Shepherding Sovereignty

Walking over Sarajevo
Shepherding Sovereignty - Valerie Perry


This article considers the possible limits to traditional notions of sovereignty within a post-war state-building process, based on the experience of post-Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). If time and a certain amount of breathing space are necessary for democratic institutions to be established, for parties to develop platforms and for civil society to take root, how can such a respite be provided so that the conditions necessary for successful transition exist? In post-war BiH, the answer has been through various forms of international administration, and the result has been a post-war period of semi-democracy. This article considers the case of BiH in light of the potential conflict between the notion of sovereignty and the goal of state-building in divided societies. While BiH is an interesting case, and some tentative lessons have been learned from it, the processes of post-war democratization and state-building are still ongoing.


After the initial euphoria of relatively easy democratic transitions in countries like the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, the post-Cold War experience has increasingly demonstrated that the formation and consolidation of states—democratic or otherwise—is not necessarily easy or painless. The process is even more difficult in cases of states that have diverse populations and therefore require power-sharing mechanisms to ensure representation. At the same time that old, non-democratic systems and institutions are being dismantled, democratic transition processes can unleash dynamics inherent to the democratic ideal—multi-party political competition, media debates and civic movements. These can paradoxically leave the political playing field open to spoilers aimed at consolidating power through populist or ideological means. In a post-war state lacking institutions, infrastructure and the basic elements of rule of law, this mix of transition challenges can prove difficult if not impossible for a weak state to overcome.

If time and a certain amount of breathing space are necessary for institutions to be established, parties to develop platforms and civil society to take root, how can such a respite be provided so that the conditions necessary for a successful transition exist? In post-war BiH the answer has been through various forms of international administration, and the result has been a post-war period of semi-democracy. However, as a relatively new experiment, the jury is still out on the most effective means to manage such a transition. This article reviews some of the theoretical underpinnings that shape the debate on sovereignty and intervention, and then considers some aspects of the international intervention in BiH to date, with the aim of describing a “slow democratization” process that is by no means easy, inevitable, linear or painless.

Conflicting Concepts?

Prefixed Democracy?

In a world in which failed states can have global security implications, there is an increasing interest in the establishment of stable and, if possible, democratic regimes. Post-conflict, transition-oriented state-building can present a country, its neighbors and far-away states with numerous security concerns. But should—and to what extent—outside interveners be involved in supporting these transition processes?

In an ideal situation, citizens of the state will have the opportunity to elect leaders who will shepherd a country through difficult transition periods. However, in a weak state, or in a state weakened by war (civil or otherwise), such a smooth process might not be an option. In a world in which peaceful transition is not always viewed as the optimal way forward by all parties, and in which spoilers[1] and ethnic entrepreneurs can seek to exploit differences in order either to build their own power bases or simply plant the seeds for their own ideological goals,[2] this peaceful electoral path to democracy may not be possible— particularly in the short term and immediately after a war.

In their typology of three ideological schools that underpin various approaches to democratization and intervention in state-building, Hampson and Mendeloff describe the “fast-track,” “security firster” and “slow democratization” perspectives—a useful framework for contemplating intervention approaches. Fast-trackers believe that democracy can evolve rapidly, driven by local actors with an “appetite” for the democratic process, and that interveners should exert pressure to foster the process but then promptly withdraw and let the process move forward, buoyed by its own democratic momentum. Security firsters pragmatically view the primary role of an intervener as establishing stability and security, in a truly limited engagement and without moving to install any sort of specific political system or engage in any state-building. Slow democratizers assert that, in addition to security and basic stability for long-term progress, the foundations and institutions for statehood and a democratic system are a prerequisite for the gradual evolution of liberal democracy.[3]

If democracy does not happen as an event, but rather as a process, it is possible to have many variations along the democratization spectrum. In their working paper, “Democracy with Adjectives,” Collier and Levitsky detail the many nuances of a term that, in the simple pre-Cold War, bipolar world, may have seemed to the casual observer to be quite straightforward.[4] The authors review the phenomenon of “problematic democracies,” specifically pointing out a number of “weakened” elements such as fragile regime consolidation, limited citizen participation, vulnerable social, political and economic stability, state sovereignty and several other potential limitations to full-fledged democracy. Notably, the post-war state of BiH suffers from several of these noted weaknesses, limiting its democratic personality. Whether referred to as a limited democracy, managed democracy, guided democracy, developmental democracy, protected democracy, benign consulship, benign dictatorship or safety-net sovereignty, at the core, each of these terms acknowledges the limited nature of sovereignty during this phase of direct international engagement.

