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(E) Constitutional Reform and the Spirit of BH
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  02/28/2002 | Politics | Unrated
(E) Constitutional Reform and the Spirit of BH
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Subject: New ECMI Brief: Constitutional Reform and the 'Spirit' of Bosnia and Herzegovina 
ECMI Issue Brief #7 
Constitutional Reform and the 'Spirit' of Bosnia and Herzegovina 
Valery Perry 
February 2002 
Available for download at 
Critics of the General Framework Agreement for Peace 
(GFAP, or Dayton Peace Agreement) have been pointing 
out its inherent flaws and inconsistencies from the 
moment the terms became public, and the real 
challenges of implementation quickly became clear. For 
the past six years there have been calls to revisit, 
reform, or rewrite Dayton through a variety of 
suggested procedures. The most aggressive voices for 
change have suggested convening a meeting to develop a 
'Dayton II', which would have as its main goal 
solidification of the peace, rather than just 
termination of the war. Instead, a more subtle 
approach has been in practice since 1997, when the 
High Representative's powers were strengthened and his 
mandate effectively widened. Under a more aggressive 
implementation policy, the GFAP would be implemented 
not purely according to the letter of the accords, but 
according to 'the spirit of Dayton'. 
Defining this 'spirit' has been controversial and 
challenging, and the current debate concerning the 
reform of the Entity Constitutions to comply with the 
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Constitutional Court's 
decision on the status and equality of the constituent 
peoples in BiH will be a significant step in defining 
both the spirit of Dayton, as well as the spirit and 
character of BiH as a state. This brief explores this 
complex issue and its potential implications for local 
and international politicians in BiH. First, a short 
background on the Constitutional Court decision is 
presented. Second, the options currently under 
discussion are reviewed, within the framework of 
symmetrical and asymmetrical reform alternatives. 
Third, the broad relevance of this single issue to the 
larger issues concerning the legitimacy of the current 
organization of the state of BiH is considered. 
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