The European Union and the Western Balkans: Time to Move Away from Redistributive Justice?
The EU assumed that conditionality would help the countries in the Western Balkans to establish liberal democracies and functional states that are able to deal with the past. It prescribed a strategy while largely neglecting the local traditions, practices and existing civil society organizations that operate on the ground. The European solutions and strategies in the field of transitional justice are not part of the general EU practices, and consequently lack specific policies and operational guidelines for their implementation. While cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) became a key condition for all Western Balkan states as part of their EU accession, other forms of transitional justice and reconciliation have found little support in the EU. However, while the ICTY has been able to prosecute some of the people responsible for the war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, it has been unable to foster a deeper process of reconciliation and regional cooperation. Hence, the EU should focus on local initiatives which support these processes and enable a more ‘grass-roots’ approach to dealing with the past. The European Union (EU) assumes that conditionality would help the countries in the Western Balkans to establish liberal democracies and functional states that are able to deal with the past. This chapter analyses the EU's conditionality and its sole focus on international criminal justice. It examines some of the theoretical arguments in favour of the establishment of domestic judicial and non-judicial mechanisms of justice. It also explores the origins, actors and motivations of regional efforts for the formation of RECOM, which seeks support from the citizens and governments in all successor states of the former Yugoslavia. RECOM strengthens the rule of law in the region by fulfilling the rights of victims to know what happened to them, their loved ones and the region they live. It embodies regional cooperation, exchange of information and aims that are compatible with the normative state building goals of the EU in the Western Balkans, such as reconciliation, good neighbourly relations and democratization.
The EU and Member State Building: European Foreign Policy in the Western Balkans
International Law (excl. International Trade Law)