Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Constitutional politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina are dominated by ethno-politics and the results of the 1992–1995 war. The constitution contained in the Dayton peace agreement of 1995 established a stable but inefficient consociational arrangement based on an ethno-territorial division of the country with particular rights for the three constituent peoples: Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs. In 2009, the European Court of Human Rights found that the constitution discriminates citizens who do not claim to belong to any of these constituent peoples. Furthermore, the European Union established constitutional reform as a precondition for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s further EU integration. However, the political representatives of the constituent peoples have resisted any calls for change so far.

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The Dayton Peace Agreement brought peace to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in 1995, but at the same time, it established one of the most complex states in the world. Due to its federal structure, institutional organization and check-and-balance mechanisms, BiH’s efforts to become a functional and selfsustaining state have been blocked. Constitutional reform is without a question something that needs to be accomplished in the coming years. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg demanded a change in favour of the political rights of minorities in BiH Constitution only in December 2009. The paper presents the normative aspects of the “Dayton” Constitution amendment procedure, and the current process of setting up state institutions being the result of the transfer of competencies from the lower levels to the state. The last two chapters discuss actual debates on future constitutional reform, also providing the authors’ critical review of potential reform that could take place before, but also after the general elections in October 2010. The federal structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina, divisions of authority between state and lower levels of the government, institutions and veto-mechanisms must go through a comprehensive reform, which will in turn make BiH a country that is ready to join and equally participate in the European Union.
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Increasingly, an important—even central—issue in constitutional transitions is dealing with the diversity of populations in different regions, i.e., with territorial cleavages. When this territorial dimension is important, it can greatly complicate both the process of constitution making and the design of legitimate and stable constitutional institutions. Put simply, the theory and practice of constitution making often implicitly presupposes that there is a single people, and that the purpose of constitution making is for that entity to decide on the constitutional framework under which this people will govern itself. However, in many cases the very idea of a single people is not accepted—or is seriously qualified by deep diversity that creates a layered or composite national identity. Such demographic diversity can have serious implications for how constitutional processes are conducted and how constitutional institutions are designed, especially when it has a strong territorial dimension. This is an increasingly pervasive phenomenon in contemporary constitution making. In the last two or three decades, many countries that have engaged in constitutional debates have had to address (or are continuing to address) the territorial character and structure of the state. The diversity of these countries suggests that no single process or institutional design provides policy makers with a simple formula to address their different circumstances. This paper presents a framework for considering constitutional transitions that involve significant territorial cleavages. It is designed to assist political leaders, citizens and advisers engaged in a process of constitutional transition where the territorial character and structure of the state is an issue alongside other constitutional questions. After briefly discussing the significance of constitutions and the nature of constitutional transitions, it considers the political nature of territorial cleavages, the challenges they can present for constitutional processes that are not always framed with territorial issues in mind, and some options for constitutional design that may help manage or accommodate such cleavages.
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This paper was presented at the first plenary session, International Political Science Association (IPSA) congress, Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 1991. 1. I owe this parallel to the unpublished work of J. Elster. 2. In their expectation of a proletarian world revolution, the founders of the Soviet Union have dispensed themselves with indicating the geographical placement of the state in its official name, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This is probably the only modern case of a state’s doing so without naming its place in space. Even the United States of America operates with such a self-localization, although it is a misleading one since it concerns the entire continent. In the case of the Soviet Union, what was perhaps meant as an invitation to other “Soviet Republics” that might be emerging elsewhere in the world to join the Union turns precisely into an invitation to all the bearers of hitherto oppressed and denied ethnic and national identities to secede, for they no longer have any reason to include themselves in the now empty category of “Soviet citizen.” 3. The words are those of Wolfram Engels, a leading German neoclassical economist and editor of Wirtschaftswoche, a major business weekly. He also refers to the exemplary cases of Pinochet’s Chile and South Korea. 4. Cf. J. Habermas’s defense of “civil disobedience” as conducted in the name of widely shared norms and values of civility itself.
When the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina broke out a baffled world sought explanations from a range of experts who offered a variety of reasons for the conflict. The author of this study takes Bosnian affairs seriously and in so doing makes it much easier to grasp why the war occurred.
By looking through the prism of the West's involvement in the breakup of Yugoslavia, this book presents a new examination of the end of the Cold War in Europe. Incorporating declassified documents from the CIA, the administration of George H.W. Bush, and the British Foreign Office; evidence generated by The Hague Tribunal; and more than forty personal interviews with former diplomats and policy makers, Glaurdic exposes how the realist policies of the Western powers failed to prop up Yugoslavia's continuing existence as intended, and instead encouraged the Yugoslav Army and the Serbian regime of Slobodan Miloševic to pursue violent means. The book also sheds light on the dramatic clash of opinions within the Western alliance regarding how to respond to the crisis. Glaurdic traces the origins of this clash in the Western powers' different preferences regarding the roles of Germany, Eastern Europe, and foreign and security policy in the future of European integration. With subtlety and acute insight, The Hour of Europe provides a fresh understanding of events that continue to influence the shape of the post-Cold War Balkans and the whole of Europe.
