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This week’s front page editor

Rosemary Bechler is a mainsite editor of openDemocracy

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The politics of nationalism and ethnic cleansing broke up the federation, leaving successor states blighted by economic crisis, corruption, and dependency on the international community. Yet amidst deep controversy over the Hague tribunal and the future of Kosovo, a still raw democratic politics is developing across the region. Reimagining Yugoslavia reassesses the lessons of tragedy, its wider historical and international context, and discusses the possibilities of a future beyond fate.

Ethnicised justice and dealing with the past in ex-Yugoslavia

There was much hope in the international community that the Hague war-crimes tribunal on former Yugoslavia, allied to domestic proceedings, could point the region to a reconciled future. It was not to be.

Bosnia, and vanishing European leadership

Bosnian citizens' protest against corruption and misgovernance also reveals the deep flaws of the country's ethno-nationalist system. But where is Europe?

Breaking up with lame: protests in Bosnia

On the fifth day of ongoing demonstrations in Sarajevo, a routine is establishing itself and there is a feeling of something new in the landscape of Dayton-constitution Bosnian purgatory – citizens are breaking up with their fears.

Slavenka Drakulić: violence, memory, and the nation

Writer and journalist Slavenka Drakulić reflects on the use of sexual violence in war, the psyche in conflict, and the gap between official history and personal memory in the former Yugoslavia.

Will homophobia rain off Serbia's parade?

Gay pride week begins September 21, but it is unclear whether the Serbian government is willing to expend the political capital to secure it, despite external pressure.

Europe and its 'midnight children'

Croatia's accession to the European Union highlights both the union's continued appeal and its current malaise. This odd combination casts a shadow across the western Balkans and back to Brussels, says Goran Fejic.

LGBT violence in the Balkans

Throughout the Balkans, LGBT advocates and their supporters face violence, cancelled Pride parades, and unresponsive or disrespectful police. What hope is there for sexual minorities in the region?

Srebrenica: genocide and memory

The Bosnian Serb massacre of around 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in July 1995 has left deep wounds. Ed Vulliamy revisits the scenes of a terrible crime, meets families and survivors, and reports on the search both for human remains and for justice.

(This article was first published on 4 July 2005)

Serbia's election: more defeat than victory

The elevation of Tomislav Nikolić to Serbia's presidency, unexpected by many observers, owes much to the political record and direction of the country's coalition government, says Eric Gordy.

Bosnia: blood, honey, and war's legacy

A film portrayal of the horrors of systematic rape during Bosnia's war of 1992-95 highlights the victims' suffering and bravery. But the romantic thread of Angelina Jolie's work fails to convince, says Peter Lippman.

Ante Marković: the last Yugoslav leader

A sustained effort to reform Yugoslavia before the country was drowned in tide of senseless nationalism has been near forgotten. The death of the prime minister who led it has lessons for today, says Goran Fejic.

ICTY vs Mladić-Hadžić: good defence, better history

The arrests of the wartime Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladić and the Croatian Serb president Goran Hadžić are a vital step in completing the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. In the context of previous trials, their courtroom testimony promises to deepen understanding of the conflicts and crimes of the 1990s, says Eric Gordy.

Ratko Mladic and justice: another route

The effect of the international tribunal where those accused of crimes during the Balkan wars face trial is to reinforce divisions in the region. It’s time to consider other justice mechanisms that could address this problem, say Katharine Engelhart & Ozren Jungic.

Ratko Mladic’s arrest and international justice

The forthcoming trial in The Hague of the arrested Serb warlord is an occasion to assess the achievements of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, says Benjamin Ward.

Bosnia: what course after the storm?

Between the advocates of interventionism, who think that only action from the international community can prevent Bosnia’s implosion, and those who, on the contrary, deem Bosnians to be the only ones who should be responsible for their future, we are convinced of the necessity of a middle path: one of shared responsibility, with a demanding partner who can go beyond the past errors and put the country on the road to EU membership

Ratko Mladić's arrest: a start, but let it not obscure how much more is needed for justice

Poisonous ethno-nationalist political rhetoric, genocide denial and the celebration of war-time leaders are still routinely permitted in the discourse of Bosnian politicians, the media and citizens – if ‘citizens’ is the right word to describe the Bosnians who live in this protectorate-state purgatory

Bosnia’s politics of paralysis

Bosnia’s tenth election since the end of the war of 1992-95 highlights the damaging influence of a post-war settlement that institutionalises ethnic politics, says Peter Lippman.

