Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to COUNTRYAAH, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a population of 3.324 million (2018). The Bosnian Serbs leader during the 1992–95 war, Radovan Karadžić, gave his first speech in the trial against him, which began last autumn in the UN War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Karadžić insisted on running his own defense and denied accusations of genocide and war crimes. He accused Muslims of murdering their own during the war. The massacre in Srebrenica, when up to 8,000 Muslim boys and men were killed, he called “a myth”.
In June, the judges fell to seven high-ranking police and military for crimes in connection with the Srebrenica massacre. Two received life imprisonment and the others between 5 and 34 years. The trial was the most extensive to date in the UN Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Turkey’s mediation led to a summit in Istanbul in April between Serbia’s President Boris Tadić and Bosnia’s President and Herzegovina’s Presidential Council, Haris Silajdzić. Turkey’s aim was to contribute to the normalization of the relationship, which was still very tense after the 1990s war. After the summit, a declaration was signed to resolve a number of conflicts concerning, for example, border clearing, property and debt.
In connection with the 15th anniversary of Srebrenica’s fall on July 11, 50,000 people gathered to honor the victims’ memory. Nearly 800 newly identified victims of the massacre were buried in a ceremony. More than half of the victims had been identified, mainly with the help of DNA, and buried.
The situation was bleak for the autumn presidential and parliamentary elections, the second since the end of the war. Despite the weak economy and widespread unemployment, the electoral movement was largely about nationalism within the various ethnic groups. Independence claims were made in the Serbian Republic, and Bosnian Croats in the other Republic demanded increased autonomy. The Muslim Bosnians, on the other hand, wanted to strengthen central government.
The elections were held both at national level and in the two semi-autonomous sub-republics. Bosnian Croat Željko Komšić and Bosnian Legion Nebojša Radmanović were re-elected to the three-headed All-Bosnian Presidential Council, while Bakir Izetbegović was elected to replace Haris Silajdzić as Bosnian representative.
The election to the national parliament gave no clear victory. Two blocks stood against each other: one dominated by the multi-ethnic SDP and the other by the mainly Bosnian Serb SNSD. No government existed at year-end. The same was true in the Bosnian-Croatian region. Former Prime Minister Milo Dodik was elected president in the Republic of Srpska and his party SNSD formed a new government.
The Ministry of Culture created headlines by withdrawing a permit that Hollywood star Angelina Jolie received for filming in Sarajevo. A controversy surrounding the script was reported to be the cause. Jolie, who planned her directorial debut, later regained the state of the film, a love story during the Civil War.