Monday, 1 February 2016

The Future of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Twenty Years After Dayton:
The Future of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Dr. Mozammel Haque

A meeting on “Twenty Years After Dayton: The Future of Bosnia and Herzegovina” was held at Chatham House, London on Tuesday, 26th of January, 2016 under the chairmanship of Dr. Vesna Bojicie-Dzelilovic, Assistant Professional Research Fellow, Department of International Development: Human Security and Civil Society Research Unit, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Dr.  Bojicie-Dzelilovic said as a chair of the meeting, “It is an opportune moment to reflect what had happened.”  “We have in our midst panellists two distinguished speakers,” she said. They are Rt. Hon. Lord Paddy Ashdown, International Community High Representative for Bosnia And Herzegovina and Dr. Zoran Pajie, Visiting Professor, Kings College.  She then added, “unfortunately, the third one is not present with us but hopefully or via Skype the third guest” who is  Setlans Cenie via Skype); Advisor to the President, Republic Srpska (2000-05), Minister of Finance, Srpska 2005-2006. She then requested Lord Paddy Ashdown who have a distinguished career leading the international law at various domains to the government to the civil society, to take the floor.

Lord Paddy Ashdown
Speaking about the success of the Dayton Agreement signed in 1995, Rt. Hon. Lord Paddy Ashdown said, “The agreement thrown out between the neighbours; the neighbours who came from all sides as from ethnical, as an example, in terms of power, money and powers. They will have to act in military fashion in order to end the war at their accounts framework for creating a kind of stability and created a degree of. They are very unstable, very uncomfortable, very untidy; very unacceptable from the traditional Western views,” but he added, “I can tell you that it is true Bosnia expected today out of ashes.

Lord Ashdown also said, “Any peace effort, however, any long time it takes, is better than any continuing of the war.” 

Speaking about how the Dayton Agreement was reached and its outcome, Lord Ashdown narrated, “Dayton Agreement, I think, I had to be made one of the stages of building state. It is the compromise creating a stabilising peace.  I think I arrived at Bosnia Herzegovina. The Dayton agreement had been completed. Peace has been stabilised and secured; wind down the presence of military; our job from my mandate was to leave them behind the sight.”

“I said when I got there to treat the Dayton agreement as floor not as ceiling of a building flat. We did that; my predecessor and I with our Bosnian colleagues, in partnership, very brave politicians - one of whom drew a challenge brave risk to do;  that functioning single judiciary -  who took proper judiciary –working with proper coded max much better than Zoran,” mentioned Lord Paddy Ashdown.

Lord Ashdown also said, “We brought the armies together controlled by the State’s presidency; three intelligence services together under the law. We stretched best system in Europe; for intelligence services we combined the customs services one which we created a DAT system any other nation on earth. We restructured that, provided the fair tax group and a pretty and reliable source of funds of the state; we got to de-conflict now;  turn the economics and which were killing for this So we got small businesses and begun to turn the economy around and begun to grow and begun to grow for the first time. I have regretted, left too early. Perhaps that’s why, modern state police service decentralised but nevertheless that’s why they are functional.”

However, Lord Paddy Ashdown made his case. He said, “I would make the case that the First ten years of Dayton Agreement came all up to mark; not done by the High Representative party, done by some dictatorships international community or great efforts which went beyond the Dayton agreement; of the functional state through the democratic institutions of Bosnia-and Herzegovina passed through its Parliament; its good pressure but it was done by them throughout.”

He continued, “And then another ten years of Bosnia-and Herzegovina were post-conflict resolution; post conflict peace resolution; million refugees were returned home; never happened. No international involvement from either side. There was freedom of travel within the country.”

Lord Ashdown also mentioned, “I would argue that Bosnia-and Herzegovina, thanks to the tremendous work done by my predecessors, overcome many problems,  was moving forward at a substantial space; absolutely commendable. We not only completed our journey to Europe but one of Europe’s, I believe, it is it does; so it would become reverse; it would went into reverse because of the international community.  Brussels lost it’s to continue to drive it forward. There were more leverage in Bosnia and Herzegovina Brussels has than any other. Therefore, the sets of people took forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Draws creating an apart a unified state become successful forces; remarkable.”

Speaking about the last ten years of the Dayton Agreement, Lord Ashdown said, “Last ten years all works were done have now been either begun to be unravelled or the stage is set in. By accident mosque was drawn on Friday night. I cannot find that very unlikely; much much likely case of rest of all trouble of dis-functioning.”

Dr. Zoran Pajie,
Visiting Professor, Kings College
Dr. Zoran Pajie, Visiting Professor of Kings College, London, spoke first of three points - Institutional and Social Structure; international community and other options for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Institutional and Social Structure
Speaking about institutional and social structure, Dr. Pajie said, “Today we are talking about a country which can be categorised as a pre-institutional democracy, or a democracy of virtual institutions. Behind that smoke screen rules the real power of the LEADERS (ethnic community or political party) who control all levels of decision-making process. Consequently, Bosnia is still without a decent army of civil servants who would be able to uphold professional integrity and independence of state institutions. And still without genuine Bosnians and Herzegovinians among political and intellectual establishments. My cynical friend, a Bosnian diplomat, summarised this as – the Bosnians have emigrated from the country, leaving there Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs to run the show.”

