David Pettigrew: National unification through constitutional reform


David Pettigrew, PhD

Professor of Philosophy and Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Southern Connecticut State University

**Version for Presentation for KRUG 99**


November 29, 2015

It is indeed, cruelly ironic that “Andrićgrad,” a Serbian ultranationalist fantasy-town designed by Emir Kusturica, and built from opulent stone, has arisen along the river Drina in Višegrad, near the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge, at an estimated cost of 10 million Euros, replete with a replica of a statue honoring Montenegrin Prince/Bishop and poet, Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, as well as a replica of the Visoki Dečani Monastery from Kosovo (which has been dedicated in Višegrad to Prince Lazar and the martyrs of Kosovo[1]), while only a short distance away, the Pionirska Street house, where on 14 June 1992, more than 50 women and children were burned alive by Bosnian Serb nationalists, is threatened by the Bosnian-Serb dominated municipality with expropriation and demolition. The Pionirska Street house is the only remaining memorial of the crime that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia identified as one of the:

the worst acts of inhumanity that a person may inflict upon others. In the all too long, sad and wretched history of man’s inhumanity to man, the Pionirska street and Bikavac fires must rank high. At the close of the twentieth century, a century marked by war and bloodshed on a colossal scale, these horrific events stand out for the viciousness of the incendiary attack, for the obvious premeditation and calculation that defined it, for the sheer callousness and brutality of herding, trapping and locking the victims in the two houses, thereby rendering them helpless in the ensuing inferno, and for the degree of pain and suffering inflicted on the victims as they were burnt alive. There is a unique cruelty in expunging all traces of the individual victims which must heighten the gravity ascribed to these crimes.[2]

The threatened expropriation and demolition of the Pionirska Street house is brutally indicative of the prevalence of a culture of genocide denial in Republika Srpska. On January 23, 2014, while the stone city of Andrićgrad was being completed, a municipal employee, under heavy police protection, ground the word “genocide” from the memorial in Stražište cemetery. The municipality forcibly entered the cemetery by breaking the lock on the gate and desecrated the memorial to the victims of the Višegrad genocide.

However, the culture of denial is not unique to Višegrad, and in the days leading up to the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide in July 2015, it was evident at the highest international diplomatic levels. On July 8, 2015, Russia vetoed the resolution on the Srebrenica genocide that had been introduced by Britain in the United Nations Security Council.[3] Genocide denial was also evident at the state level in Serbia. It was reported that the President of Serbia had personally appealed to Russia's President Vladimir Putin, to vote “no” on the resolution.[4]  According to one news report, President Nikolić wrote (in his letter to Putin) that if the resolution would pass, the Balkans would be “on the brink of a new war.”[5] On the entity level in Republika Srpska, President Milorad Dodik, for his part, proclaimed that the genocide at Srebrenica was the “biggest sham of the 20th century.”[6]

Further, it is important to recognize the extent to which the genocide denial by Russia, Serbia, and Republika Srpska is socially divisive. That is to say, that genocide denial rends the social fabric, insuring that no reconciliation is henceforth possible. In her brilliant presentation July 1, 2015, to the United Nations Security Council commemoration of the genocide,

Ms. Adisada Dudić stated:

Calling what happened in Srebrenica by any name other than genocide, be it massacre, tragedy, catastrophe, whatever else, not only thwarts the possibility of reconciliation, it bolsters those denying the genocide and leading the secession efforts. It trivializes the pain and suffering of genocide victims. It re-victimizes the survivors, and it minimizes the enormity of the crime.[7]

At the same U.N. commemoration, Bosnia’s U.N. Ambassador, Mirsada Colaković called denial ‘‘the last stage of genocide…. a kind of double-killing in which the victims are first murdered, then the memory of the horrible deeds themselves is being destroyed.”[8]

In this divisive dimension, especially in the current circumstance, genocide denial drives a painful wedge between people. The divisive thrust of denial from Russia, Serbia, and Republika Srpska came at a most sensitive moment in July 2015, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide.  It has not escaped our attention that the divisive political culture of denial has engendered a discourse of secession. In Republika Srpska, President Milorad Dodik has spoken periodically of seceding from Bosnia and Herzegovina.  For example, President Dodik's party, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), voted on April 25, 2015, to hold a referendum on secession in 2018 unless offered additional autonomy before that time.[9]  Toward the end of June 2015, posters appeared in the town of Bratunac, near Srebrenica, displaying the face of Vladimir Putin. The top of the poster bore the phrase, “Alternative to the East,” and the bottom of the poster bore the name “Republika Srpska.”  The poster can be interpreted in different ways, but perhaps the most obvious is that it is an anti-European Union poster, encouraging the citizens of Republika Srpska to consider the alternative of aligning with Russia rather than with the European Union, thus discouraging Bosnia's entry to the European Union.

Accordingly, to the politics of denial and division we can add a third term, namely, that of destabilization. In other words, the effect of genocide denial is destabilization in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as within the region. Indeed, in mid-July 2015, in a challenge to national security, President Dodik introduced yet a new referendum that challenges the authority of the national court as well as the authority of the High Representative. Voters would be asked to declare whether they support the “anti-constitutional and unauthorized laws imposed by the High Representative of the international community, especially the laws imposed relating to the [state] court and the prosecutor’s office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”[10]

In a joint statement, The Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina/EU Special Representative Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, joined by U.S. Ambassador Maureen Cormack, British Ambassador Edward Ferguson, French Ambassador Claire Bodonyi, German Chargé d’Affaires Adrian Pollmann, and a representative of the Italian Ambassador, condemned the referendum and referred to it as a  “direct threat to the sovereignty and security of the country as a whole.”[11]

In response to this condemnation, President Dodik has seemed to become even more strident, promising that the referendum will go forward, maligning the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and asserting the primacy of the entity of Republika Srpska: “Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state does not have a government!” he asserted,  “The entities have the government.”[12] President Dodik insisted, moreover, that Bosnia and Herzegovina “is not, nor will it ever be, a stable state” (b92, my emphasis). President Dodik seemed to suggest, alternatively, that a more stable arrangement would be developed by building a bridge over the Drina between Bratunac (in Republika Srpska) and Ljubovija (in Serbia) (cf. b92).  Regarding such “bridges” between Republika Srpska and Serbia, on January 9, 2014, the General Consul of Serbia, Mr. Acimović, stated at a meeting in Chicago celebrating the 22nd anniversary of the creation of Republika Srpska (Republika Srpska day), that there is “no border” between Serbia and Republika Srpska, thereby dismissing the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina. By rhetorically “annexing” Republika Srpska in his speech, the General Consul invoked the ultranationalist goal of a “Greater Serbia.” Further, Mr. Acimović asserted that Republika Srpska is a state, an assertion that constitutes a violation of the Dayton Peace Agreement and the existing Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to which Republika Srpska is only an entity within the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[13] Both of these statements, regarding the rhetorical “annexation” of Republika Srpska, on the one hand, and the assertion of the “statehood” of Republika Srpska, on the other hand, entail an assault on the national security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and destabilize Bosnia's sovereign autonomy.

More recently, President Dodik introduced a law that would pay pension benefits to the founders of Republika Srpska, including Krajišnik, Plavšić and Karadžić.[14] Plavšić and Krajišnik have been convicted of war crimes, and of course Karadžić is on trial. Dodik defended the new law, which faced public opposition in Republika Srpska, in the following terms: “The beneficiaries of this law adopted our constitution, which stands to this day. This law is a minimal contribution for the service of people who built everything we have today” (BI). The pension benefits law seems to have been opposed in Republika Srpska, not because it was supporting the founders of Republika Srpska who have been convicted of war crimes, but rather because “the legislation would cost approximately 1.2 million euros annually, much more than army veterans’ pensions” (BI). President Dodik apparently blamed the opposition to the law on a decline in social values and has promised to raise the issue again in parliament (Cf. BI). This pension benefit law introduced by President Dodik, a law that effectively idealizes or glorifies convicted war criminals, is certainly not the first instance of such glorification in Republika Srpska. The memorial to the perpetrators of the genocide in Višegrad, which is dedicated to the “brave defenders of Republika Srpska from the grateful citizens of Višegrad,” the memorial to the perpetrators in Trnopolje, which is dedicated to the soldiers who “embedded their lives in the foundation of Republika Srpska,” and the plaque commemorating Ratko Mladić on Vraca Hill, in a position from the which the residents of Sarajevo were terrorized during the siege of Sarajevo, are all instances of the glorification of the perpetrators of genocide. In addition, there is a law in Republika Srpska for the creation of memorials for prominent members of the Army of Republika Srpska. This law is known as the law for memorials of the so-called “the war of liberation.”[15] This glorification of war criminals has been part and parcel of the suppression or prohibition of memorials for the victims in Foča, Prijedor, Trnopolje, Višegrad and elsewhere. The glorification of the war criminals, and the suppression of memorials for the victims, enact denial, rend the social fabric, and lead to destabilization.

