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Felix – Marcus/Gerald

European Raj

July 2003

In July 2003, ESI analysts Gerald Knaus and Felix Martin published an article in the US Journal of Democray: "Travails of the European Raj". The report made the front-page of The Guardian, and was followed by media coverage across Europe. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung put the debate on page 1.

The article drew on themes developed earlier in "In Search for Politics". It argued:

"Along a path punctuated by crises, the OHR's autocratic powers have grown in scope and severity from nothing at all, through powers to impose sanctions and the interim laws designed to support the Dayton process, to absolute powers over an open ended spectrum of issues."
"Far from planting the seed of democratic politics in Bosnia's postcommunist political culture, this transformation implicitly teaches that technocratic rule at arm's length from the people is perfectly good governance after all.

In an Open Letter published in IWPR, Marcus Cox and Gerald Knaus suggested to High Representative Paddy Ashdown:

"First, your power to dismiss public officials should be dispensed with immediately. Arbitrary dismissal is so clearly contrary to European human rights standards that it is an embarrassment in a member state of the Council of Europe. … Second, OHR should undertake to limit itself to a clearly defined legislative agenda."

All this triggered an immediate reaction from OHR. Paddy Ashdown argued that the practices ESI criticised had already changed. For a while, the mission became more circumspect in the use of its powers. But ESI remained deeply concerned at the unintended consequences of unlimited international power in Bosnia.

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