The Sovereignty and Self-Determination Debates

The literature on the issues of sovereignty and self-determination is extensive, and a lengthy bibliography was compiled as a part of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) effort.[5] Realist approaches to international relations rely heavily on the notion of sovereignty and its corollary of national self-interest as the lynchpins of international relations. Sovereignty has managed to remain a key international organizing principle even throughout twentieth-century exercises in global cooperation. The principle of non-intervention is enshrined in Chapter I, Article 2, of the Charter of the United Nations.[6] Intervention or interference in the domestic affairs of a state may be viewed as a breach of this principle of sovereignty. However, increased interaction among states on the global stage has led to a blurring of borders that was non-existent in the seventeenth-century Europe in which the notions of statehood and sovereignty took root, and has changed the way states relate to one another. The UN, while upholding the principle of sovereignty, addresses the possibility of intervention in certain cases.[7] In his 1992 book, An Agenda for Peace, then UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali called on the UN to become more actively involved in peace-building activities by addressing the “deepest causes of conflict: economic despair, social injustice and political oppression,” thereby advocating a more pro-active approach to peace-building.[8] It is clear that there is a tension between these two principles, and five key issues frame the debate.

The Stable International System Argument
Supporters of the principle of sovereignty point out that sovereignty and the corollary of non-intervention have provided for a relatively stable international system and brought order to an anarchic system. Respect for the principle of non-intervention can limit the use of force by states, thereby helping to mitigate acts of aggression by one sovereign state against another, and can stem imperialist and expansionist ambitions. In this light, intervention is viewed as an exercise in coercion that runs the risk of destabilizing a tested system.[9]

Critics argue that the notion of sovereignty does not necessarily guarantee healthy stability on the global level. Instead, as acknowledged in Boutros-Ghali’s Agenda for Peace, threats to domestic peace can have a negative impact on regional or global stability.[10] Domestic instability within borders can spill over and infect the international system. The stability many hoped for at the end of the Cold War was instead eclipsed by an increase in intra-state conflicts that have often had real or potential spillover effects. More broadly, the 11 September 2001 attacks demonstrated the limits of a global system in which international law is based solely on the structure of the sovereign state, as a transnational world can defy established international law.[11]

The Legitimacy Argument
Adherents of the principle of sovereignty also question the legitimacy of intervention—which body can legitimately make the decision to intervene?[12] The UN Security Council? Regional security organizations? Large individual states with influence in a certain area? Hayden questions why the international community should be granted the right to rule or the right to intervene, rather than those leaders elected by the people themselves in competitive elections.[13] Additionally, the issue of consent is raised—whether the consent of the state in which the intervention will occur should be necessary, and if so, what happens if the actors of the state in question refuse or are divided on the issue of consent?[14] Closely related is the challenge of selecting crises that warrant intervention. In a world full of crisis spots and in the absence of unlimited human or financial resources, how should the UN or any body make choices about intervention?[15] If an intervention is requested by one side in a crisis, is accepting such an invitation tantamount to taking sides, thereby nullifying any pretence of neutrality? Critics such as Roberts question the motives of intervention, challenging the assumption that motives can ever be purely humanitarian in nature.[16]

These are justifiable concerns. However, others point out that as far as legitimacy is concerned, sovereign states or failed states themselves suffer from a legitimacy problem.[17] There is no doubt that the decisions made to intervene are often still motivated by conflicting state interests that may be only tangentially related to the crisis under consideration. As a result, safeguards are needed, reflecting the still novel challenges of the intervention concept. The authors of the ICISS project address the issue of right intention, to ensure that while the occupation of territory by outside forces might be necessary in an intervention, it must not be the objective.[18] Supporters of intervention often use arguments and parameters familiar to students of just war theory, noting that actions must be necessary, proportional and discriminate in order to protect innocents to the greatest extent possible.[19] Additionally, the motivations for involvement might best be assured by a multinational approach that can be less likely to include motivations driven by national self-interest.

Self-determination—Earning It
Stanton, Hayden and Lindberg argue that the process through which people learn to be democratic is critical to democratization, noting that the democratic process is in and of itself a means for resolving conflicts.[20] Stanton and Whitman argue that those weak or failed states that are viewed as possible candidates for trusteeship or conservatorship are precisely those in which sovereignty is weak, suggesting that sovereignty can strengthen a state by galvanizing people around the idea of the vested interest they have in their own state.[21] Using Hampson and Mendeloff’s terminology, these voices might be considered the “fast-trackers,” and they reflect some of the arguments used for a strict principle of non-intervention.

