Defence Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Case Study into the Role of Ethnicity within the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Many of the conflicts fought in the world today are fought internally between rival ethnic groups. Although the cause of the conflict may differ, the violent and often brutal nature of these conflicts makes them a threat that the international community cannot ignore. This thesis will analyse the progress of defence reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina - with specific attention to the role of ethnicity within the armed forces. The thesis discusses the challenges and actions taken by the international community to establish a united, state level defence force under a single chain of command. The political situation in the Balkans highlights the fact that ethnic issues are crucial in the security of the region. The central argument of this thesis is that in ethnically divided countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, abolishing ethnically segregated defence forces in favour of one unified force is crucial to the creation of state viability. The thesis hypothesises that ethnic segregation and lack of integration within the forces today contributes to ongoing instability within Bosnia. As a serving member of the New Zealand Defence Force, the author participated in the post–conflict stabilisation process in both Bosnia and Kosovo. Having witnessed first hand the effects of ethnicity in the Bosnian defence forces and the wider community, the author now seeks to analyse the pace of defence reform within Bosnia and Herzegovina which has been challenged by ethnic phenomena since the cessation of hostilities in 1995.