Term Paper: Challenges in Approaching and Dividing Responsibilities in the Post Cold War Era

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International Relations

Challenges in Approaching and Dividing Responsibilities in the Post-Cold War Era

What challenges to outside actors (states, coalitions of states of international institutions) most often face in attempting to strike a reasonable balance between punitive and reconciliatory measures in the nation/state-building processes that have become the rule rather than the exception following inter- and intra-state conflicts in the post-Cold War era?

During the Milosevic international war crimes tribunal trial in the Hague in 2002, world leaders, particularly in the United States, turned their faces away, since they had been supportive of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslavian Head of State, as he was charged with committing crimes against humanity and genocide in Bosnia and Croatia. They say they simply "see the Milosevic case primarily in terms of its role in the progressive evolution of an international legal order" (Bass 2003 1). The U.S. had been supportive of Milosevic as he was used in an attempt to save Muslim lives in his country. It should be noted that the jurisdiction of the tribunal was set by the UN Security Council, with U.S. Consent (Roth 2005 152).

Since Milosevic's removal from office in 2000, there have been many failed regimes in Yugoslavia, now known as Serbia and Montenegro. Elections have failed from low voter turnous and the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and little progress in the succeeding elected officials terms (Freeman Serbia 1). Although outrage at the human rights atrocities plagued the people's consciences since 1996, only nine war crimes prosecutions in the country have been completed, as of October of 2003.

The war tribunals, such as the International Criminal Court, the postwar tribunals in Iraq, Nuremberg, the attempted prosecutions of Ottoman and German war criminals after WWI, the UN tribunal for Rwanda and the attempts by the Un Security Council to bring justice to the Bosnian and Croatian people in the Hague tribunal, are often ineffective in bringing an end to racial tensions and prejudices that have existed for centuries in the affected countries.

International courts pursue war criminals and sometimes bring them to justice years to decades later, though many remain at large or die of old age. However, the question is not whether individuals will be punished for their roles in following cruel and inhuman policies during a war, but whether punitive measures such as tribunals will deter future sadistic and inhuman acts during war situations, where delusional nationalistic leaders create atrocities in the name of their causes. In some senses foreign tribunals, when they convict former criminal leaders, are successful, in that they keep the leader from ever again leading his or her people to commit inhumane acts. Mary Robinson, former UN high commissioner for human rights called the Milosevic trial a prefect example of how a tribunal can be useful "The process itself is a success," she says, in that "he is no longer a respected figure in Serbia" (Bass 2003 3). An example of an unsuccessful trial would be the trials in Liepzig in 1921, when a German high court acquitted and lightly punished German war criminals. After years of tribunals the UN felt that trying a leader in a court outside of his or her own country is more successful, since it takes matters out of the hands of possible sympathizers with the leader.

In the trial of Slobodan Milosevic the trial in the Hague certainly did not enhance his image, as it would have been had he been tried in his own country, where the judges and jury would have been people perhaps more sympathetic to his politics. In November of 2002, a survey of Serbs taken by the International Republican Institute showed their views of him to be unchanged since May of 2001, when he was first arrested. In this survey, only 17 were favorable to him, while 66 disapproved. He had become anything but a hero in his own country, having lost his election after trying to rig the results, having had a huge majority of the people overthrow him in a revolution and finally being arrested and deported.

Other tools outside states use in attempting to strike balances between punitive and reconciliatory measures that have become the rule have involved agreements imposed upon governments when countries have become devastated by war. as, in the Marshall Plan, Germany had to participate in a plan that was imposed upon it by foreign nations, so nations today who are coming under the jurisdiction of foreign nations must participate and be allowed to do so fully by their legislating bodies (Reynolds 177). Some believe a plan must involve recovery through aid based upon cooperation of the subject nation economically. The expenditure of funds to bolster the subject nation was justified in the case of Germany in that its economic success helped bring economic prosperity to the United States (Kunz 170).

In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) the Dayton Agreement set up a political structure whereby the warring factions (Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims) might form two entities, made up of the opposing sides, that govern, with a Constitution and central government with a bicameral legislature, a presidency (in BiH's case made up of three members), a council of ministers, a constitutional court and a central bank. The opposing parties share responsibilities and coordinate and supervise the governmental provisions. In BiH, as required by the Office of the High Representative (OHR), civilian implementation was divided up between different international organizations, "the OHR, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), and the UKN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Along with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), established by the UN Security Council in 1993... In the transitional justice arena" (Freeman Bosnia 1).

The 1995 Dayton Agreement in Bosnia allowed an international civilian administration to oversee all civilian implementations, but "who would instruct the leader of the civilian implementation mission?" The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was not credible nor could it enforce policies. NATO, the military arm, did not want to bother with civilian enforcement in Bosnia. A special representative from the EU might have solved the problem, but there were doubts and disputes, leaving the Dayton Agreement with no political strategy. Therefore, when it came time to apply for EU membership, Bosnia was not prepared (O'Brien 74).

The ICTY has dealt mainly with war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide in BiH and is viewed ambiguously as either successful and fulfilling the demands of justice or appearing to be completely prejudiced, depending upon the opinions of those living in the different territories within the nation. Resistance to it has continued, yet it has ruled effectively and its judgment will impact future rulings even after its operations wind down in 2010. Future cases and appeals will be transferred to local courts, established in 2002. The courts and BiH government has also established working groups on legal framework, transfer of ICTY cases, staffing of legal national benches and facility renovation and construction.

The ICTY has been linked to the national democratic malaise in the former Yugoslavia in that the international community seemed to take charge of a national event and co-opted it, creating resentment and discouragement on the part of Yugoslavian citizens, while neglecting to inform that cooperation with the tribunal was necessary for international aid (Simpson 1257).

Unfortunately Amnesty International has criticized the short-lived nature of the ICTY and proposed that the international community continue its attention and resources to the War Crimes Chamber. The NGO has also criticized the lack of victim participation in the Chamber, as ocal human rights organizations and victim groups were not invited to participate." (Freeman Bosnia 5).

Organizations such as these challenge the transitional processes, wishing them to continue to their perceived completion, while the War Crimes courts' continuation might serve no practical purpose in the infant democracy, rather might reinforce prejudices and differences between mutually governing bodies.

The Yugoslav Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), established in 2001 by President Kostunica attempted to bring some sort of compromise to the racial struggles in Serbia and Montenegro, yet it failed in its main task to organize research on the original "conflicts which led to the war and shed light on causal links among these events" (Decision 1). It failed because of the challenges it did not face. These are the things it should have taken into account:

Establish an internally-mandated national truth commission for a region-wide conflict, rather than one established and mandated by outside nations.

Engage and involve local NGOs and victims during formation.

The TRC should be formed with a balanced ideological, ethnic and political representation, so that a diverse composition would have helped overcome criticism of its function.

Without the support of the people, human rights NGOs and political bodies, a TRC will have great difficulty in succeeding. Public records and adherence to the original cause by the members of the TRC help legitimatize its actions (Roth Bosnia 8-9).… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Challenges in Approaching and Dividing Responsibilities in the Post Cold War Era.  (2008, January 14).  Retrieved December 11, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/challenges-approaching-dividing-responsibilities/7457227

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"Challenges in Approaching and Dividing Responsibilities in the Post Cold War Era."  Essaytown.com.  January 14, 2008.  Accessed December 11, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/challenges-approaching-dividing-responsibilities/7457227.