Next Step

The Next Step in the Balkans


Focusing on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia, the overall objective of this project was to convince governmental and nongovernmental actors at local, national and regional state levels to adapt and implement ownership enhancing strategies. Local experts as well as notable active supporters will discuss, first, the complex interaction between internal and international processes and, second, the issue of the ownership of the transition and democratization in the Balkans (considering first Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia), this in order to submit adapted and ownership-oriented recommendations. The aim of the process-oriented project is to start a process that should link analytical debates, including case-based studies, with ownership enhancing field actions implemented by think tank oriented NGOs. Regular meetings with decisions makers, politicians, intellectuals and various seminars were conducted in the region from 2003 until 2005. The process orienetd project paved the way to the creation – back in late 2003 – of the « Associations Bosnia and Herzegovina 2005 » and, end 2005, of the CEIS.

Access the project related publications and the press coverage of the action « By the commission decision: Everyone to one’s own » (2001):

Ownership Process in Bosnia


The Bosnian war ended not by peace-keeping, nor by war making, even if a military intervention was requested, but by foreign-led political-engineering: the creation of the Bosnian-Croat Federation (1994) and the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995). Aware that as long as the international community determines politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina to a large degree, it will inhibit the mature growth of Bosnian institutions, ownership was since 1999 a priority for the then High Representative, Wolfgang Petritsch. His initiative – from July 19, 2001 – to set up a consultative Partnership Forum to discuss urgent issues of the peace implementation as well as to support the Bosnian state institutions and a Civic Forum in order to enable discussions with citizens are both intended precisely to decisively enhance the ownership process in Bosniaand Herzegovina. Further, the re-calibrated presence of the IC and, mainly, the High Representative’s Action Plan – December 2001 and March 2002 – are providing timelines for the transition of the ownership to the Bosnian authorities. This represents a breakthrough in the ownership process. In the coming year, Bosnia and Herzegovina has to move from partnership with the International Community to complete ownership of the political process. Together with Svebor Dizdarevic (Lyon), we organized various seminars and conferences in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 2001 and 2003. Four publications – presented in Sarajevo, Chambéry and Paris – are related to this project.

In the framework of this project – with the support of the City of Geneva, the Karl Popper Foundation and Pro Helvetia – the Sarajevo Center for Contemporary Arts (SCCA) organized an art event – action enacting ownership: « By the Commission’s Decision: Everyone to One’s Own, » realized by two Sarajevan artists Almir Kurt & Samir Plasto at the Trg Oslobodjenja – Liberation Square in Sarajevo on November 24, 2001. In the morning of the November 24, the day before the National day of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the busts of Kurt and Plasto were mounted on eight headless pedestals at the Liberation Square. During the action they distributed the leaflets: By the commission decision: Everyone to one’s own. Casual passers by, intellectuals, artists, public persons and media representatives attended this event. In the following month, SCCA took the responsibility to realize the decision of the informal “commission”, which finally deserved full support from the Cantonal Ministry for Culture and Writer’s Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the 27th of December 2001 the busts were at their original places. Seven busts were mounted back without any problems and with the support of the audience gathered that day. One incident happened when the new owners of the building of publishing house “Svjetlost” didn’t allow us to put the bust of Veselin Maslesa in front of their building where it’s pedestal originated from, claiming it to be their own property and that they don’t want this writer and anti-fascist who was Nazi victim during World War II.

Some pictures from the event « By the commission decision: Everyone to one’s own »: