A pre-election standoff between Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina has taken an ugly turn, with rhetoric from the 1990s war reappearing. Ideally, politicians would make the reforms needed to settle the quarrel but, if not, the internationally appointed high representative should do so.
Lawmakers in Republika Srpska voted to reject state-level court rulings amid growing fears of secession.
Bosnian Serb lawmakers voted to reject top court rulings. National Assembly of self-governing entity Republika Srpska (RS) 27 June voted to suspend rulings by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constitutional court. Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who had long threatened to withdraw from state institutions, 23 June initiated vote after court 19 June changed rules to allow it to convene sessions and make decisions without judges from RS (same rules apply for Bosniak or Croat judges), a move Dodik dismissed as “unconstitutional”. National Assembly’s decision prompted widespread condemnation amid fears RS is moving toward secession. Notably, House of Representatives Speaker Denis Zvizdic 27 June called decision “a direct attack” on constitution and “the beginning of secession”; other govts, notably U.S., same day denounced “reckless attack on the Dayton Peace Agreement”, while EU 28 June said decision is “without legal basis” and marks “clear departure from the expectations that accompanied the granting of EU candidate status”.
RS National Assembly voted to no longer recognise rulings of high representative. RS lawmakers 21 June amended laws allowing entity to no longer recognise decisions made by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s High Representative, Christian Schmidt, international overseer who enjoys broad powers over local authorities. Schmidt 19 June had warned them not to take such measures, saying “they will be sailing in heavy waters”.
This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson speak with Marko Prelec, Crisis Group’s senior consulting analyst for the Balkans, about the elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia’s persisting political divisions and where the country might be headed next.
This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker talks to Crisis Group expert Marko Prelec about the precarious situation in the Western Balkans, as Serb separatism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the frozen Kosovo-Serbia dispute continue to stoke regional instability.
Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries or regions at risk of deadly conflict or escalation thereof in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could enhance prospects for peace and stability.
Trust between Bosnia and Herzegovina’s politicians has broken down following threats from Serb leader Milorad Dodik, the most serious challenge since the 1995 Dayton Accords. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2022, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to mediate the dispute between Bosniak and Croat leaders while supporting an inclusive constitutional reform to reduce the risk of violence.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Balkans expert Marko Prelec about the twin crises facing Bosnia’s multi-ethnic state. They ask if Serbian secessionism and a Croat election boycott could lead to the country’s unravelling a quarter-century after its civil war.
The chief international representative in Bosnia has warned the country may break apart if Bosnian Serbs continue moving toward secession and Bosniaks and Croats do not resolve an electoral dispute. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Marko Prelec and Ashish Pradhan explain the two-pronged crisis.
Political instability keeps growing in the Western Balkans amid geopolitical contests and increased tensions with Russia. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – First Update early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to engage intensively to ensure the political space for avoiding more serious crisis does nto entirely vanish in the Western Balkans.
The Balkans was best known for minority problems. Today, the most bitter conflicts are between parties that appeal to majority ethnic communities. As recent turbulence in Macedonia shows, Eastern Europe could face new dangers if majority populism ends the current stigma against separatism for oppressed small groups.
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