BiH: Dayton Peace Agreement discovered at last

BiH: Dayton Peace Agreement discovered at last

Republic of Srpska police arrested one male person in the city of Pale, RS’s former political centre near Sarajevo. During the search at the man’s home they found the original version of the Dayton Peace Agreement.

The arrested man is unofficially identified as Zeljko Kuntos, former driver and bodyguard of RS National Assembly ex-Speaker, Dragan Kalinic. How Kuntos got this important document, is still unknown. It is possible that somebody stole the U.S. Declaration of Independence, since the Dayton Peace Agreement is the document which stopped the three-and-half long war in BiH of which, the local  Constitution is part, more particularly in Annex 4. As it was reported, Kuntos tried to sell the document which is written in English, with the original signatures of all participants, for €50,000.

Nevertheless, police found it before the man could find a buyer for it.

The story begins back in 2008 when former member of BiH Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, informed the media that BiH does not have the original document signed at the American military base in Dayton, Ohio.

The English language version is considered to be the original one, since all other versions were translated from it as reference documents.

Police were in search of it but, after several years, they came to the conclusion that the Dayton Peace Agreement, which the former BiH president and later member of the state Presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, had personally brought to BiH, was not in the country any more.

According to some analysts, it is possible that the Agreement somehow was in the possession of another Serb politician, Nikola Koljevic, who was member of the Serb delegation during Dayton negotiations.

After he committed suicide, the document went lost until October 31, 2017. It is interesting that the police found it just a day before the 22nd anniversary of the beginning of the Dayton negotiations, which had lasted three weeks later.

The formal signing ceremony was held in Paris, France, in December 1995, but nobody consider that date as an important one in BiH’s history. Apart from making jokes about it, the case was almost forgotten as many commissions and institutions believed that the Dayton Peace Agreement was not in the state archives anymore.

The real question is – what now?

OK, BiH once again has the Dayton Peace Agreement but it does not mean that the country will find political peace. Political leaders are swearing that they respect the Agreement but, in fact, they violate it every time they can.

Simultaneously, the strongest political accusation in BiH is to “disrespect the Dayton Agreement” and because of that many politicians were removed from their positions.

Annex 7., which speaks about the return of refugees, was never fully implemented. Also, the military aspect of the Agreement was implemented in the bigger part but not as it was signed. Even the territorial division between entities, 59% for the Federation of BiH and 41% for the RS, is now altered.

Due to this, many leaders and analysts in the Federation of BiH advocate the new conference, Dayton 2, which is supposed to be held in Brussels. As a main reason they use the complicated structure of the country, defined by the Agreement, which does not function right now, in any field. The fact is that BiH have 13 governments (10 in the Federation of BiH’s cantons, the Federation of BiH’s central Government, the RS Government and the state Council of Ministers) and more than 130 ministries. A large number of the other institutions means that the state governing apparatus is impossible to control. This lack of control cultivated fertile soil for corruption, nepotism and all other deviations in the society. Also, so wide a public sector eats the most of state income, resulting in impoverishing ordinary citizens more and more each day.

On the other side, RS leaders are against any change of the Dayton Peace Agreement blaming all problems to the complicated structure in the Federation of BiH, which, as they think, is the only aspect which must be changed in the country. It is commonly agreed that any change of the Agreement will lead to the dissolution of RS as BiH’s entity. As they repeatedly emphasise, this will endanger the Serbian nation in BiH against a majority of Bosniaks and Croats. All of the RS leaders, from ruling parties to opposition, advocate the “full respect of the Dayton Peace Agreement” but very often they forget it and act contrary to this document.

The news that the original version of the Dayton Peace Agreement is of historical importance but, without the political will for an agreement on basic needs of the state and its citizens, it will remain just a  “piece of document”. Either it is in the possession of the state or not, is not of great importance…/IBNA