Podcast / Europe & Central Asia 1 minutes

Bosnia Unravelling?

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Balkans expert Marko Prelec about the twin crises facing Bosnia’s multi-ethnic state. They ask if Serbian secessionism and a Croat election boycott could lead to the country’s unravelling a quarter-century after its civil war.

Bosnia faces what the current international High Representative to the country, Christian Schmidt, calls “its greatest existential threat of the post-war period”. It is grappling with dual crises that could upend the fragile status quo that has endured since the 1995 Dayton Accords ended Bosnia’s brutal civil war. In October, Milorad Dodik, the de facto leader of the autonomous Serb-dominated region, Republika Srpska, vowed to pull out of state institutions, paving the way for independence or union with neighbouring Serbia. Meanwhile, Bosniaks and Croats have yet to resolve a longstanding electoral dispute and, divided, cannot join together to counter Dodik’s secessionist threats. Both Serbs and Croats threaten to boycott elections planned for 2022. 

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Naz Modirzadeh and Richard Atwood are joined by Crisis Group Balkans expert Marko Prelec to talk about the crises. They discuss the motives for the Serbian drive for secession, the ongoing electoral dispute that has left Croats feeling disenfranchised, and the High Representative’s role. They look at quick fixes to calm both crises, the necessity but challenges of constitutional reform and revisiting the framework established at Dayton, and what international actors can do to help. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more information, explore Crisis Group’s analysis on our Bosnia And Herzegovina page and make sure to read our recent Q&A ‘Grappling with Bosnia’s Dual Crises’.


Executive Vice President
Naz Modirzadeh
Board Member and Harvard Professor of International Law and Armed Conflicts
Consulting Senior Analyst, Balkans

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