Welcome to the personal website and blog of MTCowgirl, an expat living and working in Kosovo.
This brief history by no means covers all the significant happenings in Kosovo but is designed to give an introduction to the situation that led to the creation of a United Nations Mission in Kosovo and the significant events since then.
In March of 1999, the US led a NATO bombing campaign (under Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark) against the Serbian military that lasted 78-days until the NATO Secretary General ordered a halt to the bombings on confirmation that the Yugoslavian forces had begun to pull out of Kosovo. UN Resolution 1244 calls the UN Mission to do the following things: perform basic civilian administrative functions; promote the establishment of substantial autonomy and self-government in Kosovo; facilitate a political process to determine Kosovo's future status; coordinate humanitarian and disaster relief of all international agencies; support the reconstruction of key infrastructure; maintain civil law and order; promote human rights; and assure the safe and unimpeded return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes in Kosovo. The mission in Kosovo is the first mission that the United Nations has ever taken on other international organizations as full partners (such as OSCE and the European Union.)
The Yugoslavian Constitution is revised to give the region of Kosovo autonomy. Albanians implement Albanian-language schools and officially observe Muslim Holidays.
Albanian student demonstrations for better living and working conditions (88% unemployment for Albanians) turn violent. Serbs and Montenegrins start leaving the province.
Enter Slobodan Milosevic, a Serb Nationalist.
Rising ethnic tensions lead to Milosevic stripping away the province's autonomy. Police and military are sent in to keep order. Kosovo Albanian population is now at 90%.
Voters in Kosovo indicate a desire to secede and join Albania. In Bosnia, Serb forces massacre Bosnian Muslims and expel them from Bosnian Serb areas. US President, George Bush (Sr.) warns Milosevic that the US will use force if the Serbs attack Kosovo.
Kosovo Liberation Army starts killing Serbian police officers and Serb-collaborators. Areas with no-Serbs are established.
February, Milosevic sends in troops to KLA-controlled areas. Troops kill 80 Kosovars (including women and children) and destroy property. Rioting breaks out in Pristina and as a result, the Serbian military increases its "ethnic cleansing".
July/August - KLA controls 40% of Kosovo
September - Serbian military massacres 22 Albanians in central Kosovo. UN calls for immediate cessation and political dialogue.
December - Yugoslav troops kill 36 KLA members. Six Serbs are killed in a cafe. More violence erupts and at least 15 more killed in the North.
15 January - 45 Albanians killed. International outcry for war crimes investigation
29 January - Yugoslav raid on rebel hide-out results in the death of 24 Albanians. International community demands peace conference or NATO strikes.
6-17 February, Blah, blah, blah. First round of talks are held in France. Serbia refuses to allow peacekeepers in Kosovo, Albanians agree to sign.
13 March, Daylight bombings kill seven and injure more. Both sides blame each other.
18 March, Albanians sign peace agreement calling for autonomy and 28,000 NATO peacekeepers. Serbia refuses to sign.
20 March, International monitors evacuate due to deteriorating security and possible NATO bombing
22 March, Envoy sent to Belgrade to negotiate with Milosevic on signing the accord
24 March, NATO bombing begins
May, United Nation's International Criminal Tribunal of Yugoslavia indicts Milosevic for war crimes & Serbia agrees to the terms of the accord
9 June, Yugoslav and NATO officials sign agreement for the withdrawal of Yugoslavian forces and the suspension of NATO bombing
10 June, United Nations Security Council adopts UN Resolution 1244 which places Kosovo under Interim Administration of the UN.
July - 13 Serb farmers are murdered.
Milosevic loses presidential election but does not recognize result of election. Massive protests and strikes force him to leave office. He is later turned-over to the International Criminal Tribunal of Yugoslavia (ICTY) and sent to The Hague.
16 February, A bus-load of Serbs being escorted by KFOR is bombed on its way to Gracanica. Later investigation shows that the bomb was planted and detonated by remote control. At least 7 people are killed and 43 are injured. Riots break out near Caglavica as angry Serbians burn Albanian and UN vehicles. Two days earlier, another attack occurred on a Serbian convoy killing a man and two children when a gunman opened fire on their bus.
March - Demonstrations in Mitrovica result in 2 injured officers and the burning of UN vehicles.
21 February - Serb demonstrators stone UN peacekeepers in Mitrovica.
April, Riots break out in Mitrovica. 22 police officers are injured. French KFOR is accused of abandoning and failing to assist.
15 March - Drive-by shooting of a Serbian youth in Caglavica, Serbs blockade Skopje highway.
16 March - Late evening, reports that a gang of Serbs chased Albanian children into Ibar river in Northern Mitrovica emerge. Three children drown.
