Articles on the Bosnia Conflict
Post-War Bosnia


This page does not attempt comprehensive coverage of post-war Bosnia, but we will include occasional articles of particular interest.

For regular updates on events and issues in the former Yugoslavia, see
Peter Lippman's blog:
The Struggle for Postwar Recovery in Bosnia-Herzegovina

The secessionist threats of Bosnian-Serb leader Milorad Dodik

Bosnian Serb leader defiant as political ambitions rattle west Bosnian Serb leader Dodik says he remains determined to defy the west and win greater autonomy for ethnic Serbs in Bosnia. Financial Times (London), February 15, 2022

Bosnian Serb region vote to form parallel legal body  Lawmakers in Bosnia's autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) voted on Thursday to form a separate body to choose judges and prosecutors, effectively pulling the region out of the state's top judicial institution as part of their leaders' separatist agenda. By Daria Sito-Sucic, Reuters, February 10, 2022

Joint statement by the ambassadors of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board Recent moves by the Republika Srpska (RS) entity authorities to introduce a Law creating a parallel High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) are a clear attempt by the entity to unilaterally assume the constitutional responsibilities of the State, which would represent a violation of the constitution and legal order of BiH. Office of the High Representative, February 10, 2022 

Want to make an impression? If nothing can be done inside Bosnia, then the burden falls to Washington, Brussels, and European capitals. By Daniel Serwer, January 3, 2022

U.S. imposes new sanctions on Bosnian Serb leader Dodik The Treasury Department accused Dodik of corruption and threatening the stability and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Reuters, January 5, 2022

In the Tinderbox of Bosnia, a Serb Nationalist Lights a Match An inclusive overview of the present drama. New York Times, January 2, 2022

Appeal to prevent war in Bosnia and Herzegovina It is time for the EU, together with the USA, to take an unambiguous stance on the burgeoning crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Milorad Dodik and his supporters, among them the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, are set to unleash a new war in Europe in order to achieve the political aims of Radovan Karadžić, Ratko Mladić and Slobodan Milošević. They want to complete the criminal campaign against the entire non-Serb population that the Dayton Peace Agreement interrupted 26 years ago. Society for Threatened Peoples (Germany), December 1, 2021

Bosnia needs urgent action to prevent secession Aggressive diplomacy and preparation of defense are essential to address Serb leader's threats, experts say. By Mersiha Gadzo, Al Jazeera, November 18, 2021

60th Report of the High Representative Persistent, grave challenges to the fundamentals of the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) by the Republika Srpska (RS) entity authorities, led by the biggest RS party, the Alliance for Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) headed by BiH Presidency member Milorad Dodik, endanger not only the peace and stability of the country and the region, but – if unanswered by the international community – could lead to the undoing of the Agreement itself. Dodik – the de facto leader of the RS, although the entity has an elected president – has called for the entity’s unilateral withdrawal from agreements reached long ago on the transfer of entity competences to the State in the areas of defense, indirect taxes and the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), and for the entity to “reclaim” what he asserts were usurped constitutional competences in the fields of the State judiciary, law enforcement and intelligence. Office of the High Representative, November 5, 2021

The West is Indulging Dodik’s Secessionist Fantasy in Bosnia The failure of the US, EU, and UK to maintain any effective red lines in the Balkans is encouraging the Bosnian Serb leader’s dangerous dreams. The Republika Srpska is almost wholly economically dependent on Sarajevo, and on increasingly frequent financial transfusions from Belgrade. It is not even geographically contiguous; it is sparsely populated; it has little in the way of industry; it is internationally isolated -- and as the territory is a direct product of genocide, it has something of a PR problem in hoping to win any kind of international recognition or legitimacy, to say the least. Dodik’s experiment instead is about whether the EU, the US, or the UK will enforce any meaningful red lines in the Western Balkans, or whether Washington, Brussels, London, and the various EU member states have collectively decided that in Bosnia, -- and, by extension, the region as a whole– everything is allowed and nothing is off limits. By Jasmin Mujanovic, Balkan Insight, November 1, 2021

Bosnia and Herzegovina: time to stop the nonsense RS’s independence ambitions, Serbia’s territorial aspirations, and Russian destabilization efforts need to be countered. That will not be hard, if done sooner rather than later. It will require a few hundred troops in Brcko, tough sanctions, legal ingenuity, and a halt to RS financing. By Daniel Serwer,, October 25, 2021

Peace Is Threatened Again in Bosnia, A Quarter Century after Dayton A Serb nationalist political leader in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the support of a longtime hardline Bosnian Croat, is escalating separatist rhetoric, heightening concerns that his threatened actions to reject state institutions could renew violent conflict and unravel a long-touted U.S. diplomatic achievement, the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. Yet, the United States and its European Union and NATO allies thus far have only issued tepid statements in response, with no deterrent effect. By Kurt Bassuener, Democratization Policy Council, and Senada Šelo Šabić, Institute for Development and International Relations (Zagreb), October 22, 2021

Surviving the Peace:
Peter Lippman's
Bosnia blog

In this series of reports, Peter has covered the current Bosnia crisis since its beginning in mid-2021.

