The Europeanization of anti-LGBT hate crime laws in the Western Balkans
Despite high levels of societal homophobia, Western Balkan countries have recently passed laws proscribing anti-LGBT violence. The laws, however, are rarely used, as these countries report few or no recorded cases. The question is: Why do Western Balkan countries legislate against homophobia, but then fail to operationalize that legislation?
Hate studies, still over-focused on the West, do not provide the answer. The aim of this paper is to offer a possible explanation based on a combination of secondary data provided by the OSCE and primary research undertaken by the author.
Using the theory of Europeanization as an explanatory frame, the paper argues that hate crime laws are enacted as part of the democratization process, with the support of the OSCE and NGOs, and under EU influence. As this is done before favourable sentiments are assured, insufficient resources are put into the policing and monitoring of hate crime.
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