Intermediate Sovereignty as a Basis for Resolving the Kosovo Crisis
Intermediate Sovereignty as a Basis for Resolving the Kosovo Crisis
Table of Contents
  1. Executive Summary
How to Relaunch the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue
How to Relaunch the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue
Report 46 / Europe & Central Asia

Intermediate Sovereignty as a Basis for Resolving the Kosovo Crisis

To promote a resolution of the Kosovo crisis, the international community should propose arrangements granting the people of Kosovo the status of intermediate sovereignty.

Executive Summary

To promote a resolution of the Kosovo crisis, the international community should propose arrangements granting the people of Kosovo the status of intermediate sovereignty.  The status of intermediate sovereignty would entail arrangements whereby the people of Kosovo would be entitled to exercise specified sovereign rights, while retaining specified links to the self-proclaimed Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and committing to respect fundamental principles of international law, for a period of three to five years.  After this period, Kosovo would be entitled, subject to an internationally conducted referendum within Kosovo, to seek recognition from the international community.

During the interim period, the people of Kosovo would exercise complete legislative, executive and judicial control over their internal affairs relating to economic development, internal security, education, taxation, extraction and processing of natural resources, transportation, health care, media and news broadcasting, cultural development, and the protection of minority rights.  The people of Kosovo would also be entitled to begin to conduct their own international affairs and appoint international representatives.

In exchange for the exercise of these rights, Kosovo would be required to implement specific guarantees that it would protect the rights of all minority populations within its territory, respect the territorial integrity of neighboring states such as Macedonia and Albania, renounce any intention of political or territorial association with Albania, and accept its borders as confirmed by the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution.  Kosovo representatives would also participate in the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the degree necessary to ensure an effective transition to its own international status.

To ensure the protection of the rights of the inhabitants of Kosovo, both Albanian and Serbian, international monitors from the OSCE and EU, as well as independent non-governmental organizations, would be entitled to establish monitoring missions and would be accorded complete and unrestricted access to Kosovo and be required to publicly report their findings.  In addition to monitoring the protection of human rights, these organizations would certify the complete withdrawal from Kosovo within six months of all Yugoslav and Republic of Serbia military, paramilitary and police forces, as well as any other external forces.

At the end of this interim period the criteria for recognition of Kosovo would include the traditional legal criteria of territory, population, government and capacity to conduct international relations, as well as the additional political criteria of whether it had fulfilled its commitment to protect the rights of all minority populations within its territory, respected the territorial integrity of Macedonia and Albania, rejected any political or territorial association with Albania, and maintained the status of its borders.  Once recognized by the international community, Kosovo would remain bound by these commitments, and would revoke its participation in the Yugoslav federal government.

This approach to a peaceful resolution of the Kosovo crisis is based on principles of international law, which provide that all self-identified groups with a coherent identity and connection to a defined territory are entitled to collectively determine their political destiny in a democratic fashion, and to be free from systematic persecution.  In cases where self-identified groups are effectively denied their right to democratic self-government and are consequently subjected to gross violations of their human rights, they are entitled to seek their own international status in order to ensure the protection of those rights.

The case for intermediate sovereignty is further supported by:

  1. the legal and factual similarity between Kosovo and the other Republics of the former Yugoslavia which were deemed by the international community to be entitled to international recognition;
     
  2. the legal precedent of earned recognition established by the international community in recognizing Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia;
     
  3. the fact that Yugoslavia has dissolved, and the international community has rejected Serbia/Montenegro’s claim to continue its international legal personality;
     
  4.  the historical fact that Kosovo, while legitimately part of Yugoslavia, has never been legitimately incorporated into Serbia;
     
  5.  the fact that the people of Kosovo have been subjected to ethnic aggression; and 6) recent precedent set by the Russian/Chechen Accords and the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement. 

How to Relaunch the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue

Online Event to discuss Crisis Group's report "Relaunching the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue", in which we discussed what currently stands in the way of a new status quo and what it will take to relaunch the process with the Pristina elections in view.

Thirteen years after Kosovo broke away from Serbia, the two countries remain mired in mutual non-recognition, with deleterious effects on both. The parties need to move past technicalities to tackle the main issues at stake: Pristina’s independence and Belgrade’s influence over Kosovo’s Serbian minority.

In this conversation, we discussed what currently stands in the way of a new status quo and what it will take to relaunch the process with the Pristina elections in view.

How to Relaunch the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue (Online Event, 28th January 2021)

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