo there is nothing there and it is very difficult to build something up (with all the problems of interpreting and all the rest of it) which is going to be sustainable."[205] Chris Patten agreed with this interpretation.[206]

Administering Kosovo

104. Zoran Kusovac notes that "the international administration in Kosovo is inefficient in its civilian part, while most of the military tasks of KFOR have been achieved...the good performance of the UK military contingent is well known, however, for whatever reason the UK is far less prominent in the civilian side of the international mission to Kosovo."[207] Our impressions during our visits to Kosovo are in line with this view of the performance of the United Kingdom military contingent. We discuss the United Kingdom contribution to the international police below.[208] It may be true as Zoran Kusovac suggests that the civilian side is inefficient. However, one of our interlocutors[209] pointed out to us that Kosovo was not Switzerland: his objective was to bring Kosovo up to the standards of Macedonia in three years. This is realistic. An understanding of the situation in Kosovo before the international community's arrival helps to temper some of the wilder criticisms of UNMIK and KFOR.

105. Administering Kosovo is a great challenge, and UNMIK has limited financial and human resources. For example, we heard during our visit of the difficulties of getting and keeping good staff in UNMIK. Most posts had to be cleared through the Peacekeeping Department in New York, creating delays in filling positions. In addition, most international administrators in Kosovo are in place for only six months. It is difficult to run anything well with staff constantly changing: even more so in the case of a province which has experienced war within the last two years and many years of repression before that. It is understandable in terms of staff morale why postings need to be kept short—but now that the initial crisis has passed in Kosovo, there is a need to find staff willing to stay for longer periods. One way of encouraging staff to remain in Kosovo would be to improve the scope for rest and recreation visits, including returns home, during postings. The EU in particular needs to recognise that the terms and conditions of its postings may need to be adjusted for situations such as Kosovo. Even Chris Patten, the European Commissioner responsible for south-east Europe, told us "the problem has been with the running costs of Pillar 4, where some of the more traditional financial procedures of the Commission apply. I have to say that the procedures we apply are not necessarily our own idea, they are as a result of what are the lowest common denominator, what the 15 Member States want."[210] On the UN side, the Brahimi report identified a number of shortcomings with current UN practice and made recommendations for improvement, in particular calling on the Secretariat: "to put in place a transparent and decentralized recruitment mechanism for civilian field personnel; to improve the retention of the civilian specialists that are needed in every complex peace operation; and to create standby arrangements for their rapid deployment."[211] We recommend that the FCO should press UN headquarters to examine what measures can be taken to improve the capacity of UN staff in Kosovo to manage the administration of Kosovo, and in particular whether more authority for hiring and firing staff can be devolved to the Special Representative in Kosovo, in line with the recommendations of the Brahimi report. We further recommend that the FCO press the European Commission to examine what changes can be made to improve the morale of EU staff posted to Kosovo, and to encourage staff to remain in Kosovo for longer postings. We conclude that making improvements in these areas is not just an issue for Kosovo, but for future missions of a similar sort.

Reconstruction and economic development in Kosovo

106. Chris Patten reminded us that "Kosovo had been desperately disadvantaged for years, there has been no public investment there to speak of. We are not only dealing with war damage, we are also dealing with the fact that Kosovo had been ignored for so long."[212] Despite this, we were struck on our return to Kosovo by the amount of construction which had taken place. As we note below,[213] much of this has happened without licensing: but it is better that it has happened than that it has not. Those with experience of the region speak favourably of the speed of development in Kosovo in comparison to Bosnia (although the consensus also appears to be that progress in integrating the different ethnic groups has more hope of success in Bosnia than in Kosovo). We discuss below some of the security difficulties involved in extending the reach of the international administration in Kosovo.[214]

