|LAW & ORDER|
July 5, 1999
What are the challenges KFOR troops are facing in keeping the peace in Kosovo? Margaret Warner discusses the situation with a panel of experts.
TOM BEARDEN: The war has been over for three weeks, but Kosovo is still a very dangerous place. Ethnic Albanians continue to seek revenge for months of ethnic cleansing by Serb troops. Last week, three Serb civilians were killed after they had left their convoy, which was being escorted out of Kosovo by British soldiers. There have been dozens of other attacks on Serbs, and at least seven have been killed. Homes belonging to Serbs have been looted and burned. These homes in Pristina belonged to gypsies who ethnic Albanians say took part in the Serbian repression during the bombing campaign.
To date, more than 70,000 Serb civilians have fled Kosovo, illustrating the problem the United Nations is having maintaining security. According to the peace agreement, all Serb troops and police had to leave Kosovo, although on Friday, NATO soldiers arrested 11 men who appeared to have violated the accord. The United Nations says it is the ultimate civilian authority in Kosovo at the moment. Its job includes resettling refugees, policing the streets, restarting services, and setting up a political administration. For now, the 29,000 soldiers of KFOR, the Kosovo peacekeeping force, are performing most of those duties. They're disarming Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas and preserving evidence of war crimes, including mass grave sites. They're also removing land mines and instructing returning refugees on how to spot and avoid the mines and booby traps which litter the countryside.
But the U.N. Says KFOR isn't enough, and has asked for 3,100 police to keep order. The United States plans to send 450 officers by the end of the month. U.N. Special Representative Sergio de Mello has been serving as the acting administrator in Kosovo. Last week, he swore in a multi-ethnic nine-member panel of judges, who will hear the cases of the more than 150 people arrested by KFOR troops.
SERGIO VIEIRA DE MELLO: There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that justice is possible and necessary if we are to reconcile the different communities in this province and to establish the institutions that the Security Council demands we establish.
TOM BEARDEN: On Friday, France's Health Minister, Bernard Kouchner, was tapped to replace de Mello and run the civilian operation to rebuild Kosovo. Ethnic Albanians cheered his appointment, but violence erupted soon after. In Pristina, British troops killed two people who were firing guns in the air. And a Serb bank was attacked and Serb flags were burned.
JIM LEHRER: Margaret Warner takes the story from there with a discussion that was taped on Friday.
|Bringing law and order to Kosovo.|
WARNER: For perspective on what it will take to bring law and order
to Kosovo, we turn to Shashi Tharoor, Director of Communications and
Special Projects for U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan. He played a
major role overseeing U.N. peacekeeping in the former Yugoslavia from
1991 to 1996, including the U.N. operation in Bosnia. Lieutenant John
Gorman of the New York City Police Department was a police monitor in
Bosnia in 1996 and '97. And Ivo Daalder was Director of European Affairs
on President Clinton's National Security Council from 1995 to '96. Welcome,
SHASHI THAROOR: It's an enormously complicated challenge, first of all, because we're speaking about law and order in a place where there really isn't any existing system of laws, and there is, therefore, a great deal of disorder. We're not talking about a situation where there is an existing functioning police. Most of the police were Serb, and they've left. We're not talking about a situation in which there is an existing functioning legal system. Most of the people of Kosovo have been uprooted and displaced in the tragic events of the last few months. We're talking about starting from scratch, but amidst destruction, amidst lawlessness, and in a situation in which the international community is scrambling to put in the people, the expertise, and the resources to deal with this.
MARGARET WARNER: And so for now, does the responsibility rest with NATO-- the NATO-led KFOR force, I should say?
SHASHI THAROOR: That's right. The KFOR force has, under the Security Council resolution, responsibility for public safety and order in general, and also for maintaining civil law and order for the immediate initial phase. We do hope, of course, that once the international civilian police are on the ground and deployed that we can take over, not the overall public safety and order, which will always have to be with the soldiers, but the civil law and order, the kind of regular policing that every society needs and has. We need to able to do that, but, of course, we can't deploy police we don't have. We've turned to member states of the U.N. - governments -- to give us police officers we can send out there as quickly as possible.
MARGARET WARNER: Mr. Daalder, in the meantime, do you think NATO is doing all it could?
IVO DAALDER: Well, given it has 23,000 the troops deployed in this much- dispersed environment as it can, it is trying through its presence, and actually a muscular presence, to try the best job that it's doing. It would be nice to have 50,000 troops in order to be in more villages and to be there with more people, but as we stand, NATO is doing more or less what it can do. In some sectors, it is acting slightly more robustly, particularly in the British, the German, and the American sectors. In the Italian and French sectors, where there are less troops so far, there is a standoffishness, primarily because there is a fear that if things go wrong, there may be nobody to back up. But in general, NATO is doing as much as it can, given the very, very difficult circumstances that it's facing.
