Representative Bernard Kouchner:
Marks Six Months in Kosovo
13 December 1999
Six months in Kosovo. Many
people say we've been slow, but slow to do what? Does anyone remember
what we found here six months ago? Empty streets. Shuttered shops.
No water. No work. Smoking ruins. Murders in the open streets. Dead
bodies and piles of garbage. Not a newspaper to buy. Not even a
loaf of bread. Not a child in school. No fields safe to plow. Most
of the livestock lost. No one in charge.
With a small team we had
to assess what we had and what was lost: essential parts for the
water supply system, crucial power lines, records, cash, the telephone
system, the post office, printing presses and radio stations, one
third of the houses, several key bridges, the railroad--and the
entire management structure of the territory--all were destroyed,
damaged, or gone.
We also came face to face
with the trauma of an entire population who had been terrified and
hounded out of their homes or into hiding. And then we faced the
hatred which this experience unleashed. There was little acknowledgment
of what these people had just endured, and true justice still has
not been done. Some took justice into their own hands, and this
we have condemned.
Please remember all of this
when you measure how far we have come
when you ask, what does
it take to create an autonomous, democratic administration.
- It takes education:
86 percent of Kosovo's children are in schools, 250 of which have
been repaired. We furnished them with tens of thousands of desks,
chairs and schoolbags. New textbooks were published in Albanian,
Serbian, Bosnian and Turkish.
- It takes a health system:
All hospitals and basic health services are now functioning in Kosovo,
and nearly all children have been inoculated against childhood diseases.
Drugs, blankets, laboratory supplies, generators and soap are being
purchased. By next month, every health institution will have a Kosovar
director and co-director.
- It takes money: donors
in Brussels last month committed more than $1 billion to reconstruction
projects for the year 2000and $88 million towards a Kosovo budget
estimated at $515 million for 1999/2000.
- But an administration must
have its own revenues: Our Customs Service, begun in August,
has raised more than 25 million Deutsche marks and is being expanded
with more Customs officers working 24 hours a day on the borders.
Taxes are about to be collected. 50,000 public workers have been
paid stipends twice and will start receiving salaries next year.
- It takes a banking system
and financial policy to use the money wisely: In the Central
Fiscal Authority we have a finance ministry. In the Banking and
Payments Bureau, the equivalent of a Central Bank. The first commercial
bank should open before the end of the year. A micro-credit institution
is to make loans to individuals and small businesses. By legalizing
the Deutsche Mark, we have laid a sound basis for the economy.
- It takes a functioning physical
infrastructure: We have electricity and heat for the winter,
thanks to our repairs to the power system. Power lines are also
being repaired and roads repaved. Bridges are being reconstructed
and garbage collected.
- It takes housing:
120,000 houses were damaged or destroyed by war, however everyone
will be sheltered for the winter.
- It takes communications:
a mobile telephone system has been contracted to supply low-cost
and widespread communications while the land-line system is being
repaired. Soon we'll have Kosovo postage stamps and a functioning
post system. Public service television and radio are on the air.
- It takes the organization
of a democratic civil society: Marriage, birth and death certificates
are issued, as well as licenses for small businesses and construction
projects. The travel documents will soon be formalized, so that
Kosovars can travel, and thousands of vehicles have been registered
and bear our new license plates. Civil registration of the entire
population will begin in the next two weeks.
- It takes the participation
of local community leaders. UNMIK administrators in all five regions
and 29 municipalities work closely with their Kosovar counterparts
and multi-party municipal councils are being formerd. Women are
being asked to participate: A Kosovo Women's Initiative has begun
with a $10 million budget.
- It takes Security and
a System of Law: 24 regulations have been passed (list attached).
Kosovo has been demilitarized and the KPC is about to be constituted
as a civilian emergency response agency. The second class of cadets
are attending the Kosovo Police Service School in Vucitrn. The first
class are on the streets, patrolling with UNMIK Police.
- However, today, on the occasion
marking UNMIK's six months in Kosovo, we are facing an increase
in criminality while we lack a functioning legal system.
To turn around this unfortunate intersection of trends, I am
announcing today several new initiatives, in the police and
in the judiciary.
- In five months, only 35
trials--and only in Prizren--have been completed while more than
400 murders have been committed. Why? Because of a culture of
silence keeping witnesses from testifying and because our 48
emergency judges and prosecutors have refused to adjudicate on
the basis of Serbian law.
- Now, I am issuing a regulation
unblocking the question of what law to apply in Kosovo courts.
- The primary law of the land
will be the UNMIK regulations.
- These regulations will soon
include a new penal code for Kosovo, now being drafted by
Kosovar legal experts with the assistance of the Council of Europe.
- The second applicable law
will be the law in force in Kosovo on 22 March 1989.
- All laws must conform with
international human rights standards.
- In the next few days, I
will appoint 400 new judges and prosecutors, recommended
by the Judicial Advisory Commission, to the municipal, district,
appellate and supreme courts. I will also appoint lay judges
- respected members of the community - to lend objectivity to the
decisions of the courts.
- The Emergency Judiciary
has suffered from a lack of basic office equipment and facilities.
By early next year, all courts will have the means to work.
Courthouses in every municipality will be refurbished. Each
courthouse will be secured by guards. Every member of the
judiciary will receive a proper salary.
- One other important announcement:
The Technical Advisory Commission on the Judiciary, a group of 10
Kosovar and five international legal experts, has recommended the
establishment of a Kosovo Court for Human Rights, to be set
up early next year.
- This court will handle politically motivated and major human rights
cases. The Kosovo Court for Human Rights will fill the gap between
the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia and local courts.
Two-thirds of the judges and prosecutors will be Kosovars, the others,
- We were promised 4,800 international
police. We have only 1,800. We are developing a corps of 4,000 Kosovar
police. But they are just getting started, with some 170 Kosovo
Police Service cadets on the streets and another 175 about to graduate.
- We have seen the incidence
of serious crimes, which had been decreasing, shoot up in the past
two weeks. Luckily, this past week has been better.
- Because of this climate
of real and perceived insecurity, UNMIK and KFOR are developing
ways to improve and expand joint operations,-- to increase the number
and effectiveness of vehicle and foot patrols, vehicle checkpoints,
traffic control, surveillance and monitoring.
- In the meantime, UNMIK Police
and the KPS will continue police and investigative work, while the
tactical, protective and security work will be handled by combined
efforts of the Police and KFOR, with UNMIK Police taking the lead.
- Last week UNMIK took over
the prison in Prizren, hiring 60 Kosovar correctional officers.
Early next year UNMIK takes over the entire correctional system.
- A few detainees suspected
of extremely serious crimes are approaching six months in jail.
I am issuing a regulation allowing courts to extend the pretrial
detention of suspects beyond the current six-month limit.
Protection of Minorities
- The intervention by NATO
in Kosovo in the first place was to protect a minority and to ensure
the human rights of the oppressed and vulnerable. Our efforts
to do the same for the current minorities, particularly the Serbs,
- That is why I am launching
an Agenda for Co-existence . Its first objective is to establish
security, then peaceful co-existence. Unfortunately, reconciliation
and the creation of a genuine multi-ethnic society are not possible
today, but must wait for tomorrow.
- The Agenda also provides
safe access by minorities to essential public services. Facilities
will be established at the community level to guarantee access to
public services such as health and education.
- For example, UNMIK has already
approved the establishment of a surgical and a medical unit in Gracanica
to serve several minority communities in the Pristina region.
- With all these steps, Kosovo
should enter the new millennium as a more secure place, where crime
is not tolerated and where justice is available for all.