Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM)
International Operation Name: Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM)
International Mission Name: Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM)
Mandating Organization: OSCE
Region Name: Europe
Mission Date: October 1998 - March 1999
Canadian Operation: Op KIMONO- October 1998 to 23 March 1999
Mission Mandate: Their mandate was to verify compliance by all parties in Kosovo with UN Security Council Resolution 1199, verify the cease-fire, monitor movements of forces, look for and report unsanctioned road blocks, monitor border control activities, and promote human rights and democracy-building. To supervise elections and to ensure their openness and fairness in accordance with regulations and procedures agreed.
Supported by UNSCR 1160, 1199 and 1203 (Chapter VII)
Mission/Operation Notes: During the spring and summer of 1998, hostilities between Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) forces, and the underground Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had reached the boiling point. FRY forces had carried out several “security” operations between mid-February and Mid-September 1998 and had implemented a “scorch the earth” policy that significantly reduced the ability of the KLA to carry out any of its own attacks, and allowed the Serbian forces to gain at least temporary control of the province.
Commencing in June 1998, several countries contributed military and diplomatic observers to an ad hoc mission (Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission – KDOM). Each of the five missions operated independently in an effort to stay apprised of the situation within the province.
In September 1998, the UN issued UNSCR 1199 under chapter VII of the UN charter expressing concern about the situation in Kosovo. It also sent US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke to negotiate a monitoring and cease-fire agreement with FRY President Slobodan. According to the agreement the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) would establish a Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) to monitor the situation on the ground. And under the direction of NATO, an operation would be established to monitor the situation from the air (Op EAGLE EYE). On 24 October 1998, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1203 supporting the establishment of both operations and late October KVM began operations.
To help coordinate the efforts of the OSCE and NATO, the Kosovo Verification Coordination Centre (KVCC) was established in Kumanovo, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Manned 24 hours a day, the 60-man team from various NATO nations performed the duties of liaison, planning coordination and information exchange between the two missions. By tracking both operations, the centre was able to coordinate efforts between missions and provide NATO headquarters in Brussels with a clear picture of the situation in Kosovo. Canada’s contribution to the KVCC was in support of Operation EAGLE EYE under the designation Operation KAYAK. Canada supplied one senior liaison officer (LO), one billeting NCO, and six military police officers for security.
Though the number of KVM verification personnel was initially set at 2000, the number never rose above 1350. OSCE KVM established five Regional Centers (RCs) in Pec, Prizren, Kosovska Mitrovica, Gnjilane, and Pristina. Their mandate was to verify compliance by all parties in Kosovo with UN Security Council Resolution 1199, verify the cease-fire, monitor movements of forces, look for and report unsanctioned road blocks, monitor border control activities, and promote human rights and democracy-building.
Canada’s contribution to OSCE KVM consisted of up to 60 civilian and police personnel, and a military component under the designation Operation KIMONO, consisting of 23 CF personnel. The main body of the military component deployed to Kosovo in November and December of 1998, with the two CF personnel assigned to the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission (KDOM) being reassigned to the KVM operation in December 1998 thus closing out that mission.
While the FRY retained overall responsibility for the security of the OSCE personnel deployed in Kosovo, NATO took the extra precaution of establishing a 1500 man strong Extraction Force operating in the Former Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) under the Operation name JOINT GUARANTOR incase the situation deteriorated. Canada committed approximately 62 support personnel to this force under the designation Op GUARANTOR. The operation included airfield construction engineers, medical and headquarters personnel who were deployed to Kumanovo, in the FYROM in mid-December.
Despite the KVM presence, the situation in Kosovo flared up again at the beginning of 1999. On the morning of 20 March 1999, the OSCE placed all members of KVM and Op KIMINO on three hours notice to move, and began to evacuate them to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). When negotiations failed, NATO began air strikes against the FRY and all members of Op KIMONO were repatriated to Canada. With an air campaign in progress it was impossible to return to Kosovo, resulting in the complete loss of all personal and military kit left behind. This marked the end of Canada’s contribution to the mission.
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