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  • Publication Date: 11-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Sandzak is an area within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that borders Serbia and Montenegro. It has a multicultural, multiethnic history and a majority population that is Muslim. Since the rise of Serbian strong-man Slobodan Milosevic to political power the majority Muslims have been the targets of coercion. For the time being, the major issue is Milosevic's continuing repression of human and political rights. Stating that, however, is not concluding that the area is entirely immune from the effects of a serious and full-blown military crisis.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Montenegro
  • Publication Date: 11-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The International Crisis Group has decided to publish the report, prepared by the Public International Law and Policy Group, as a contribution to the debate on the future status of Kosovo. The views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the International Crisis Group.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Macedonians go to the polls on 18 October 1998 in the first of two rounds of voting to elect 120 members of the country's parliament. The forthcoming poll is Macedonia's third general election since the disintegration of one-party communist rule. Moreover, it takes place in the shadow of ethnic violence between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in the neighbouring Serbian province of Kosovo and political instability in neighbouring Albania. Although Macedonia has managed to avoid the violent conflict which has afflicted the rest of the former Yugoslavia, its experience of democracy has so far been mixed. Politics is divided along ethnic lines and the last multi-party elections in 1994 were marred by accusations of fraud with two major parties boycotting the second round of voting.
  • Topic: Demographics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 09-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The stakes in Bosnia's forthcoming elections, the fifth internationally-supervised poll since the end of the war, could not be higher, for Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia) and also for the international community. Having invested enormous financial and political capital in the peace process, the international community expects a return on its investment. That is why leading international figures including US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have entered the Bosnian political fray, urging Bosnians to back parties which "support Dayton" and threatening to withdraw aid if they do not. The elections will bring some changes so the event will be hailed as a triumph. However, they will not lay the ground for a self-sustaining peace process. That can only be achieved by political reform and, in particular, a redesign of the electoral system to guarantee Bosnians ethnic security.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Despite considerable progress since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) in November 1995 in consolidating the peace and rebuilding normal life in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia), international efforts do not appear to be achieving the goal of establishing Bosnia as a stable, functioning state, able at some point to run its own affairs without the need for continued international help. Peace, in the narrow sense of an absence of war, has been maintained; progress has been made in establishing freedom of movement throughout the country; joint institutions, including the state presidency, parliamentary assemblies and ministries, as well as a joint command for the armed forces of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Federation), have been established.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Migration, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: During the past six months, Serbia's southern, predominantly Albanian province of Kosovo has emerged from international obscurity to become the world's most reported conflict zone. That said, the history of ethnic animosity in this contested land, the complexity of competing Serb and Albanian claims and the speed with which the fighting has escalated make it difficult to keep up with the events, let alone analyse and try to understand them. What had, on 1 January 1998, been a long-standing ethnic Albanian political aspiration, namely an independent Kosovo, had evolved, by 1 March 1998, into the military objective of a popular insurrection and had by, 1 July 1998, become part of the cause of an impending humanitarian catastrophe with hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the fighting.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 08-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Croat extremists put Drvar into the spotlight in April 1998 with murders and riots against returning Serbs and the international community. It was the most serious outbreak of violence in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia) for more than a year. Before the riots, Drvar – whose pre-war population was 97 per cent Serb – offered some cause for optimism: more Serbs had returned there than to any other region of the Federation outside of Sarajevo, and Serbs were looking to Drvar to help them assess the possibilities and risks for further return to the Federation and Croatia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe, Croatia
  • Publication Date: 08-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The reintegration of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia) has been consistently obstructed by the main Bosnian Croat party, the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZBiH). The HDZBiH is dominated by hard-liners who emphasise the consolidation of a pure Croat-inhabited territory centred on western Herzegovina, with the eventual aim of seceding and joining Croatia. This policy has received support from hard-line elements in Croatia, including the president, Franjo Tudjman.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe, Croatia
  • Publication Date: 08-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As the one former Yugoslav republic which has managed to keep itself out of the wars of Yugoslav dissolution, Macedonia has often appeared to outsiders as a beacon of hope in the Balkans. However, inter-ethnic relations in the young state -- in particular those between ethnic Albanians, who make up at least 23 percent of the population, and ethnic Macedonians -- are poor. Moreover, as fighting between ethnic Albanian separatists and the Serbian police and military escalates in the neighbouring, southern Serbian province of Kosovo, relations between communities within Macedonia are deteriorating alarmingly. As a result, Macedonia and its entire population, irrespective of their ethnic origins, stand to be among the greatest long-term losers of the Kosovo conflict. Moreover, in the event of fighting and large numbers of refugees spilling over from Kosovo -- an entirely plausible eventuality unless the killing is halted -- Macedonia is poorly prepared and the country's very existence may be imperilled.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Education, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 07-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Relations between Albanians from Albania proper and their ethnic kin over the border in Kosovo are complex. Despite obvious linguistic and cultural ties, the political division of the past 80 years and Albania's isolation during the communist period have caused the two communities to evolve in a very different fashion. Moreover, the arrival of Kosovo Albanians in Albania in recent years and their influence in some unsavoury spheres of the economy have caused resentment among Albanians from Albania proper, most of whom are too preoccupied with the daily struggle for existence to devote much time or thought to national questions. The upsurge in violence in Kosovo and the influx of several thousand Kosovo Albanian refugees have, nevertheless, reminded Albanians of the links between the communities and sympathy for their ethnic kin in Kosovo is especially strong in the border areas among the Ghegs, the northern Albanians.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Albania, Tirana