Unquestionably, the denial of genocide, and the politics of division and destabilization in Republika Srpska are an explicit threat to the “Dayton Peace Agreement,” that is to say, a malicious attempt to undermine the national security of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, to the politics of denial, division, and destabilization, I want to add yet another specter that is haunting the survivors of the genocide. The denial of genocide, the glorification of war criminals, the erection of memorials to the perpetrators, the systematic and discriminatory prohibitions of memorials for the victims, the demeaning comments about Bosniaks,[16] their government, their institutions and their language, along with intimidating posters and slogans, are all intentionally hurtful and divisive actions. However politically motivated they may be, these assertions and actions clearly have the effect of inciting contempt and hatred against Bosniaks and other non-Serbs. As such, they constitute nothing less than the classically recognized predictors, or precursors of genocide. Just in recent days President Dodik has characterized the Constitutional Court as a “Muslim court against Serbs.”[17]

When genocide is denied, the atrocities are legitimized. When the perpetrators are glorified and memorialized, their crimes are celebrated. When memorials are erected to the perpetrators and memorials are denied to the victims, the suffering of the victims is dismissed and trivialized. When President Dodik regularly disparages and dehumanizes non-Serbs through demeaning comments and discriminatory practices, he fosters and legitimizes a culture and a discourse of contempt and hatred against non-Serbs. His campaign slogan in 2012 was “Serb from house to house,” implying that no one else, no other ethnic group was welcome. When the de-legitimization of the national government, the normalization of atrocities, the glorification of the perpetrators, and the dehumanization of the targeted other becomes an accepted mode of discourse, we see, once again, the seeds of genocide within the sociopolitical culture of Republika Srpska today.

The cumulative cruelty in President Dodik's rhetoric of genocide denial and threats of secession is designed to discourage refugee return. It seems that such an exclusionary impulse–since it has flourished unimpeded by the High Representative or the international community– has permeated the sociocultural DNA of Republika Srpska in the years following the Dayton Peace Accords. Research by Mirza Hota has indicated that there has been an increasing number of incidences of hate speech and violent physical attacks against Bosniaks in Republika Srpska, including in Prijedor, and Doboj.[18]

This “specter” I identify –the normalization of a discourse of contempt and hatred–cannot be surprising to anyone, since Republika Srspka was itself founded as a kind of linguistic violence: “Republika Srpska,” a Republic of Serbs where the other –the non-Serb– was not welcome.  Of course this exclusionary language was a “linguistic violence” because the territory that was claimed, was multicultural. The leaders of Republika Srpska then declared an intention to exclude or “cleanse” non-Serbs from the territory and set out to do so by genocidal means. When Republika Srpska was recognized and legitimized by the Dayton Peace Accords, this was, in my view, a “reward” for a successful genocide. In this historical juncture, as we are poised between the 20th commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide and the 20th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords, it is time to right this wrong. The genocidal impulse, an impulse that seeks to demean and exclude non-Serbs, an impulse that continues to operate in Republika Srpska, through genocide denial, human rights violation, and hate speech, must be addressed decisively.

