Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Testimony :: Statement of Hon. Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Co-Chairman - Helsinki Commission



Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Hearing on: “Kosovo’s Displaced and Imprisoned”

February 28, 2000

Dramatic developments in Kosovo are once again hitting the headlines. Renewed violence in
Kosovo brings new threats to peace in the region, and a new challenge for the United States and its
friends and allies who are trying to maintain peace in that extremely difficult environment.

I remain deeply concerned about the situation there. I recently visited Kosovo and heard from our
military personnel based there about what they are being tasked to do. I learned that it is virtually
impossible for many people in Kosovo to carry on even the basic routines of everyday life. People
from one group or another, depending on where in Kosovo you look, cannot leave their homes
without military escort, for fear of being attacked by those from another group. Others cannot even
get back to their homes, which, I understand, is the basis for the current standoff in the north. And,
of course, some cannot leave the prisons of Serbia.

Other solutions need to be found, rather than simply deploying more forces to stand between angry
crowds. Such a deployment alone does little to address the legitimate grievances of many of the
people, from all ethnic groups, and it likewise does little to stop the human rights violations which
take place with virtual impunity. People need to get out of the refugee camps and prisons and get
back to their homes as soon as possible.

I look forward to hearing from Ambassador Menzies what the Administration plans to do in Kosovo
this year, and the views and suggestions of our expert panel. I hope, that by focusing on these
issues, the Helsinki Commission will contribute to the formulation of sound policies in Kosovo.
While our focus today is on the human dimension of Kosovo we must not lose sight of the security
and economic dimensions of the situation in Kosovo. Corruption has been identified as one of the
major obstacles to OSCE efforts in Bosnia and I understand that organized crime elements are
extremely active in Kosovo and elsewhere in Serbia. The prospects for democracy, human rights
and the rule of law in Kosovo are not promising and the approaching spring could usher in more
conflict in this troubled part of the OSCE region.