A Free City in the Balkans: Reconstructing a Divided Society by Matthew Parish

By Matthew Parish

Following the brutal wars which raged within the former Yugoslavia within the early Nineties, Bosnia and Herzegovina used to be awkwardly partitioned into governing entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska. yet there has been one a part of the rustic that could now not be geared up into both type: the Breko District, a strategically severe land-bridge among the 2 components of the Bosnian Serb territory. This sector was once the topic of a hugely strange scan: put lower than a regime of across the world supervised executive, Breko turned a ""free city,"" evoking the reminiscence of Trieste or Danzig within the nineteenth century. What has this test in state-building printed concerning the historical past of this stricken nook of the Balkans - and its destiny? What classes might be utilized to clash answer in different components of the realm? And was once the scan profitable or have the voters of Breko suffered extra by the hands of the foreign neighborhood? A unfastened urban within the Balkans investigates the increase and fall of Breko and post-war Bosnia and investigates what classes should be discovered for foreign peacekeeping missions elsewhere.

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Additional resources for A Free City in the Balkans: Reconstructing a Divided Society in Bosnia (International Library of War Studies)

Example text

The absence of strong foreign interests in Bosnia led to a diversion of attention from the international community’s projects in the country, and this lack of focus contributed to OHR’s dysfunctionality. The important practical lesson to learn from this criticism of international organisations is that they cannot operate in a vacuum. Being funded by foreign governments and their most senior officials being appointees of those governments, they need a clear policy direction and mandate from foreign capitals.

This, combined with a self-imposed restraint in the face of fiendishly difficult domestic political conditions that constantly threatened to erupt into violence, helped the office to maintain a sense of institutional discipline. However, once the State Department lost interest, the same ailments that cursed the organisation as a whole began to creep into the international organisation running Brčko. The story of the rapid collapse of that office is one of the most intriguing details in the story of post-war international intervention in Bosnia and it illuminates much of the theoretical narrative about the potential failings of international organisations set out in this chapter.

None of this took place within an accountable legal framework; there was no way of challenging the decisions and actions OHR took, which were made behind closed doors 22 A FREE CITY IN THE BALKANS and without the benefit of any public scrutiny of the decision-making process. OHR set its own rules in deciding how and when to act and changed them or broke them at will. Successive heads of the organisation had radically different ideas about when and how to intervene in the country’s domestic affairs; their visions went mostly unchecked and OHR’s actions thus became capricious.

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