Forgotten World (191): Bosnia and Herzegovina

It’s time once more for one of my regular weeks of postings in my long-running series called Forgotten World – a look at parts of the world that hardly feature in our media or thoughts. You can check the previous 190 entries here.
Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1992 and a three-year conflict followed which was finally settled by the Dayton peace accords of 1995. It is an odd nation with the population of almost 4 million comprising three ethnic groups – Bosniak, Croat and Serb – having equal constitutional status and the country being split into two, almost autonomous, parts, the federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (mostly Bosniak and Croat) and Republika Srpska (mostly Bosnian Serbs), each with its own president, government, parliament, police and other bodies.
The Dayton agreement established the Office of the High Representative. The Office’s representative is the state’s ultimate authority, responsible for implementation of Dayton and with the power to ”compel the entity governments to comply with the terms of the peace agreement and the state constitution”. Recent efforts by the EU and US to break the stalemate on constitutional reform and prepare the country for eventual EU and NATO membership ended in failure when leaders of the three main ethnic groups rejected the proposals.


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