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Monday, 6 December, 1999, 18:37 GMT
Analysis: Kosovo's elusive peace
Some Serbs have left Kosovo despite the international presence


By Jon Leyne in Pristina

Winning the war was the easy part. Establishing true peace in Kosovo - the world is beginning to learn - is the really challenging part.

The war in Kosovo
It is nearly seven months since Nato arrived here. They now have nearly 50,000 troops. Yet the violence refuses to die down.

Many Serbs live with a 24-hour armed guard from the peacekeepers. Yet last week, 22 Serbs were killed nonetheless.

The violence is so routine it barely gets reported. And almost as many Albanians are dying, as crime, organised and disorganised, takes root in the province.


Apparently member states are more easily mobilised for war than for peace
The head of the OSCE mission in Kosovo
Today's report by the human rights monitors of the OSCE relates how elderly, vulnerable Serbs are now being targeted.

It tells how some thugs recruit children as young as 10 years old to carry out their crimes, because there's no juvenile justice system yet.

It shows how the tide of intolerance has spread to attacks on Catholic Albanians, and to political opponents of the leaders of what used to be the Kosovo Liberation Army.

OSCE ambassador Daan Everts is 'frustrated' at his lack of resources
The head of the OSCE mission in Pristina, Ambassador Daan Everts, could not hide his frustration: "Apparently member states are more easily mobilised for war than for peace," he said.

"There was no problem in rallying countries to be firm in the face of the Serbian repression. It is far less easy to mobilise similar forces, even 10% of such forces, to re-establish the rule of law."

Ambassador Everts called for what the UN has already been pleading for: more UN policemen, more support for training local police, and much more support for the local system of justice.

But so far barely 1,800 police have arrived. A trickle of local officers graduate from the international police college. The system of justice is deadlocked over which set of laws to apply.

When the courts do sit, the Albanian judges are notoriously partisan.

Kosovo Protection Corps

Around the country, the so-called Kosovo Protection Corps has taken the position of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Officially only one man has been recruited to the new unit, the leader General Agim Ceku. Unofficially thousands of former KLA members have just changed uniforms.

Some are working hard on reconstructing the province, others are firmly believed to be involved in organised crime.

When I asked one local UN police chief whether he had any trouble from the members of the Kosovo Protection Corps, there was a long silence then a deep sigh.

"It's as if the Governor of California said 'I authorise the formation of Hells Angels Chapters, but they will only do roadworks", he said, speaking in a whisper even inside his own police station.

Many Serb houses were set on fire in revenge attacks
He suggested that the international community was stocking up problems for the future by allowing members of the Corps to keep even a limited number of weapons.

What the OSCE have not said is the degree to which the leadership of what was the KLA are behind the current violence and the attacks on the Serbs.

They insist they do not have enough evidence to say, and it is not their duty to apportion blame. But it is a potentially explosive issue.

If the West should find and publish evidence that its allies in Kosovo are responsible for either organised crime, or the campaign against Serb civilians, that could provoke a disastrous falling out.

The scene could eventually be set for what many dread - conflict between Nato and those people who still see them as their liberators.

'Belgrade's systematic persecution'

In a separate report, also out today, the OSCE monitors have done the most detailed study of what happened to the Kosovo Albanians during the Nato air campaign.

They have concluded that it was a systematic persecution, directed from Belgrade.

Ambassador Gerard Stoudmann, who produced the report on the fate of the Albanians, insisted that what had happened to them was of a different order than the current persecution of the Serbs.

"What we have now is much more linked with simple lawlessness," he insisted. "It can and should be addressed."
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See also:
06 Dec 99 |  Europe
Kosovo catalogue of horrors
12 Nov 99 |  Europe
Q & A: Counting Kosovo's dead
15 Jun 99 |  Europe
A land of desecration and death
23 Jul 99 |  Kosovo
Living with fear in Pristina

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