Interethnic Peace, Security, and Genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Interethnic Peace, Security, and Genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Ümit Hacioğlu (Beykent University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4639-1.ch016
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


In the case of the Bosnian War (1992-1995), international participation has just maintained interethnic peace with limited success. Peace-keeping strategies implemented without consensus subsequently set up an environment in which ethnic cleansings transformed into genocide in UN “Safe Areas.” According to the World Bank’s (2004) reports, following the end of military conflict late 1995, of a pre-war population of 4.4 million, an estimated 250,000 people had lost their lives or were considered missing, 200,000 to 400,000 people had been wounded, and an estimated 2.5 million people, more than half the population, either left the country as refugees or were internally displaced. Despite what has happened during the turmoil, the worst happened in Srebrenica, one of UN’s Security Zones, which was protected by Dutch soldiers. It is unknown how many people lost their lives in Srebrenica. According to Human Right Watch Reports, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia was systematically planned and implemented by Serbian irregulars. This chapter illustrates the negative effects of dissolving interethnic peace in Bosnia. The case of Bosnian interethnic war is examined from the security matter to genocide.
Chapter Preview


Following the end of the Cold War, economic and politic conditions in Yugoslavia deteriorated interethnic security and peace among ‘neighbors’. Ethnic and religious roots of the conflict during Tito’s Yugoslavia were embedding for long time till Tito’s death. However, in the case of Bosnian and Kosovo tragedies, ethnic and religious causes of the conflict did stand in the forefront. Apart from historical problems, economic causes of the conflict have not been yet examined in details. Colleagues have been already writing articles referring initially to both ethnic and religious roots of the conflict. Moreover, extensive studies and researches published in journals address causes of the conflict to genocide in terms of ethnicity rather than timing of International Military Intervention. International scholars also paid less attention to the post-conflict peace and security including the ways of sustaining long term security by creating common interest among conflicting parties in the Balkans. During the collapse of interethnic peace in Yugoslavia, the lack of economic interest, imbalanced prosperities of the constituent states within Confederation, problems with common budgeting system, malfunction of fiscal institutions were at the core of rapid economic deterioration. Paul Collier in his article suggests economic causes of a civil war/conflict might stem from greed and grievance. The first stage of interethnic conflict according to him is extreme rebellions and riots (Collier, 1999: 16). Collier in his article insists that the main impetus behind rebellions is based on resource allocation and capturing resources extra-legally. Overnight the more prosperous northern republics of Slovenia and Croatia were pitted against the less wealthy southern states. The northerners resented having to pay for development of the more backward southerners (Baffin, 1996:101).

In the Balkans sustaining long term interethnic security is to be traced to a number of complex factors. Following the end of turmoil in the Balkans, the last decade reveals the importance of sustaining interethnic security among conflicting parties by maintaining common economic interest rather than solitary military measures. On the other hand, importance of deterrence power of military presence should not be neglected in the Balkans. Military measures and strategies are vital parts of keeping peace and security in post- conflict environment. Bosnian and Kosovo tragedies were ended by international solidarity and humanitarian intervention. However, maintaining security in the conflicting areas by belated military strategies was ageing and tiring for victims of the war. Belated arrival of strong military operations, imposing economic and arms embargo provoked genocide (Holbrooke, 1998; Yenigün, Hacıoğlu, 2004:186; Hacıoğlu, 2008:189-210). However, belated Military measures were vital instruments to end tragedies but could not make sure of sustaining long term peace and security as conflicting parties still debating on territorial issues, displaced people, use of economic resources, and judgment of war fugitives. Hence, international community must contribute and facilitate initially peace progress by mediating unresolved issues and maintaining common interest among conflicting parties. Paul Collier in this issue stresses economic policy priorities in post-conflict societies. According to him, in order to sustain long term security in post conflict environment, conflicting parties need to reduce the underlying risks of conflict involving the same policies which are appropriate in conflict prevention, such as diversification and poverty reduction(Collier, 1999: 13) Common interest also composes of both social and economic agendas including sustaining improvement in health, education and culture, righteous judgment of fugitives, compensating war crimes, functionalizing open market principles, encouraging FDIs, mediating territorial disputes and sustaining transparency.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: