Memorandum submitted by Dr Karin Hippel
This brief will concentrate on the effectiveness
of UNMIK with respect to the treatment of minorities. The author
was Director, Office of Community Affairs, Department of Local
Administration, in the Civil Administration (Pillar II) component
of UNMIK, from January through mid-November 2000. This paper will
describe the work of the Office of Community Affairs, both before
and after the October 2000 municipal elections, including the
steps taken to continue the transfer of power to the Kosovars.
The author was also involved in other minority issues (eg, security
escorts for the Serb representatives in the JIAS, participation
in the Joint Committee on Returns, and fund-raising and project
Please note that the term "minority"
will be used here to denote a minority community in a particular
municipality in Kosovo, which includes Albanians in the nothern
Serb-dominated municipalities, but it primarily refers to Serbs,
Romas, Hashkalias, Egyptians, Goranis, Bosniacs, Croats, and Turks.
For historical and other reasons, the Serbs dislike being referred
to as a minority, arguing that since Kosovo is still part of Yugoslavia,
they are the majority.
The Office of Community Affairs (OCA) was responsible
for establishing Community Offices in municipalities throughout
Kosovo, under the "Agenda for Co-existence" (see attachment
two, prepared by OSRSG), in order to improve the presence of UNMIK
in areas where minority groups live, enhance protection and access
to essential services for local communities, and lay the foundation
for a multi-ethnic society. An additional objective has been to
contribute to the creation of conditions for the return of those
who have left Kosovo. This latter objective has been the most
difficult for real and perceived fears for security for all minority
groups, but in particular for the Serbs. It should be noted, however,
that significant returns of Serbs to Bosnia did not begin until
several years after Dayton. The OCA also coordinated closely with
other members of the international community involved in minority
issues, including donors, KFOR, CIVPOL, multilateral agencies,
From January through October 2000:
Throughout this period, policy guidelines and
coordination of the work of the international Local Community
Officers (LCOs)who were tasked with the above-mentioned
objectives as well as establishing the field offices and hiring
local experts to serve the needs of the communitywere provided
by the Office of Community Affairs, with regular consultation
with the OSRSG. The offices were an integral part of the UNMIK
Municipal structures, while the LCOs, as chairpersons of the Local
Communities Offices in their respective municipalities, also served
as ex-officio members of the Muncipal Administrative Board. All
offices were (and still are) located in mixed muncipalities and
often also in the enclaves, because most minority members cannot
easily access municipal buildings, and therefore services, on
a regular basis due to fears for their security. All sub-offices,
or satellite offices, have been under the direct supervision of
the muncipality. The LCO, along with the Municipal Administrators,
recruited a number of local muncipal civil servants to work in
each office. The LCO was responsible for ensuring that these employees
co-ordinated their work with that of the other local staff in
the municipality, in areas such as health care, education, etc.
Similarly, the Municipal Administrator, together with the LCO
and the Office of Community Affairs, ensured that the policies
of the municipality cohered with that of the Municipal Community
Office in order to avoid the establishment of parallel structures.
Municipal Community Offices post-October elections:
After the October 2000 municipal elections,
these community offices were transformed into Municipal Community
Offices, as stipulated by the Regulation on Self-Government of
Municipalities in Kosovo (UNMIK/REG/2000/45, 11 August 2000).
In line with UNMIK's policy of transferring power to the Kosovars,
the Municipal Community Offices were thereafter headed by a local
expert (appointed by either the Municipal Assembly or by the Municipal
Administrator, as stipulated in municipal law). The head of the
office was thus responsible for directing the work of the Kosovars
employed in the office, while the international LCO took on a
supervisory and monitoring role.
As long as ethnic tension remains exceptionally
high in most parts of Kosovo, the international LCO will likely
be an integral component of the mission. In fact, the international
LCO will probably be one of the last internationals to be transitioned
from the mission, along with budget directors/auditors. Every
six months, however, the role of the international LCO will be
reviewed by the international Municipal Administrator, along with
representatives from the Department of Local Administration (the
Co-heads and the local and international directors of the Office
of Community Affairs). The review will evaluate general developments
and the successful delivery of services to the minority communities,
as well as the co-operation between the Municipal Community Office
and the municipality. International LCOs can be phased out at
different times in the different municipalities: there is no need
to have a blanket policy throughout Kosovo, as some municipalities
may take longer than others to achieve co-existence.