107. DFID has committed £15m "for technical assistance in support of capacity and institution building in Kosovo in the three Financial Years 2000-2002. This commitment is not affected by plans for assistance in Serbia."[215] We heard during our visit, and Alan Charlton of the FCO confirmed that "I think they have got through the emergency aid stage although that continues with some particular help, obviously, in areas where there is a lot of destruction. They are moving forward now to look at how they can make the Kosovo economy self-sustaining in the longer term. I think it would be fair to say that the operation is perhaps more coherent than it was in early stages."[216] On the EU side, Chris Patten told us that "So far we have committed about 800 million [euro] in Kosovo towards reconstruction. We have contracted about 70 per cent of that and spent about 40 per cent, which are good figures for any development agency."[217] He went on to say that "We have concentrated on the energy sector and, in particular, on the rehabilitation of one of the almost medieval power stations which has been serving Kosovo."[218]


108. The Trepca mine complex is one of the most important and difficult issues for the international administration in Kosovo. Depending upon which calculations are used, it employed from 10,000 to 40,000 people before the conflict in Kosovo. The complex of about 40 mines produces gold, silver, lead, zinc, and cadmium. The metallurgical, mine and other industrial facilities may, at their peak, have accounted for 80 per cent of Kosovo's economy. The complex is located in the Mitrovica region,[219] and there are major portions of the complex in both Serb-majority areas, and Albanian-majority areas. It was a significant source of hard currency earnings for Milosevic and associates. The Trepca workforce has in the past included both Kosovo Albanians and Serbs, but the management has been in the hands of Serbs since 1981-82. It has also produced significant pollution, and poses a public health risk in the Mitrovica area. Because of controversy over the emissions from Trepca, UNMIK took over the complex in August 2000. Since then Trepca's operations have been largely shut down, and Kosovo Albanian and Serb workers have been employed in cleaning up the site. The challenge now for UNMIK is to restructure the complex's operations so that it is economically viable, environmentally sound, and, as far as possible, meets the expectations of the Albanians and the Serbs. The FCO informed us that a study by independent consultants will report soon, and UNMIK's plans will be announced shortly thereafter. However, the FCO warns that "modern production methods may mean that far fewer people will be employed there in the future."[220]

109. Trepca is the most significant example of assets in Kosovo which have contested ownership. The issue is not simply one of ownership: some argue that the Serbs remain liable for deals signed prior to UNSCR 1244. In May 1997, Serbian mining company officials were reported to have signed a five-year agreement worth $517 million with a Greek company.[221] We heard during our visit to Belgrade that members of the new administration in Belgrade fear that they may remain liable for this or other deals entered into by the Milosevic regime. We recommend that the Government urge UNMIK to consult closely with Belgrade before taking any decision as to the future of the Trepca mine complex.

Security in Kosovo: a half-hearted protectorate?

110. At the most basic level, security in Kosovo depends upon KFOR. UNSCR 1244 mandates KFOR with "ensuring public safety and order until the international civil presence can take responsibility for this task."[222] The FCO notes that "the biggest challenges for the international community in creating a functioning society in Kosovo are organised crime and the effective administration of law and order."[223] The security situation has improved since the arrival of KFOR in June 1999, although the improvement has been gradual since the summer of 1999, and the murder rate remains high. The FCO informed us that "the murder rate has fallen from 50 per week in June 1999 to around two per week (November 2000)."[224] Other statistics provided by UNMIK tend to confirm that murder is declining, albeit not so dramatically as the FCO figures suggest (any comparison with June 1999 will tend to flatter, given that this month saw the end of the NATO bombing campaign and the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees): in the first six months of 2000 there were 143 murders; in the next six months there were 103.[225] There are no statistics available yet for 2001, but it appears from news reports that there has been an upsurge of violence since the beginning of the year.

