Coordination Centre
of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
and Republic of Serbia
for Kosovo and Metohija
Principles of program of returns of internally displaced persons from Kosovo and Metohija

Report on the destructions of cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija




The United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244 (1999), the Constitutional Framework, and the UNMIK-FRY Common Document have confirmed the obligation of providing security, observance of human rights, and return of internally displaced persons and expellees. UNMIK has been vested with full authority and responsibility to implement these tasks on behalf of the International Community.


Over 800,000 displaced persons live throughout the FRY, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Among them, more than 280,000 internally displaced persons came from Kosovo and Metohia, who have found their temporary accommodation in the FRY, outside Kosovo and Metohija, for three years now.


Region Serbia Montenegro Total
Kosovo - Pristina 87420 8135 95555
Pec 44986 18180 63266
Kosovo - Gnjilane 32042 245 32287
Kosovska Mitrovica 18423 1835 20258
Prizren 29910 1105 31015
Total 212781 29500 242381


Ethnic group Serbia Montenegro Total
Serbs 207500 18500 226000
Roma 30000 7000 37000
Muslims 13500 1500 15000
non-declared 6500 2500 9000
Total 257500 29500 28700

There are also additional 20,000 internally displaced individuals from Kosovo and Metohia, who moved from multiethnic environments to almost mono-ethnic enclaves.

It is important to note that the number of registered IDPs (Tab. 1) includes only the individuals who have applied personally for registration, and it has been estimated that there are nearly 50,000 IDPs (Tab. 2) living in Serbia and Montenegro, who have not been officially registered (Figures 1, 2, 3).

Although most of the IDPs fled their homes in the summer of 1999, the present circumstances are still uncertain for the Serbs and other non-Albanian communities in Kosovo and Metohia, resulting in a continued migration out of the province even at the present time.

These data clearly indicate that violation of principal human rights (including the rights to private property) guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, slows down the process of returns to Kosovo and Metohia. Fear, lack of security and freedom of movement, as well as lack of legislative mechanisms and institutions in Kosovo and Metohia, create a political milieu unfavorable for returns. The inability to recover one's property and to enforce other human rights as provided by the European Convention on Human Rights and the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244 (1999), are the greatest concerns and a significant burden to democratic governments of the FRY and the Republic of Serbia.

The example of Bosnia and Herzegovina unequivocally domonstrates that good results may be achieved only after special conditions have been provided for dignified and sustainable returns. The FRY-UNMIK Common Document of November 5, 2001 confirmed the priority to "ensure a safe and unimpeded return of displaced persons to their homes in Kosovo" (UNSCR 1244: 11k).

Apart from the return of internally displaced persons, the survival of Serbs and other non-Albanian communities in Kosovo and Metohia is of utmost importance. UNMIK and the Coordination Center of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia for Kosovo and Metohia have undertaken the responsibility to apply identical principles, criteria, measures and methods, unconventional if necessary, to provide all conditions needed to prevent the process of further displacements.


It is well known that transformation of Kosovo and Metohia into a predominantly Albanian territory is a result of the following processes:

I Demographic expansion of the Albanian population, which has changed the ethnic structure of the province,

II Dislocation of Serbian and other non-Albanian communities under pressure,

III Buying real estate owned by Serbs and other non-Albanians at exaggerated terms.

The above processes are illustrated in Figure 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

IV The process of displacement of Serbs and other ethnic groups has continued intensively even after the arrival of the International Peace Keeping Forces on June 10, 1999. Despite their efforts, fear and insecurity of the Serbs and other non-Albanian communities have grown due to the fact that it has been impossible to provide protection against Albanian extremism and vengeance.

This process is illustrated in Figures 10 and 11.

V After June 10, 1999, the process of destruction of Serbian and non-Albanian cultural heritage, and Christian, predominantly Orthodox, cemeteries, was intensified. This process grew stronger with the establishment of the KLA, and together with the destruction of Serbian and non-Albanian houses and usurpation of property rights, representing one of the key indicators that the concept of ethnic cleansing of the Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohia was in action. This process represented a clear violation of human rights of the Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohia.

Figure 12 shows locations in Kosovo and Metohia where Christian cemeteries have been desecrated, damaged, or completely demolished.

Figure 13 shows the ethnic structure of the population in Kosovo and Metohia in 1981, and the Serbian cultural heritage.

The detailed description of the consequences of the process described in item V is given in The Report on Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Kosovo and Metohia.

The fourth and the fifth processes were for a certain period justified by the Milosevic's regime, with whom the international community could not cooperate on the implementation of the UNSCR 1244 (1999). After the democratic changes in the FRY and Serbia on October 5, 2000, these processes have continued and the International Peace Keeping Forces have not undertaken adequate and satisfactory measures to stop and prevent these processes. Such a situation contributes to further displacement and absence of return of the Serbs and other non-Albanian communities to Kosovo and Metohia. This increases the level of distrust and intern-ethnic tensions, thereby discouraging the confidence building process and the creation of a multiethnic Kosovo and Metohia.


In order to "establish a secure environment for the refugees and internally displaced persons to come back to their homes" (UNSCR 1244, Point 9c), the present existence of small enclaves needs to be replaced by organized groups of settlements. UNMIK and the Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohia jointly came to this conclusion after the attempt to return a group of Serbs to the Osojane Valley had proven to be unsuccessful and inadequate.

Under conditions characterized by lack of security and freedom of movement, low or nonexistent cooperation of the Albanian population in regard to the returns, and political capitalization of the issue of the Serb and non-Albanian returns, the first return of the Serbs was organized to Osojane, in the south of the Istok municipality, on August 13, 2001. Demonstrating their determination to return and survive on their ancestors' hearths, 70 returnees, heads of households, were awaiting the coming winter in containers, with a heavy KFOR security detail. Today, in the spring of 2002, 250 Serb returnees, with a persistent faith despite only marginal progress on the location in the enclave, expect the solution to housing problems, as well as to the problem of how to earn for a living in the existing social, political, economic, and security environment. Figure 14 illustrates the fact that the return of the Serbs and other non-Albanians to enclaves under the Framework Document for the return of 2000 individuals in the year 2001 (of whom only 127 have actually returned) was unsustainable, unrealistic, and impractical.

Under restricted financing from dramatically reduced funds allocated for the internally displaced and under the general strategy to fundamentally change the position of the Serbs and other non-Albanian communities in Kosovo and Metohia, in an effort to establish cooperation mechanisms and with due respect to the results accomplished by the International Community in constructing 55 houses in the Osojane Valley (that are still under construction) the Coordination Center of the FRY and the Republic of Serbia has prepared a comprehensive program for reconstruction and construction of additional 93 homes for returns. Starting from the declared interest of the returnees to return to their homes, the Coordination Center has reached an agreement with representatives of the International Community and UNMIK's Office for Returns and Communities, in line with the Common Document and utilizing its own funds and facilities for the implementation of this project. Hopefully, additional projects will be implemented in the same manner during the year of 2002. After eight months of the returnees' sufferings and problems in the Osojane Valley, UNMIK and the Coordination Center, in cooperation with the THW, have identified a realistic joint approach to this issue. This agreement is based on a presumption that there is no collision is assessments and that everyone is responsible for their part of the job. In view of possible differences in the design of the houses, there were discussions on how to avoid the danger of social discrimination of returnees. The timeframe has been confirmed, as well as the construction of the house foundations and infrastructure and appointment of contractors.

Multiethnic and multicultural Kosovo and Metohia cannot be created only through the return of rural population, as this would lead to ethnic segregation of Kosovo and Metohia into a mosaic of small enclaves for non-Albanian population. Figures 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21 clearly illustrate how the ethnic structure of towns in Kosovo and Metohia has been changed after June 10, 1999. This process indicates brutal exile and ethnic cleansing of Serbs and other ethnic groups from the towns in Kosovo and Metohia, under pressure and violated security caused by the Albanian extremist groups, along with the drastic abuse of their property.

The key purpose of the Program for the Return of Internally Displaced Persons and Expellees is to create conditions that would encourage permanent development of interethnic relations that would prevent the Serbs from leaving Kosovo and Metohia. The principles of the return strategy are based on the necessity to improve overall conditions for sustainable returns. This requires close cooperation with UNMIK and KFOR to provide full security and freedom of movement, aimed at the reintegration of the Serbs and other non-Albanian communities into all segments of social life in Kosovo and Metohia. This strategy was identified in a constructive cooperation and coordination with the UNMIK's Office for Returns and Communities. Upon analysis and in cooperation with UNMIK, a program for returns for the years 2002 and 2003 has been defined and at present it includes 24 groups of settlements. In identifying return locations, it has been decided that no ethnically based discriminatory restrictions should be allowed. In the groups of settlements it is easier to provide the basic human rights, the vital security, the principal existential needs, full freedom of movement, medical care, education, income generation. Such an approach is in line with the FRY-UNMIK Common Document signed on November 5, 2001.

The Common Document sets out the principles of cooperation in fields of mutual interests in the implementation of the UNSC Resolution 1244, and the High-Level Working Group has been established to "provide prompt and regular consultation and cooperation." The principles and the return criteria were agreed on and confirmed at the meeting of the High-Level Working Group, the Coordination Center and UNMIK on January 21, 2002, with the emphasis on the following: respect of human rights in line with the European Convention on Human Rights, identification and enforcement of legal land and property ownership right as an integral right to private property, and the firm resolution to reinstate property to its original owners in all cases where it has not yet been done, protection of the cultural heritage, and sustainable returns.


- The current situation of isolated enclaves to be replaced by groups of settlements;

- Ethnically based discrimination must not be allowed in the process of identification of return locations;

- The creation of multiethnic and multicultural Kosovo and Metohia cannot be based on the return of rural population only. Without progress in the return of urban population, it will not be possible to reestablish a multiethnic, multicultural, and multiconfessional Kosovo and Metohia.


- In making decision on the groups of settlements, full attention should be paid to:

  • Security and freedom of movement,
  • Protection of cultural heritage,
  • Identification and enforcement of land and property ownership rights.

- When one returns, the following essential living conditions must be provided: medical care, schools, water supply, electricity, and other vital conditions. You must provide conditions that will provide the future to the returnees.

Figure 22 shows 24 groups of settlements for the return of the Serbs and non-Albanians to Kosovo and Metohia. The figure demonstrates that the idea of returns is not based on partition of Kosovo and Metohia, but on the observance of a basic human right of every displaced person to return to his home. Each group of settlements has been fully analyzed in terms of return of displaced persons in stages. Figure 23 illustrates this concept for the group of settlements Prizren.


In order to implement the program for returns, it is necessary to provide significant funds to cover investments for an overall reconstruction of the groups of settlements, provision of a normal life to returnees, income generating, and self-support for the returnees. The necessary financing can be provided through international donations, the Kosovo and Metohia budget, and the budgets of the FRY and the Republic of Serbia. The European Agency for Reconstruction should be more flexible and increase the quota earmarked for this purpose. Namely, the European Agency for Reconstruction had an annual quota of 4,000 houses, 10% of which were reserved for minorities. Even this quota was only partially implemented. It is, therefore, not logical that this year's plan is the reconstruction of 1,000 houses only, of which only 10 houses will be reconstructed for minority communities! The reduction of the total number of houses by three fourths cannot be justified at this moment when the issue of returns is being worked on and when conditions for returns should be created. We expect that the European Agency for Reconstruction will show full understanding and increase its annual quotas, thereby increasing the quotas for minority communities as well.

A joint information campaign and a public outreach campaign are under preparation aimed at better informing the internally displaced persons including questionnaires about their willingness to return. A joint task force has been appointed to monitor and report on monthly basis through a special publication. This key objective can only be implemented by providing a sustainable return based on the principles and criteria adopted by the High-Ranking Working Group meeting on 21 January 2002.

In accordance with the UNSC 1244 Resolution, temporary institutions for democratic self-management on municipal level have been established, to provide peaceful and normal living for all citizens of Kosovo and Metohia. The Regulations 2000/43 and 2000/45 provide the possibility for local self-government which is of a crucial importance for the upkeeping, survival, return and development of ethnic communities in the Province. The European Charter on local self-government, setting out the rights and competences of local authorities, makes it possible for local self-government bodies to organize and govern a part of public activities under their competence and in the interest of the local population. Before the local elections in Kosovo and Metohia it is necessary to analyze the organization of local self-government for the purpose of decentralization of government functions that would guarantee the rights of ethnical communities in line with European standards. This would contribute to improving conditions for the survival and return of non-Albanian ethnic communities to Kosovo and Metohia. They would at the same time be encouraged to make even greater efforts, with the assistance of the international community to create multi-ethnic Kosovo and Metohia. Figure 24 shows a map of the municipalities in Kosovo and Metohia before 27 July 2000, and Figure 25 the same map after 27 July 2000, after the adoption of Regulation 2000/43. Figure 26 shows a comparative map of the old and new municipalities in Kosovo and Metohia.

For the returns to be sustainable and respectful, it is necessary to provide income-generating opportunities for all citizens of Kosovo and Metohia. To achieve this, economy must be developed and employment opportunities for a great number of unemployed must be created. Privatization is certainly a strong incentive for economic development, and the FRY and Republic of Serbia must also join this process. The FRY and Republic of Serbia, the overall economy and all citizens have important investments in the economy of Kosovo and Metohia. It is important to note that FRY owes 1.3 billions US$ to foreign creditors on behalf of the Kosovo and Metohia economy debt. There is also a debt to the pensions beneficiaries, including Albanians, who worked hard and developed the country and its economy. It is also important to cover employment contributions for all workers who were left jobless for reasons beyond their control.

All of the above unequivocally points to the need for agreement UNMIK and the Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohia to make joint efforts for the reintegration of the economy and enforcement of legal conditions of its operation. Figure 27 represents the major enterprises - users of foreign loans and investments from Serbia. Figure 28 represents a comparative review of locations of major enterprises in relation to groups of settlements for returns to Kosovo and Metohia.

Copyright © 2002 Office of Communication