Finally, municipal law also stipulates the Municipal
Community Office itself, which was established because of exceptional
circumstances and primarily for reasons of security and equity,
is intended as a temporary measure, and will need to be reviewed
on a regular basis, taking into account political developments
in Kosovo. In direct consultation with the OSRSG, the offices
can be phased out when all ethnic communities are able to access
municipal services on a regular basis, in a sustainable and fair
As municipal law states:
23.11 Community Offices shall be temporary and
shall exist only for so long as the Central Authority considers
them to be necessary to comply with United Nations Security Council
23.15 The Central Authority shall regularly
review the necessity for each Community Office and sub-office.
At the time of departure from the mission, the
Office of Community Affairs had established offices in 24 municipalities
(the remaining six municipalities either had minimal numbers or
no members of minority communities at all, but municipal law allows
for the opening of an office in the future if there are returns).
There were approximately 40 offices in total (including satellite
offices), with 40 internationals, and over 300 members of the
different commuities, all dedicated to serve the needs of the
inhabitants of the area.
AGENDA FOR COEXISTENCEKOSOVO
1. GOVERNING PRINCIPLES
Respecting UN Security Council Resolution 1244,
representatives of Serb communities in Kosovo will work in the
Joint Interim Administrative Structure and share provisional administrative
management with UNMIK through participation in the Kosovo Transitional
Council, the Interim Administrative Council, Administrative Deparmtents
as well as in the different administrative structures at the municipal
level, including the establishement of Kosovo Community Offices.
Kosovo Local Community Offices shall be established
in all municipalities with substantial multi-ethnic composition
to enhance protection and ensure the access to public services
of Serb and non-Albanian communities at the municipal level.
All decisions must be in conformity with the
Applicable Law in Kosovo. The SRSG retains final decision-making
2. KOSOVO LOCAL
a. Municipal Level
The Local Community Offices shall be an integral
part of the Kosovo Local Administrative Structures and shall serve
Serb and non-albanian communities within their respective municipal
The Local Community Offices shall be headed
by an UNMIK Local Community Officer, who shall have their offices
in a community area within a municipality and be an ex-officio
member of the Municipal Administrative Board.
The Local Community Offices shall be composed
of UNMIK Local Community Officers(s), and as appropriate, of other
members representing the local communities appointed by him/her:
A Chairman, Heads of Working Committees and such other persons
and experts who may be designated by the Local Community Officer.
The Local Community Offices shall perform provisional administrative
tasks as part of the municipal administrative structures and in
accordance with the guidelines formulated by the SRSG in consultation
with Department of Local Administration and with the aim to enhance
protection and ensure access to public services for the communities
The Local Community Offices, where needed, shall
establish Working Committees and co-ordinate their work in areas
of activity such as (indicative list):
3. Economic Development and Reconstruction
4. General Civil Affairs, Cadastre and Public
5. Humanitarian Assistance
6. Media, Communication and Transportation
Local Community Offices shall be initially established
in the following locations (indicative list):
||Gnjilane region||Prizren Region
||Pec and Mitrovica|
3. Kosovo Polje
5. Donja Budriga
b. Regional level
Four interim UNMIK Regional Community Co-ordination Mechanisms
corresponding to the above regions shall be established to co-ordinate
the work of the Local Commuity Offices.
The Regional Community Co-ordination Mechanisms shall be
an integral part of the respective UNMIK Regional Administration
of the region concerned.
The Regional Community Co-ordination Mechanism shall be composed
of the respective UNMIK Local Community Officers of the respective
region of whom one should be the Head, and of local representatives
of the respective Local Community Offices.
The Regional Community Co-ordination Mechanisms shall co-ordinate
the administrative tasks performed by the Local Community Offices
in accordance with the guidelines formulated by the SRSG in consultation
with the Department on Local Administration.
c. Kosovo-wide level
A Division for Local Communities shall be established in
the Department on Local Administration.
The Division for Local Communities shall be directed by a
Senior Officer of the Department of Local Administration.
The Division of Local Communities shall be coordinating at
Kosovo-wide level the work of the Local Community Offices and
shall be formulating the policy guidelines for the functioning
of the Local Community Offices and Regional Community Co-ordination
The mandate of the Division on Local Communities within the
Department of Local Administration shall form part of the UNMIK
regulation on the Department of Local Administration.
The establishment of Local Community Offices shall be implemented
jointly by the Division on Local Communities and the UNMIK Regional
and Municipal Administrators concerned.