From prosecution to persecution: perceptions of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in Serbian domestic politics

  • Marlene Spoerri
  • Annette Freyberg-Inan


This paper explores the interconnections between the activities of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), their domestic perception in Serbia, and the effects of these perceptions on the recent evolution of Serbian politics. It argues that negative perceptions of the Tribunal have impacted upon domestic power balances by bolstering support for anti-reform forces and undermining the strength of the liberal democratic movement. The result is a destabilization of Serbia's liberal democratic transition. The paper aims to develop an understanding of how and why these destabilizing effects can take place. It argues that the ICTY's discursive linkage not to the norms of reconciliation or justice but, rather, to the experience of conditionality and the threat of international isolation has provided fertile grounds for anti-reformist revivals. It is this perceived international context that renders the experience of international transitional justice in Serbia, all too often, not one of prosecution but one of persecution.


ICTY international justice political stability reform Serbia transition Yugoslavia 



We thank the editors of the JIRD, three anonymous referees, as well as colleagues at the Political Science Department of the University of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research for useful feedback on earlier versions of this work. This paper draws in part on the findings of fieldwork conducted for the Master's thesis of Marlene Spoerri at the Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam (July 2005).


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marlene Spoerri
    • 1
  • Annette Freyberg-Inan
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Amsterdam, Spuistraat 134The Netherlands
  2. 2.Amsterdam School for Social Science Research, University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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