With a soft yet firm voice, backed by exceptionally thorough research, Nettelfield argues that the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has helped form attitudes and institutions essential to a democratic outcome in war-ravaged Bosnia. It is not an easy argument to make given the impediments to the tribunal's success, its own deficiencies, and the headwind of skepticism coming from the analytic community over the effectiveness of such tribunals. All of this she accepts, but then -- thanks to a carefully crafted superstructure drawing together different theoretical literatures and, in particular, ten years of exacting research, much of it conducted in the region -- Nettelfield makes a compelling case for the ICTY's larger positive effects. Whether directly, indirectly, or sometimes negatively, it has fostered new assumptions about "justice and accountability" among Bosnians, stirred the formation of civil-society groups determined to fight for these things, and helped create local court institutions capable of carrying on the work. It helps that she lays out the many parts of the argument in clear, jargon-free prose.
Get the best of Foreign Affairs' book reviews delivered to you.
More Reviews on Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Republics From This Issue