Such outlooks stand in stark contrast to others who note that the conditions of democratization can lead to a situation in which the newly opened media and marketplace of ideas can incite conflict among people in a weak and non-self-regulated system.[22] While Stanton writes that people must learn certain norms of democratic political behavior, and come to recognize that “losing an election or losing a policy battle will not cause them irreparable harm,”[23] this “tough love” approach presupposes that the parties, politicians and citizens in a transition country do believe this. In fact, the environment of democratization is often seen as a zero-sum game by ethnic entrepreneurs or spoilers.[24]

No Guaranteed Results or Resolution
Critics of intervention also question the result or end product, and whether an intervention can actually resolve the problems in question or ensure future security.[25] Stanton points out that humanitarian interventions are, by their nature, not aimed at resolving the problem that has caused the crisis, but at alleviating the pain of the crisis—addressing the symptoms rather than the root causes.[26] Even worse, these critics note the potential for an intervention to worsen a crisis. Carment specifically refers to the moral hazards of a backfired intervention effort,[27] the potential for bias, and the potential unintended consequences of the addition of a third party into a conflict.[28] Some critics have further suggested that these difficult questions stem from a debatable emphasis on state-building activities, and particularly on the establishment and maintenance of democratic, multiethnic states. Kaufman controversially suggests that international interventions might be preventively deployed to separate populations before conflict can arise.[29]

Pro-intervention voices will point to situations of grave humanitarian crisis and the responsibility to protect as reasons for intervention. Humanitarian intervention, as a concept, is quite new, having been formally established on 8 December 1988, in United Nations proceedings.[30] The legal basis for exceptions to the concept of non-intervention is within Chapter VII of the UN Charter. More subtle forms of intervention such as sanctions are provided for in Article 41 of the UN Charter, while the use of force is included in Article 42 of Chapter VII.[31] Rather than debating the “right of intervention,” the ICISS adopted the framework of “the responsibility to protect,” both to uphold the principle of state sovereignty while at the same time seeking to ensure human rights and protection.[32] The underlying theme in the Commission’s findings is that sovereign states have a responsibility to protect the people living within their borders, and if they fail or are unable to do so, the responsibility for the protection of the people rests with the international community of states.[33] The notion that sovereignty is conditional upon the extent to which the government in question respects basic human rights in its exercise of sovereignty is at the core of this initiative. “Behavior previously considered normal—or at least tolerable—now appears unacceptable.”[34] Therefore, sovereignty is not absolute, but can be subject to international law, norms and principles.

Operationalizing Intervention

When one accepts that humanitarian intervention can be necessary, a whole range of questions concerning the appropriate level of involvement arises. Given these arguments for and against intervention, is it possible to formulate a doctrine or theoretical model for humanitarian intervention?[35] When might it be appropriate to put “people above government”?[36] In his essays on the concept of just war, Walzer suggests that while just war theory has traditionally rested on the concept of jus ad bellum (justice in the decision to go to war) and jus in bello (justice in the conduct of war),[37] a third principle, jus post bellum (justice after war), might be needed to address the need for just and sustainable post-war settlements. ICISS, too, refers to the “responsibility to rebuild,”[38] and indeed, post-intervention efforts often include state-building activities.[39] The ICISS report refers to limits to rebuilding and occupation, including the respecting of local priorities, the dangers of “unhealthy dependency” causing economic distortions, and the need to “strike a balance.”[40] However, even advocates of intervention in post-war state-building activities fail to suggest timeframes for such involvement or for the transition of authority to local actors. The question “How long is long enough?” is crucial to long-term sustainability.

The “how” of state building tends to center on democratization and related institution-building. In the heady days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, one could be forgiven perhaps for assuming that once the shackles of authoritarianism were cast off, democratization would be an inevitable and linear process. However, as the wars and post- war rebuilding processes in the Balkans, and experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, have shown, this is rarely the case. Fast-tracker ideals have suddenly seemed in many ways naïve. Instead, this democratic letdown has exposed both the intricacies of the process, has made clearer the difference between simple election-based definitions of democracy and the notion of constitutional liberalism and has forced a reconsideration of these processes and external support efforts.

