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Tufts Scholar Helps Draft Kosovo Constitution

Tufts Scholar Helps Draft Kosovo ConstitutionBruceHitchner, classics professor and chairman of the Dayton PeaceAccords Project, is part of a team helping prepare a constitutionshould Kosovo attain independence. Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.03.05] This year, the Serbian province of Kosovo will beginthe process of obtaining its independence. If successful, Kosovowill have a blueprint constitution for the new state already available,thanks to the work of Tufts Professor and Dayton Peace AccordsProject Chairman BruceHitchner and other representatives from the Public InternationalLaw and Policy Group.

"We draftedit in the course of the last four months as a boilerplate constitution,"Hitchner – who is also the chair of the classics departmentat Tufts – told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Under thecontrol of NATO and the United Nations since a 1999 bombing campaignchased Serbian forces out of the region, Kosovo this year willhold talks about whether to become an independent state –as favored by the ethnic Albanian majority – or to remaina part of Serbia, as the minority Serbian population desires.

The PublicInternational Law and Policy Group is a U.S.-based nonprofit thathas advised more than a dozen other countries in creating politicaland legal groundwork. Hitchner led the group in charge of theKosovo project, the Journal-Constitution reported.

When a delegationincluding Hitchner brought the working document to Kosovo in lateFebruary, "the Kosovars leapt on it," Hitchner toldthe paper. The document is currently being reviewed and revisedby officials.

Accordingto the Journal-Constitution, the draft calls for a parliamentarydemocracy, a strong prime minister, and an emphasis on individualrights. "Ethnic set-asides," as Hitchner calls groupquotas, are not included.

The next stepfor Hitchner and his team is to continue the dialogue with Kosovarofficials.

Another ongoingproject for the Tufts scholar is the fledgling government andconstitutional framework in Bosnia.

"Thegoal is to get the Bosnians in charge of shaping their future,"Hitchner told the Journal-Constitution.

In November1995, the Dayton Peace Accords brought about the end to the civilwar in Yugoslavia that left 200,000 dead and countless more displaced.

The DaytonPeace Accords Project, founded the following year by Hitchner,aims to further the ideals that brought about the peace by engagingand educating people about democratization and development aroundthe world.

Hitchner –a former professor at the University of Dayton – traveledto Bosnia in February to meet with leaders about possible changesto their constitution, which was forged in Dayton. A complex governmentstructure is seen as an obstacle to Bosnia's entry into the EuropeanUnion.

"It'smore nation-building now than it is peace implementation work– that phase is over clearly," Hitchner told the Journal-Constitution."What we're trying to do is establish some principles forpolitical and constitutional change that everyone can agree to."







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