Creating Kosovo

Creating Kosovo: International Oversight and the Making of Ethical Institutions

Elton Skendaj
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
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  • Book Info
    Creating Kosovo
    Book Description:

    In shaping the institutions of a new country, what interventions from international actors lead to success and failure? Elton Skendaj's investigation into Kosovo, based on national survey data, interviews, and focus groups conducted over ten months of fieldwork, leads to some surprising answers.Creating Kosovohighlights efforts to build the police force, the central government, courts, and a customs service.

    Skendaj finds that central administration and the courts, which had been developed under local authority, succumbed to cronyism and corruption, challenging the premise that local "ownership" leads to more effective state bureaucracies. The police force and customs service, directly managed by international actors, were held to a meritocratic standard, fulfilling their missions and winning public respect. On the other hand, local participation and contestation supported democratic institutions. When international actors supported the demobilization of popular movements,Creating Kosovoshows, they undermined the ability of the public to hold elected officials accountable.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-7018-9
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  7. Chapter 1 Building Effective Bureaucracies and Promoting Democracy in Kosovo
    (pp. 1-30)

    Dardan Velija (2008), a former senior government official, likes to tell an anecdote about how Kosovo traffic police officers stopped him twice for speeding. The officer stopped the car, politely asked for the driver’s documentation, and then ordered him to pay the fine for driving above the speed limit. The police officer fined Velija even though he had noticed the VIP sticker on the front window of Velija’s car that signaled the driver’s important government position. Velija, a political adviser to the Kosovo prime minister, had to pay a fine just like any other citizen. “In Albania,” he added, “the...

  8. Chapter 2 Contested Statehood
    (pp. 31-60)

    On February 17, 2008, the world media focused its attention on the celebrations in the streets of Prishtina, Kosovo’s capital, as its Parliament declared independence. Waving Albanian, American, and European Union (EU) flags, Kosovo Albanians celebrated the creation of their new state. A new monument was unveiled in the center of Prishtina, big capital letters that spelled the English word “NEWBORN.” By contrast, Belgrade saw riots and the burning of the American embassy, as small groups of nationalist Serbs encouraged by their prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, expressed their rage toward the new state that had seceded from Serbia. Kosovo is...

  9. Chapter 3 Deadly Cocktail
    (pp. 61-96)

    “We have low-quality public administrators in our bureaucracy. They get some training, but since their quality is low to begin with, their capacity remains very weak.” Thus spoke the former Kosovo prime minister responsible for building the central administration in the crucial early period between 2002 and 2004 (Rexhepi 2009). This is a frank admission from one of the local builders of the central administration, and it underscores the important fact that both international and government officials agreed on the low quality of the administration.

    Kosovo’s judicial system is also universally viewed as ineffective. Interviewees from government, civil society, and...

  10. Chapter 4 Without Fear or Favor
    (pp. 97-132)

    Postwar Kosovo is full of surprises. Although one might expect the entire new Kosovo state to be weak, some bureaucracies have been functioning quite well. The customs service is one such example. In the middle of an interview with a United Nations (UN) bureaucrat working for the European Union (EU), the official stopped our conversation to answer an important phone call. The Kosovo customs director needed help clarifying the tax rate for oil imports because the ambiguity in the current law gave too much discretion to the customs field officer, and this could be exploited by traffickers. I was surprised...

  11. Chapter 5 Mass Mobilization and Democracy in Kosovo
    (pp. 133-170)

    Kosovo’s president resigned unexpectedly on September 27, 2010, because the Constitutional Court stated that he was violating the Constitution by remaining a leader of a political party during his tenure as president. When new elections were called, two new political parties emerged with a youth following. The new successful party, Self-Determination (Vetëvendosje), is a nationalist movement that became the third-largest party in the upcoming Parliament, with fourteen members. A coalition of professional civil society organizations also formed a new party, Fryma e Re (FER), whose name plays on the double meaning of “New Spirit” in Albanian and “Fair” in English....

  12. Chapter 6 Creating Constituencies for State Building and Democratization
    (pp. 171-192)

    This book gives a nuanced answer to the question posed in chapter 1: Can ambitious international interventions build states and democracies? The evidence provided in this study suggests that international organizations can be successful in both endeavors—if they take different approaches to state building and democratization. To build state bureaucracies, international organizations need to insulate them from political and societal influences, so that recruitment and promotion rest on merit and not political or personal affiliations. In the space of one decade, a professional police force and customs service arose in Kosovo. By contrast, international assistance can support the development...

  13. References
    (pp. 193-212)
  14. Index
    (pp. 213-218)