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Report 214 / Europe & Central Asia

Bosna i Hercegovina: Šta Republika Srpska hoće?

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IZVRŠNI SAŽETAK

Flert Republike Srpske sa referendumom u junu 2011. je podsjetnik da manji BiH entitet i dalje prijeti stabil­nosti ove države i zapadnog Balkana. Malo je vjero­vatno da će se RS odcijepiti ili da će Bošnjaci pokušati da ju eliminišu, ali ako njeni srpski lideri nastave gurati svaki konflikt sa Sarajevom do ivice, kao što su to pon­avljali do sada, postoji rizik od katastrofe. Dovoljno je da samo jednom posustane agilnost lidera i strpljenje naroda pa da se desi ozbiljno nasilje. Dugoročno, odlu­čnost RSa da svede Bosnu i Hercegovinu (BiH) na malo više od koordinatora između snažnih entiteta može toliko potkopati državu da se ona uruši, povlačeći za sobom i RS. RS pati i od svojih unutrašnjih prob­lema, posebno kulture nekažnjivosti političkih i ekonom­skih elita i stalno prisutnog zadaha ratnih zločina. Njeno rukovodstvo, posebno njen predsjednik, Milorad Dodik, trebaju kompromise sa Sarajevom u izgradnji države i provođenju hitnih reformi na nivou entiteta.

RS je zaprijetila referendumom početkom 2011. što je moglo dovesti do izlaska Srba iz BiH institucija i doves­ti BiH na ivicu rata. Situacija se stabilizovala u junu, kada je Evropska unija (EU) ponudila proces dijaloga o sud­stvu, čiju je reformu RS zahtijevala. Državni i entitetski lideri su se sastali i počeli razmatrati složeni pravni sistem ove države imajući u vidu njegovo usag­lašavanje sa evropskim zakonodavstvom (acquis com­munitaire). Proces će biti dug i mukotrpan, ali RS može postići djelotvornu promjenu samo kroz Parlamentarnu skup­štinu BiH i Ustavni sud. 

Međunarodna zajednica se hrve sa RS godinama. Kada bi imali slobodu izbora, većina u entitetu bi više voljela neovisnost, ali to je neprihvaljivo ostatku BiH i međ­unarod­noj zajednici. RS je preslaba da izbori put do nezavisnosti i ne bi dobila međunarodno priznanje kao država. Njeni lideri odbacuju glavninu projekta izgradnje države koji vodi međunarodna zajednica koji je dao Bosni i Hercegovini njenu sadašnju administrativnu strukturu. Neki bošnjački i međunarodni posmatrači vjeruju da je međunarodna spremnost posustala, dajući Srbima prostora da sabotiraju državu, dok drugi međ­unarodni i srpski posmatrači tvrde da su međunarodne intervencije te koje zadržavaju Srbe u njihovom tvrdo­kornom mentalitetu. Reakcija EU, potpomognuta SAD  i drugima, na političke i pravne izazove koje je RS nap­ravila u junu nudi neprisilne alternative koje će svakoj strani biti teško odbaciti.

Bošnjaci, Hrvati i međunarodna zajednica nemaju druge nego da se suoče sa RS elitama, posebno predsjednikom Dodikom. On je najveći populist i najteži lider kojeg je RS imala u zadnjim godinama, ali on i njegova stranka još uvijek imaju najveću podršku. Opozicija je na izborim u oktobru 2010. imala bolje rezultate od oček­ivanih, posebno u utrci za srpsku poziciju u BiH pred­sjedništvu, ali Dodikova stranka Savez Nezavisnih Soc­ijal­demokrata, SNSD, kontroliše vladu i preds­jedništvo RSa, kao i Narodnu skupštinu Republike Srpske. Nacio­na­lizam i zaštita RSa ostaju ujedinjujuća fiks ideja ovog entiteta.  

RS je podijeljena na istočnu i zapadnu polovinu. SNSD je naizgled nepobjediva u politički i ekonomski utjeca­jnijem zapadnom dijelu, kontrolišući svaku opštinu bilo direktno ili u koaliciji sa nekom od manjih stranki i zadire u tradicionalnu istočnu bazu Srpske Demok­ratske Stranke (SDS). Dodikova vlada odlučuje o svim budžet­skim pitanjima, kao i o većini investicija koje idu na istok. Mnoge istočne opštine se, posebno one koje vodi opoz­icija, osjećaju uskraćenima i polako počinju tražiti veću ekonomsku i političku decentralizaciju, ali ovo pada u drugi plan pred naporima da se zaštiti cjelovitost RSa.

Korupcija i slaba vladavina prava potkopavaju ekono­mski rast. RS, kao i ostatak BiH, veoma sporo izlazi iz recesije koja je rezultirala iz globalne finansijske krize. Privatizacija Telekoma RSa i rafinerije nafte je dala RS-u bogatstvo u gotovini u periodu 2006-2008, kreira­jući lažni privid prosperiteta. Ali ova sredstva su malo učinila za dalji rast i nedavna povećanja poreza i oček­ivana sma­njenja u socijalnim uslugama mogu dovesti to socijal­nog nezadovoljstva. 

Mnogi Srbi vjeruju kako se od njih traži da preuzmu svu krivicu za rat u periodu 1991-1995, uz optužbe da su bili okupatori i agresori. Daleko najveći broj ratnih žrtava su bili bošnjački civili, koji su pretrpjeli teško etničko čišćenje, čiji je najužasniji i najveći primjer masovno ubistvo u Srebrenici. Srbi strijepe da će im RS biti odu­zeta ako priznaju da su počinili genocid u Srebrenici.Ali ovo je neosnovan strah. Upravo suprotno; zbog toga bi bilo potrebno da njene elite priznaju odgovornost svojih ratnih lidera i podrže napore ka pomirenju kako bi stekli više poštovanja i povjerenja u cijeloj BiH.

