Tuesday, March 08, 2005

ICTY Update

Another high-ranking official--the sixth since October--has decided to surrender himself to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to face war crimes charges. This time it is Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj of Kosovo. During the 1998-99 war in Kosovo, Haradinaj commanded Kosovar guerrillas. He is alleged to have ordered the killing of Serbian civilians and Albanian "collaborators" during the Kosovo conflict.

Why are so many officials now deciding to turn themselves over to the ICTY? Kosovo is seeking independence from Serbia and needs international support for its efforts. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the secretary general of NATO, said that "Kosovo is entering a crucial period during which it will be judged on its progress meeting the standards set by the international community. Cooperation with the tribunal is one of those standards." Elsewhere, leaders in Serbia and Bosnia are anticipating their countries' efforts to join the European Union, efforts that will also require "meeting the standards set by the international community."

It would be difficult to find a better example of what Joseph Nye calls "soft power."