The Transitional Justice Process in the Former Yugoslavia: Long Transition, Yet Not Enough Justice
Oxford Transitional Justice Research Working Paper, Forthcoming
15 Pages Posted: 27 May 2012
Date Written: March 1, 2012
This short paper aims to provide an overall assessment of the transitional justice processes in the countries emerging from the violent break-up of the former Yugoslavia by focusing on the issues of reparations for victims of the armed conflicts. These states are Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia, and Kosovo. The issue of reparations for victims can be seen as one measure of the breadth and depth of the transitional justice process within these countries. Evidently, dealing with a violent past comes at a cost - political, economic, and social - and requires gradually changing public attitudes through education and increasing public awareness, which in turn requires political will and courageous and good political leadership.
The paper will focus on two main transitional justice initiatives. First, it will address the role of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in supporting transitional justice processes in these states, with particular reference to the issues of reparations for victims and reconciliation. The Tribunal’s activity and apparent achievements are contrasted with perceptions of, and general public attitudes towards, its work. Second, the paper will address a proposal coming from the civil society for creating a regional truth and reconciliation commission in the Balkans. While these two issues will form the primary focus on this paper, it should also be noted that many issues connected to the evaluation of transitional justice processes and societal transformation in the states emerging from the former Yugoslavia are likely to raise further questions, which cannot be adequately addressed in a paper of this scope.
Keywords: transitional justice, reparations, international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international law and domestic law.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation