Search in this website



The situation in BiH 16 years after Dayton (DIEEEM04-2012)

The Dayton Peace Agreements (DPA) putting an end to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) at the end of 1995 were greeted with joy and hope by the Bosnians and by the International Community (IC).
However the resulting political organization in BiH, combined with the multi-ethnic character of its population, is accounted for a system in which there are 3 rotating Presidents of the Republic; 3 Constitutions; 16 legislative chambers; 13 Governments; 13 Prime Ministers; 130 ministers and 613 parliamentarians. Even the postal service is tripled.
Since the breakup of Yugoslavia, the Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs remain contradictory about the kind of State that they are intending to share. Dayton created a little accurate country, in which the two entities retain nearly all the powers to govern, and where all the important decisions at the State level require the consensus of the three major ethnic groups, which additionally share many positions according to ethnic quotas. This system met the obstruction of the more radical nationalists since its very beginning. Emergency solution was to provide the High Representative (HR) with special powers in order to keep the State running, thereby supporting a greater centralization of the State and increasingly less the need for consensus decisions. This has had the effect of favouring the Bosniak position at the expense of the Serbian and the Croatian. And in turn has made to BiH completely dependent on the binding decisions of the successive HR based on their special powers.
Bosnia is currently facing very serious crisis. The institutions and agencies of the State are being harassed from all sides. It took over one year to reach a compromise agreement for appointment of the new Government of BiH. A so called Croat National Assembly has been established to claim the constitution of the third entity. For its part the RS has called a referendum, later recalled, which could have meant the abandoning of the institutions of the Bosnian Serbs.
The long-awaited integration between communities in BiH is not taking place. Given such prospects, it is easy to imagine the Bosniaks to oversee institutions that Serbs and Croats had defected. Therefore it is necessary to reach agreements between the ethnic communities, enabling the development of coordination´s mechanisms between their various Governments and institutions, allowing it to function as a State and get out of the impasse which has been dragging for several years. On the other hand it is essential to force local politicians to assume their responsibilities and abandon their inertia in crisis situations, and not expect HR to solve them always the problem. That would be the best guarantee for stability in BiH hereinafter and to start working for the institute of the necessary frame to renew the DPA and facilitate the integration of BiH in the EU.

Author: Antonio F. Tresguerres


Useful documents

The situation in BiH 16 years after Dayton
  • Pdf   1.92 MB
© Copyright 2010 Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies