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The Disintegration of Bosnia and Herzegovina

From Ethnic Cleansing to Ethnified Governance


Alim Baluch

This book argues that the «international community» created and managed the dysfunctional state of Bosnia and Herzegovina by effectively rewarding ethnic cleansing, drawing up a transitional constitution which, in turn, generated a complex ethnifying polity incapable of independent reform. This constitution, which was only added as an annex to the Dayton Peace Agreement, has continued to encourage ethnification, understood in this book as the reproduction of imagined communities of descent.

While accepting that foreign interference was necessary to end the war in the late 1990s, the book offers a critical review of the actions of the Office of the High Representative of the International Community (OHR) and other foreign actors since that period. It includes meticulous examination of hundreds of OHR decisions, as well as secret diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks revealing how the US embassy intervened in the country's trade and foreign policy.

Drawing on a process-sociological perspective, the book interrogates the notion of ethnicity and offers a radical new perspective on post-war state-building in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Chapter 5: The Decisions of the OHR


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The Decisions of the OHR

As discussed in the introduction, this book draws on a single case study which seeks to examine the research question by predominantly conducting content analysis. In order to make the findings more accessible to a wider readership, I will avoid terminology such as codes and coding and instead refer to categories. As will be shown, the OHR has introduced a categor-ization of its own which I will argue, is misleading. Instead this chapter introduced a novel categorization which helps to provide a clearer picture of the impact and changing nature of OHR decision-making. The unit of analysis (i.e. the phenomenon under investigation) is the means through which the OHR as an institution impacts ethnified multi-level governance in BiH. As ethnification permeates polities and policies and often prevents consensus among political actors in BiH, the OHR response to ethnification is of particular interest.

Figure 10 demonstrates that the definitions of legislative and constructive decisions can overlap while reconstructive decisions are specifically aimed at particular punitive decisions which had taken effect previously. These categories generate findings concerning the focus of the OHR on a more abstract level than the official categorization. It is this abstraction that enables the researcher to reveal the complex structure of the relationship between the OHR and BiH as well as its entities and cantons. Figuratively, the researcher is stepping back from the picture to gain a compact view of the entire...

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