The past year has generally not been good for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and its citizens. The very beginning of 2021, when eight young people died on New Year’s Eve as a result of gas suffocation in Posusje, announced what year awaits us. Apart from this, in October we were hit by another similar tragedy when six people were killed in a fire in Brcko, including two children.
However, this year was marked by partial justice for the families of more than 8.000 killed in Srebrenica in 1995, as on June 8th, Republika Srpska (RS) Army wartime commander Ratko Mladic was found guilty of the most serious war crimes, including genocide, and sentenced to life in prison. This was decided by the Appeals Chamber of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) in The Hague. He was found guilty of 10 of the 11 counts in the indictment.
In June this year, Fata Orlovic waited for the illegally built church to be removed from her yard in Konjevic Polje. All the world’s media shared the news because nana Fata became a symbol of perseverance without giving up the legal battle that lasted for years.
This year, partly due to the blockade of the work of the BiHinstitution, ends without the adopted state budget, and the institutions functioned on decisions on temporary financing. These decisions can only finance external debt and basic obligations, but none of the projects can be implemented.
The second half of the year was marked by numerous negotiations between international officials and representatives of political parties in BiH on changes to the Election Law, but just before the end of the year, when some progress was expected in the agreement, international officials withdrew from the talks. Mediators in the talks, United States (U.S.) special envoy for electoral reform Matthew Palmer and director for Western Europe, the Western Balkans, Turkey, and the United Kingdom (UK) at the European External Action Service (EEAS) Angelina Eichhorst, postponed mediation on this issue.
2021 was the second year of the coronavirus pandemic, and the vaccination of the BiH population began only in April, making BiH the last country in the region to start this process. The delivery of vaccines from the COVAX program, through which BiH paid for a significant number of vaccines, was delayed. Donations followed, among the first vaccines were those who were donated by the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic. Unfortunately, interest in immunization in BiH is quite low, and mortality from covid-19 is among the highest in the world.