International Relations
Online ISSN : 1883-9916
Print ISSN : 0454-2215
ISSN-L : 0454-2215
Statebuilding in Conflict-affected Situations
Statebuilding for Peace?: Legitimacy of International Intervention and Local-Ownership in Macedonia
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2015 Volume 2013 Issue 174 Pages 174_111-174_124


Is it necessary or desirable to involve international actors in post-conflict state building processes? If the answer is yes, in which way? And, how it should be made compatible with the principle of local-ownership? This paper takes the position that interventions by the international community are sometimes essential to bring and keep the peace since parties of violent conflicts are usually not able to agree on the resolution by themselves and, even when agreed, they often lack necessary resources to build a functional mechanism to keep and consolidate the peace. However, if involvement of international actors is not regarded as legitimate by local actors, there is no chance for the solution brought in by outsiders to take root among local actors and endure after international concern over the case declined. This paper conceives the legitimacy as the key for the international actors to be successful in intervening in the post-conflict statebuilding process and considers the legitimacy from 3 perspectives: how acceptable for local actors; how consistent with international and local norms; how suitable to international and local laws and rules.
Based on this notion, this paper looks into the process of statebuilding in Macedonia. Although it had enjoyed relative peace and stability in the region through the turbulent 1990s, Macedonia finally faced an internal armed conflict in 2001. The National Liberation Army (NLA) attacked police and military units and accused the Macedonian government of treating Albanian people, the largest national minority in Macedonia, like second-class citizens. They demanded that the government introduce measures to upgrade the status of Albanians in several spheres, including recognizing them as a constituent nation, granting their mother tongue official language status, and so forth. The majority, ethnic Macedonian side rejected these demands and refused any negotiation with the NLA accusing them as terrorists. Then, the EU, NATO,and the United States, self-acknowledged representatives of the international community, intervened and brokered the peace accord. This accord, the Ohrid Framework Agreement, was based on the notion that the grievances of the Albanian people concerning the alleged discrimination against them were the biggest cause of the conflict and approached this by significantly improving the Albanian people’s status. On the other hand, it caused major discontent to the Macedonian side and led part of them to resist its acceptance and implementation.
This paper closely looks into the process whereby international actors attempted to overcome such resistance by simultaneously pressuring and giving incentives to Macedonians to implement the accord. In the end, the author finds that external commitments were crucial for the peace process but at the same time had several significant flaws from the perspective of legitimacy and not leading local actors in a genuine co-existence or building fully functional state.

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© 2015 The Japan Association of International Relations
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