111. The FCO also informed us that "between July 1999 and October 2000, 350 of 665 murders (and attempted murders) were against ethnic minorities, while 331 were against Kosovo far the majority of crime, including a proportion of inter-ethnic crime, is now related to 'conventional' criminal activity."[226] We discuss inter-ethnic violence below.[227] Much of the "conventional" crime relates to the grey economy. The FCO has written that "the activities of local criminal groupings should not be looked at in isolation from the larger picture of Albanian-organised crime throughout the region. Reliable crime statistics are not yet produced within the region, but the Government estimates that 60-70 per cent of Albania's $5bn GDP is generated by criminal activities, and the figure for Kosovo is likely to be higher."[228]

112. We heard anecdotal evidence during our visit which was consistent with this assessment. One example concerns construction in Pristina. There are 5,000-7,000 buildings currently being built in Pristina, and only 30 licences have been issued: this lack of regulation creates difficulties for utility provision, planning difficulties, fire hazards, and many other problems. In September 2000, UNMIK had attempted to enforce the licensing of new construction. Dr Karin von Hippel told us that KFOR had initially not wanted to get involved in this enforcement task.[229] Eventually, the UNMIK Director for Urban Development, Mr Rexhep Luci, was shot and killed, apparently because UNMIK's efforts to control the building regime were depriving the so-called mafia of revenue. The new licensing policy fizzled out.

113. This incident would appear to indicate the limits of the international administration's authority in Kosovo. We understand that UNMIK needs to proceed carefully and pragmatically in bringing the informal economy into the formal economy. Dr von Hippel told us that "what we were trying to do in UNMIK was to try and change slowly, slowly, without losing some of our own people...we have to start taxing these hotels that are now mafia rackets, and maybe you do not start out with the Grand Hotel at first, but you start out with smaller hotels and then take those bigger hotels. This will do a lot to undermine some of the mafia elements."[230] It is possible to draw a distinction between activities which would be illegal in most jurisdictions (for example, trafficking in people, drugs) and activities which would be broadly legal but which have not yet been brought into the ambit of the authorities in Kosovo (such as construction). It is not surprising that, in a province where Kosovo Albanians saw the Serb authorities as illegitimate, and where they were excluded from many professions, much economic activity is not regulated or taxed.

114. As the international mission attempts to improve its finances by collecting revenue in the province, so it will tend to come more and more into conflict with those that control the informal and illegal economy. Jonathan Steele told us that KFOR has "to start arresting some of the leaders of these protection rackets who are terrorising people in the housing estates and so on. That has to be the way forward, so that this culture of impunity is broken finally and some well known senior figures are locked up."[231] While we recognise that the mission in Kosovo must move carefully in extending its control over the informal sector of the economy, in the long term a failure to address the sources of criminals' finance creates the risk that, when the international mandate ends in Kosovo, real power will not be in the hands of a democratically elected government, but in the hands of gangsters. We conclude that although the security situation has improved in Kosovo, there are a number of areas where the level of violence remains unacceptable. While the international administration and troops in Kosovo do their best to contain this violence, their effectiveness is limited by some elements of those forces giving top priority to force protection. This priority is understandable, but places power in the hands of extremists, who will doubtless be aware that the international force's unwillingness to take casualties gives them great scope to pursue their aims. We recommend that the Government work with its partners in the UN to take steps to strengthen significantly UNMIK's fragile hold on Kosovo.


115. KFOR has now reached its full strength of 50,000 troops. Although KFOR's presence helps to create a general climate of security, its specific public order tasks have been reduced over time, as the police have been able to take over patrolling in most areas of Kosovo and investigation of incidents in all areas. We deal below with the exceptions to the general improvement in security: the Presevo valley and Mitrovica, and the other Serb enclaves.[232] Overall the effectiveness of KFOR is limited by its fragmented structure: as KFOR's former second in command, General German Klaus Reinhardt told Die Welt on 19 June 2000, "one of the most important things I have learnt in Kosovo is that the man who is KFOR commander, in fact doesn't have anything to command."[233] We heard anecdotal evidence during our visit that force protection (i.e. avoiding KFOR casualties) was the top priority for a number of the contingents in Kosovo, severely reducing their impact. We also heard praise for KFOR: "We have a very good overall military force in Kosovo which is primarily European. Most of them are very highly trained..."[234] This stands in contrast to the international police in Kosovo, which, as we note below, is drawn from 66 different countries around the world.

