Chicago Journal of International Law


The collapse of communism signified the transition to a new world order and a new balance of power in areas formerly controlled by Moscow. In these areas, the transition opened a path towards national self-assertion and reversion to historical roots, the memory of which Soviet internationalism and cultural conformism had sought to eradicate. Nations that had previously coexisted under the guise of communist comradeship swiftly brought forth competing claims to land, cultural symbols, and historical lineage. In the "powder keg of Europe," the Balkans, the sparks of nationalism triggered armed conflicts: four wars have ravaged the Balkan Peninsula since 1991. The last of these wars, the one over Kosovo, ended in 1999. The ensuing peace nonetheless has not necessarily brought hope of a final resolution to the area's underlying problems. In fact, the high potential for further conflict has forced organizations such as the UN to extend protection to certain populations that claim self- determination, without, however, creating independent states that could subsequently clash anew with neighboring hostile populations. This approach found prominent application in the province of Kosovo, which is currently under UN interim administrative control.