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Towards Sustainable Reintegration: Impact of International Intervention on Minority Returns in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo

November 2014 | #53

by: Silvia Cittadini, MA
pp: 31
ISSN: 2038-632X

Paper's frontpage


In the aftermath of the ‘90s wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, the return of the Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons to their previous houses was listed among the main priorities of the massive international intervention that invested the two countries. Within the returns’ process, particularly delicate and significant is the issue of those families that fled during the war and that in their home are part of an ethnic minority, the so-called “minority returns”. Delicate because of the nature of the conflicts that in both cases divided the countries along the ethnic lines and significant because the success of these returns had the potential of bringing the countries back to the pre-war situation. The objective of this article is to compare the impact of the interventions on minority returns in Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo in order to assess the effectiveness of the policies implemented. The analysis focuses on two principle policies: the housing restitutions and reconstructions and the interventions for ensuring the perceived and actual security of the returnees. On the light of the results of the comparison, I argue that the housing restitutions and reconstructions policies are ineffective if not backed by proper interventions aimed at ensuring the perceived and actual security of the returnees. The argumentation therefore explains the complete failure of the minority returns policies implemented in Kosovo, where just the 6% of the Serb minority, fled after the war, returned. The lack of accountability of the perpetrators of the attacks against Serbs in 2004, and the presence of war lords in the national and local administrations, can be pointed as the main reason of the failure of the return policies implemented in the country.



Bosnia Herzegovina, housing, international intervention, Kosovo, minority returns, post-conflict, security.

Table of contents

List of Abbreviations
The debated success of minority returns in Bosnia Herzegovina
    Housing and Property restitution plans in Bosnia: the key of success?
    No return without security: the examples of Prijedor and Zvornik
Minority returns in Kosovo: overview of a failure
    The housing restitution plan: a merely bureaucratic mechanism?
    Impunity for warlords and hate crimes in Kosovo
Comparison of the two cases

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