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Seeking to escape the monotony he had come to endure in his job as assistant District Attorney in San Francisco, Philip Kearney needed a change. His solution came one day in a casual email from a friend: "U.N. has opening here for an international prosecutor doing war crimes stuff. You should apply, gotta go."

"Here" meant Pristina, Kosovo. And "stuff" - Kearney soon finds out, after landing the job despite his inexperience with international law and an inability to speak any foreign languages - meant a harrowing string of investigations involving the most brutal and devastating crimes imaginable. Abruptly removed from the comforts of home and the order and stability of America's justice system, Kearney finds himself the sole international prosecutor assigned to a region of nearly one million people. Welcome to the Balkans circa 2001.

Kearney is thrown headlong into a series of historic investigations that quickly land him under the protection of four armed security guards. Armed himself with only the region's archaic criminal justice code, Kearney is soon prosecuting local street thugs, shutting down a ring of international sex-traffickers and spearheading an investigation into secret death camps - a case that ultimately implicates local officials and inflames ethnic violence. He developed an urgent passion, stemming from devastating stories of torture, murder and slavery that dominate Kosovo's bleak landscape.

Under the Blue Flag, reads like an international legal thriller as Kearney and his colleagues are shuttled in armored vehicles between years-old crime scenes and the makeshift courtrooms where Kosovo's fledgling legal system is tested daily. In the face of almost insurmountable obstacles - witness intimidation, corrupt law enforcement and deep ethnic biases - the truth is slowly revealed and with it emerges a cast of conflict-weary locals and displaced internationals, many of whom come to represent the war's most courageous and unheralded heroes. Under The Blue Flag is a passionate and eye-opening look at a post-war Kosovo that continues to straddle the stubborn gap between a past corrupted by violence and injustice and a future governed by the rule of law.  

Contents:


Escape from San Francisco --
On foreign soil --
Disorientation --
Field of blackbirds --
The wild west --
War crimes --
White slavery --
9/11 Balkan-style --
Death camps --
Traffickers on trial --
The rule of law --
London Charlie 102 --
The view from Belgrade --
Witness --
Last days --
Final verdict --
A recall to arms.

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Details

ISBN-10:  1607477289
ISBN-13:  978-1607477280
Author:  Philip Kearney
Genre:  Biography
Publisher:  Phoenix Books
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review by . October 24, 2010
Under the Blue Flag is attorney Philip Kearney's memoir of a year he spent in Kosovo prosecuting war crimes that took place during the time when Yugoslavia was breaking up. Slobodan Milosevic ruled Serbia, of which Kosovo was a part. However, ethnic Serbs were a minority in Kosovo, which was made up mostly of ethnic Albanians, most of whom were Muslim. These two groups of people hated each other and their war can fairly be characterized as the most recent eruption of ethnic and religious hostilities …
review by . October 11, 2010
Very Interesting True Story
Under the Blue Flag is attorney Philip Kearney's memoir of a year he spent in Kosovo prosecuting war crimes that took place during the time when Yugoslavia was breaking up. Slobodan Milosevic ruled Serbia, of which Kosovo was a part. However, ethnic Serbs were a minority in Kosovo, which was made up mostly of ethnic Albanians, most of whom were Muslim. These two groups of people hated each other and their war can fairly be characterized as the most recent eruption of ethnic and religious hostilities …
review by . June 22, 2010
Though I haven't been to Kosovo, I did spend two years living in Bosnia which struggled with many of the same challenges in the aftermath of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Kearney does a good job of framing an incredibly complicated set of issues in order to make them palatable to readers unfamiliar with the complexities of war crimes tribunals. His picture of working for the UN as an American rings true and provides an excellent introduction into that lifestyle. Though I would have preferred more focus …
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Under The Blue Flag: My Mission in Kosovo
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