See the articles below. Readers can find the latest reports here, where there is a link to subscribe.

Secession moves continue. March 22, 2022

The "crisis" gets old, but electoral "negotiations" are hot. January 31, 2022

Bosnia crisis update: Possibilities for resolution—or not. Jan. 1, 2022

More of the same, but moving toward a fatal deal on "electoral reform." Dec. 2, 2021

Continuing RS boycott of state-level functions; heightened threat of secession Oct. 17, 2021

Repercussions of Inzko's anti-denial decree; Response to arrival of new High Representative Schmidt; Corona Aug 29, 2021

Inzko's anti-denial decree July 31, 2021

Protesters call for cancellation of ‘revisionist’ Serb film for Genocide Denial Protesters are calling for screenings of a new documentary by a Serbian-Canadian filmmaker to be cancelled across Europe, saying the “revisionist” film “whitewashes” war crimes committed during the Bosnian War. Screenings have been cancelled in Rotterdam; Dusseldorf in Germany; Brussels and Antwerp in Belgium; Klagenfurt and Salzburg in Austria; and most planned Swiss showings. The world premiere of the film was held on October 1 in Banja Luka. Balkan Insight, October 13, 2022

The past and the furious: How Russia’s revisionism threatens Bosnia Russia’s main goal in Bosnia over more than two decades has been to keep the state divided and dysfunctional, and to prevent it from developing its own foreign policy -- including joining NATO. Russia’s influence mostly works through Bosnia’s post-war constitutional arrangement, a power-sharing system that has given enormous power to local players whose goals and activities overlap with Russia’s interests. Russia’s economic presence in Bosnia is limited, and Republika Srpska, the country’s smaller entity, relies heavily on the EU for trade and aid, which would dry up if the entity seceded. The immediate threats to Bosnia are homegrown and regional, with revanchist and destabilizing forces in Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, and Hungary determined to undermine the state. By Majda Ruge, European Council on Foreign Relations, September 13, 2022

How Right-Wingers Thwarted a War Crime Commemoration in Bosnia Two small but vocal groups of right-wing Bosnian Serb nationalists exerted pressure that is believed to have caused the authorities in the city of Prijedor to ban this year’s White Armband Day march to commemorate war victims. By Enes Hodzic, BIRN, July 4, 2022

Why Bosnia Needs an Anti-Genocide Denial Law Criticism of the outgoing OHR’s imposition of the law is misplaced in a country where genocide denial is not only routine but practically a pillar of contemporary Serb politics in the region. The new amendment Bosnia’s criminal code states that any attempts to distort or trivialize not just genocide but any legally established crime against humanity or war crime is punishable by law. By Jasmin Mujanovic, Balkan Insight, August 3, 2021

Bosnia’s Milorad Dodik using genocide denial for political ends Dodik, who is the Serb member of Bosnia's three-way presidency, is a regular denier of the scale and nature of the Srebrenica genocide. By Aleksandar Brezar, euronews July 28, 2021

Bosnia’s High Representative Imposes Genocide Denial Ban Valentin Inzko used his power to impose amendments to the country’s criminal code to ban the denial of genocide and the glorification of war criminals. Balkan Insight, July 23, 2021
Text of the High Representative's Decision

Opening Pandora's Box: The EU's dangerous Bosnia game EU leaders should reject any new talk of ethnic division and secession in the western Balkans and finally make good on their promises to the region’s nations. By Tineke Strik and Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Euractive May 10, 2021

International official: Bosnian Serbs seek to split country He said the Serbs' campaign "could have political and security implications not only for the country, but also the region, and the rest of Europe." By Edith Lederer, The Associated Press, May 4, 2021

The "non-paper" carving up Balkans and undermining Europe There is a spectre haunting Europe, the spectre of partition, as authoritarian populists in the region and in the European Union itself have sought to expand the realm of the possible to include a final regional carve-up that would not only be detrimental to the region, but would demonstrate that the EU itself is on a downward trajectory, moving far away from the goals of a continent that is whole, free, and at peace. By Vesna Pusic and Sonja Biserko, May 4, 2021

