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Years of international and national accountability efforts in the former Yugoslavia have only partially helped post-conflict societies to transition. To complement retributive justice efforts more recently, human rights activists have launched a campaign to establish a regional truth commission. This article explores the intricate efforts among nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in several states across the region – particularly Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia – to coordinate this movement. Drawing on participant observation and in-depth interviews, this study illustrates the movement’s struggle from within – caused by the conflicting interests of its members – and from outside, as it seeks support from international and region-specific organizations as well as national governments. While activists have remained unsuccessful in institutionalizing new truth spaces, this article argues that the state-centric strategy of human rights advocates during the campaign widened the gap between the activist leaders and victims’ groups, their principal supporters.

Published Citation

Kurze, A. (2012). Democratizing justice in the post-conflict Balkans: the dilemma of domestic human rights activists. CEU Political Science Journal, (03), 243-268.