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1999-11-28

Joint proposal of the Agreement on the political framework of self-governance in Kosovo and Metohija

The political solution to the problems in Kosovo and Metohija was considered in Pristina on 18 November and in Belgrade on 19 November, with the delegations of the National Party of Kosovo, Kosovo Democratic Initiative, representatives of the National Community of the Turks, National Community of the Gorancies, National Community of Muslims, National Community of Romanies, National Community of Egyptians, representatives of Parliamentary parties from Kosovo and Metohija, as well as with the representatives of the Socialist Party of Serbia and Presidents of the Serbian Radical Party and the Yugoslav United Left Party. President Milutinovic also held consultations on the same issues on 20 November with the Presidents of the Serbian Renewal Movement, New Democracy and Alliance of the Vojvodina Hungarians.

At all these talks and consultations, full support was given to the Agreement between President Milosevic and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, particularly to the political framework for the resolution of problems in Kosmet, expressed in 11 points of the Government of Serbia. Also, many concrete comments and suggestions were made on the ways to achieve an institutionalized and political solution to the problems in Kosovo and Metohija.

The result of all these talks and consultations is the following:




JOINT PROPOSAL OF THE
AGREEMENT
ON THE POLITICAL FRAMEWORK
OF SELF-GOVERNANCE IN KOSOVO
AND METOHIJA




Belgrade, 20 November 1998
Signatories to this Agreement,



Considering that, in view of the complex national structure in Kosovo and Metohija, it is necessary to protect the development and existence of each individual national community;

Firm in their commitment to the position that all national communities, regardless of their numbers, are mutually equal and that, therefore, in relations among them there can be no discrimination;

Considering that persons belonging to all national communities in Kosovo and Metohija should be enabled to exercise fully their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity, in accordance with the highest international standards and basic documents of the United Nations, Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Council of Europe (the Charter of the United Nations, Universal Declaration on Human Rights, Helsinki Final Act, Paris Charter, European Convention on Human Rights, Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Rights of the Persons belonging to National Minorities), etc;

Considering that it is necessary to set up appropriate democratic institutions in order to create the atmosphere of tolerance and dialogue;

Determined in their position that broad self-governance within national communities and in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija is a precondition for overcoming inter-ethnic tensions and conflicts;

Bearing in mind the most positive experience and legal solutions developed through long-standing common life;

Have agreed as follows:

I. PRINCIPLES

1. Political approach and peaceful solution of problems in Kosovo and Metohija achieved through dialogue are the only acceptable way to reach a lasting, just and humane solution to all outstanding questions;

2. All solutions for Kosovo and Metohija must respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty and internationally recognized borders of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in compliance with the basic principles of the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter of the OSCE.

3. The solution has to be based on full respect of equality of all citizens and national communities in Kosovo and Metohija. Full affirmation and equal treatment of their national, religious, cultural values as well as historic heritage shall be guaranteed;

4. The future of Kosovo and Metohija lies in peace, equality, integration, economic prosperity and free and common existence, not in ethnic, religious, cultural or any divisions and isolation;

5. The legal arrangements establishing self-governance in Kosovo and Metohija should be in line with legal systems of the Republic of Serbia and of the FR of Yugoslavia, and with international standards and basic documents;

6. Citizens of Kosovo and Metohija shall exercise their rights democratically through assembly, executive, and judicial organs.

7. Citizens and members of each national community in Kosovo and Metohija shall enjoy, without limitations, human and democratic rights and shall have the opportunity to be represented in all organs of authority.

8. Members of national communities shall have additional rights, in order to be able to express and preserve their national, cultural, religious, and linguistic identity, in accordance with international standards and fundamental international documents.

The national communities and their members shall be equal before the law, they shall abide by all State laws and shall not use their additional rights to endanger the rights of other national communities or other rights of citizens, especially territorial integrity and state sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

9. The responsibilities of organs in Kosovo and Metohija shall be set forth in this Agreement. The organs in Kosovo and Metohija acting within their competencies, shall be independent.