116. It is striking that there are more than ten times more KFOR troops in Kosovo than there are international police. While it is clearly part of the process of normalisation of Kosovo that the military should step back from maintaining day-to-day security, this should not prevent KFOR from intervening where necessary. Military-civil relations are reported to be better in Kosovo than in Bosnia: former UNMIK deputy chief Jock Covey, who had experience of Bosnia, has said that the words "mission creep" were never employed by KFOR[235] in its relations with the UN, in contrast to NATO's behaviour in the initial stages of Dayton implementation.[236] However, as we identify elsewhere,[237] there are certainly cases where KFOR has been reluctant to intervene.


117. Maintaining security in Kosovo is also one of the central tasks of the civilian UN mission. UNSCR 1244 mandates the civil administration with "Maintaining civil law and order, including establishing local police forces and meanwhile through the deployment of international police personnel to serve in Kosovo."[238] There are currently around 4,500 international police working in Kosovo, slightly below the establishment strength.[239] Of these, 62 are RUC officers, 55 are Ministry of Defence Police officers, and 19 are police and specialist officers in the Criminal Intelligence Unit.[240] The United Kingdom has also provided Civilian Police Commissioner Albiston, who runs the international force in Kosovo, and whom we met during our visit. The police's aim is to establish a culture of "normal policing" in Kosovo. Dr von Hippel told us that some of the police on this mission "come from countries that are not very strong in policing, so whenever you involve the UN in operations you have to bring in police from places that are not necessarily as good. They need a lot of support."[241] Our visit very much confirms the view that a significant proportion of the police from the 66 countries of the international force are not of a high standard. We conclude that the international police force in Kosovo is being asked to perform an extremely difficult policing task with inadequate staff. We recommend that the FCO confront the UN with the failings of the international police in Kosovo and work with UN headquarters to address these failings.

118. Our previous Kosovo report made a number of recommendations about the United Kingdom contribution to the international police contingent in Kosovo. The Government responded to these, and we followed these up with further questions, to which the Government has once again responded.[242] The thrust of our recommendations has been that the FCO should make efforts to enlarge the United Kingdom contingent in Kosovo as part of the United Kingdom's contribution to achieving the mandate established by UNSCR 1244. One of our recommendations encouraged the FCO to seek the UN secretariat's approval for retired officers with firearms training to be allowed to join the mission in Kosovo. The UN secretariat provided its approval, and the FCO wrote in August 2000 that "the Government is now exploring the practicalities of how it can make best use of this decision. It should be noted, however, that the pool of retired police officers with firearms training will be relatively small."[243] We welcome the decision of the UN Secretariat to allow recently retired police officers with firearms training to serve in Kosovo. We recommend that the FCO take steps to bring this opportunity to the attention of retired officers.

119. Another of our recommendations encouraged the FCO to find ways of drawing upon firearms trained officers from beyond the RUC and the Military Police. Commissioner Albiston made clear to us that he would welcome additional United Kingdom officers, from any police force. The FCO have informed us that there is no legal barrier to doing this, but that the Association of Chief Police Officers's (ACPO) "present policy is not to provide armed officers performing executive tasks to international peacekeeping missions."[244] We believe that ACPO should review this policy, particularly in the light of Commissioner Albiston's comments. We recommend that the FCO encourage ACPO to change its policy and allow armed officers to perform executive tasks in international peacekeeping missions.