17 March - Morning, riots break out Kosovo-wide. Rioters begin to attack Serbian enclaves, churches, and UN facilities and vehicles.
18 March - Final count of riots: 19 dead, 600+ injured, 400-600 Serbian homes burned down, 4000 people displaced, 16 Serbian churches destroyed and up to 40 damaged.
April - A Jordanian corrections officer opens fire on a group of newly arrived American Civpol officers in Mitrovica. 2 officers were killed and 11 injured. The gunman was also killed. Rumors that the incident was linked to Iraq or Al-Qaeda circulate. The UN takes the position that it "doesn't know" the reason for the attack.
February - Negotiations begin between Serb and Kosovo-Albanian teams over decentralization and protection of cultural/religious sites.
July - Seven (7) rounds of negotiations end with no results.
24 July - Direct negotiations over the status of Kosovo begin between Presidents and PMs of both Serbia and Kosovo. No result.
December - Revelation of status proposal postponed until 2007
21 January - Serbia holds elections. Status proposal is delayed until elections are concluded to prevent ultra-nationalists from taking over.
2 February - The proposal for status is presented to Belgrade and Pristina by the Special Envoy to Kosovo, Martii Ahtisaari.
9 February - 10,000 Serbs protest in North Mitrovica against the proposal.
10 February - 3,000 Albanians protest in Pristina against the proposal. Two people are killed and 50-70 people are injured, including police, when the demonstrators try to break through police barricades. Tear gas and rubber bullets are used to stop them from proceeding from the government building to the UNMIK HQ.
3 March - Up to 4000 Albanians protest in Pristina against the Ahtisaari proposal with the Self-Determination group.
26 March - Status proposal goes to Security Council for review.
31 March - 800 Albanian protestors gather in Pristina to demand a referendum and the release of jailed Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti.
Security Council discusses Kosovo status behind closed doors. Russia suggests a fact-finding mission to check on the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1244 and determining whether or not Ahtisaari's proposal is the right way to proceed. Debate is expected to continue through the end of the month with no resolution until the beginning of May at earliest.
17 February - Kosovo unilaterally declares independence from Serbia.
14 March - Serb demonstrators take over court building in North Mitrovica
17 March - UN Police storm the court building in North Mitrovica. Many injured, one UN police officer is killed.
April - Former Kosovo PM, Ramush Haradinaj, is acquitted by the Hague.
November - UN Security Council approves launch of EULEX mission under Resolution 1244
December - EULEX officially deploys to Kosovo
January - Kosovo launches the Kosovo Security Force, a version of a kind of National Guard/Army
April - EULEX announces that it is "fully operational"
June - United Nations downsizes the mission to around 500 staff members
August - Vetevendosje protestors damage some 60 EULEX vehicles in one weekend.
The Battle of Kosovo Polje. This is THE historic date in Kosovo. The Serbs were defeated by the Ottoman Turks.
The country of Yugoslavia is created as an absolute monarchy. Remember Archduke Franz Ferdinand whose assassination was a kick-off to the WWI? He was assassinated in Yugoslavia and heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The same day he was assassinated, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Russia. A few days later, Germany also declared war on Russia (but I digress from Kosovo history!)
Yugoslavia becomes a communist republic after being occupied by the Italians, Hungarians, and Bulgarians during WWII.
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia declare independence from Yugoslavia. Ethnic fighting begins between Croats, Muslims and Serbs.
Bosnian War Begins.
Bosnian-Muslim Government is stuck and surrounded in Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces, who also control 70% of the country. Bosnian-Muslim military also conducts war against Bosnian-Croat population, who wish to be part of Croatia.
Bosnian War Ends with signed agreement between leaders of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia. The Dayton Accord creates two governing bodies in Bosnia (Bosnian-Serb and Muslim-Croat Federation). NATO peacekeepers are sent to enforce the accord and establish order.
March, Inter-ethnic fighting breaks out in Macedonia between the government and Albanian minority over rights.
April, Montenegro, the only remaining Yugoslav republic to remain with Serbia, indicates a desire for independence. Diplomatic efforts and fears of instability in the Balkans sees to it that the referendum is postponed until 2006.
August, NATO sends 3500 peacekeepers to Macedonia after the Macedonian government signs an agreement to give Albanian minority more power in the government in exchange for weapons. The NATO mission is called "Operation Essential Harvest" and is to oversee the disarmament of the Albanian rebels. In one month after the start of Operation Essential Harvest, NATO soldiers had collected over 3300 weapons, the target projection for the collection.
11 March - Slobodan Milosevic dies in the Hague from heart-attack. Family blames the tribunal and court for death.
May - Montenegro votes in referendum to split from Serbia.