Monthly Archives: April 2010

Release of NRC report on land disputes in Liberia – and guest blog by author Alexandre Corriveau-Bourque

TN readers are encouraged to check the Norwegian Refugee Council website starting tomorrow (Wednesday, 28 April) in order to access a new report on post-conflict land disputes in the context of legal pluralism in Liberia. The report, entitled ‘Confusions’ and Palava: The Logic of Land Encroachment in Lofa County, Liberia’ promises to make for some interesting reading:

As Liberia recovers from nearly a decade and a half of civil war, the largest obstacle to long-term stability remains the divisive issue of land. Using Lofa County as a case study, this study explores the conditions that produce land conflict and the mechanisms used to resolve them. Multiple waves of displacement, return and (re)settlement have significantly altered the many institutions that regulated access to land and land-based resources prior to the war. This has resulted in a range of tenure systems that are struggling to (re)establish themselves at a variety of scales. The very systems at play are undergoing intensive renegotiation from both internal and external forces.

This study argues that the competing discourses employed by the various systems of authority in Lofa County to legitimise/justify claims are creating opportunities for land encroachment, which is significantly reducing the security of tenure in this area. The perception of dispossession can lead to ‘confusions’ or palava, stages of a dispute that are generally being channeled into informal dispute resolution systems rather than formal mechanisms. These informal mechanisms are shaped by imperatives for ‘peace’ and ‘development,’ which increase the likelihood that negotiations will have a ‘satisfactory’ outcome for both parties, providing few disincentives for others to encroach.

The weaknesses of formal, customary and informal institutions limits what punitive measures can be brought against those who violate the norms that would guarantee secure tenure, thus helping to perpetuate the cycle of encroachment.

The report was written by Alexandre Corriveau-Bourque, who is also a contributor to a volume on post-conflict land management I’m currently working on. I’m very pleased to announce that Alexandre will also be writing an exclusive guest-posting for TN later this week introducing some of the key issues addressed in the report. Watch this space!

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in session

by Rhodri C. Williams

The Ninth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) was launched in New York on 19 April and concludes this Friday. The meeting opened with a bit of virtual reality, in the form of a screening of Avatar (all of James Cameron’s good intentions aside, beginning a conference by handing out 3-D glasses is a bit hard to square with the gravity of the issues at stake), but was then bolstered by the real life breakthrough of New Zealand’s decision to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As reported by Pana:

[UN Secretary General] Ban, addressing the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, called on all governments, indigenous peoples, the UN system and all other partners “to ensure that the vision behind the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples becomes a reality for all”.

Ban’s call comes as New Zealand announced on Monday that it would reverse its decision and support the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples.

New Zealand was one of four countries — the others being Australia, Canada and the United States — that voted against the Declaration in 2007. Australia, however, reversed its decision last year.

The theme for this year’s meeting is “development with culture and identity” based on Articles 3 and 32 of the Declaration. The official background memo on this topic rightly describes the way in which dominant development paradigms have in the past led to encroachment on indigenous lands in order to extract greater up-front value from them (whether through mining natural resources or, as in the case of Kenya’s Endorois people, through creating nature and game reserves). It also sets out some useful prescriptions, including recognition of the sustainability of many forms of indigenous stewardship of natural resources and greater collaboration between indigenous groups, civil society and public authorities.

At the same time, in an era of ginger but steady economic recovery and in the absence of broadly viable alternative economic models, the insistence of the background document that the old wisdoms are irretrievably damaged seems a bit labored and possibly counterproductive:

The failure of the dominant development paradigm, as evidenced by the lingering global economic crisis, the environmental crisis of climate change and the erosion of biological diversity, signals the need to evolve alternative ways of thinking about and pursuing development.

Such formulations implicitly bypass the great reform/revolution question (e.g. can one best effect change by working within the system or attempting to replace it?) and assume the necessity of revolution. An alternative approach might be to simply restate the goals that most states have already signed on to through endorsement of the Declaration – and to focus on ways in which they can be given effect under the prevailing political and economic circumstances, rather than present them as both instrumental in (and therefore implicitly contingent on) an unlikely transformation of these circumstances. I suspect I am being a bit bourgeois here, but I wonder if it would not make sense to see if one is pushing on any open doors before deciding to completely refurnish the house.

