Memorandum submitted by Ms Jennifer Wilson
1. At the close of the bombing campaign
in 1999, the KLA was armed, factionalized, and expectant of indepenence.
These aspirations were frustrated by UN Security Council Resolution
1244, which prohibited their army and gave no guarantee of future
independence. The threat of resumption of military action by KLA
guerrila units was real. The KLA demanded a role within Kosovo
society and KFOR and UNMIK were provided only with the restrictions
established by the international community.
2. Every option was considered to ensure
demilitarisation occured. Yet, the world has just watched the
Yugoslavian Army fail at every attempt at coercion, using methods
to which KFOR would never resort. Simply disarming the KLA was
not possible. After some negotiation, the KLA offered voluntary
demilitarisation through transformation. It was indisputably in
KFOR's interests to supervise a voluntary process. To this end,
NATO accepted a framework within which members of the KLA were
to give up their arms and military organisation in order to take
up civilian positions. Their options would include placement in
the private sector or competing for places in the Kosovo Police
Service. The central focus, however, was to be a civilian emergency
body into which the core of the KLA could be absorbed.
3. Clearly, while the KPC can make a real
contribution towards reconstruction, humanitarian, and other civilian
objectives, the overriding aim was and remains strategic: to bring
the former fighters into an organisation through which KFOR could
exert control, thus setting it aside as a serious threat to KFOR's
mission. This objective has been amply fulfilled. Although no
undefeated "army of liberation" had ever before been
voluntarily disarmed and civilianised, the KLA entered into a
highly structured arrangement, took off its uniforms, and began
to turn in its weapons. The core of the KLA is identified, regulted,
and engaged in the transformation process. They are not angels,
but the most serious threat to KFOR has been successfully contained
and reduced. We have much more information about how and with
whom they spend their time and the threat of returning large scale
mountain style fighting of the past is remote. We have a strong
commitment from and the support of the KPC leader, Agim Ceku.
We passed the FRY and Kosovar elections with no incidents involving
KPC and Mitrovica remains quiet. Despite continuing instability
in the region involving FRY, the KLA leadership has not been the
source of violence, as its key fighters are in the KPC under KFOR's
supervision. KFOR now confronts the UCPMB, a much smaller and
localised militaristic group. It is a warning, though. If the
KLA transformation process fails, the Presevo Valley struggle
may become the rallying point for Kosovar politicians and sympathetic
4. The KPC cannot exist in a holding pattern.
The promise to transform the former KLA into an emergency services
organisation must be realised. The KPC are eager to take on this
mission. Increasingly, they are intergrating into the civil structures
and we have already seen their commitment to responding to emergencies.
The military culture of the KPC is shallow. Few of its members
are career soldiers. Most were under arms for only a few weeks
or months. Most are receptive to good training and leadership.
Strategic objectives notwithstanding, every opportunity exists
for turning these young men from idle former fighters into competent
5. Throughout year 2000, the KPC remained
at home, undertaking reconstruction tasks, engaged in training,
putting out brush fires, and combating chemical spills in Mitrovica.
By June of 2001 there will be 20 operable chemical and forest
fire fighting teams, all of which are badly needed in the territory.
The KPC School of Civil Protection opened in fall 2000, enabling
KPC to conduct critical training. Yet, the support and technical
expertise provided largely by select nations needs to be expanded
to enable the KPC to develop key skills to manage site emergencies
and cope with complex chemical accidents and clean up. The KPC
requires restructuring in view of its more advanced technical
role. The training, managerial, and technical requirements are
growing. With support, KPC can fulfil a key need and ensure that
the transformation is substantive and permanent. To this end,
contributions in the form of training, infrastructure, equipment,
and technical expertise are urgently needed in Year 2001.
6. The KPC is not the civilian emergency
services organisation that UNMIK would have created nor is it
staffed with the personnel the UN would have recruited. For this
reason, since its inception, the financial burden of the KPC has
been born by voluntary contributions from the programme's beneficiariesthe
troop contributing nations. And it is the fraility of this voluntary
funding arrangement, and the continuing funding shortfalls, which
undermine the programme's effectiveness and signal a lack of international
support for transformation.
7. From January 2001, the KPC will be funded
from the Kosovo Consolidated Budget (KCB). This does not eliminate
the need for donor support. The programme is intended for 3,000
full time members, but due to KFOR's security concerns, the 2,000
reservists were activated and maintained in Year 2000. This is
a strategic cost, and it cannot be born by the KCB general fund.
When the KPC enters the KCB, it will do so without the 2,000 reservists
and with substancial reductions in its infrastructure, equipment,
and budgetary lines. If there is a strategic reason to sustain
the reservist aspect of the programme, it must be provided for
by the beneficiaries, the troop contributing nations.
8. The race to reintegrate Serbia into Europe
creates uncertainty and bitterness among the Kosovar Albanian
population. The activities in Eastern Kosovo are the best indicators
of this frustration. To date, the KPC leadership has not been
involved in these activities. Its leader, Agim Ceku, has expelled
memebers from the organisation for suspected involvement in militaristic
activities in Eastern Kosovo. For now, we have the continued commitment
of the leadership and the bulk of its membership not to engage
in these behaviours. Yet, the sudden release of 2,000 members
of the KPC from full time employment to unemployment during a
period of profound uncertainty about Kosovo's future, can only
exascerbate current frustrations.
9. Transformation is a process, not a ceremony.
Slow funding from the international community substantially delayed
the beginning of that process. Only in January 2000, were senior
leaders appointed; rank and file were inducted only in March.
Allegations about the behaviour of "KPC members" ignored
the fact that the KPC did not exist for more than six months after
formal demilitarisation in September 1999. The framework necessary
to hold KPC membersand their leadersaccountable
for their actions has existed for one year, but it has been riddled
with insecurity over funding support. Under KFOR supervision,
the transformation of this still-uneven cohort has been supported
by vigorous enforcement: discipline has already been applied,
including suspension or expulsion from KPC, as well as criminal
prosecution, where warranted. Criminal activities are of key concern
and the KPC provides the international community with a means
to address the criminal elements of the KLA through a structured
and organised programme, reinforcing a chain of command with strong
leadership. Criminal actors can be removed and prosecuted with
KLA support and without creating stand offs between the community
10. What has been achieved to date is entirely
reversible. Failure to sustain support for transformation
and with it, KFOR's framework for supervisionwould rapidly
erode the international community's influence over the former
fighters, risking failure of demilitarisation. Continued transformation
depends on extensive, relevant training and meaningful employment.
Neither is expensivea mere fraction of the cost of the
11. In closing, the demilitarisation programme
in Kosovo has partially met its strategic aim. The bulk of KLA
has left the battlefield and begun transformation. But, we are
not there yet. The transformation process is in its early stages
and one year on the KPC remains the key vehicle for sustainable
transformation. KPC must become a useful and functioning part
of the government if they are to be sustained and controlled.
The international community must support KFOR to ensure that there
is an alternate future for the ex-KLA members in the form of a
civillian emergency response programme. They are making real progress,
but your support remains essential.