Bosnia and Herzegovina. The international community clearly expressed their displeasure that the Bosnian Serbs’ leaders during the war, Radovan Karadžić, were still not arrested. At the beginning of the year, the NATO-led SFOR force conducted several raids in the Republic of Srpska sub-republic, where he was supposed to be hiding. Karadžić was suspected of genocide and called for by the UN Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
According to CountryAAH, the total population in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 3,280,830 people in 2020. The Bosnian Serbs were widely accused of protecting Karadžić and other suspected war criminals. As a result, the international envoy Paddy Ashdown in June dismissed 60 high-ranking Bosnians. Ashdown accused them of corruption, of hindering the course of justice and of hindering Bosnia and Herzegovina’s efforts to approach the EU and NATO. As the “High Representative” of the outside world, he had far-reaching powers to intervene to secure the 1995 peace agreement.
In December, another nine Bosnians were deposed, including six police officers. Prime Minister Dragan Mikerević and Foreign Minister Mladen Ivanić resigned in protest.
The Bosnian Serbs took an important step to appease the outside world when the government of the Republika Srpska in November apologized for the Srebrenica massacre. A domestic commission had determined that up to 8,000 Muslim boys and men were killed as the city fell into Serbian hands in 1995. The task was well in line with previous international investigations, but the Bosnian Serbs had not previously acknowledged that any massacres had taken place.
Following demands from NATO, the slaying of the former enemy armies in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s two sub-republics also continued. They decreased during the year from a total of 19,800 to 12,000 men. Nevertheless, Bosnia and Herzegovina did not join NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, a first step towards membership in the defense alliance. Cooperation with the War Criminal Tribunal was considered too inadequate.
In December, SFOR handed over the peacekeeping mission to a newly formed EU force, including about 7,000 men.
According to the UNHCR, the millionth refugee returned from the war years to his home during the summer. Almost half of those returning came from abroad. There were still over 300,000 internal refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina and more than half a million Bosnians abroad.
When municipal elections were held in October in both republics, the dominance of the nationalist parties was confirmed in most quarters. The election was held without incidents, but the turnout was only 45%.