This article aims to examine the Kosovo Intervention, in order to examine it in a holistic framework, it is necessary to know its historical background.
Peacebuilding has developed around the principle of international peacekeeping, which is one of the basic elements of conflict and resolution ways in International Law. Peacebuilding and preservation is the creation of the conditions by the United Nations to permanently maintain peacekeeping and peace in countries torn by conflict.
The United Nations has adopted the consent of the parties not to use force other than neutrality, self-defense, and mandate defense for its mission of peacekeeping and maintenance. Global partnership is essential to maintain international peace and security. Apart from ensuring peace and security, peacekeeping operations aim to protect civilians, aid disarmament, aid disarmament and reintegration of ex-combatants and protect and promote human rights. (UNMIK, 2021).
To establish, protect and sustain international peace in a country, there should be very violent invasions, genocides, and interventions beforehand, and the need for peace should also need to protect and maintain this peace.
This article is intended to examine the Kosovo Intervention that took place in this context, but to be able to examine it in a holistic framework, it is necessary to know the historical background of the event. During the period of the Yugoslav Federation, Kosovo was a region within the Federal Republic of Serbia. The Constitution of Yugoslavia in 1974 granted autonomy to Kosovo. However, Milosevic, who became the then Serbian nationalist President in 1989, regained autonomy. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991; The bloody war that started in Croatia and then in Bosnia (1992-1995) also spread to Kosovo.
In 1998, clashes broke out between the Serbian police and the Kosovo Freedom Army. During this period, Milosevic’s army raided the villages of the Albanian people and killed civilians. Problems between Albanians and Serbs based on distorted autonomy caused the war, as both sides wanted to send each other out of Kosovo.
The United Nations Security Council established the United Nations Interim Administration Commission in Kosovo by creating an international civilian entity on 10 June 1999 to provide a temporary administration in Kosovo with its 1244 decision. In this context, UNSC has transferred the administration of the Kosovo region and its people to UNMIK, together with all legislative, executive, and judicial powers. With the enactment of its new constitution in 2008, the mandate of the UNMIK mission was revised based on the development of security, stability, and respect for human rights in Kosovo (UNMIK, 2021).
UNMIK Consists Of 4 Basic Bodies
The UN, which is responsible for providing civil administration, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is responsible for the institutional building process, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which is the body responsible for the return of refugees, and finally the European Union (EU), which is responsible for restructuring.
In addition to all these, NATO, which ended the war in the country with the air operation is carried out, carries out the military part of the reconstruction works in Kosovo.
By adopting the New Strategic Concept first in November 1991 and then in April 1999, NATO expanded its mandate and recorded the instability that terrorism, ethnic and religious conflicts will create for world peace and security. Thus, it paved the way for intervention to events that take place outside the geographical boundaries of its members, which are called non-alienation.
NATO’s Operation Against Kosovo
NATO’s operation against Kosovo launched on 24 March 1999 without a UN Security Council decision, and its success led to the continuation of NATO’s military presence in Kosovo, and the Kosovo Peace Force (KFOR), which was established on 10 June 1999 continued until today.
The Kosovo Intervention was the first example of the responsibility to protect using intervention as a last resort because the UNSC resolutions 1160, 1199, and 1203 brought no results at all. Although NATO’s intervention has sparked a lot of controversy in the context of international law and international relations, the impact of NATO on the Kosovo intervention and the subsequent peacekeeping mission is too obvious to be ignored.
As NATO stated in its 2001 report, the responsibility to protect considered “ethnic cleansing” and rape, which includes massive death and forced migration, as a justified reason for intervention in Kosovo. (Acar, 2015). However, the compliance of the intervention with the principle of proportionality of the responsibility to protect is doubtful.
The fact that the bombing lasted for 78 days, the planes flying too high, the death of nearly 500 civilians within the scope of the intervention, and the fact that 1,000,000 people left Kosovo contradict the principles that gave rise to protection, despite the damages it inflicted on civilians. Lack of authority in the intervention has also been discussed because in the formation of the “right authority”, which is the most important criterion of the Protection Responsibility, the lack of UNSC approval due to NATO’s intervention and in cases where a decision cannot be taken by the UN General Assembly, the regional organizations were tried to be solved.
However, the Kosovo intervention against a non-NATO state has been an example to explain in detail that the intervention of regional organizations for the Responsibility to Protection should be limited to its jurisdiction and its members. Thanks to this example of intervention, the rule of preventing the authority in the intervention from being made by a regional organization that has neither regional nor membership relations with the intervened region have been established.
The intention of NATO in the Kosovo intervention could have been considered correct in 2001 when it was created because the interventionists had no interest and there was a just cause. However, as Kosovo’s independence in 2008 violated the territorial integrity and political independence of the intervened state, YFC / Serbia, raised the suspicion that the intention of the intervention was actually to bring independence to Kosovo.
On the other hand, when it is considered that the aim of not returning Kosovo’s administration to Serbia is to prevent new revenge attacks and conflicts that may arise by reviving the historical enmity between Serbs and Albanians; The acceptance of Kosovo’s independence as part of its peacebuilding responsibility can be seen as another result. As a result, when the historical structure of Kosovo and the international system created today are evaluated, it is seen that NATO’s intervention in Kosovo has a very important role in the formation of Protection Responsibility with both six criteria and tripartite responsibility.
The clarification of these criteria in detail is aimed at the need to answer the questions raised by both the performance of the intervention and the discussions created by the intervention (Acar, 2015).
Kosovo Force (KFOR)
Kosovo Force (KFOR) is currently deployed in the Balkans to maintain a safe and stable atmosphere, freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo, and to promote the Western Balkans’ Euro-Atlantic integration, according to NATO’s official website. The United Nations, the European Union, and other international actors continue to support Kosovo’s growth into a prosperous, democratic, multi-ethnic, and peaceful state. The mission was established in 1999 as a peacekeeping mission, with a mandate derived from UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and international treaties.
Approximately 3,600 troops from 28 countries are currently helping to ensure that KFOR’s goals are accomplished. (KFOR,2021). The Kosovo Security Force has turned into a regular army two years ago, but the name was not changed to armed forces as intended. Kosovo’s lightly armed army will have 5,000 troops and 3,000 reserve soldiers charged with crisis management and civil defense operations in about ten years.
However, the country’s budget for 2021, which is set at 63.6 million euros ($ 78 million), does not provide much in the way of additional military forces or equipment without the assistance of the US (UNMIK, 2021).
Researcher by Sinem Manav