A crucial issue to consider is the definition of democracy. Procedural definitions of democracy focus on the process of democracy, and most particularly on that most visible photo opportunity of democracy—elections.[41] However, particularly in the wake of the democratization processes in the post-Cold War world, the notion that electoral democracy and liberal democracy constitute two potentially different political realities has been widely acknowledged.[42] Diamond, Plattner, et al. point out the trend of an increasing number of electoral democracies at the same time as there is stagnation in the spread of political and civil freedoms.[43] Instead, substantive definitions of democracy may better explain what democratic states want when they hope for the rise of democracy elsewhere. Dahl refines the definition of a democracy by proposing the concept of a polyarchy, which is a governmental system characterized by free and fair elections, inclusive suffrage, freedom of expression, freedom and availability of alternative information and the right to associate.[44] Proponents of slow democratization would likely relate to the substantive definitions of the democratic ideal, and the complexities therein.

While it is relatively easy for international organizations to organize and supervise polling, it is a much more complicated—and long-term—process to support the development of conditions for constitutional liberalism. A basket of approaches has become common in the democratization industry, including support of election, judicial and municipal governance reform, as well as of civil society, human rights, reconciliation and media development projects. However, Carothers’s challenged the conventional wisdom and the assumption that all of these so-called transitions are linear—moving away from authoritarian or dictatorial rule and toward democracy—in his discussion on the “transition paradigm,” opening the door to a much-needed debate among academics and practitioners alike.[45]

If elections in a post-conflict or transition region are not necessarily always the optimal first solution, what can fill the gap between the end of a war and the establishment of a representative and functional government? What options are there in state-building strategy? Interim administrations can be one way to bridge this gap, and there is an emerging literature on this topic.[46] Some scholars have begun to address the complex issue of the timing of such interventions. Chesterman reviews the experience of UN-led transitional administrations, concluding that while there are many contradictions inherent in such a top-down approach, a “lengthy international presence will not ensure success, but an early departure guarantees failure.”[47] In At War’s End, Paris provides an overview of the experiences of 14 post-war peace-building missions, concluding that the practice of peace-building through democratization and market liberalization should be replaced by “institutionalization before liberalization,” suggesting that, “ideally, no time limits should be placed on peace-building missions,”[48] and that international peace builders should serve as “surrogate governing authorities for as long as it takes to implement the liberalizing reforms.”[49] Others are skeptical of the role of outsiders in building democracies.[50] The experience of BiH provides a rare case to consider issues of this kind and length of sovereignty limiting intervention activities.

An Evolving Intervention in BiH

Since the war ended in Bosnia in 1995, the international community, in the broadest sense of the word, has been pushing, pulling, and dragging the country’s politicians in an effort to establish a democratic system of government based on power-sharing and the letter and spirit of the Dayton Agreement. As BiH was a divided post-war state, this was at its core an exercise in state-building, and the differences between electoral democracy and real liberal constitutional democracy quickly became clear. Elections held nine months after the signing of the Dayton Agreement were faulty, and, far from planting the seeds of democracy or enabling an international exit strategy, legitimized and entrenched the wartime nationalist parties and their leaders and vividly demonstrated the fact that the war was not yet over. Frequent elections were held in the hope that wartime nationalist parties would ultimately be voted out (this has still not happened).[51] The politics of fear has remained the dominant way of doing business, and there is little interest in compromise among parties who often continue to fight the war through political means. Dayton may have been an effective war termination strategy, but it has not been an effective democratization strategy.

In spite of the existence of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) as the chief civilian implementer of the Dayton Agreement,[52] this position never enjoyed full executive power as a real protectorate authority.[53] However, in the absence of effective local leadership, the High Representative (HR) became increasingly involved in a range of peace implementation and reform efforts. The first HR, Carl Bildt, was practically impotent in terms of his power and resources. The real power in the country, the 60,000-strong NATO Implementation Force (IFOR), was reluctant to become involved in any activities that fell outside of their narrowly-defined military mandate. The second HR, Carl Westendorp, enjoyed greater capabilities after the decision to award the HR the Bonn Powers in late 1997 (which increased the powers and abilities of the HR to implement the Dayton Agreement).[54] Wolfgang Petritsch was the first HR with the ability and the political support to use the powers of the office to begin to push for real change, and serious reform efforts began during his tenure. Lord Paddy Ashdown was even more aggressive. He came into the office intending to build the structures of a democracy in spite of the active opposition or simple indifference of local politicians. This approach attracted much criticism,[55] but was in line with Ashdown’s goal of putting BiH on an irreversible path towards European integration.[56] The fifth HR, Christian Schwartz-Schilling, assumed the position promising to let local ownership drive the reform process, planning to phase out the office and the Bonn Powers. At the time of writing, however, there has been some shifting support even within his own team, as reform has virtually stopped.[57] While he had been widely assumed to be the last HR, the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) decided that the office should remain longer than the planned June 2007 closure date.[58]