With that said however, it will be very interesting to see where the conclusions of this session go, particularly in light of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights recent adoption, in the Endorois case, of an argument developed by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: namely, that indigenous title to land translates into the real political bargaining power necessary for indigenous groups to be able to genuinely negotiate their future with and within states. The background document for the current session of the UNPFII clearly incorporates this approach to internal self-determination:

Development with culture and identity is characterized by a holistic approach that seeks to build on collective rights, security and greater control and self-governance of lands, territories and resources. It builds on tradition, with respect for ancestors, but is also forward-looking. It includes social, cultural, political and spiritual systems.

In light of the fundamental threats many indigenous groups continue to face as a result of encroachment and climate change, achieving territorial recognition and meaningful internal self-determination will remain an enormous challenge. Let us hope that the current session of the UNPFII lends impetus to developing international understandings of indigenous rights that may provide a bit more leverage in regional and national advocacy efforts to give them content.

US Institute of Peace ‘Land, Property and Conflict’ Course in June

For those of you interested in a three-day immersion in post-conflict housing, land and property (HLP) issues, my colleagues Debbie Isser at the US Institute of Peace and Peter van der Auweraert, TN guest-blogger and IOM reparations guru, are organizing a course in Washington DC, set for 15-17 June. I will be one of the instructors along with HLP experts John Bruce and Conor Foley.

The course is aimed at professionals in conflict management and peace-building and will involve three intensive days of lectures, discussions, simulation exercises and group work. It will be free for those selected to participate. If the below blurb sounds interesting, more details (including how to apply) can be found on a dedicated page on this site available via the TN top menu or this link:

The USIP Land, Property and Conflict Course aims to provide practitioners with analytical tools for assessing and addressing an array of complex land and property disputes, from competing ownership claims and restitution to customary land rights and illegal urban settlements.  Drawing on case studies of peace operations and peacebuilding efforts, participants explore the range of entry points (humanitarian, human rights, state-building, development etc.) and options for dispute resolution and structural reform.  The course is tailored to professionals who work on conflict management and peacebuilding, whether they come from a legal, development, military, government, NGO, international organization, private sector or academic background.

Hope to see you there!

Overlapping land uses and indigenous groups – two’s a crowd?

by Rhodri C. Williams

A bit more evidence came this week that even as regional human rights bodies build up indigenous land rights in theory, global warming, population pressure and competing land uses are breaking them down in practice. In a law and society vein, the current situation raises the concern that decisions like that in the recent Endorois case (by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights) risk serving only to raise expectations on the part of threatened indigenous groups in all corners of the world that cannot possibly be met given the resources, attitudes and capacity in many of the states involved.

The most alarming reports are currently coming out of a cluster of Sahel states in Africa where indigenous pastoralist groups are facing severe recurring drought conditions. The FAO reported recently that 9.8 million people are  vulnerable to severe hunger in Niger and Chad, with “thousands more under threat in the north of Burkina Faso and northeast Mali.” Further east, WFP notes that 23 million people remain subject to food insecurity in Ethiopia, and the Famine Early Warning System Network has warned that half the rural population of Djibouti will require humanitarian aid through the remainder of this year.

The news for pastoralists in Africa is not entirely bleak, however. Most of the above reports highlight new or existing aid programs meant to provide for both short-term food distribution and longer-term resumption of food security through measures such as seed improvement for animal feed, cash for work programs to improve pastureland, and stocking or de-stocking, as need be. In some countries, such as Mali, there is evidence of both improved government response and local resilience. Other hopeful signs come in the way of innovations such as the development of rain calendars meant to both serve the narrow purpose of helping communities understand changing precipitation patterns and the broader purpose of supporting more informed local risk management strategies.

However, as if it was not enough that Sahel pastoralists must contend with recurrent drought and food insecurity, other factors such as population pressure and competing land uses appear to compound these threats in many regions. In its above-cited press release, the FAO notes that food security for both farmers and herders in Chad is impacted by the “influx of refugees from Sudan’s Darfur region and the Central African Republic, estimated at over 300 000 people”.

