Twilight of Impunity:
The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevic

In this Review

by  Author, Judith Armatta
Reviewed by Robert Legvold
Capsule Review
January/February 2011 Issue

Armatta, a lawyer, journalist, human rights activist, and expert on the Balkans, sat through three years of excruciating testimony in The Hague for the first trial of a head of state since Admiral Karl Donitz at Nuremburg -- the trial of Slobodan Milosevic for 66 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. By her own confession, she was scarcely an impartial observer, having witnessed much of what served as the basis for the charges, but she provides more than a fair analysis of the proceedings' fumblings and ill-advised decisions. Hers is the front-row view of a first-rate court reporter, giving the reader a TiVo-like version, culled of dead space and repetition, that is still exhausting in its arduous pace and detail. Diligently, she watched and recorded as the court probed all three charges from Kosovo, back through the Croatian and Bosnian wars, tediously piling up the evidence as Milosevic bobbed and weaved. One comes away half heartened by the effort to answer unspeakable cruelty and suffering with justice but, in a way, more saddened by Milosevic's slippery success in persuading his partisans and many of his countrymen that they, not he, were on trial, the victims of great power bullies. And then there is the whimper with which it was all ended, by a heart attack that left him

Web Editor Note: This is a downloaded copy of the original 2011 content on the magazine's webpage. Along with this capsule review of Twilight of Impunity this document includes contact information, Foreign Affairs magazine and newsletter subscription options as well as the following books under review in this issue of the Foreign Affairs Magazine:

Link to the archived review at Foreign Affairs Website:

More Reviews on Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Republics
from This Issue


Lonely Power

Shevtsova allies with those experts who have been most critical of Russia, but when it comes to action, she aligns herself with those who want to engage Russia and ... Reviewed by Robert Legvold


Building States and Markets After Communism:
The Perils of Polarized Democracy

Frye brings a particularly rigorous approach to explaining the speed and constancy of post socialist economic reform and the creation of state institutions conducive to ... Reviewed by Robert Legvold


The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin

Cohen's book tells the story of how survivors of the gulag experienced liberation, what happened when they reentered society, and how, with varying degrees of success, ... Reviewed by Robert Legvold


The Return: Russia's Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev

Treisman argues that in crossing the rocky road of the last 25 years, Russia has emerged from the hermitic life of socialism to join in the normal process of ... Reviewed by Robert Legvold