Toward Peace in Bosnia: Implementing the Dayton Accords

Toward Peace in Bosnia: Implementing the Dayton Accords

Toward Peace in Bosnia: Implementing the Dayton Accords

Toward Peace in Bosnia: Implementing the Dayton Accords

Excerpt

By the end of 1999, the enormous international effort to implement the peace agreement that ended Bosnia's civil war in November 1995 had gone on longer than the war itself. Two basic concerns animated international activities in 1995: first, that war would not resume; and second, in the absence of war, that Bosnia would rebuild for itself a just peace, which international observers by and large considered a multiethnic one. Over five years later, neither concern has been conclusively resolved. Massive hostilities are unlikely to resume, but armed conflict over more targeted objectives remains a sufficient worry that international peacekeepers show no inclination to leave. More troubling, the parties to Bosnia's peace have resisted committing themselves credibly to a common political design for the country, leaving most of Bosnia's population under the governance of monoethnic authorities and the country's unity as yet unrealized.

Several years of peace implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina have not been without significant accomplishments: several rounds of internationally certified elections have been held at national, subnational, and local levels; the power-sharing institutions designed to reunify the country are up and running, if with debatable effectiveness; nearly 650,000 of Bosnia's forcibly displaced citizens had returned by early 2000 to the country, if not primarily to their original homes; significant portions of the country's infrastructure have been repaired; and not least, the military-on-military cease-fire that took hold at the end of 1995 has not been broken.

None of these achievements is without a subversive element, however. In this volume we argue, for example, that early elections militated against broader democratization and that military cease-fire in the absence of civilian security did as much to deepen certain of Bosnia's . . .

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