This evolution of the international community’s role in BiH has demonstrated an increasing recognition of the depth of the post-Dayton challenge of state-building in a divided country—away from a fast-track approach and toward a slow democratization perspective. While the years from 1996 to 1998 were focused on the conduct of elections, and to some lesser extent, on elements of political party development, voter education and civil society support, the approach since 2001 has been focused more on building the institutions of government. This has involved setting up structures such as an independent judiciary, criminal code, conflict of interest law and a legal framework in line with European expectations. Elections are not equivalent to democracy, and they have not provided the foundation for state consolidation or democratic transformation. The idealism (or perhaps naïveté) of the first years of post-war reconstruction has been replaced by a grittier assumption that pressure was needed to hasten reforms and democratization, and to offset the agendas of the spoilers—often the same leaders who had led the people through the war. Sovereignty has in some instances been sidelined in the interest of pressing forward with peace implementation and reform goals.

While this cursory description can leave the impression that BiH is a protectorate in which the HR has unlimited executive abilities to push through reforms, this is not the case, particularly when compared with the experience in the District of Brcko. Brcko is a region in north-east BiH that has experienced a unique kind of protectorate. Ninety-nine percent of the non-Serb population living in Brcko was cleansed during the war, and the issue of the “ownership” of Brcko nearly broke down the Dayton peace negotiations. An Arbitral Tribunal made a series of three decisions between 1997 and 1999, ultimately establishing that the district would exist “in condominium” with both entities, while in fact it exists and functions outside the entity structure. (Annex 4 of the Dayton Agreement—the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina—established BiH as a country comprised of two entities, the [predominantly Serb] Republika Srpska and the [predominantly Muslim and Croat] Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.)

This unique political status allowed for a different approach to peace implementation and reform, and a more hands-on style by the interveners. In BiH, elected politicians are supposed to implement the Dayton Agreement of their own accord, and (in theory) the OHR exists only as a backstop. In Brcko, the OHR Deputy High Representative (known as the International Supervisor[59] ) has enjoyed more sweeping executive authority and is thus less dependent on the goodwill of local political actors. While the HR has been forced to negotiate with elected and appointed politicians and political party leaders, Brcko did not even have district-wide elections between 1997 and 2004 (although Brcko’s citizens could participate in BiH’s general elections), and was instead directly governed by the supervisor and an appointed interim government. The supervisor in Brcko has held powers similar to the Bonn Powers since early 1997—ten months before the HR—though it is interesting to note that the simple act of having such powers has often negated the need for the supervisor to actually use them. The International Crisis Group has referred to Brcko as an “isolated phenomenon of liberal colonialism.”[60]

This approach has allowed Brcko to be a sort of Petri dish for reform. While reform in the realms of education and justice was stalled for years in BiH, Brcko has led the way in implementing reforms in these areas months and even years before the rest of the country.[61] Refugee return, once considered impossible in the deeply war-torn region, has been strong in Brcko. Economically, the district has also outshone the rest of BiH, as a result of prudent local governance, pro-business policies, strong and consistent donor support and a favorable border location—though there is still much room for improvement. Public opinion polling on a variety of issues, including identity-focused issues such as views on education, state identification and language, shows that Brcko is in many ways more moderate than the rest of the country—a stunning turnaround from its dismal post-war situation, but one that is by no means necessarily irreversible.[62]

While Brcko is a clear case of an “intervention within an intervention,” another divided city in BiH, Mostar, has also had extensive—though very different—international engagement. Yet it remains a political basket case even in 2007.[63] In his study of the cases of Mostar and Brcko, Bieber suggests that the differing outcomes in the two cases reflect the different institutional designs of the local administrations, with Mostar being handicapped by complex consociationalism and lingering territorial divides, while Brcko has benefited from less formal, yet still effective, systems of power-sharing.[64] However, these different institutional designs may in themselves be due to the role and strength of the international engagement, as the supervisor in Brcko was able to negotiate more favorable institutions due to his/her differing relationship with the appointed assembly. Further, political stalemate in Brcko since the autumn 2004 elections—and most notably in late 2006 and 2007—suggests that it may not be the design of the institutions that has been the lynchpin of reform progress so much as the limited sovereignty and concurrent absence of party politics and related spoiler dynamics.

