Between Mediation and NegotiationHCNM Interventions in Identity Conflicts

Fedor Meerts and Tassos Coulaloglou

in The Slippery Slope to Genocide

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199791743
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919222 | DOI:
Between Mediation and NegotiationHCNM Interventions in Identity Conflicts

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This chapter analyzes the unique role of the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as an external intervener in internal identity conflicts. It transcends conventional scholarly work by arguing that the HCNM is a mediator with a very flexible modus operandi who—while maintaining his position of mediator within the relational set—shifts between activities traditionally described as mediation and negotiation. Case studies on the HCNM’s interventions in Estonia, Romania, and Ukraine show that the HCNM’s activities can best be described as mediation when he was faced with (1) an immediate crisis involving (2) two relatively clearly defined and strong parties who were (3) experiencing a mutually hurting stalemate. The HCNM moved much more strongly to negotiation when a partner government perceived a minority to be either too diffuse or too weak to be allowed a genuine seat at the table. In this situation, external leverage—as, for instance, provided by the European Union’s enlargement process—seems to have been vital in persuading governments to accommodate their minorities in accordance with (and sometimes even beyond) international standards.

Keywords: high Commissioner on National Minorities; OSCE; identity conflicts; mediation; negotiation; estonia; romania; ukraine

Chapter.  11521 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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