MARGARET WARNER: Lieutenant Gorman, General Wesley Clark was on this show a few nights ago, and he said, as Mr. Daalder did, "We're doing the best we can, but we are not police." From your experience, what is it police can do that a military force can't do?
|Sending in the police.|
LT. JOHN GORMAN: Well, if you've seen the videos, you'll see how awkward the NATO troops are with the policing function. They're really not set up for that; they're not trained for it. And most importantly, they really don't want to get involved with it. It takes experienced police officers from around the world to do that kind of job-- things like domestic violence and displaced people and basically landlord-tenant type problems, which is what you are going to be faced with every single day. It's not a military function; it's a police function.
MARGARET WARNER: But landlord-tenant problems with a lot of underlying ethnic hatred and other -
LT. JOHN GORMAN: Absolutely. But it's not something you want to be mired down with -- with tanks and armored personnel carriers. You need people on the round who can handle these small day- to-day problems.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Now, you heard Mr. Tharoor say they're trying to get an international police force in there. Take us through the steps, what it takes, then, to get from that to create a sort of functioning civilian law-and-order operation.
LT. JOHN GORMAN: Well, the first step is to identify the nations that will bring monitors over, and most countries send their best and their brightest. It's difficult for the United States in that we do not have a national police force, so it's up to the individual police chiefs to make the commitment to allow their people to go over for a year. Then you need to train them; make sure you have the right people. Carefully select them; make sure that they are going to operate under the U.N. command. They have to be willing to go with the U.N. mandate, not their own agenda, and operate as any other police force, naturally with the help of interpreters and with substantial backup from the NATO forces.
MARGARET WARNER: And then, Mr. Daalder, the next step is, what, to train local people to become a police force?
IVO DAALDER: Ultimately, the goal here is to have a functioning society that does not rely on the international community to function, so one of the main goals is to build up the society at a local level in two different ways: One, a police force that has people who can do the policing in a way that is according to democratic principles-- that is, you don't want to have Albanians policing Serbs in a manner that aggravates the situation; and then secondly, you need to build up the judicial system. You need to have a court structure, and that if the police arrest people, they can be tried and convicted and then go to prison. All of that has to be rebuilt basically from the ground up, and it's going to take quite some time before we're there.
MARGARET WARNER: It's true, is it not, Mr. Tharoor, that if you just have police and then you don't have prosecutors or courts or jails, you don't have too much?
SHASHI THAROOR: Right. We're very aware of that. In fact, we've already moved to appoint nine judges from all the communities-- Serbs, Albanians, and even a single Turk from Kosovo. The idea is indeed to try and get the judges functioning, get a system of justice, because after all, policing is all about trying to ensure justice. I do want to say that, of course, what Ivo Daalder said is absolutely right. The society has to be able to police itself. Initially the internationals will have do the policing for them, but the idea very much is to recruit and train policemen from the Kosovo community, people who reflect their communities, including the ethnic diversity of their communities, and people who can then go ahead and actually do the policing with our police monitors sort of supervising them. Policing the police will be our function at that point. And then eventually, we do hope that we would be able to have a Kosovo police reflecting the Kosovo people in charge of their own affairs, and that will of course be the way in which the international community would like to leave the problem at the end.
MARGARET WARNER: Lieutenant Gorman, there are reports from the U.N. that some U.N. members who are willing to send police don't want those police to be armed. From your experience, do you think the international police need to be armed, and what was the experience in Bosnia on that?
LT. JOHN GORMAN: Well, the U.N. makes a decision, a wise decision. Naturally there was a reluctance on all of our parts not to be armed in Bosnia. As it turned out, the wiser heads prevailed. We didn't need to be armed. It was not a chaotic situation; it was a tense situation. In Haiti, for instance, the U.N. police are armed, because the situation there is somewhat chaotic. To me, from what I've read, it certainly makes sense to be armed, and I think that will be the prevailing philosophy. And I think wiser heads will prevail again, and the proper police decision will be made, to have an armed police force.
SHASHI THAROOR: That's right. It is being made in precisely that sense. We are going to arm the police, and we are also going to have to have special units, sort of like formed constabularies, armed police with more than just side arms, which is what most of the police will carry, who can do things like crowd control and riot management, people who can function in formed units, almost in the paramilitary sense. So we'll have special police units like that. We'll have individual U.N. and international police wearing side arms. And, in effect, the unarmed police that some governments insist on providing will have to do desk work at police headquarters. The people out on the beat will all have to be armed.
MARGARET WARNER: Mr. Daalder, from the Bosnia experience, and I know it may be hard to extrapolate, but it's more of the police function -- or is it more of the crime problem? Is it political and sort of ethnically driven, or is it just good, old-fashioned crime, people taking advantage of a chaotic situation, as Mr. Tharoor called it?
