Hijacked Justice: Dealing With the Past in the Balkans

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Hijacked Justice: Dealing With the Past in the Balkans
By Jelena Subotic
Cornell University Press, 2009
192 pp. $35.00
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How the blood-soaked states that emerged from the horrors that befell the Balkans in the 1990s should go about reconciling victims, punishing victimizers, and coming to terms with their pasts has become a sad challenge in the post-Cold War world. Alas, Subotic argues, the progress made in moving from an-eye-for-an-eye politics to due process in international and national courts and truth commissions is deceptive. It turns out, as her Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian cases show, that local political actors, rather than dealing with history, have used the exercise for their own more immediate ends: to dispose of political opponents, secure economic assistance, or grease the way into the European Union. How this has happened and what those committed to making the new norms stick should do about it drive this book. Subotic goes about her study in an exceedingly clearheaded fashion; not only is she in full command of the relevant theoretical literature, but she deploys and then extends it in compact, crystal-clear paragraphs. The writing and argumentation are a model of what social science should be.