Decentralization/Federalism: General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina

GENERAL FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT: ANNEX 4

Article III: Responsibilities of and Relations Between the Institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Entities

1. Responsibilities of the Institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The following matters are the responsibility of the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina:

a. Foreign policy.

b. Foreign trade policy.

c. Customs policy.

d. Monetary policy as provided in Article VII.

e. Finances of the institutions and for the international obligations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

f. Immigration, refugee, and asylum policy and regulation.

g. International and inter-Entity criminal law enforcement, including relations with Interpol.

h. Establishment and operation of common and international communications facilities.

i. Regulation of inter-Entity transportation.

j. Air traffic control.

2. Responsibilities of the Entities.

a. The Entities shall have the right to establish special parallel relationships with neighboring states consistent with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

b. Each Entity shall provide all necessary assistance to the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to enable it to honor the international obligations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, provided that financial obligations incurred by one Entity without the consent of the other prior to the election of the Parliamentary Assembly and Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be the responsibility of that Entity, except insofar as the obligation is necessary for continuing the membership of Bosnia and Herzegovina in an international organization.

c. The Entities shall provide a safe and secure environment for all persons in their respective jurisdictions, by maintaining civilian law enforcement agencies operating in accordance with internationally recognized standards and with respect for the internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms referred to in Article II above, and by taking such other measures as appropriate.

d. Each Entity may also enter into agreements with states and international organizations with the consent of the Parliamentary Assembly. The Parliamentary Assembly may provide by law that certain types of agreements do not require such consent.

3. Law and Responsibilities of the Entities and the Institutions.

a. All governmental functions and powers not expressly assigned in this Constitution to the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be those of the Entities.

b. The Entities and any subdivisions thereof shall comply fully with this Constitution, which supersedes inconsistent provisions of the law of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the constitutions and law of the Entities, and with the decisions of the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The general principles of international law shall be an integral part of the law of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Entities.

4. Coordination. The Presidency may decide to facilitate inter-Entity coordination on matters not within the responsibilities of Bosnia and Herzegovina as provided in this Constitution, unless an Entity objects in any particular case.

5. Additional Responsibilities.

a. Bosnia and Herzegovina shall assume responsibility for such other matters as are agreed by the Entities; are provided for in Annexes 5 through 8 to the General Framework Agreement; or are necessary to preserve the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence, and international personality of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in accordance with the division of responsibilities between the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Additional institutions may be established as necessary to carry out such responsibilities.

b. Within six months of the entry into force of this Constitution, the Entities shall begin negotiations with a view to including in the responsibilities of the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina other matters, including utilization of energy resources and cooperative economic projects.

Implementation History

1995

No Implementation

In 1995, no institutions were established.

1996

Full Implementation

Once the post-conflict elections took place on 14 September 1996, the institutional set up of the confederation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was completed. Institutions were set up at the federal, entities, and canton levels with most responsibilities, such as taxation, education, and police force, assigned to the canton level. The cantons (five Bosniak, three Croat, and two mixed) were created as a result of the Washington Agreement.

Pospieszna and Schneider (2011) describe the complexity of the federal arrangements which included multiple levels of powersharing:

"The Washington agreement included all three dimensions of power sharing—it provided for the integration of rebels into the army (military power sharing), included provisions for extensive power-sharing in the new government (political power sharing), and called for the division of the territory that was combated into autonomous cantons, establishing the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (territorial power sharing). Under the Dayton Agreement, two power sharing dimensions were included: political—the political divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina was agreed upon (with the first elections scheduled for 1996), and territorial—specifications were given regarding the creation of the State of Bosnia Herzegovina as a confederation of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and of the Republika Srpska".1

  • 1. Paulina Pospieszna and Gerald Schneider, "Power Sharing Provisions and Long-Term Success of Mediation in Internal Conflicts," (paper prepared for presentation at the 2011 APSA Annual Meeting Seattle, WA. September 1-4, 2011).
1997

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1998

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1999

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2000

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2001

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2002

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2003

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2004

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.