Food for Thought and Lessons to be Learned

This review is by necessity brief, and the cases of BiH and Brcko will continue to provide fodder for study in years to come. It is difficult to assess the effectiveness of modern-day transitional authorities, as results are still pending on many of these efforts. Political development in BiH suggests that crucial to the concept of slow democratization is the word “slow.” The notion that sovereignty might be limited by outside actors seeking to establish or strengthen a democratic system is sure to be unpopular, and is equally sure to raise a host of questions with no easy answers. Who should play such a watchdog role? Who can oversee the overseers? How can reform efforts best be sequenced? How do you know when it is time to leave? How can a generation of domestic politicians be nurtured to take the reins upon international withdrawal? If citizens continue to vote for politicians who do not support reform or the goals of the intervener, is that a sign that the intervention is not wanted by the people? Or is it a sign of limited political choice in a weak democracy?

These questions are important not just for the Balkans, and the state-building experiment in BiH must be viewed in a broader context. Successful construction and consolidation of a multiethnic, democratic state in BiH is necessary precisely because the alternative of ethnic partition, population transfers and the redrawing of maps would set a precedent that would bode poorly for the stability of the global system. A world of countless ethnically pure statelets is too potentially chaotic to imagine, and would not likely end quests for further devolution.[65] If power-sharing and state-building cannot work in Europe’s backyard, why should it be expected to work in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa or the rest of the world?

Policymakers would benefit from careful consideration of the BiH experience. While it is difficult to be confidently prescriptive in a policy environment that has not yet been played out to its completion, several broad issues should be kept in mind. First, interveners must avoid the temptation to think that real democratization can be possible in the short term. Planning should be focused on the longer term, for example, 5–10 years as a starting point. Second, interveners must have an understanding of the possible spoilers to peace and transition processes, and have short- and long-term options on hand for how to marginalize these elements (for example, through electoral systems that marginalize spoilers and force moderation). Third, the sequencing of reform should be better understood. Hurried elections inadvertently put the cart before the horse in traumatized societies lacking the preconditions for the development of a liberal democracy. Finally, the possible benefits of short-term limits on sovereignty and local politics—in other words, the provision of breathing space for institution-building and socio-political development—should be considered in light of long-term reform and peace consolidation goals. The post-Dayton experience of intervention and state-building in BiH—still relatively young in historical terms and not yet finished—should help to inform transition options when a temporary breach of sovereignty is more palatable than further partition or incomplete democratic consolidation. International intervention efforts like the one in BiH (or in Kosovo) will never be common—neither the political will nor resources would allow it. However, certain lessons can be learned and can contribute to post-conflict and transition work elsewhere.

