Law experts explain if changes to Dayton agmt are possible

NEWS 03.09.2018 17:34
Source: AFP

The problems stemming from the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) come from the failure to implement it and some political options realised they could achieve their wartime and political goals by disputing this document, said a constitutional law expert.

Speaking for N1, Omer Ibrahimagic, said two-thirds of this peace agreement, which ended the 1992-95 armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, have not been implemented.

“We don't need unpacking of the Dayton (agreement) but the implementation of the current one in order to meet the criteria to join the European Union and adopt a new constitution,” Ibrahimagic explained.

The agreement was reached in Dayton, Ohio by presidents of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia in November 1995 and formally signed in Paris a month later, ending the Bosnia war and preserving Bosnia as a single state, made up of two parts, the Bosniak-Croat federation and a Serb-dominated entity, with Sarajevo as the undivided capital city.

Annex 4 of the agreement still stands as the constitution for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it continues to be the basis for the present political divisions of Bosnia and its structure of government.

Speaking of possible changes of borders in the region, the topic that recently emerged within the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Ibrahimagic said the hypothetical topics should be avoided because they carry along disturbance among citizens.

“We have the international law, we have the existing domestic law, therefore, the only criteria here is whether do we, as individuals, and the political institutions act in line with that,” he stressed.

Goran Markovic, also an expert for the constitutional law, refused to comment on hypothetical situations. According to him, a situation where a signatory country withdraws from the agreement or any other radical change is not realistic.

“If someone decided to start this sort of political activity, then I guess it would be followed by a referendum, but I really can't comment on this kind of hypothetical situations,” Markovic said.

“Reshaping” the Dayton Agreement, legally speaking, would be possible only if decided by the Bosnia's Parliament, said Nurko Pobric, the constitutional law professor. According to him, this is not likely due to the current political context in the country and balance of political powers.

“Like many others in the Balkans, I don't support redrawing of the current borders,” said the expert.

Bosnia's Deputy Attorney General of the State, Mladjen Mandic, explained that annulment of the Dayton Agreement is, from the legal point of view, is impossible since this is an international document with several signatories and any serious change would require a consensus of the many and may be very dangerous.

Although it was often praised for accomplishing its immediate purpose, which was to freeze the armed conflict in Bosnia and prevent it from resuming, the Dayton Agreement often came across much criticism since its inception. The criticism mostly referred to the complicated government system and dependency and control of international actors in the country.