Nearly thirty years after the end of the war that ravaged the country, Bosnia appears to be again on the brink of collapse. This small, fragile and multi-ethnic state is stuck between identity crises and foreign influences, institutional fragmentation and secessionist temptations.
In Bosnia, the war in Ukraine has reawakened traumatic memories of the interethnic conflict that decimated the country and killed 100,000 people between 1992 and 1995. The Dayton Accords brought an end to the massacre but according to critics, “Dayton has turned Bosnia into a dysfunctional, irrational, and undemocratic state.”
A meeting point of the Muslim, Orthodox, and Catholic worlds, the country is made up of three “constituent” peoples – Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats – and its two entities – Republika Srpska and the Bosnian-Croat Federation. In many ways, the peace agreement froze the conflict. Divisions that lead to the war have become constituencies, institutional divisions necessary to preserve the vital national interest. So the country has a rotating tripartite presidency, 14 governments, 165 ministers and ethnic quotas at all levels making government incredibly inefficient.
Pushing for succession are both the pro-Russian President of the Serbs in Bosnia, and Croatian nationalists, who demand the creation of a third entity with the support of Zagreb. In the face of the crisis, Brussels granted Bosnia candidate status for European Union membership in December 2022. However, while Sarajevo must strive to meet the accession criteria, corruption, linked to foreign influences, has exploded in recent years.
Giving voice to key political leaders and members of civil society advocating for more democracy, this documentary delves into the complex legacy of the peace agreement and provides an in-depth and alarming assessment of the current geopolitical situation. As tensions raise fears of a risk of fragmentation, which side will win the ongoing struggle for influence in the Balkans?