Conceptually, the role of the European Union in Kosovo through its Rule of Law mission has been a matter of controversy. However, the debate has been thoroughly intensified and diversified after EULEX took up the investigation on allegations (made by former ICTY chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte and confirmed in the report of Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty) of inhuman behavior against prisoners and human organs trafficking that were supposedly conducted by KLA militants after the end of the 1998-1999 conflict. The EULEX-led probe was enough to revitalize international attention on the Kosovo conflict, to challenge the prevailing historical perception of Serbs as aggressors and Albanians and victims, and to bring forward, once again, the frictions of the Security Council on issues related to the Western Balkans between US, UK and France, on the one end, and Russia and China, on the other.
The European Union, in a time of continuous economic crisis and manifold political discrepancies is still in search for its first foreign policy “headline” success. To that end, the EU has put a good deal of energy and resources on the Kosovo issue. Recently, these resources bared fruits with the historical 15-point agreement between Pristina and Belgrade through which the latter de facto abandoned claims over the territory of the former, thus realizing a big step towards the resolution of the conflict.
In that context, the investigation of war crimes constitutes a benchmark for EULEX effectiveness as well as a delicate issue with multilevel externalities that could reverse the positive momentum of the conflict resolution process and further undermine the EU’s public image. The effectiveness of EULEX at managing the existing balance between distribution of justice, budget constraints, effective pressure in the field of foreign policy, restoration of historical injustices, and political stability preservation in both Serbia and Kosovo, will largely define the success or failure of its implication in Kosovo.