Dealing with the Past and Peacebuilding in the Western Balkans

“Dealing with the past and peacebuilding in the Western Balkans” was a research project investigating the interaction between international and local initiatives to develop transitional justice and reconciliation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. Its main focus lay on activities undertaken by international organisations, legal institutions and local civil society actors in response to the wars of the 1990s. We were particularly interested in the coherence of objectives and strategies and their implications for peacebuilding. We also investigated forms of cooperation and learning experiences, and the political resonance resulting thereof.


2010 – 2012


Research and analysis were carried out with input from the following local partners (from civil society organisations and academic institutions): Dr. Ismet Sejfija (University of Sarajevo), Prof. Dr. Vesna Nikolic-Ristanovic (Director of the Victimology Society of Serbia, Belgrade), Katarina Milicevic (Center for Nonviolent Action, Belgrade), Srdjan Dvornik, M.A. (Researcher, Zagreb).


The project was funded by the German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF).

The findings of the project were published in Berghof Report 18 “Dealing with the Past in the Western Balkans”, edited by Martina Fischer and Ljubinka-Petrović-Ziemer. A short version is to be published by the German Foundation for Peace Research [(forthcoming)].

  • Martina Fischer & Ljubinka Petrovic-Ziemer: Dealing with the Past and Peacebuilding in the Western Balkans. 2014. Reihe DSF, Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung (forthcoming).
  • Martina Fischer & Ljubinka Petrović-Ziemer (Eds.): Dealing with the Past in the Western Balkans. Initiatives for Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. 2013. Report No. 18. Hardcopy >

  • Martina Fischer: Dealing with the Past as an On-Going Challenge. Experiences from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. In: Bettina Gruber (Ed.). The Yugoslav Example - Violence, War and the Difficult Ways Towards Peace. 2013. Münster/New York/Berlin: Waxmann-Verlag (forthcoming).
  • Martina Fischer: Transitional Justice and Reconciliation - Theory and Practice. 2011. Handbook Article. PDF >

  • Martina Fischer: Struggling for Justice, Truth and Reconciliation in the Western Balkans. In: Susanne Buckley-Zistel & Thomas Kater (Eds.). Nach Krieg, Gewalt und Repression. Vom schwierigen Umgang mit der Vergangenheit. 2011. Baden-Baden: Nomos-Verlag, 59-79.