Kosovo 2002

Yearbook 2002

Kosovo. It was a relatively quiet year in Kosovo, in practice a UN protectorate where residents gradually took over responsibility. At the same time, the Albanian majority continued to seek independence, while the Western powers wanted to retain Kosovo as an autonomous province of Serbia.

According to Countryaah website, only in March was the parliament elected in November 2001 to appoint Ibrahim Rugova as president after several unsuccessful attempts. Rugova is the leader of the largest party of the Kosovo Democratic Alliance (LDK), which received 45% of the vote, and he has long been regarded as a relatively moderate force.

Kosovo Border Countries Map

As a compromise, Parliament at the same time elected the head of the Kosovo Democratic Party (PDK), Bajram Rexhepi, as prime minister. He was previously active in the UCK guerrilla and was accused by Serbia of torturing Yugoslav soldiers during the war. The compromise proposal had been prepared by the UN’s new top name in Kosovo, the German Michael Steiner, who took over after the Danish Hans Hekkerup at the beginning of the year.

Rugova’s party LDK performed strongly even in the municipal elections held in October. The party gained its own majority in 11 of 30 municipalities and formed a coalition in several others. The elections were part of the process that would lead to the transfer of power from the UN.

In November, the UN authority in Kosovo, UNMIK, for the first time brought charges against Kosovo Albanian former guerrillas. There were four people who were prosecuted for e.g. illegal arrests, torture and murder. The victims were also Kosovo Albanians. Among the arrested were one of the highest-ranking UCK leaders, Rustem Mustafa.

In a resolution, the Kosovo parliament condemned the agreement that replaced Yugoslavia with a loose union, called Serbia and Montenegro. In the settlement, Kosovo would remain part of Serbia, which was completely rejected by the majority Albanian population.