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.


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 brutal conflicts that accompanied the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) were characterized by the use of forced displacement as the strategic centerpiece to establishing “ethnically pure” political units. Tadeuz Mazowiecki, the first United Nations Special Rapporteur for the former Yugoslavia, urgently stressed in his second report to the UN Commission on Human Rights that “the principal objective of the military conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the establishment of ethnically-homogenous regions. Ethnic cleansing does not appear to be the consequence of the war but rather its goal.”(1)

Parallel to the main argument, is consideration of the role of the international community in ethnic conflict management responses to the Kosovo crisis. The international community’s role in regards to Kosovo since 1989 has been characterized by a substantial neglect towards reversing the repressive regime imposed against Kosovar Albanians by the Milosevic regime. The main policies pursued up until the beginning of 1998 were containment of the conflict within the borders of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in particular the Republic of Serbia, and pacification of Kosovar Albanian radicalization through the verbal support of the non-violent, non-confrontational policies of Ibrahim Rugova and the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK). However, with the advent of armed resistance on an increasingly organized scale by Kosovar Albanians in late 1997, it appeared that the non-violent, non-confrontational approach of the LDK had lost significant legitimacy and support. This development caught the main international players off-guard and scrambling to respond with new policy tools to contain the crisis from erupting into full-scale conflict that would spillover the borders into Albania and Macedonia, thus threatening regional peace and security. In this respect, the international community pursed two policy approaches which, unfortunately, contributed to the escalation of the conflict in Kosovo. The first position maintained that separation and independence for Kosovo was not a legitimate goal, thus continuing the international community’s policy of the priority of the FRY’s territorial integrity and regional security over protection of human rights. The second position was condemnation of Kosovar Albanian armed resistance through the characterization of the use of force for self-protection and self-defense as terrorism. This provided the Milosevic regime with a terrorism loophole which it took advantage of by using disproportionate force against Kosovar Albanians, especially civilian non-combatants. Since no member of the international community was willing to question the right of the FRY to protect its territorial integrity and to use force to suppress armed insurrection, the Milosevic regime moved with surprising speed to crush armed resistance. In this way, the international community unwittingly gave support to the FRY’s sovereign right to use force to maintain internal security, even in the face of international condemnation of FRY violations of humanitarian norms and massive forced displacement.

In the context of Kosovo, however, the usage of the term “ethnic cleansing” to describe forced displacement is inappropriate to understanding the political-military objectives of either party to the conflict. While forced displacement is a strategic centerpiece, each side is employing it differently in order to achieve contrary objectives, which are not based on ethnic cleansing. Nevertheless, forced displacement in Kosovo illustrates not only an enduring practice of human conflict, but in the post-Cold War manifestation of internal conflicts, the privatization of warfare where civilians have increasingly become the means by which war is fought and the principal targets of organized violence. Today’s internal conflicts evidence an almost complete disregard for the traditional immunity of non-combatants, in both theory and practice, and instead have given license to the casual slaughter of innocents and the wholesale forced displacement of civilians as policy objectives of the use of force. For the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) government, displacement was conceived as necessary for undermining the growing radicalization of Kosovar Albanians and crushing their support for armed resistance. Ethnically cleansing Albanians from Kosovo, although publicly embraced by a number of Serbian politicians, was not considered a viable strategy for the Milosevic regime since any massive outflow of displaced persons of that scale would have more than likely provoked an immediate intervention reaction on the part of the international community.(2)

On one hand, Milosevic and other government officials responsible for internal security realized that going so far as to ethnically cleanse Albanians from Kosovo would result in the “spillover” of the conflict into Albania, Macedonia, and beyond, which was certainly the international community’s greatest fear.(3) On the other hand, such a scenario would also work to the benefit of the Kosovo Liberation Army (Ushtrisë Çlirimtare të Kosovës – UÇK), as massive displacement would simultaneously galvanize Albanians to take up arms and achieve the “internationalization” of the conflict by provoking multilateral intervention. The UÇK because of several factors, such as its loose command and control structure, the military inexperience of its fighters, its lack of equipment, among others, meant that the UÇK had to rely on classic guerilla army tactics of mobility and propaganda. Although some UÇK commanders, due to naiveté and inexperience, made tactical errors that resulted in severe setbacks for the uprising, the UÇK has in fact benefited from these experiences, especially as they were linked to the forced displacement of non-combatants. Destabilization and displacement were strategic imperatives for both parties to realize contrary objectives.

The humanitarian imperative to provide international protection for non-combatants during armed conflicts is decisively limited or effectively impaired during internal conflicts that pit a repressive regime controlled by an ethnic majority (or in some cases controlled by a minority) against another ethnic group that has been the object of state organized and mandated repression and which has taken the step to contest that state of affairs through limited insurgency against the regime in power. When both parties to the conflict turn to the use of force in the above setting, invariably strategic calculations on the utility of forced displacement override international normative prohibitions against violating the human rights of non-combatant civilians. This poses virtually insurmountable obstacles to giving effect to international protection. As Erin Mooney has observed, “those threatened with displacement as pawns in the conflict have been compelled to remain within the borders of their own State and at the mercy of the forces intent on uprooting them. Any international efforts to safeguard them against this fate have proven to be limited in both scope and effect.”(4) This is especially true with regard to the customary approach of seeking protection of human rights and redress for violations through domestic legal systems. Coupled with the parties’ disregard for international humanitarian norms applicable through Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Optional Protocol II, international mechanisms have had little preventive or protective effect.(5)

Moreover, the presence of international humanitarian organizations inside States is argued as necessary to implementing international protection, as in-country presence and monitoring can have a deterrent effect ensuring at least a minimum respect for and compliance with human rights and humanitarian norms by the parties to the conflict. The UNHCR has stressed that the distribution of humanitarian assistance is an essential element of protecting displaced persons in-country, since direct contact with the displaced requires the presence of the UNHCR and is argued to be equivalent to protection.(6) It is debatable, however, whether protection is actually given effect through in-country presence and distribution of material relief. As the many instances of protection failure in the former Yugoslavia illustrate, at least in the perspective of the displaced, presence is not synonymous with protection: “We do not need food, we are not starving to death. We are being persecuted and we prefer to be hungry for a week than not to sleep every night, in fear of being beaten, raped or killed.”(7)

The Return of the Repressed

The beginning of armed hostilities on 28 February in the Drenica region of Kosovo was marked by a disproportionate reaction by Ministry of Interior Affairs forces (Ministarstvo Unutrasnjih Poslava – MUP) to the limited armed resistance activities of the UÇK, resulting in the brutal massacre of at least 83 Albanians, 24 of whom were women and children.(8) The ensuing, and surprising, widespread support for the UÇK among Kosovar Albanians previously committed to the non-violent political resistance policies of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), lead by Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, the president of the shadow Republic of Kosova, was a major objective of the movement, as was the calculation that the Milosevic regime would respond with excessive force directed principally at the civilian population. Likewise, the deployment of MUP and Yugoslav Army (Vojska Jugoslavie – VJ) units provided Milosevic with the opportunity to crush the infant liberation movement under the guise of anti-terrorist operations that intentionally and excessively targeted the civilian population, which the UÇK based the success of its armed struggle to gain independence on. The fact that the politico-military strategy of both the UÇK and the FRY government was designed to displace civilian non-combatants as war-security aims presented the international community with a set of problems that it, unfortunately and unwittingly, framed by both its failure to undertake preventive action and the flawed assumptions on which its international conflict management efforts were based.(9)

These problems fall into two principal categories – human rights and humanitarian protection and regional security. In terms of human rights and humanitarian protection after armed conflict emerged, the international response was limited to condemnations of the sort that a “second Bosnia” was not going to occur, such as U.S. President Bill Clinton’s assertion that he was determined to prevent “a repeat of the human carnageYand ethnic cleansing.”(10) Likewise, the imposition of economic and financial sanctions and an embargo of war-security material by the UN, EU, and the Contact Group against the FRY was not successful in compelling a change in FRY policies in Kosovo. Verbal expressions of moral condemnation by representatives of the international community or sanctions did not go far in rectifying the “more than a decade of unaddressed human rights violations in Kosovo province.”(11) Nor did international condemnation avert Milosevic from making the policy decisions to use unacceptable and disproportionate force. In many ways, a window of opportunity was delivered to the FRY government to implement its security/counter-insurgency strategy by the Contact Group and the UN Security Council when both bodies formally identified the UÇK as engaging in “terrorist actions” and that the FRY’s territorial integrity and security took priority over Kosovar Albanians demand for international human rights protection, secession, and independence.(12) The fact that the Contact Group and the Security Council had a priori ruled that secession and independence was not an option in a stroke undermined the pacifistic policies of the LDK, which the international community had relied on through Rugova’s leadership not to allow Kosovo to spin out of control during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. This in turn, provided the UÇK and other political dissidents dissatisfied with the LDK’s approach the opportunity to push forward with an alternate strategy of armed resistance against the Milosevic regime, which was conceived as offering greater prospects of success for protecting Kosovar Albanian’s human rights and security through gaining independence.