10. All citizens of Kosovo and Metohija shall have the right to apply to international institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights, for the protection of their rights, after all legal means envisaged by domestic legislation are exhausted.

II. RIGHTS OF CITIZENS

1. The rights of citizens of Kosovo and Metohija shall be realized through assembly, executive and judicial organs established by this Agreement. These rights make up democratic self-governance, including:

- the adoption of the Statute of Kosovo and Metohija;
- the adoption of regulations on the organization and procedures of organs of Kosovo and Metohija;
- adoption of the budget and annual accounts;
- regulation and provision of child care;
- establishment and regulation of the functioning of health institutions and hospitals, except those owned by the State;
- protection of environment;
- regulation of trade and private stores in accordance with republican and federal laws;
- regulation of hunting and fishing;
- planning and execution of public works of communal importance or of importance to Kosovo and Metohija;
- regulation of the land use, town planning and civil engineering, in accordance with republican and federal regulations;
- adoption and implementation of programs of economic, scientific, technological, demographic, regional and social development, as well as programs for development of agriculture and rural areas;
- adoption of tourism development programs, catering and sports;
- organization of fairs and local markets;
- setting up of public services of communal importance and of importance to Kosovo and Metohja;
- financing of the activities of communal organs and organs of Kosovo and Metohija.

2. The organs of Kosovo and Metohija shall not interfere with the additional rights of the members of national communities.

3. A commune shall be the basic unit of local self-governance.

III. ADDITIONAL RIGHTS OF MEMBERS OF NATIONAL COMMUNITIES

1. The members of national communities shall have additional rights set forth this Agreement. The additional rights shall preserve and express national, cultural, religious, and linguistic and other characteristics of members of national communities, in accordance with international standards and the Helsinki Final Act.

2. National communities shall be equal in terms of law and may not use their additional rights to threaten additional rights of other national communities or rights of citizens of the Republic of Serbia or of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

3. Each national community shall select, in accordance with procedures it shall establish, a National Council which will make decisions on additional rights of national communities in Kosovo and Metohija. Each Council shall establish its own executive organs.

4. Additional rights of the national communities include:

- Using their language and alphabet;
- Inscribing local names of towns and villages, squares and streets, and of other topographic names, in the language and alphabet of the national community, along with inscriptions in Serbian;
- Providing information in the language and alphabet of the national community.
- Establishment of educational, cultural and religious associations, to which the State authorities will provide financial assistance.
- Maintenance of unimpeded contacts with their respective national communities outside the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
- Using and displaying national symbols, along with the State symbols of Serbia and the FR of Yugoslavia;
- Providing education, in particular for schooling in their own language and alphabet, in subjects related to national culture and history. National communities are encouraged to coordinate curricula with the republican authorities concerning some subjects (for example to ensure that pupils satisfy certain standards in subjects like math or science); - Protection of national customs in the field of family law, if a community so decides, by establishing regulations in the field of heritage, family and matrimonial relations, adoption and tutorship;
- Each commune shall be able to establish a procedure for resolving disputes in these areas, with the consent of the parties to a dispute. These regulations have to be in accordance with internationally recognized human rights;
- Protecting the sites of religious, historical, or cultural importance to national communities.
- Setting up public health and social services;
- Operation of religious institutions in cooperation with religious authorities.
- Determining procedures of the courts of national communities as provided for in this Agreement and ensure the funds for the implementation of the decisions of those courts;
- Guaranteeing the right to at least one radio and TV frequency, which it shall administer subject to non-discriminatory technical standards;
- Financing activities of national communities by collecting duties which the National Council decides to levy on members of its own community.
- Participating in regional and international non-governmental organizations in accordance with the procedures of these organizations;
- Having equal access to employment in public services.

IV. THE ORGANS OF KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

1. The Assembly

1. The Assembly shall be elected directly. The Assembly shall have two Chambers: Chamber of Citizens and Chamber of National Communities.