Open Letter to EU, US, and NATO Governments: This is Your Deterrence Failure. Confront It An inherently polarizing national authoritarian populism reminiscent of that seen in the former Yugoslavia beginning in the late 1980s became increasingly apparent among a number of EU member states and in the US with the election of Donald Trump. This cocktail of factors accelerated the negative trajectory of democracy in the Western Balkans. Democratization Policy Council, May 3, 2021

Dodik's "Independent International Commission of Inquiry" Created in 2019 to revise the history of the war crimes committed in the violent redefinition of Bosnian territory: a review of its report. By Eric Gordy, East Ethnia, April 14, 2021

‘White Armband Day’ Highlights Bosnia’s Post-War Divisions Mourning of children killed in the Bosnian town of Prijedor in wartime has become a globally-renowned commemoration. By Katarina Panić and Admir Muslimović, Balkan Insight, May 31, 2019

Bosnia, Serbia Unlikely to Copy Belgium's Genocide Denial Law The Belgian government has announced plans to criminalize denial of the Srebrenica genocide or other crimes recognized as such by an international tribunal. By Admir Muslimović and Filip Rudić, Balkan Insight, April 17, 2019

Bosnian Serbs’ War Commissions: Fact-Seeking or Truth-Distorting? Two new commissions set up by Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska entity to examine wartime crimes in Srebrenica and Sarajevo have been accused of seeking to distort the truth to whitewash Serbs’ role in atrocities. By Albina Sorguć, Balkan Insight, February 25, 2019

Bosnian Serb War Commissions Seeking to Revise Truth International academics warned in an open letter that commissions recently established by Bosnia's Serb-dominated Republika Srpska entity to probe wartime crimes in Srebrenica and Sarajevo appear to be attempts to question established truths. By Filip Rudić, Balkan Insight, February 21, 2019
See the letter, published by the Humanitarian Law Center.

Why Bannon Is Meddling With Bosnia Like Trump, Bannon is fond of nationalist leaders and hostile to the EU. By Krithika Varagur, New York Review of Books, September 5, 2018

The Balkans' unravelling peace Up to ten years ago, the internationally-brokered peace agreements that pacified the Western Balkans after the Yugoslav wars were held up as hallmarks of post-Cold War diplomacy (by Western diplomats, anyway). A major rethinking is needed on the Balkans as a democratization success story and on international policy in the region. By Jasmin Mujanović, OpenCanada, March 15, 2018

Division and Denial and Nothing Else? Culture of History and Memory Politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina The article gives an overview of the fragmented culture of history in Bosnia and Herzegovina, twenty years after the end of the 1992-1995 war which left the country deeply divided along political and ethnic lines. Parallel ethnonational narratives about the past are dominating the public sphere, with especially controversial interpretations of the 1992 -1995 war and the Second World War. By Nicholas Moll, April 12, 2015

Video: Bosnia and Hercegovina in Spring This short documentary tells the story of the uprising in Bosnia and Herzegovina that started in early February 2014. The protests were started by workers from five factories in the northern city of Tuzla. For the first time, there is a class dimension that is more important than ethnicity. Global Uprisings, March 2014

Political statement by a teacher against Bosnian politicians (Click CC to turn on English captions on this video.)
Šeherzada Delić was a professor of literature before she became a filmmaker. This talk takes place in the Bihać parliament. She also tells the students to confront the politicians using their knowledge, including correcting the politicians' grammar, since they are illiterates. The plenum in Bihać has called itself the "Bosnian Spring," and they have been relatively effective. But as the teacher says, the politicians are just biding their time, hoping it will all go away. March 23, 2014
See also: Journalist Senad Hadžifejzović, the most prominent news anchorman and interviewer in mainstream Bosniak TV, gave a one-of-a-kind performance on the evening news perhaps never before seen in the profession of journalism. It was a showdown with politicians and political parties, with a salvo of insults hurled at all of them, without distinction. The uprising pushed him over the edge - temporarily. It’s refreshing to see him look at the camera, talking to politicians, and call them “you scum.” February 24, 2014

How Bosnia’s Protest Movement Can Become Truly Transformative Popular plenums continue to assemble and refine their demands and popular protests continue. I and other observers came away from the most recent Sarajevo plenum on Friday night, February 21st, impressed by the organization, the management, and the general disposition of the wide range of citizens attending. By Kurt Bassuener, February 23, 2014

