Three legal cases/political scandals during 2018-19 grabbed the attention of the domestic public and the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The first two concerned the unresolved deaths of two young men, Dženan Memić in Sarajevo and David Dragičević in Banja Luka. The improper investigative conduct of the police and judiciary regarding their deaths raised suspicions of cover-ups and political interference. The third concerned corruption allegations against Milan Tegeltija, then president of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HJPC), the BiH judiciary’s self-managing body.
The three cases marked the nadir of a steady decline of the rule of law institutions in BiH over the last decade and a half, and stand in stark contrast to 2005 when BiH was a frontrunner among Western Balkan countries aspiring to European Union (EU) membership. Rule of law achievements until then had been the result of substantial and systematic judicial and (to a lesser degree) police reform carried out during the immediate post-war period under the leadership of the international community.
For the past three decades, Western Balkan countries have been going through a dynamic period of consolidation of new states, economic transition and transformation of social values. This process of regional and internal consolidation is unfinished and the legacy of conflict is still powerful; yet the outlook of EU accession is the one positive project offering a perspective to societies and economies while settling the wounds of the past.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) cannot yet be defined as a new "stable democracy". Čović (HDZ B&H) is trying to make changes to the B&H Election Law before the 2022 General Elections, which is to ensure the "legitimate representation" of the constituent peoples. In this way, with "legitimate representatives", a way would be opened for the implementation of their own long-term strategy, which undoubtedly goes in the direction of rounding off the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina which is inhabited by majority Catholic population, i.e. the rebirth of the "extinguished" so-called Herzeg-Bosna, its full territorial and political autonomy and its eventual annexation to the Republic of Croatia.
In a policy brief, experts of the West Balkan Strategy Group have presented the set of problems in a short and comprehensible way and formulated recommendations for action in order to come closer to a genuine citizen society in BiH. Stability and progress in the Balkans will not be achieved without a solution to the issue of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And it is not only a regional problem, but a pan-European one.
Recent developments in Southeastern Europe are diminishing the image of the European Union and its perspective of the region. The long history of the dispute over the history of the region of Macedonia, the identity of ethnic Macedonians and the question of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria is threatening the EU integration of North Macedonia, but also the entire Western Balkan 6.
“Srebrenica is turning into a vaste slaughterhouse. The killed and wounded are being brought to the hospital continuously. It is impossible to describe it. Each second, three deadly projectiles are falling on this town. Seventeen casualties have just been brought to the hospital, as well as 57 severely and lightly wounded people. Will anyone in the world come and witness the tragedy that is befalling Srebrenica and its residents? This is an outrageous crime against the bosniac inhabitants of Srebrencia. The population of the city dissapears.
Whether Akashi or Boutros-Ghali or someone else is behind it - I'm afraid it doesn't matter anymore for Srebrenica..“
S r e b r e n i c a , J u l y 10, 1 9 9 5, N i h a d Ć a t i ć
The feminist edition of Perspectives Magazine, a regional publication published annually by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, aims to present the perspectives of Southeastern Europe to an international audience, to analyze global and regional trends and to provide insights into developments and political debates. The theme of this year's issue is gender and feminism in the Western Balkans, which is presented through four thematic units (State of the Art, Gender in Transitions: Revolution is Female?, Interventions and Resistance), which gives an overview of the context, perception of gender and the state of women's rights, and opens the issue of gender by social (re-)evolution and conflicts, initiatives and practices that contribute to the dismantling of patriarchy and very concrete practices of resistance in our countries. Through the issues of gender violence, political participation, economic relations, ecology, activism, physicality and from the perspective of female scientists, activists, journalists and writers, we focus on a kind of strategy for women's rights in the Balkans: is it based on the premise that we do not get tired and give up.
This issue of Balkan Perspectives was written by women and describes the rights and fights for gender equality which last for generations in the Western Balkans.
Rarely, if ever, has a genocide been as normalized as the genocide against the Bosniaks. It is a process which began simultaneously with the genocide itself—not only with the expansive cover-up campaign of its perpetrators, but with the rhetorical onslaught of minimization undertaken by the international community.
Thus far, BiH political leaders have not demonstrated substantial progress in fulfilling the integration’s requirements, nor in joint efforts of prioritizing EU integration and putting it before particular ethnic interests. In case of Mr. Čović and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ BiH), it is necessary to keep in mind the type of EU-BiH perspective they advocate for, as well what their policies imply for BiH.
The “Strategy Group for a political, societal and economic European integration of the
Western Balkans Six” is a group of legal, historical and political researches from all WB6
countries organized by Heinrich Böll Stiftung’s Belgrade, Sarajevo and Berlin offices.
Its aim is to credibly advocate for a more effective European integration of the Balkans
in European as well as Balkan capitals.