Logo Assembly Logo Hemicycle

Crisis in Kosovo and situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Recommendation 1414 (1999)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 23 June 1999 (20th and 21st Sitting) (see Doc. 8449, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteurs: MM. Bársony and Bloetzer, Doc. 8451, opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Akçali, and Doc. 8452, opinion of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, rapporteur: Mr Iwinski). Text adopted by the Assembly on 23 June 1999 (21st Sitting).
1. The Assembly welcomes the agreement on a political solution to the Kosovo crisis based on the principles proposed by the G8, and the resulting withdrawal of Yugoslav military, police and paramilitary forces from Kosovo. It further welcomes the adoption of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1244 (1999), deciding the deployment in Kosovo of an international civil and security presence.
2. The Assembly pays tribute to the diplomatic efforts undertaken by the President of Finland, Mr Ahtisaari, as special representative of the European Union, Mr Chernomyrdin, special envoy of Russia’s President Yeltsin, and Mr Talbott, US Deputy Secretary of State. It deeply regrets, however, that the Yugoslav authorities only accepted a political solution following the intensive use of military force by Nato.
3. The Assembly notes that, under UNSC Resolution 1244, the Kosovo Military Implementation Force (KFOR) is ensuring a security presence and that the United Nations Secretary General is setting up, on an interim basis, a civil presence, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), led by Mr Sergio Vieira de Mello as the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative.
4. The Assembly considers that the reconstruction of Kosovo and the establishment of democratic self-governing institutions will be an immense and difficult task, which will require an enormous and concerted effort by all states and international organisations involved. The Council of Europe has an important contribution to make together with other organisations such as the UNHCR, the UNIFEM, the OSCE and the European Union, and should therefore be properly represented in the UNMIK.
5. The Assembly considers that the voluntary, orderly return and reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons in safety and security constitute an essential element of the reconstruction of Kosovo. The efforts undertaken by UNHCR and other intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations should be widely supported and generously financed by Council of Europe member states.
6. The Assembly expresses its horror at the mounting evidence of mass executions and other atrocities such as the systematic violation of women’s dignity, carried out by Yugoslav forces in Kosovo. It strongly supports the efforts of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to collect evidence and bring those responsible to justice.
7. The Assembly is deeply concerned about the mass urgent departure of the Kosovo Serbian population. These people should be guaranteed adequate protection.
8. The Assembly considers that there can be no stability in the region before genuine democratic reforms take place in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However, this will not be possible as long as Mr Milos?evic´ and other indicted war criminals remain in power. The Assembly therefore calls on the people of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia openly to support such reforms. Besides providing humanitarian assistance, the international community should also support democratic forces and the free media.
9. The Assembly, in this context, welcomes and supports the courageous position taken by the Government of Montenegro during the conflict. As its policy is to be a catalyst for change within the whole Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Government of Montenegro should be able to count on the full support, and material assistance, of the international community.
10. The Assembly is highly appreciative of the political contribution from Albania and "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", neighbours of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to safeguarding peace and stability in the region. These countries have dealt with the heavy burden of the crisis with exemplary calmness and generosity. The Assembly suggests that co-operation with Albania and "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and the aid to be channelled to them under the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe be priority issues.
11. The Assembly welcomes the adoption, at the initiative of the European Union, of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, in Cologne on 10 June 1999, with the Council of Europe as a full participant. The Organisation, including the Parliamentary Assembly, should now play a major role in its implementation, notably as regards democratisation and human rights.
12. The Assembly notes with satisfaction the adoption by the Committee of Ministers of a stability programme for south-eastern Europe, which contains both urgent action to assist returning refugees and displaced persons, and other civilian victims of the Kosovo conflict in the region, as well as longer term measures for the establishment of democratic institutions.
13. The Assembly considers that the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities has an important role to play in the establishment of local self-government in Kosovo, and welcomes the proposals made by the Congress in this respect.
14. The Assembly urges the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to implement fully the agreement with KFOR signed on 21 June 1999 requiring the KLA to disarm within ninety days. The Assembly condemns all attacks against the Serb civilian population as well as the threats made against the Russian component of the security presence. The KLA should refrain from acts of vengeance and work together with all political forces of the Kosovo Albanian population in the establishment of democratic institutions. Representatives of the Serbian population of Kosovo should be enabled and encouraged to participate fully in this process.
15. The Assembly calls on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to investigate the crimes allegedly committed by members of the KLA and to act accordingly.
16. Therefore, the Assembly:
a Resolves to organise a conference on the Parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact, to be held in the region in the coming months.
b Recommends that the Committee of Ministers :
16.2.1 concerning the implementation of the UNSC Resolution 1244, ensure:
a the proper representation of the Council of Europe in UNMIK at the level of Deputy Special Representative and an active role in the fields concerning human rights, and in particular children’s rights, local self-government, legal affairs, democratisation, rehabilitation of women victims of rape, civil affairs, and, in particular, culture and education, human resources and governance;
b a leading role for the Council of Europe as regards:
the monitoring of the human rights situation ;
the establishment of the Office of Ombudsman;
the development of political parties;
the training of judges;
the reform of curricula and the educational system
16.2.2 consider the opening of a Council of Europe office in Belgrade as soon as possible, with the task of contributing to the achievement of Council of Europe standards in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;
16.2.3 adapt its own stability programme to the new situation in Kosovo, to include the opening of a Council of Europe Office in Pristina;
16.2.4 ensure a major contribution by the Council of Europe in the implementation of the Stability Pact, notably as regards Working Tables I (Democratisation and Human Rights) and III (Security Issues).