At least in the case of Darfur, it is already well known that displacement, both internal and across the border to Chad, has been fueled by competition between agricultural villagers and pastoral nomads for land. In light of the fraught conditions for agrarian livelihoods throughout the Sahel, displacement from open land conflict in any one part of the region risks intensifying land competition elsewhere and creating a cascade effect. Well away from all the publicity around Darfur, for instance, IRIN reports that land disputes in Burkina Faso between pastoralists and farmers have been aggravated by development projects and “threaten to spill into neighbouring countries as herders seek grazing pastures”:

Communities – mostly in the south – with no formal land rights have been pushed out by hydro-agricultural irrigation projects and migrants from other parts of the country that have formed sedentary farming communities, [Livestock Ministry director] Guissou told IRIN. “Indigenous groups are often left to their own resources in this [development] process and there has been no systematic effort to involve them, which frustrates them and leads to conflicts.”

Pastoralists pushed off the land are forced to travel farther across borders to find suitable pastures, Guissou added. “What were yesterday’s pastures have become hydro-agriculture projects in the south, which are not taking into consideration pastoralists,” the Ministry of Livestock director told IRIN.

There are eight million cows and 19 million other smaller cattle nationwide. Following the droughts of the 1970s, the government designated 185 pastoral zones covering two million hectares – which is more than one million hectares short of what is needed now, Guissou told IRIN.

He added: “Our herding and farming methods are still traditional and take up a lot of land. Since the 1970s drought, and [ongoing] climate change, there has been an increase of humans and animals on limited space with limited resources.”

To minimize the risk of conflicts between farmers and herders, the Ministry of Livestock has outlined a land clearing plan that takes into account herders’ migration patterns and animals’ water needs, but only a fraction of the millions of dollars needed to finance the plan has been raised by the government, said Guissou.

Meanwhile, in the other hemisphere, the New York Times reports on a brewing conflict between the Pemón indigenous group in Venezuela, which practices a form of ‘prairie swidden’, periodically burning patches of savanna for hunting and agricultural purposes, and an increasingly assertive non-indigenous population that has followed roads and economic opportunities into their territory. The article describes a scientific debate over whether traditional burning practices reduce or increase the risk of larger fires spreading to nearby cloud forests crucial to Venezuela’s important hydro-electric energy sector. While arguments against burning raise shades of similar assertions that have severely impacted on indigenous groups in Southeast Asia (see the final section of a report on Cambodia I wrote for COHRE a few years back, for instance), the scientific debate appears at risk of being overtaken by facts on the ground:

The Pemón face a backlash over the fires beyond the realm of scientific debate. Nonindigenous Venezuelans here often call them “quemones,” a play on the Spanish word for someone who burns a lot. “The Pemón are pyromaniacs by nature, and this year we’ve seen some of the worst fires in memory,” said Raúl Arias, 54, who operates a helicopter service in the area.

Some Pemón chafe at such statements. “Outsiders come here and leave their excrement and trash on the tepuis [local rock formations], then complain to us about fires that spoil their view,” said Miguel Lezama, 46, a leader near Mount Roraima.

New motivations for some Pemón to light fires complicate matters further. Scholars have seen an increase in fires to protest the installation of electrical towers and the opening of the satellite-monitoring base. Other Pemón sometimes start fires to harass the government into meeting demands for services.

Few experts know how these fires will affect the Gran Sabana, aside from sowing dissent.

“The government is wrong if it thinks the Pemón are its docile sheep in the savannas,” said Demetrio Gómez, 36, a Pemón leader who took part in a violent protest near Santa Elena de Uairén this year to dislodge squatters from Pemón land. “We burned these lands long before anyone else arrived,” he said, “and we’ll keep burning them into eternity.”

The article notes that the increasingly violent confrontation over traditional savanna burning in Venezuela “is part of a broader debate over the sovereignty and proper management of indigenous lands” and that much of the area in question has not been recognized as belonging to the Pemón but is rather “cordoned off as either national park or military territory”.

In fact, the failure of the Venezuelan authorities to recognize the land rights of the Pemón flies directly in the face of rulings by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that were, in turn, heavily relied upon by the African Commission of Human and People’s Rights in their recent ruling in favor of the Endorois pastoralists in Kenya. However, the truly disconcerting question human and indigenous rights advocates must ask themselves is whether these hopeful but infrequent episodes of jurisprudential progress fly in the face of current reality – and if so, what can be done.

