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The Inter-relationship between International and National Minority-Rights Law in Selected Western Balkan States

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image of Review of Central and East European Law
For more content, see Review of Socialist Law.

The violent conflicts that erupted after the breakup of communist regimes (especially in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) have gradually changed the standing of minority rights and minority protection: first, the differential treatment of minority groups has become a legitimate—if not necessary—instrument to guarantee equality and stability, and, second, minority-rights legislation and minority protection are increasingly regarded as a responsibility shared among national and international actors.

This inter-relationship between international instruments and national legal provisions can be usefully observed particularly in the states that emerged from the breakup of Yugoslavia. Due to the necessity of ensuring peace and stability, the constitutions of these emerging states have been increasingly influenced by international norms and standards for minority protection—a process that can be characterized as the 'internationalization of constitutional law'.

This article assesses these developments, at both the national and international levels, in order to shed light on the particular inter-relationship among these different layers, by looking at the example of selected Western Balkan states.


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