The West’s Failure in Bosnia


The West's Failure in Bosnia

  • news by AUN News correspondent
  • Wednesday, December 28, 2022
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090


  • Before the election, Darko Brkan, the leader of Zato Ne? 

  • The Dayton Accord was found discriminatory by the European Court of Human Rights in 2014.

  • Zorni, a member of Krug 99, detailed her encounters with prejudice after the war in an open letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

  • With locations in Sarajevo and Stockholm, Merhamet is still in business and serves only one ethnic group within the Bosnian people.

  • He stated, albeit stoically, that he questions whether it is right to continue battling what appears to be Bosnian society’s impending collapse and whether attempting to create a viable civil society is in and of itself ubleha.


In 1996, a youngster plays amid the remains of conflict in the Sarajevo district of Grbavica. AFP/OOdd Andersen via Getty Images )

Bosnia’s Tuzla —

On October 2, a German diplomat by the name of Christian Schmidt modified Bosnia and Herzegovina’s election legislation just moments after the polls closed. As he had the authority to do so in his capacity as the high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, he did so without consulting anyone. The election had been going off without a hitch; international observers said it had been calm and legal. Then Schmidt’s choice abruptly plunged the nation into chaos.

In order to “advance the operation” of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the two constituencies that together make up the nation, along with the Republika Srpska, Schmidt had been expressing interest in changing the election rules for more than a year. But during the summertime protests in Sarajevo, which drew over 7,000 people, he reneged on those commitments. His unexpected enactment of these regulations has dented the nation’s already shaky faith in democracy.

Since the end of the Bosnian War in 1995, this form of intervention has been common in Bosnia and Herzegovina (referred to as Bosnia in this article for simplicity). An exceptional case study of the results of interventionist foreign policy and neoliberal economics has been produced as a result of decades of international management involvement and billions of dollars in aid. As a result, the nation’s politics are as gridlocked as ever, and the peace is still precarious.

Bosnia’s political system has been dubbed “the most decentralized and complex constitutional regime in the world” by political scientist Jasmin Mujanovi, who also described it as having a “Byzantine government machinery staffed according to a rigorous ethno-sectarian core.” This is a result of the Dayton Accords, which declared Bosnia to be “one country of three nations” and put an end to the war by awarding territory that had been ethnically cleansed to those who had carried it out. Nearly every element of Bosnian life is impacted by the segregation codified in the accords, including politics, public services, and educational institutions. The peace accord was quite successful in some ways. There has been little interethnic violence since it put an end to a three-year battle that caused an estimated 100,000 deaths and 2 million displaced people. However, it didn’t protect the nation from postwar political unrest and economic stagnation.

The government structure built in Dayton is overwhelming. In a nation of just over 3 million people, there are two federal entities, the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 14 levels of government, more than 100 political parties, 13 prime ministers, more than 180 ministers, and more than 700 members of parliament, along with 10 cantons and one autonomous district. There are also three co-ruling presidents, each of whom represents one of the three constituent ethnicities, the Serb, Croat, or Bosniak. The president is closed off to all other ethnicities, including Jews, Roma, and anybody else who does not cleanly fit into one of the three ethnic categories. Politics become more and more firmly rooted along ethno-nationalist lines with each election cycle. A number of international organizations, including the Office of the High Representative, which is run by Schmidt, a former German agriculture minister, are in charge of overseeing all of this. His broad authority allows him to rewrite the Constitution, dismiss elected officials, and, as Bosnians have just found, change election regulations before the ballots are even counted. His UN-appointed function is to enforce the Dayton accords.

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