Bosnia and Herzegovina 2004

Bosnia and Herzegovina People

Yearbook 2004

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. According to abbreviationfinder, BA stands for Bosnia and Herzegovina in text.

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. See for Bosnia and Herzegovina travel guide.

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%.

Bosnia and Herzegovina People


At the turn of the 21st century, five years after the signing of the Dayton agreements (1995), which had put an end to the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and established the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina into two confederate entities (see above), the country still struggled to heal its political and economic structure from the devastation caused by the war, as well as to pass from the condition of international protectorate to that of a sovereign state. The return of the refugees to their original locations was proceeding slowly, and the reforms contemplated by the agreements, as well as those imposed by the UN High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, had found only partial application. The cessation of NATO military intervention in Yugoslavia in June 1999and, in December of the same year, the death of the Croatian president F. Tudjman, did not fail to have an impact on the country. One of the most striking manifested itself in the municipal elections of April 2000, which marked a sharp decline in support for the nationalist parties: in fact, they lost ground, to the advantage of the multi-ethnic Social Democratic Party (Socijaldemokratska Partija), the political forces dominant in the community until then. Muslim and Serbian, respectively, the Democratic Action Party (Stranka Demokratske Akcije) of A. Izetbegović, then President of the Republic, and the Serbian Democratic Party (Srpska Demokratska Stranka); while the electoral defeat in Croatia of the Croatian Democratic Community (Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica, HDZ) had repercussions in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the fate of the party of the same name. The parliamentary elections of November 2000 had a similar outcome, in which the nationalist parties won less than 50 % of the votes for the first time. Their position, however, remained influential, especially in the so-called Serbian Republic (despite the fall of Yugoslav president S. Milošević in October 2000), and the political framework of both territorial entities remained complex and, in any case, strongly conditioned by international management..

In November 2000, the decision of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) to change the electoral rules provoked the drastic reaction of the Croats, who organized a referendum for the self-determination of their community, also boycotting the federal institutions and proclaiming, in March 2001, the self-administration of the Croatian regions. The crisis, which worsened with the occupation by the NATO military (SFOR, Stabilization Force) of the Mostar office of the Hercegovaćka Banka (linked to the HDZ) and of the barracks occupied by the dissident Croatian units, was remedied through an agreement with the federal minister of Defense (May 2001). Meanwhile, the country’s economic situation remained dramatic: the privatization of large industries was struggling to take off, also due to the scarce interest of foreign investors; unemployment was attested on very high percentages (on average 40 %, in the period 1999-2004), organized crime was flourishing, also thanks to the fragmentation of the police forces. The subsistence of Bosnia and Herzegovina still depended entirely on foreign aid. As social tensions increased, both strikes and demonstrations multiplied.