v8n1_10 - In Need of Self-Reflection: Peacebuilding in...

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The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations In Need of Self-Reflection: Peacebuilding in Post-War Kosovo from a Systems- Analytical Perspective by Jens Narten T he purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, it aims to promote an alternative approach to understanding the constitutive elements that have led to the failure of international peacebuilding efforts, and second, in so doing, to allow for the formulation of more in-depth policy recommendations. This approach will be led from a systems-analytical understanding of both local and international actors as being self-referential. This includes closed social systems that rely on their own selective observations of the environment, as well as pre-coded means of internal communication. In this regard, the focus of the research will be on the relationship between international human rights norms and efforts to “civilize” violent conflict in post-war Kosovo, as implemented by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the international military Kosovo Force (KFOR). “Civilize,” in this sense, is a process of non-violent resolution of social conflict that exceeds the notion of traditional UN peacebuilding. 1 Consideration will be given to key aspects of applied civilian policies and military functions, international human rights norms, and standards of peacebuilding, on the one hand, and the observations made by various social groups and international actors, on the other. The paper concludes with findings on institutional self-reflection for international field missions in post-war environments, such as Kosovo, and with practical recommendations on improving the attempts of international organizations to secure and sustain peace after violent conflict. Immediately following the war in Kosovo, the joint efforts of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the European Union, in cooperation with KFOR in Kosovo (led by NATO), were considered a success story. These joint efforts were widely perceived as exemplary cases of international administration and peacekeeping, especially for a conflict with deep-roots, and a strong focus on human rights promotion and protection to maintain a fragile peace. However, this assessment has changed radically since major violence erupted again in Kosovo in March 2004, costing many lives and leading to a renewed large-scale displacement of minorities. 2 Jens Narten is a researcher and doctoral candidate at the Centre for OSCE Research at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy in Hamburg, Germany. 121
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NARTEN The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations A B OTTOM - UP P ROCESS T OP - DOWN :“C IVILIZING ”C ONFLICT AND H UMAN R IGHTS Democratic conflict transformation, in one of its most sustainable forms, can be exemplified by the concept of the “civilizational hexagon,” as established by Dieter Senghaas. 3
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v8n1_10 - In Need of Self-Reflection: Peacebuilding in...

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