K4D Helpdesk Report

Transitional Justice and Reconciliation in the Western Balkans: Approaches, Impacts and Challenges

Published on 25 January 2021

Countries in the Western Balkans have engaged in various transitional justice and reconciliation initiatives to address the legacy of the wars of the 1990s and the deep political and societal divisions that persist.

There is growing consensus among scholars and practitioners that in order to foster meaningful change, transitional justice must extend beyond trials (the dominant international mechanism in the region) and be more firmly anchored in affected communities with alternative sites, safe spaces, and modes of engagement.

This rapid literature review presents a sample of initiatives, spanning a range of sectors and fields – truth-telling, art and culture, memorialisation, dialogue and education – that have achieved a level of success in contributing to processes of reconciliation, most frequently at the community level. It draws primarily from recent studies, published in the past five years.

Much of the literature available centres on Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), with some examples also drawn from Serbia, Kosovo and North Macedonia.

Cite this publication

Haider, H. (2021). Transitional justice and reconciliation in the Western Balkans: approaches, impact and challenges. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies. DOI: 10.19088/K4D.2021.033


Huma Haider

Independent Research Consultant

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Institute of Development Studies
Haider, Huma


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