Dr. Pajie also mentioned, “The highest governing bodies (Parliament and CoM, including others at all levels of power) are marginalised by national (?), ethnic interests” and promoted leaders as the guardians of those interests. And if you listen to them, they are not in a statehood mode; they are not even in entity mode. They are programmed to think and act through national/ethnic lenses. Conveniently, visiting state leaders or EU high officials meet with 5 or 6 national leaders from Bosnia. They rarely meet with heads of state institutions in Bosnia, be it parliament or Council of Ministers; and for a good reason because institutions are irrelevant. “

Dr. Pajie pointed out, “Public perception and low level of confidence in institutions. In this context, judiciary has made a huge progress towards independent appointment procedure of judges and prosecutors, but it is still struggling to fend off the pressure of political leaders – Dodik and Izetbegovic. Professional people speak the same language (Analysis on corruption: roundtables in Sarajevo and Banja Luka). Informal practices are flourishing in all walks of life. Instead of pursuing “know-how” and apply it as a social concept, Bosnian society is based on the “Know-how” principle, nepotism and social stagnation. There are serious data suggesting that Bosnia and Herzegovina is now lagging far behind Serbia and Montenegro. People in Bosnia and Herzegovina are well known for expressing their frustration relentlessly in public places and for moaning and complaining from Sun up to Sun down.”

Dr. Pajie said, “This is such a shame. It seems on the path of recovery 10 years. Ana Karenina may apply to Bosnia: “All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion.” Does it sound as sensational as pa ruski.”

What makes Bosnia so different and unhappy?
Dr. Pajie maintained, “The country has a unique burden of travelling along two parallel roads in order to reach the end of its transition and achieve stability and functionality: it is transition, times two! One is the task of overcoming the gap between one-party authoritarian rule to parliamentary democracy and free market. This road is very slow and bumpy, and exhausting enough even for countries that had not experienced war or serious ethnic conflict. The other path is the reconstruction following massive war crimes (transitional justice mechanisms) which is incredibly painful as well as emotionally charged and will torture the Bosnian society for generations to come.”

2) International Community
Speaking about the Dayton Agreement, Dr. Pajie said, “Dayton Accords as a masterful diplomatic enterprise, which by stopping the war, gave all parties something to celebrate and simultaneously lots to complain about, opened a huge field for interpreting this agreement. It took a few clever and honest domestic politicians and very few forward looking doers from the International Community, including Paddy (Ashdown), to embark on the functional and extensive interpretation of the Constitution (Annex 4) and revise it by de facto changes. EXAMPLES!!! (Ministries on the State level, State Court and Prosecutor’s Office, new legislation – all survived for more than 10 years and are still alive and kicking, by and large. It was a show-down demonstrating that Dayton could work rather well, under the circumstances.”

Speaking about the negative aspect of the Dayton Peace Accords, Dr. Pajie said, “The implementation of Peace Accords started on the two wrong feet of the International Community in 1996. One foot was showing on TV the sessions of the three-partite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The International Community was eager to show the world images of three members (Croat, Muslim, Serb) sitting together, smiling, exchanging pleasantries and not kicking each other under the table. The other International Community foot trampled on the hastily organized elections in the country in September, less than a year after the war. What that did was to legitimise the war-lords and corrupt national leaders. The OSCE proclaimed that the elections were “free and fair”. In one hand, economy and rule of law were disregarded at the expense of a “quell-tell” political settlement.”

Dr. Pajie also mentioned, “However, the concession the EU is making following every Dodik’s trick is pathetic! Structural dialogue, referendum on that, rejecting the ruling of the Constitutional Court, etc. Whatever Dodik pulls from his sleeve – there is Lady Ashdown parachuting to Banja Luka; Signora Mogherini knocks at the door of the Presidential Palace. Can anybody stand up to the RS President and challenge him to have one of the referenda? TO HAVE HIS CAKE AND EAT IT!”

Dr. Pajie mentioned there is something inherently wrong about the international community institutions on the ground. He pointed out, “The main problem seems to be lack of continuity and long term planning. It is understandable that the flow of officials and experts is very intensive, but newly appointed officials often seem insufficiently briefed by their predecessors and want to do things from scratch and in “my own way”. This sends a confusing message to national officials, to say the least, who in turn try to build personal relationships with their international colleagues, instead of cultivating a business-like institutional cooperation.”

