Magazine article UN Chronicle

Kosovo

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Kosovo

Article excerpt

Secretary-General Kofi Annan released his latest report on 9 June, marking the first anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Kosovo was "a far better place than a year ago," the Secretary General noted, although reconciliation was still far from a reality. Twelve months ago, he said, the country had been "a scene of chaos, economic ruin, extensive destruction, lawlessness, widespread retribution and in many parts largely empty of its population". Today, the economy was "remarkably vibrant", with 70 per cent of private enterprises restarted, and the construction sector booming. Essential infrastructure such as the water system and electricity had been maintained, and 841,000 refugees had returned to Kosovo.

However, some aspects of its society had not changed, Mr. Annan also noted. Kosovo Serbs and other minorities continued to be attacked and murdered, and ethnic hatred had also led to the murder of UNMIK staff members. An upsurge of vicious attacks on Kosovo Serbs, which "appear to be part of an orchestrated campaign", marked a deterioration in the security situation and undermined the confidence of Kosovo Serbs in the future. The international community's continued support for Kosovo was conditional on the full cooperation of all political parties there. "The international community did not intervene in Kosovo to make it a haven for revenge and crime", he said.

The challenges were still immense, the Secretary-General said. Unemployment remained at around 50 per cent, and all aspects of law and order needed to be urgently addressed. In order to remedy the partiality of the judicial system, more international judges and prosecutors were required. UNMIK's police needed to be reinforced and the police training programme accelerated so that responsibility for law and order rested on the local population. Greater efforts were needed to resolve the fate of missing persons and the detention of people from Kosovo in prisons in Serbia. …

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