Transitional Justice Processes and Reconciliation in the Former Yugoslavia: Challenges and Prospects

33(2) Nordic Journal of Human Rights, pp. 132–157

28 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2016

See all articles by Gentian Zyberi

Gentian Zyberi

University of Oslo - Norwegian Centre for Human Rights

Jernej Letnar Cernic

Graduate School of Government and European Studies

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

This article aims to assess the achievements and challenges facing transitional justice processes which have taken place in the countries most affected by the armed conflicts resulting in the violent dissolution of the former Yugoslavia and whether, and to what extent, these processes have furthered inter-ethnic reconciliation. The two variables used for this purpose are the scope of individual criminal accountability for war crimes and the scope of reparations provided to victims of the armed conflicts occurring throughout the 1990s and in the early 2000s. The following analysis combines an assessment of relevant international and domestic efforts. Thus, first, the article analyses the impact of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY or tribunal) in the transitional justice processes in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia or BiH), the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Macedonia), Serbia, and Kosovo. Over the last 20 years the tribunal has investigated and prosecuted a considerable number of individuals for mass atrocity crimes. Subsequently, the focus shifts to assessing the domestic efforts surrounding the prosecution of war crimes and awarding of reparations for victims of the armed conflicts in these countries. The article argues that lack of sufficient coordination and close cooperation between international stakeholders and a general reticence on the part of the national authorities to engage meaningfully with past wrongs have resulted in a situation where many perpetrators of war crimes remain unpunished and individual victims have barely received any reparations. The article holds that for the ongoing transitional justice processes to meaningfully further inter-ethnic reconciliation in the republics emerging from the former Yugoslavia continued legal reforms and a pluralistic public discourse, which embrace a strong focus on the rights of victims of war crimes, are necessary.

Keywords: Transitional justice, former Yugoslavia, ICTY, domestic jurisdictions, war crimes, individual accountability, reparations, reconciliation

Suggested Citation

Zyberi, Gentian and Letnar Cernic, Jernej, Transitional Justice Processes and Reconciliation in the Former Yugoslavia: Challenges and Prospects (2015). 33(2) Nordic Journal of Human Rights, pp. 132–157. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2888940

Gentian Zyberi (Contact Author)

University of Oslo - Norwegian Centre for Human Rights ( email )

P.O box 6706 St. Olavs plass
Oslo, 0130
Norway

HOME PAGE: http://www.jus.uio.no/smr/english/people/aca/gentianz/index.html

Jernej Letnar Cernic

Graduate School of Government and European Studies ( email )

Predoslje 39
Kranj, 4000
Slovenia

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