Serbia + 1 more

OSCE Mission in Kosovo - The First Six Months: July to December 1999

Source
Posted
Originally published
Introduction
The United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is the first mission of its kind. It is unique in its complexity and comprehensiveness incorporating various international organisations. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Mission in Kosovo, is the lead organization for the institution-building tasks of UNMIK. Six months into the mission, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo has established itself as an important pillar of UNMIK. It has set up 15 field offices and five regional centres around Kosovo. The OSCE receives contributions and expertise from other international organizations, such as the Council of Europe and other OSCE missions in the region. The mission has built up to more than 450 international and more than 1,000 local staff members by the end of the year.

Democratization

  • Political Party Service Centre opened in Pristina.
  • First Regional Political Round Table discussions in Pristina and Pec.
  • NGO Council of local NGOs established.
  • Joint introduction courses with UN Civil Administration for UN local administrators.
  • Guidelines for NGO Registration published and training for NGOs of Registration Procedures carried out.
  • First NGO Resource Center opened in Pec.
  • First multi-ethnic Women's Conference held.
  • Roma Conference held.
A Political Party Service Centre in Pristina opened on 6 October 1999. The purpose of the Centre is to promote the development of mature, democratic political parties in Kosovo. The Centre currently provides offices for 13 political parties and one coalition. Preparations are under way for the opening of similar Centres in the regions. 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. A development program for local NGOs is in place, which includes material and logistical support as well as capacity building and the improvement of fund-raising abilities through the logistical basis of the NGO Resource Centres with specific emphasis on women's groups, the handicapped and youth groups.

Human Rights

  • Two major human rights reports (As Seen, As Told, Part I and Part II) were published.
  • International human rights conference, 10 - 11 December.
  • Launched human rights awareness campaign.
  • Five Roundtables on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Extensive documentation compiled of alleged crimes committed against the local communities. These documents will assist in subsequent investigations.
  • Intensive co-ordination with UNHCR, ICRC and UNHCHR.
  • Human rights officers reporting on the human rights situation in all municipalities.
On 6 December 1999, the OSCE published two important human rights reports. The first report covers the period from October 1998 to June 1999, the second report covers the period June up to and including October 1999. Both reports include accounts of violations of human rights reported to OSCE. Furthermore, the OSCE has substantially contributed to two reports on minorities issued by the UNHCR. On 10 and 11 December, OSCE co-hosted an International Human Rights Conference in Pristina. Hundreds of national and international guests attended the conference, which was prepared in close co-ordination with the Office of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General, UNHCR, Council of Europe and other local and international partners.

Rule of Law

  • Monitoring the courts of Kosovo.
  • Providing active input in selection of judges and prosecutors and training the appointees.
  • Preparing a Kosovo Rule of Law and Human Rights Center.
  • Providing assistance and support to the Pristina Law School.
  • Preparations for an Ombudsman's Office together with other international partners.
  • Material support to courts
The OSCE Mission in Kosovo and the UN Civil Administration pillars have worked closely 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. The Rule of Law Division also includes a Legal Community Support Section, which aims to identify the needs of the legal community. Intense work done to provide legal and organizational base for Ombudsman's Office.

Police Education and Development

  • Setting up a curriculum for the Kosovo Police Service School.
  • Graduation of the first class of 176 Kosovo Police Officers, comprising 17 minorities and 20 per cent women.
  • With the start of the second class of 178 cadets a further step in increasing confidence in a new local police service has been taken.
  • Training of 35 correctional officers.
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 inaugural class graduated from the Kosovo Police Service School on 16 October and shortly thereafter began 19 weeks of field training with UNMIK police officers. The second police course started a nine-week course on 29 November. Of the 178 students, 28 are Kosovo Serbs, 14 are other minorities and 17% are women.

Elections

  • Preparing for registration and legislation
  • Organizing institutional framework
The Department of Elections has started preparatory work for elections, legislation and organization. The UN Civil Administration and OSCE are working closely together to ensure that the civil registry will be compatible with the needs for a voter's list. Issues under consideration include the evidential and residential criteria for enfranchisement and the locality where voters can cast a ballot. Much work has already been done on drafting election regulations and organizing the required institutional framework, including Kosovo Central Election Committee. OSCE Mission in Kosovo has also been able to call upon the OSCE mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina for expert advice and assistance.

Media Affairs

  • Media Advisory Board established
  • Temporary Media Commissioner appointed
  • Preparing for Code of Practice for broadcast media
  • Establishment of the public broadcasting Radio Television Kosovo (RTK)
  • Encourage professional journalists to voluntarily establish an ethical code
  • Regular roundtable with Kosovo journalists and international donors on media development policies.
The OSCE Director of Media has been appointed by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General as Temporary Media Commissioner. Existing radio and television stations as well as those planning to commence operations are required to apply for temporary broadcasting licences. The Commissioner is charged 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 program on 19 September, enjoys increasing local support and international endorsement. OSCE was able to raise funds for the development of RTK. Intensive efforts are underway to transform Rilindija Building into a multi-purpose Media House.

OSCE Secretariat
Kärntner Ring 5-7
1010 Vienna, Austria
tel.: (+43-1) 514 36 180
fax: (+43-1) 514 36 105
e-mail: info@osce.org