Henry H. Perritt, Jr., Professor of Law and former Dean of Chicago Kent College of Law, and author of a forthcoming book about the Kosovo Liberation Army, and Kai Sauer, Senior Political Adviser to Martti Ahtisaari, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Future Status Process for Kosovo, are co-authoring a book about the final status process for Kosovo. They have been encouraged in this endeavor by President Ahtisaari, who has promised full cooperation.

The book provides the inside story of the best-orchestrated diplomatic initiative of the early 21st century: the process for determining the future status for Kosovo, a former province within Yugoslavia. It was written with the encouragement and active cooperation of Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General responsible for the future status talks.

The final status negotiations were aimed at putting to rest the conflict that had erupted in 1998 between Slobodan Milosevic’s forces and a guerrilla insurgency known as the Kosovo Liberation Army. Some 800,000 Kosovo residents were expelled from their homes and NATO fought its first war. The hope was that the status negotiations could make the 1998-1999 conflict the last war over the breakup of Yugoslavia.

The negotiations provided an opportunity to prove that UN-sponsored processes could still be relevant after the UN was sidelined in the runup to the Second Iraq War. They offered a way for the US and the EU to demonstrate their continued capacity to work together on security issues—and for the EU to build confidence in itself as a credible actor on the international scene. And they offered Russia a chance to restore its prestige in foreign affairs, providing leadership to developing an internationally crafted solution involving one of Russia’s historic client states. They gave the UN a chance to show that it could craft a graceful, controlled, exit from a nearly 10-experience in exercising sovereignty and overseeing nationbuilding—a far greater challenge than more traditional peacekeeping or refugee relief operations.

Martti Ahtisaari was in charge of pursuing all these opportunities. The account of how he pursued them involves strong-willed characters with idiosyncrasies, insecurities, personal hatreds and friendships; competing plots; and more than enough conflict to go around.  It shows how Ahtisaari dealt with hidden agendas, historic geopolitical concerns and distorted perceptions of what was likely to happen if the negotiations failed.

The story shows how diplomacy, shepherded by the techniques and diplomatic experience gained by the leader of a smaller country, honed in earlier successes in Namibia, Northern Ireland and Aceh, not backed up by great unilateral military power or economic leverage, can blaze a trail toward self-determination and democratization.

The book should appeal to anyone interested in foreign affairs, and the future ability of the international community to provide coherent solutions to deep-seated problems that otherwise spill over into wars and other threats to international peace and security. It should appeal to anyone interested in the options available to the United States as it learns from its active engagement in this multi-lateral process, in Russia’s approaches to defining its strengthening role on the international stage, and in China’s thinking as it works to understand how its growing economic, military and political power should be used.

Written even as the “end game” of the final-status negotiations is being played, the book will be released just as the final Kosovo decisions are made by the key players, and the first steps are taken toward implementing the decisions.


Henry H. Perritt, Jr.

Professor of Law

Chicago-Kent College of Law

565 West Adams Street

Chicago, IL 60661

(312) 906 5098

Fax (312) 906-5280