(Summer 2007 – Summer 2008)
The Mission identified 12 areas deriving from its mandate (which also constitute the 12 chapters of the report): Rule of Law, Police, Communities, Protection of Property Rights, Assembly of Kosovo, Local Government and Decentralization, Elections, Public Administration, Human Rights Institutions and Instruments, Anti-Corruption, Anti-Trafficking in Human Beings; and Media.
In each of these chapters the following points are addressed: the development of the normative framework during the reporting period, the development on the ground and the implementation of the normative framework, main shortcomings and finally the Mission’s activities regarding these areas over the reporting period and in the future.
As an overall assessment, the main achievements and shortcomings can be summed up as follows.
Despite fundamental political changes in Kosovo during the first half of 2008, the political and security situation remained remarkably stable. During the reporting period, two important events involving politically motivated violence occurred on 19 February and 17 March in northern Kosovo: one related to the burning of customs posts, and the other to regaining control of the Mitrovicë/Mitrovica courthouse. However, these incidents did not escalate. At the same time, the fear that insecurity among the Kosovo Serb community would lead to a new wave of departures did not materialize.
There has been further progress in the development of democratic institutions and administrative structures, at the central level and particularly at the municipal level. Elections were successfully held for new political representatives at three different levels (the Assembly, municipal assemblies and municipal mayors); these elections met international standards. As for general policing, the Kosovo Police Service enjoys a high degree of trust among the Kosovo Albanian community.
The legislative framework has progressed and generally meets high international standards with regard to human rights and the protection of the rights of the different communities. However, the constitution and most other legislation have been drafted with significant international assistance.
The continued stalemate between Prishtinë/Priština and Belgrade on the status issue makes progress in the integration of the Kosovo Serb community into Kosovo’s public life and society difficult. In northern Kosovo, with its majority Kosovo Serb population, separation has actually advanced through the extension of parallel administrative institutions into the political field. In the rest of Kosovo, the outcome of efforts to integrate the Kosovo Serb community remains unclear.
Here, despite some efforts by the Kosovo government to encourage the Kosovo Serbs to participate in the administrative and political structures, there is a widespread perception among the Kosovo Serb community of insecurity and mistrust which prevents interaction outside enclaves. A large number of unresolved property claims affect above all the Kosovo Serbs. The two separated educational systems – the Kosovo schools and the parallel Kosovo Serb schools – do not offer instruction in the other community’s language and thus drive the two communities further apart.
The judiciary remains the weakest of the public institutions. There are widespread violations of fair trial standards. There is no indication that a further increase in the high number of backlogged court cases can be prevented, let alone that the number can be reduced. There has been very limited progress in the fight against corruption, organized crime and human trafficking.
While the laws meet international standards, their implementation is often hampered by, the lack of financial and human resources, administrative shortcomings and adequate political initiative or will.
There are indications of increasing political interference in key institutions, which under international human rights standards should remain independent: the civil service, the judiciary, the police and the media.