Author(s): Saša Gavrić, Damir Banović, Mariña Barreiro
Subject(s): Politics, Law, Constitution, Jurisprudence, Governance, Government/Political systems
Published by: Sarajevo Open Centre
Keywords: political system; BiH; federalism; entities; Brčko district; local self-government;
Summary/Abstract: The political system in Bosnia and Herzegovina is very decentralized. As mentioned in the introduction, some authors argue that the state structure is confederal rather than federal (e.g. Savić 2003). Yet the entities are not explicitly entitled to secede from the central state. As a result of the historic developments during and after the war in the region, two separate quasi-state bodies emerged, each with their own constitution (Republika Srpska, 1992; and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1994). The Dayton Peace Agreement joined these quasi-states under the central state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The two state systems were conceptualized very differently. While the Republika Srpska resembles a unitary autonomous republic dominated by the Serbian ethnic group, the Federation was established as a highly decentralized autonomous republic with ten cantons (Markert 2003: 88). The border between the two entities, the infamous Inter-Entity Boundary Line (IEBL) resembled an actual state line for years after the war, including checkpoints, identification examination, etc. Eventually the High Representative interfered and introduced uniform, unidentifiable license plates, and freedom of movement for all ethnic groups was ensured. This allowed refugees to return to their pre-war homes. As a result of the High Representative’s drastic measures, the para-state structures established during the war were dismantled. This was very important as the function of all institutions in the Federation had been undermined by the fact that the Croat dominated areas were governed by the illegal Republic Herceg-Bosna until 2001 (Markert 2003: 89).

  • Page Range: 49-60
  • Page Count: 12
  • Publication Year: 2013
  • Language: English