Notes & References

  1. Stephen John Stedman, “Spoiler Problems in Peace Processes,” International Security 22, no. 2 (1997): 5–53.
  2. Stathis Kalyvas, The Logic of Violence in Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
  3. Fen Osler Hampson and David Mendelof, “Intervention and the Nation-Building Debate,” in Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall, eds., Leashing the Dogs of War (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2007).
  4. David Collier and Steven Levitsky, “Democracy ‘with Adjectives’: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research,” Kellogg Institute Working Paper no. 230 (1996).
  5. The ICISS initiative was launched by the government of Canada in cooperation with several major foundations in 2000, in response to tragedies in places like Bosnia, Kosovo and Somalia and as a result of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s pleas to consider issues of humanitarian intervention and state sovereignty.
  6. United Nations Charter, available at, accessed 6 June 2006.
  7. Ibid. Consider, for example, Chapter VII of the UN Charter, “Action With Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression.”
  8. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, An Agenda for Peace: Preventive Diplomacy, Peacemaking and Peace-Keeping, available at, accessed 10 November 2004.
  9. Adam Roberts, “The Road to Hell: A Critique of Humanitarian Intervention,” Harvard International Review 16, no. 1 (1993): 10–13 and 63–65; Kimberly Stanton, “Pitfalls of Intervention: Sovereignty as a Foundation for Human Rights,” Harvard International Review 16, no. 1 (1993): 14–16.
  10. Boutros-Ghali, 1992.
  11. Ratna Kapur, “Collateral Damage: Sacrificing Legitimacy in the Search for Justice,” Harvard International Review 24, no. 1 (2002): 42–46.
  12. Roberts.
  13. Robert Hayden, “Dictatorships of Virtue? States, NGOs, and the Imposition of Democratic Values,” Harvard International Review 24, no. 2 (2002): 56–61.
  14. The case of Somalia was unique in terms of the evolution of coercive interventions, as it was the first instance in which the UN explicitly authorized a large military intervention in one of its member states without the consent of the government, though one could point out that there was no government in Somalia to speak of to provide such potential consent (Roberts).
  15. Richard K. Betts, “The Delusion of Partial Intervention,” Foreign Affairs 73, no. 6 (1994): 20–33.
  16. Roberts.
  17. Marina S. Ottaway, Democracy Challenged: The Rise of Semi-Authoritarianism (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2003).
  18. International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), The Responsibility to Protect (Ottawa: International Development and Research Center, 2001).
  19. Michael Walzer, Arguing about War (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004); Kapur.
  20. Stanton; Hayden; Staffan I. Lindberg, “The Surprising Significance of African Elections,” Journal of Democracy 17, no. 1 (2006): 139–51.
  21. Stanton; Jeffrey Whitman, “An End to Sovereignty,” available at, accessed 12 November 2004.
  22. Jack Snyder, From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict (New York: W.W. Norton, 2000); Edward D. Mansfield and Jack Snyder, “Democratization and the Danger of War,” in Michael Brown, Sean M. Lynn-Jones and Steven E. Miller, eds., Debating the Democratic Peace (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999), 301–34; Roland Paris, At War’s End: Building Peace after Civil Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
  23. Stanton, 15.
  24. Stedman; V.P. Gagnon, “Ethnic Nationalism and International Conflict: The Case of Serbia,” International Security 19, no. 3 (1994–95): 132–68.
  25. Roberts.
  26. Stanton.
  27. David Carment, “The Struggle for Peace: Rethinking Intervention,” Harvard International Review 23, no. 2 (2001): 54–58.
  28. The NATO air strikes in Kosovo are often cited as an example of the potential for an intervention “butterfly effect,” as intervention intended to protect Albanian civilians had the effect of empowering Albanian militants and enabling the oppression of Serbs in the region (Carment).
  29. Chaim Kaufman, “Possible and Impossible Solutions to Ethnic Civil Wars,” International Security 20, no. 4 (1996): 136–75.
  30. Rene Monsignor Coste, “View from the Vatican: The Moral Dimension of Intervention,” Harvard International Review 16, no. 1 (1993): 28–29.
  31. UN Charter.
  32. ICISS.
  33. Ibid.
  34. Coste, 29.
  35. Roberts.
  36. Stanton.
  37. Walzer.
  38. ICISS.
  39. Paris.
  40. ICISS.
  41. Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (New York: Harper Collins, 1942); Adam Przeworski, Michael E. Alvarez, Jose Antonio Cheibub and Fernando Limongi, Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950–1990 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991).
  42. Larry Diamond, Marc F. Plattner, Yun-han Chu and Hung-mao Tien, Consolidating the Third Wave Democracies: Theories and Perspectives (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997); Marc F. Plattner, “From Liberalism to Liberal Democracy,” in Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner, eds., The Global Divergence of Democracies (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 78–90; Thomas Carothers, Aiding Democracy Abroad: The Learning Curve (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1999); Fareed Zakaria, “Illiberal Democracy Five Years Later: Democracy’s Fate in the 21st Century. A Conversation with Fareed Zakaria,” Harvard International Review 24, no. 2 (2002): 44–48.
  43. Diamond et al., 1997.
