Housing and property restitution and IDP return in Kosovo
Smit, A. R. (2006) Housing and property restitution and IDP return in Kosovo. International Migration, 44 (3). pp. 63-88. ISSN 0020-7985
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2435.2006.00372.x
The establishment of the Housing and Property Directorate (HPD) and Claims Commission (HPCC) in Kosovo has reflected an increasing focus internationally on the post-conflict restitution of housing and property rights. In approximately three years of full-scale operation, the institutions have managed to make a property rights determination on almost all of the approximate 30,000 contested residential properties. As such, HPD and HPCC are being looked to by many in other post-conflict areas as an example of how to proceed. While the efficiency of the organizations is commendable, one of the key original goals - the return of displaced persons to their homes of origin - has to a large degree been left aside. The paper focuses on two distinct failures of the international community with respect to the functioning of HPD/HPCC and its possible effect on returns: a failure of coordination between HPD/HPCC and other organizations working on returns, and the isolation of residential property rights determinations from other aspects of building a property rights-respecting culture in Kosovo.