Vulcano refugee sur place…

Just a quick note to say that an unplanned three day sojourn with old friends in Zurich has distracted me from the demands of blogging and pretty much everything else. It has been a pretty surreal experience to be caught up in the temporary (?) collapse of European air travel. Nothing seems very different than before once you get settled down somewhere, but international transport hubs have been transformed into medieaval judgment day scenes of despair and resignation. Last week, I had the pleasure of lecturing in the 54th Refugee Law Course at the IIHL in San Remo, but my Saturday morning flight back to Stockholm was DOA and I ended up taking the train to Milan, where the scene was like the evacuation of the US Embassy in Saigon. A friend in Zurich suggested taking a humble commuter train from a grubby local station that just happened to terminate beyond the Swiss border in Chiasso, and two hours later, I found myself on a sparsely peopled platform absorbing the clean alpine breezes and the almost hallucinogenic sight of an entirely empty Swiss commuter train chugging in to sweep me away to Zurich – where the next available spot in a northbound international train was 72 hours off and involves a 26 hour ride to get me home. Say what you want about the Icelandic ash for cash policy, it has certainly laid bare the conveniences we take for granted and the hubris that requires.

The Economist reports on restitution – sort of

by Rhodri C. Williams

This week’s Economist has an interesting article in the International section on “the accepted rules on what a conqueror can grab” in the wake of wars. The article sets the reader up with pretty low expectations by describing the Old Testament rules on plunder (grab all you can, essentially), and fast forwards several millenia to Kuwait Airlines’ successful suit against Iraq for damages in the first Gulf War. The article then summarizes the development of international humanitarian law rules against plunder, throws in an inconclusive aside on cultural property and ends on a sour note:

… there will always be victims of looting who could claim but lack the resources to do so. A glaring case is Congo, whose neighbours intervened and plundered in the chaos that followed Mobutu Sese Seko’s fall in 1997. Much of this was documented in UN reports. But in such places the ancient laws of war still apply.

The article bothered me a bit for a few reasons. First, it told only half of the story by describing a set of rules essentially meant to protect individuals and giving examples that had almost nothing to do with individuals. Its generally pretty well known that the emerging model of human rights reparations for individuals who suffered as a result of violations is struck from the well-established template of inter-state reparations for breaches of international law. International humanitarian law broke new ground in the 19th century by setting out protections states were obliged to afford to individuals. Human rights law amplified this trend half a century ago by requiring states to provide remedies to victims of violations. Now in the wake of the Cold War, guidelines like the Van Boven/Bassiouni Principles and jurisprudence like the International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion on the Israeli West Bank barrier have clarified that similar rules apply in all cases where states violate international law, whether the victim is another state or an individual: restitution, compensation, satisfaction, guarantees of non-repetition.

So while there clearly have been some interesting developments related to interstate responsibility and corporate claims for war damage, the rationale for some of the most novel developments in international law over the last century has been protection of individuals. By leaving out this element, the article misses one of the more significant post-Cold War developments in international law and humanitarian practice and ends up with just another indictment of international law as “nice if you can afford it”.

Which leads me to my second point. The article dripped with a characteristic Economist glibness that can be amusing when it is not aimed at one’s own particular field of interest. And, I suspect, for anyone with an interest in international law (warts and all), the Economist can often be a frustrating read. Its not that many of the accusations don’t stick. Clearly the fundamental tension between the legal fiction of the equality of all states and the reality of gross differentials in power and wealth is a pretty poor departure point. And at the national level, invocation of human rights, in particular, can be politicized or demonized or raise all kinds of expectations that can never be fulfilled. But its kind of lazy to stick to those critiques when there are so many more interesting issues currently being debated. And despite an ongoing sense that the Obama administration’s current foreign policies reflect a global migration from human rights to realpolitik (reported on in the NY Times here and posted on earlier here) its a bit early to give up on a concept that emerged virtually stillborn into the icy winds of the Cold War and toughed it out for four decades of malign neglect before blooming in the 1990s.

I suppose it is the job of reporters to be reductionist and that it only really bothers you when they are covering the few issues you may know a bit more about than them. However, it would be nice if one the readers of this blog were to actually write something a bit more coherent for the Economist on these issues someday – or at least a good stiff letter to the editor starting with “Sir!”.

