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Center for Balkan Development
Tel: 978-461-0909
Fax: 978-461-2552
[email protected]

CBD Briefs
Vol. 11, No. 1, December, 2005
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Letter from Executive Director

Dear Friends:

Dayton Ten Years On
This month marks the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords. At the time, the peace agreement was welcomed to stop a horrible war in which hundreds of thousands of civilians had been killed and millions made homeless. But the peace agreement also created a Bosnian constitution that was written in haste and was negotiated and signed by Slobodan Milosevic for the Bosnian Serbs. (Karadzic and Mladic had already been indicted and therefore could not be part of the negotiations). It is ironic that in 1999, four years after the Accords were signed, Milosevic himself was indicted by the ICTY for genocide in both Bosnia and Kosovo and is now on trial for these crimes.

Commemorations of the Accords may be in order, but awards, celebrations or congratulations certainly are not. Stopping the war was no doubt the first priority, but to do so the international community was willing to recognize both the illegal entity of Republika Srpska and the territory they gained through a campaign of aggression and genocide. These gains were also enshrined in the new constitution. In exchange, the world attained a peace that had to be maintained by a heavily armed NATO-led international peacekeeping force – a force that is still in place ten years later (now under EU authority).

Dayton had other problems, including creating a top heavy ineffectual system of government with a tripartite presidency, two entity parliaments, a state parliament, and cantonal and municipal authorities. This costly bureaucracy would be enough to sink even a wealthy nation. For Bosnia, it has sucked up all available money and human resources, leaving little for actual services for its war-weary population.

There is hope and progress on the horizon. CBD welcomes efforts to reform the constitution by such groups as the Dayton Peace Accords Project, which was instrumental in laying the groundwork for an historic agreement reached in Washington the week before Thanksgiving. Hosted by
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — three members of the Bosnian presidency began the long overdue process of creating a strong central government, and police and military reform. According to Bruce Hitchner, Dayton Project Chairman, “The 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the war, also redefined the three year old Bosnian state along ethnic lines. Dayton was never envisioned as a long term instrument, but as an interim minimalist solution until stability could be reestablished... Dayton devolved rapidly from an interim solution to a virtually fossilized end-state instrument for governing the country.”

Dayton will remain unfinished as long as Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic remain at large (see page 1 for accompanying article). The constitution created at Dayton gave the peacekeeping forces broad authority to arrest them, but did not require the arrests. Following Dayton, when both Karadzic and Mladic were visible on a daily basis, IFOR troops were reluctant to engage in a confrontation with the personal body guards of both men, and hence did nothing. While SFOR, and now EUFOR have shown greater interest in the arrests, Karadzic and Mladic are now in hiding and protected by heavily armed paramilitary troops. CBD has always called on the international community to take a stand and force the arrests. If the arrests do not happen by the end of this year, international justice will have been dealt a severe blow by this

CBD Director of Bosnia Projects Establishes Independent Organization

Since 1999, our economic and social development projects in Bosnia have been implemented by Christopher Bragdon, Director of Bosnia Projects for CBD. Working in post-war Tuzla in northeastern Bosnia, Chris initiated a range of humanitarian and development projects, the most ambitious being a World Bank-funded project called “The New Initiative” which helped community organizations become self-reliant through income generating activities. (See FOBriefs, December 2003, on our website.)

Effective January 1, 2006, CBD’s Bosnia projects that were under the direction of Chris will become part of BILD (Bosnian Initiative for Local Development), a new and independent non-governmental organization registered at the state level of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a Bosnian Board of Directors. Chris will transition from CBD's Director of Bosnia Projects to BILD’s Executive Director.

For CBD, BILD will become one of our partner NGOs that carry on the core mission of our work — reconstruction in the post-war former Yugoslavia. This model of working with implementing partners such as Connecticut Friends of Bosnia and the Kosovo Cultural Heritage Project, has proven very successful. We look forward to working with BILD under this new relationship.

To learn more about current and past projects of our Bosnia projects and now BILD, read this and former CBD newsletters at www.balkandevelopment.org, visit the BILD website at www.bild-bih.org, or contact Chris directly at [email protected]