120. One of our previous recommendations concerned the fight against organised crime in Kosovo. The FCO responded to this recommendation by writing in August 2000 that "the Government is taking the lead in establishing a Criminal Intelligence Unit within the UN Police in Kosovo, which will act as a centre for the collation and processing of information, including from sensitive sources, about serious crime and organised criminal networks in Kosovo. The British Government plans to second 20 specialists to this Unit. The Unit should be established within the next couple of months [i.e. in September 2000]."[245] We heard during our visit to Kosovo that the new head of the Unit had had considerable difficulties in obtaining office space and furniture, and that this had delayed the establishment of the unit. This compounded the delay which had already occurred, from September 2000. We welcome the establishment of the Criminal Intelligence Unit, and the support that the Government has provided for it. However, we are concerned by the delay in its establishment and recommend that the FCO explain the reasons for this delay.

121. In the longer term, the EU is attempting to improve its capacity to respond to the civilian aspects of crises. At the Helsinki and Feira Summits,[246] in December 1999 and June 2000 respectively, the European Council reported that the EU had produced an inventory of resources relevant for non-military crisis management, and set a target of being able to deploy 1,000 police within 30 days, and, by 2003, 5,000 police. The Swedish Presidency will report to the Gothenburg summit on progress in meeting these objectives. The UN, with the Brahimi report,[247] (also known as the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations), recommends among other things, that Member States should maintain lists of "on-call" judicial, penal and police officers. While the international police in Kosovo have improved in the past twelve months, it has taken a long time to reach the current level of performance. We recommend that the Government do all it can to carry forward the Feira conclusions and the recommendations in the Brahimi report on the strengthening of international policing missions.


122. The Kosovo Police Service (KPS) is currently 3,500 strong, and the aim is to bring it up to 4,000. According to the FCO, the KPS is "gaining strength, experience and effectiveness."[248] 10 per cent of the KPS are Serb, and 8 per cent other minorities.[249] This inclusion of minorities is welcome. However, in the current situation it is only possible to deploy Serb police in Serb enclaves, and this does not include Mitrovica, where the KPS are viewed as KFOR stooges.

123. The Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) was established as a civilian organisation in 1999 to absorb and help with the demobilisation of the KLA. The FCO has written that "the KPC has carried out a significant number of useful duties in the civil sector, including reconstruction and humanitarian relief...the activities of the KPC are closely monitored by UNMIK and KFOR, and the numbers of incidents of non-compliance by KPC members is low."[250] Jennifer Wilson—former demilitarisation policy advisor to UNMIK—argued in evidence to us that through the KPC, the KLA has entered into a "highly structured arrangement [with KFOR]", that it has "taken off its uniforms" and "began to turn in its weapons." She goes on to argue that "despite continuing instability in the region involving the FRY, the KLA leadership has not been the source of violence."[251] Members of the KPC see themselves as the core of a future army of Kosovo, and our interlocutors in Kosovo were clear that it was entirely possible that the KPC undertook military training, unmonitored by KFOR or UNMIK. According to Jennifer Wilson, the KPC appears to have met its primary aim, in that "the bulk of the KLA has left the battlefield and begun transformation."[252] However, we heard allegations during our visit that former KLA members are now involved in protection rackets and in insurgencies in the Presevo valley and Macedonia. It is difficult to ascertain the accuracy of these allegations.


124. It was apparent during our visit to Kosovo in March 1999 that one of the most important challenges facing the administration in Kosovo was reestablishing the judicial and penal systems. We heard much during our recent visit to suggest that there were still serious problems in this area. One of the problems from the outset has been that, because of Kosovo's legal status as a constituent part of Yugoslavia, the UN legal department insisted that Yugoslav law remained valid in Kosovo. This led to a boycott of the judicial system by Kosovo Albanian judges, until December 1999, when UNMIK agreed that the law of Kosovo should be the law which existed in Kosovo prior to the province's loss of autonomy in 1989, with modifications to take account of international human rights standards.

