Justice for peace

22/05/2000
Report
en fr

International Mission of Inquiry

For a full ten years Kosovo-Albanians have been deprived
of the most basic rights. Police stations, Kosovar prisons,
courtrooms and tribunals have become in the hands of
the Serb authorities, particularly in these last few years,
the favoured stage for discrimination and repression led
by the Belgrade government against the Albanian
community - the absolute reign of "no rights" in the heart
of Europe to serve the Serb nationalist cause and
strengthen Milosevic’s power, somewhat weakened after
his defeat in Bosnia.

On 24 March 1999, the Contact Group countries,
members of NATO, decided to use force in order to avoid
a repetition of the Bosnian tragedy and the
destabilisation of the whole region, and to make the
man of Belgrade give in. This decision came after the
failure of the Rambouillet Conference and the latter’s
refusal, right up to the end, to put an end to the
repression and ethnic cleansing which had assumed
frightening proportions since Autumn 1998 in spite of
the presence of the OSCE observers on the spot.
During the 79 days of NATO strikes on Serbia until
Milosevic’s capitulation, the Serb forces, police,
paramilitaries and militaries deployed in great numbers
in a Kosovo emptied of all foreign observers, indulged in
a long and premeditated, massive and brutal expulsion
of hundreds of thousands of Kosovo-Albanians to
Macedonia, Albania or Montenegro and murderous
exactions against the Albanian civilian population.
These 79 days of war were also characterised by the
indictment of Slobodan Milosevic and of four other
political and military leaders of Serbia or of the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia on 27 May 1999 by the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
(ICTY), for crimes against humanity and the violation of
the code and customs of war.

"The West cannot give in...we must impose a rule of law,
not one of murders and massacres. NATO would never
have intervened if Mr. Milosevic had not attacked the
Kosovars" said the German Foreign Affairs Minister
Joschka Fischer on 24 April 1999 in order to justify
Germany’s participation in an armed conflict within
NATO forces for the first time since the end of the
second world war.

That is, if this conflict involving the Allied Nations within
NATO was inter alia given the ign seal of law, as (in the
name of the new world judicial order where human rights
take priority and world citizens are raised to the rank of
subjects of international law), it challenged those rules
as fundamental to international law as the pre-eminence
of the Security Council in matters of order and peace
throughout the world, the sovereignty of nations and the
right of peoples, then the sanction of what is illicit by
using force assumes a form of legitimacy for those
involved in this action to restore justice and human
rights.

The indictment of a serving head of state for the first
time by the ICTY and his capitulation several days later
was also to say that in this new world order justice had
a role to play and that the impunity of serving heads of
state was a thing of the past.

For the first time in its history the United Nations found
itself entrusted, under the terms of resolution 1244
adopted on 10 June 1999 and working from within the
framework of an interim administration, with the mission
of setting a nation on the road to Democracy, and of
doing everything possible to ensure it’s smooth
operation. This took into account the half-measures,
which were no doubt frustrating for the Serb and
Albanian participants, contained in the UN resolution:-
the preservation of Kosovo within the borders of the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on the one hand, and the
allocation of a substantial autonomy to Kosovo on the
other which, as the Rambouillet agreement had already
anticipated - and to which the resolution expressly
referred - meant that Kosovo would have to be provided
with its own institutions.

Nine months after the entry of the KFOR and United
Nations representatives in Kosovo, the FIDH wished to
examine the human rights situation in Kosovo and more
specifically the action and decisions taken by the UN
administration up until the present time in setting up a
judicial system true to the spirit of resolution 1244,
international conventions, and the demands of a
Democracy, particularly in the area of respect for human
rights.

The mission took place from 31 March to 7 April 2000.
The official representatives visited Pristina, Pec (Peje),
Mitrovica (Mitrovicë), Prizren, Gracanica, Malishevë and
Velika Krusa (Krusa E Madhe). They are keen to express
their gratitude towards the many different people they
met within the Kosovo Albanian, Serb, and Turkish
communities, towards the OSCE, the UNMIK and the
KFOR representatives for the interviews which they so
willingly gave and for the help which everybody gave in
facilitating the smooth running of the mission.

The representatives are keen to express their gratitude
to Nérimane and Xyme Kamberi for having accompanied
them throughout the mission and to the Special Fund for
supporting the FIDH’s missions. Without its contribution
this mission could not have taken place.

Read more
rapport