But again, it is not simply that Republika Srpska's recognition by the Dayton Peace Accords was a reward for a successful genocide, or that the social and political culture in Republika Srpska continues to operate as a dehumanizing zone of exclusion for non-Serbs (many would rightly call it a continuation of the genocide) with which we must be concerned. It is also, as I have noted, a matter of the gravest concern that the current level of demeaning comments and instances of psychological intimidation are the classical predictors of another genocide-to-come. The United Nations’ doctrine of the “Responsibility to Protect,” was developed after the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia so as to encourage a response to such early warning signals.  In the “Annex” on “Early warning and assessment,” the document announces a responsibility to understand “the pattern of events that could lead to such massive affronts to human dignity and how to forestall them.”[19] The all too familiar “pattern of events” in Republic Srpska are a call — even a cry– for a strategy for constitutional reform that would undermine the ability of ultranationalist ideologues in Republika Srpska to continue the practices of genocide denial, social division, and political destabilization, practices that threaten the national security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that, at the same time, promote and normalize a discourse that provokes contempt and hatred of non-Serbs and particularly targets Bosnian Muslims. History tells us that with such rhetoric, things will only get worse. As Samantha Power, United States Ambassador to the United Nations has written, referring to genocide in the past, that “time and again, decent men and women chose to look away.”[20] Now we must not look away. The international diplomatic community has the responsibility to protect those who are the target of President Dodik's dehumanizing rhetoric.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Dayton agreement, the High Representative needs to draw once again on his Bonn powers and defend the Dayton Agreement, in spite of its numerous and fundamental deficiencies, precisely in order to transcend the Dayton Agreement. First, it must be agreed that the ongoing attacks on Dayton, insofar as they are an attack on the national security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are unacceptable and intolerable. The High Representative needs to reassert the principle of the rule of law that was assumed by the Dayton Accords. National Laws need to be introduced and promoted, including enforceable laws against genocide denial, as well as enforceable laws against hate speech and discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and religion. National laws need to declare certain atrocity sites, or “places of pain,”[21] as national lands so that memorials can be installed to the victims of the genocide without fear of intervention from Republika Srpska.

In the past, the High Representative has undertaken certain legal reforms in the context of the priority of the rule of law. Article V of Annex 10 to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina affirms, “the High Representative is the final authority in theatre for the resolution of difficulties arising with civilian implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords.”[22] Paragraph 12.1 of the Declaration of the Peace Implementation Council which met in Madrid on 15 and 16 December 1998, made clear that the rule of law, in which all citizens had confidence, was a prerequisite for a lasting peace.[23] Finally, paragraph XI.2 of the Conclusions of the Peace Implementation Conference held in Bonn on 9 and 10 December 1997, welcomed the High Representative’s use of his final authority in theatre regarding interpretation of the Agreement on the Civilian Implementation of the Peace Settlement in order to facilitate the resolution of any difficulties as aforesaid “by making binding decisions, as he judges necessary” on certain issues including … “measures to ensure implementation of the Peace Agreement throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Entities.”[24]
The abovementioned Bonn Powers were provided to the High Representative so as to be able to respond to an intolerable or impossible situation in which ultranationalists would be undermining the possibility of progress toward peace, justice, and reconciliation. In August 1998, for example, Carlos Westendorp, who was High Representative at the time, removed a political official from the SDS party from office because he found the politician's extremist statements to be a threat to implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement and therefore unacceptable and intolerable.[25] Another initiative taken by the High Representative, as the final authority in theatre, was the creation of the Potočari Memorial Center in Srebrenica municipality as a national protected memorial site.[26]

Representatives in the Office of the High Representative have stated that, since 2006, it has been assumed that the High Representative would no longer use the Bonn Powers. However, I would argue that, given the current intractable political crisis, and given the evidence of the ongoing genocidal impulse in Republika Srpska, the Bonn Power's need to be revived now in this time of crisis, in an appropriate and effective manner.  The priority to be initiated by the Office of the High Representative and supported by the international community, so as to respond to the problematic legacy of Dayton, would be the reform of the Constitution.  The High Representative should take at least two initiatives in this regard. The first would be, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords, to declare a plan for a Constitutional convention within 24 months that would be expected to bring about a functional reunification of the nation. Leading up to that time, the High Representative would establish and support a participatory citizens’ task force to develop the framework for such a unification. The task force would ideally include citizens from across all walks of life. The process could be assisted and funded by the Council of Europe (COE), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), all institutions with resources and with respect for the rule of law. A number of key organizations should be involved in this participatory effort. Such organizations include The Post- Conflict Research Center, directed by Velma Šarić, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, directed by Alma Mašić, Center for Peace Building in Sanski Most, directed by Vahidin Omanović, and Cultural Heritage Without Borders. These are among some of the organizations with experience reaching across borders. Further, universities (faculty and students), and many others can be brought into this broadly based effort to build a consensus and to imagine a better future. Survivors’ organizations, those with a perspective of the devastation wrought by genocide, need to be included, including Mothers of Srebrenica, with spokesperson Munira Subašić, and Women Victims of War, led by Bakira Hasečić. In addition, it would be important to involve Bosnia's diaspora and its advocacy groups, in this dialogue to save the future.