125. The main constraint since then, according to the International Crisis Group (an NGO with expertise in Kosovo), has been the poor security climate in Kosovo. This has meant that Kosovo Albanian judges and prosecutors are unwilling to take cases which involve ex-KLA fighters, for fear of intimidation. Another issue has been the problem of Kosovo Albanian judges presiding over cases involving Serbs. According to two experts in the area there has been "well-documented evidence not only of judicial bias but also, probably as importantly, of perceived bias."[253] This is not surprising given that "few families remain who have not lost members to the other side".[254] One short term solution is to introduce more international judges: there are currently 12, and five international prosecutors.[255]

126. Appointing international judges can only be a short term palliative, and eventually a self-sustaining system must be established. Clearly training is part of the answer to this problem: the OSCE has been conducting training for 100 local judges.[256] But as long as there is a large backlog of serious cases, and difficulties with local judges taking certain types of case, there is an argument for increasing the number of international judges. The Foreign Secretary made a joint statement with the UN Secretary General in March 2000 which offered judicial assistance to Kosovo. Mr Cook said that he expected "shortly to see at least a dozen, perhaps more, of the British legal profession working to help bring justice to Kosovo. The first should arrive before the end of next month."[257] 70 firm applications by members of the Bar and the judiciary were made to go to Kosovo for at least 6 months, but only two of these applications were accepted.[258] Alan Charlton of the FCO told us that "it is highly positive that so many people from Britain have volunteered to go"[259] and went on to say that "this is a decision for UNMIK and New York and we have been pressing this very point ourselves."[260] At the Committee's request, Mr Vaz has asked the United Kingdom Mission in New York to take up the question of providing more resources for international judges.[261] We recommend that the FCO continue to press UNMIK and UN headquarters in New York to consider members of the United Kingdom legal profession for positions in Kosovo. We welcome the FCO's effort to bring up this issue again with the UN authorities, and wish to see the results of this as soon as they are available.

202   While other areas such as East Timor have been subject to similar UN administration, no other such area has as large a population as Kosovo, around 2 million. Back

203   United Nations Mission in Kosovo. See UNMIK homepage: Back

204 Back

205   Q231. Back

206   Q256. Back

207   Appendix 9, p.99. Back

208   See para. 117. Back

209   Tom Koenigs, Deputy Special Representative, Civil Administration, UNMIK. Back

210   Q254. Back

211   Also known as the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations. Report available on: Back

212   Q237. Back

213   See para. 112. Back

214   Ibid. Back

215   Ev. p.31. Back

216   Q116. Back

217   Q236. Back

218   Q237. Back

219   See paras 135-6. Back

220   Ev. p.60. Back

221 Back

222, para 9 (d). Back

223   Ev. p.26. Back

224   Ev. p.32. Back

225   Statistics available at: Back

226   Ev. p.32. Back

227   See paras. 127ff. Back

228   Ev. p.37. Back

229   Q92. Back

230   Q90. Back

231   Q87. Back

232   See paras. 147ff and 135-6. Back

233   Quoted in Kosovo Report Card, ICG Balkans Report no 100, p.20, 28 August 2000, available at Back

234   Q92, Dr Karin von Hippel.  Back

235   NATO Kosovo Force. See KFOR homepage: Back

236   Quoted in Kosovo Report Card, ICG Balkans Report no 100, p.8, 28 August 2000, available at Back

237   See para. 112. Back

238, para 11 (i). Back

239   4,521 out of an establishment of 4,718 as at 8 February 2001. Information provided by UNMIK Civilian Police Commissioner Albiston. Back

240   Ev. p.33. Back

241   Q84. Back

242   Ev. p.33. Back

243   Government response.  Back

244   Ev. p.33. Back

245   Government response. Back

246   Conclusions available on: Back

247   Report available on Back

248   Ev. p.26. Back

249   Figures provided by Commissioner Albiston Back

250   Ev. p.26. Back

251   Appendix 4, p. 88. Back

252   Appendix 4, p. 89. Back

253   The Times, 13 February 2001, Alexander Duma and Roger Thorn, QC. Back

254   ibidBack

255   Ev. p.60. Back

256 Back

257 Back

258   Ev. p.60. Back

259   Q134. Back

260   Q135. Back

261   Ibid. Back

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