Bosnia and Herzegovina has been heavily criticized for the poor performance of its security sector. In this report, we argue that BiH actually has an impressive record in this regard, and that the major problems concerning security sector reform stem from the international community’s double standards and the inflexible position of the OHR.
Bosnia has been heavily criticized for the poor performance of its security sector. While many of its neighbors have signed a Stability and Association Agreement with the European Union, Bosnia has not due to its failure to agree on a police reform that would conform to “European Standards”.
In fact, Bosnia has an impressive record in this sector. Having made substantial progress since the end of the war, Bosnia now has a professional and multiethnic army and police. Crime rates have fallen, border security markedly improved, and citizens have grown confident in their safety throughout the country.
We argue that the continued “failure” of the Bosnian security sector can be blamed largely on the failings of the international community. We believe that Bosnia has been put under excessive scrutiny, as while Bosnia’s security sector is superior to those of many neighboring states, it is Bosnia that has been selected as the local troublemaker. In addition, the OHR has behaved quite stubbornly, refusing to take into account official evaluations and local concerns, sparking an unnecessary confrontation over the issue.