(1) To the Ambassadors of the Contact Group Members Countries
Honorable Ambassadors:The immediate reason for addressing this letter to you is the Contact Group Statement on Kosovo, from the meeting held in Bonn, on July 8, 1998, more specifically, the recommendation to the negotiating teams of basic elements for composing the Kosovo status, that will be offered for the dialogue in parallel with international involvement.
The Contact group stressed that “it supports neither the maintenance of the status quo in Kosovo, not the Kosova Albanians’ claims for independence,” which in fact, makes the dialogue a conditional one.Considering basic elements for composing the status of Kosovo as its prejudgment, and convinced that such a prejudgment will not help the resolution of the Kosovo problem, we feel a moral and political obligation to ask you and authorities of your country, as members of the Contact Group, to make it possible for the professional team of the Independent Association of Lawyers of Kosova to testify before the Parliament in favor of the determination of the Albanian people in Kosovo for independence, the option that is realistic and balanced, for the resolution of the Kosovo issue. Without elaborating in depth the theses that could be presented before your Parliament, we emphasize that our speech will be focused on these five points:- First, a very brief history of the Albanian people, with a special review of the Albanian-Serbian conflict and the need for the recognition of the independence of Kosovo as addressing the injustice towards the Albanians in the Balkans.- Second, the two basic components of analyzing the Kosovo issue: the right of self-determination and the right of the Albanians to recognition as a people, respectively as a nation, and not as “national minority”.- Third, analysis of the constitutional position of Kosovo, according to the Constitution of the Former Yugoslavia of 1974, as its federal unit, basing it in a great numbers of arguments, that could be analyzed separately, and by no means as the effort for the restitution of the status of autonomy.- Fourth, in the importance of the just solutions of Kosovo issue for the new political balance in the Balkans.- Fifth, the political consequences for the region in case of the failure to respect the will of the majority people in Kosovo.Details related to the organization of the testimony, including time and place, can be arranged by your acceptance of our proposal.
July 10, 1998For the Independent Association of Lawyers of Kosova, Dr. Esat Stavileci, president
(2) Letter of the Kosova Independent Association of Lawyers to the German Foreign Minister Joschka Fisher
Dear Mr. Minister:
Congratulating your country and you personally for the EU Presidency for the next six months, please let me emphasize few historical, legal and political facts will help you understand better and more fully the Kosovo issue.First, the Kosovo issue does not exists from today. It has been created by the Serbian occupation, across the Albanian ethnic tree, whose approval was done by the London Conference (1913) and sealed up by the Versailles Conference (1918-1920). At the cross roads of the Balkan Wars, half of the Albanian people and more than a half of the territories whose majority populations is Albanian was found not only out of the new Albanian country, but occupied by the Balkan neighbors, mainly by the Serbian state.Second, present repression against the Kosovo Albanians by the Serbian regime, which is getting a character of a fight against them, is only a stern expression of a conflict in the political, interethnic domain on Kosovo. This conflict conditions with the possessivism of the Serbian great country toward Kosovo without any ethnic standard. This possessivism is expressed as domination of people by people, without being based at all on a real structure of Kosovo that demographically has a clear Albanian dominance.Third, the political destiny of the Albanian people in Kosovo cannot be “an internal affair” of the Serbian people, same as the political destiny of Kosovo cannot be “the internal affair” of Serbia, especially because of the well-known fact that Kosovo same as Serbia had in essence completely independent position from each other in the functioning of the former common country Yugoslavia, which doesn’t exist anymore, fact that is a very significant one.Fourth, the Kosovo issue is in essence the issue of self-determination of its majority population. It represents a historical and natural right articulated also in positive international law.Fifth, the Albanians in Kosovo have declared themselves on their political future in the conditions and the circumstances of the dissolution of the former-Yugoslavia where have strong legal bases to defend the territorial integrity of the country that is not internationally recognized and it doesn’t have a reason to ask Kosovo be a part of it. Mr. Minister:I am using the opportunity to emphasize that the independence as an ideal for which the international community should become more conscientious, because the attitude that the independence of Kosovo violates the Helsinki principles is baseless, not only because this century processes of the derogation of previous borders happened in Europe, but also because of the fact that Kosovo as a federal unit of the former Yugoslavia had its own territory and its own borders, which couldn’t be changed without its consent.Taking into consideration Your precious time we are not overloading the letter with other facts by which the argument for the independence of Kosovo would be strengthened. Thus, please take into account the facts and position yourself in defense of the law and justice.
