Contested Sovereignty: The International Politics of Regime Change in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Christopher Lamont

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


At the conclusion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s 1999 air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Savezna republika Jugoslavije: SRJ) the United States publicly committed itself to a policy of regime change towards the Belgrade government presided over by Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević. In addition, the May 1999 indictment of Milošević by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for crimes against humanity marked an unprecedented act of judicial intervention that challenged hitherto dominant conceptions of the norm of Westphalian sovereignty. Those acts – state promotion of regime change and the indictment of a sitting head of state by an international criminal tribunal – both require an examination of the role of external agency in either bringing about or acting as a catalyst for regime change. The Milošević regime attempted to use the Westphalian notion of sovereignty to fend off external pressure; events leading to the regime change of October 2000 suggest that this defence was inadequate, as Western powers legitimized their intervention through appeals to humanitarian norms and by direct appeals to citizens of the SRJ.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking the 'Coloured Revolutions'
ISBN (Print)9780415571692
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 27 May 2010


  • Serbia
  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
  • Regime Change


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