International judicial intervention and regime change in Serbia 2000-2010
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This thesis examines the record of international judicial intervention, embodied in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), in promoting transitional justice in Serbia following the overthrow of Milosevic. It defines transitional justice as a policy that seeks to promote liberalising political change and reconciliation in post-authoritarian and post-conflict societies through the search for justice and truth regarding past human rights abuses. This policy arguably constitutes the main rationale for international judicial intervention in the former Yugoslavia. Nevertheless, the existing literature shows that, while it has been successful at bringing perpetrators to justice, the ICTY has largely failed to advance the transitional justice agenda in Serbia. This outcome has been largely imputed to the disruptive behaviour of the Serbian authorities, whose compliance had to be enforced by the Western Powers. This research challenges the predominant view within the literature that Serbia‟s lack of cooperation with the ICTY resulted primarily from the prevalence of "norm resisters‟ or a nationalist backlash. It draws on a collection of in-depth personal interviews and extensive analysis of media excerpts in order to examine and elucidate official thinking and policy-making on transitional justice in Serbia. These data reveal that the international judicial intervention alienated Serbian transitional authorities by jeopardising the stability and legitimacy of the new democratic regime. The tensions arising between externalised justice and regime change are highlighted in the analysis of Serbia‟s cooperation with the ICTY and the Tribunal‟s attempts to promote truth-telling in Serbia. These case studies demonstrate that the success of international judicial intervention is conditioned upon democratic consolidation in target states. Indeed, transitional justice policies are likely to take root insofar as they do not harm the stability and legitimacy of political institutions on the ground. These findings are substantiated by an examination of domestic war crimes trials, which shows that the domestic judiciary has internalised concerns for stability and legitimacy in its pursuit of justice.
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