For the Kosova Independent Association of Lawyers
Dr. Esat Stavileci, presidentPristina, 5 January 1999
(3) Letter of the Kosova Independent Association of Lawyers to the Ambassador Vedrine and Cook(Réunion de Rambouillet)
Dear Mr. Ambassador:
Please let me emphasize few historical, legal and political facts that will help you understand better and more fully the Kosovo issue.First, the Kosovo issue does not exists from today. It has been created by the Serbian occupation, across the Albanian ethnic tree, whose approval was done by the London Conference (1913) and sealed up by the Versailles Conference (1918-1920). At the cross roads of the Balkan Wars, half of the Albanian people and more than a half of the territories whose majority populations is Albanian was found not only out of the new Albanian country, but occupied by the Balkan neighbors, mainly by the Serbian state.Second, present repression against the Kosovo Albanians by the Serbian regime, which is getting a character of a fight against them, is only a stern expression of a conflict in the political, interethnic domain on Kosovo. This conflict conditions with the possessivism of the Serbian great country toward Kosovo without any ethnic standard. This possessivism is expressed as domination of people by people, without being based at all on a real structure of Kosovo that demographically has a clear Albanian dominance.Third, the political destiny of the Albanian people in Kosovo cannot be “an internal affair” of the Serbian people, same as the political destiny of Kosovo cannot be “the internal affair” of Serbia, especially because of the well-known fact that Kosovo same as Serbia had in essence completely independent position from each other in the functioning of the former common country Yugoslavia, which doesn’t exist anymore, fact that is a very significant one.Fourth, the Kosovo issue is in essence the issue of self-determination of its majority population. It represents a historical and natural right articulated also in positive international law.Fifth, the Albanians in Kosovo have declared themselves on their political future in the conditions and the circumstances of the dissolution of the former-Yugoslavia where neither the people of Slavs tree do share their lives. Thus, Conference of Rambouillet doesn’t have strong legal bases to defend the territorial integrity of the country that is not internationally recognized and it doesn’t have a reason to ask Kosovo be a part of it. Dear Mr. Ambassador:I am using the opportunity to emphasize that the independence as an ideal for which the international community should become more conscientious, because the attitude that the independence of Kosovo violates the Helsinki principles is baseless, not only because this century processes of the derogation of previous borders happened in Europe, but also because of the fact that Kosovo as a federal unit of the former Yugoslavia had its own territory and its own borders, which couldn’t be changed without its consent.Taking into consideration Your precious time we are not overloading the letter with other facts by which the argument for the independence of Kosovo would be strengthened. Thus, please take into account the facts and position yourself in defense of the law and justice.
