Dayton Agreement

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Dayton Agreement
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{{Redirect|Dayton Treaty|the Native American treaty|Treaty with the Kalapuya, etc.}}{{Use dmy dates|date=February 2013}}

name Dayton Peace agreement| long_name = General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina| image = DaytonAgreement.jpg| image_width =| caption = Seated from left to right: Slobodan Milošević, Alija Izetbegović, Franjo Tuđman initialling the Dayton Peace Accords at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on 21 November 1995.

  • {{flagcountry|Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina}}
  • {{flag|Croatia}}Witnessed by:
  • {{flag|United States|1960}}
  • {{flag|France}}
  • {{flag|United Kingdom}}
  • {{flag|Germany}}
  • {{flag|Russia}}
  • {{flag|European Union}}WEB,weblink Summary of the Dayton Peace Agreement on Bosnia-Herzegovina, 30 November 1995,, 16 January 2016,
  • }}The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as the Dayton Agreement or the Dayton Accords, (, , ) is the peace agreement reached at an airbase near Dayton, Ohio, United States, on 1 November 1995, and formally signed in Paris, on 14 December 1995. These accords put an end to the {{frac|3|1|2}}-year-long Bosnian War, one of the Yugoslav Wars.The warring parties agreed to peace and to a single sovereign state known as Bosnia and Herzegovina composed of two parts, the largely Serb-populated Republika Srpska and the Croat-Bosniak Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Negotiation and signature

    Though basic elements of the Dayton Agreement were proposed in international talks as early as 1992,Munich All Over Again?, Time Magazine, 31 August 1992 these negotiations were initiated following the unsuccessful previous peace efforts and arrangements, the August 1995 Croatian military Operation Storm and its aftermath, the government military offensive against the Republika Srpska, conducted in parallel with NATO's Operation Deliberate Force. During September and October 1995, world powers (especially the United States and Russia), gathered in the Contact Group, applied intense pressure to the leaders of the three sides to attend the negotiations in Dayton, Ohio.The conference took place from 1–21 November 1995. The main participants from the region were the President of the Republic of Serbia Slobodan Milošević (representing the Bosnian Serb interests due to the absence of Karadžić), President of Croatia Franjo Tuđman, and President of Bosnia and Herzegovina Alija Izetbegović with his Foreign Minister Muhamed Šaćirbeg.The peace conference was led by US Secretary of State Warren Christopher, and negotiator Richard Holbrooke with two Co-Chairmen in the form of EU Special Representative Carl Bildt and the First Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Igor Ivanov. A key participant in the US delegation was General Wesley Clark. The head of the UK's team was Pauline Neville-Jones, political director of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The UK military representative was Col Arundell David Leakey. Paul Williams, through the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) served as legal counsel to the Bosnian Government delegation during the negotiations.The secure site was chosen in order to remove all the parties from their comfort zone, without which they would have little incentive to negotiate; to reduce their ability to negotiate through the media; and to securely house over 800 staff and attendants. Curbing the participants' ability to negotiate via the media was a particularly important consideration. Richard Holbrooke wanted to prevent posturing through early leaks to the press.(File:Signing the Dayton Agreement Milosevic Tudjman Izetbegovic.jpg|thumb|The signing of the full and formal agreement in Paris.)After having been initiated in Dayton, Ohio, on 21 November 1995, the full and formal agreement was signed in Paris on 14 December 1995WEB, 30 March 1996,weblink Dayton Accords, US Department of State, 5 May 2014, and witnessed by Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, French President Jacques Chirac, US President Bill Clinton, UK Prime Minister John Major, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.


    The agreement's main purpose is to promote peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to endorse regional balance in and around the former Yugoslavia (Article V, annex 1-B), thus in a regional perspective.Cannon, P., The Third Balkan War and Political Disunity: Creating A Cantonal Constitutional System for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jrnl. Trans. L. & Pol., Vol. 5-2The present political divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its structure of government were agreed upon, as part the constitution that makes up Annex 4 of the General Framework Agreement concluded at Dayton. A key component of this was the delineation of the Inter-Entity Boundary Line to which many of the tasks listed in the Annexes referred.The State of Bosnia Herzegovina was set as of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and of the Republika Srpska. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a complete state, as opposed to a confederation; no entity or entities could ever be separated from Bosnia and Herzegovina unless by due legal process. Although highly decentralised in its entities, it would still retain a central government, with a rotating State Presidency, a central bank and a constitutional court.The agreement mandated a wide range of international organizations to monitor, oversee and implement components of the agreement. The NATO-led IFOR (Implementation Force) was responsible for implementing military aspects of the agreement and deployed on 20 December 1995, taking over the forces of the UNPROFOR. The Office of the High Representative was charged with the task of civil implementation. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe was charged with organising the first free elections in 1996.

