Federalism, Subnational Constitutions, and Minority Rights

By G. Alan Tarr; Robert F. Williams et al. | Go to book overview

10
Federalism and
Consociationalism
as Tools for State
Reconstruction?
The Case of Bosnia
and Herzegovina

Jens Woelk


THE DAYTON PEACE AGREEMENT:
ENDING A WAR AND RECONSTRUCTING
A MULTIETHNIC SOCIETY?

From 1945 to 1991/1992 Yugoslavia was a multinational state with a federal constitution, and Bosnia and Herzegovina was one of its constituent units. Indeed, Bosnia and Herzegovina was rightly described as a “Yugoslavia in miniature” on account of its demographic structure: in 1991, Muslims comprised 43.7 percent, Serbs 31.45 percent, and Croats 17.3 percent of the population, while 5.5 percent considered themselves “Yugoslavs.” In addition to the three largest ethnic groups members of other nations and nationalities (according to the terminology of communist constitutional law) lived in the country and were entitled to equality under the Constitution.1 None of these groups was settled in a separate, territorially defined or closed area.

The independence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its recognition in accordance with international law at the beginning of January 1992, after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, resulted in a worstcase scenario of ethnic conflict.2 Before it was ended by the Dayton

-179-

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