The international response to the problems of protection of human rights and conflict management resulted in a substantial failure to engage in either in a timely manner appropriate to the risks the conflict posed both to human life and to any potential political resolution. Thus the Kosovar Albanians were faced with continuing to live within a regime of forced cohabitation and systematic abuse. It is ironic that the escalation of armed conflict in Kosovo stems in large measure from neglect on the part of the international community to robustly address the political and legal repression of and violence against the ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo by the Milosevic regime beginning in the late 1980s. The dramatic resuscitation of Serbian nationalism, which was a primary catalyst for the savage conflicts produced by the dissolution of the SFRY, was engineered and manipulated primarily by opportunistic Serbian politicians and intellectuals around the “problem” of Kosovo and its majority ethnic Albanian population. As the common saying goes in the region: “The Yugoslav crisis began in Kosovo, and it will end in Kosovo.”(13)

Although in the early stages of the Yugoslav crisis, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) deployed a “mission of long duration” to Kosovo, Sandzak, and Vojvodina in October 1992 to monitor the tense conditions of minorities in Serbia and Montenegro, the mission lasted only ten months until Milosevic declined to renew the Memorandum of Understanding with the OSCE in July 1993. The OSCE then promptly suspended the FRY from the organization, effectively terminating one of the only conflict prevention mechanisms available for the region. While the international community invested billions of dollars and untold political capital in bringing “peace” to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina through the Dayton Accords, and preventing ethnic conflict in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia via the presence of the UN Preventive Deployment force (UNPREDEP) and the OSCE long-term monitoring mission, little was done to solve the outstanding issue of Kosovo. Until NATO’s October 1998 ultimatum to use force against the FRY for its egregious security operations, Kosovo was an oasis of neglect, other than minimal diplomatic pressures. In contrast, the outbreak of civil strife across Albania in 1997 following the collapse of numerous pyramid schemes, generated immediate multi-lateral action in the way of a humanitarian intervention force lead by Italy (Operation Alba) and the deployment of the OSCE Presence in Albania mission.(14)

It is not unreasonable to assume that many ethnic Albanians, inside and outside of Kosovo, viewed this international neglect as intolerable and unconscionable given the scope and scale of suffering produced by constant human rights violations and widespread economic marginalization and hardship. Beginning with the Badinter Commission’s rejection in 1991 of Kosovar Albanian legal arguments for international recognition of their claims to self-determination and secession, the Kosovar Albanians have faced a consistently uphill struggle in generating serious international consideration and resolution of the “Albanian question.”(15) The U.S. and EU wanted to keep the Kosovo problem from being directly linked with international efforts to address the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and urged Rugova to limit radicalization of the situation by continuing with the LDK’s non-violent resistance policies and its parallel “shadow” system of governance. In return for not aggravating the numerous difficulties that the international community found itself ill-prepared to deal with, the Kosovar Albanians were promised political support and mediation in any negotiations with the Miloševic regime. As Rugova explained in 1992, “We have no local territorial forces like the Slovenes and CroatsY.We would have no chance of successfully resisting the army. In fact the Serbs only wait for the pretext to attack the Albanian population and wipe it out. We believe it is better to do nothing and stay alive than to be massacred.”(16)

Rugova’s pragmatic agreement to resist escalating confrontation with Belgrade even while Kosovar Albanians faced increasing repression and hardship came as a relief to the U.S. and the EU. They desperately needed Rugova and the LDK to delink the issue of individual human rights protection from troublesome group rights issues and the right to self-determination. The international community had cemented the assumption that regional security and stability in the Balkans, and by extension the rest of democratic Europe, could only be achieved by protecting the international norm of territorial integrity, such as embodied in the UN Charter and the 1975 Helsinki Accords Principle III (Basket I) on the inviolability of existing borders (post-1945). Kosovo needed to be contained so that war would not erupt between Serbs and Albanians, thereby causing the dreaded “domino-effect” to occur in the Balkans. As President George Bush warned, “In the event of conflict in Kosovo caused by Serbian action, the United States will be prepared to employ military force against the Serbs in Kosovo and Serbia proper.”(17) The domino-effect theory, which has proven to be more of a psychological barrier in the minds of Western diplomats and leaders, also compelled the international community to pressure Albanian President Sali Berisha to assist U.S. and EU efforts to manage the conflict by moderating his increasingly strident condemnations of the treatment of Kosovar Albanians and his support for changing borders and unifying Albania and Kosovo. Substantial offers of economic assistance to impoverished Albania succeeded to some degree in gaining Berisha’s cooperation.(18) Although the U.S. pushed Milosevic on the human rights maltreatment of Kosovar Albanians through reference to OSCE principles, the Kosovar Albanians were effectively locked out of playing any role in the international conferences established in London (1992) and Geneva (1993) to negotiate the dissolution of Yugoslavia and bring about a termination of hostilities.(19)

However, for many Kosovar Albanians who questioned the soundness of the LDK’s pacifistic policies, the international community’s failure to give priority to Kosovo or back up its public declarations regarding Milosevic’s treatment of Albanians clearly illustrated that containment of the problem was predicated on avoiding any substantive changes in Kosovo and Serbia. Unfortunately, for Kosovar Albanians this was especially the case with the international community’s need to gain Milosevic’s support and participation in attaining a comprehensive peace settlement for the former Yugoslavia. In order to secure Milosevic’s role and political capital in forging the Dayton Accords, the international community had to drop the issue of Kosovo off the map.(20) Kosovo is mentioned only once in the Dayton Accords, in regard to the UN agreeing that the “outer wall” of mandatory sanctions imposed by Security Council Resolution 757 (30 May 1992) would remain in place until Belgrade engaged in earnest negotiations with the Kosovar Albanians and ceased violating human rights.(21) Although the LDK had dominated Kosovar Albanian political life based on its promise of achieving independence and international recognition through any peace settlement for the former Yugoslavia, the fact that Kosovo was relegated to the status of an internal problem of political autonomy and human rights was a serious blow to Rugova and the LDK’s credibility. Dissent against the LDK increased dramatically after Dayton, as many perceived that the LDK was impotent and incapable of aggressively representing Kosovar Albanian’s interests. As Vickers notes, the fact that “the LDK had no clear strategy beyond boycotting official institutions and any electoral processes and hoping that eventually the international community would grant it recognition,” lead to the emergence of opposition produced by disillusionment and a sense of betrayal.(22)

Following the signing of Dayton, several European Union member States, contrary to the preconditions for lifting sanctions, unconditionally recognized the FRY on April 1996, while the Federal Republic of Germany decided to repatriate 130,000 Kosovo Albanian asylum-seekers back to Yugoslavia.(23) The tensely united Kosovar Albanian political groups began to splinter, with opponents to the LDK gravitating towards one of two poles. One grouping called for active and aggressive political engagement and civil resistance, such as nationalist Rexhep Qosja, who advocated intifada type resistance, and Adem Demaçi, the dissident who advocated for Kosovo independence in the late 1960s – for which he was imprisoned for 28 years – and who was elected chairman of the opposition Parliamentary Party of Kosovo (PPK) in January 1997. The other grouping advocated offensive militant action and armed resistance, arguing that the pacifistic policies of the LDK had brought the Kosovar Albanians nothing but sorrow, hardship, and forced cohabitation under an apartheid regime. What united the two groups, however, was their commitment to secede and gain independence from the FRY without the assistance of the international community and, if necessary, by resort to armed force. The Bosnian Serbs use of armed force to carve out and gain the recognition of the Republika Srpska in the Dayton Accords, with the potential for establishing confederal links with the FRY, stood as an example of how force can be used to achieve political objectives and the international community’s hypocrisy and inconsistency concerning borders and self-determination. As Demaçi declared, “I think that borders have changed. What is being said about borders is absurd, since Yugoslavia [that is, SFRY] no longer exists. All its borders have been destroyed, and there cannot be differing criteria – that some borders can be changed and others cannot.”(24)

Although sporadic acts of violence against Serbian police, government officials, and civilians had occurred since 1991, it wasn’t until post-Dayton that organized and planned operations took place. By the spring of 1996, a number of organized attacks against MUP officers, police stations, and Serb civilians, including the simultaneous bombings of five camps housing Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia had occurred around Kosovo. Initially, an underground group called the National Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo (Levizja Kombetarë për Çlirimin të Kosovës – LKCK) claimed responsibility for the attacks.(25) At the end of April 1996, organized attacks took place in Deçani, in which Serb civilians were killed and wounded at a café, and in Pec MUP officers were targeted. Eight Serbs were killed, causing Milosevic, then-President of the Republic of Serbia, to deploy more MUP and VJ personnel in Kosovo. Although no group initially claimed responsibility for the attacks, a letter was later received by the BBC World Service Albanian-language section in which the UÇK declared that it had carried out the attacks: “a UÇK guerilla detachment undertook an armed assault against Serbian aggressors,” and that the group was “operating a struggle for the liberation of Kosovo that would continue until victory.”(26)