For the Kosova Independent Association of LawyersEsat Stavileci,president
Pristina, 9 February 1999
(4) House Committee on the International RelationsHearing on Kosova Statement from Esat Stavileci, Ph. D.Professor of Law, University of Prishtina, Kosova and University of Tetova, Macedonia April 11, 2000
After the war, many positive changes have taken place in Kosova, for which the majority of the population is grateful of the international community, especially to the United States, which has repeatedly given the Albanian people of Kosova the hope for a better life, in the wake of the collective trauma from the Serbian genocide, the scope of which still remains concealed from the rest of the world.Today, the international community is recommending to the Albanian people that they strengthen their dedication to peace and willingness to embrace their Serbian oppressors. They suggest that we look ahead to the future and the possibilities that it holds out to us. It will indeed be of great value to the Albanian people of Kosova if they understand that the path to peace and prosperity is a better alternative to endless violence and potential isolation within the international community.However, in spite of all the positive changes that have been made in postwar Kosova, they are not enough, and decisive steps have to be taken to transform the status quo. The biggest problems facing postwar Kosova are: the de facto partitioning of Mitrovice, the incarceration of Albanian prisoners in Serbian jails in violation of international law, who are subject “kangaroo courts” and have no access to valid legal procedures of any kind, the ongoing presence of Serbian military forces within the internationally mandated “security zone”, and acts of violence and lack of properly functioning judiciary.The people of Kosova are convinced that independence represents the only just solution for Kosova, as well as for stability in the region, the achievement of which is the objective of the international community. We believe that ultimately independence will emerge as the only acceptable and lasting solution to the Balkan conflict.There are evident, positive factors that favor developments in the direction of independence for Kosova, taking into consideration the presence of the international community on the ground as a starting point and based on UN Resolution 1244 and the promise of the people of Kosova to abandon communism and o embrace democracy.Other factors also have to be taken into consideration in determining the final status of Kosova: First, the geographical and political map of former Yugoslavia has been changed. In contrast to the biased and unprincipled interpretations of the Badminter Commission, Kosova had the status of an equal unit in the confederal presidency of the former Yugoslavia. Second, the 1974 Constitution was the legal basis of the creation of the former Yugoslavia and, therefore, it should be the basis for its dissolution.Third, based on juridical/ constitutional facts, Serbia and Montenegro cannot become the successor of former Yugoslavia without legal consequences, two which are especially significant. The former Yugoslavia is not recognized as a state. This means that the Serbian regime is trying to constitute another artificial country, even though they are still not internationally recognized. In addition, the “Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia”, based on the 1974 constitution, no longer exists.Fourth, Kosova has not participated in any way with Serbia and Montenegro in the creation of a so-called New Yugoslavia. It should be noted that there are many, many voices in Montenegro calling for the independence of Montenegro from Serbia.Fifth, Kosova has been put under a temporary international civil administration, and this fact alone is leading Kosova towards secession from Serbia-Montenegro. In addition, the Rambouillet agreement is not and cannot be considered a valid document under international law, which would give the right to the so-called Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to keep Kosova under “her umbrella”.There are at least ten arguments in favor of the independence of Kosova. They are:(1) Ethnically and demographically, Kosova consists of a dominant Albanian majority living with a discrete national territory.(2) The political will of the majority of the people of Kosova is to “live within their own territory according to their own set of rules”.(3) The right of self-determination of the Albanian people of Kosova is a national right, to be exercised within their individual territory.(4) The existence of Kosova as a constituent, equal unit in the confederal presidency of the former Yugoslavia is well established in the Constitution, where its territory and borders are clearly delineated.(5) The former Yugoslavia is in the process of dissolution. Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, and Serbia are independent. Therefore, Kosova is entitled to the same right.(6) There is congruence between the ethnic character of the territory and the ethnic character of the government.(7) The complex historical and political individuality, geography, and national structure of Kosova are clear.(8) The Albanian people of Kosova have a natural, objective right to independence, because they are overwhelming majority of the population in Kosova and because they are a large and integral part of the entire Albanian population in the Balkans.(9) Kosova has a strong social and economic base, which makes statehood a viable option.(10) Kosova’s right to independence is also a matter of social and political justice, because the Albanian population has been subject to massive human rights violation on a scale approaching genocide.The independence of Kosova as a solution to the Balkan conflict is not only in the interest of the Albanian nation, but it is also in the interest of the Serbian people. It will eventually lead to a democratization of the region and improved relationships among ethnic groups and between the Balkans states and the international community. Ultimately, it is more rational to put an end to a conflict than to keep it forever open. Therefore, I, along with the majority of Kosovar Albanians, believe that independence is the only choice.
National Albanian Committee for Southeastern European StudiesIN International Congress for Southeastern European Studies Esat Stavileci, Member of the Kosova Academy of Science and Art PROCESSES AND DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE AND THE KOSOVA ISSUE (Presentation) Introduction
This congress has addressed issues of interest for the people, states and the nations of Southeastern Europe throughout centuries. The theoretical discourses for these issues are valuable and they might assist and I hope they will assist to enlighten the magnitude of the processes and the developments in Southeastern Europe. The reviews of the Kosova issue in the present and in its future only confirm these discourses, particularly having under consideration the fact that in the historical crossroads through which the Kosova issue is passing today, viewed as an integral dimension of the unsolved Albanian issue, this issue itself provokes critical thinking.
