Th is study sets out to examine what lessons can be learned from the
General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Th e
Dayton Peace Agreement) 1995, with particular relevance to inter-ethnic
reconciliation. Th e author conducted his fi eldwork in Sarajevo during
May, 2009, complementing these fi ndings with materials and information
collected during his previous visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The study identifies a number of important lessons, and presents them
in relation to the process of negotiations, designing of provisions, and
implementation of the agreement. Regarding the process, the study
suggests that those organising the negotiations should strive to coordinate
their eff orts in order to avoid duplications and internal confl icts.
Furthermore, the paper calls for caution regarding power negotiations
that are modelled on the exclusion of one or a few main parties to the
confl icts. In relation to the key provision – reconciliation – one should
not neglect local practices of power-sharing and societal organization
that traditionally served as pillars of peaceful inter-group coexistence.
Imposition of external models that are not in line with local political
and societal traditions may rub inter-ethnic relations and negatively
aff ect long-term reconciliation. Regarding the implementation phase,
two key lessons are highlighted. First, for a successful implementation
it is essential to have clear goal and to work with realistic deadlines for
implementations. Unrealistic deadlines may create wrong incentives for
the primary parties implementing the agreement. Secondly, if provisions
include external supervision of the implementation of the agreement, one
should consider how this would aff ect domestic ownership of the process.
In such an environment, various reconciliatory measures, regardless of
how well intended they may be, stand little chance of immediate success.
New York and Uppsala: United Nations and Department of Peace and Conflict Research , 2009. , 61 p.
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dayton Peace Agreement, US, UN, Contact Group, negotations, peace agreement, reconciliation