Reconciliation is hot. Western NGOs have spent millions in former Yugoslavia to achieve it. Put some people from ethnic groups that used to right each other together in some course or project and you can get a lot of money because it is supposed to contribute to reconciliation. As the reasoning goes: these people didn't talk to each other and now they are talking again; this must the the first step towards reconciliation.
It doesn't work always. Many of those projects in Kosovo found their end in march 2004 when Serbs saw their "project-friends" in the mobs that attacked them. And one has to wonder whether it works better in other situations.
A related concept is that of justice. Many millions have been spent on the ICTY and other courts to condemn the war criminals. But the effect has been limited. On the one hand it is good to see that some consensus arises on the facts and that for example you don't hear anymore that people deny that mass killings happened in Srebrenica. But when you hear the comments from the different parties it looks like the courtroom has become the newest battlefield. Everyone wants crimes by the other side exposed and preferably provided with labels like "genocide". And with good reason: the conflict is going on. Serbia and Croatia are still involved in a genocide case at the ICJ and in Bosnia the statuses of the Republika Srpska and the Croat majority region are ongoing sources of conflict.
South Africa is often seen as an example how to solve conflicts. But the South Africans did it very different compared to former Yugoslavia. First they found a political solution that had wide support on all sides. Many in the West think that only apartheid was abolished but the whites negotiated a deal that gave the country a very capitalistic constitution that protects them from large scale expropriations.
Only when there was a solution in which every part felt safe did the South Africans proceed to the next step: the "truth and reconciliation commission". Because of this timing justice was no longer loaded with political consequences. A second step they made was to pardon most of the crimes. In the heat of a conflict people do things that they normally wouldn't do and this was an implicit recognition of that fact. Also, because the primary aim of the commission was not to get these people convicted there was much more attention to what they thought at that time and how they came to their acts. This is a climate that produces real reconciliation.
In contrast the Western approach to Yugoslavia has been counterproductive. There has been no commitment to solutions that are seen by all sides as fair. On the contrary: a formalistic approach was chosen - encouraged by the Badinter Commission - that gave Yugoslavia's republics independence without negotiations and discarded widely shared concerns amongst certain groups as "nationalistic". And while the West has been very helpful to help those "warlike" people of the Balkans to find reconciliation it has been very unwilling to investigate its own role.