In the center of Kosovo’s capital there is a large sculpture
that says the word “NEWBORN” (young, newborn). It was set there at
the time of Kosovo’s declaration of independence on February 17, 2008, and has
remained as an emblem of the country’s freedom. Sculpture aims to convey hope
and the birth of a future promising. Over the last four years, Kosovo has
experienced a kind of birth with the realization of independence her and the
creation of new institutions, a constitution and a democratic government.
Despite all that is novelty for Kosovo, the history of this
region and the people living in Kosovo has started many centuries ago. Knowing
their unique history and the events that lead to their independence is a key
part of understanding the urgent issues Kosovo faces. One of the most urgent
issues is respect for fundamental human rights and minority rights. Therefore,
the transition period from post-conflict to the democratization of society and
its institutions does not include time constraints. Challenges Kosovo faced
during its transitional post-conflict period with regard to the creation of
democratic institutions and the establishment of a multiethnic society governed
by the law points out that the road to EU integration is complex.
The rights of all human beings for freedom, security and
education are universal rights and are not only characterized in one state or
region. But here the region is faced with a painful legacy that the armed
conflict of the 1990s left behind. In addition, the country’s north remains
fragile, where inter-ethnic violence is becoming a permanent threat to the
peace and stability of Kosovo. Conflicts that were transmitted with massive
human rights violations throughout the 1990s may have slipped, but old tensions
and intolerance are still a constant challenge that has not been addressed with
caution and effectiveness. Minorities such as Roma, Ashkali, Egyptians, Serbs
and Bosniaks remain isolated, and involved in social, political and economic
life all over Kosovo.
According to Ahtisaari ‘s comprehensive proposal for a
Kosovo, the government and its citizens are obliged to “promote and fully
respect the process of reconciliation of communities and their members. Kosovo
will create a comprehensive and sensitive gender approach to deal with its
past, which will include a wide range of transitional justice initiatives.
The Assembly has issued so many laws to protect minority
rights since February 2008, they are as a derivative of Ahtisari plan to
protect minority rights(and also give them a high autonomy of decision making).
However, the concept of the rule of law is characterized not only by the
adoption of the necessary legislation but also by the proper implementation of
the broad legal framework made up of bylaws.
Legislation in Kosovo guarantees equality among all ethnic
minority groups that live in Kosovo, and promotes human rights, including those
devoted to civilian or uniformed personnel. Given the fact that the
Constitution defines Kosovo as a multiethnic state, and the primary security
legislation in Kosovo further defines ethnic composition (Constitution of the
Republic of Kosovo, 2008: Art 125). This is especially important for the
security sector as this sector provides national unity and cohesion.
In 1999 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) went to
war for the rights of a minority – the Albanians of Kosovo, within the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). Since June 1999, until 2008 when Kosovo declares
Independence Kosovo has been governed by an interim administration led by the
United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and also including the European Union
(EU) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). A
‘security presence’, called KFOR (Kosovo Force), has been led by NATO and has
included soldiers from at least 30 NATO and non-NATO countries. Thousands of
international officials have worked in Kosovo, and millions of euros have been
spent. Now approaching its seventh anniversary, it is one of the most expensive
and long-term international administrations since the creation of the United
The international protectorate was born in circumstances in
which it was clear that its most important priority would be to ensure harmony
and cooperation between the different ethnic groups, i.e. ensuring full
protection of all rights of these groups, particularly minorities. On paper it
would seem that Kosovo would be particularly blessed in being administered by
institutions with a long history of working on minority rights protection, such
as the UN, which in 1992 agreed a Declaration on the Rights of All Persons
Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (UNDM).