Kosovo. In the Union Treaty where the Union replaced Serbia and Montenegro, Yugoslavia decided that Kosovo and Vojvodina would be autonomous parts of Serbia. Large parts of the Albanian majority raged against Kosovo being included in the new Union at all. However, when the Union came into force, a group of MPs in Kosovo wanted to immediately proclaim an independent state. The UN’s top representative in the province, Michael Steiner, appealed to the Kosovo Albanians for patience, saying that the time was not ripe for a ruling on Kosovo, who has served as a UN protectorate since the 1999 war. In July, Finland’s former Prime Minister Harri Holkeri took over as UNMIK head of UNMIK after Steiner, who has held the post since January 2002.
According to Countryaah.com, the first war criminal trial in Kosovo against former members of the later dissolved Kosovo Albanian guerrilla UCK ended with convicting sentences. Former leader Rustem Mustafa, known as Remi, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for crimes committed against other Kosovo Albanians during the 1999 conflict. The other three defendants were also sentenced to prison. The verdicts increased the dissatisfaction with the UN, which set up the court, and was believed to be the underlying cause of an Indian UN soldier being shot dead in August.
Later in the fall, the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo reported heightened readiness due to unspecified threats to international organizations.
A clear reminder of the ongoing hostilities in the province also came in August, when unknown perpetrators opened fire on Serbs bathing in a river. Two young people were shot dead and four injured. The incident led to protest marches and reports of attacks on Kosovo Albanians in Serbian enclaves.
Kosovo – Pristina
Pristina, Albanian Prishtina, Serbian Priština, capital of Kosovo; 205 100 residents (2012). Pristina, located 250 km south of Belgrade, is the administrative center with some industry (textiles, fertilizers and food) and universities. However, parts of the industry were destroyed by NATO bombings in 1999. The city has a modern center surrounded by older buildings and industrial facilities as well as an international airport.