Balkan Chill: The Intrinsic Weakness of the Dayton Accords

By Crawford, Charles | Harvard International Review, Winter 1998 | Go to article overview

Balkan Chill: The Intrinsic Weakness of the Dayton Accords


Crawford, Charles, Harvard International Review


BY CHARLES CRAWFORD

Former British Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina

It is now three years since the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina--usually known as the Dayton Accords--was signed in Paris on December 14, 1995. We now may take stock.

First, the good news. Following Dayton an unprecedented international military and civilian pro-Bosnia effort was mobilized. In record time it has restored normal daily life in most parts of the country. Under close NATO-led supervision the rival ethnic armies have returned to barracks. Electricity, gas, water and other services have been repaired. Bosnians can travel reasonably easily between Bosnia and Herzegovina's two constituent entities, Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, thanks to new ethnically neutral car license plates and reforms in the entity police forces.

The World Bank has been promoting modern public financing and transparency. European customs teams have done an outstanding job in reducing smuggling and attendant corruption. The politics of the situation are likewise very different. Former enemies now calmly discuss the country's future in a way unthinkable in 1996. High Representative Carlos Westendorp has pushed media reform across the country, giving a voice to the moderate opposition.

I witnessed these changes during my time in Bosnia and Herzegovina from July 1996 to July 1998. When asked by visitors to asses the situation, I would respond that it remained bad but was a marked improvement over the catastrophic conditions a few months earlier. When the war ended, Sarajevo was seen as an appalling symbol of failure by the international community. Today, a first-time visitor to Sarajevo will find many buildings still devastated or damaged, but the city is alive and busy once again - not yet a success, but at least a symbol of rebirth and hope.

The bad news is that the Dayton accords stopped the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina without ending it. Politicians on all sides have continued to pursue war by other means, trying to consolidate war-time gains and secure more territory for their ethnic community. Despite intense international efforts to return Bosnians to their pre-war homes, maneuvers by pro-Karadzic extremists aimed at preserving the results of earlier ethnic cleansing have prevented displaced Bosniacs and Croats from returning to Republika Srpska. Few Serbs have returned to the Federation. On paper every Bosnian citizen enjoys full civil rights across the country. In practice three separate ethnic administrations each favor "their" community and discriminate against the others.

The Dayton process aimed to re-unite the country. Yet despite Dayton's successes, Bosnia and Herzegovina in many respects is still as divided as it was when the war ended. Why? First and foremost, Dayton built the peace process around the very political movements and leaders who conducted the war, thus entrenching a divisive ethnic approach to post-war Bosnian politics. Second, the Accords did not create a firm civilian implementation structure. Third, insufficient attention was given to the implications of non-cooperation by Bosnia and Herzegovina's neighbors in Belgrade and Zagreb.

It is not surprising that on the Bosnian side the Dayton negotiations were led in effect by the three political movements (Bosniac, Serb and Croat) which depended most heavily on ethnic mobilization: these movements defined the Bosnian problem for the international community and they alone could deliver the three rival armies. It also is not surprising that the resulting vision of democracy enshrined in the new Bosnia and Herzegovina constitution agreed at Dayton is unsatisfactory.

This constitution provides for elections to the Bosnia and Herzegovina three-person Presidency on an ethnic/territorial basis. Accordingly, the Presidency now consists of one Bosnian and one Croat, each directly elected from the territory of the Federation, and one Serb directly elected from the territory of Republika Srpska.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Balkan Chill: The Intrinsic Weakness of the Dayton Accords
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.