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UN Resolution 1244

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UN Resolution 1244

UN Security Council
Resolution 1244
Kosovo (highlighted) in Serbia

Date 10 June 1999
Meeting no. 4,011
Code S/RES/1244 (Document)

Vote For: 14 — Abs. 1 — Against: 0
Subject The situation in Kosovo
Result Adopted
Security Council composition
Permanent members
Non-permanent members
  •  ARG
  •  BHR
  •  BRA
  •  CAN
  •  GAB
  •  GAM
  •  MAS
  •  NAM
  •  NED
  •  SLO
  • United Nations Security Council resolution 1244,[1] adopted on 10 June 1999, after recalling resolutions 1160 (1998), 1199 (1998), 1203 (1998) and 1239 (1999), authorised an international civil and military presence in Kosovo (then part of Serbia, the successor of Serbia and Montenegro, which was called "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia")[2][3][4] and established the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).[5] It followed agreement by President Miloševič of FRY to terms proposed by President Ahtisaari and Chernomyrdin on 8 June, involving withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo (Annex 2 of the Resolution).

    Resolution 1244 was adopted by 14 votes to none against. China abstained despite being critical of the NATO offensive, particularly the bombing of its embassy. It argued that the conflict should be settled by the FRY Government and its people and was opposed to external intervention. However, given the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia accepted of the peace proposal, China would not veto the resolution.[5]

    As of 2013, resolution 1244 is redundant; Kosovo declared independence, and references to resolution 1244 are used to save face for Serbia.[6]

    Resolution

    Observations

    In the preamble of Resolution 1244, the Security Council regretted that there had not been compliance with previous resolutions[7] It was determined to resolve the serious humanitarian situation and wanted to ensure that all refugees could safely return. It condemned violence against the civilian population as well as acts of terrorism, and recalled the jurisdiction and mandate of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

    It recalled the sovereignty, territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and other states in the region, and reaffirmed its call for meaningful autonomy and self-administration for Kosovo.[8]

    Acts

    The resolution was enacted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, which made it mandatory and legally enforceable.

    The Security Council decided that a solution to the Kosovo crisis was to be based upon the agreed principles contained in the annexes of the resolution. It welcomed Serbian (then called "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia") acceptance of the principles and demanded co-operation in their implementation. At the same time, the Council demanded that the Serbia put an end to repression in Kosovo and begin a phased withdrawal;[9] after withdrawal a small number of Yugoslav and Serbian military and police personnel could return to Kosovo, if authorised by the international military presence, to carry out functions contained in the annex of the resolution.

    The resolution then authorised an international civil and security presence in Kosovo. The Secretary-General was requested to appoint a Special Representative to co-ordinate the implementation of the international presence. The Council authorised countries and international organisations to establish a security presence in Kosovo, affirming the need for the immediate deployment of the international civil and security presences. The responsibilities of the international security presence included deterring new hostilities, monitoring the withdrawal of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, demilitarising the Kosovo Liberation Army and other Kosovo Albanian groups and ensuring a safe environment in which refugees could return.

    The Secretary-General was authorised to establish an international civilian presence in Kosovo to provide an interim administration whereby the people of Kosovo could enjoy autonomy - pending a final status solution - and oversee the development of democratic self-governing institutions. The main responsibilities of the international civil presence included the promotion of autonomy for Kosovo, performing civilian administrative functions, overseeing the development of the institutions including the holding of elections, maintaining law and order, protecting human rights and ensuring the safe return of refugees.

    The Council emphasised the need for humanitarian relief operations and encouraged all states and organisations to contribute towards economic and social reconstruction. All parties, including the international presence, had to co-operate with the ICTY. It demanded that armed Kosovan groups end their offensives.

    Finally, it was decided that the international civil and security presences were to be established for an initial period of 12 months,[10] while the Secretary-General was requested to keep the Council informed on developments. Unusually for UN peace-keeping missions, this one was to continue after the initial 12-month period unless the Security Council determined otherwise: normally, the continuing mandate of missions is subject to resolutions after 12 months which allow for revisions to the original mandate.

    Summary

    The main features of Resolution 1244 were to:

    • Demand in particular that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia put an immediate and verifiable end to violence and repression in Kosovo;
    • complete verifiable phased withdrawal from Kosovo of all military, police and paramilitary forces according to a rapid timetable, with which the deployment of the international security presence in Kosovo will be synchronized;
    • Place Kosovo under interim UN administration (performed by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK);
    • Authorize a NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo (currently performed by the Kosovo Force, KFOR);
    • Allow for the return of an agreed number of Yugoslav and Serbian personnel to maintain a presence at Serbian Patrimonial sites and key border crossings;
    • Direct UNMIK to establish provisional institutions of local self-government in Kosovo (PISG);
    • Reaffirm the commitment of UN member states to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (succeeded by Serbia)[note 1][11] and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act and annex 2 of UNSCR 1244 (an annex that envisions, inter alia, a Kosovo status process);
    • Require the UN to assure the safe and unimpeded return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes in Kosovo and to ensure conditions for a peaceful and normal life for all inhabitants of the province;
    • Require that the KLA and other armed Kosovo Albanian groups be demilitarized;
    • Authorize the United Nations to facilitate a political process to determine Kosovo's future status. Kosovo's future status would take into consideration the Rambouillet Agreement which Serbia refused to sign in 1998, and which calls for the "will of the people of Kosovo" to be one of the guiding principles in defining Kosovo's status, another being the respective compliance of the disputing parties to the Agreement. The resolution reaffirms calls for "substantial autonomy and meaningful self-administration for Kosovo".

    Significance

    Serbian stance

    Article 1 of the Helsinki Final Act places a high value on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of existing states. In a similar fashion the references to autonomy in 1244 articles indicate a desire by UN Member-States at that time to return Kosovo to a pre-1990 autonomous status, if possible.

    But the EU's Venice Commission noted that: "With respect to substantial autonomy, an examination of the Constitution, and more specifically of Part VII, makes it clear that this substantial autonomy of Kosovo is not at all guaranteed at the constitutional level, as the Constitution delegates almost every important aspect of this autonomy to the legislature....it is clear that ordinary law can restrict the autonomy of the Provinces.

    This possibility of restricting the autonomy of the Provinces by law is confirmed by almost every article of Part 7 of the Constitution...

    Hence, in contrast with what the preamble announces, the Constitution itself does not at all guarantee substantial autonomy to Kosovo, for it entirely depends on the willingness of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia whether self-government will be realised or not."

    It should be noted that "substantial autonomy" under the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution required Kosovo acceptance of any laws restricting its authority.

    Serbia sought international validation for its stance, and in October 2008 requested a judgement from the International Court of Justice.[12] However, the Court ruled that the declaration of independence was legal.[13]

    Kosovo stance

    On 17 February 2008 representatives of the people of Kosovo, acting outside the UNMIK's PISG framework (not representing the Assembly of Kosovo or any other of these institutions),[14] issued a declaration of independence establishing the Republic of Kosovo. On 22 July 2010 the International Court of Justice ruled that the declaration of independence of 17 February 2008 did not violate general international law, Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) or the Constitutional Framework, because the authors of the declaration, who named themselves "representatives of the people of Kosovo" were not bound by the those documents. The declaration of independence was legal.[15]

    A key argument on the Kosovo side was that Article 1 of the Helsinki Final Act makes the continued territorial integrity of sovereignty of states conditional upon their willingness and ability to guarantee the fundamental human rights also defined in the Final Act.

    International sports

    Kosovo partakes in some sporting events in accordance with the resolution.[16]

    See also

    Notes

    References

    External links

    • Text of Resolution at UNHCR.org
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