  44. Robert A. Dahl, Democracy and its Critics (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989); Robert A. Dahl, Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1971).
  45. Thomas Carothers, “The End of the Transition Paradigm,” Journal of Democracy 13, no. 1 (2002): 5–21; Guillermo O’Donnell, “In Partial Defense of an Evanescent ‘Paradigm’,” Journal of Democracy 13, no. 3 (2002): 6–12; Ghia Nodia, “The Democratic Path,” Journal of Democracy 13, no. 3 (2002): 13–19; Gerald Hyman, “Tilting at Straw Men,” Journal of Democracy 13, no. 3 (2002): 26–32; Kenneth Wollack, “Retaining the Human Dimension,” Journal of Democracy 13, no. 3 (2002): 20–25; Thomas Carothers, “A Reply to My Critics,” Journal of Democracy 13, no. 3 (2002): 33–38.
  46. Terrence Lyons, “The Role of Post-Settlement Elections,” in Stephen John Stedman, Donald Rothchild and Elizabeth M. Cousens, eds., Ending Civil Wars: The Implementation of Peace Agreements (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2002), 215–36; Harvey Glickman, “Ethnicity, Elections and Constitutional Democracy in Africa,” in Andrew Reynolds and Timothy D. Sisk, eds., Elections and Conflict Management in Africa (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1998), 51; Yossi Shain and Juan J. Linz, Between States: Interim Governments and Democratic Transitions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995); Michael W. Doyle and Nicholas Sambanis, Making War and Building Peace (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006); Marina S. Ottaway and Bethany Lacina, “International Interventions and Imperialism: Lessons from the 1990s,” SAIS Review 23, no. 2 (2003): 71– 92; Michael W. Doyle, “Strategy and Transitional Authority,” in Stedman, Rothchild and Cousens, eds., 85; Richard Caplan, International Governance of War-Torn Territories: Rule and Reconstruction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).
  47. Simon Chesterman, You the People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration and State-Building (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 246.
  48. Ibid., 207.
  49. Ibid., 206.
  50. Dankwart A. Rustow, “Transitions to Democracy,” Comparative Politics 2, no. 3 (1970); Huntington, 164–65; Zakaria; Adrian Karatnycky, “Making Democratization Work: Overcoming the Challenges of Political Transitions,” Harvard International Review 24, no. 2 (2002): 50–4; Lindberg.
  51. See, for example, Carrie Manning and Miljenko Antic, “The Limits of Electoral Engineering,” Journal of Democracy 14, no. 3 (2003): 45–59; or any of the International Crisis Group reports on the BiH elections, available at
  52. The OHR was established in Annex 10 of the Dayton Agreement.
  53. In Getting to Dayton: The Making of America’s Bosnia Policy (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2000), 157, Ivo H. Daalder reviews the debate ongoing during the peace negotiation process, and the tensions between the purely military tasks to be managed by NATO, and the civilian reconstruction effort, which had no obvious lead. The OHR was an attempt to fill this gap. Daalder describes how the OHR mandate was initially strong when a US negotiator thought that the civilian implementer would be a US national; however, it was intentionally weakened when it became clear that a European would hold the position, for fear that a strong civilian implementer could potentially interfere with the military peace implementation effort.
  54. The Bonn Powers are most notable for allowing the High Representative to impose legislation that fails to be passed by BiH officials, and to remove officials—elected or appointed—from office.
  55. David Chandler, “Peace Without Politics?,” International Peacekeeping 12, no. 3 (2005): 307–21; Gerald Knaus and Felix Martin, “The Travails of the European Raj,” Journal of Democracy 14, no. 3 (2003): 60–74.
  56. Lord Ashdown, High Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Presentation to OSCE Permanent Council, Vienna, 4 July 2002.
  57. See, for example, International Crisis Group, Ensuring Bosnia’s Future: A New International Engagement Strategy, 15 February 2007.
  58.     AnchorCommunique by the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board, 27 February 2007. Available at, accessed 17 April 2007.
  59.     AnchorThere have been five supervisors to date; all have been US ambassadors.
  60. International Crisis Group, Bosnia’s Brcko: Getting In, Getting On and Getting Out, Europe Report no. 144, 2 June 2003.
  61. Ibid.
  62. Valery Perry, “Democratic Ends, (un)Democratic Means? Reflections on Democratization Strategies in Brcko and Bosnia-Herzegovina,” in Michael Innes, ed., Bosnian Security After Dayton: New Perspectives (New York: Routledge, 2006), 51–70.
  63. For a review of the international engagement in Mostar, see Commission for Reforming the City of Mostar: Recommendations of the Commission Report of the Chairman, 15 December 2003.
  64. Florian Bieber, “Local Institutional Engineering: A Tale of Two Cities, Mostar and Brcko,” International Peacekeeping 12, no. 3 (2005): 420–33.
  65. See Donald Horowtiz, “The Cracked Foundation of the Right to Secede,” Journal of Democracy 14, no. 2 (2003): 5–17.
VALERY PERRY is currently serving as Deputy Director of the Education Program at the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo. She has a Ph.D. from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, where she wrote a dissertation on post-Dayton democratization and peace-building strategies. She has worked in BiH since 1999 for organizations including NATO SFOR and the European Center for Minority Issues. All views expressed are her own.