about icg 
  Latin America 
  Middle East 
  by region 
  by date 
  by keyword 
  media releases 
  articles/op. eds 
  media contacts 
contact us 
donate to icg 

 home  programs  europe  balkans  serbia
  Belgrade’s Lagging Reform: Cause for International Concern


Belgrade's Lagging Reform: A Problem for Regional Stability

Belgrade/Brussels, 7 March 2002: The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) wants to make significant progress on three key foreign policy goals in 2002: membership of NATO's Partnership for Peace program; negotiation of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union (EU); and accession to the Council of Europe. It is also seeking renewed financial assistance from the United States.

In a new report released today, Belgrade's Lagging Reform: Cause for International Concern, the International Crisis Group (ICG) warns that significant obstacles to regional stability in the Balkans are still presented by post-Milosevic Yugoslavian policies and practices, including

  • There is no civilian control over the Yugoslav Army (VJ).
  • Organised crime has penetrated the VJ and Interior Ministry (MUP) at all levels.
  • The FRY government resists cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague.
  • The FRY continues to work against Dayton by funding the Bosnian Serb Army and VJ officers in RS as well as maintaining a large intelligence presence there.
  • The FRY continues to finance and maintain illegal parallel police and administrative structures in northern Kosovo, contrary to UN Resolution 1244.
  • The FRY still holds at least 78 Kosovo Albanian political prisoners.

NATO, the EU, the Council of Europe and the United States should harmonise efforts regarding the FRY, resisting any temptation to lower standards to Belgrade's advantage. Before the FRY is admitted to membership of the Partnership for Peace and the Council of Europe, commences negotiating a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, or receives further U.S. assistance, it should be required to demonstrate its willingness to reform by meeting clearly defined conditions (set out in ICG's report) in four areas:

    (a) civilian control over the armed forces and related military sector reforms;
    (b) support for international community policy in Bosnia;
    (c) cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY); and
    (d) support for international community policy in Kosovo.

In particular, the U.S. administration should closely examine these areas when determining, as required by Congress, whether to certify by 31 March 2002 the FRY's continued eligibility for American aid. Without significant progress in all four areas, it should not certify.

ICG Serbia Project Director James Lyon said: "The U.S., EU, Council of Europe and NATO should insist on change before they strengthen ties or renew assistance. They must realise that the FRY is still a source of instability, and must avoid the temptation to bend the rules. Belgrade should be held to the same high standards required of Croatia and Bosnia since the late 1990s."


Katy Cronin (London) +44 20 86 82 93 51 ; Sascha Pichler (Brussels) +32 2 536 00 70
email: [email protected]
ICG Washington: Heather Hurlburt, +1 202 408 80 12
ICG New York: Carole Corcoran, +1 212 813 08 20


copyright privacy sitemap