Kosovo Verification Mission

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The Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) was an OSCE mission to verify that Serb forces were complying with the October Agreement to end atrocities in Kosovo, withdraw armed forces from Kosovo, and abide by a ceasefire.[1][2]


The KVM's job was to monitor parties' compliance with the agreement, to report any breaches to the OSCE, and to help affected civilians in Kosovo. Other requirements included:

  • To report on roadblocks;
  • To oversee elections;
  • To ensure that independent and fair police service was set up.[3]


United States diplomat William Walker was appointed head of the mission; he was relatively senior, reflecting the importance that NATO put on a peaceful settlement. His deputy was Gabriel Keller.[4]

Despite being much larger and more complex than any previous OSCE mission,[4] the KVM was put together relatively quickly; parts of the team arrived in Kosovo a month after the 16 October agreement. The KVM was divided into five regions, with a headquarters in Pristina.

Immediately after the Agreement, neither side adhered completely to the ceasefire; Serb forces continued to shoot at civilians, and there were sporadic KLA attacks on security forces.[5]

When a KVM team arrived at the scene of the Račak massacre, they found "36 bodies 23 of which were lying in a ditch".[6]

Ambassador Walker called me after he had been on the hillside. In fact, if my memory's correct, he called me from a cell phone from the village to describe it. His voice was shaking, saying, "I was the ambassador in El Salvador, and this is the worst thing I've ever seen," describing how the people had been herded up the hill, their throats slit, with bullets in their heads. He said he was about to call it a crime against humanity.

Richard Holbrooke[7]


In March 1999, there was an increase in ceasefire violations by both sides; as risks increased, it was decided to withdraw the KVM to Ohrid in Macedonia. Serb forces' reaction to the withdrawal was "remarkably docile" and the KVM was downsized to 250 staff.[2]

Then, after the KVM had left, Serb forces began a campaign of killings, rapes, detentions, and deportations of the Kosovar Albanian population.[8] Refugees fled to Albania, Macedonia, and Montenegro; many refugees had their documents destroyed. In April 1999, the OSCE decided that the KVM should help deal with the refugee chaos; 70 verifiers were sent to Tirana, where they helped coordinate disaster-response and interviewed refugees.[2]


  1. ^ "WINNING THE WAR AND THE PEACE IN KOSOVO". The White House. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Brigadier-General Maisonneuve. "THE OSCE KOSOVO VERIFICATION MISSION". Canadian Military Journal. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Bellamy (April 2001). "Reconsidering Rambouillet". Contemporary Security Policy 22 (1): 31–56. doi:10.1080/13523260512331391056. 
  4. ^ a b Bellamy; Griffin (2002). "OSCE Peacekeeping: Lessons From the Kosovo Verification Mission". European Security 11 (1): 1–26. doi:10.1080/09662830208407522. 
  5. ^ "Serbs Leave Kosovo as Deadline Closes In". Los Angeles Times. 27 October 1998. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  6. ^ http://www.osce.org/publications/newsletter/nl-99-01/nl0199e.pdf
  7. ^ "Richard Holbrooke interview". Frontline. PBS. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Erasing History: Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo". U.S. Department of State. May 1999. Retrieved 11 May 2013.