Bosnia and Hercegovina: The Practice of a Different Future Protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina continue. Their message is clear - the time of the ethno-nationalist elites, who stole the country's resources, common goods and capital in the blood of war and genocide, is over. It is not accidental that the 85 wealthiest oligarchs in Bosnia and Herzegovina are collectively worth $9 billion: this 'wealth' was looted from Bosnian citizens, whether in the shape of passing corrupt laws to pour money into their own pockets, or the siphoning off of money from the International Community to subdue the population into compliance with ethnic criminality for fear of a return to conflict. By Dr. Damir Arsenijević, University of Tuzla, February 22, 2014

Stray Dogs and Stateless Babies What the war didn’t destroy has been wrecked by Mafioso capitalism, practiced with equal zeal across ethnicities, in which private initiative is expressed in the form of corruption and cronyism. The political system’s primary function is allowing wealth to be amassed by the leaders of political parties, fully united, despite their presumed cultural and ideological differences, in their commitment to impoverish the people they lead. By Aleksandar Hemon and Jasmin Mujanović, The New York Times, February 21, 2014

Bosnia should not count on the West for help The experiences of 1992-95 should have taught Bosnians that they can never count on the West. A scenario can be envisaged whereby Bosnia and Serbia eventually join the EU; the RS then declares independence, and its independence is recognized by Serbia, Russia, and maybe some other countries. Sanctions would be difficult to enforce against those within the EU. Right-wing Islamophobic opinion across Europe would support the RS. In such circumstances, why should we expect the West to take action, when it has failed to act to reverse the partitions of Cyprus or Georgia ? No: if Bosnians want to save their country, they will have to rely on their own strength. By Marko Hoare, January 12, 2014

Extinguishing Politics: The Euromaidan & EU Policy in BiH In BiH we are witnessing precisely the kind of exclusionary "managed democracy" that the protestors in the Ukraine feel their country will become unless they take concrete steps to become part of the EU bloc. In BiH, however, it is Brussels not Moscow that has facilitated the emergence of this disastrous state of affairs. ... In truth, the EU does not really want BiH in its fold and the BiH political elite certainly do not want to become part of an actual legal order. The result is a permanent state of quasi-candidate status that along with the constant drone of chauvinist rhetoric substitutes for actual political discourse. The implementation of "reforms" is as staged as the daily clashes between the ethno-nationalist camps, dutifully splashed across the country's front pages. By Jasmin Mujanović, The Balkanist, December 12, 2013

Something big comes this way The story about how everyone on a particular territory was always unified by the same bad ideas looked pretty saleworthy for a while. It certainly provided a useful lesson to predatory politicians: whatever you want to get away with, pitch it as a response to the nation being threatened. That way everybody will believe everything and nobody will demand anything from you, least of all that you respond to the public’s needs. The nationalists’ claim to a monopoly on public sentiment was always bogus, but for a period it was a successful political strategy. If anyone was looking for a sign showing that it no longer is, look no farther than some key protests of the past month. By Eric Gordy, June 7, 2013. For more details on the recent protests, click here.

Local authorities are threatening to destroy a monument in Višegrad's Stražište cemetery because it uses the word "genocide." See a protest campaign at this Web page.

Mladić Arrest Brings Little Comfort to Srebrenica Massacre Survivors Relatives of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre victims are relieved that Ratko Mladić, the architect of the killings, is finally facing justice in The Hague. But his trial has not calmed their sense of dread as they prepare for next week's anniversary of the massacre. More than 550 more victims have been identified over the past year by the International Commission of Missing Persons, and they will be reburied on July 11 in the cemetery at Potocari where the massacre took place. Thousands of mourners are expected. By The Advocacy Project, July 2, 2011

Justice in Bosnia after Mladić The expectation that Mladić’s arrest will “close a chapter” --as stated by Serbian President Tadić-- on the war of aggression, or open a “new chapter” for Serbia, fails to recognize that Mladić’s genocidal legacy lives on in the form of the political entity known as Republika Srpska. By David Pettigrew, June 2011

Only Integrating Bosnia Will Complete the Balkan Mosaic Fifteen years on, the world has yet to define itself clearly in relation to the Srebrenica crime – and unfortunately, this ambiguity encourages Serbia to continue obstructing efforts to rebuild Bosnia. The Srebrenica genocide is and will remain an enduring trauma. Each new judgment passed by the Hague tribunal reveals new details and lays bare the enormity of the crime. But 15 years since the atrocity, people’s consciousness in Serbia remains largely unchanged, blocked by organized amnesia and relativization. By Sonja Biserko, Balkan Insight, July 8, 2010

Private security firms in the Balkans harbor corruption, observers say Organized crime has infiltrated southeastern Europe, particularly Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and corrupted legitimate business in the region, according to a regional network of investigative journalists. The Sarajevo-based Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) said this development put into question the ability and willingness of the region's governments to combat crime and detain war criminals. Deutsche Welle, June 20, 2010