Information regarding the origins and actual existence of the UÇK was sketchy at best, while Rugova and the LDK made every effort to deny the existence of armed liberation movements intent on achieving by force what the LDK had not achieved by pacifism and patience. However, Rugova and the LDK were, in many ways, ignoring the signs of restlessness, disappointment, and increasing violence throughout Kosovo that indicated changes were taking place that would side-step the monopoly the LDK exercised over Kosovo political life. Various sources claim that the UÇK was formed in 1991 or 1993, although Tim Judah recently wrote that “the driving force behind the creation of the [UÇK] was a formerly obscure political party set up in 1982. It is called the Levizja Popullare e Kosoves (LPK), or Popular Movement for KosovoY.The LPK was formed around former political prisoners, many of whom went into exile when they were released. Even in the early 1980s the LPK’s message was that only armed uprising would free Kosovo from the Serbs.”(27) The truth is probably a combination of exiled political militants, members of the Kosovar Albanian diaspora in Europe and North America fed-up with non-violent resistance, and militants inside Kosovo, who have slowly pieced together the resources to gain independence by armed force. And evidence seems to indicate that two of the key leaders of the UÇK inside Kosovo were Adem Shaba Jashari and his older brother Hamëz Shaban Jashari from the village of Donji Prekaz, both of whom were killed during the 5 March MUP attack against the Jashari compound. It also appears that the core military leadership and field commanders include former officers and conscripts of the JNA and territorial defense forces and Kosovar Albanians who fought as mercenaries with the Bosnian Muslim forces against Bosnian Serb forces during the 1992-1995 war.(28) Although the UÇK claims to have carried out their first attack in 1993, at least since the attacks in April 1996 and until the eruption of large-scale armed conflict in March 1998, it is estimated that the UÇK has systematically increased the scope and scale of its operations: 31 in 1996, 55 in 1997, and 66 in the first two months of 1998.(29) During the period of those operations, the UÇK killed as many as 15 MUP officers, 13 Serb government officials and civilians, and 11 Kosovar Albanians accused of being collaborators with the Milosevic government. The boldest attack came on 23 January 1998, when UÇK fighters assassinated a local Serbian official in the middle of the day on an open road just outside of the village of Srbica.(30)

Unfortunately, it is just such limited hit-and-run attacks and assassinations that have contributed to the branding of the UÇK as a terrorist organization, at least in the minds of the Milosevic regime, the majority of Serbs, and the international community. However, various UÇK “spokespersons” and “commanders” have stressed that the UÇK “is not a terrorist organization.” In the first international interview of a UÇK leader, conducted by The New York Times in Geneva on May 1997, a Kosovar Albanian who gave the nom de guerre of “Alban” explained that, “We are not like the Irish Republican Army or the Basque separatists. These groups represent minority populations and carry out random attacks against civilians. We have the support of nearly all Albanians. The only attacks we carry out are against the representatives of the Serbian regime.”(31) The Milosevic-controlled media has maintained a steady campaign of characterizing the UÇK as a terrorist organization, even one that was organized by Albanian diplomats in Belgrade under the direct control of Albanian President Sali Berisha.(32) On the other side, Rugova and LDK spokespersons have stated that the UÇK was run by the MUP intelligence seeking to destabilize Kosovo through operations intended to cause “unprecedented bloodshed.”(33)

However, as Judah observes, the “strategic equation” was irrevocably altered by the civil strife in Albania in the spring of 1997 following on the collapse of the pyramid-schemes. With the complete breakdown of government and order in Albania, the Albanian Army disintegrated and in the ensuing chaos armories, barracks, and police stations around the country were looted of thousands of weapons and other war material. Soon the UÇK through its network of supporters in northern Albania had access to untold quantities of weapons at bargain basement prices. The UÇK “began to act, collecting money among the 400,000-500,000 Albanian ‘guestworkers’ in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and elsewhere, and among the Albanian communities in the US.”(34) With the Albanian government unable to control its borders or restore law and order in the north, which is also the birthplace and stronghold of Sali Berisha and home to many relatives of Kosovar Albanians, weapons gushed into Kosovo along with a steady stream of new recruits from the Kosovar diaspora returning through Albania to join their UÇK comrades.

On 28 November 1997, the UÇK made its first public appearance at a funeral near Srbica for a Kosovar Albanian teacher killed in a firefight between the UÇK and the MUP. Before a crowd of 20,000 chanting “UÇK!, UÇK!,” the three masked members declared that the group “is the only force that is fighting and capable of freeing Kosovo.”(35) Just days later, PPK chairman Adem Demaçi, who also leads the Kosovo Democratic Forum, a coalition of opposition parties and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), stated that “there is no doubt that the UÇK exists. UÇK’s emergence proves that the people are prepared to pay the highest price for their freedom.”(36) A flood of statements followed, indicating that the UÇK was much more than a misguided band of militants engaging in terrorist actions, but a resistance movement that appeared to have substantial, broad-based support inside and outside Kosovo. A statement by a spokesperson for the Republic of Kosova government-in-exile was indicative of the new state of affairs:

There is nothing unexpected, wondrous or surprising in the emergence of the UÇK. At a time when the seven-year-old Kosovar movement can be pronounced a failure without any concrete results. At a time when the international community has been underestimating and seriously ignoring the Albanian factor, reducing it to a problem of minorities requiring solutions in ridiculous frameworks within Serbia, when Serbia’s only way of communicating with Albanians is violence and crime, one should not be amazed if part of the people decide to end this agony and take the fate of Kosova and its people in its own hands.(37)

One of the three masked UÇK members who appeared at the Srbica funeral, a commander named “Dyli,” later told Chris Hedges that “The war has entered a new phase. The Serbs do not yet know how precarious the situation has become. We have organized armed units throughout Kosovo. There are hundreds of us who dominate areas in the countryside where we can train, establish bases and recruit followers. The Serbs only control the ground they stand on, and soon even this ground will be too dangerous for them to occupy.”(38) On 4 January 1998, the UÇK issued a statement in Prishtina, the administrative capital of Kosovo, that it was the armed forces of the Kosovar Albanians and that the armed struggle for the independence of Kosovo and its unification with Albania had begun.(39)

The Terrorism Loophole

The UÇK’s declaration of armed struggle seemed to confirm in the minds of the U.S. and other Contact Group members that their worst fears concerning conflict in Kosovo were coming true. The fact that the UÇK’s declaration made reference to the unification of Kosovo and Albania raised the specter of armed conflict spilling over into an already tense and destabilized Albania. The prospects of Kosovar Albanians rising up not just to gain independence by force, but to bring a resolution to the “Albanian Question” by forging a Greater Albania that included Kosovo and western Macedonia with its large Albanian minority, created policy turmoil for the international community. The establishment of a Greater Albania is in many ways logical, given the history of Albanian habitation in those regions contiguous with modern Albania and their division by the imposition of international borders by the Great Powers at the 1913 London Conference following the first and second Balkans Wars.(40) Regardless of the reasonableness of restoring the territorial and demographic unity of ethnic Albanians by a redrawing of Balkan’s political geography, and thereby defusing inter-ethnic tensions, any international support for such a project was perceived in Washington, London, Paris, Bonn, Moscow, and New York, as the death of the Dayton Accords. More importantly, the international community did not want to be seen giving approval to separatist aspirations that would undermine the norm of territorial integrity essential to the inter-state system of order. In terms of regional security in the Balkans and Europe, allowing such a precedent to be established was perceived as directly linking the protection of individual human rights to a territorial right of self-determination that would lead to the unraveling of the post-WWII/Cold War system in Europe.

On 7 January 1998, three days after the UÇK declaration, Robert Gelbard, the U.S. special envoy to the former Yugoslavia, stated that Washington was very apprehensive and that the U.S. may find it necessary to formally declare the UÇK a terrorist organization.(41) The following day, the Contact Group issued a statement calling on the FRY authorities to “make concrete progress” in improving the political and human rights situation in Kosovo and that the Group supported neither independence nor the continuance of the status quo, but an “improvement” in Kosovo’s status within the FRY.(42) The FRY’s position regarding the UÇK and international demands was articulated by former FRY Foreign Minister and now-Serbian President Milan Milutinovic during his electoral campaign in December 1997: “Kosovo is the Jerusalem of all Serbs, who will never be a minority in their own country. The [Albanian] separatists had better understand this. We will never allow anybody to interfere in the Kosovo issue or in our internal affairs. Kosovo is our land and will not be the subject of bargaining with anybody.”(43) With the increase of UÇK operations against the MUP, Serbian officials, and Kosovar Albanian “collaborators,” calls for tough measures against “terrorism” entered daily discourse. Milomir Minic, the leader of Milosevic’s governing Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), declared that FRY and Serbian authorities would “not tolerate terrorism,” adding that ethnic minorities in Serbia fully enjoy their constitutional rights and have more minority protections than in other European States.(44) Local Serbian officials in Kosovo also called for swift action. Desko Petkovic, the mayor of Zvecan, speaking before a crowd of several thousand at the funeral of local Serbian politician Desimir Vesic killed by the UÇK, stated that “state agencies should take all legal measures to eradicate Albanian terrorism in Kosovo as soon as possible and to guarantee peace and safety to Serbs and Montenegrins.”(45)

