This paper argues that the armed conflict in Kosovo illustrates that forced displacement resulting in both internally displaced persons and refugees is an intentional, deliberate strategy of the parties to the internal conflict, and not just a consequence or unintended effect of the hostilities between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. The escalation of hostilities was also framed by the international community’s lack of coherent conflict management strategy for Kosovo. The two principal assumptions guiding the international community’s policymaking – that separation and independence for Kosovo was not a legitimate objective and that Kosovar Albanian armed resistance was considered terrorism – generated incentives for both parties to use force to achieve contrary objectives. This created considerable difficulties for the international community to effectively protect non-combatant civilians and forcibly displaced persons.
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