Recent Trends in Complex Power-Sharing in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In: European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online
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  • 1 Florian Bieber is a Senior Non-Resident Research Fellow of the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI). specializing in nationalism, ethnic conflict management and the former Yugoslavia.

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  • 1 Neither the Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (SDA) nor the Croatian Democratic Communiy (HDZ) are participating in any government. Although the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) in the Republika Srpska is not in the opposition, it does not participate in government. but exercises its influence mostly through lower-level appointments.

  • 2 Janez Kovac, "Mesic's Olive Branch", 129 IWPR Balkan Crisis Report (31 March 2000), at 3 Dayton Peace Accords, 31 July 2001. 4 Kovac predicted the collapse of the HDZ parallel structures in Bosnia within months. Janez Kovac, "Mesic Spurns Greater Croatia", 116 IWPR Balkan Crisis Report (15 February 2000), at

  • 5 Despite plans to abolish this double restriction, the permanent election law passed by the Parliamentary Assembly in August 2001 confirmed the choice of the presidency members. Izborni Zakon Bosne i Hercegovine (30 August 2001), Art. 8.1. 6 Neither the Peace Accord nor the Constitution of Bosnia nor the constitution of the entities define membership in the different national communities, allowing - hypothetically - for a Croat, Bosniak or a candidate of mixed descent to run as a self-declared Serb in the elections for representation of the Repubhka Srpska in the Presidency.

  • 7 In the absence of a postwar population census only rough estimates exist of the population distribution in both entities. According to some estimates, over 110,000 non-Serbs lived in the Republika Srpska in 1998, which constitutes approx. 12%. In the Federation, some 450,000 Serbs and "others" lived in 1998, i.e., approximately 17%. These numbers did increase substantially after 1999. International Forum Bosnia, The Return of Refugees and Displaced People as a Precondition for the Survival of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo, March 1999). 8 Arend Lijphart, "The Power-Sharing Approach", in Joseph V. Montville (ed.) Conflict and Peacemaking in Multiethnic Societies (New York, 1991), 497-8. 9 Donald L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict (Berkeley, 1985), 298-302. 'o This also applies to other minorities that do not belong to any of the three nations.

  • " See Lijphart, "The Power-Sharing Approach", 497-8. 12 Art. V(4), Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995). `3 Art. III (3)(a). Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina ( 1995). `a Since April 2002, Bosniaks and Croats have to be proportionally represented (according to the 1991 census) in the RS at all levels of government, as do Serbs in the Federation. In addition, "others" (erg. Roma or Jews) are also no longer excluded from political representation in the entities. Office of the High Representative, Decision on Constitutional Amendments in Republika Srpska, 19 April 2002. 15 The complete list of the joint institutions' responsibilities is listed in Art. III ( 1 ), Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995).

  • 16 Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Partial Decision, Case No. U5/98-I (29/30 January 2000), para. 32. wight Herpreger, Distri6ution of Powers and Functions in Federal Systems (Ottawa: Government of Canada, Privy Council Office, 1991), at powersl.html. '$ Art. 1(1), Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995). ). '9 Marcus Cox, State-Building and Post-War Reconstruction: Lessons from Bosnia: The Rehabilitation of War-Torn Societies (Geneva, 2001), 6. zo Schneider has compared Bosnia with the European Union, referring to the German Constitutional Court describing the EU as a "Staatenverbund" (Association of States). Heinrich Schneider, "Friede fur Bosnien-Herzegowina? Das Vertragswerk von Dayton als Herausforderung fur Europa" [Peace for Bosnia-Herzegovina? The Dayton Treaty as a Challenge for Europe], 19(1) Integration (1996), 4. 2' Although defense is not enumerated as a competence of the state (Art. III (1), ), Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995)), "each member of the Presidency shall, by virtue of the office, have civilian command authority over armed forces". Ibid., Art V (5)(a). zz This is enshrined in the constitution and has been reiterated by the Supreme Court of Bosnia (Case No. U5/98-1 (29/30 January 2000), para. 10), see also Omer Ibrahimagic, Supremacija Bosne i Hercegovine nad Entitetama/Supremacy of Bosnia and Herzegovina over its Entities (Sarajevo, 1999). This interpretation is not undisputed, especially by politicians and legal scholars from the Republika Srpska.

  • z3 Cvetan Cvetkovski, e.g., also takes this position in his analysis of the Dayton Accords. Cvetan Cvetkovski, "The Constitutional Status of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Accordance with the Dayton Accords", 4(2/15) Balkan Forum ( 1996), 115-6. 24 Brcko Arbitration Tribunal for Dispute over Inter-Entity Boundary in Brcko Area, Final Award (5 March 1999), paras. 10-11. The status of Brcko resembles the role of the District of Columbia within the USA. zs As argued more radically by John Mearsheimer and Chaim Kaufman, see e.g. Chaim D. Kaufman, "When All Else Fails: Ethnic Population Transfers and Partitions in the Twentieth Century", 23121 1 International Security (1998), 120-56.

