Kosova 3: From Occupation to International Protectorate
The UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of 10 June 1999 annulled two states: the Republic of Kosova declared by the Kacanik Congress of 7 September 1990 and the Belgrade-directed military occupation of Kosova since 23 March 1989 when Serbia had forcefully removed the autonomous status of Kosova as stipulated by the 1974 constitution. Rightly so, this occupation was deemed to be the fourth Serbian occupation of Kosova in the nineteenth century (the first one happened in 1912, the second one in 1918, and the third one in 1944). This resolution put Kosova under an international protectorate, which would only end on 17 February 2008 when the elected bodies of Kosova, under the provisions of the Constitutional Framework, and in close cooperation with the international community, namely the West, declared Kosova an independent state. Needless to say, the declaration of independence marked an historic achievement – the fulfillment of the Albanian right for self-determination, which they always had, but could never enjoy until it was also supported by the West. And, the Western support was earned thanks to the policies of the 1980s and 1990s and especially thanks to the work of the Democratic League of Kosova that was established on 23 December 1989. In this context, the role of Dr. Ibrahim Rugova remains historic.
Viewed from a political vantage point, the international protectorate of Kosova was not only beneficial but it was also necessary because it removed a conquerer from Kosova – one that was about to use all of the available means to commit genocide against Albanians in Kosova. However, this development does not exclude the historic processes that Kosova underwent since the Serbian occupation of 1912, the social realities that faced the Albanians in Kosova and in other Yugoslav territories, especially during the last stage of the disintegration of Yugoslavia when after the abolishment of Kosova’s autonomy and the reoccupation of Kosova by Serbia (which was taking place in the name of “Serbian unity”), the deputies of Kosova’s Parliament on 2 July 1990 had separated Kosova from Serbia through the Constitutional Declaration whereas the Parliament of Kosova during its historic meeting of 7 September 1990 had declared Kosova a sovereign republic able to decide on its ties with other republics on its own. The Kacanik Constitution had opened the way for other statebuilding steps, such as the independence referendum of September 1991 and the free parliamentary and presidential elections of April 1992 which resulted in the formation of the Government of Kosova and its respective ministries, including the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This state, which would later be called a “parallel” state (although it was not a parallel state, rather a state that was created based on the democratic will of the people) and which would operate for the following six years, despite all of the difficulties and barriers it faced, managed to direct the efforts and activities of all aspects of life – economic, social, cultural, and political – towards survivial under the Serbian occupation and in line with the Kacanik Constitution.