Kosovo. An armed force called the Kosovo Security Force took over responsibility in January for the security of the civilian security force that had been responsible to date. According to countryaah, the protection force consisted mainly of former members of the disbanded Kosovo Albanian UCK guerrilla, which fought against Serbian supremacy in the late 1990s. The new security force included about 2,500 soldiers who were still under the supervision of the NATO-led peacekeeping force KFOR. Serbian residents of Kosovo protested against the new force.
On the one-year anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, February 17, the celebration was somewhat muted. Still, just over 50 of the world’s nations had recognized the new state and foreign investors were hardly in line to invest in Kosovo. At the same time, the situation was relatively calm; even the celebration ended without incidents. The one-year anniversary also did not cause any loud protests from Kosovo Serbs, despite opposing their independence.
The country’s former prime minister Agim Ceku was arrested in Colombia in May and in Bulgaria in June. In both cases he was soon set free again. Ceku was internationally wanted by Serbia, who accused him of war crimes in connection with the war in then-Serbian Kosovo. Ceku was a commander in the UCK guerrilla during the 1998-99 war.
In June, NATO announced plans to lose KFOR from 14,000 to 10,000 soldiers. In August, unrest broke out when nationalist Kosovo Albanians demonstrated against the foreign presence in the country. The protesters took to cars belonging to the EU civilian EULEX. About 20 people were arrested. On the same day, several people were injured in a clash between Albanians and Serbs in the divided town of Mitrovica in the north.
When the first election since the Declaration of Independence was held on November 15, Prime Minister Hashim Thaçis won the Kosovo Democratic Party (PDK) in 20 of the 36 municipalities that were at stake. The election was conducted under peaceful conditions and with a turnout of around 45 percent.
In December, the International Court of Justice in The Hague considered whether Kosovo had the right to unilaterally proclaim its independence, at the request of Serbia. A non-binding statement was expected in 2010. At year-end, 64 states had recognized Kosovo.