Tracing Geopolitical Shifts in Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Case of the OHR and the Peace Implementation Council (2006-2019)
The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992 - 1995) was the most violent and destructive episode of Yugoslavia's demise. After nearly four years of war, the Dayton Peace Agreement was signed in November 1995, followed by a 'Peace Implementation Conference', held in London the following month. The conference resulted in the establishment of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC). The PIC comprises 55 countries and agencies that support the Dayton peace process in myriad ways. The PIC comprises a Steering Board to work under the chairmanship of the High Representative (HR) as the executive arm of the PIC. This Steering Board provides the HR with political guidance, and from 1995 to 2006 the board unanimously supported the work of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) and the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement. However, between 2006 and 2018 the geopolitical shifts that became more evident in both mainstream political rhetoric and in foreign policy were already evident within the internal dynamics of the PIC.
My PhD focuses on the changing dynamics within the PIC and, by extension, the impact these had upon the effectiveness of the OHR and the role of the High Representative (HR). The timeframe for analysis is 2006 (whereupon Lord Paddy Ashdown stepped down as HR) to 2019 (ten years into Valentin Inzko’s tenure as HR), and was selected because it covers a thirteen-year period during which relations between members of the PIC became more strained. These strains, competing narratives and divergent aims became increasingly evident and led, incrementally, to a crippling of the OHR as an actor. This thesis, therefore, seeks to provide a detailed analysis of the complex relations between the members of the PIC, their role on HR and how it affects Bosnia & Herzegovina and the reflects broader geopolitical trends.