Sarajevo/Brisel, 6 oktobar 2011.

Report 232 / Europe & Central Asia

Bosnia’s Future

While the physical scars of the 1992-1995 Bosnia war have healed, political agony and ethnic tension persist. Real peace requires a new constitution and bottom-up political change.

Executive Summary

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH, or Bosnia) poses little risk of deadly conflict, but after billions of dollars in foreign aid and intrusive international administration and despite a supportive European neighbourhood, it is slowly spiralling toward disintegration. Its three communities’ conflicting goals and interests are a permanent source of crisis, exacerbated by a constitution that meets no group’s needs. The political elite enjoys mastery over all government levels and much of the economy, with no practical way for voters to dislodge it. The European Union (EU) imposes tasks BiH cannot fulfil. A countrywide popular uprising torched government buildings and demanded urgent reforms in February 2014, but possible solutions are not politically feasible; those that might be politically feasible seem unlikely to work. Bosnia’s leaders, with international support, must begin an urgent search for a new constitutional foundation.

The international project to rebuild Bosnia has had success: war’s physical scars are largely gone, and the country is peaceful. The political agonies, however, show the intervention’s limits. Years of well-intentioned reforms, imposed or urged, have left a governing structure leaders circumvent, ignore or despise. May’s floods left scores dead and thousands homeless, exposing the price of poor governance. With growing frequency, Bosnians ask the questions that preceded the 1992-1995 war: shall it be one country, two, or even three; if one country, shall it have one, two or three constituent entities, and how shall it be governed?

The heart of the problem is in Annex 4 to the Dayton Peace Agreement, known as the constitution (and in several changes imposed by courts and international officials). It defines BiH as a state of two entities, in effect but not explicitly federal, but also the state of three constituent peoples (Bosniaks, Croats, Serbs), and yet, simultaneously, of all citizens. A suffocating layer of ethnic quotas has been added, providing sinecures for officials increasingly remote from the communities they represent. The tensions created by constitutional schizophrenia are pushing BiH to the breaking point. A new design is needed: a normal federation, territorially defined, without a special role for constituent peoples, but responsive to the interests of its three communities and the rights of all citizens.

The state administration’s need to reform is made acute by a 2009 decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) that in effect requires BiH to change the ethnicity-based way it chooses its chief executive and part of its legislature. Existing proposals try to squeeze the constituent peoples into an ostensibly ethnicity-blind structure on top of which a complicated network of indirect elections would allow party leaders to choose the executive with as little democratic input as possible. The EU and the outside world support this tinkering with Dayton to satisfy the decision, though such proposals have manifestly failed. Bosnians need to rebuild their political structure from the bottom up.

There is no consensus on where to start, but Bosnia may have to break from its political system based on constituent peoples and their rights. Crisis Group has not reached this conclusion lightly. It reflects long experience and observation that no one has been able to frame a broadly attractive vision on the existing flawed basis. With stresses and frustrations accumulating in all communities, Bosnia must conceive new foundations to survive. Agreement may take years and much experimentation and debate, but the search should begin.

BiH is home to three political communities: those primarily loyal to the Bosnian state, usually but not always Bosniaks; those loyal to Republika Srpska (RS), usually Serbs; and those desirous of Croat self-government, usually Croats. Giving the Croats what they want, their own entity to make a three-entity Bosnia, is absolutely rejected by Bosniaks. Building virtual representative units for the three communities, possibly with new emphasis on municipalities as basic building blocks, is intellectually plausible but requires a leap of faith few seem ready to take. A purely civic state is inconceivable to Serbs and Croats.

Neither leaders nor civil society have deeply explored alternatives to three constituent peoples in two entities; any consensus would take time. Nevertheless, the goal should be clear. The head of state should reflect Bosnia’s diversity, something a collective does better than an individual. The same body could be the executive government. Some decisions should require consensus, others a majority. All three communities should be represented, not necessarily in equal numbers. There should be no ethnic quotas; representation should reflect self-defined regions and all their voters. Poorly performing, unnecessary state agencies and ministries should be slimmed or abolished, with powers reverting to the entities; but the state would need new ministries and agencies required for EU membership. The ten cantons in the larger of BiH’s two entities, the Federation (FBiH), are an underperforming, superfluous layer. They could be abolished, their powers divided between the municipalities and the entity government.

Political culture is part of the problem; an informal “Sextet” of party leaders in effect controls government and much of the economy. A multi-ethnic coalition persists, election to election, with only minor adjustments. Membership is earned by winning opaque intra-party competitions in which voters have little say. Change in this system can only come from within: Bosnians should join parties and participate in genuine leadership contests. Sextet power is further buttressed by control of hiring, investment and commercial decisions at state-owned firms, a situation that chokes private investment and growth.

Bosnia is unimaginable without the work of international officials who did much to shape political institutions and implement peace, but the international community has become more obstacle than help. BiH is trapped in a cycle of poorly thought-out, internationally-imposed tasks designed to show leaders’ readiness to take responsibility but that put that moment forever out of reach. The only way to encourage leaders to take responsibility is to treat the country normally, without extraneous tests or High Representatives. The EU could signal a new start by stating it will receive a membership application – the first of many steps on the long accession road. It should then be an engaged, not over-didactic partner in Bosnia’s search for a way to disentangle the constitutional knot.