BRIEFING: Bosnia and Herzegovina 19 Years After Dayton: The Crimea Spillover and U.S. Role in Overcoming Challenges to Stability

On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, the Emerging Democracies Institute (EDI) and the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) co-sponsored a briefing at the United States Congress in Washington D.C. titled ‘Bosnia and Herzegovina 19 Years After Dayton: The Crimea Spillover and U.S. Role in Overcoming Challenges to Stability’ The speakers were: Amb. Valentin Inzko High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Reuf Bajrovic President, Emerging Democracies Institute The briefing was chaired by Ajla Delkic, Executive Director of ACBH. The 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina left more than 100,000 people dead and over 2 million of the country’s pre-war population displaced. Nineteen years after the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA), which stopped the war, grave violations of the peace agreement continue to pose a challenge to peace and stability. Three weeks ago, the leadership of Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s smaller entity violated the DPA and adopted its own decision on residency. If carried out, it would take away the voting rights of millions of displaced persons, including nearly all Bosnian Americans. Furthermore, inspired by events in Crimea, Republika Srpska once again threatened a referendum on secession while fully supporting Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s action in Ukraine. To avoid a spillover effect, the countries of Southeast Europe require a steadfast commitment of the international community led by the United States. The recent backsliding in the implementation of the DPA, especially its provisions guaranteeing a sustainable return of refugees and the displaced persons, is a great cause of concern for the future stability and prosperity of a multiethnic state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yet, there is reason for hope as the nationwide civic coalition called “March 1st” seeks to mobilize hundreds of thousands of displaced Bosnians and Herzegovinians living in the United States and around the globe to reverse the effects of ethnic cleansing and genocide, contribute to a better implementation of the DPA, and more actively contribute to a better future for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The entire video of the briefing is now available