Improving International Peacebuilding Efforts: The Example of Human Rights Culture in Kosovo. by Global Governance

Improving International Peacebuilding Efforts: The Example of Human Rights Culture in Kosovo.

By Global Governance

  • Release Date: 2004-07-01
  • Category: Politics & Current Events

Brief Description

Kosovo today is a house of cards. One false move and the house will fall down. Should the international troops--in particular the U.S. and British troops--pull out of Kosovo, it will collapse into communal violence. (1) The international security presence in Kosovo has generally succeeded in preventing the outbreak of another violent armed conflict but has accomplished little else beyond that. This is not surprising. Militaries can help prevent war, but they alone cannot build a sustainable peace. (2) The cessation of hostilities through the use of military force does not, in and of itself, resolve the strategic dilemmas, structural imbalances, and open wounds of unaddressed abuses and interpersonal hostilities. As David Lake and Donald Rothschild stress in their exhaustive study of ethnic conflict, a "stable peace can arise only as effective institutions of government are reestablished, the state begins again to mediate between distrustful ethnic groups, and the parties slowly gain confidence in the safeguards contained in the new ethnic contracts." (3) Peacebuilding requires the efforts of a host of civilian actors focused on institution building, interpersonal reconciliation, and social transformation over the long term. More than 250 well-intentioned nongovernmental and governmental organizations have flooded into Kosovo offering a range of resources and promises. (4) Elections have been held, (5) homes have been rebuilt, schools have reopened, and roads have been repaved. Police and judges have been trained, and the Ad Hoc Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia is well under way in its investigations into war crimes committed in Kosovo. Nonetheless, not one of the larger international goals that brought the international community to Kosovo in the first place has been reached. Kosovo is decidedly not a multiethnic and secure society, and equal access to basic human rights protections remains illusory. (6) Local police and administrative and judicial systems are still unable to operate independent of international oversight and, instead of joining government, many of the "best and brightest" in Kosovo have withdrawn from participation altogether. That the citizenry of Kosovo--Serb and Albanian alike--perceive no legitimate governance structure and process only magnifies pervasive feelings of insecurity and unfairness.

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