    Constitutional Court decision

    On 13 October 1997, the Croatian 1861 Law Party and the Bosnia-Herzegovina 1861 Law Party requested the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to annul several decisions and to confirm one decision of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and, more importantly, to review the constitutionality of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina since it was alleged that the agreement violated the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina in a way that it undermined the integrity of the state and could cause the dissolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Court reached the conclusion that it is not competent to decide the dispute in regards to the mentioned decisions since the applicants were not subjects that were identified in Article VI.3 (a) of the Constitution on those who can refer disputes to the Court. The Court also rejected the other request:It was one of the early cases in which the Court had to deal with the question of the legal nature of the Constitution. By making the remark in the manner of obiter dictum concerning the Annex IV (the Constitution) and the rest of the peace agreement, the Court actually "established the ground for legal unity"Vehabović, Faris (2006). Odnos Ustava Bosne i Hercegovine i Evropske konvencije za zaštitu ljudskih prava i osnovnih sloboda. Sarajevo: ACIPS, 24. {{ISBN|9958-9187-0-6}} of the entire peace agreement, which further implied that all of the annexes are in the hierarchical equality. In later decisions the Court confirmed that by using other annexes of the peace agreement as a direct base for the analysis, not only in the context of systematic interpretation of the Annex IV. However, since the Court rejected the presented request of the appellants, it did not go into details concerning the controversial questions of the legality of the process in which the new Constitution (Annex IV) came to power and replaced the former Constitution of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Court used the same reasoning to dismiss the similar claim in a later case.Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, U-1/03, Sarajevo, 25 July 2003.

    Territorial changes

    (File:Dayton.png|thumbnail|right|Territorial changes.)
    (File:Bih dayton en.png|thumb|right|Political division of Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Dayton Agreement.)
    Before the agreement, Bosnian Serbs controlled about 46% of Bosnia and Herzegovina (23,687 km2), Bosniaks 28% (14,505 km2) and Bosnian Croats 25% (12,937 km2).Bosnian Serbs got large tracts of mountainous territories back (4% from Bosnian Croats and some small amounts from Bosniaks), but they had to surrender Sarajevo and some vital Eastern Bosnian/Herzegovian positions. Their percentage grew to 49% (48% by excluding the Brčko District, 24,526 km2) from a little bit more than 46% prior to Dayton.{{citation needed|date=July 2015}}Bosniaks got most of Sarajevo and some important positions in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina while they lost only a few locations on Mount Ozren and in western Bosnia. Their percentage grew from 28%, prior to Dayton to 30%, and they greatly improved the quality of the land. Large tracts of prewar Bosniak (and Bosnian Croat) inhabited lands remained under Bosnian Serb control.{{citation needed|date=July 2015}}Bosnian Croats gave most (4% of BiH territories) back to the Bosnian Serbs (9% of today's RS) and also retreated from Una-Sana Donji Vakuf (in Central Bosnia) afterward. A small enlargement of Posavina (Odžak and parts of Domaljevac) have not changed the fact that after Dayton Bosnian Croats controlled just 21% of Bosnia and Herzegovina (10,640 km2), especially when compared to more than 25% prior to Dayton. One of the most important Bosnian Croat territories (Posavina with Bosanski Brod, Bosanski Å amac, Derventa) was left out of Bosnian Croat control.

    Control of Republika Srpska

    Control of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

    • About 53% (13,955 km2) of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was under Bosniak control.
    • About 41% (10,720 km2) of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was under the control of Bosnian Croats.
    • About 6% (1,435 km2) was under control of Bosnian Serbs.


