The ICTY and reconciliation in Croatia

  • Clark J
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Abstract

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is due to finish its work in 2014, and hence this is an important time to reflect on its legacy. This article is concerned with the Tribunal's micro legacy and its impact on the ground. While existing research on impact has tended to overwhelmingly centre on Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), this article shifts the focus to Croatia and looks specifically at whether and to what extent the ICTY has aided reconciliation between Serbs and Croats in the town of Vukovar. Based on fieldwork in Vukovar, the research uses three key measurement criteria to assess the Tribunal's impact on reconciliation -- perceptions of the ICTY, acknowledgement of its judgments and the nature of inter-ethnic relations on the ground. Defining reconciliation as the repair and restoration of relationships and the re-building of trust, it argues that the ICTY has not contributed to reconciliation in Vukovar. Yet since the reasons for this are case study- and institution-specific, this research does not permit the conclusion that criminal trials can never aid reconciliation. What it highlights, however, is that retributive justice should not be over-relied upon to aid reconciliation.

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Authors

  • Janine Natalya Clark

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