Equalizing the Use of Language: A View to Kosovo Law?s Guarantees Upon Minority Languages

Author:Dren Doli - Ketrina Cabiri - Fisnik Korenica
Position:Group for Legal and Political Studies
6 The Open Law Journal, 2010, 3, 6-14
1874-950X/10 2010 Bentham Open
Open Access
Equalizing the Use of Language: A View to Kosovo Law’s Guarantees
Upon Minority Languages
Dren Doli, Ketrina Cabiri* and Fisnik Korenica
Group for Legal and Political Studies, 'Gustav Majer' str. A1/5, Prishtina 10 000, Kosovo
Abstract: Kosovo through its Constitution proclaimed itself a multiethnic society, while attributing to its institutions the
burden to preserve the ethnic minorities’ iden tity, including their linguistic individuality. With a view to that, Kosovo
authorities issued the necessary laws to make multiethnicity a ‘living principle’, thus establishing sufficient consociational
elements in the Kosovo’s legal system. With a view to that, this paper will make a review upon the Kosovo Law on the
Use of Languages, and shall view the latter toward the principles set, by both, Ahtisaari Plan’s provisions and Kosovo
Constitution’s provision s. Hence, ap art from providing a criti cal evaluation, the paper is aimed at displaying the guaran-
teed mechanisms and principles employed by the law concerned for either upholding or assuring the use of language by
ethnic minorities.
Keywords: Democracy – Conventions–Minorities rights– Ahtisaari Plan – Languages – Equality – Ethnic minorities- Identity-
Consociational Democracy.
Kosovo status settlement did invoke a number of interna-
tionally driven negotiations, which ended up with a plan de-
signed by the UN special envoy Marti Ahtisaari. The latter
did introduce the so-called Ahtisaari Plan, (Officially named
as ‘Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settle-
ment, UN Doc. S/2007/168/Add. 1’, hereinafter: CPKSS,
2007) which established the basic principles to be applied
upon the Kosovo polity. Throughout the negotiation process
a special consideration was given to the provisions establish-
ing the ethnic minority rights and the standards to be re-
spected, both through enabling the ethnic minorities a more-
than-equal representation in the Kosovo institutions and
through providing genuine guarantees for their cultural and
linguistic identity. In this vein, Tansey (2009, p. 59) ac-
knowledges that the Ahtisaari Plan provided an extensive
protection for the Serb minorities and designed new decen-
tralization framework, which ‘meant to ensure that most
Serbs would live in majority-Serb municipalities’.
Therefore, the plan concerned mostly relied upon the
guarantees directed to enforce the position of the minorities
within their municipal borders. However, as Kostovicova
(2008, p. 636) asserts ‘the plan relied on the weight of group
rights and new municipal borders to address Serb insecuri-
ties and co-opt the Serbs into accepting an independent
However, after the Kosovo people representatives de-
clared the Kosovo independence, the Constitution had to, as
a matter of the international political agreement, employ the
*Address corr espondence to this author a t the Group for Legal and Political
Studies, 'Gustav Majer' str. A1/5, Prishtina 10 000, Kosovo;
Tel: +377 44 188 838; Int: +44 75 315 91253;
E-mail: ketrina.cab iri@legalpoliticalstudies.o rg
principles and guarantees defined by the Ahtisaari Plan.
Moreover, all provisions related to the ethnic minority rights,
had to, either through constitutional provisions or promulga-
tion of laws, be ensured. Thus, later on, the Kosovo Consti-
tution, as required by the Ahtisaari Plan, invoked the princi-
ples concerned and proclaimed Kosovo a multi-ethnic state,
oriented to preserve the rights and ethnic identity of the mi-
norities living within Kosovo. In term of numbers, it should
be noted that as by the latest estimations Kosovo population
is around 2.100.000 and roughly 92% of the population is
ethnic Albanian, 5.3% ethnic Serbs, Turks comprising of
0.4% and Roma, Bosnians, and Gorani comprising of 2.3%
of the population. [(According to the 2006 estimations of the
Kosovan Statistical Institute (ESK, 2008) the Kosovo’s
population is composed of: Albanians – 92% (1.932.000),
Serbs- 5.3% (111.300), Turkish – 0.4% (8.400), Roma – 1.1
% (23.512), and others – 1.2% (24.788)].
Subsequently, Ahtisaari Plan provided for a new design
in terms of new municipal borders’ regulation, meaning that,
it foresees a number of new Serb municipalities to be estab-
lished [(For more on new municipalities see (CPKSS, 2007)
and (AKM, 2008)] In this regard, the concerned municipal
design offered some distinguishable features. First, it re-
solved Serbian fears of absorption and assimilation and pro-
vided for them a Serbian-led municipality, second, it pro-
vided the possibility to institutionally protect the rights of
their communities, and third, opened the possibility to fur-
ther develop their individual and cultural identity. As a mat-
ter of fact, Kosovo Constitution did expressly provide a pro-
vision which accepted the supremacy of the Ahtisaari Plan
towards the constitutional provisions and other legal acts
(Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, article 143, para-
graph 3, hereinafter: CRK, 2008) which was a step further to
assure that any circumvention upon the guarantees for ethnic
minorities might not take place. Moreover, Kosovo Constitu-
tion (2008, Chapter III, articles 57&62), apart from offering

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