When I was in Bosnia in July 2015, I spoke with many citizens who expressed a sense of desperate hopelessness at the political and social stalemate that has been perpetuated by Republika Srpska. A young businessman in Srebrenica, a young professor at University of Tuzla, and a young man who returned with me to Višegrad for the first time since he was expelled at the age of four in 1992, and many others, all shared their frustrations with me. For their sake, we need an effort to imagine a unified Bosnia and Herzegovina with a multicultural future. Such an effort, to be enacted by the “constitutional task force,” would provide a profoundly important alternative to the spiteful, ultranationalist symbols of Andrićgrad, and the cruel efforts to deny the genocide and erase of the memory of the world that was devastated by the genocide, as in the case of the Pionirska Street house in Višegrad. Let us recall Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel's dictum: “To forget [the victims of genocide] would not be only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.” At this historical juncture between the 20th anniversary commemoration of Srebrenica and the 20th anniversary commemoration of Dayton, in the face of the discourse of denial, and of the rhetoric of contempt and hatred, let us stand together and resolve to foster a discourse of hope that will bring about national unification through constitutional reform.



[1] Hikmet Karčić, “Andrićgrad: Highjacking Memories and the New Serb Identity,” (paper provided to the author in advance of publication, September 21, 2015).

[2] International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judgment Summary, Milan Lukić & Sredoje Lukić (IT-98-32/1-T) “Višegrad”, Trial Chamber III, July 20, 2009, accessed November 28, 2015.


[3] Somini Sengupta, “Russia Vetoes U.N. Resolution Calling Srebrenica Massacre ‘Crime of Genocide,’” The New York Times, July 8, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015,


[4] Serbia Asks Russia To Veto UN Resolution On Srebrenica,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, July 4, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.rferl.org/content/serbia-russia-srebrenica-genocide-un-resolution/27109972.html. “Serbian state TV reported on July 4 that Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic had sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘pleading’ for a Russian ‘no’ in the UN council when the resolution is expected to be tabled next week.”

[5] In his letter to Putin, Nikolić warned about being on the “brink of war if a British resolution on Srebrenica was adopted in the UN,” b92, July 9, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2015&mm=07&dd=09&nav_id=94702 (my emphasis).

[6] Julian Borger, “Srebrenica 20 Years On,” The Guardian, July 3, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/03/srebrenica-massacre-20-years-on.


Also see, “Dodik: Srebrenica ‘najveća prevara 20. vijeka’,” Radio Slobodna Europa, June 25, 2015, accessed November  28, 2015,, http://www.slobodnaevropa.org/archive/news/20150625/500/500.html?id=27093445&nocache=.

See as well, “Bosnian Serb Leader Says Srebrenica Genocide a Lie,” Yahoo News, July 4, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://news.yahoo.com/bosnian-serb-leader-says-srebrenica-genocide-lie-191425555.html.

[7] UN/Srebrenica Genocide Anniversary, July 1, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/unifeed/asset/1394/1394727/ (my emphasis).

[8] “UN Officials Use ‘G-Word’ To Describe Srebrenica Massacre,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, July 2, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.rferl.org/content/serbia-bosnia-russia-srebrenica-genocide-un-commemoration/27105458.html

[9] Maja Zuvela, “Biggest Serb Party in Bosnia threatens 2018 secession, ” Reuters, April 25, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/25/us-bosnia-serbs-secession-idUSKBN0NG0NB20150425.

[10] “Bosnian Serbs Set Date for Controversial Referendum,”BalkanInsight, September 25, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/bosnian-serbs-set-date-for-disputed-referendum-09-25-2015.

[11]  “The State level judicial institutions are critical to the sovereignty and stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are deeply concerned that the proposed referendum would represent an unconstitutional attempt not to reform but to undermine and weaken those authorities, and would thus pose a direct threat to the sovereignty and security of the country as a whole.” “Joint Statement on the Planned Referendum in the Republika Srpska,”European Western Balkans,” July 14, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://europeanwesternbalkans.com/2015/07/14/joint-statement-on-the-planned-referendum-in-the-republika-srpska/ (my emphasis).

[12] “Dodik: Referendum to go ahead, Serbia picked wrong partner,” b92, November 4, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region.php?yyyy=2015&mm=11&dd=04&nav_id=95942.