Communication Initiative Network on land rights

It seems like every time people of my generation (if you know how to use typewriter correction fluid, count yourself in) begin to congratulate ourselves on having the technical savvy to do something like start a blog, innovations like Twitter comes along and knock us on our collective ears. In that vein, I would like to thank Jens Matthes for drawing my attention to a fascinating website that at first glance was nearly incomprehensible to me, but which has published some very interesting texts on land rights.

Communication Initiative Network inhabits a slightly opaque website, where it describes itself as an “online space for sharing the experiences of, and building bridges between, the people and organisations engaged in or supporting communication as a fundamental strategy for economic and social development and change”. At first glance, this seems like a rather broad approach. On an admittedly cursory survey of people and organizations interested in social change that I am aware of, I couldn’t think of a single one opposed to communication as a fundamental strategy (well … at least not openly).

However, upon reviewing the specific document Jens brought to my attention, a weekly newsletter called Drumbeat, I began to see the logic. The current issue of Drumbeat, number 537, is entitled “Land and Communication” and contains a wealth of interesting titles on topics ranging from land and resource rights advocacy and land access for women to community mapping and participatory management of land and forests.

The trick is that all of these titles link to pages on the CIN site that were created by people working on land rights issues for outside organizations. In these pages, some of which are quite up to date and others of which hark back as far as 2005, the initiators of specific projects (websites, books, communities of practice, reports, surveys) explain the nature of what they are doing, their communication strategy and key substantive arguments. In other words, the Drumbeat is not really a newsletter in a traditional sense but rather a periodic thematic guide to the otherwise daunting thicket of updates that can be searched by “regions”, “development issues” and “communications approaches” under the various “knowledge section” headings given at the top left of the main page.

So there it is, and I suppose most of you tech-savvier and better-informed youngsters out there have known about it forever. But as a tip for the accidental Luddites like me, I hope it may be helpful.

TN at two months

I thought I might take the occasion of TN turning two months to do a short state of the blog report. Its been a pretty lively time with forty posts to date. That’s probably a bit of a fast pace, and rest assured that any spelling or grammatical howlers you’ve seen probably result from the fact that I tend to write between the kids’ bedtime and a bit past my own.

As readers will have noted, an uptick in my consultancy work this week has thrown me a bit off my game, and I’ll probably have to keep my aims a bit modest this Spring as I’ve got some travel coming up. If you would like to wait and be informed when new posts come along, feel free to sign up for the email notification service (in the right column towards the top).

All that said, I’m happy to report that hits have been high. Totals were 566 in February and 734 in March, with over 125 viewers so far this month. However, I would still like to stir up a bit more in the way of comments. Maybe I’m not being provocative enough (they beat that out of you in law school), maybe I’m not being coherent (that suffers too), or maybe the procedures for leaving comments are a bit too daunting on this host site. But if you like what I’m writing, if you hate it or if you have anything to add, please don’t hesitate.

The same goes for guest-posting. I know there are a lot of you out there with lots of exclusive insights and little time – and I would like to issue you a standing invitation to use this blog as a way to get your message out quickly without having to fuss with too much formatting.

In terms of content, I want to first thank the three great guest bloggers I’ve had to date – Chris Huggins on indigenous groups’ land claims in the Great Lakes region, Peter van der Auweraert on new legislative developments in Iraqi restitution, and Barbara McCallin on land reform and the claims of displaced persons in Cote d’Ivoire. All three postings have gotten great reviews and drawn a disproportionately high number of hits.

Other content has focused on land and property issues in various countries, including Burma, Chile, Haiti, Iraq, Sudan, the USA, and – in an admittedly only distantly related to property issues vein – Serbia.  I’ve also posted some more general fulminations on human rights, disaster risk reduction, durable solutions to displacement, the role of peacekeepers in resolving post-conflict property disputes, and rights-based approaches to urban evictions. Other postings have provided description and analysis of new standards and jurisprudence in the area, including new European standards on restitution, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights’ decision in the ‘Endorois case’, and a new ‘Framework for Durable Solutions’ for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Its been a lot of fun so far and I think its safe to say that this blog has legs. So, thanks to all of you for checking it out and particular thanks to those of you who have gotten back to me, both in comments and by email, and let me know that you have enjoyed the content. Having a soapbox is nice, but making it useful is what I aspire to.