IVO DAALDER: I think the problem in Kosovo is more of the crime problem that is aggravated by what has gone before in the last year. There are a lot of people coming back to homes that have been destroyed. There's a lot of people who are out for revenge, out to take back the property that was stolen from them, and it's that kind of aggravated crime problem. In Bosnia, it was much more of an ethnic problem, people who truly were turning against each other and needed to be separated in that way. Here we face an immediate problem of people returning, not having places to live, and it is, in that sense, a short-term problem. Once the housing reconstruction starts, once, in fact, the initial revenge wave has taken place, however bad that may be and however much we will try to minimize that, once that has happened, we are back to a policing situation that is more normal, still very complicated, but more normal than we had in Bosnia.
MARGARET WARNER: Mr. Tharoor, would you agree with that assessment? And also, given the rapidity with which Serbs are leaving Kosovo-- I think they're down to fewer than 100,000 now-- does the revenge killings or revenge crime necessarily sort of abate as more and more Serbs leave?
SHASHI THAROOR: Well, first of all, we'd like more and more Serbs not to leave. We'd like those who have left to come back, and we'd like Serbs from Kosovo to believe that they have rights in Kosovo and that the international police will uphold those rights, just as we are there to uphold the rights of Kosovo Albanians or gypsies or Turks or anybody else. The police are going to function without regard to nationality and ethnicity. Now, it is important, I think, as Mr. Daalder pointed out, that we accept there's a great deal of lawlessness and there's a lot of crime to worry about. We can't afford to be too complacent about the fact that we're not driven into different national groups as in Bosnia, because the problem is, at least in Bosnia, there were existing police forces whom we could supervise and monitor. Here we're going to be starting from scratch, and the U.N. police is going to be doing much more of the direct, on-the-beat policing than it needed to do in Bosnia, as well as eventually supervising the police force that we will have to create. So the challenge in some ways is actually greater than Bosnia, because we're doing more of the process from a lower base, starting with practically nothing.
MARGARET WARNER: Lieutenant Gorman, how would you compare the task ahead in Kosovo versus Bosnia?
|Lessons of Bosnia.|
LT. JOHN GORMAN: Well, certainly it's a more chaotic situation. It has been said that there was a operational police force in Bosnia. Basically, the Yugoslavian police force broke into their ethnic contingents and formed a police force. And they were an effective police force when they dealt with their own people. When they dealt with other people, of course, there were problems. Here that there is that vacuum, and that's why there's a need for a U.N. police enforcement unit. In Bosnia, we were police monitors. We were merely there to monitor the people. I just wanted to add, there was some concern about the Russians. And to me, the strength of the international police task force is the diversity of the people that are there. And there will be people from all around the world, and the Serbs can take some comfort in some people that they identify with more. And that's the strength of an international police force.
MARGARET WARNER: What do you think, Mr. Daalder, are the lessons from Bosnia, or what can be taken out of the Bosnia experience?
IVO DAALDER: Well, I think we're learning them as we go along. The first and most important lesson that we learned in Bosnia is that there is a gap between the international police force that was in Bosnia unable to have executive functions to do the arresting and the policing, and the military that was unwilling to take that place. Here we have made very clear from the beginning that NATO will in the first instance do civilian law and order until such time that there is an international U.N. police force capable of taking over. And then you have this seamless web between the NATO force and then the civilian force, and as the local forces get trained, a backup in that sense so that the gap, the security gap that was present in Bosnia is not going to be present in Kosovo, even though we still see lawlessness, as we do indeed in societies that have normal policing.
MARGARET WARNER: Mr. Tharoor, lessons of Bosnia?
SHASHI THAROOR: Well, I agree with the ones that have just been mentioned. In addition, I would say it's vital, as we learned in Bosnia, that the police force must reflect the community it serves. It's important we don't have a situation, as we sometimes had in Bosnia, where you had people of one ethnicity essentially policing, for which often you can read the word "oppressing," other ethnicities. Here we must have a police that's reflective of the ethnic variety in Kosovo, and if that means strongly Albanian composition, so be it. We'll have to find and recruit, train and deploy more Albanian police than Kosovo's ever had. A second point, frankly, is we have to ensure that the force is clean. We can't have people with dubious pasts, people who have indulged in actions which might, in fact, make them undesirable to be policemen. And there are some people with certain, shall we say, controversial backgrounds, who are trying to muscle into positions of authority. And we have to deal with that. That's turning out to be an important challenge, too. But I think as long as we go in with a clear head and no illusions, I'm fairly confident that we can actually create a police force worthy of the community and one which can bring peace and justice to Kosovo.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Well, thank you all three, gentlemen, very much.
SHASHI THAROOR: Thank you.