The Demise of the Dayton Protectorate
Journal of Intervention and Statbuilding (2007) Special Edition 1: 11
13 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2021
Date Written: December 1, 2007
The Bosnian war ended with signature of the Dayton Peace Accords in December 1995. Since December 1997, the country has been run as an international protectorate. A succession of international governors, called the ‘High Representatives’, have been appointed by a consortium of foreign powers. The High Representatives have had unlimited legal authority to overrule domestic institutions, unilaterally impose legislation without the consent of Bosnia’s various democratically elected parliaments, and dismiss public officials whom they deem insufficiently cooperative with their efforts to reform the country and its economy. This extraordinary state of affairs is about to end, as the current High Representative has recently engaged in a negligent feat of self-diminution of his own powers. The international community’s powers of dictatorship were the only glue sticking together an otherwise unsustainable state that the Dayton Peace Accords never intended to create. This raises a fundamental challenge for the international community: how to engage with Bosnia in the period after the international proconsulship has come to an end, to ensure that it does not again become a locus of political instability and civil conflict.
Keywords: Bosnia Statebuilding Balkans
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