Vienna, Austria, December 7, 2018 - Since establishment of a crises hotline between Armenia and Azerbaijan in October 2018, reports of ceasefire violations have decreased approximately 75% according to George Niculescu, Partnership for Peace Consortium's Regional Stability in the South Caucasus Study Group (RSSC SG) co-chair. These developments come in the wake of RSSC SG recommendations to keep communications cannels open between the leadership of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Resolution 1244 adopted by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 1999 was conceived as an interim settlement to allow conflict de-escalation while postponing the search for a lasting solution to the Kosovo crisis. The final settlement should have been negotiated between Serbian authorities and representatives of the Kosovo Albanians and then endorsed by the UNSC, as stipulated in the resolution. However, Kosovo Albanians declared independence unilaterally in February 2008 and Kosovo was recognized as such by the United States and its allies. The Kosovo Albanians promptly abandoned the peace process.
Instead of an internationally endorsed negotiated outcome, the Kosovo Albanians’ initiative unilaterally imposed a political settlement on the mediating powers in complete disregard of UNSC authority that had placed Kosovo under international administration. The subsequent involvement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) failed to resolve the remaining issues between Serbs and Kosovars.
In addition to creating a troubling legal precedent, the Kosovo example establishes a bad precedent for future conflict management initiatives, especially for ongoing conflicts in the Caucasus. Issues of concern include the viability of future interim agreements, good faith negotiations and the legitimacy and guarantees provided by the internationalization of conflicts, including the authority of international organizations, multilateral agencies and established legal standards. This paper draws parallels between the Kosovo example and territorial disputes in the Caucasus as well as the implications of the Kosovo model on conflict management processes.