1. When we talk about Europe in general the first component is the one of its clear indetermination, therefore there are increases, developments and changes that occur within it that component that “mean a change of system or structure as the times goes by”. In particular the European Union represents an example of “regional economic and political integration” and it is right to say that “EU as an international organization, the European Union exceeds the objectives of the intergovernmental bodies and has important elements of supra-nation”.
2. The organizers of the congress have included as the first “big” topic Southeastern Europe as a geopolitical concept and immediately afterwards the processes and the developments within it. Concepts are if you could say so “instruments to understand the developments. Geopolitics represents “the approach towards politics”, which in itself represents “the determination that is made in politics”. Geopolitics is in fact “an expression of continuity in the politics”. However, it is wrong to think that by defining the phenomena you have solved the problem, because definition of the phenomena is a much more complicated problem as “there is a big distance between word and its meaning as well as between the name and the object”. Therefore a number of studies in the field of political science and political theory have been focused on Southeastern Europe.
3. Although it is “preferable” to talk more about the future than the past, it is worth returning to the political history of the Kosova issue in order to put that in to our use and enlighten the present in order to foresee the future. The greed of the Balkan neighboring states to expand their territories in Kosova’s expense as well as their program that denied the existence of the Albanian nation are generally known in the history. In this perspective any serious analysis of the Kosova issue would be insufficient without a previous historical review of the Kosova problem itself. I am emphasizing this fact because the political theory was never in the Albanian’s favor and their entire national being. The political history of Albanians is in fact a history of the oppression of their national being. This applies equally even to Kosova as a divided part of the Albanian issue. The issue of Kosova as one and maybe even the main problem of the unsolved Albanian issue have not emerged today. The Kosova issue was designed by the division of the Albanian ethnic body and its Albanian majority populated territories in the Balkans, a division that was approved by the London Congress (1913) and confirmed (stamped) by the second Versay Conference (1918-20), on which occasion in the middle of the Balkan wars half of the nation and half its territory “did not only remain outside of the new Albanian state but remained occupied by the neighboring countries, mainly Serbia”.
4. Since than the Kosova issue is connected to the basic foundation of “the aspirations of the Albanian population of Kosova to be in charge of their political faith”. The dissolution of the former Yugoslavia gave “a new and a strong impulse in a new geopolitical context” to the issue of Kosova in Southeastern Europe and beyond. In fact the dissolution of Yugoslavia presented the issue of Kosovo and its future in a “different institutional, political and international light”, which gave it a Balkan and European dimension.
5. The issue of Kosovo is very important today for finding the paths of peace and cooperation in southeastern Europe and beyond. Finally, as Academic Gazmend Zajmi stated in its book Vepra 1, published by the Kosova Academy of Science and Art in Prishtinë, 1997 (page 59), “in order to understand the importance of the Kosova issue today and tomorrow, we must understand the importance of the relations between Serbian and Albanian nations in the Balkans as the two biggest nations in the Balkanic relations with the weight not lesser than the relations between other nations in the Balkans for the peace, stability and cooperation in this part of the Southeastern Europe.”.
6. The ethnic, historical, political and international character of Kosova today, defines its political-state position tomorrow. The issue of Kosova in its essence represents the issue of self-determination. That is in fact a natural and historical right of the majority population of Kosova, which must be respected not only on “ethnic basis” but also on the basis of “democratic reason” as a recognized right even by the current international law”.
