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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Yearbook 1997

1997 Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina. According to Countryaah, the political machinery in Bosnia and Herzegovina had not yet begun in 1997, two years after the Dayton Agreement was signed in Paris in 1995. The political representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina's three ethnic groups - Croats, Muslims and Serbs - showed the same reluctance to live up to the treaty. Still, among other things, functioning common institutions, common driving licenses and license plates and common currency, flag and emblems. Furthermore, all three parties still showed the same reluctance to allow refugees to return to their old homes.

In August, the outside world sharpened the tone and frozen relations with the Bosnian embassies. This was done on the invitation of Carl Bildt's successor as supreme peace coordinator, the Spanish diplomat Carlos Westendorp. At a meeting in December in Bonn among the 51 countries involved in the peace building in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Westendorp was granted governor-like powers. Among other things, he was given the right to set deadlines, to prescribe solutions for himself and in the case of obvious obstruction, to dismiss Bosnian politicians.

1997 Bosnia and Herzegovina

The municipal elections in September largely reflected the results of last year's parliamentary elections, ie. that voters voted by nationality. The provision that refugees can choose whether they want to vote where they live or in their former home municipality has led in some cases to absurd results, for example in the former Muslim enclave Srebrenica. The enclave was conquered by the Bosnian Serbs in the summer of 1995 and the Muslim population was driven with great brutality. Apparently, many of Srebrenica's Muslims had chosen to vote in their former hometown where they won 24 of the 45 council seats. However, they have no chance to get to Srebrenica because only Serbs live there now.

A merciless power struggle broke out in the summer between Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavšić and Momćilo Krajišnik, who is Republika Srpska's representative in the Bosnian three-headed presidency. He is very close to former Serbaldar Radovan Karadžić, who, along with his commander-in-chief General Ratko Mladić, is charged with war crimes at the War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague.

The power struggle began with Plavšićʹ accusing the leaders of Sarajevo suburb of Pale of corruption and tax evasion and of enriching themselves while people starved. As a result, a fierce stream of hate propaganda against her streamed out of the Bosnian Serb etheric media. PlavšiÁ deposed the hostile parliament in Pale and announced the election. The congregation responded by in turn dismissing the president, which, however, was not accepted internationally. Krajišnik Democratic Party, Srpska Democratic Stranka, SDS, excluded Plavšić, who then formed the Serbian National Alliance, Srpski Narodni Savez, SNA. The elections at the end of November did not decide the power struggle, but SDS retained its position as the largest party of the Republika Srpska even though it lost its majority. Together with the extremely nationalist radical party Srpska Radikalna Stranka, SRS, SDS got 39 out of Parliament's 83 seats, while Plavšić's SNA had to settle for 15 seats. The rest went to small batches.

Plavšić acts as nationalist as his rivals in Pale. She gave her support to ethnic cleansing during the war and she still refuses to extradite suspected war criminals to justice. The difference between her and the Palegime seems to be that she feels that it is more advantageous for the Bosnian Serbs to live up to the Dayton Agreement and cooperate with the NATO-led peacekeeping force SFOR to maintain peace. In particular, all the millions of dollars that the outside world is currently pouring into Bosnia and Herzegovina, but which the Serbs have so far not received.

In effect, the power struggle divided the Serbian state into two parts between the circle around Karadžić in Pale in the east and the circle around Plavšić, which resides in the big city of Banja Luka in the northwest. Each side had its own police, defense and ether media at the end of the year. The areas are only connected by a narrow corridor around the city of Brčko. The question of whether the Brčko area should go to the Republika Srpska or the Muslim-Croat Federation was still unresolved at the turn of the year but, according to the Dayton Agreement, will be decided by international arbitration.

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