Bosnia marks 27th anniversary of Dayton Peace agreement
Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday marked the 27th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the 1992-1995 war and brought peace while enabling the country to have the most complex political structure in the world.
The accords, initiated at the Wright-Patterson U.S. Air Force base near Dayton, Ohio, on Nov. 21, 1995, ended a brutal civil war in Bosnia that resulted in around 100,000 deaths over three-and-a-half years.
However, nearly 3.5 million people today are living in one of the most fragile and multi-ethnic states in the world, facing economic difficulties and political deadlocks due to a complex constitutional structure.
Dayton built Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single state, but consisting of two entities -- the Croat-Muslim Federation of Bosnia and Republika Srpska -- as well as Brcko, a neutral, self-governing canton.
The accords, which were agreed upon by then Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, Bosnia’s Alija Izetbegovic, and Croatian leader Franjo Tudjman, also established several mechanisms that institutionalized Bosnian, Serb, and Croat divisions.
The tripartite Presidency of the country is a clear example of the structural complexity.
The country also has ethnic quotas in public institutions, and the groups have veto rights on "vital interests" in decision-making.
This hybrid political establishment has led to the country being governed by three presidents, 14 prime ministers, and 136 ministers for nearly three decades.
Therefore, citizens at local and national levels are apathetic toward influencing political decisions due to a range of institutional shortcomings.
Although the "Dayton 2" or "New Dayton" debates are often on the agenda, those who make use of the complex system do not allow such discussions to remain on the agenda for long periods of time or make necessary changes.
At the point of Dayton's update, the only major powers and the international community are involved.
"Unfortunately, Dayton could not be an agreement aiming for a solution in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But under the conditions of that day, I heard this from the late Alija himself, 'We had nothing else to do,' he said, 'We were forced to sign it then'. It means he was not pleased," Erdogan said during his last visit in 2022.
He added that the three leaders should collaborate to make a decision about Bosnia-Herzegovina.
US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who participated in the Dayton talks, said: "The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina should live with this agreement for at least 15 years and that (after this period) it is time to change it."
Holbrooke's statement expresses the views of the architects of the agreement.
High representative's controversial laws
After polls closed in the Balkan country's presidential and parliamentary votes, Schmidt claimed that he signed two decisions for the functionality and timely implementation of the election results in the document that he called the "functionality package" and added that the decisions were related to the government and coalition building processes.
The decision received strong criticism from politicians and citizens.
The first time he did it was to annul a law on immovable property in Republika Srpska, the Serb-dominated entity.
The high representative also coordinates the activities of international institutions operating in the country.
The high representative has the authority to dismiss anyone who interferes with the implementation of peace in the country, including members of the Presidential Council, and to pass laws as necessary.
The powers are dubbed "Bonn powers."