A recent fellowship led to two published articles and the beginning of a book for Jacqueline McAllister, assistant professor of political science. McAllister spent the summer as a residential scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., on a prestigious fellowship from its Global Europe Program, studying the effects of international criminal tribunals in Southeast Europe.
Her article titled “Bending the Arc: How to Achieve Justice at the International Criminal Court” was published in Foreign Affairs magazine in August. She is finishing a second article that also will work as a foundation for her book, tentatively titled On Knife’s Edge. Her work covers how and when international criminal tribunals affect violence against civilians, as well as peace negotiations. To start, she is focusing on the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia that prosecuted war crimes during the conflicts associated with the breakup of the country.
“The Balkan conflicts are important case studies for understanding international justice efforts,” McAllister said. “The Yugoslav tribunal was the first international criminal tribunal to operate in active war zones. The fact that it survived and managed to prosecute serious violations of international humanitarian law under such difficult conditions is extraordinary.”
She added, “As the first wartime tribunal, it also has a lot to tell us about how the permanent International Criminal Court — established in 1998 — might affect current war zones.”
During her time at the Woodrow Wilson Center, McAllister was able to conduct interviews with leading activists, as well as top U.S. policy officials who were involved with mediating the Yugoslav Wars. “That was tremendous,” she said. She additionally had the opportunity to meet Ambassador James Pardew, who, among other things, worked with others to bring the Bosnian War to an end.
Beyond conducting interviews, McAllister also gained access to key documents at the Library of Congress. The former chief librarian of the South Slavic Collection, Predrag Pajic, had collected extensive materials from Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s. “Nobody has ever gone through them before,” McAllister said. “I didn’t even realize what a treasure trove was there until I got there.”
McAllister initially started her project on the Yugoslav Tribunal as part of her doctoral work at Northwestern University. As a result of fellowships from the American Association of University Women and National Science Foundation, she was able to live temporarily in Croatia where she conducted hundreds of interviews with former combatants, politicians, activists, lawyers and journalists throughout the region. She also conducted several trips to The Hague to interview officials from the Yugoslav Tribunal. The fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Center allowed her to glean insight into the crucial role of the U.S. in mediating the wars associated with the breakup of Yugoslavia.
What she has learned, she says, is invaluable to her classes at Kenyon. McAllister teaches courses on a range of topics, including civil wars, human rights and transitional justice. “Getting to talk to people about their experiences is tremendous,” she said. “I share what I learn in the field with my students, which helps to bring course materials alive.”
In addition, McAllister has secured funding to bring Pardew to campus in February. He will speak about his experiences as the U.S.’s top diplomat to the region during the 1990s and 2000s, giving students, faculty and staff an intimate look at a crucial period of diplomatic history.