Dr. Pajie also continued with respect to international community. He said, “The international community (IC) – including governments, international organisations, NGOs, development and aid projects, etc. is facing the challenge of transforming itself in accordance with the requirements of transformation processes in countries of operation. The IC is long ado of switch from lecturing and dictating to the mode of engaging with local communities and sharing risks and responsibilities. All breakthroughs the IC would attribute to its leading role; all failures are blamed on the “locals”. It simply does not add up!”

Talking about the options for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr. Pajie said, “Bosnia and Herzegovina is widely defined and known, internally and externally, as a country of 3 peoples, often labelled as “constitutive” ones, as opposed to Others and minorities. I have no problem with this QUOTE FROM THE Preamble. However, 3 peoples were, by Dayton, squized into 2 entities. The Serbs have got their own single entity, but Bosniaks and Croats were offered a double room to share – take it, or leave it. I know very well the reason for that, but it would take another panel to elaborate on it. The point is that such a solution escapes any constitutional logic, does not seem to be workable in practice, leaves sharing lodgers frustrated and feeling betrayed… Furthermore, it brought a question upon the political agenda across the board – the “Croat Question” of which are all aware, but no one is able to define it.”

Dr.Pajie also mentioned about the Second and third entity. “Second and third entity are obviously emerging from this TWO-IN-ONE, “solution” as a hypothetical option. Cementing the divisions, resettlement of respective ethnic groups, and fragmentation of institutional structure.”

He also mentioned about Federal Principle. He said, “Federal Principle is the option, basically redefining the entity concept. Is there another criterion for federal units except ethnicity? Is this solution lost by the policy of territorial nationalism and overall fragmentation pursued for the last 20 years?”

EU Free Territory. Dr. Pajie mentioned another aspect EU Free Territory; “it is bringing a de facto international protectorate status to a higher level. Direct economic, security, banking et al. links with Brussels. Use your imagination!”

Total dissolution: Dr. Pajie mentioned about Total Dissolution. “This is hanging over us all. Too scary to be talked about in a democratic discourse and civilised manner. But we better be prepared for an outcome of this kind!” he said.

Concluding remarks
Concluding his speech, Dr. Pajie made the final remarks saying, “In spite of all, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a failed state.”

Third speaker: Svetlana Cenie
The third speaker was Svetlana Cenie, Advisor to the President, Republic Srpska (2000-05), Minister of Finance, Srpska (2005-2006). He could not come. He was contacted via Skype. His opinion about the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is pessimistic. He talked about the powers were ‘abused and excused’.  He mentioned ‘international corruptions’.

Speaking about 20 years of Dayton agreement, Mr. Cenie mentioned about the ‘poor statistics’, political role of the same government’. In this connection, he also mentioned ‘democracy’, ‘rule of law’.

Mr. Cenie said, “I believe in ownership accountability and responsibility.”

President Bakir  Izetbegovic
In this connection, I find it worth quoting and worth mentioning the opinion of Mr. Bakir Izetbegovic, the Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who came and visited Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OXCIS), Oxford, on 28 October, 2013. At the OXCIS, President Bakir Izetbegovic gave a lecture entitled “The Quest for Dignity, Freedom and Democracy in the Islamic World: A Bosnian Muslim’s Perspective” on 28 October 2013.  In his lecture, Mr. Izetbegovic mentioned about the complicated government structure.

Complicated government structure
Speaking about the complicated governmental structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina, President Izetbegovic said, “The structures of government established by the Dayton Peace Agreement are very complicated. The decision-making procedures provide too many opportunities to block progress. This is why Bosnia is seriously lagging behind on its path towards membership in the European Union. Forces and actors that devastated Bosnia with military means are still strongly present in its political life, and there is always the danger they will try to complete their war aims by political means, by blocking the state and making its institutions dysfunctional. This must be prevented, and stabilizing reforms must be continued, with the help of the international community.”

Bosnia; a crossroads of civilisations
Rebuilding of the multiethnic matrix is needed. Bosnian President said, “The rebuilding of the multiethnic matrix of Bosnia that was torn by force and crimes must be completed. Bosnia is one of those places where relations and emotions from the whole world entangle and untangle. It is a meeting point, a crossroads of civilizations, a bridge between the East and the West. The restoration and preservation of this microcosm is important not only for Bosnia and the Bosniaks. It is of crucial importance for the whole world. It thus should be supported by the whole world.”

President Bakir Izetbegovic said, “ As Surah Al-Balad conveys to us “We created man into hardship ... to climb the steep trail.” The struggle for freedom, dignity and democracy is akin to climbing a treacherous steep trail. “The Bosnian experience teaches that it is easier to climb this trail if you hold tightly to the rope of faith, morality and knowledge; if you are forgiving; if you are not afraid of freedom; if you are not afraid of the other and the different; if you are inclusive; if you protect and nurture diversity; if you embrace change that brings progress; if you can unite diverse forces around a common cause and if you have leadership that is moderate, wise, patient and genuinely rooted in the nation.” ( For details of his lecture, please visit:

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