Bosnia and Herzegovina

country in Southeast Europe

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country in Southeastern Europe located on the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is the capital and largest city. In the past it has been controlled by the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Yugoslavia before gaining independence in the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. It is a decentralized federation with power divided between the two autonomous regional governments of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which contains mostly Bosnians and Croats, and the Republika Srpska, which contains mostly Bosnian Serbs. The country has been a candidate for NATO membership since 2006 and European Union membership since 2022.

In Bosnia, a neighbor means more than a relative. In Bosnia, having coffee with your neighbor is a ritual. ~ Dragan Obrenović
Bosnia is under my skin. It's the place you cannot leave behind. ~ Paddy Ashdown

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I am Bosnian by nationality... [T]he fact that my mother gave birth to me at a hospital in Belgrade does not mean anything. ~ Jovan Divjak


  • Bosnia is under my skin. It's the place you cannot leave behind. I was obsessed by the nightmare of it all; there was this sense of guilt, and an anger that has become something much deeper over these last years.
  • My second job has been to try to use my power to create institutions of a modern state that could enter the European Union, and there was very little time. The door was closing, and I wanted to get Bosnia through before it shut.






  • How will you prevent everyone from being killed in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
    • Radovan Karadžić, speaking at the Bosnian parliament, on the night of 14–15 October 1991, in a charged atmosphere in a debate whether to declare the republic "sovereign", which would mean that republic's laws would take precedence over Yugoslav ones. (The term "Muslim people" refers to the people known as Bosniaks.


  • In Bosnia, a neighbor means more than a relative. In Bosnia, having coffee with your neighbor is a ritual... [I]n Bosnia, if neighbors can again shake hands, if our children can again play games together, and if they have the right to a chance... It is too late for me now, but for the children living in Bosnia now, it's not too late... The spirit of this unhappiness still hovers over our Bosnian hills, which have suffered so much.



  • In early October 1995, combined European and American pressure finally resulted in a cease-fire, and on 1 November 1995, the leading figures—Tudjman, Milošević, and Izetbegović—met at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, under the forceful negotiating of Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke and U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher. After more than two weeks, the parties finally came to a settlement. As a result of the Dayton Agreement, Bosnia remained in existence, its borders intact, its formal name now the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. But internally, it comprised two separate entities, a Serb one, the Republika Srpska, and a Muslim-Croat one, the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. According to the constitution determined at Dayton, each entity is granted the right to establish “special parallel relationships” with neighboring states, and each was also a signatory to major aspects of the agreement. The central state is very weak, with major powers left to localities and to the Federation and the Republika Srpska. These were all major concession to Serbs, granting them in fact some of the powers, if not all the territory, for which Serb nationalists had fought. In the words of the political scientists Burg and Shoup, “the constitution institutionalizes the ethnic division of the state.”
    • Eric D. Weitz, A Century of Genocide (2018), p. 220

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