By the middle of February, numerous armed engagements had occurred between the UÇK and MUP forces. The growing boldness of UÇK operations, the increasing violence of MUP reactions against Kosovar Albanians, combined with reports that large quantities of weapons and fighters were crossing the Has Mountains of northern Albania into Kosovo, generated urgent calls for restraint by all sides. The governments of Macedonia and Albania issued appeals to the international community to take action before violence engulfed the region. Albanian President Rexhep Meidani warned UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the international community “must not permit a tremendous explosion in the region, an explosion that will involve not only Albania but all the countries there – Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey,” and that if preventive action failed “a second ‘Super Bosnia’ will happen [in Kosovo].”(46) Diplomatic discourse during this period concerning the increasing violence in Kosovo communicated the international community’s anxieties over the two problems of human rights-humanitarian protection and regional security. The principal States involved in designing an effective response, including punitive measures, to the growing Kosovo crisis (the Contact Group and EU) consistently issued diplomatic statements that defined their position with regard to the two problems. In regards to human rights and humanitarian protection, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright declared that the U.S was “not going to stand by and watch the Serbian authorities do in Kosovo what they can no longer get away with doing in Bosnia,” and that the international community does not see the Kosovo crisis as an internal problem but “as an affront to universal standards of human rights we are pledged to uphold.”(47) The issue of how the U.S. and the international community were going to operationalize not standing on the sidelines was never really clarified. The international position on regional security was firmly staked out by UK Junior Foreign Minister Tony Lloyd who said, speaking for the EU, that the FRY would “need to move towards greater autonomy for the Albanians in Kosovo and the recognition that neither separatism nor violence offers any solution to the Kosovo Albanians,” and that the EU “will condemn violence from any part and that separatism was not on the agenda of the international community.”(48) Contrary to the demand that Milosevic and Kosovar Albanian representatives immediately engage in a meaningful dialogue without preconditions, international preconditions limiting what the Kosovar Albanians could seek as an end state weakened the international community’s influence with the Kosovars.

There is no doubt that the Contact Group and EU members found themselves in a difficult position. While the “lessons learned” from Bosnia placed extraordinary moral and political pressure on leaders not to make the same mistakes of indecision and vacillation over forging effective policies for multilateral action, there was still no clear understanding on how to proceed to quickly limit a Kosovo meltdown. As Myron Weiner has noted, “there are no such clear assumptions or experiences to guide governments or international institutions with respect to how they can affect the internal affairs of states that are unable or unwilling to prevent violent civil conflicts or protect their own citizens.”(49) The question of how to respond was framed at least by two premises that rendered international action highly problematic: 1) that separation and independence were not an option for Kosovar Albanians and 2) that violence was unacceptable as a means to any solution. Both of these flowed from the fundamental Helsinki Accords principles regarding the inviolability of post-1945 borders and that borders could not be changed by the use of force. However, the dogmatic nature in which these principles were repeated created the impression that these principles precluded any border changes. The international community was loathe to recognize the legitimacy of Kosovar Albanian armed resistance, whether UÇK or any other group, since none of the key States shaping policy questioned or challenged Serbian or FRY sovereignty over Kosovo or the right of the Milosevic government to take action to suppress armed insurrection. However, they did not want to give Milosevic a blank check for the use of force – any force to be used should be proportionate to the contingency and guided by the necessity of establishing conditions for negotiations of a political solution. The UÇK’s access to weapons, eager and willing Kosovar Albanian men to fight, and its intent to secure Kosovo’s independence was perceived as having provoked the FRY government to use force and increase repression, not the other way around. While U.S. Special Envoy Robert Gelbard cautioned Kosovar Albanians to avoid provocations and the FRY and Serbian authorities to show restraint, he unequivocally staked out the U.S. position with regard to the UÇK and armed resistance: “I consider these to be terrorist actions and it is the strong and firm policy of the U.S. to fully oppose all terrorist actions and all terrorist organizations.”< COLOR=”#0000ff”(50) The logic of raison d’etat, guided by the default assumption that minorities did not have any right to territorial self-determination and the fear of regional destabilization, compelled the international community to insert a terrorism loophole that Milosevic took ample opportunity to exploit.

The turning point to events in Kosovo came with the MUP operations in the Drenica region beginning on 28 February. The UÇK had established a strong presence in the Vucitrn-Srbica-Glogovac triangle west of Prishtina, especially in the village of Donji Prekaz. The brutal attack on the Jashari family compound in Donji Prekaz, resulting in 58 deaths, of whom eighteen were women and ten were children sixteen years old and younger, provoked a shocked outcry on the part of the international community. A demonstration on 2 March by some 30,000 Albanians in Prishtina to protest the Drenica killings was met by heavy-handed MUP force in which 289 Kosovar Albanians were injured, including prominent political and public figures. FRY President Slobodan Milosevic warned the Kosovar Albanians that “terrorism aimed at the internationalization [of the Kosovo] issue will be most harmful to those who resorted to these means.”(51) Veton Surroi, editor of the Albanian-language newspaper Koha Ditore and a member of Rugova’s negotiating team, who was attacked along with other journalists outside Prishtina’s radio station, said that Milosevic “responded this weekend to the ambush of his officers by the Kosovo Liberation Army with enormous violence. There were at least 20 executions of unarmed civilians, and we fear we do not yet know the final number of victims. Reports say there may be some 10 more dead. In the face of today’s nonviolent protests, he sent his police in to beat us. I fear that this may unleash a cycle of violence by both sides that could spread throughout Kosovo.”(52) Following the violent suppression of demonstrations in Prishtina, the EU issued a statement “unreservedly condemn[ing] the violent repression of non-violent expressions of political views, including peaceful demonstrations as well as the use of violence and terrorism to achieve political goals. It regrets that police action lead directly to civilian casualties.”(53)

Several days before the Contact Group met in London to deliberate on a course of action, FRY Defense Minister Pavle Bulatovic stated in Belgrade that “there would be no terrorism [in Kosovo] and the Kosovo problem would not be what it is today if the separatists did not enjoy the support of a certain section of the international community.”(54) Bulatovic’s statement reveals a deeply held conviction among the Serbian leadership, which is also found in the Serbian public, that the international community seeks the destruction of the Serbian people and has turned to using Kosovar Albanian “terrorists” to complete what was only partially achieved in Croatia and Bosnia. The fact that Kosovo, with all of its mythic, religious, and nationalist freight, is an integral component of Serbian identity, has created little latitude for the Serbs to perceive Kosovar Albanians in any other terms than “terrorists.” Likewise, the international community’s persistent criticism of the FRY’s handling of Kosovo, especially condemnations of human rights violations, has encouraged the FRY and Serbian leadership to identify their institutional interests with those of the survival of the nation. The overriding concern is protecting the symbolic existence of Kosovo as the birthplace of the Serbian nation, which means that relatively small space for compromise exists between the irreconcilable commitments of Serbs and Kosovar Albanians and between the Serbian nation and the international community. In such a setting where political mentality and behavior is significantly shaped by cultural character and historical relationships, it is difficult for the international community to design policies that target the “root causes” of conflict. In the case of Kosovo, the “causes of conflict lie principally in whether or not the government is repressive, in the nature of the relationship between various social groups and the state, in the character of the country’s social, ethnic, and religious cleavages, and in the country’s ideological divisions.”(55) These are not “root causes” that can be little affected by conflict management policies based on flawed assumptions and misperceptions. Furthermore, the attitudinal and behavioral cleavages between Kosovar Albanians and Serbs have been sharpened by the armed conflict to a degree that will hamper the international community’s efforts to bring peace and keep Kosovo in Serbia.

While many commentators and analysts perceive Milosevic as a consummate liar and Machiavellian politician, ready to sacrifice the Serbs in order to stay in power by any means necessary, they misunderstand that his political mentality is shaped by the same cultural and communal attributes as other Serbs. This misunderstanding has contributed to a misperception of the symmetry between the Serbian leadership’s perception of internal and external threat and what it considers legitimate as means of response. While there is no doubt that Milosevic is an opportunist and master of power politics, his political objectives are tightly wedded to a conception of the Serbian nation that frames political life for the Serbs, such that his actions to do not solely serve his selfish interest to retain power. Prior to the London Contact Group meeting, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, on his way to meet Milosevic in Belgrade on 5 March stated that, “I will carry a clear and simple message: Europe and the trans-Atlantic countries expect that steps to find a political solution will be taken. Whilst we will always back a fight against terrorism, you cannot beat terrorism alone by police action. [Milosevic] also needs to address legitimate political grievances of the majority of Kosovo.”(56) For Milosevic and the Serbian leadership, the use of force against Kosovar Albanians is perceived as part of a legitimate political solution to the “Albanian Question” in Kosovo. Cook’s misperception of this, along with the position that Kosovar Albanian armed resistance is “terrorism,” whether committed by the UÇK or others, has informed the international community’s approach to Kosovo, and unwittingly bolstered the Milosevic government’s use of force against Kosovar Albanian civilians.

