Genocide in Kosovo
- Cite this article as:
- Ronayne, P. Hum Rights Rev (2004) 5: 57. doi:10.1007/s12142-004-1028-y
That Kosovo exploded with genocidal violence in 1999 and ultimately prompted outside intervention surprised few—it was a long-festering hotspot but one that fell low on the world politics priority lists, despite the brutal “wars of Yugoslav” succession that engulfed Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia. But for a relatively small scale conflict in a rather unknown corner of the world, Kosovo’s crisis of 1998–1999 brought with it a host of complex issues that challenge the international community to this day. As with any issue or case in the area of genocide studies, attention and understanding must first go to the dramatic human suffering inflicted upon one group by another. The macro-level political, legal, and ethical discussion and debates swirling about Kosovo should not and must not obscure the powerful and provocative human element at play. First and foremost, the Kosovo issue revolves around how best to save lives following an explosion of genocidal violence. Simultaneously, however, Kosovo in 1999 exploded with ramifications for the future of state sovereignty, the United Nations, and understanding the causes of genocide, nation building, and humanitarianism in the twenty-first century.