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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Yearbook 2008

2008 Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina. The event that gave the biggest headlines in the world during the year and that touched on Bosnia and Herzegovina took place in neighboring Serbia, where the Bosnian Serb leaders during the war, Radovan Karadžić, were arrested in July. Karadžić was soon extradited to the UN War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. There, prosecution awaited eleven counts for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other abuses during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992–95. The indictment included the siege of Sarajevo and the massacre in Srebrenica, as well as ethnic cleansing and destruction of property. Karadžić informed the court that he intended to conduct his own defense.

2008 Bosnia and Herzegovina

According to Countryaah reports, the War Criminal Tribunal established in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2005 also made its first judgments concerning the Srebrenica massacre during the year. Seven Bosnian Serb former police and military were sentenced to genocide to between 38 and 42 years in prison. Four defendants were released at the same time.

In April, the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina decided on a joint police force for the entire country, which since the end of the war in 1995 had separate police units in the two sub-republics. The creation of a national police force was a requirement of the EU to finalize a Stabilization and Association Agreement, the first step towards future membership. In June, the coveted SAA agreement was finally signed. However, the path to full membership seemed long for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which still appeared to be deeply divided.

The split became clear during the fall, when top-level representatives in both sub-republics showed deep distrust between the regions. Haris Silajdžić, the Bosnian representative in the presidential troika, spoke of the Serbian republic as a unit "based on genocide". The Prime Minister of the Serbian part, Milorad Dodik, continued to pursue politics as if the purpose were to establish a de facto independent state in the Republika Srpska. Their actions prompted the international community's envoy, Miroslav Lajcak, to sharply point out that such pronounced animosity puts obstacles in the way of EU membership.

When local elections were held in October, the picture was confirmed: issues of importance shone with their absence and nationalist parties became the major victors in all three peoples. The turnout of 55 percent was unexpectedly high.

Not long after the election, Richard Holbrooke, chief architect of the Bosnia and Herzegovina peace treaty, warned in 1995, and former UN envoy Paddy Ashdown warned that Bosnia and Herzegovina was about to collapse as a state. They called on the US and the EU to send troops to the country to help it out of the crisis.

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