The Kosovo Report: Conflict, International Response, Lessons Learned

By Independent International Commission on Kosovo | Go to book overview

1 The Origins of the Kosovo Crisis

The origins of ethnic conflict are often claimed to date back hundreds of years. Protagonists refer to great migrations, epic battles, and holy sites. The conflict over Kosovo is no exception. Although it is true that stories and myths surrounding Kosovo were kept alive for centuries in ballads and legends, it was only in the late nineteenth century that they were resurrected as part of the narratives of rival Serb and Albanian national movements. The twentieth-century history of Kosovo has been bloody, with episodes of mass expulsions and atrocities conducted both by Slavs and Albanians. Nevertheless, the latest round of violence cannot be explained merely by reference to this history.

The origins of the current crisis have to be understood in terms of a new wave of nationalism in the 1970s and 1980s, which made use of this history. Although Kosovo was populated mainly by Albanians, it was a symbol of nationalist aspirations for both Albanians and Serbs. The Albanian national movement was launched in Prizren/Prizren in 1878, and the incorporation of Kosovo into Serbia in 1912 was one of the bitter memories conjured up in subsequent years. For the Serbs, Kosovo was viewed as the holy place of the Serb nation, the place where the Serbian Army was defeated by the Turks in the famous Battle of Fushe Kosove/Kosovo Polje of June 1389 and the site of many of Serbia's

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The Kosovo Report: Conflict, International Response, Lessons Learned
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Kosovo Report iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Executive Summary 1
  • Address by Former President Nelson Mandela 14
  • Introduction 19
  • Part I - What Happened? 27
  • 1: The Origins of the Kosovo Crisis 33
  • 2: Internal Armed Conflict 67
  • 3: International War Supervenes 85
  • 4: Kosovo Under United Nations Rule 99
  • Part 2 - Analysis 129
  • 5: The Diplomatic Dimension 131
  • 6: International Law and Humanitarian Intervention 163
  • 7: Humanitarian Organizations and the Role of Media 201
  • 8: Kosovo: The Regional Dimension 227
  • 9: The Future Status of Kosovo 259
  • Part III - Conclusion 281
  • 10: Conclusion 283
  • Annexes 299
  • Annex 10 Index 369
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