Nenad Dimitrijevic

is associate professor of political science at Central European University, Budapest. His main fields of research are constitutional theory, political legitimacy, and the history of ideas.


Moral responsibility for collective crime

Transitional justice in the former Yugoslavia

Crucial to the process of transition in the former Yugoslavia is responding adequately to the question of responsibility for crimes committed in the name of a collectivity, writes Nenad Dimitrijevic. However, collective moral responsibility is by no means an uncontested concept: even in collective crime, it can be argued, all that can be determined is the responsibility of the perpetrators, high-ranking officers, and political authorities. Surveying theories of collective responsibility, Dimitrijevic argues that collective responsibility is less a matter of individual or collective guilt than a sense of duty towards the victims and their community.

In 2000, the Serbian journal Rec together with radio B92 published a booklet under the title “Truths, Responsibilties, Reconciliations: The Example of Serbia”. The issues cited in the title emerge as keypoints towards building democracy in a society ravaged by long years of war. Nenad Dimitrijevic in his contribution looks at the concept of responsibility of a nation: Who is “responsible”, and what does that “responsibilitiy mean? How does one deal with this responsibility and look at one’s past through those eyes, and finally – what does it mean for one’s steps into the future?

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