  • Publication Date: 06-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 1 July 1997 Konjic became the first municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia) to be officially recognised as an Open City by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). At the time, the Open Cities Initiative was supposed to form the backbone of UNHCR's approach to minority return. To obtain Open City status Konjic had to demonstrate a willingness to accept the return of minority displaced persons. In return, the UNHCR endeavoured to reward the municipality with additional funding. However, despite large-scale financial assistance and although close to 2,000 minority families have formally registered their intent to return, reliable sources estimate that fewer than 300 minority returnees have made their way home to Konjic since the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) brought the Bosnian war to a halt.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 06-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Croat-controlled Jajce and Bosniac-controlled Travnik are both municipalities to which displaced persons who do not belong to the majority ethnic group have been returning in substantial numbers. Some 5,000 Bosniacs have returned to Jajce (prewar population, 44,900) and 2,500 Croats have returned to Travnik (pre-war population, 70,400) since the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) came into force. These 7,500 “minority returns” constitute nearly 20 per cent of the total estimated 40,000 minority returns throughout the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia), although the combined current populations of Jajce and Travnik (less than 75,000) account for less than 3 percent of the Federation's current population. These two municipalities in the Middle Bosnia Canton thus may be considered successful examples of minority return, if not yet reintegration. Nevertheless, at different times and to varying degrees, the authorities in Jajce and Travnik have obstructed return movements.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Migration, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: When on 15 May 1998 Slobodan Milosevic met with Ibrahim Rugova it was the first time that the Yugoslav president had met with an Albanian leader from Kosovo in close to a decade. The event, heralding weekly talks between Kosovo's Albanians and the Serbian government, has thus been hailed as a "dramatic turn-about" and "a first step toward peace in Kosovo". However, the fact that, after so many years of stale-mate, some kind of negotiations have begun, should not in itself be a reason for euphoria. Key to the success of any talks is the framework within which they take place. Negotiations concerning the future status of Kosovo may, as a result of the concessions offered to the Yugoslav president, have got off to an inauspicious start.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: International organisations working to help displaced Bosnians return to their pre-war homes -- arguably the most important element of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) -- have declared 1998 the “year of minority returns”. Four months into the year, however, there is the distinct possibility that 1998 may instead prove to be the “year of mass relocation”. This need not be the case. The political climate in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia) has shifted in recent months and, despite major setbacks, including in Drvar, minority return success stories are already beginning to emerge. In order to turn the current trickle of minority returns into a steady flow, the lessons of past failures and successes have to be learned.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Migration, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Kosovo, an impoverished region at the southern tip of Serbia, is drawing ineluctably closer to war with each passing day. By night, men smuggle guns and ammunition from Albania to an Albanian militia determined to wrest Kosovo away from Serbia. The militia's fighters, angered by years of Serbian police violence against Kosovo's 90-percent Albanian majority, have killed Serbian police officers and murdered Albanians deemed to be loyal to the Serbian state.
  • Topic: Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 02-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: To many who followed the Bosnian war from abroad, Sarajevo symbolised Bosnia and Herzegovina's rich tradition of multi-culturalism and multi-ethnicity. While the Bosnian capital came under daily bombardment from Republika Srpska forces, its citizens of all faiths, Bosniacs, Serbs, Croats and others, suffered and survived together in the spirit of tolerance in which they had lived together for centuries. For multi-culturalism and multi-ethnicity to re-emerge in Bosnia after the war, this spirit must be rekindled in peace.
  • Topic: Demographics, Ethnic Conflict, Migration
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 01-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In Bosnia's local elections on 13 and 14 September 1997, parties representing displaced Serbs from Croat-held Drvar, Bosansko Grahovo and Glamoc won either a majority or a plurality of council seats in these three municipalities in Canton 10 of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since then, displaced Serbs have begun spontaneously moving back to their homes with the result that by mid-January, some 800 heads of households had returned to Drvar alone. Other displaced Serbs in Western Republika Srpska and in Brcko are monitoring the fortunes of these returnees closely. If Serbs are able to return to Drvar, this will free up housing in Republika Srpska for displaced Bosniacs and Croats. If, however, their return to Drvar is obstructed, displaced Serbs elsewhere will be discouraged from attempting to return to other Federation municipalities.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 12-1997
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Achieving the ambitious goals of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (DPA) -- forging a unified state out of the shaky Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and resistant and unstable Republika Srpska -- is a complex and difficult undertaking which has not been made easier by the quest for a so-called “exit strategy”. Ultimately, success will be judged by the durability of the peace. But as the pre-announced departure date for the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) approaches, it is clear that a self-sustaining peace is not yet in sight.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Ethnic Conflict, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 12-1997
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Prospects for lasting peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina have improved in recent months as a result of a clear shift in approach towards implementation of the peace plan on the part of the international community. The new-found resolve has been characterised, in particular, by a snatch operation in Prijedor in July in which one indicted war criminal was captured and another killed, and the seizure by the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) of four transmission towers used by Bosnian Serb television's (SRT) Pale studio which had hitherto been used to broadcast ethnic hatred and obstruct implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Ethnic Conflict, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe