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Research Report

Kosovo’s new map of power:: governance and crime in the wake of independence

Ivan Briscoe
Megan Price
Copyright Date: May. 1, 2011
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 62

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. None)
  2. (pp. None)
  3. (pp. i-ii)
  4. (pp. iii-vi)
  5. (pp. 1-4)

    Rarely has a small territory sparked such controversy and bitter disagreements within the international community as Kosovo has, with its population of a little over two million people.¹ The story is well known: the debates over the legality of NATO’s military intervention in 1999 were just the start of a lengthy process of international bickering over the status of this contested Balkan territory, which unilaterally declared its independence in February 2008.

    The coalition of countries that supports Kosovo’s claim to statehood has stretched the boundaries of international law, investing vast financial and political capital with the aim of establishing a...

  6. (pp. 5-16)

    Underlying the constraints on constructing a stable and effective system of governance in Kosovo are four factors, which together help shape the routines, systems and expectations around political life.

    First, the country’s long history of conflict and inter-ethnic strife will be explored, with a particular focus on the unilateral peace settlement and the decade of international administration that established the foundations of contemporary Kosovo. Second, the enduring uncertainty over Kosovo’s ultimate status divides the international community, and has undermined international state-building efforts. Third, the underdeveloped economy, the prevalence of a large informal sector and the role of organized crime make...

  7. (pp. 17-22)

    Kosovo’s main political parties are essentially personality-driven patronage networks that buy or secure the loyalty of clients in various ways (Khan 2005, pp. 718–719). A number of these parties are also led by pre-war and wartime elites who have been institutionalized under international tutelage.25 As a result, they display some characteristics that are reminiscent of their experience of armed conflict. Nearly all the main parties have intelligence services that date from the war and are widely believed to link public leaders with shadowy business activities. At the same time, these organizations also operate in formal political life, participating in...

  8. (pp. 23-40)

    The independence of Kosovo, and the rapid assumption of sovereign powers by Pristina, have fundamentally altered the character of relations between the state and the population. Kosovo’s institutional, political and economic inheritance, discussed in Chapter 2, raises serious obstacles to the process of building an open and accountable state, and appears to underpin a continuation of patronage politics, in which serious fraud and other crimes are protected under a blanket of impunity.

    This legacy is undoubtedly a component part of the current landscape of governance: according to the European Commission, “corruption remains prevalent in many areas in Kosovo and continues...

  9. (pp. 41-46)

    For all its unique features, Kosovo is a telling case that shows the limits of imposing an institutional model on a highly divided, complex post-conflict society where client–patron networks pervade political life. Even though the international community directly administered Kosovo for almost a decade, and continues to enjoy unparalleled leverage over the governance process, it has not yet succeeded in building a well-governed and genuinely multi-ethnic state that can deliver economic growth or adequate public services.

    The obstacles to state-building are many, and are not limited to the well-documented problems which include a divided history of conflict and the...

  10. (pp. 47-52)