Bosnia-Herzegovina

The site of Europe’s most brutal conflicts fought along ethnic lines in recent times, Bosnia-Herzegovina has endured a precarious existence since emerging as an independent state following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. As an ethnically and religiously heterogeneous republic comprising Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, Bosnia-Herzegovina was subject to competing nationalist forces as the Yugoslavian state fractured along ethnic lines. Bosnian Serbs sought to remain as part of the remaining Serb-dominated Yugoslav rump state (later Serbia), while the Croat and Bosniak population’s goal was independence. The ensuing conflict that claimed an estimated 100,000 lives, with the dark spectre of ethic cleansing, massacres, and concentration camps once again making an unwelcome return to Europe. The conflict was ended with the signing of the 1995 Dayton Agreement, which resulted in a consociational system of government representing the country’s three main ethic groups.