Bosnia and Herzegovina. The republic of the Republic of Srpska got a new government in February, led by Prime Minister Pero Bukejlović. The representative had resigned in December in protest of the dismissal of a number of high-ranking Bosnian Serb politicians and officials by the representative of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were dismissed mainly because they were considered to thwart attempts to bring suspected war criminals to justice. The new head of government, Bukejlović, as well as his predecessor, belonged to the dominant Serbian nationalist party SDS. He soon took steps to improve relations with the War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Among other things, he added an investigation to find out if any suspect for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre held public service.
According to countryaah, Sarajevo is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. International envoy Paddy Ashdown continued to purge people he considered to stand in the way of the democratization process. In March, Dragan Čović, who was the Croatian representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s three-headed presidency, was fired. The reason was that Čović would face trial, accused of corruption and abuse of power during a previous period as finance minister in the Bosnian-Croatian republic. Čović was brought to trial with five other men, including the chief judge of the Bosnian Constitutional Court. In May, Parliament appointed Ivo Miro Jović as the new Croatian representative in the presidency.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym BA stands for the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
At the beginning of the year, a court in Sarajevo was inaugurated which would eventually take over war criminal cases from the Hague Tribunal. It was the first court in the Balkans to be given the confidence of the outside world to hold its own trials. A first suspected war criminal was handed over in September from The Hague to Sarajevo.
The Bosnian Serbian leadership sought to improve its cooperation with the international community in the area of justice after the Civil War. In January, for the first time, a suspected war criminal was handed over from the Republika Srpska to the Hague Tribunal. In October, a commission presented a list of over 17,000 Bosnian Serbs names that participated in the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995. According to the Commission, nearly 20,000 Bosnian Serbs participated in various ways in the massacre, the majority of which were identified. The list would be handed over to prosecutors and to international envoy Ashdown.
In December, the EU gave the go ahead for negotiations on a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina, a first step towards a future membership of the Union.
The peace treaty, solemnly ratified in Paris on December 14, 1995, provided for the maintenance of a Bosnian state, the Bosnia and Herzegovina, consisting of two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Croatian-Muslim) and the Serbian Republic, both with wide autonomy, their own Constitution, all the characteristic organs of a State and the possibility of establishing privileged relations with Croatia and Serbia: thus there was the risk of a partition of the country in two (with the possibility of the annexation of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia and of the Serbian Republic to Serbia), or even in three (with the maintenance of an independent Islamic entity, the ‘Muslimanija’); the attribution of the city of Brčko, of strategic importance both to the Serbian Republic and to the Federation, was entrusted to an international arbitration. The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina also provided for the creation of a collegial Presidency, i.e. made up of three members (one Muslim, one Serbian and one Croatian), who in turn would assume the office of President of the Presidency, and of a common government, a Constitutional Court and a Central Bank. The refugees, for the elections that were to be held quickly, could choose whether to vote in their country of origin or to vote in the place where they had taken refuge. This freedom of choice was already indicative of the fear of not being able or not wanting to guarantee the return of refugees in the short term, which was also provided for in the agreement. The basic ambiguity of the latter, however, consisted in having recognized a Bosnia and Herzegovina united, but divided into two entities, which, moreover, were only asked to adapt to the ‘spirit’ of the Dayton accords. Serious difficulty in1 August 1996 under the dictates of the Dayton agreements, it continued to exist in fact. The peace agreements also established the presence in the country of a High Representative of the international community, entrusted with the task of overseeing the implementation of the provisions of the same agreements, while from December 1995 UNPROFOR had been replaced by an international force under the command of the NATO (fig. 3).