to Create Sovereignty
Is Dayton Bosnia a Futile Exercise or an Emerging Model?
SUSAN L. WOODWARD
The French call it an illusion en gaze. The internationally negotiated framework for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina—the Dayton accord and its eleven operational annexes—appears to have little relation with Bosnian reality. Aiming to end a brutal war lasting nearly four years between those who wanted an independent Bosnia and those who did not, the peace accord's goal is to restore an image of prewar Bosnia that the warring parties had aimed, more or less successfully, to destroy. Moreover, it is being implemented by a massive international civilian and military operation tasked to create the attributes of domestic sovereignty that Bosnia did not have when the major powers decided in April–May 1992 to grant the former Yugoslav republic international legal sovereignty. To obtain a peace settlement among the three warring Bosnian parties (and their external supporters), the external negotiators designed a state that also does not conform to any normal pattern of domestic sovereignty. And even after four years of international assistance in creating that state to sustain the original international decision on recognition that provoked the war, the operation appeared to remain an international project with few local supporters—a continuing struggle between representatives of the international community and the Bosnians themselves.
Interference in Westphalian sovereignty is supposed to be exceptional, interfering with the autonomy of peoples up to a limit that safeguards the norm of nonintervention itself. The norm of international legal sovereignty is to award recognition only after states are established and governments have