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Preventing return: Implementation of annex VII of the Dayton peace agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995-2020)

Journal: Historijski pogledi//Historical Views (Vol.IV, No. 6)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 206-232

Keywords : Bosnia and Herzegovina; Dayton Agreement; Annex 7 of the Dayton Agreement; human rights; refugees; displaced persons; prevention of return;

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The armed aggression against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina ended with the signing of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Dayton Agreement), initialed in Dayton on November 21, 1995, and signed on December 14, 1995 in Paris „in Bosnian, Croatian, English and the Serbian language“. The Dayton Agreement confirmed the fact that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had real control (power) over the so-called Republika Srpska. Annex 4 of the Dayton Agreement determined the internal structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are two entities in the internal structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which consists of 10 cantons, and the Republika Srpska. Apart from the two entities, there is also the Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was created by the Decision of the International Arbitration Court. It was established on March 8, 2000. According to the Dayton Agreement, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose official name became „Bosnia and Herzegovina“, continues its legal existence under international law as a state with its internationally recognized borders. It remains a member of the United Nations, and as Bosnia and Herzegovina may retain membership or request membership in organizations within the United Nations system and in other international organizations. The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Annex 4 of the Dayton Agreement) guarantees human rights and „fundamental freedoms“. Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Entities, according to the Constitution, will ensure „the highest degree of internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms.“ For this purpose, the formation of the Commission for Human Rights is also envisaged, as provided for in Annex 6 of the General Framework Agreement. The issue of the return of refugees and displaced persons is addressed in Annex 7 of the Dayton Agreement, entitled „Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons“. According to Annex 7, all refugees and displaced persons have the right to return freely to their homes and have the right to restitution of property confiscated from them during hostilities since 1991 and to receive compensation for all property that cannot be returned to them. The „Agreement“ states that the return of refugees and displaced persons is an important goal of resolving the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the period 1995-2020. The authorities of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian entity of Republika Srpska did not give up on the project of „separation of peoples“. The implementation of Annex 7 of the Dayton Agreement has been obstructed in various ways: by killings, beatings, intimidation, attacks on religious buildings and in other ways. Obstructions in the implementation of Annex 7 were also carried out in the entity of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, this was not as pronounced as in Republika Srpska. The first return of displaced persons (refugees and displaced persons) was to the settlement of Mahala, which until the Dayton Agreement was located in the municipality of Kalesija and after Dayton in the municipality of Osmaci in the entity of Republika Srpska. It was August 24, 1996. This was followed by the return of Bosniaks to the settlements of Jusići and Dugi dio in the municipality of Zvornik and Svjetliča in the municipality of Doboj. These events also marked the official start of the implementation of Annex 7 of the Dayton Peace Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although the Dayton Agreement guaranteed the return of the exiles, everything went much harder on the ground, and there were also human casualties.

Last modified: 2022-12-27 21:28:19