Followup on Serbian Srebrenica condemnation

by Rhodri C. Williams

First of all, hope all my readers in countries that go in for Easter break (the otherwise sober Scandinavians are rather extravagant on this point) had a nice one. With the two month anniversary of this little blog coming up on Thursday, I was really pleased to see that hits remained relatively steady in my absence.

Meanwhile, in following up on my last post from last week, I thought it worth noting that the English translation of the Serbian Parliament’s statement condemning the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in neighboring Bosnia can now be downloaded in full (directly from here or if you prefer a bit of context, from the Parliament’s website, by scrolling down the right-hand column).

Beyond the general significance and the shortcomings of the resolution, discussed last week, the full text provides a few more specific points of interest. One is the preamble’s explicit recognition of Bosnia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity:

…Aimed at ensuring lasting peace and stability in the Western Balkans region, as well as further improvement of friendly relations among the states of the former Yugoslavia based on the respect for international law and territorial integrity and sovereignty of all member states of the United Nations, including Bosnia and Herzegovina…

While the limitation to UN Member States is a clear signal that Kosovo is not yet invited to bask in the warmth of friendly relations, this statement may in fact be the most significant passage of the text for Bosnia, in light of its protracted ethno-political stalemate. As noted in an article in this week’s Economist:

The underlying trends are good. As [Serbian Foreign Minister] Jeremic points out, virtually unnoticed in the uproar over the Srebrenica apology was a Serbian commitment in the resolution to Bosnia’s territorial integrity …. This comes at a time when Milorad Dodik, prime minister of the Republika Srpska, the Serb part of Bosnia, is talking openly about secession. “There can be no serious threat to Bosnia’s integrity as long as Serbia supports it,” says Mr Jeremic.

For those of us who have nervously watched debates over partition lurch through the post-Yugoslav political discourse during the past decade, the specific significance of this statement seems clear. Barring a fairly dramatic change of policy, this short paragraph has driven a stake into the heart of proposals such as that by which Serbia would annex Bosnia’s Serb majority areas as compensation for renouncing claims to Albanian-majority areas of Kosovo. Which, all in all, is probably a rather good thing.

Meanwhile, the third operative paragraph of the Resolution is also interesting in that it implies either a surprisingly subversive or a surprisingly clueless approach to Bosnia’s ethnic politics. The paragraph reads as follows:

The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia calls upon all the former conflicting sides in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in the other states of the former Yugoslavia, to continue the process of reconciliation and strengthening of the conditions for common life based on national equality and full observance of human and minority rights and freedoms so that the committed crimes would never be repeated.

The curious aspect of this text is the fact that it mentions ‘national equality’ and ‘minority rights’ in the same breath, as though there were no tension between the two concepts. As observers of Bosnia, in particular, will note, the most numerically significant national minorities in Bosnia – the Serbs and the Croats – have vigorously resisted being labeled as such. These objections arise out of concern that minority status would somehow water down – rather than complement – the strict equality they and the Muslim Bosniaks – who comprise a plurality of the population – enjoy as the three ‘constituent peoples’ recognized under the 1995 Constitution incorporated in the Dayton Accords.

From this perspective, it could not have pleased nationalist Serbs in Bosnia that the text mentioned minority rights at all. The inclusion of this language may again have been indicative of a Kosovo-related subtext (given Serbian offers to recognize Albanian minority rights in exchange for retaining sovereignty – and criticism of the Kosovar Albanian majority for not protecting the local Serb minority). However, it comes at a particularly sensitive moment, with the Bosnian authorities facing the need to implement a recent European Court of Human Rights decision in which representatives of smaller minority groups not accorded constituent people status challenged the constitutional system of quotas that effectively barred them from higher office (for analysis of the decision, see the ECHR Blog here and the EJIL blog here).

While these may seem like relatively minor points, I would argue that they are not. The war in Bosnia that culminated with the horrific killings in Srebrenica could scarcely have happened without the active meddling of its powerful neighbors, Serbia and Croatia. In this context, the most appropriate way for Serbia to express its remorse for Srebrenica and ensure that such events cannot take place again may be a simple and clear renunciation of any further interest in destabilizing Bosnia’s fragile post-war repose.