15 Years of Peace-Building in the Western Balkans - Lessons Learnt and Current Challenges
erschienen in der Publikation "15 Years of Peace-Building in the Western Balkans - Lessons Learnt and Current Challenges" - Oktober 2010
Autor(en):Generalmajor Mag. Johann Pucher, Michael G. Schmunk, Dennis Blease, Mladen Nakic, Ivan Milic, Sonja Biserko, Nena Tromp, Senad Pecanin, Ilir Deda, Karin Marmsoler, Dane Taleski, Gertraud Illmeier, Leonid Graf von Keyserlingk
Since the signing of the Dayton Peace Accord in November 1995 and the end of the Kosovo war in June 1999, the Western Balkans have become an important region for international actors engaged in peace support activities to put their tools and concepts for building peace in wartorn societies to the test. Enormous financial and personnel resources have been invested from the international side since 1995. The main goal was to help regional actors to overcome ethno-territorial conflicts, to build - respectively rebuild - well-functioning state institutions, to foster the creation of a democratic political system and to initiate cooperative processes between the former conflict parties.
Accordingly, the range of international activities in the process of peacebuilding have encompassed tools as widely diverse as the launching of various military and police missions (by the UN, NATO and the EU respectively) with changing mandates and tasks, the setting up of protectorate powers in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo in order to "facilitate” and "accelerate” state-building, the creation of permanent structures for regional cooperation as well as of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The latter has played a significant, but politically controversial role regarding reconciliation. Starting in the year 2000, the perspective of integration into NATO and the EU has become a central factor of influence in internal reforms and their contribution to regional peace-building are concerned for the majority of states and entities in the Western Balkans.
However, the results achieved after 15 years of peace-building engagement in the Western Balkans should evoke neither too euphoric nor too pessimistic attitudes. In terms of military security, the Balkan peace processes can be regarded as mostly successful. On the other hand, a multitude of factors hamper progress: lasting tensions caused by ethnopolitical and/or territorial issues; differently perceived "truths” regarding the previous wars by regional actors; half-assed reforms conducted in political environments with partly continuing criminal networks still represent huge challenges in the process of conflict transformation.