Kosovo, law and politics

The International Court of Justice ruling on Kosovo’s independence offers the European Union a vital opportunity to lead the process that must follow, says Engjellushe Morina in Pristina.

Kosovo, Serbia and Bosnia: after the ICJ

The International Court of Justice ruling on Kosovo’s declaration of independence benefits Serbia too. But what of its effects on Bosnia? Florian Bieber considers the implications of the ICJ opinion.

Srebrenica, fifteen years on

The dignified commemorations of the massacre of Bosnian Muslims in July 1995 retain their integrity and human core, even as the leaders of a divided Bosnia seek to channel the grief into political pageantry. Peter Lippman, in eastern Bosnia, reports.

Midnight in Belgrade, dusk in Brussels

Europe’s symbolic effort to prevent Yugoslavia’s breakup in mid-1991 has a lesson for the continent today, says Goran Fejic, then an advisor of Yugoslavia’s foreign minister.

Visegrad, memory and justice

The survivors of a terrible but neglected atrocity in a historic Bosnian town continue to campaign for remembrance and accountability. Peter Lippman joins them on their return to the site.

Serbia’s mixed messages

The war-crimes trials that divide the states of post-Yugoslavia underline the temptations of retreat to the nationalist past, says Eric Gordy.

Bosnian voice, Yugoslavian memory

The sense of justice and consistency of principle of the Bosnian activist Mladen Grahovac should be a reference-point for those attempting to repair a fragmented country, says Peter Lippman.

Versailles and Yugoslavia: ninety years on

From the Kosovo battle of 1389 to the Sarajevo assassination of 1914 to the wars of the 1990s, there is no more potent date in modern Serbian and even European history than "28 June". The series extends to the formation of Yugoslavia itself, baptised in the Versailles peace treaty signed on 28 June 1919. Dejan Djokic recalls the difficult origin of a once-hopeful state.

The Kosovo war: between two eras

The Nato assault that prised Kosovo from Slobodan Milosevic's grip in March-June 1999 has been overshadowed by the Iraq war four years later. It deserves renewed attention both as the last of the major ex-Yugoslav conflicts and as a pioneering example of modern "risk-transfer war", says Martin Shaw.

(This article was first published on 31 March 2009)

Kosovo and Serbia, one year after: a quiet compromise?

The bitter atmospherics of the Serbia-Kosovo dispute are only one part of a more complex story, says Eric Gordy.

Kosovo: one year on

A constrained independence leaves Europe's newest state living in contradiction, says Florian Bieber.

Radovan Karadzic’s capture: a moment for history

The seizure of one of the two most wanted fugitives from the wars of fomer-Yugoslavia may become part of a process that lifts the burdens of the past in the region, says Dejan Djokic.

Serbia's tipping-point arrest

The astonishing detention of war-crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic may repair the stony path to accountability over the wars of former-Yugoslavia, says Victor Peskin.

Radovan Karadzic: the politics of an arrest

The arrest of Radovan Karadzic is a coup for Serbia's president and a boost for the international tribunal that has long sought to bring this key fugitive from the wars of ex-Yugoslavia to trial, says Eric Gordy.

(This article was first published on 22 July 2008)

Serbia’s climate change

The formation of a new government offers modest hope of progress in its path to European Union membership, say Daniel Korski & Ivan Zverzhanovski.

Kosovo to Kashmir: the self-determination dilemma

The debate over Kosovo has highlighted deep divisions in the international system on the issue of self-determination of peoples. Solutions to self-determination disputes lie in compromises that embody a mix of realpolitik and principle, says Sumantra Bose.

Serbia’s political carousel

The outcome of Serbia's fourth election in two years passes the advantage to the political power-brokers, says Eric Gordy.

Kosovo, Palestine, Iraq: the limits of analogy

Kosovo's independence fuels arguments on both sides in the middle east - and in Iraqi Kurdistan, says Shlomo Avineri.
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