The Hague Convicts His Comrades, Mladić Enjoys Himself Despite the countless promises over the years by various governments in Belgrade that Mladić would be arrested shortly, and the many widely-publicized actions in which special police units were seen on television searching some building where he was supposed to be hiding, the man indicted on charges of genocide for organizing the July 1995 massacre of some 8000 Bosnian Muslim men in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica is still on the run. By Charles Simic, June 11, 2010

Seven Senior Bosnian Serb Officials Convicted of Srebrenica Crimes The former high-ranking Bosnian Serb military and police officials were convicted by Trial Chamber II of a range of crimes committed in 1995 in relation to the fall of the enclaves of Srebrenica and Žepa, eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), June 10, 2010

The Pillar of Shame Project The project aims to erect a permanent sculpture serving as a lasting reminder of the guilt of western politicians and military officials for the genocide of Srebrenica. The Pillar of Shame is to serve as a metaphor for the immense betrayal of the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and as a warning to all future co-workers of the United Nations.  The plan: the 16,744 shoes (representing 8,372 victims) should form two gigantic letters measuring eight metres in height and coloured in shimmering white. The two letters (‘U’ and ‘N’) will be penetrated by three monumental bullet holes with real shoes found in mass graves embedded in them. The actual location of the Pillar of Shame, and the names of western politicians and army generals whose names will be shamed by the Pillar will be selected by the mothers themselves. The Center for Political Beauty and the Society for Threatened Peoples that together organised one of the biggest memorials for the genocide of Srebrenica in 2009, will also initiate a discussion about the responsibility of the United Nations that has been completely pushed aside in the West for the last fifteen years. 2010

Serb mayor says U.S. lacks courage to help reunite Bosnia Foca's Serb mayor, Zdravko Krsmanović, has reached out to Muslims, who once were a plurality in Foca, by establishing close ties to Gorazde, a mainly Muslim town just downstream that Serbs bombarded mercilessly but never conquered. By Roy Gutman, McClatchy Newspapers, April 25, 2010

Continuing Struggles for Bosnia and Hercegovina A report on political and social tensions and the role of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (15-minute video) By Kira Kay and Jason Maloney, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, November 18, 2009

West’s Last Chance To Get Serious on Bosnia Talk of partition as ‘inevitable’ is in danger of becoming an attractive excuse for the EU and US to make a speedy exit from Bosnia’s current stalemate. By Bodo Weber Democratization Policy Council December 1, 2009

The Karadzic trial and Bosnian realities The trial of the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is a test of justice and accountability over terrible crimes. But the trend of events in Bosnia itself also demands the international community’s urgent attention. By Martin Shaw openDemocracy, November 3, 2009

Author Aleksandar Hemon brings a touch of Sarajevo to Berlin Bosnia is bad in a very stable way. I don't think there will be any dramatic changes. The logic of the decline is entirely clear. Many of us could see this happening years ago. The root problem being the Dayton Accord and the way the country is set up. It cannot possibly work the way it is set up. Even if those in power had the best intentions - and they have no intentions other than pilfering their own country. Deutsche Welle, September 18, 2009

US Military Met With Mladić After Indictment American Professor Charles Ingrao says research shows US military often encountered Hague tribunal’s top war-crimes indictee in 1996 but failed to arrest him because that was not then their policy. Balkan Insight, March 4, 2009

Sliding toward the Precipice: Europe’s Bosnia Policy Over the past three years, Bosnia’s political environment has noticeably worsened: the current trajectory could lead to attempts at secession and renewed conflict. Among Bosnians, perceived threats to personal safety and livelihood have risen to new post-war heights as international listlessness has permitted Bosnian politicians to believe they can pursue wartime objectives without challenge. For years the European Union has claimed that reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina is heading in the right direction, albeit slowly. EU officials point to the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) signed on 16 June 2008 as evidence of progress. But Bosnia has not only stagnated over the past three years – it has been sliding backwards at an accelerating pace. By the Democratic Policy Council, November 7, 2008 (PDF)

Genocide's Epic Hero After the initial exhilaration, many Bosnians find Radovan Karadzić’s arrest less satisfying than one would expect. Though he might spend the rest of his life in the comfortable dungeons of the Western European prison system, he will live eternally in the verses of decasyllabic meter written by those for whom the demolition of Bosnia was but material for the grand epic poetry of Serbhood. Bosnians know he should have been booed and run off the stage at the peak of his performance. He should have been seen for what he really was: a thuggish puppet whose head was bloated with delusions of grandeur. He should have let us live outside his epic fantasies. By Aleksandar Hemon, The New York Times, July 27, 2008