Bosnia and Herzegovina. When Bosnia and Herzegovina, for
the first time since the Civil War, went to the elections in
October, it became a setback for international efforts to
achieve reconciliation. According to
Countryaah website, the moderate forces that ruled for
two years were left behind for nationalist parties that
emerged in both legislative assemblies and in the three-part
presidency. The mainly symbolic presidential posts went to Mirko Šarović, a member of the Serbian SDS (Srpska
Democratic Stranka), Dragan Čović of Croatian HDZ (Hrvatska
Democratic Zajednica), and the Muslim SDA (Stranka
Democratic Akcije) Sulejman Tihic.
In April, the representative of the Western powers,
Wolfgang Petritsch, passed constitutional amendments that
gave all three peoples groups equal political rights
throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. This meant that all
political groups were guaranteed political representation
and that the three languages were given equal status in both
the Republic of Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation. The
dominant nationalist parties in the three camps were
critical, but could do nothing. Petritsch also stripped
politicians at local level of influence over the judiciary
as a final measure before being replaced in May as "High
Representative" by British politician Paddy Ashdown.
In May, some small steps were also taken to unify the
country, which has been divided in practice since the Dayton
Agreement in 1995. The authorities decided to start issuing
joint identity documents, valid in both sub-republics, and
the military agreed to form a joint UN force for
peacekeeping operations. elsewhere. In addition, football
representatives agreed to start an all-Bosnian league.
The future of the SFOR peacekeeping force looked
uncertain in July when the United States threatened to
withdraw its troops if US soldiers were not guaranteed
prosecution immunity in the newly established International
Criminal Court in The Hague. A compromise was reached after
a couple of weeks and SFOR was given an extended mandate.
According to previous decisions, the strength would be
greatly reduced during the year.
In July, the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Croatia and Yugoslavia held a summit in Sarajevo, which
resulted in a declaration, among other things. that borders
should be respected, refugee return facilitated and regional
The Bosnian government imposed a total ban on arms
exports and arms imports. The decision was made following
strong international pressure after it was revealed that a
Bosnian company sold military material to Iraq, in violation
of the UN arms embargo.
Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the Council of Europe
during the year.