On 9 March, the Contact Group issued a formal statement following its London meeting. The Contact Group members did not arrive at a consensus on a package of punitive measures such as financial sanctions, comprehensive arms embargo, and denial of visas to officials responsible for the security crackdown. The statement also includes the international community’s basic positions on human rights and humanitarian protection, the regional security fear of spillover, and that any political solution must be based on the territorial integrity of the FRY. What is most important in the Contact Group statement, however, is the framing of the condemnations of violence and the terrorism loophole. Paragraph 3 states:

Our condemnation of the actions of the Serbian police should not be in any way mistaken for an endorsement of terrorism. Our position on this is clear. We wholly condemn terrorist actions by the Kosovo Liberation Army or any other group or individual. Those in the Kosovar Albanian community who speak for the different political constituencies should make it clear that they, too, abhor terrorism. We insist likewise that those outside the FRY who are supplying finance, arms or training for terrorist activity in Kosovo should immediately cease doing so (emphasis added).

The statement concludes with “The way to defeat terrorism in Kosovo is for Belgrade to offer the Kosovar Albanian community a genuine political process” (para. 10).(57) The terrorism loophole was also incorporated in UN Security Council Resolution 1160 (and subsequent Resolutions 1199 and 1203), in which the Security Council condemned “all acts of terrorism by the Kosovo Liberation Army or any other group or individual and all external support for terrorist activity in Kosovo, including finance, arms and training.”(58)

The facts inside and outside Kosovo are not uniquely transparent. Nevertheless, the fundamental neglect of the Kosovo problem over the years has compelled the Albanians to embrace force combined with politics to achieve their objectives. However, these objectives are fundamentally incompatible and irreconcilable with the Serbian position. As Adem Demaçi remarked, Kosovar Albanians have come to see the UÇK as “essential to their protection.” Unfortunately, the collision of these forces has placed the Kosovar Albanian civilians at the disadvantage. As Veljko Odolovic, the senior Serbian administrator for Kosovo, explained, “We wiped out one terrorist group, maybe the biggest and most important one, but there are dozens of others. The armed resistance is strong. It is probable that we will see renewed attacks in the days ahead. There are other terrorist gangs now preparing their members. There are still terrorists in some villages that are holding off the police. We cannot speak of an end to the operation until these terrorist cells are liquidated. This may take some time.”(59)

Displacement and International Protection

On 13 May, after talks with U.S. special envoys Richard Holbrooke and Robert Gelbard, FRY President Slobodan Milosevic agreed to meet with LDK leader Ibrahim Rugova for discussions on 15 May as a first step in establishing a dialogue for a political solution to the conflict. Unfortunately, the same day the meeting between Milosevic and Rugova took place in Belgrade, Serbian authorities closed the administrative border of Kosovo to all vehicles except state-owned corporations and the MUP and VJ, effectively establishing an embargo on the movement of goods into Kosovo from Serbia and Montenegro.(60) This action was complemented a few days later by the beginning of a major government offensive in the western Kosovo municipalities of Deçani, Pec, and Djakovica, bordering northern Albania. The security operations had two purposes: 1) to close the border with Albania in order to stop the movement of weapons and UÇK fighters(61) and 2) to depopulate the villages in those municipalities in order to establish a security zone along the Albanian border controlled by the MUP and VJ. Dozens of villages along the border area came under systematic, heavy attack, as MUP and VJ units, supported by paramilitaries forces such as Arkan’s Tigers and Vojislav Šešelj’s White Eagles, moved along the Pec-Prizren highway. Although UÇK units were engaged by government forces, the UÇK’s mobility from village to village provoked increasingly severe violence against the Kosovar Albanian civilians by government forces. The attacks included shelling of residences and other buildings, targeting of civilians, sniper fire against civilians fleeing the attacks or those who later made attempts to return to their homes, looting and burning, killing of livestock, burning of crops, arbitrary detentions, and summary executions.(62) By the first week of June, the operations had succeeded in substantially depopulating the border area, with an estimated 15,000 Kosovar Albanians forcibly displaced across the border into Albania, 30,000 displaced into Montenegro, and 45,000-55,000 displaced to other locations inside Kosovo. The VJ special forces units also preceded to mine the border with Albania in order to stop cross-border movements of UÇK, weapons, and even displaced persons.

Fatos Nano, the then-Prime Minister of Albania, issued an urgent appeal for the international community to act swiftly and decisively to stop the targeting of civilians by FRY government forces, stating that the UÇK are not terrorists but “desperate people who defend their homes and their childrenY[in the face of] massive ethnic cleansing and violent operations.”(63) However, Dragomir Vucicevic, a high-ranking FRY Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, countered by accusing “Albanian terrorists” of having forced Kosovar Albanian civilians to flee their homes and destroying houses and villages in order to punish them for supporting the FRY government. He stated that the forcible displacement of civilians “was invented by the terrorists and certain media in order to secure NATO intervention.”(64) The international community issued numerous condemnations against the excessive use of force by the MUP and VJ, but were divided on what action to take to operationalize international human rights and humanitarian protection, with Russia and China expressly opposing any UN Security Council resolution authorizing Chapter VII (Article 42) use of force. On 9 June, the Yugoslav Supreme Defense Council issued a statement on the legality of the counter-insurgency operations, in which the MUP and VJ had reestablished complete control over of the border region through “measures that guarantee the safety of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.”(65) The fact that weapons and combatants were streaming across an international border from Albania into the FRY, created a dilemma for the international community. As mentioned above, there were few States willing to question the FRY’s right to suppress armed insurrection and assert control over its borders. Because the Albanian government was unable to reestablish law and order in the Tropoja region where the UÇK had bases and equipment from which its fighters crossed into the sovereign territory of another State, the FRY government found that it had substantial leverage to ward off condemnations of the human rights violations and cross-border flows of refugees. The main fear for the international community was communicated by U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, who stated that NATO military intervention would be justified if it “were collective defense in terms of the instability that could be created” if the conflict continued.”(66) Intervention would only occur if the conflict spilled over and threatened to destabilize Albania and Macedonia, and then by default assumption, Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, the last two being NATO allies. Regional security had the priority over human rights.

Events moved quickly over the next months, as the UÇK mounted counter-offensives in late June and July, culminating in the failed attempt to capture the town of Orohovac, just south of the UÇK stronghold in Mališevo. By the middle of June, the UÇK declared that it had established control over 30 percent of Kosovo, including the main road from Prishtina to Pec that runs through the Drenica region.(67) In the face of a looming humanitarian crisis, the EU issued an ultimatum that Milosevic must cease attacks on civilians, withdraw MUP and VJ forces, admit international observers and humanitarian organizations, allow displaced persons to go home, and commence talks with the Kosovar Albanians, since “no state that uses brutal military repression against its own citizens can expect to find a place in modern Europe.”(68) Although Milosevic agreed from Moscow, after meetings with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, to implement some of the EU’s requirements, he unequivocally stated that “security forces will cut back their presence outside bases [in Kosovo] in accordance with the cessation of terrorist activities.”(69) With this announcement, the FRY intensified counter-insurgency operations through the summer months, the intent now not only to defeat the UÇK but also to completely crush civilian support for armed insurrection. By mid-August, the MUP and VJ had reversed the UÇK’s earlier successes and retaken relative control over most of Kosovo. A Reuters dispatch described the FRY offensives as leaving the Pec-Prishtina highway that crosses through the Drenica region “a combat zone landscape resembling central Bosnia, with burnt-out houses, shot-up vehicles, abandoned trenches, roads littered with spent bullet casings, wandering farm animals and the ever-present danger of sniper fire.”(70)

However, fighting continued up until the 13 October agreement between Holbrooke and Milosevic at the eleventh hour before NATO airstrikes. The nature of the conflict had been decisively altered by the FRY government focusing much of its counter-insurgency campaign on Kosovar Albanian non-combatants. As many as 300,000 Albanians were internally displaced in Kosovo, with another 40,000-50,000 IDPs in Montenegro. The number of Kosovar Albanians displaced across international borders was considerably smaller than the international community had anxiously anticipated, especially Macedonia and Albania. Refugees in Albania numbered 20,000, while 10,000 were in Bosnia-Herzegovina and 54,000 in Western European countries.(71) Considerable damage had been done to housing stock throughout Kosovo, with the UNHCR estimating from shelter surveys of 24,730 houses that 30 percent were destroyed and another 30 percent severely damaged and uninhabitable.(72) Given that most Kosovar Albanian homes provide living space for large, extended families, a considerable number of the 300,000 IDPs inside Kosovo would not be able to return to their homes to effect repairs before the winter set in. As of 13 November, the UNHCR estimated that 100,000 were still unable to return home, although the number “living under plastic” in the open was maybe ten to fifteen percent of that figure.

Although there exist a significant body of international humanitarian law and human rights law that establish the normative framework for international protection, actually giving effect to those norms, as mentioned above, is decisively limited or effectively impaired. Until the UÇK’s declaration of armed resistance against the Milosevic regime, human rights violations in Kosovo were evaluated on the basis of international human rights law, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which the SFRY ratified on 2 June 1971 (see footnote 5), and FRY and Serbian municipal law. Much of the international community’s efforts were limited to complaints about human rights abuses and attempting to persuade the FRY government to effectively discharge its responsibility to ensure and respect the fundamental political and civil rights of Kosovar Albanians. Unfortunately, there was little success by the international community to compel the FRY to improve the national protection of human rights.

