ICG: ‘B&H is heading towards disintegration’

ICG: ‘B&H is heading towards disintegration’

 

By Mladen Dragojlovic – Banja Luka

International Crisis Group  (ICG) issued at Wednesday new report, in which it is emphasized that Bosnia and Herzegovina poses little risk of deadly conflict, but after billions of dollars in foreign aid and intrusive international administration, and despite a supportive European neighbourhood, it is slowly spiraling towards disintegration.

“Its three communities’ conflicting goals and interests are a permanent source of crisis, exacerbated by a constitution that meets no group’s needs. The political elite enjoys mastery over all government levels and much of the economy, with no practical way for voters to dislodge it. The European Union (EU) imposes tasks BiH cannot fulfill. A countrywide popular uprising torched government buildings and demanded urgent reforms in February 2014, but possible solutions are not politically feasible; those that might be politically feasible seem unlikely to work. Bosnia’s leaders, with international support, must begin an urgent search for a new constitutional foundation”, stressed ICG.

In the report, ICG says that the heart of the problem is in Annex 4 to the Dayton Peace Agreement, known as the constitution (and in several changes imposed by courts and international officials), which defines BiH as a state of two entities, in effect, but not explicitly federal, but also the state of three constituent peoples (Bosniaks, Croats, Serbs), and yet, simultaneously, of all citizens.

“The tensions created by constitutional schizophrenia are pushing BiH to the breaking point. A new design is needed: a normal federation, territorially defined, without a special role for constituent peoples, but responsive to the interests of its three communities and the rights of all citizens”, ICG states in the report.

ICG added that Bosnia is unimaginable without the work of international officials, who did much to shape political institutions and implement peace, but the international community has become more of an obstacle than help. According to the report, BiH is trapped in a cycle of poorly thought-out, internationally-imposed tasks designed to show leaders’ readiness to take responsibility, but which put such a scenario forever out of reach. The only way to encourage leaders to take responsibility is to treat the country normally, without extraneous tests or High Representatives.

The report is issued just a day after the President of the Republic of Srpska (RS), Milorad Dodik, reiterated in public that RS has the potential to be an independent state, and just days before the commemoration for the victims of the genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.