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Why The Bosnian Elections Must Be Postponed
Why The Bosnian Elections Must Be Postponed
Table of Contents
  1. Executive Summary
Report 14 / Europe & Central Asia

Why The Bosnian Elections Must Be Postponed

The International Crisis Group (ICG) has been monitoring the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) in Bosnia and Herzegovina since early March 1996.

Executive Summary

The International Crisis Group (ICG) has been monitoring the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) in Bosnia and Herzegovina since early March 1996.  In a report in May on prospects for holding democratic elections as foreseen by the DPA, ICG expressed the hope that announcing a date for the elections would spur efforts by the international community to press the Parties to implement the Dayton Peace Agreement.  ICG believed that the signatories to the DPA would be persuaded at least to begin the repatriation and reintegration of refugees and displaced persons; to deliver indicted war criminals for trial; and to ensure greater freedom of movement and expression.

In June ICG said that willing the ends of the elections also meant willing the means of realizing them and that they must be called off if the circumstances did not significantly improve in the next three months.  Now with only a month to go ICG has concluded that most of the conditions for holding elections have not improved and that in many respects they have actually deteriorated.  Of course ICG recognizes that it is the responsibility of the Parties to the DPA to address these unsatisfactory conditions, but it has always been understood that they would do so only when subjected to strenuous and continuous pressure from the international community.  It has become clear in the interval that, on the civilian side of Dayton, the international community’s political efforts and financial resources have failed to convince the Parties to meet their obligations.  Since even minimum conditions for the elections to be effective do not exist and are unlikely to be created within the remaining period, ICG recommends the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should withdraw certification and proposes that the elections be postponed.