Bosnia-Herzegovina has adopted three National Action Plans (NAP) to date, in 2010, 2014, and 2018 to be implemented for the period of 2010-2013, 2014-2017, and 2018-2022, respectively. The following is a brief summary and analysis of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s third NAP.
Bosnia-Herzegovina’s third NAP was developed by the country’s Agency for Gender Equality and the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, based on the results of and recommendations from the evaluation of the second action plan. The NAP also includes a detailed discussion of “lessons learned” from the implementation of the second action plan (see pp. 27-28). Similar to the country’s previous NAP, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s third action plan contextualizes the WPS agenda by providing a detailed overview of the country’s domestic legal framework and critically examines the legislative and policy developments to advance women’s full participation in public and political life. The NAP also offers a detailed gender equality analysis of women’s participation in high-level decision-making positions such as in the security forces and peacekeeping missions. Additionally, the action plan has a section devoted to analyzing human security through the perspective of gender equality, which includes sections on human trafficking, victims of sexual violence and other wartime atrocities, and landmines as well as touching upon natural disasters, migration, violent exremism, and small arms and light weapons.
Bosnia-Herzegovina gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1992. The country went through a violent armed conflict between 1992 and 1995, where ethnic cleansing and sexual violence were used as weapons of war. The conflict resulted in thousands of casualties and missing people and millions of refugees, and came to an end through the Dayton Peace Agreement. Even though women survived severe wartime atrocities and yet were still at the forefront of peacebuilding initiatives, they were excluded from high-level diplomatic negotiations. Increased rates of domestic violence and human trafficking are remnants of the war with which the country is still grappling.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established in 1993 to prosecute crimes committed during the Yugoslav Wars. ICTY investigated and indicted perpetrators of wartime sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina, recognizing for the first time rape as a war crime as well as a crime against humanity. In July 2018, Bosnia-Herzegovina signed the Joint Declaration on Missing Persons and Joint Declaration on War Crimes in the Framework of the Berlin Process at the Western Balkans Summit Leaders Meeting. Despite being a signatory to the declaration, the Bosnian government has not taken an official position to support RECOM, a regional truth commission to investigate war crimes and human rights violations committed between 1991 and 2001 in former Yugoslavia.
In 2018, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s military spending increased by 26%, with a total of $221 million spent on military expenses. Bosnia-Herzegovina joined the UN in 1992 and is a contributor to UN Peacekeeping Operations, with a total of 36 personnel serving in missions as of September 2019. Bosnia-Herzegovina joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program in 2006 and has been an aspiring NATO member since 2008. Bosnia-Herzegovina both signed and ratified the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which regulates the flow of weapons across international borders.