    Canton 10:
    • was almost completely under control of Bosnian Croats (4,924 km2)
    • Bosniaks controlled some points east of Kupres (10 km2)
    Una-Sana Canton:
    • was almost completely under control of Bosniaks (3,925 km2)
    • Bosnian Croats controlled some mountain passes on the southern parts of Bosanski Petrovac and Bihać municipalities (200 km2)
    West Herzegovina Canton:
    • was completely under Bosnian Croat control (1,362 km2)
    Herzegovina-Neretva Canton:
    • was divided, more than half was under Bosnian Croat control (2,525 km2)
    • northern and central parts were under Bosniak control (1,666 km2)
    • eastern mountains were under Bosnian Serb control (210 km2)
    Central Bosnia Canton:
    • was divided, a bit more than a third was under Bosnian Croat control (1,099 km2)
    • rest was under control of Bosniaks (2,090 km2)
    Zenica-Doboj Canton:
    • was largely under Bosniak control (2,843 km2)
    • there were some small enclaves like Žepče, Usora under Bosnian Croat control (400 km2)
    • eastern mountains were under Bosnian Serb control (100 km2)
    Tuzla Canton:
    • was largely under Bosniak control (2,544 km2)
    • there were some villages in Gradačac municipality under Bosnian Croat control (5 km2)
    • and some villages in Doboj and Gračanica municipalities under Bosnian Serb control (100 km2)
    Posavina Canton:
    • was mostly under Bosnian Croat control (205 km2)
    • Bosnian Serbs controlled Odžak and parts of Domaljevac municipalities (120 km2)
    Bosnian Podrinje Canton:
    • was mostly under Bosniak control (405 km2)
    • Bosnian Serbs controlled areas which linked it with Sarajevo (100 km2)
    Sarajevo Canton:
    • was mostly under Bosnian Serbs control (800 km2)
    • while Bosniaks controlled some southern suburbs and most of the city itself (477 km2)
    Brčko District was divided;
    • Bosniaks controlled most of its southern parts (200 km2)
    • Bosnian Serbs its northern parts (193 km2)
    • While Bosnian Croats controlled the rest, part near OraÅ¡je municipality and two enclaves on southern parts of municipality (100 km2)


    The immediate purpose of the agreement was to freeze the military confrontation and prevent it from resuming. It was thefore defined as a "construction of necessity".Rory Keane, Reconstructing sovereignty. Post-Dayton Bosnia uncovered, London: Ashgate 2001, p. 61The Dayton Agreement was aimed at allowing Bosnia and Herzegovina to move from an early post-conflict phase through reconstruction and consolidation, adopting a consociational power-sharing approach.BOOK, Sumantra, Bose, 2002, Bosnia After Dayton: Nationalist Partition and International Intervention, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 216, 1-85065-585-5, JOURNAL, Consociational Settlements and Reconstruction: Bosnia in Comparative Perspective (1995–Present), The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Sherrill, Stroschein, 2014, 656, 97–115, 10.1177/0002716214544459, Scholars such as Canadian professor Charles-Philippe David calls Dayton "the most impressive example of conflict resolution".Charles-Philippe David, "Alice in Wonderland meets Frankenstein: Constructivism, Realism and Peacebuilding in Bosnia", Contemporary Security Policy 22, No.1, 2001BOOK, Raphael Israeli, Albert Benabou, Savagery in the Heart of Europe: The Bosnian War (1992-1995) Context, Perspectives, Personal Experiences, and Memoirs,weblink 2013, 380, American scholar Howard M. Hensel states that "Dayton represents an example of a conflict resolution negotiation that was successful.BOOK, Howard M. Hensel, Sovereignty and the Global Community: The Quest for Order in the International System,weblink 2017, Taylor & Francis, 208, However, Patrice C. McMahon and Jon Western write that "As successful as Dayton was at ending the violence, it also sowed the seeds of instability by creating a decentralized political system that undermined the state's authority".JOURNAL,weblink The Death of Dayton: How to Stop Bosnia From Falling Apart, Patrice C., McMahon, Jon, Western, Foreign Affairs, September/October, 2009, Wolfgang Petritsch, OHR, argued in 2006 that the Dayton framework has allowed the international community to move "from statebuilding via institutions and capacity-building to identity building", putting Bosnia and Herzegovina "on the road to Brussels".Wolfgang Petritsch, "My lessons learnt in Bosnia and Herzegovina", Sarajevo, 2006The Dayton Agreement has been the subject of criticism since its inception, including:
    • A complicated government system - As part of the Dayton agreement, Bosnia was divided into 2 entities and a government structure was created to appease all sides. However, by creating such a dissolved government, Bosnia has stalled in moving forward as every important issue is deadlocked within the central government as each party is championing opposing priorities that are based on ethnic policies and not shared ideals.JOURNAL, Yourdin, C, Society Building in Bosnia: A Critique of Post-Dayton Peacebuilding Efforts', Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, 2003, 4, 2, 59–74,
    • Dependency and control of international actors - Dayton was very much an international vision, led by the United States who supported an end to the war, but that didn't allow Bosnian leaders to negotiate an ending to the war, therefore leaving no incentive in the afterward peacebuilding process and no area for leaders to discuss the underlying root causes of the conflict. International actors also played an extensive role in shaping the postwar agenda in Bosnia, including enacting punishment over local political actors.JOURNAL, Chandler, David, From Dayton to Europe, International Peacekeeping, 2005, 12, 3, 336–349, 10.1080/13533310500074077, The influx of NGOs and international actors to kick start investment in the country post war also failed to kick start the economy, with Bosnia suffering from poor economic growth (2% in 2015). The lack of economic development has been attributed to poor coordination between international actors and lack of consideration for local capacity JOURNAL, Kell, Kudlenko, S, A, Bosnia and Herzegovina 20 years after Dayton, complexity born of paradoxes, International Peacekeeping, 2015, 22, 5, 471–489, 10.1080/13533312.2015.1103651,weblink
    • Ending the war but not promoting peace - The primary aims of Dayton was to stop the war, but the agreement was only meant to be a temporary measure while a long term plan was developed. While Dayton has halted the conflict and there has not been a resurgence of violence, the stability in the conflict does not give an accurate assessment of peace. There is still currently a large military presence to mitigate any chance of violence and to enforce peace in the country.JOURNAL, Berdal, M, Collantes-Celador, G, Post-War Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding, 75–94, Enforcing such peace can be seen as highlighting the still deep rooted tensions in the country, with Dayton covering the cracks of a fractured society that could be plunged back into conflict as soon as military forces left.