This book is an authoritative account of ethnic cleansing and its partial undoing in the Bosnian wars from 1990 to the present. The book combines a bird's-eye view of the entire war from onset to aftermath with a micro-level account of three towns that underwent ethnic cleansing and later the return of refugees. Through the lens of critical geopolitics, which highlights the power of both geopolitical discourse and spatial strategies, the book focuses on the two attempts to remake the ethnic structure of Bosnia since 1991. The first attempt was by ascendant ethnonationalist forces that tried to eradicate the mixed ethnic structures of Bosnia's towns, villages and communities. While these forces destroyed tens of thousands of homes and lives, they failed to destroy Bosnia-Herzegovina as a polity. The second attempt followed the war. The international community, in league with Bosnian officials, tried to undo the demographic consequences of ethnic cleansing. This latter effort has moved in fits and starts, but as the book shows, it has re-made Bosnia, producing a country that has moved beyond the stark segregationist geography created by ethnic cleansing.
While it may be difficult to achieve and maintain stable democratic governments in countries with deep religious, ideological, linguistic, cultural, or ethnic cleavages, Lijphart argues that it is not at all impossible. Through the analysis of political systems in six continents, he demonstrates that what he calls consociational democracy can be successful in severely divided or plural societies. "Here, once again, Arend Lijphart is directing our attention to matters which will surely engage much of the attention of students of comparative politics in the next decade." G. Bingham Powell, Jr., American Political Science Review "A study which can speak to such a wide audience in political science deserves a warm welcome from the profession." Government and Opposition "A copybook example of the comparative method of political analysis, as well as indispensable reading for all who have an interest in the nature and prospects of representative democracy, whether in Europe or beyond."-The Times Higher Education Supplement "This well-written work, containing a wealth of information on politics of many diverse nations, is highly recommended."-Library Journal
The citizens of Bosnia are united in wanting EU accession and its benefits. However, the constitution as it stands will greatly inhibit Bosnia's ability to move toward accession. Under the current constitution, ethnically based political parties still can thwart the state and prevent Bosnia from entering the EU. The constitution vests power in two entities, the Federation and the Republika Srpska, granting most governmental functions to them and only the most limited powers to the central government. Despite numerous state-building reforms, it is questionable whether the state can implement the broad range of measures the EU requires for accession. With the high representative's departure scheduled for June 2007, the state's capacity to implement the accession requirements becomes critical. A recent report by the Venice Commission outlines the reforms necessary to prepare the state for the accession process. Only Bosnia's politicians can undertake the fundamental changes required for accession. In response to this challenge the leaders of the major political parties undertook a consensus-driven process facilitated by representatives of the Institute, the Public International Law and Policy Group, and the Dayton Project. The goal was to produce a package of constitutional amendments by October 2005 to strengthen the state. Over twelve months, representatives developed amendments clarifying group rights, individual and minority rights, and mechanisms for protecting the "vital national interests" of Bosnia's constituent peoples. They also included reforms to strengthen the government and the powers of the prime minister, reduce the president's duties, and streamline parliamentary procedures. The parties presented their agreement to parliament, and on April 26, 2006, the package failed by two votes to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority. To answer the question of where Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) goes from here, the parties decided to wait until after elections in October 2006 to resubmit the package to parliament, in hopes that its political alignment will change enough to ensure passage.
Entity-voting in the Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly is a veto mechanism in Bosnia's consociational institutional setting and an important reason for the country's orientation towards the political status quo. An empirical analysis of the number and nature of adopted and rejected draft laws during the legislative period 2006–2010, embedded in George Tsebelis's veto player approach, leads to the conclusion that the veto players in the parliament – either delegates from Republika Srpska or delegates from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina – have pushed the consociational system of checks and balances to its extremes. Entity-voting enables the veto players to “hijack” the parliament for their exclusionary ethnic interests and discourages cooperation and compromise between the veto players. Significant legislation, which in the present article is defined as legislation relevant for the European Partnership, faces severe obstacles to getting passed. In the light of these findings, the article discusses three policy implications: institutional redesign, a change of the actors, and an active role of the European Union for providing the actors with a realistically achievable goal which they equally share. This should reset the current calculus of self-interest and encourage cooperation between the veto players.
Two American-based political geographers and the head of a Bosnian public opin- ion research organization present and discuss the results of public opinion polls related to the tenth anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords. The paper reviews talks between Bosnia- Herzegovina (BiH) and the European Union (EU) aimed at signing a Stabilization and Asso- ciation Agreement that should pave the way for eventual membership of BiH in the EU, a process that would stimulate reform of BiH's notoriously complex governance structure. The most recent constitutional change proposals are reviewed, and results of public opinion sur- veys (N = 614-2000 in late 2005) on constitutional change, reform of the governance struc- ture of BiH state, and the Dayton Peace Accords after ten years are presented and discussed. Journal of Economic Literature, Classification Numbers: I31, O15, O19. 2 figures, 9 tables,
Krieg und Frieden in Bosnien und Herzegowina
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Mi, građani etnopolisa
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Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina of December 14
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Amendment I to the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina
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