With the advent of armed conflict, however, the nature of international protection and the mechanisms available became even more circumscribed, although Kosovar Albanian refugees could avail themselves of the well-established international refugee protection regime of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of the Refugee.(73) However, the manner in which forced displacement was used as a strategic centerpiece to the UÇK’s armed insurrection and the FRY’s counter-insurgency campaign created substantial dilemmas for the international community. The dilemmas faced by the international community were rendered even more problematic with regards to international protection because of the position taken on the use of force by Kosovar Albanians. The determination of the UÇK as a “terrorist organization” and armed resistance as “terrorist acts” was a fundamentally flawed policy position of the Contact Group and the EU. The international community found itself hard-pressed to walk the line between denouncing the violations of humanitarian law committed by the FRY, while striving to maintain that Kosovar Albanian resistance was terrorism and futile.

This policy position made it very difficult for the international community, through the Contact Group and the Security Council, to decide on an appropriate course of action to compel the FRY to change its policies that had created the conditions for armed conflict and violations of humanitarian law. Although the logic of the conflict centered on displacing populations as an intentional strategy, each party had completely contrary objectives to achieve through its use. For the UÇK, it was to mobilize mass support for armed insurrection by provoking the FRY to target civilians, which would also contribute to “internationalizing” the conflict to the point of compelling international intervention, something which Rugova and the LDK had been unable to do. For the Milosevic regime, however, forced displacement was not designed to effect ethnic cleansing, but to disrupt the support the UÇK required at the village level and defeat the will for armed insurrection. Furthermore, the FRY attempted to limit the cross-border flow of displaced persons, which was one of the tactical objectives of securing the security zone on the north Albania border. Not only was it to prevent the movement of the UÇK and weapons, but to limit refugee exodus so as not to create the regional destabilization that the international community feared was to be the consequence of the conflict. Containing the number of displaced who could seek asylum status as refugees fleeing from persecution would also limit the threat of another mass exodus from the Balkans, which many European states feared they would have to bear the burden of.

During July, when the conflict intensified significantly, the terrorism position was undermined by the public announcement on 7 July that the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia had determined that the hostilities in Kosovo had reached the level of an “armed conflict.” Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour, in a letter to the Contact Group, stated that the “nature and scale of the fighting indicate that an ‘armed conflict,’ within the meaning of international law exists in Kosovo. As a consequence, [the prosecutor] intends to bring charges for crimes against humanity or war crimes, if evidence of such crimes is established.” With this determination, the UÇK had moved from being a terrorist organization engaging in terrorist acts to a formal party to an armed conflict as established under the Geneva Conventions.

The International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) Commentary on Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which regulates non-international armed conflicts, provides clarification on many of the difficult definitional aspects of determining whether an armed conflict exists in an internal setting. Common Article 2 of the Geneva Conventions defines an international armed conflict as “all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by them.”(74) For the threshold of an internal conflict to have been crossed, where one of the parties is in open revolt against the de jure government, the group must possess “an organized military force, an authority responsible for its acts, acting within a determinate territory and having the means of respecting and ensuring respect for the Convention.”(75) Other criteria discussed in the Commentary for determining whether an internal armed conflict exists include the government’s response to the insurgency, such as if it deploys regular military forces to combat the insurgency, which occurred with the VJ early in the conflict. In addition, the 1977 Optional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions defines an internal armed conflict as one that “take[s] place in the territory of a High Contracting Party between its armed forces and dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups which, under responsible command, exercise such control over a part of its territory as to enable them to carry out sustained and concerted military operations and to implement this Protocol” (Article 1.1).(76) On July 12, UÇK spokesperson Jakup Krasniqi stated in an interview with the Prishtina newspaper Koha Ditore that, “from the start, we had our own internal rules for our operations. These clearly lay down that the UÇK recognizes the Geneva Conventions and the conventions governing the conduct of war.”(77)

The 1977 Protocol II also establishes broader protections for civilians than Common Article 3. Along with standard human rights protections prohibiting summary executions, torture and other inhuman treatment, arbitrary detentions, the right to fair trials, it also prohibits collective punishments, violence to life, the taking of hostages, desecration of corpses, and the pillaging and destruction of civilian property. Furthermore, Article 17 states that:

The displacement of the civilian population shall not be ordered for reasons related to the conflict unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand. Should such displacements have to be carried out, all possible measures shall be taken in order that the civilian population may be received under satisfactory conditions of shelter, hygiene, health, safety, and nutrition.

The ICRC’s Commentary on the Additional Protocols makes clear that “imperative military reasons” require “the most meticulous assessment of the circumstances.” Moreover, “imperative military reasons cannot be justified by political motives. For example, it would be prohibited to move a population in order to exercise more effective control over a dissident ethnic group.”(78) Based on this understanding, the Milosevic regime’s strategy of displacing civilians in order to disrupt support for the UÇK was motivated by political considerations rather than imperative military necessity. The consequences of MUP and VJ action against Kosovar Albanian non-combatants was not ameliorated by the FRY government providing “satisfactory conditions of shelter, hygiene, health, safety, and nutrition.” It can also be argued that the FRY’s strategy resulted in MUP and VJ forces violating Article 14, which protects objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population: “Starvation as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.” Given the embargo on Kosovo imposed in May, which dramatically reduced the quantity of food, medicines, and other essentials entering Kosovo, and that the MUP and VJ intentionally killed and destroyed livestock and burned crops and other agricultural resources, the intent of the FRY’s counter-insurgency was also to deny Kosovar Albanians material indispensable to their survival.

What was done by the international community to protect the forcibly displaced inside Kosovo? In short, very little. It must be recognized, however, that outside of public condemnations or using forums such as the UN to denounce human rights and humanitarian violations, there is no effective machinery to directly compel a government to changes its policies outside of sanctions, which in the case of the FRY have been imposed since 1992 with little success beyond creating economic hardship, and military intervention for humanitarian purposes. By the time the international community made the decision to use NATO force to compel the Milosevic regime to comply with international demands, the damage had been done and Milosevic and the Serbian leadership had achieved some of their goals. Moreover, international humanitarian organizations, whether the UNHCR, ICRC, or NGOs, have no international standing that allows them to enter a State’s territory without the consent and cooperation of the government. The FRY government also obstructed the efforts of humanitarian organizations to engage in in-country activities that might have given some effect to international protection and reduced the human suffering and material destruction caused by the conflict. While a small number of humanitarian organizations are active in Kosovo, the scope and scale of their operations have been effectively hampered by the government obstructing entry into the FRY, denying visas to personnel, embargoing relief materials in customs, and deny access in-country for “security” reasons. The Milosevic regime had learned many lessons from Bosnia that were not repeated in Kosovo.


I have argued in this paper that forced displacement in Kosovo was an intentional, deliberate strategy on the part of both parties to the conflict, although the UÇK and the Milosevic regime used forced displacement for different and contrary strategic objectives. The international community also played a role in the escalation of the conflict by continuing to ignore and dismiss the central aspirations of the Kosovar Albanians, while branding their organized armed resistance as terrorism. Unfortunately, the international community’s main policies toward Kosovo worked to the benefit of the Milosevic regime, which used excessive force to crush Kosovar Albanian armed resistance by targeting civilian support for the UÇK.

Moreover, this also contributed to problematizing international efforts at protecting non-combatant civilians and forcibly displaced persons, especially given the international community’s fear of spillover and the eruption of a Balkans-wide conflict. By mid-September, the total number of IDPs and refugees displaced by the UÇK’s insurgency operations and the FRY’s counter-insurgency campaign reached nearly half a million. Numerous reports of mass killings, especially of women, children, and the elderly, and the fact that upwards of 70 percent of the displaced were women and children, illustrated that international efforts at protection were nothing short of a total failure. Neither were people brought to safety, nor safety brought to people in the midst of an ethnic internal war that the international community must bear a large degree of responsibility for letting spiral out of control.

Even protection outside of Kosovo for those Kosovar Albanians who have fled to Europe as refugees has been jeopardized. Contrary to several appeals by the UNHCR for States not to send Kosovo Albanian asylum-seekers back to Kosovo, Switzerland and Germany, the two principle countries of asylum in Europe for Kosovar Albanians, have been denying temporary protection status, rejecting asylum applications, and refouling asylum-seekers back to the FRY.(79)

The international community eventually arranged a tenuous consensus on using NATO air force to compel Milosevic to cease the brutal counter-insurgency campaign in Kosovo. The threat of force presented by the eleventh hour NATO activation order produced a flurry of meetings between Richard Holbrooke and Slobodan Milosevic, resulting in the interim settlement brokered on 13 October 1998. The interim settlement requires the FRY government to implement a cease-fire, withdraw MUP and VJ units to pre-February levels, commence negotiations, and allow the deployment of an OSCE mission to Kosovo to verify implementation and compliance. Of major importance, the interim agreement stipulates that displaced persons have the right to return to their homes and that humanitarian organizations be given unhindered access for the delivery of relief assistance. However, with the onset of winter and the substantial destruction of housing stock throughout Kosovo, international and non-governmental humanitarian organizations will be hard-pressed to assist in the repair of housing and infrastructure, and provide food and other urgently needed relief materials.

For most Kosovar Albanians, however, the agreement is unacceptable and non-binding, especially since they had, once again, no part in the talks between Holbrooke and Milosevic. Veton Surroi described the agreement as leaving Kosovo a “Serbian camp under land and air surveillance,” while UÇK spokesman, Bardhyl Mahmuti, said that “Milosevic is playing the same old game,” and that “the group of people [around Rugova]Ywith whom the Americans are negotiating are not legitimate for us. No deal will succeed if there is no agreement with the UÇK.”(80) Likewise, Adem Demaçi, formerly the chairman of the PPK, but now the political representative of the UÇK since mid-August, stated that the “UÇK is protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Kosova,” and that the interim agreement is “unacceptable” since it allows the FRY to keep 15,000 VJ troops and 10,000 MUP personnel deployed in Kosovo.(81) Likewise, the efforts of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill to design a settlement that would be acceptable by Belgrade and the Kosovar Albanians have been so far unsuccessful.

The international community is still blindly resistant to independence, which is reflected in the three-year deferment on any final determination of Kosovo’s political status, leading many to call the interim agreement the “winter peace before the spring offensives.” Neither Belgrade nor the Kosovar Albanians have much confidence in the international community or towards each other. The fact that the international community resists considering the use of separation as a solution to the conflict will not contribute to reducing tensions that would enable face-to-face negotiations to take place. The international community may also find that its reliance on Rugova is no longer viable, as Rugova’s role as principal political representative is virtually finished. What was possible with Rugova prior to the Dayton Accords is no longer possible now. The three-year deferment also resembles the five-year deferment negotiated between Chechnya and Moscow in the August 1996 Khasavyurt Agreement. It papers over a political reality that Belgrade and the international community does not want to acknowledge – that the Serbs in the long run have lost Kosovo. As for the UÇK and the future of armed insurrection in Kosovo, the winter will provide a much needed opportunity for reorganization, rearming and equipping, and training. Furthermore, the political divisions among Kosovar Albanians will produce a short struggle over who will supercede Rugova as the new political leadership – a leadership that will have to gain the confirmation of the UÇK.



1. Report on the situation of human rights in the territory of the former Yugoslavia submitted by Mr. Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1992/S-1/10 (27 October 1992), para. 6.

2. Vojislav Šešelj, leader of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party and currently a deputy prime minister of the Republic of Serbia, has been the most vocal advocate of ethnically cleansing the “sacred Serbian land” of Kosovo of its Albanian population. During the December 1992 FRY parliamentary elections campaign, Šešelj argued that the Albanians should be expelled to Albania if they could not respect the Serbian regime and authorities. See Miranda Vickers, Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo (NY: Columbia University Press, 1998), p. 267. Šešelj’s perspective on ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians remains the same and is coupled with a bitter defiance of international intervention into Serbia’s domestic affairs: “NATO soldiers may possibly enter our country as combatants but they will leave it in coffinsY.[Any regional country that assists NATO] will also be considered our enemy and will face the consequences” (RFE/RL Newsline v. 2, no. 196, part II, 9 October 1998). Vuk Draskovic, leader of the opposition Serbian Renewal Party (SPO), stated on 28 July that the party’s representatives in the FRY and Serbian parliament will ask that the government declare a “state of emergency” since Serbia is “under occupation,” and called for “energetic action by the army and police” (RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 144, part II, 29 July 1998).

3. “One of the great fears in Washington about Serbian brutality against ethnic Albanians in the province of Kosovo is that the violence could spread into Albania and neighboring Macedonia, which has a large ethnic Albanian population.” Jane Perlez, “U.S. Official Asks Restraint by Albanians. Talbott Seeks Limit On Kosovo Conflict,” The New York Times, 17 March 1998.

4. “Presence, ergo Protection? UNPROFOR, UNHCR and the ICRC in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina,” International Journal of Refugee Law 7/3 (1995): p. 408.

5. SFRY ratified the four Geneva Conventions on 21 April 1950 and Optional Protocols I and II on 11 June 1979. In addition, SFRY ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on 2 June 1971. The FRY, as the successor state to SFRY, declared on 27 May 1992, that in continuing the “international legal and political personality of the [SFRY] shall strictly abide by all the commitments that the [SFRY] assumed internationally in the past” (Declaration by the Participants of the Joint Session of the SFRY National Assembly, Serbia, and the FRY, reproduced in ICJ, Reports (1993), p. 15). See also the Note from the FRY to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, UN Doc. A/46/915 (7 May 1992).

6. See, for instance, Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Opening remarks to the Session on the Former Yugoslavia of the Dublin European Group Meeting, 24 October 1992, p. 2.

7. UNHCR, Information Notes on Former Yugoslavia 1/94 (January 1994), p. ii, cited in Mooney, p. 430.

8. The MUP commenced actions against the UÇK in the Drenica region villages of Likošane and Cirez (28 February-1 March); Donji Prekaz (5-6 March); and Glodjane (24 March). See Amnesty International, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: A Human Rights Crisis in Kosovo Province, Document Series A, No. 1-4 (June 1998); International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Violations in Kosovo: Interviews with Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (June 1998); and Human Rights Watch, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Humanitarian Law Violations in Kosovo (October 1998).

9. In using the term “international community” it is important to acknowledge that it is less inclusive than it appears to represent. At least with regard to conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, the international community is represented principally by the Contact Group (United States, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Russian Federation, and Italy), the permanent members of the Security Council (U.S., U.K., France, Russian Federation, and China), the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This is not only due to the proximity of the conflicts in the Balkans to the heartland of modern, democratic Europe, but that those States have the power and resources available for responding to such threats to international peace and security. Under UN Charter Chapter VII, the Security Council has the authority to determine whether such conflicts are threats to international peace and security and to mandate multilateral responses, whether through Article 41 enforcement (non-military action) or Article 42 enforcement (military action). The permanent members of the Security Council do have substantial influence on the success or failure of any initiative. In this paper, “international community” refers to those three grouping of States in particular, which have been the central actors in international management of conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. That is not to say, however, that consensus or unanimity for action is easily achieved nor does consensus guarantee success or efficiency in giving effect to any decision to undertake multilateral action. Even gaining agreement on the least common denominator is a challenge, as “it was difficult for the members of the contact group – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia – to reach consensus even on the sanctions imposed today” (Steven Erlanger, “U.S. and Allies Set Sanctions on Yugoslavia,” The New York Times, 10 March 1998). Even the modest sanctions agreed upon were based on voluntary implementation and compliance.

10. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 110, part II, 10 June 1998.

11. Amnesty International, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: A Human Rights Crisis in Kosovo Province, Document Series A, No. 1 (June 1998).

12. See Contact Group Statement on Kosovo, London (9 March 1998) and Bonn (25 March 1998), and UN Security Council Resolution 1160, UN Doc. S/RES/1160 (31 March 1998), Resolution 1199, UN Doc. S/RES/1199 (23 September 1998), and Resolution 1203, UN Doc. S/RES/1203 (24 October 1998).

13. Cited in Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History (NY: New York University Press, 1998), p. xxvii.

14. While Operation Alba was justified on humanitarian grounds, the fact that Italy took the lead role is evidence that the main goal of intervention was to contain the exodus of Albanians to Italy, which by mid-1997 had reached an estimated 16,000. This was the second major migration flow from Albania to Italy since the flight of thousands after the fall of the communist regime in 1991. This raises many issues, one of which is the use of militarized humanitarian intervention to contain refugee flows created by internal conflicts, civil unrest, and failed state syndrome. This may be additional evidence, along with the increasingly restrictive asylum policies and practices of advanced Western liberal-democracies, of an erosion of the principle of asylum that is the foundation of the international refugee protection regime.

15. The Badinter Advisory and Arbitration Commission, named after its chairman, Robert Badinter, President of the French Constitutional Court, was established in 1991 by the EC Conference on Yugoslavia to counsel the European Council of EC Foreign Ministers on legal questions regarding self-determination and recognition based on applications to the EC by SFRY republics seeking independence. Relying on public international law, the UN Charter, non-binding commitments such as the 1975 Helsinki Accords, and other legal principles (uti possedetis), the Commission helped establish guidelines for the recognition of the international legal personality of political units in formerly communist federal systems that sought independence. The Commission concluded in the case of the Kosovar Albanians that Kosovo was not eligible for independence because it was not a federating unit of the SFRY with constitutionally recognized sovereignty, even though the Kosovar Albanians had a seat on the collective Federal Presidency and the constitutional power to check Serbian legislation. Under Article 4 of the 1974 SFRY Constitution, Kosovo was defined as a non-federating political unit under the sovereignty of the federating Republic of Serbia. This determination has subsequently continued to frame the international community’s perspective on Kosovar Albanian’s claims to independence today. See, for instance, James Gow, Triumph of the Lack of Will: International Diplomacy and the Yugoslav War (NY: Columbia University Press, 1997), Part I, Chapters 3-4.

