ethnicity :: hate is a global issue
|Preserving peace in the Balkans|
by Debbie Ball
In the wake of the Balkan wars, the newfound independence of the former republics of Yugoslavia has come at a dear price.
After nearly a decade of war and conflict, the area struggles to regain its composure in the international social and economic communities. After the wars, five states were created in the former Yugoslav territory: Slovenia, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbian and Montenegro.
With more than 50,000 troops from NATO-allied countries in place in the region to maintain peaceful relations, the region continues to recover from the ravenous wars that devastated its people.
Thomas Mockaitis, a DePaul University history professor and expert on the Balkan conflict, said that although progress is being made in Bosnia and the other countries, the consequences of the wars still impact the societies of the region.
"The country (Bosnia) remains fragmented," he said.
"Multi-ethnic communities were destroyed and replaced by homogenous ethnic ones. Bosnia does not function as a viable state despite the trappings of a government."
Mockaitis, who has visited Bosnia and Kosovo on peace missions, added that the country still experiences ethnic conflict, even though the international community is making efforts to rebuild the damaged ethnic and social relations.
"The conflict contributed to a growing international sense that human rights (in some cases) supercede even national sovereignty, which has been enshrined in the international system since 1648," Mockaitis said.
He describes Bosnia as an "international trusteeship" because several different countries including the United States, Britain and Russia are orchestrating the peace missions and reformation of the war-ravaged nation.
In June 2001, the Serbian government that Slobodan Milosevic once presided over extradited the former president to the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia to stand trial for war crimes in Kosovo and throughout the region.
Although hatred and ethnic conflict still exists in the Balkans, moves
by the autonomous countries have been made towards more democratic forms
of government and nonviolent means of revolution to make the changes necessary
for the future success and livelihood of the Balkan countries.