Limits to Sovereignty in Bosna & Herzegovina

Part of the International Conflicts series

Valery Perry: Limits to Sovereignty in Statebuilding & Post-War Transition: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Case of Managed Democracy

Valery Perry has lived and worked in Bosnia-Herzegovina since 1999 and spoke of her experiences and personal insights into the region.

Many Serbs understood the ICJ ruling to indicate that they were not guilty of genocide, which has hampered reform efforts and has provided backing for the separation of Republika Srpska.

The implications of the Dayton Accord are that many of the same entities in the war are still fighting, but now it is just politically, especially over power sharing. Conflicts occur over following the letter vs. the spirit of the law.

She questioned the assumption that democracy automatically leads to stability, because the politicians themselves are not always interested in power sharing. Soon after the conflict, many of the ethnic leaders themselves were running for office.

And although politicians are expected to honour the Dayton, they are elected to represent the national agenda of specific ethnic groups. With the 10 year review of Dayton coinciding with elections many politicians have returned to ethnic rhetoric, and voting continues to be based on ethnicity.

She concluded by saying that you cannot have mass atrocities without mass complicity, and this only occurs when violence is normalized.

These notes are from the Cross-Purposes? International Law and Political Settlements conference at the University of Western Ontario, on Jun. 9-10, 2007, with some editorial content added by Omar Ha-Redeye.

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