[rev_slider alias="blog-post-header-long-title"]


Jun 18, 2014 | Commentary

The UN Development Programme published Kosovo’s Internal Security Sector Review (ISSR) in 2006, a process that I explored in an earlier post (see here and here). In the following six years, the international community supported the development and professionalization of the fledgling entity’s security sector.

As a result, the Kosovo Protection Corp was disbanded and the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) formed, under a Ministry for the KSF, accountable to the Kosovo Assembly’s security select committee. Appropriate legislation, regulating the form and practice of the force, was also put in place. A National Security Council was formed, supported by a Security Council Secretariat. The Police, Correctional, Border and Customs, Emergency Response, and Intelligence Services were all reformed and mentored by international experts.

However, the Vienna talks that ran parallel with the ISSR failed to achieve an agreement on Kosovo’s status. On February 17, 2008, the Kosovo government declared unilateral independence from Serbia and a new country was born.  Part One will describe the Kosovo’s home-grown Strategic Security Sector Review (SSSR), while Part Two extends the analysis by exploring the outcomes of the Review and whether it achieved the aims that had been set for it.

In April 2012, the Kosovo government announced a new security sector reform (SSR) programme, pointing out that the country’s security sector has experienced significant changes and developments since ISSR was conducted in 2006. The objectives of the SSSR were to identify the development needs of Kosovo’s security sector, define the security strategic environment, identify potential security threats, and recommend measures to build capabilities and improve security institutions within an updated legal framework.

Importantly, the new Review would take a comprehensive, holistic approach to SSR. Much like the 2006 ISSR, it would include such aspects as the economy, environment, health, energy, natural resources, employment, education, rule of law, interethnic relationships, and religion freedoms.

The Review’s aim was to ensure a positive impact not only on the security of the state but also the safety of its communities and citizens. The goal of the SSSR was to ensure that the institutions responsible for security were more accountable to Kosovo’s citizens and more responsive to their security needs. The SSSR would be conducted in accordance with the principles of openness, transparency, and accountability. A wide spectrum of institutions and bodies were to be consulted, involving public debates, expert discussions, and talks with various communities.

The structure of the Review would be very similar to that of the ISSR. A Steering Committee was formed that had as its Chairman Agim Ceku, Minister of KSF – though the original Chairman was supposed to be the Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo before Agim Ceku replaced him just before the start of the programme. Ceku had been the Prime Minister of Kosovo during the ISSR and was a former Kosovo Liberation Army General and Commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps, and even before that served  as a Brigadier-General in the Croatian Army prior to returning to his native Kosovo in 1998.

The members of the Steering Committee were the Ministers of Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs, Director of Kosovo Intelligence Agency, Kosovo Security Council Secretary, KSF Commander, Kosovo Police Director, Director of Emergency Management Agency, and the Security Advisor to the Prime Minister. The responsibilities of the Steering Committee were to:

  • Define the structure of the process, by establishing an Inter-ministerial Coordination Group and ministerial working groups;
  • Supervise the process, through regular meetings;
  • Ensure that every institution, agency, or individual involved in the process performed as required;
  • Ensure that individuals selected for participation in the process are professionally capable;
  • Monitor objective-based activity progress;
  • Engage a research institution which shall be part of the Inter-ministerial Coordination Group, which would support the whole process;
  • Define a specific communication strategy throughout the process;
  • Present SSSR conclusions and recommendations to the Kosovo Security Council;
  • Ensure that implementation of SSSR recommendations were disseminated effectively to all relevant institutions or agencies.

Each Ministry or Agency involved in the SSSR nominated representatives to an Inter-ministerial Coordination Group and established internal ministerial/agency working groups with specific tasks and objectives related to their role in the security of the state. Apart from ministries normally relevant to the security sector, the Ministries of Finance, Infrastructure, Spatial Planning, Health, Education, Science and Technology were also included. An SSSR Secretariat was created to manage the process and act as the coordinator between the Steering Committee and the Inter-ministerial Coordination Group and ministerial working groups.

Kosovo Radio and Television interviewed Minister Ceku on April 6, 2012. During the interview, he laid out his reasons for wanting a new SSR programme:

“…We have had a history of individual building of security institutions with different mentors. The KSF and the former KPC were built by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Kosovo Force (KFOR), the Police were built by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and we know that UNMIK had different police standards from different countries, they were not only European or American. Now Kosovo is gradually taking ownership of all processes, it is taking responsibility for its own security as well, and we are reviewing all these institutions so we can eliminate duplication of capabilities and so we can be coordinated. Simply put, so we can build an orchestra that will produce music, not just noise.”

During the interview Ceku was continually pressed to state when Kosovo would have its own national army. He pointed to the “constrictions imposed by Ahtisaari’s Package” – referring to the restrictions on the creation of a national army laid down in the Final Status Talks Report and the ISSR Final Report – as well as the Law on the KSF. But he also noted that these restrictions would “legally speaking” end by June 2012, at which point the door to review the KSF will open. As he goes on to conclude “we don’t want to review the KSF only; we want to review the entire Security Sector…so we can really build a security sector with well-coordinated, effective institutions and agencies that guarantee security for Kosovo, its citizens and their property.”

The SSSR commenced in April 2012. While initially set to run for 15 months, it dragged on for two years until 2014. In Part Two, we will examine the outcome of the Review, whether it adhered to its pledge of transparency and inclusion, and what its true aims might have been.


Anthony Cleland Welch OBE, a retired British Brigadier-General, holds a PhD in Security Sector Management and spent the past seventeen years working in post-conflict and developing countries. In 2006, he was coordinator of the Internal Security Sector Review of Kosovo.