2. Members of the Chamber of Citizens shall be elected directly in line with the principle one citizen - one vote.

3. Members of the Chamber of National Communities shall be elected democratically, within each national community. Each national community shall have a delegation with equal number of members in the Chamber.

4. The Assembly shall be responsible for: - the adoption of the Statute of Kosovo and Metohija;
- making decisions and adoption of other acts regulating some questions related to rights of citizens of Kosovo and Metohija;
- the adoption of budgets and annual accounts;
- cooperation with Federal and Republic Assemblies;
- financing activities of the organs established by this Agreement;
- coordination among communes or national communities when necessary, including decisions concerning inter-communal issues, and
- election of members of the organs set forth in this Agreement.

5. Decisions of the Assembly shall be taken by majority in both Chambers, except as provided for in paragraph (6).

6. If members of one national community assert that a proposed decision affects the vital interests of this national community, such decision shall require majority vote, which includes the majority among the members of that national community delegation in the Council of National Communities.

7. If a decision cannot be taken on account of reasons referred to in paragraph 6, but needs to be taken, the National Assembly of Serbia shall make an interim decision pending the one taken pursuant to paragraph 5.

8. The Assembly shall elect the Presidency of the Assembly which shall consist of one representative from each national community. The Presidency shall have a President, which function shall rotate among members of Presidency each year, in alphabetical order.

The Presidency shall be responsible for:
- calling the meetings of the Assembly and proposing the agenda;
- representing the Assembly;
- regular contacts with National Councils and other representatives of the national communities in order to facilitate the work of the Assembly.

Each national community shall be represented in the leadership of the Assembly. The President of the Presidency of the Assembly cannot be a member of the same national community as the President of the Executive Council and Ombudsman.

2. Executive Council Executive Council shall exercise executive power.

The Council shall comprise at least one person from each national community. Members shall be proposed by the Presidency of the Assembly and shall be elected by both Assembly Chambers on the basis of equality.

The Executive Council shall be responsible for implementing the decisions of the Assembly and regulations of the State authorities, when authorized for their implementation.

Decisions of the Council shall be adopted by majority vote of Members present and voting, except on questions affecting vital interests of a certain national community. In that case, the principle valid for voting in the Assembly shall apply.

3. Administrative organs

The administrative organs of Kosovo and Metohija shall have responsibility for the implementation of decisions and general acts, in accordance with this Agreement.

Executives in administrative organs in Kosovo and Metohija shall be representative of the local population.

4. Ombudsman

The Ombudsman shall monitor the realization of the rights of members of national communities.

The Ombudsman shall be nominated by the Presidency of Assembly and shall be elected by the Assembly, each term from another national community. The Ombudsman shall have a right to review the acts and unimpeded access to any person or place and shall have the right to appear before any domestic organ.

V. THE COMMUNES

1. Communes shall be basic units of self-governance.

2. Each commune shall have an Assembly and Executive Council and such administrative organs established by Executive Council. The organs of a commune shall be organized along the same principles as the organs of Kosovo and Metohija.

3. The duties of local self-governance in a commune include:

- Providing child-care;
- Health institutions and hospitals, except those owned by the State;
- Educational institutions except those State-owned;
- Protection of environment;
- Public works of communal or regional importance, including roads and water supplies.
- Land use;
- Tourism, hotel industry, catering, and sport.
- Fairs and local markets.
- Public services of communal importance, including fire department, emergency response, and local police.
- Financing the work of communal organs, levying duties in accordance with the law.

VI. REPRESENTATION OF THE CITIZENS OF KOSOVO AND METOHIJA IN FEDERAL AND REPUBLIC BODIES

1. Citizens of Kosovo and Metohija shall be represented by at least ten deputies in the Chamber of Citizens of the Federal Assembly and at least twenty deputies in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

2. From among the citizens of Kosovo and Metohija at least one member shall be elected to the Federal Government and the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

3. From among the citizens of Kosovo and Metohija at least one judge in the Federal Court and three judges in the Supreme Court of Serbia shall be elected.

4. There shall be a Council of the Republic of Serbia for the protection of the rights of the members of national communities. The President of the Republic of Serbia shall preside over the Council of the Republic of Serbia for the protection of the rights of members of national communities.

VII. COURTS AND LOCAL POLICE

1. Courts of National Communities

Each national community may establish, in accordance with the law, courts and determine procedures for resolving disputes concerning inheritance, family law, matrimonial relations, tutorship, adoption and trials for which imprisonment of up to one year is prescribed by the Penal Code. The competence of these courts may be established only if parties to a dispute agree.

The judges shall be appointed by the National Councils and approved by the Assembly. The judges of these courts have to meet criteria necessary for the selection of judges in the corresponding State courts.

2. Local police

Each commune may, if it so decides, establish its local police representative of the population in the commune.

The local police shall be trained in specialized state police schools to respect human rights, particularly the rights of national communities.

The members of local police shall be sworn in to uphold the law impartially, fairly, equally treating all persons.

The local police shall be responsible for the maintenance of public order.

The members of the local police may use, as means of coercion, only guns, rubber truncheons and handcuffs and passenger transportation vehicles and adequate means for communication. The members of the local police cannot use means of coercion against the members of another national community.

If necessary, local police shall be obliged to place itself under control of the State police in fulfilling its tasks in accordance with the law.

A commune may establish a commission to monitor the work of local police. Each national community in a commune shall have the right to participate in the work of the commission.

VIII. FINANCING

1. The organs established in Sections II-IV shall be entitled to income from their own duties and to a share of State taxes.

2. In view of the fact that this Agreement establishes new responsibilities for the organs of Kosovo and Metohija, the Republic and Federal authorities shall consider possibilities to ensure additional resources to exercise the competencies of the organs in Kosovo and Metohija established by this Agreement. These resources shall include funds (plus tax deductions), equipment and training.

I

X. CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURES

1. No person shall be prosecuted for acts related to the conflicts in Kosovo and Metohija except for crimes against humanity and international law as set forth in Chapter XVI of the Federal Penal Code. In order to facilitate transparency, the State shall grant access to foreign experts (including forensics), along with state investigators.

2. The competent organs shall, through the relevant judicial procedure based on the law, grant amnesty to persons for whom it is proved that they had not committed crimes against humanity and international law, mitigate the sentences to those who cooperated with investigative authorities, those who had been forcibly drafted or voluntarily handed over weapons.

X. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AGREEMENT

1. The signatories to this Agreement undertake the obligation to implement it as soon as possible.

2. The State authorities shall undertake the amending of regulations necessary for the implementation of the Agreement, without delay.

3. The competent State organs shall organize, as soon as possible, an objective and free census of the population in Kosovo and Metohija, under the OSCE supervision. The census shall provide necessary information on the places of residence, citizenship, voter lists, and other data relevant for conducting elections.

4. Within nine months, there shall be free and fair elections for all organs in Kosovo and Metohija. The Government of the FR of Yugoslavia invites the OSCE to monitor the elections.

5. The signatories to this Agreement shall extend active support and cooperation to, and shall participate in the implementation of the Agreement.

6. The State authorities shall ensure initial and necessary conditions for the functioning of organs established by this Agreement.

XI. AMENDMENTS

1. Amendments to this Agreement shall be made by agreement of the signatories.

2. Each signatory may propose amendments to this Agreement. The signatories undertake to duly consider proposed amendments.

3. After three years, the signatories shall comprehensively review this Agreement with a view to improving its implementation and shall consider the proposals of any signatory for additional measures, whose adoption shall require the consent of all signatories.

XII. FINAL PROVISIONS

1. This Agreement is concluded in the Serbian language and the languages of national communities (Albanian, Romany, and Turkish) in Kosovo and Metohija.

2. This Agreement shall enter into force on the day of its signature.

FOR THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA

-
-

FOR THE NATIONAL COMMUNITIES IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA (in alphabetical order) -
-
-

FOR THE FR OF YUGOSLAVIA



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