7. The Serbian possessive positions towards Kosova, which refer to the history are not based in the methodological aspect of the evaluating the ethnic character of a territory as well as in the aspect of material historical truth, since Kosova despite such statements is neither a “cradle of the Serbian people” nor a “cradle of the Serbian state”. (For more details see: Dr. Gazmend Zajmi, Dimensions of the question of Kosova in the Balkans, Academy of Sciences and Arts of Kosova, Kosova Information Center, Prishtina, 1994)
8. The file of former Yugoslavia cannot be considered as “closed” without the just and entire international valorization of the ethnic body of Kosova and the political will of its people. Existence of Albania as an Albanian state cannot stand as an obstacle for the state status of Kosova. The truth speaks of a state of all nationalities that live in Kosova. Otherwise, the existence of two Albanian states in the Balkans can become a handicap rather than a geopolitical advantage for the Albanian people in the Balkans, particularly given their aspirations for centuries to live in one state.
9. Southeastern Europe needs deeper and long-term visions to secure the stable peace and cooperation between its nations. The humanist development in Southeastern Europe would remain incomplete without the inter-ethnic humanity. This fact should be the basic component for the perspectives of the Kosova’s future in Southeastern Europe. Not by “dressing” Kosova with the “joint coat” and enlist it as a member of the European mechanisms “without a name”, but instead by creating the possibilities for Kosova to establish a functional state.
10. One thing is very obvious: the lack of Kosovo status blocks many development processes and keeps Kosova as a “hostage”. In the Kosova without a defined status, transitional, economic and political processes remain blocked; the privatization process is delayed; establishment of market economy principles is delayed; definition of property rights is delayed; the competencies of the provisional institutions of self-government are restricted; there is a lack of laws that enable the state-making process; the national, regional and international integration is not possible and Kosovo is generally unable to establish its economic and political systems.
11. The present situation and position of Kosova cannot remain as such for a longer time. This is clear for “everyone that is politically aware, that thinks with historical visions for the progress of inter-ethnic relations as it should be clear to the “international community and the international mechanisms that are involved in resolving the complex issues of the area of previously national Yugoslavia”.
12. Kosova has inherited many problems from the post-apartheid society as well as many other problems deriving from the five-year international administration of UNMIK. Kosova lacks development policies and as a consequence the rhythm of economic life is very slow. In addition, there is a lack of mechanisms for the implementation of policies.
13. Kosova faces restrictions that make the institutional governance rather difficult. Kosova still does not have a “constitution” but has instead the “Constitutional Framework”, which as UNMIK Regulation is not a “basic law”. Its title is much more symbolic than substantial. Kosova’s people are neither citizens nor nationals in the democratic meaning of the term, because they “vote for institutions whose right and reason of existence derives not from the people’s vote but from a different authority”. Besides this the right to vote and the institutions for which a citizen votes are not guaranteed, instead they are conditional and based on the good will. As a result these rights are not as they should be permanent and ultimate.
14. If we are looking not only at the causes of the situation but also at the instruments to overcome the situation we must emphasize the need for the increase of the quality of governance as well as the overall life in general; facilitation of a partnership between UNMIK in a supervisory capacity and the national institutions with decision-making capacities; establishment of the democratic institutions which cannot be build without the transfer of reserved competencies from UNMIK; transfer the accountability for Kosova’s governance to national institutions; to secure and guarantee the administrative security of Kosova and provide for the exercise of the national institution’s competencies in the entire Kosova territory; to open international and national institutions for the citizens of Kosova, on who’s behalf they shall operate; to clarify the purpose of standards for Kosova and to relate them to the need for the functional state based on the western-European advanced criteria of building democratic and comprehensive representational institutions, rule of law and good neighboring relations.
15. Kosova and its issue “touch upon an ethnic issue, which is broader than the Kosova territory and population, although its territory and population are not irrelevant in comparison with many European states”. Final Remarks
Based on a mosaic of ethnic, historical, geopolitical, political-constitutional and political-international arguments, Kosova as a region and a geographic, demographic and political entity with its ethnic and territorial attributes is one of the inter-ethnic knots of the Balkans; one of the increasingly important inter-ethnic knots of the Southeastern Europe and beyond; the just and entire resolution of which entails the independent state within the realities of the time, inter-ethnic conflicts and tensions would be left to the past and history, while a chance in the future shall be given to the humanity, friendship and respect between nations.