November 8, 2010
At the Japan Association of International Relations (JAIR) Annual Convention 2010 held in Sapporo, Hokkaido from October 29-31, JICA-RI research fellow Mari Katayanagi gave a presentation, "Elections and Return from Peacebuilding Perspective: An Example from Bosnia and Herzegovina" at the session titled "New Trends in the Study of International Relations."
Katayanagi first provided an overview of the voting rights of refugees and displaced persons and how those rights are protected by international law in post-conflict peace building, especially in a condition after ethnic cleansing. She then explained an example of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) by introducing the case of Srebrenica. This area is known as the site of horrifying war crimes and special measures concerning the voting rights were placed for refugees and displaced persons. She concluded that giving displaced persons a right to vote in the constituency they previously lived secures their affiliation to the district; therefore, it could enhance the effectiveness of peace-building efforts if elections be conducted after the first wave of refugees’ return.
Following her presentation, Katayanagi answered to questions from the audience.
Q: What is the significance of holding elections in peace-building?
A: We consider elections in peace-building [as means] to establish a democratically-elected and legitimate government, initiate the process of democratization, and promote reconciliation. However, as for BiH, I doubt the elections have contributed to the reconciliation.
Q: Among the many pressing issues, how high the priority on return [of refugees and displaced persons] do you think should be?
A: In BiH, the international community was determined to eliminate ethnic cleansing and restore stability, so repatriation was a crucial issue. I think more assistance should have been given to the return of refugees and displaced persons from an earlier post-conflict phase.
Q: Do you consider the Dayton Accords* a success?
A: Although the Dayton Accords brought an end to military confrontation, the power-sharing structure it designed actually fixated the ethnic divide. With further research, I’d like to deepen my analysis on what would have been a better approach.
Reflecting on the convention, Katayanagi says, "My goal is to pursue research in the field of law and politics combined by drawing in on my background of international law. In this regard, presenting at this convention and receiving constructive feedback was a good opportunity to think over my future research directions."
* The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as the Dayton Accords, is the peace agreement reached at Dayton Air Force Base, Ohio in November 1995. Key components of the agreement are: retaining the state as a confederation following the Inter-Entity Boundary Line agreed in 1995; placing the capital Sarajevo under control of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; and ensuring the repatriation of refugees and displaced persons.
RELATED RESEARCH AREA: Peace and Development
|Day||October 29, 2010(Fri) - October 31, 2010(Sun)|
|Place||Supporo convention Center, Hokkaido|