20 May 2008
ESI in Hannover: "International protectorates" in Bosnia and Kosovo

At a debate in the German City of Hannover on 20 May 2008, ESI Senior Analyst Alexandra Stiglmayer was invited to discuss the "international protectorates" in Bosnia & Herzegovina and in Kosovo. She made the point that international administrations with executive powers should be a measure of last resort and needed to be accompanied by oversight mechanisms and appeals possibilities. At the moment, dismissed officials in Bosnia do not have, and dismissed Kosovar officials will not have, any possibility to appeal their dismissals, possibly proving their innocence, nor do they have access to the evidence against them. This contradicts international human rights standards, in particular the European Convention of Human Rights, and damages the credibility of the international community's advocacy of respect for human rights, transparency and democratic processes.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, successive "High Representatives" of the international community have dismissed, suspended and banned from office and various other functions more than 180 domestic officials since 1998, after the High Representative had been authorised to do so. Many have been "pardoned" in the meantime as the Office of the High Representative is preparing to close down. The High Representatives have also imposed hundreds of laws (which can then be amended in regular parliamentary procedures) and other decisions.

Stiglmayer said the legislative interventions in Bosnia have produced an unhealthy atmosphere of dependency, as political parties wait for the High Representative to intervene, as well as irresponsibility, as they rely on him to fix any problems that might arise. She also emphasised that the international community's executive mission contributes to Bosnia's bad image of a country that supposedly cannot run itself and that it is a major obstacle in the European integration process.

The discussion titled "Slovenia's EU Presidency: a Key to EU Policy on the Western Balkans" was organised by the European Information Centre of Lower Saxony and the City of Hannover. Other speakers included Dragoljuba Bencina, Slovenian Ambassador to Germany; Franjo Komarica, Bischop of Banja Luka; and Peter Altmeier, MP and Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Ministry of the Interior. All speakers agreed that it was of utmost importance for the EU to become more actively engaged in the Balkans as integration in Europe was the only viable option.

Programme (in German)

Alexandra Stiglmayer
Alexandra Stiglmayer
Peter Altmaier and Bishop Franjo Komarica
Peter Altmaier and Bishop Franjo Komarica
About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com