Bosnia and Herzegovina. In January, Bosnian Legion Nikola
Špiric was commissioned to form a coalition government
following the All-Bosnian parliamentary elections held in
October. Špiric's predominantly Bosnian Serbian Independent
Social Democrats' party, SNSD, had made strong progress in
the election. Parliament approved the new seven-party
government in February.
In the same month, the international community decided to
extend its direct involvement in the rule of Bosnia and
Herzegovina for one year from the end of the year, when the
"High Representative's" mandate would otherwise have
expired. The outside world had, through its envoy,
supervised the country since the end of the war in 1995. The
reason for the extension was that Bosnia and Herzegovina was
considered too unstable and the ethnic contradictions
overloaded to completely surrender to Bosnian politicians.
The risk was also considered great for new outbreaks of
violence if Kosovo were to become independent from Serbia.
Both from Bosnian Serb and Serbia itself signaled that an
independent Kosovo, dominated by ethnic Albanians, would
motivate a connection of the Serbian-dominated Bosnian
Republic of Serbia to Serbia.
From 1 July, Slovakian Miroslav Lajcak became the "high
representative" of the international community, after the
German Christian Schwarz-Schilling.
In October, Lajcak decided to change the voting rules for
the government, so that a simple majority would suffice to
pass a resolution. Thus, the representatives of the various
peoples groups could no longer cripple the decision-making
process by boycotting voting. The deadlock prevailed on
several issues that were important for Bosnia and
Herzegovina's continued approach to the EU, including the
creation of a united, national police force.
CountryAAH, many Bosnian serbs saw Lajcak's rule change as directly
aimed at the interests of their own people. In protest of
the measure, Prime Minister Špiric filed his resignation on
November 1, and other Bosnian rebels in the government
threatened to resign as well. The country was in its most
difficult political crisis since the end of the war. After a
few weeks, however, leaders of all three peoples managed to
agree to still accept Lajcak's reforms. This eliminated an
obstacle in the negotiations with the EU on a Stabilization
and Association Agreement. In December, Bosnia and
Herzegovina received enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn's
initials on the agreement, as the last country among the
former Yugoslav republics.
Former Bosnian Serb commander Dragomir Milosevic was
sentenced in December to 33 years in prison by the United
Nations War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague for terrorizing
the people of Sarajevo during the 1990s siege. Earlier in
the year, Zdravko Tolimir, number three on the list of
wanted from the war who was still on the loose, was
arrested. Tolimir, suspect among others. for the massacre in
Srebrenica, was handed over to The Hague.