bosnia report
New Series No. 5 August - 1998
 
US Congress Resolutions on Milosevic andKosova (document)

105th Congress Second Session

Sense of Congress Regarding the Culpability of Slobodan Milosevic For War Crimes


(Passed the Senate - 17 July 1998)

House Concurrent Resolution 304 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 105

Whereas there is reason to mark the beginning of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia with Slobodan Milosevic's rise to power beginning in 1987, when he whipped up and exploited extreme nationalism among Serbs, and specifically in Kosovo, including support for violence against non-Serbs who were labelled as threats;

Whereas there is reason to believe that as President of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic was responsible for the conception and direction of a war of aggression, the deaths of hundreds of thousands, the torture and rape of tens of thousands and the forced displacement of nearly 3,000,000 people, and that mass rape and forced impregnation were among the tools used to wage this war;

Whereas 'ethnic cleansing' has been carried out in the former Yugoslavia in such a consistent and systematic way that it had to be directed by the senior political leadership in Serbia, and Slobodan Milosevic has held such power within Serbia that he is responsible for the conception and direction of this policy;

Whereas, as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Slobodan Milosevic is responsible for the conception and direction of assaults by Yugoslavian and Serbian military, security, special police, and other forces on innocent civilians in Kosovo which have so far resulted in an estimated 300 people dead or missing and the forced displacement of tens of thousands, and such assaults continue;

Whereas on 25 May 1993 United Nations Security Council Resolution 827 created the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia located in The Hague, the Netherlands (hereafter in this resolution referred to as the 'Tribunal'), and gave it jurisdiction over all crimes arising out of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia;

Whereas this Tribunal has publicly indicted 60 people for war crimes or crimes against humanity arising out of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and has issued a number of secret indictments that have only been made public upon the apprehension of the indicted persons;

Whereas it is incumbent upon the United States and all other nations to support the Tribunal, and the United States has done so by providing, since 1992, funding in the amount of $54,000,000 in assessed payments and more than $11,000,000 in voluntary and in-kind contributÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ ions to the Tribunal and the War Crimes Commission which preceded it, and by supplying information collected by the United States that can aid the Tribunal's investigations, prosecutions, and adjudications;

Whereas any lasting, peaceful solution to the conflict in the former Yugoslavia must be based upon justice for all, including the most senior officials of the government or governments responsible for conceiving, organizing, initiating, directing, and sustaining the Yugoslav conflict and whose forces have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide; and

Whereas Slobodan Milosevic has been the single person who has been in the high- est government offices in an aggressor state since before the inception of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, who has had the power to decide for peace and instead decided for war, who has had the power to minimize illegal actions by subordinates and allies and hold responsible those who committed such actions, but did not, and who is once again directing a campaign of ethnic cleansing against innocent civilians in Kosovo while treating with contempt international efforts to achieve a fair and peaceful settlement to the question of the future status of Kosovo:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives con- curring), That it is the sense of the Congress that:

(1) the United States should publicly declare that it considers that there is reason to believe that Slobodan Milosevic, President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide;

(2) the United States should make collection of information that can be supplied to the Tribunal for use as evidence to support an indictment and trial of President Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide a high priority;

(3) any such information concerning President Slobodan Milosevic already collected by the United States should be provided to the Tribunal as soon as possible;

(4) the United States should provide a fair share of any additional financial or personnel resources that may be required by the Tribunal in order to enable the Tribunal to adequately address preparation for, indictment of, prosecution of, and adjudication of allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity posed against President Slobodan Milosevic and any other person arising from the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, including in Kosovo;

(5) the United States should engage with other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other interested states in a discussion of information any such state may hold relating to allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity posed against President Slobodan Milosevic and any other person arising from the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, including in Kosovo, and press such states to promptly provide all such information to the Tribunal;

(6) the United States should engage with other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other interested states in a discussion of measures to be taken to apprehend indicted war criminals and persons indicted for crimes against humanity with the objective of concluding a plan of action that will result in these indictees' prompt delivery into the custody of the Tribunal; and

(7) the United States should urge the Tribunal to promptly review all information relating to President Slobodan Milosevic's possible criminal culpability for conceiving, directing, and sustaining a variety of actions in the former Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, that have had the effect of genocide, of other crimes against humanity, or of war crimes, with a view toward prompt issuance of a public indictment of Milosevic.

In the House of Representatives, Mr ENGEL (for himself, Mr King, Mr Moran of Virginia, and Ms Kelly) submitted the following concurrent resolution, which was referred to the Committee on International RelatÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ ions.

Concurrent Resolution Expressing the Sense of the Congress with Respect to Self-Determination for the People of Kosova, and for Other Purposes

House Concurrent Resolution 313

Whereas under the United Nations Charter, friendly relations among nations are based on the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples;

Whereas under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are parties, all peoples have the right of self-determination;

Whereas equal rights and self-determination of peoples are among the Principles Guiding Relations Between Participating States enshrined in the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, to which the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a party;

Whereas the Helsinki Final Act states that 'all peoples have the right, in full freedom, to determine, when and as they wish, their internal and external political status, without external interference, and to pursue as they wish their political, economic, social, and cultural development';

Whereas the Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was founded upon the right of every nationality to self-determination, including the right to secede;

Whereas in the Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, adopted in 1946, and the amended Yugoslav Constitution, adopted in 1974, Kosova was described as one of the 8 constituent territorial units of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;

Whereas until 1989 Kosova had a representative on the Yugoslav Federal Presidency, a constitutional entity consisting of members from each of the constituent territorial units of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;

Whereas several former constituent territorial units of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, have exercised their rights to become independent, and Montenegro retains the right to do so in the future;

Whereas the borders of Yugoslavia were altered in the 1990's when Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia became independent;

Whereas the United States and the international community do not recognize the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as the successor state to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;

Whereas the political rights of the people of Kosova were curtailed on 23 March 1989, when the Government of Yugoslavia revoked the autonomous status of Kosova by amending the Yugoslav Constitution without the consent of Kosova, as was con- stitutionally required, and by other unconstitutional actions including further amendments to the Yugoslav Constitution obtained by unconstitutional means;

Whereas in September 1990, in a referendum on the question of independence for Kosova, 87 percent of those eligible to participate voted and 99 percent of those who voted supported independence for Kosova;

Whereas throughout the 1990's, the people of Kosova have peacefully operated a shadow government separate from the Serbian and Yugoslav authorities, and that shadow government has governed the majority of the population of Kosova;

Whereas since 1989 the majority of the population of Kosova, 92 percent of whom are ethnically Albanian, has been subject to official discrimination including the removal of ethnic Albanian students from public schools and the University of Prishtina and the firing of more than 100,000 ethnic Albanians from the civil service and police;

Whereas since 1989 the people of Kosova have been subject to egregious human - rights abuses, and according to the Department of State's Country Reports on Human-Rights Practices for 1997, the most widespread and worst abuses in Serbia and Montenegro were committed by the police against the ethnic Albanian population of Kosova;

Whereas on 17ÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ July 1998 the Senate passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 105 declaring that it is the sense of the Congress that 'the United States should publicly declare that it considers that there is reason to believe that Slobodan Milosevic, President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide'; and

Whereas the United States has opened an office of the United States Information Service in Prishtina, the capital of Kosova:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate con- curring), That it is the sense of the Congress that:

(1) by illegally revoking of the autonomy of Kosova in 1989 and undertaking other unconstitutional actions, by subsequently promoting official policies of harsh discrimination against the majority ethnic Albanians in Kosova, and by flagrantly violating the human rights of the people of Kosova, Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, especially as ruled by Slobodan Milosevic, have forfeited the legitimate right to govern or to determine the political status of the territory of Kosova;

(2) the United States should support the right of self-determination for the people of Kosova;

(3) the United States should support any resolution of the question of the sta- tus of Kosova, including independence, if such resolution is arrived at by means of legitimate acts of self-determination, including a free and fair referendum in Kosova;

(4) the United States should support the same right of self-determination for Kosova that the international community has recognized for the other former con- stituent territorial units of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, some of which have become independent;

(5) the United States should encourage other countries, especially members of the Contact Group of Nations for the Former Yugoslavia, to support the right of self-determination for the people of Kosova; and

(6) the United States should support such representation of Kosova in interna- tional institutions as is consistent with the exercise of the legitimate right of self-determination by the people of Kosova.

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