Future of the post-status Kosovo mission?
The lessons from this story are directly applicable to any post-conflict mission that the UN or the EU may conduct in the future. Where public officials are vetted, they must be offered basic procedural fairness. They must be notified of the case and the evidence against them, and be given an opportunity to defend themselves. They must be able to appeal any decision to a court or independent body. Similar provisions should apply wherever international representatives are authorised to dismiss public officials. If such basic principles are disregarded, it undermines both the legitimacy and the ultimate goals of the mission.
Under current proposals, the International Civilian Representative in Kosovo is to be entrusted with similar powers to those exercised by UNMIBH and OHR in Bosnia. From the outset, credible safeguards must be put in place to protect the rights of Kosovo residents. A powerful and independent ombudsman must be able to investigate all complaints made by Kosovo citizens against the international mission. Kosovo citizens who claim that their human rights are violated should be able to appeal to an independent review mechanism.