Western Balkans Publications
191. Biased Justice: "Humanrightsism" and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former YugoslaviaJul 07, 2011
December 1999 - Many American lawyers, commentators and politicians view the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (hereafter, ICTY or "the Tribunal") as a manifestation of the triumph of law and justice in international affairs, since those who violate international humanitarian law and the laws of war are not shielded by state sovereignty. The ICTY, however, delivers a "justice" that is biased, with prosecutorial decisions based on the personal and national characteristics of the accused rather than on what available evidence indicates that he has done. This bias is seen in the failure to prosecute NATO personnel for acts that are comparable to those of people already indicted, and in the failure to prosecute NATO personnel for prima facie war crimes. This pattern of politically driven prosecution is accompanied by the use of the Tribunal as a tool for those Western countries that support it, and especially the United States, to pursue political goals in the Balkans. Further, the Tribunal's rules (some of which resemble those of the Spanish Inquisition) and procedural decisions make it difficult for defendants to receive a fair trial.
March 2005 - The most dangerous outcome of the destruction of command socialism in the Balkans has been the resurfacing of militant nationalism particularly, it seems, in the western part of the peninsula. These events have encouraged a reexamination of the various Balkan nationalisms in terms of origins and course. It is the purpose of this paper briefly to examine the Albanian variant and some aspects of nationalist formation during its various stages of development, followed by some thoughts on the future of nationalism in Albania.
May 1997 - The successor states to the former Yugoslavia may be unanimous in their opposition to any political project even hinting at its recreation, but they still face a set of surprisingly common economic problems. (On the emergence of the successor states from the collapse of Yugoslavia, see Yugoslavia and After: A Study in Fragmentation, Despair, and Rebirth, edited by David A. Dyker and Ivan Vojvoda [New York: Longman, 1996].) For one, there is the obvious absence of the economic boom that a postwar recovery period often generates. As a partial solution, business enterprises are turning back toward their nearest neighbors, their former compatriots. Even this movement faces two further problems. First, their transitions to a market economy based on private enterprise are in the best case half-finished and have in the worst cases created new vested interests grounded in political power and corruption. Second, while private entrepreneurship has indeed grown apace, its enterprises are typically too small or too closely linked to political or outright criminal networks to press effectively, from below, for a legal market framework.
Although not an immediately obvious pairing, much can be learned from the fall of Serbia's autocracy that may be applied to Iraq. Both countries were isolated and run for a long time by forcefully imposed autocratic regimes that developed a breed of patriotism which did not allow for dissent. Opportunities for these two countries to cooperate were enhanced by the similar position of the two regimes under international sanctions and fighting for survival against a ‘common enemy.' Thus, not only do autocracies act similarly under similar conditions, but they also band together as they attempt to offset the ill effects of international pariah status. The reaction of the public in Serbia to the 1999 NATO campaign and the mind set that allowed for the continuation and at least temporary strengthening of Slobodan Milosevic's rule could have provided many clues, if not a template, for how Iraqis would behave under occupation. Moreover, the difficulties and slow pace of transformation in Serbia offer tips for state-building in Iraq.
October 2002- Contemporary war economies in places such as the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and West Africa tend to be clandestine economies, utilizing criminal actors as combatants and smuggling networks and black marketeering for financing and supplies. The importance of clandestine flows and criminal actors becomes even more apparent in the context of evading international economic sanctions and arms embargoes. Consequently, the business of war and the business of crime closely intersect—producing a form of criminalized conflict. In the case of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, for example, understanding the role of criminal actors and clandestine flows is crucial in explaining the war's outbreak, persistence, termination, and aftermath. Calling this war a criminalized conflict does not take politics out and simply reduce all aspects of the conflict to criminality and economic motives. It does, however, stress the analytical insights that can be gained from a more sharply-focused exploration of the intersection between smuggling practices, criminal actors, and warfare. It also has important implications for understanding the challenges of post-conflict reconstruction.
April 2000- In the former Yugoslavia, language issues have long been both a reflection of inter-ethnic tensions and a catalyst for deepening inter-ethnic animosities. Since the collapse of the Yugoslav Federation in 1991, the insistence that the Serbo-Croatian language be broken up along ethnic lines has at times resulted in what some analysts have considered to be absurd and unnatural consequences. Indeed, given the ethnic polarization in the 1980s and 1990s, language has proven to be a highly emotional and politically sensitive topic. These two decades were characterized by increased competition among the Serbs, Croats, and Muslim Slavs for the populations of ethnically mixed regions. The official concern was for the language rights of ethnic kin residing outside the borders of their home republic. This concern was strongest within Serbian linguistic circles where dialectologists actively engaged in documenting the dialects of Serbs residing in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In a similar fashion, Croat linguists became concerned about the dialects of ethnic Croats in the Herzegovina and Posavian regions of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
June 2000 - Shortly after the referendum on independence in the spring of 1992, war exploded in Bosnia- Herzegovina (BiH) and ended only when the Dayton Peace Accords were agreed to in November 1995 and formally signed in December 1995. Expected to bring peace and stability to the area, many critics today are declaring Dayton a failure. Yet, to conclude that the Dayton Peace Accords are a failure after less than five years of implementation is premature.
1999 - The international strategy on Kosovo, developed in early 1999, ran off course when the Kosovar Albanians did not initially accept proposals for an agreement because it did not offer their ultimate goal: separation. The international strategy assumed that the Kosovar Albanians would agree and that a threat to use air power against Serbian forces to coerce agreement might be required. It also assumed that eventually Belgrade would back down.
May 2004 - Because the European Union (EU) and the US share the same goals in the region, the Western Balkans have become a cornerstone of transatlantic cooperation over the last decade. Despite the many rifts that have appeared in the transatlantic partnership, the US and Europe continue to be united in their commitment to contain violent nationalism in the Balkans and help the region in its transition to liberal democracy and European integration.
In the geographical and political classification after World War II, a portion of the Balkans secured an unobtrusive place as part of a common Eastern Europe perceived by the West as a homogeneous appendix of the Soviet Union; another portion was willingly included in Western Europe, something that would have been inconceivable under any circumstance other than the prevailing anti-Communist paranoia. In the Balkans themselves, the feeling of a certain Balkan commonality was pushed aside but never entirely submerged, and the priority of the self-designation and orientation followed an East-West axis. This paper discusses the implications of such a dynamic in light of the disappearance of a bipolar world.