chapter  3
20 Pages

Democratic ends, (un)democratic means? Reflections on democratization strategies in Brcˇko and in Bosnia-Herzegovina


The international effort to stabilize and democratize post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has been unique in many ways, including the length, scope and reach of the peace implementation process. Not since the post-World War II occupation and reconstruction efforts in Germany and Japan has there been such a sustained effort by outside actors to bring about change in a post-war state. In addition to being interesting from an academic and historical point of view, post-Dayton BiH is also a fascinating case-study for practice-oriented students of contemporary conflict management and international policy, as two different democratization strategies were implemented within the same country, in the same period of time. This chapter will reflect on these different approaches of the international intervention and democratization effort in post-war BiH – the promotion of participatory reform processes generated through democratic elections in BiH as a whole, and the establishment of a transitional authority in Brcˇko. Greater attention will be given to the specific characteristics of the Brcˇko experience, positing this case in contrast to the reform processes underway in BiH generally. The objective of this research is to better understand both the means and the results of these two democratization processes in the development of the post-war state, to identify strengths and weaknesses and to reflect on whether it is yet possible to conclude which strategy has offered a stronger foundation for long-term democratic governance in BiH.