  • zb Will Kymlicka, "Is Federalism a Viable Alternative to Secession?" in Percy B. Lehnig (ed.), Theories of Secession (London/New York, 1998), 139-40. 27 Ibid., 141. ze Reiner Baubock, "Multinational Federalism: Territorial or Cultural Autonomy?" IWE Working Paper 15 (2001), 6. z9 There have been severe criticisms of the role of international agencies and their policies. See e.g. David Chandler, Bosnia: Faking Democracy After Dayton (London/Sterling, VA, 1999). 3° Annex 10, Dayton Peace Accords, 1995.

  • 3' At the Conference of the supervisory Peace Implementation Council (PIC) in Bonn in December 1997, the HR was given the permission to remove officials from office who violate the DPA and. if the legislative bodies of Bosnia are nnable to do so, to impose laws. Bonn Peace Implementation Conference 1997, Bosma and Herzegovina 1998: Self-sustaining Structures, Bonn, 10 December 1997, at http://www.ohrint, docu/d9712 10a-htm. '= The decisions are listed at the website of the Office of the High Representative at " See e.g. Dzemal Sokolovic, "Social Reconstruction and Moral Restoration", in Dzemal Sokolovic and Florian Bieber (eds.), Reconstructing Multiethnic Societies: The Case of Bosnia Herzegovina (Aldershot, 2001), 93-106. 34 once of the successes is the introduction of uniform Bosnia-wide number-plates, which have proved instrumental in re-establishing cross-entity travel. The property laws enacted by the High Representative also facilitate minority returns. 'S Cox, State-Building and Post-War Reconstruction, 12-5. 36 This difficulty of dependency on international actors can also be observed with international NGOs,. See Zarko Papic. "Ownership Dependency - Lessons (not) Learnt in Bosnia and Herzegovina", in

  • Christoph Solioz and Svebor Dizdarevic (eds.), Ownership Process in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo, 2001), 51-63. " In addition, in a further attempt to ensure their neutrality, none of the international members of these bodies is allowed to be from Croatia and Yugoslavia. Arts. VI-VII, Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995); Annex 6, Dayton Peace Accords (1995). 'e See e.g. Obrad Kesic, "Politics, Power, and Decision Making in the Serb Republic", 43(2) Problems of Post-Communism (1996), 56-64.

  • '9 Steven L. Burg and Paul S. Shoup, The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Ethnic Conflict and International Intervention (Amronk, NY, 1999), 63-9. 40 For the election results, see at 41 Maja Jurcic, "Bosnien und Herzegowina: Wahlen unter internationaler Verwaltung", 40(11-12) Sadosteuropa (2000), 569-71. 42 See e.g. the pohcy priorities outline by a leading member of the Social democratic Party, Sejfudin Tokic, "Present and Future in Bosnia and Herzegovina", in Christoph Solioz and Svebor Dizdarevic (eds.), Ownership Process in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo, 2001), 8-12. °3 Burg and Shoup, The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 377.

  • aa For details, see European Stability Initiative, "Reshaping International Priorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Part Three, The End of the Nationalist Regimes and the Future of the Bosnian State", (Berlin/Brussels/Sarajevo, 22 March 2001). 45 He was dismissed by the High Representative in March 2001 after declaring the Croat self-government. '6 Dnevni Avaz, 16 February 2001; see also International Crisis Group, "Turning Strife to Advantage: A Blueprint to Integrate the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina" (Sarajevo/Brussels, 15 March 2001). " Zvonimir Jukic, "The End of Croat Self-Government in Bosnia?" AIM Sarajevo, 15 November 2001. aa AFP, 8 October 2001. 49 dpa, 29 November 2001. 50 Jurcic, "Bosnien und Herzegowina ...", 566-8.

  • 51 AP, 6 May 2001; Reuters, 7 May 2001. sz A number of politicians in the Federation accused the SDS of organizing the events, see .\53 SRNA, 8 May200l; Beta, 16 May 2001. 54 AFP, 3 November 2000. sus In Sarajevo, for example, a counterdemonstration was held by Bosniak nationalists and smaller attacks were carried out against Serbs in the city. sus Wolfgang Petritsch, "Bosnien und Herzegowina funf Jahre nach Dayton", 40(4) Sadosteuropa Mitteilungen (2000), 301.

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