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The OSCE Mission in Kosovo

News and Press Release
Originally published
Survey of OSCE Long-Term Missions and Other OSCE Field Activities
1. Basic Decisions


  • Permanent Council Decision No. 305, 1 July 1999.
Terms of Ref.:
  • Permanent Council Decision No. 218, 11 March 1998.
  • Permanent Council Decision No. 259, 15 October 1998.
  • NATO-FRY Agreement, 15 October 1998.
  • OSCE-FRY Agreement, 16 October 1998.
  • Permanent Council Decision No. 263, 25 October 1998. Interpretative statement under paragraph 79 (Chapter 6) of the Final Recommendations of the Helsinki Consultations.
  • Permanent Council Decision No. 265, 5 November 1998.
  • Permanent Council Decision No. 266, 11 November 1998.
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of 10 June 1999;
  • UNSG Report, 12 June 1999 (S/1999/672);
  • Permanent Council Decision No. 305, 1 July 1999.
  • Exchange of Letters between Ambassador Kim Traavik, head of OSCE Department, Norwegian Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Bernard Miyet, USG UN Department for Peace-Keeping Operations (DPKO) 19 July 1999.
2. Tasks

In its Decision No. 305 of 1 July 1999 the Permanent Council, referring to the framework of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and to the report by the Secretary-General of the United Nations of 12 June 1999, determined that the OSCE will contribute to the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1244, in particular the relevant parts of operative paragraph 11 of this resolution and decided that:

  • The transitional OSCE Task Force for Kosovo, established by the Permanent Council on 8 June (PC.DEC/296) will cease to exist from 1 July 1999;
The OSCE Mission in Kosovo is established from the same date.

The OSCE Mission in Kosovo will constitute a distinct component within the overall framework of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

The OSCE Mission in Kosovo will, within this overall framework, take the lead role in matters relating to institution- and democracy-building and human rights. It will co-operate closely with other relevant organizations - intergovernmental and, as appropriate, non-governmental - in the planning and implementation of its tasks.

The OSCE Mission in Kosovo will concentrate its work in the following interrelated areas:

  • Human resources capacity-building, including the training of a new Kosovo police service within a Kosovo Police School which it will establish and operate, the training of judicial personnel and the training of civil administrators at various levels, in co-operation, inter alia, with the Council of Europe;
  • Democratization and governance, including the development of a civil society, non-governmental organizations, political parties and local media;
  • Organization and supervision of elections;
  • Monitoring, protection and promotion of human rights, including, inter alia, the establishment of an Ombudsman institution, in co-operation, inter alia, with the UNHCHR;
  • [Note that, following an assessment of the proposed structure of media development by an experts group, an exchange of letters between the UN and OSCE 19 July 1999, additionally created a Department for Media Affairs].
Such tasks which may be requested by the Secretary-General of the United Nations or his Special Representative, which are consistent with the UNSC Resolution 1244 and approved by the Permanent Council.

3. Deployment

The present OSCE Mission in Kosovo was preceded by the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM). The KVM was established by PC.DEC/263 of 25 October 1998. It reached a strength of approximately 1500 international staff by February 1999 but was unable to carry out the full scope of the tasks allocated under the FRY-OSCE Agreement. The situation in Kosovo during this period was characterised by sporadic KLA attacks on MUP (police) vehicles with rockets and small-arms fire; subsequent cordon and search operations by the MUP, using a disproportionate degree of force including the deployment of tanks, anti-aircraft cannon and mortars; and the resultant displacement and political polarisation of populations. The cease-fire broke down; co-operation by FRY security forces was often patchy and became non-existent; OSCE fears for the security of its verifiers increased, particularly after two members of staff were injured by gunfire. The FRY declared the Head of Mission, Ambassador William Walker, persona non grata after the Racak massacre of January 1999. The OSCE CiO, Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek, withdrew the KVM from Kosovo on March 20 1999, following a steady deterioration in the security situation in the Province. An exodus of some 500,000-800,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees to Albanian and Macedonian territory took place following, but not as a result of, the Mission's withdrawal, and large numbers of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) were reported to be on the move inside Kosovo. (A fuller account of these events can be found in the OSCE Reports "Kosovo/Kosova: As seen, as told", Parts I and II, released in December 1999; please also see below.)

The KVM was temporarily based in the Macedonian capital of Skopje. The bulk of its Mission members were repatriated. The Mission was temporarily re-organised into three groups: a Mission "Core", responsible for administration and planning for the re-entry of an OSCE Mission to Kosovo; a Task Force in Albania to assist UNHCR with the refugee crisis; and a further Task Force in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia performing similar functions. Both these Task Forces conducted large numbers of human rights interviews among the refugees. The KVM was later dissolved and the Task Force for Kosovo (TFK) created in its stead by PC.DEC/296 on 8 June 1999, primarily tasked with preparing for re-deployment to Kosovo and continuing to assist the UN and other international organizations.