    Disappearance of the original document

    On 13 February 2008, the head of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina Željko Komšić said that the original Dayton Agreement was lost from the Presidency's archive. High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina Miroslav Lajčak said: "I don't know whether the news is sad or funny".NEWS, Izgubljen original Dejtonskog sporazuma,weblink Blic, 13 February 2008, Serbian, 21 November 2012, On 16 November 2009 the French Foreign Ministry delivered the certified copy of the Dayton agreement to the French embassy in Sarajevo. The copy was later transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia-Herzegovina.NEWS, Francuska dostavila BiH kopiju Dejtonskog sporazuma,weblink Politika, 16 November 2009, Serbian, 21 November 2012, The original was found in 2017 in a private residence in Pale, resulting in arrest of one person.WEB,weblink Man arrested in possession of original Dayton Agreement,, 1 November 2017, 13 April 2018,

    See also

    {{Politics of Bosnia and Herzegovina}}



    Further reading

    • Allcock, John B., Marko Milivojevic, et al. Conflict in the Former Yugoslavia: An Encyclopedia (1998)
    • JOURNAL, Belloni, Roberto, Bosnia: Dayton is dead! long live dayton!, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 15, 3–4, 355–375, 2009, 10.1080/13537110903372367,
    • JOURNAL, Bieber, Florian, Croat Self-Government in Bosnia: A Challenge for Dayton?, European Centre for Minority Issues, 2001,
    • Caplan, R., 2000. "Assessing the Dayton Accord: The structural weaknesses of the general framework agreement for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina". Diplomacy and Statecraft, 11(2), pp. 213–232.
    • BOOK, Chandler, David, Bosnia: Faking Democracy After Dayton,weblink 2000, Pluto Press, 978-0-7453-1689-5, harv,
    • JOURNAL, Chivvis, Christopher S., The Dayton Dilemma, Survival, 52, 5, 47–74, 2010, 10.1080/00396338.2010.522096,
    • Chollet, Derek. The Road to the Dayton Accords (Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2005). excerpt
    • Chollet, Derek H., and Samantha Power. The unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the world (Public Affairs, 2011).
    • Curran, Daniel, James K. Sebenius, and Michael Watkins. "Two Paths to Peace: Contrasting George Mitchell in Northern Ireland with Richard Holbrooke in Bosnia–Herzegovina." Negotiation Journal 20.4 (2004): 513-537. online
    • Daalder, I.H., 2014. Getting to Dayton: the making of America's Bosnia policy. Brookings Institution Press.
    • JOURNAL, Donais, Timothy, The politics of privatization in post-Dayton Bosnia, Southeast European Politics, 3, 1, 2002, 3–19,
    • Goodby, J.E., 1996. "When war won out: Bosnian peace plans before Dayton". International Negotiation, 1(3), pp. 501–523.
    • JOURNAL, McMahon, Patrice C., Western, Jon, The death of Dayton: How to stop Bosnia from falling apart, Foreign Affairs, 2009, 69–83,
    • Parish, M., 2007. "The Demise of the Dayton protectorate. Inside the Bosnian Crisis: Documents and Analysis." Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 1, pp. 11–23.
    • JOURNAL, Tuathail, Gearóid Ó., O'Loughlin, John, Djipa, Dino, Bosnia-Herzegovina ten years after Dayton: Constitutional change and public opinion, Eurasian Geography and Economics, 47, 1, 61–75, 2006, 10.2747/1538-7216.47.1.61,
    • JOURNAL, Woodward, Susan L., Implementing Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina: a post-Dayton primer and memorandum of warning, Foreign Policy Studies Program, Brookings Institution, 1996,
    • DOCUMENT, Adriana Camisar, Boris Diechtiareff, Bartol Letica, Christine Switzer, An Analysis of the Dayton Negotiations and Peace Accords, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 2005,weblink

    External links

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