By its resolution 1244 of 10 June 1999, the Security Council decided on the deployment in Kosovo, under United Nations auspices, of international civil and security presences.
The Council authorized the Secretary-General, with the assistance of relevant international organizations, to establish an international civil presence in Kosovo – the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) – in order to provide an interim administration for Kosovo under which the people of Kosovo “can enjoy substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and which will provide transitional administration while establishing and overseeing the development of provisional democratic self-governing institutions to ensure conditions for a peaceful and normal life for all inhabitants of Kosovo.” Originally, the main responsibilities of UNMIK included:
- Promoting the establishment, pending a final settlement, of substantial autonomy and self-government in Kosovo;
- Performing basic civilian administrative functions where and as long as required;
- Organizing and overseeing the development of provisional institutions for democratic and autonomous self-government pending a political settlement, including the holding of elections;
- Transferring, as these institutions are established, its administrative responsibilities while overseeing and supporting the consolidation of Kosovo’s local provisional institutions and other peacebuilding activities;
- Facilitating a political process designed to determine Kosovo’s future status, taking into account the Rambouillet accords [S/1999/648 ];
- In a final stage, overseeing the transfer of authority from Kosovo’s provisional institutions to institutions established under a political settlement;
- Supporting the reconstruction of key infrastructure and other economic reconstruction;
- Supporting, in coordination with international humanitarian organizations, humanitarian and disaster relief aid;
- Maintaining civil law and order, including establishing local police forces and meanwhile through the deployment of international police personnel to serve in Kosovo;
- Protecting and promoting human rights;
- Assuring the safe and unimpeded return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes in Kosovo.
The responsibilities of the international security presence in Kosovo (NATO-led Kosovo Force/KFOR) included:
- Deterring renewed hostilities, maintaining and where necessary enforcing a ceasefire, and ensuring the withdrawal and preventing the return into Kosovo of Federal and Republic military, police and paramilitary forces;
- Demilitarizing the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and other armed Kosovo Albanian groups;
- Establishing a secure environment in which refugees and displaced persons can return home in safety, the international civil presence can operate, a transitional administration can be established, and humanitarian aid can be delivered;
- Ensuring public safety and order until the international civil presence can take responsibility for this task;
- Supervising demining until the international civil presence can, as appropriate, take over responsibility for this task;
- Supporting, as appropriate, and coordinating closely with the work of the international civil presence;
- Conducting border monitoring duties as required;
- Ensuring the protection and freedom of movement of itself, the international civil presence, and other international organizations.
Following the declaration of independence by the Kosovo authorities on 17 February and the entry into force of the new constitution on 15 June 2008, the tasks of UNMIK have significantly been modified with its configuration changed and the number of personnel reduced accordingly [S/2008/692 , S/2008/354 , S/PRST/2008/44 , S/2009/300 ].
Since then, the objective of the Mission has been the promotion of security, stability and respect for human rights in Kosovo through engagement with all communities in Kosovo, with the leadership in Pristina and Belgrade, and with regional and international actors, including the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Meanwhile, KFOR has remained on the ground to provide necessary security presence in Kosovo.