Following the FRY/Serb government's acceptance of the G8 principles and the subsequent adoption of UNSC Resolution 1244, the air campaign against the FRY ended and "Kosovo Force" (KFOR) entered Kosovo on 12 June following the signing of a Military 'Technical Agreement on 9 June 1999 between KFOR, the FRY and the Republic of Serbia. The TFK assembled an OSCE Assessment Team to Kosovo, which entered the province on 14 June 1999. A headquarters in Pristina and 5 Regional Centres were rapidly re-established. The field structure continues to develop in conjunction with the United Nations as part of the overall UN Interim Administration Mission In Kosovo (UNMIK), which is responsible for civil implementation in Kosovo.

On 1 July 1999 the Task Force for Kosovo was dissolved and replaced by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo (OSCE MIK) in PC.DEC/305. 130 Mission members were selected from the Task Force's staff whose skills best suited the tasks required of the new Mission. These have now assumed their duties in Kosovo. As of mid-December 1999, there were some 450 international and some 1,050 local staff members in OSCE's Mission in Kosovo.

While initially focusing on the practical preparations for the build up of the new Mission, the Mission is now carrying out priority tasks such as human rights monitoring, and the training of personnel for the police school, the judiciary and local administration. The Mission is the lead organization for the institution building tasks of UNMIK. For example, a Political Party Service Centre in Pristina was opened on 6 October 1999. The purpose of the Centre is to promote the development of mature, democratic political parties in Kosovo. Besides working with political parties, the OSCE has cultivated contacts with a wide range of representatives of NGOs and other members of civil society in Kosovo.

The OSCE MIK and UN Civil Administration pillars have worked closely together on the Emergency Judicial System. Interviews continue to be conducted for the establishment of the local judiciary database. Training symposia have been held for the newly appointed local judges, prosecutors, and defense counsel. The symposia are the first stage of a plan to establish a permanent Judicial Training Institute.

Substantial progress has been made in the development of the future Kosovo Police Service (KPS). The OSCE has been mandated to train approximately 3,200 locally recruited students within 18 months to work as a community oriented police service and restore trust and confidence in law enforcement among the citizens of Kosovo.

The Department of Elections has started preparatory work for elections, legislation and organization.

The OSCE Director of Media has been appointed by SRSG as Temporary Media Commissioner. Existing radio and television stations as well as those planning to commence operations are required to apply for temporary broadcasting licenses. The Commissioner is charges with formulating a plan for a licensing and regulatory authority in order to bring direction to the media environment in Kosovo. Furthermore OSCE is preparing the groundwork for a Code of Practice in broadcast media in close consultation with UNMIK, Council of Europe and other legal experts, and the Kosovo Media Policy Advisory Board. The OSCE has been tasked with establishing a public, independent broadcasting system, Radio Television Kosovo (RTK). RTK, which started its first television programme on 19 September, enjoys increasing local support and international endorsement.

The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), in conjunction with the Human Rights Division of OSCE MIK released two human rights reports on 6 December detailing violations that occurred between October 1998 ' October 1999.

Recruitment and initial training for a Mission expected to number about 700 international staff continues.

Extensive consultations are being conducted with other international organisations, most prominently the Council of Europe, and non-governmental organisations both at Headquarters and field level in order to identify subjects and methods for co-operation in implementing the Mission's mandate.

4. Duration

In its Decision No. 305 of 1 July 1999, the Permanent Council decided that the OSCE Mission to Kosovo will be established for an initial period until 10 June 2000, with the possibility of prolongations as decided by the Permanent Council.

5. Composition

The structure of the OSCE Mission to Kosovo is based on the concept of a Senior Management Group consisting of the Head of Mission, Deputy Head of Mission, Directors of five Departments and of Administration. The five substantive Departments are Democratisation, Human Rights/ Rule of Law, Elections, Media Affairs and Police Training.

The Head and Deputy Head of Mission are supported by an Office of the Head of Mission, which includes a small Executive Secretariat and a Public Affairs Office.

The Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo is Ambassador Daan Everts of the Netherlands, who was appointed on 1 July 1999. Ambassador Everts, like the other UNMIK Pillar Heads, also serves as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations (DSRSG).

6. Financial implications

In its Decision No. 305 of 1 July 1999, the Permanent Council requested the Secretary General urgently to present a budget proposal for the OSCE Mission in Kosovo.

Pending a decision on the budget for the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, the Permanent Council tasked the Secretary General to take all measures necessary for the closure of the OSCE Task Force, and authorizes him to transfer resources previously allocated to the OSCE Task Force to the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and:

(a)To incur obligations to the extent required for the fulfillment of the tasks of the OSCE Mission, but not exceeding the residual portion of the spending authority previously granted, following the implementation of all necessary measures to close the OSCE Task Force;

(b)To continue making use of the existing Post Table authorized by Permanent Council Decisions Nos. 266 and 282;

(c)To make use of the physical assets previously acquired for the use of the OSCE Task Force.

The unified OSCE Budget for 2000 was adopted at the 262nd Plenary Meeting of the Permanent Council on 15 December 1999, PC.DEC/331. The OSCE Mission in Kosovo budget for 2000 amounts to EUR 85,050,700.

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