16. Ibrahim Rugova, Impact International, 10 April-7 May 1992, p. 10, cited in Vickers, p. 264.

17. The New York Times, 28 December 1992.

18. Vickers, p. 269 and Jane Perlez, “U.S. Official Asks Restraint By Albanians,” The New York Times, 17 March 1998.

19. See Susan L. Woodward, Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution After the Cold War (Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1995).

20. Vickers, p. 287.

21. See “The General Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Annexes thereto,” UN Doc. 5/1995/999 (1995).

22. Ibid., p. 283.

23. Stefan Troebst, Conflict in Kosovo: Failure of Prevention? An Analytical Documentation, 1992-1998, European Centre for Minority Issues Working Paper #1 (May 1998), p. 9. An estimated 400,000 Kosovar Albanians had migrated from the FRY by 1993. While most sought asylum in Europe, a considerable number also migrated to the United States where a sizeable population of the Albanian diaspora is located in New York and Boston. The following European countries accepted Kosovar Albanian asylum-seekers: Germany (120,000); Switzerland (95,000), Sweden (35,000), Austria (23,000), Belgium (8,000), France (5,000), Denmark (5,000), Italy (4,000), Norway (3,500), U.K. (3,000), the Netherlands (2,000), Finland (600), and Luxembourg (200). Croatia received an estimated 40,000, Slovenia 15,000, and Albania 25,000 (Vickers, 272). As of December 1997, Germany still considered the issue of 140,000 Kosovar Albanian asylum-seekers, in addition to 400,000 Albanian asylum-seekers and migrants, a significant problem, as it was feared that an outbreak of armed conflict would flood Germany, and other European states of refuge, with tens of thousands of refugees. See RFE/RL Newsline v. 1, no. 177, part II, 11 December 1997 and Steven Erlanger, “Albright Tours Europe to Whip Up Resolve to Punish Serbia,” The New York Times, 9 March 1998.

24. Quoted in D. Gorani, “The Key is Belgrade,” War Report, no. 41, special feature on “The Albanian National Question: The Post-Dayton Pay-off” (May 1996).

25. Vickers, p. 290.

26. Ibid., p. 293.

27. “Impasse in Kosovo,” New York Review of Books, 8 October 1998.

28. Chris Hedges, “In New Balkan Tinderbox, Ethnic Albanians Rebel Against Serbs,” The New York Times, 2 March 1998, A1, and Vickers, p. 291.

29. International Crisis Group, Kosovo Spring: International Crisis Group Guide to Kosovo (Brussels, 1998), pp. 70-71. Hereafter ICG.

30. Hedges, 2 March 1998.

31. Chris Hedges, “Notes From the Underground on Another Balkan Rift,” The New York Times, 5 May 1997.

32. See, for instance, Jane Perlez, “Belgrade TV Makes Serbs Furious At Albanians, The New York Times, 11 March 1998; Vickers, p. 293.

33. ICG, p. 73.

34. Judah, p. 4.

35. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 1, no. 169, part II, 1 December 1997.

36. Quoted in ICG, p. 73.

37. Luljeta Pula-Beqiri, Bulletin of the Ministry of Information of the Republic of Kosova, no. 321, 7 December 1997.

38. Hedges, 2 March 1998.

39. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 1, no. 188, part II, 5 January 1998.

40. See Malcolm and Vickers.

41. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 1, no. 191, part II, 8 January 1998.

42. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 1, no. 192, part II, 9 January 1998.

43. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 1, no. 171, part II, 3 December 1997.

44. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 15, part II, 23 January 1998.

45. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 16, part II, 24 January 1998.

46. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 23, part II, 4 February 1998.

47. Steven Erlanger, “Albright Warns Serbs on Kosovo Violence,” The New York Times, 8 March 1998, and “U.S. and Allies Set Sanctions on Yugoslavia,” The New York Times, 10 March 1998.

48. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 25, part II, 6 February 1998.

49. “Bad Neighbors, Bad Neighborhoods: An Inquiry into the Causes of Refugee Flows, 1969-1992,” in Migrants, Refugees, and Foreign Policy: U.S. and German Policies Toward Countries of Origin, edited by Rainer Münz and Myron Weiner (Providence: Berghahn Books, 1997), p. 184, my emphasis.

50. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 36, part II, 23 February 1998.

51. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 41, part II, 2 March 1998.

52. Chris Hedges, “Serbia’s Police Crush Protest By Kosovo’s Ethnic Albanians,” The New York Times, 3 March 1998.

53. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 42, part II, 3 March 1998. The Russian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement that Russia “has unequivocally denounced terrorist acts and called for refraining from using forceY.The Kosovo problem should be settled on the basis of territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and of observing the rights of ethnic Albanians and other nationalities in accordance with OSCE standards, the Helsinki principles, and the UN Charter.”

54. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 43, part II, 4 March 1998.

55. Weiner, p. 214.

56. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no, 44, part II, 5 March 1998, emphasis added.

57. The Contact Group endorsed the “following measures to be pursued immediately: 1) UN Security Council consideration of a comprehensive arms embargo against the FRY, including Kosovo; 2) Refusal to supply equipment to the FRY which might be used for internal repression, or for terrorism; 3) Denial of visas for senior FRY and Serbian representatives responsible for repressive action by FRY security forces in Kosovo; 4) A moratorium on government financed export credit support for trade and investment, including government financing for privatisations, in Serbia” (para. 7). In addition, the Contact Group gave Milosevic tens days to comply with the following steps: 1) withdraw MUP forces and cease security operations; 2) allow the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations access to Kosovo, along with Contact Group representatives and other embassies; 3) commit publicly to engage in dialogue with the Kosovar Albanian community; 4) cooperate with the Contact Group in implementing action on the part of the OSCE, ICTY, and the UN (para. 7). UN Doc. S/1998/223.

58. See footnote 12.

59. Chris Hedges, “Serbs Claim Victory Over a Separatist Militia,” The New York Times, 8 March 1998.

60. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 93, part II, 18 May 1998.

61. Although there has been no accounting of the total arms flow from Albania into Kosovo, it can only be presumed that substantial quantities of the as many as one million weapons looted during the civil unrest in Albania in 1997 have found there way across the rugged mountain passes, and also into Macedonia. For instance, on 20 May Albanian police seized a truck at a checkpoint in Lezha carrying 200 machine guns, 500 boxes of ammunition, and 400 grenades (RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 96, part II, 21 May 1998). On 19 July, Albanian military police seized a truckload of weapons containing four tons of arms valued at $2 million. The shipment included 1,000 Kalashnikovs and other Albanian manufactured weapons (RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2,no. 138, part II, 21 July 1998). While on a human rights fact-finding mission to northern Albania in June, I observed on the ferry traveling the Drin River from Komon to Fierza, which is the main route to Bajram Curri and Tropoja, a van filled with an eclectic variety of weapons, from WWII bolt-action rifles to various models of AK-47s, RPG-7s, and boxes of ammunition. One man traveling with the van looked at me, smiled, and stated “UÇK.” During my stay in northern Albania, while traveling the remote dirt roads, I frequently encountered mule-trains heading to Kosovo loaded with weapons and munitions led by men openly wearing uniforms with UÇK insignia.

62. See the human rights reports listed in footnote 8.

63. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 101, part II, 28 May 1998.

64. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 108, part II, 8 June 1998.

65. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 108, part II, 10 June 1998.

66. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 112, part II, 14 June 1998.

67. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 113, part II, 15 June 1998.

68. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 114, part II, 16 June 1998.

69. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 115, part II, 17 June 1998.

70. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 143, part II, 28 July 1998.

71. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration fact sheet on the U.S. Government Response to Humanitarian Emergency in Kosovo as of 13 November 1998.

72. U.S. Information Agency bulletin, 13 November 1998.

73. See United Nations, Human Rights: A Compilation of International Instruments, Volume 1 (Second Part), UN Doc. ST/HR/1/Rev.5 (1994), pp. 638-658.

74. See the four 1949 Geneva Conventions in United Nations, Human Rights: A Compilation of International Instruments, Volume 1 (Second Part), UN Doc. ST/HR/1/Rev.5 (1994), pp. 685-865.

75. International Committee of the Red Cross, Commentary, IV Geneva Convention (ICRC: Geneva, 1958), p. 35.

76. Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflict (Protocol II) in United Nations, Human Rights: A Compilation of International Instruments, Volume 1 (Second Part), UN Doc. ST/HR/1/Rev.5 (1994), pp. 934-943.

77. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 132, part II, 13 July 1998.

78. International Committee of the Red Cross, Commentary on the Additional Protocols (Geneva), p. 1472.

79. Teresa Crawford, “Kosovo Refugees in Europe Face Wintry Reception,” On The Record 2/1 (1 October 1998).

80. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 200, part II, 15 October 1998.

81. RFE/RL Newsline, v. 2, no. 213, part II, 4 November 1998.

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