Grave situation in Mostar: Robust response required
Grave situation in Mostar: Robust response required
Table of Contents
  1. Executive Summary
Changing Dynamics in the Western Balkans
Changing Dynamics in the Western Balkans
Report 19 / Europe & Central Asia

Grave situation in Mostar: Robust response required

The violent events in Mostar on 10 February – and the failure of the International Police Task Force (IPTF) and the Stabilisation Force (SFOR) to either anticipate or control them – constitute a mortal threat to the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the continued existence of the Bosniac-Croat Federation.

Executive Summary

The violent events in Mostar on 10 February -- and the failure of the International Police Task Force (IPTF) and the Stabilisation Force (SFOR) to either anticipate or control them -- constitute a mortal threat to the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the continued existence of the Bosniac-Croat Federation.

Urgent measures are now required to repair the damage:

  • SFOR must take stronger and more consistent steps to anticipate and forestall civil violence in Mostar.
     
  • IPTF must investigate the events on 10 February and publish the results of its investigation.  Among the issues the investigation must cover is the apparent failure of SFOR and IPTF to maintain a deterrent presence in Mostar on 10 February.
     
  • The individuals found responsible for the unprovoked attack must be arrested and tried in an effective court.

The international community’s response to the violence will serve as a litmus test of the determination of SFOR, IPTF, and the international civilian authorities in Bosnia in implementing and enforcing the Brcko arbitration panel’s decision expected on 14 February.  The parties to the Brcko dispute will draw lessons and behave accordingly.

Sarajevo, 13 February 1997

Changing Dynamics in the Western Balkans

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker talks to Crisis Group expert Marko Prelec about the precarious situation in the Western Balkans, as Serb separatism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the frozen Kosovo-Serbia dispute continue to stoke regional instability.

The Western Balkans, a region defined in part by not being in the European Union, also contains several countries that were devastated by war in the 1990s. Now it faces new troubles, driven in part by the legacies of the old. Bosnia and Herzegovina is confronted with calls for secession in the autonomous Serb-dominated region, Republika Srpska, as well as the ongoing electoral grievances of its Croat minority. Meanwhile, efforts to resolve Kosovo’s dispute with Serbia over its independence have come to a standstill, leaving minority communities on both sides of the border vulnerable.

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker talks to Marko Prelec, Crisis Group’s Consulting Senior Analyst for the Balkans, about why ethnic tensions persist in the region and whether there is any risk of a return to conflict. They discuss the prospects for European integration, asking whether the promise of EU membership remains an effective incentive for resolving these longstanding disputes. They also consider what impact Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had for stability in the Western Balkans, a region where painful memories of war are still very salient today.



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For more of Crisis Group’s analysis, make sure to check out our Balkans regional page and keep an eye out for our upcoming report on the risk of instability in the Western Balkans.

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