UN’s Deputy Special Envoy for Kosovo, Dr. Albert Rohan, told the Hungarian News Agency yesterday that there should be “no deadline set on the duration of international supervision” of Kosovo’s independence. Mr. Rohan’s comments are not new, as they reflect the view by Janez Jansa, the current EU president and others in the international community.
For those of you who have not been following the future status of Kosovo closely, Kosovo’s declaration of independence in the coming weeks will perhaps be a misnomer. The more apt phrase is “supervised independence.”
What is “supervised independence,” apart from it being an oxy-moron?
Well, the theory goes like this: After Kosovo declares independence, an EU mission will take over in connection with the “Ahtisaari plan”. The EU mission will have oversight over all of Kosovo’s civil authorities and NATO will still have an international military presence. Let’s be clear, though. The word “oversight” is just another phrase for: we have the final say if need be.
Doesn’t sound too much like the independence you were thinking of, right? In many ways, Kosovo’s declaration of independence in the coming weeks will be more of a “legal independence” from Serbia. But as to the common meaning of independence, i.e. Kosovo’s institutions have the final say on what goes down, Kosovo will not have that. Kosovo will be “supervised.”
You see the contradictions? We should call it for what it is.
But apart from that, Dr. Albert Rohan and others in the international community, especially Janez Jansa, are not setting a good precedent for Kosovo by their failing to push for a deadline over “supervised independence.” While it is true that the powers that be — the coming EU mission and NATO — have to “wait and see” how Kosovo will conduct itself in the coming years, there must be clearly defined principles and guidelines for the length of time international bodies will “monitor” Kosovo.
If not, not only will Kosovo’s declaration of independence ring empty, but invariably the justification for the presence of international “oversight” will be marred by institutional drift and goal displacement. More transparency is needed.
The international community needs a defined plan of action. If it thinks it’s going to wing it once Kosovo declares independence, it will be in for a big surprise.