International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life

Intervention and Prevention: The Lessons of Kosovo

"Intervention and Prevention: The Lessons of Kosovo," a roundtable discussion, was held on December 12, 2000, on the Brandeis campus. Members of the Independent International Commission on Kosovo joined scholars, journalists, diplomats, and activists for a roundtable discussion on the 1999 war and its implications for the future. The occasion for this forum was the release of the report by The Independent International Commission on Kosovo, a 13-member panel sponsored by the government of Sweden. The Commission was chaired by Judge Richard Goldstone, Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and former prosecutor of the United Nations War Crimes Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Its report, presented to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in October 2000, examines key developments prior to, during, and after the Kosovo war, including systematic violations of human rights in the region.

In its report, the Commission presents a detailed, objective analysis of the options that were available to the international community to cope with the crisis. It focuses on the origins of the Kosovo crisis, the diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, the role of the United Nations, and NATO's decision to intervene militarily. It examines the resulting refugee crisis, including the responses of the international community to resolve the crisis and the effect of the conflict on the region and other states. The Commission assesses the role of humanitarian workers, NGOs, and the media during the Kosovo war. It also identifies the norms of international law and diplomacy brought to the fore by the Kosovo war and considers the adequacy of present norms and institutions in preventing or responding to comparable crises in the future.

The December 12 roundtable featured panels on intervention and prevention, the ideal of the multi-ethnic state, and lessons for the future.

  • Panel 1: Military Intervention: Politics, Ethics, Law, and Public Opinion
  • Panel 2: The Status of Kosovo: Challenges to the Ideal of the Multi-Ethnic State
  • Panel 3: Prevention and Intervention: Lessons for the Future


  • Dejan Anastasijevic, Journalist, Time Magazine, Belgrade
  • Eileen Babbitt, Assistant Professor of International Politics, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • Seyom Brown, Professor of Politics, Brandeis University
  • Steven Burg, Professor and Chair of the Department of Politics, Brandeis University
  • Richard Goldstone, Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, (Commission Chair)
  • Paula Green, Director and Founder of the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding
  • Hurst Hannum, Professor of International Law, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • Michael Ignatieff, Writer, Visiting Professor, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (Commission Member)
  • Martha Minow, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, (Commission Member)
  • Susan Moeller, Director of the Journalism Program, Brandeis University
  • Joan Pearce, Co-head, Public Utilities Department, UNMIK, Kosovo
  • Barry Posen, Professor of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • George Ross, Director of the Center for German and European Studies, Brandeis University
  • Joshua Rubenstein, NE Regional Director of Amnesty International USA
  • Daniel Terris, Director of the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life, Brandeis University
  • Danilo Türk, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, United Nations

Sponsored by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life; the Center for German and European Studies; and the Department of Politics.