Human Rights and Societies in Transition: Causes, Consequences, Responses

By Shale Horowitz; Albrecht Schnabel | Go to book overview

Human rights and conflict in the
former Yugoslavia1

Aleksandar Resanovic


Overview of human rights and freedoms in the
political context

The former Yugoslavia was, and has remained, a politically tectonic region. Human rights and freedoms as political issues were insufficiently known to the general public, and were pushed aside to be addressed in future – hopefully better – times. The price of this policy turned out to be high, particularly in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY; since 4 February 2003, Serbia and Montenegro), Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The relations between Serbia and Croatia, often embittered by war and crisis, should be the basis of peacemaking and integration processes in the Balkans. The case of Serbia and Montenegro is interesting for a number of reasons: the fate of this two-member union is still unknown, because disputed relations between Serbia and Montenegro, and the status of Kosovo, are all awaiting a final resolution. Finally, Bosnia and Herzegovina, a very complex national and confessional community, has since time immemorial been the object of aspirations and territorial claims by Belgrade and Zagreb. Bosnia and Herzegovina's Dayton structure (see later) is very fragile and therefore remains in need of international support.

The Communist regime that was in power during the post-World War II period came to an end following the break-up of the former Socialist

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