Academic journal article Military Review

Creating Kosovo: International Oversight and the Making of Ethical Institutions

Academic journal article Military Review

Creating Kosovo: International Oversight and the Making of Ethical Institutions

Article excerpt

CREATING KOSOVO: International Oversight and the Making of Ethical Institutions

Elton Skendaj, Cornell University Press, New York, 2014, 248 pages

Kosovo remains an experiment in progress seventeen years after the Rambouillet Accords and the issuance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, authorizing international civil and military forces in Kosovo to end the violence, reestablish governance, and enable security in the region. Creating Kosovo: International Oversight and the Making of Ethical Institutions is an informative and thought-provoking book that investigates how international and local actors have built state bureaucracies and democratic institutions in Kosovo.

This book, structured as a comparative research study, is well organized and easy to follow. Unlike other literary works on Kosovo that focus on broad aspects of state building, Elton Skendaj, an assistant professor at the University of Miami and a former European studies research scholar at the Wilson Center, examines in detail the effectiveness of select core bureaucracies within Kosovo. He explores the court system, customs service, police force, and central administration, while simultaneously analyzing the progress of democratic reforms in elections, civil society, the media, and the legislature.

Skendaj posits that state building and democratization by international actors are two different processes that require complementary but different approaches to build and sustain effective bureaucracies. To support his hypothesis, he argues, "effective bureaucracies can be built when local actors take ownership of the institutions or international actors insulate the bureaucracy form political influence." Additionally, Skendaj argues, "democratic progress is more likely when citizens mobilize for regime change, citizens are demobilized, as authoritarian liberal elites negotiate for regime change, and coalitions of international and local actors jointly support regime change. …

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