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This week’s editors

“Francesc”

Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The five 'infections' of the social democratic 'family' in the Western Balkans

Social democracy is failing all across Europe; but it's impotence in the Balkans especially is having serious consequences for the region.

Reflections: nine years after Kosovo’s independence

A personal reflection on nine years of beleaguered independence.

The Kosovo-Montenegro border agreement: what you need to know

Why a controversial border agreement between Kosovo and Montenegro is about more than just lines in the soil.

Kosovo youth engaged in greater political participation - more still to be done!

“These platforms utilise the skill sets of young participants, enabling them to take initiatives that will contribute to the community and promote democratic values and participation.”

For domestic abuse survivors, Kosovo’s justice system can be fatal

Proponents of family values preach respect for mothers, but expect those same mothers to simply endure abuse within their homes in silence - normalizing violence for generations to come.

Democracy, 25 years after Yugoslavia

Just how democratic are the former Yugoslav countries today?

Sexual harassment in Kosovo: no longer invisible

A video of a woman walking in Prishtina being sexually harassed 50 times in 8 hours and publication of quantitative data on the harassment of women counter the argument that it's not a widespread problem.

“We are seeing you”: protesting violent democracies in Kosova

Within Kosova there is a general feeling that these international actors prize stability above all else, enabling them to overlook the kind of police violence they see in their social media.

The insufferable ease of nationalism in the Balkans

The recent Serbia-Albania football match was like a microcosm of the twenty-first century Balkans: lots of intense, emotional nationalism and "othering" and in the end, the result was completely irrelevant.

Mitrovica’s symbol: reconciliation amidst inevitability, history, and violence in Kosovo

Mitrovica’s bridge as ‘symbol’ helps obscure the forces of elite manipulation and institutions of power in constructing Balkan nationalisms, and falsely presents inter-communal tensions in Kosovo as inevitable. 

Wartime rape is no longer kept under wraps in Kosovo

Two recent milestones in Kosovo – an official monument recognising women’s suffering during the Kosovo War, and an art installation commemorating wartime rape – shows that change may be coming to a topic long taboo in the country.

Autonomy and power-sharing in Kosovo

Kosovo has one of the most decentralized unitary governments in the world, with highly conflicted understandings over the nature of power-sharing. The paradox of conflict resolution in deeply divided societies is that it almost always creates new problems while attempting to solve old ones.

The limits of prudence: civil resistance in Kosovo 1990-98

Howard Clark’s 2009 article “The Limits of Prudence” is a clear summary of his research into the civil resistance in Kosovo in the late 1980s and early 1990s and his particular perspectives on its limitations. It was written in the aftermath of the outbreak of guerilla warfare and NATO intervention.

Civil resistance in Kosovo: leader syndromes

This is one of two extracts from Howard Clark’s major study Civil Resistance in Kosovo (the other can be read here). Both are important reflections of Howard’s particular perspectives. They merit close reading alongside his article “The limits of prudence” (republished here).

Civil resistance in Kosovo: goals and transitions

Howard Clark’s seminal work Civil Resistance in Kosovo, published in 2000, further refined his distinctive approach to nonviolent strategy, and his groundbreaking research into civil resistance in Kosovo: “Nonviolence in Kosovo was a strategic commitment.”

Nonviolent struggle in Kosovo

At a meeting of the Nonviolent Action Research Project on Thursday 13 March, 1997, Howard Clark talked about the campaign for self-determination in Kosovo/a. The issues raised in this talk were to be critical to his seminal work, Civil Resistance in Kosovo, published in 2000.

The EU: wider and deeper with the Balkans

The post-1945 system is today overtaken by events and a new world order is about to emerge. This new—quite explosive—background doesn’t signal the end of the EU, but shouts out that its core features must be redesigned and receive broad popular support. The question is how.

The Kosovo conundrum

The world has seen far more handshakes and meetings between Pristina and Belgrade than in the first years after the conflict. Is all this to be put at risk by Clint Williamson's part-endorsement of the Marty report?

Kosovo United?

The debut of the Kosovo national football team in their first ever FIFA sanctioned match was a hugely significant event for a country still struggling for global recognition. Read more from our Football, Politics and Society debate.

The future of the past: why the end of Yugoslavia is still important

A new socialist model is emerging in the western Balkans. Can its political vocabulary transcend the ethno-national dividing lines in the region?

From Kiev to Kosovo: a critical juncture

From Ukraine to the Balkans, the last twenty-four years have witnessed political elites preaching democracy while surreptitously undermining every single democratic institution, atomizing individuals through economic hardship and reducing freedom to a fake political independence.

Punished by rewards: Elections, EU and the rule of law in Kosovo

The violent clashes that marked Kosovo's election last Sunday are just part of a wider problem regarding the rule of law in the country.

Syria isn’t Kosovo and this isn’t 1999. Not even close

Grasping at vague notions of Kosovo as a ‘good war’ may be expedient - any precedent will do in a pinch. But this comparison is inaccurate and dangerously misleading.

Requiem for a court

What is more important: to dispense justice or to achieve some kind of peace? The court in The Hague wrote the history of the Yugoslav dissolution by politically motivated parcelling of responsibility among former belligerents. This new historical narrative will have far reaching negative consequences.

Post-Dayton Bosnia: the other path

The virtuous circle initiated by the Dayton-Paris agreement has turned into a vicious one. As elsewhere in Europe, federal constructs are overrun by centrifugal forces. Bosnia finds itself is a similar situation to Spain, Belgium and Scotland - all countries endangered by a possible breakup. A reality check is needed.

Perspectives for the western Balkans in light of the ongoing European crisis

All western Balkan states depend heavily on their cooperation with the EU. If the EU crumbles under the weight of the economic crisis, what fate awaits the countries of the former Yugoslavia?

India and China call off border talks in row over Dalai Lama speech

India and China postpone talks on border disputes at last minute. NATO forces clash with local Serbs in northern Kosovo. Afghan forces take over security in new areas, and a Maoist rebel leader is killed in eastern India. All this in today's security briefing.

Can a Kosovo-Serbia deal cheer up the Balkans?

Unlike most of the world's economic powers, Serbia still does not recognise Kosovo as a state. It will need to, though, before it can start down the road to EU accession.

Islamabad under scrutiny from China as Pakistan-trained terrorists blamed for attacks in Xinjiang

China publicly links recent attacks in Xinjiang province to Pakistan-based terrorist group. Radical anti-US cleric al-Sadr warns Washington that military trainers could become targets. After years of fighting, al-Shabab withdraws from Mogadishu. NATO, Kosovo and Serbia reach agreement following violent clashes between ethnic groups in northern Kosovo. All this in today's security briefing...

ICTY: favouring prosecution over justice?

The partial retrial of Kosovo's former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj over charges of murder, cruel treatment and torture heightens concerns that the ICTY may be bending fundamental legal principles in favour of the prosecution, argues Roland Gjoni

Serbia and Kosovo: war of nerves

Since the ICJ ruled Kosovo’s independence legal last year, Serbia’s position on Kosovo has become untenable, both politically and in international law. Will the country’s politicians finally recognise that it is in their own interests to recognise Kosovo?

Three years after independence, Kosovo still struggles for recognition

Kosovo faces a host of challenges in its fourth year of independence, not least the quest for diplomatic recognition.

Transnational networks and state-building in the Balkans

Informality allows people to change their immediate circumstances for the better, but it locks the state and society in a vicious circle of reproduction of a weak state, promising insecurity for the majority and prosperity for the few

The human organs of the Council of Europe: there is no evidence in the Marty report

Dick Marty's report to the Council of Europe reflects the unfortunate politicisation of that body by Russia since accession in 1995. Kosovan politics is not clean, but there is no evidence of organ trafficking by Thaçi. And Marty's judgement is clouded by his anti-American instincts. Christophe Solioz disagrees here

Organ trafficking allegations against Kosovo PM need serious investigation with full cooperation of the EU and the USA

Dick Marty's Council of Europe report is serious and credible. It alleges organ trafficking and other crimes and corruption at the heart of the Kosovo Liberation Army and implicates the Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi. Justice now demands a proper judicial enquiry. Denis MacShane disagrees here

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