In 2003, Kosovo was a disputed territory located in Southeastern Europe, with a population of around two million people. Its capital and largest city was Pristina. The official language was Albanian but Serbian and other languages were spoken by minority populations. Kosovo’s economy relied heavily on income from remittances from the diaspora as well as foreign aid from countries such as the United States and the European Union. This had resulted in an improved standard of living for many Kosovars, although there were still pockets of poverty in some areas. Education levels were high compared to other countries in the region, with a literacy rate close to 98%. Healthcare access was also good due to government efforts to provide universal health care coverage. According to computergees, crime rates were relatively low compared to other countries in the region, and there were no reports of political violence in 2003. The government at the time was led by President Ibrahim Rugova who had been elected in 2002 and had implemented several economic reforms such as reducing tariffs on imports and introducing labor reforms. Despite its small size, Kosovo maintained strong cultural ties to its neighbors including its unique cuisine as well as its rich history of literature, music and art forms such as traditional folk songs which have been passed down for centuries.
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.
The international administration of Kosovo
In the same day that ended the air campaign N ato, on 10 June 1999, the Security Council of the U n adopted Resolution 1244, which inaugurated the international administration of Kosovo. The resolution followed by just one day the peace agreements signed in Kumanovo, in which Serbia accepted, together with the withdrawal of the special forces present in the province, the international presence of the U n and the N ato. According to the provisions contained in the text of 1244, the stabilization of the area has passed through a strong commitment on the part of the international community, both on a military and civilian level. The tasks of maintaining peace and security have been entrusted to the K for mission of the N ato. The civilian component of international intervention has been entrusted, however, the U nmik, the international mission of the U n which is to manage the entire Kosovo’s administrative sphere. The U nmik is divided into four pillars, each of which falls under the authority of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General U n: the first pillar, managed by the High Commissioner for Refugees (U nhcr), is responsible for humanitarian affairs (Human Affairs) and, since 2000, also for justice and law enforcement (Law Enforcement and Justice). The second pillar, managed by the U ns, is responsible for civil administration. The third pillar, led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (O sce), is responsible for democratization and institutional reconstruction (Democratization and Institution Building). The fourth pillar, led by the EU, is responsible for economic reconstruction. Within the framework of the indications of resolution 1244, the UNMIK set up an administration interim and neutral with respect to the status of Kosovo: on the one hand, it was conceived as transitional and, on the other, the U n pledged to facilitate negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo to determine whether the country should remain a province autonomous of Serbia or become an independent state, but without supporting one or the other solution.
However, over the years the U nmik has come to be neither transient nor neutral. Several factors have contributed to making the international presence indispensable and prolonged over time: the almost total absence of effective institutions capable of autonomously administering the territory, the withdrawal of Serbian personnel and officials, the persistence of strong ethnic tensions, the uncertainty regarding to the future status of the province. For the same reasons, the more the international presence has tended to become permanent and has made up for the entire administrative framework of Kosovo, the more it has created autonomous government structures from Serbia, very close to de facto independence.. In 2008, the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo, paradoxically, made the international presence even more indispensable. On the one hand, the recognition that the international community is prepared to accord to Kosovo is a ‘supervised’ independence, that is, expressly guided by the international institutions present in the country. For another, the unilateral nature of the declaration of independence has exacerbated ethnic tensions, requiring a greater effort on the part of the international administration to create a shared political and institutional framework.
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.
Kosovo Brief Guide
According to AbbreviationFinder, the security situation in the Kosovo is generally good. However, any demonstrations or gatherings should be avoided everywhere. Unrest in the Serb areas of northern Kosovo is possible and the situation should be checked before traveling to the area.