[13] “A request for withdrawal of consent to perform the duties of Consul General of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Chicago and general consul of Serbia,” An open letter to the Honorable United States Vice President Joe Biden, Bosnian-American Genocide Institute and Education Center, January 2014, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.baginst.org/uploads/1/0/4/8/10486668/letter_to_vice_president_joe_biden_2.pdf

[14] Denis Džidić “Bosnian Serbs Withdraw Benefits Law for Wartime Officials,” BalkanInsight, September 16, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/bosnian-serbs-withdraw-benefits-plan-for-wartime-leaders-09-16-2015/1431/4.

[15] Personal communication from OSCE legal staff, following meeting March 17, 2014. From the report: “RS adopted ‘the law on monuments and memorial of liberation wars’. This law regulates construction of monuments for the prominent persons from the ‘liberation wars’ killed in the war or died in the peace, as well as monuments dedicated to the soldiers of foreign armies that fought together with the fighters of the ‘liberation wars’ against ‘common enemies’.”

[16] In a televised debate with Mr. Čedomir Jovanović, President Dodik is quoted as insisting that “I never admitted that genocide was committed in Srebrenica and I never will.” “RS president, LDP leader spar in TV debate,” b92, February 1, 2012, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2012&mm=02&dd=01&nav_id=78573.

Further, In a June 1, 2012 interview titled “Republika Srpska's Dodik Says He's ‘Only Supporting The Constitution’,” President Dodik asserted, referring to Bosniaks, that  “…the struggle of the Bosniaks for their national identity is completely tied to the idea of creating some kind of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Bosniaks are a people that exist only in Bosnia-Herzegovina and only declared themselves a people sometime around 1993. They are stubbornly trying to prove their national identity.” In the same interview, President Dodik belittled the Bosnian language, stating that “I speak Serbian, but in Sarajevo they say that they speak Bosnian. But there is no Bosnian language. If we call the language Bosnian then they have to ask me, as a resident of Bosnia, if I agree to have my language identified as Bosnian. But I don't agree!”

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, June 1, 2012, accessed November 28, 2015,


[17] “Dodik: We will not obey Court's decision,” Bosnia Today, November 26, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.bosniatoday.ba/dodik-we-will-not-obey-courts-decision/. Also see, “Bosnian Serbs United to Defend Threatened Holiday,” BalkanInsight, November 27, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/bosnian-serbs-defy-bosnian-constitutional-court-over-serb-national-day-ruling-11-27-2015 (my emphasis).

[18] Mirza Hota, “Attacks on Returnees in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” BiHbloggen, August 28, 2015, accessed November 28, 2015, https://bosnienbloggen.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/attacks-on-returnees-in-bosnia-and-herzegovina/.

[19] “Implementing the Responsibility to Protect. Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly Sixty-Third Session, January 12, 2009, accessed November 28, 2-15, http://responsibilitytoprotect.org/implementing%20the%20rtop.pdf

[20] Samantha Power, “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide. New York HarperPerennial Edition, 2007, xvi

[21] Hariz Halilovich, Places of Pain: Forced Displacement, Popular Memory and Trans-Local Identities in Bosnian War-Torn Communities (New York, Berghahn 2013).

[22] Dayton Peace Agreement, Annex 10, “Agreement on Civilian Implementation,” Office of the High Representative, December 14, 1994, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.ohr.int/dpa/default.asp?content_id=366.

[23] “PIC Madrid Declaration,” Office of the High Representative, Peace Implementation Council, December 16, 1998, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.ohr.int/pic/default.asp?content_id=5190.

[24] “PIC Bonn Conclusions,” Office of the High Representative, Peace Implementation Council, December 10, 1997, accessed November 28, 2015,  http://www.ohr.int/pic/default.asp?content_id=5182#11.

[25] “Decision removing Dragan Cavic from his position as a member of the newly elected RS National Assembly,”

HR's Decisions: Removals and Suspensions, Office of the High Representative, October 8, 1998, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.ohr.int/decisions/removalssdec/default.asp?content_id=259.

[26] “Decision on the location of a cemetery and a monument for the victims of Srebrenica,”

HR's Decisions: Property Laws and Return Displaced Persons and Refugees, October 10, 2000, accessed November 28, 2015, http://www.ohr.int/decisions/plipdec/default.asp?content_id=219.