Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Federacija Bosne i Hercegovine
Федерација Босне и Херцеговине
Location of the Federation of Bosnia andHerzegovina (yellow) within Bosnia and Herzegovina.Brčko District is shown in pale green.a
Location of the Federation of Bosnia and
Herzegovina (yellow) within Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Brčko District is shown in pale green.a
and largest city
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Government Parliamentary system
 •  President Marinko Čavara
 •  Prime Minister Fadil Novalić
 •  Washington Agreement 18 March 1994 
 •  Recognized 14 December 1995 
 •  Total 26,110.5 km2
10,085 sq mi
 •  2013 estimate 2,371,603[2]
 •  Density 91/km2
233/sq mi
Currency Convertible mark (BAM)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 •  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Calling code +387
a. Formally, Brčko District is held in condominium by both parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina (namely, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska). De facto, however, it is a third entity, as it has the same powers as the Federation and Republika Srpska and is under the direct sovereignty of BiH.[3][4]

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian: Federacija Bosne i Hercegovine, Cyrillic script: Федерација Босне и Херцеговине; pronounced [federǎːt͡sija bôsneː i xěrt͡segoʋineː]) is one of the two political entities that compose Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being Republika Srpska. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of 10 autonomous cantons having their own governments. It is inhabited primarily by Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats, which is why it is sometimes informally referred to as the Bosniak-Croat Federation (with the Bosnian Serbs as the third constituency of the entity). It is sometimes known by the shorter name Federation of B&H (Federacija BiH).

The Federation was created by the 1994 Washington Agreement, which ended the part of the conflict whereby Bosnian Croats fought with Bosniaks. It established a constituent assembly that continued its work until October 1996. The Federation has a capital, government, president, parliament, customs and police departments, two postal systems and an airline (BH Airlines). It had its own army, the Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was merged with the Army of the Republika Srpska to form the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The capital and largest city and its metropolis is Sarajevo with 438,443[5] inhabitants and the total population of 688,354 in its metropolitan area.


Bosnian War

The Serb-dominated Yugoslav People's Army attacked Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina.[6] Their first target was Croatian village Ravno that was attacked on 2 November 1991 and completely destroyed.[6] Yugoslavia effected an economic blockade of Bosnia and Herzegovina, thus trying to keep it as part of Yugoslavia.[7] Later, Yugoslavia claimed territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a Serb majority and the capital Sarajevo.[7] Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was declared on 27 March 1992 with the goal to incorporate parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina into Yugoslavia. The objective of Serbian politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina was to unite Serbian autonomous provinces into a single unit that would join Yugoslavia, and with total blockade of Sarajevo, break Bosnia and Herzegovina into smaller, unconnected and hardly defensible enclaves. Because of superiority in armaments, support from Belgrade and an embargo on the importation of arms into Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbs achieved their goals by June 1992.

The Bosniak leadership was still indecisive concerning a major conflict, so the Croats were the first to participate in the war. They organized military units, Croatian Defence Forces (HOS) in November 1991 and the Croatian Defence Council in April 1992. Those units were partly composed of Bosniaks. The Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, later Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina effectively organized in autumn of 1992. In Serb-controlled areas, Serbs performed mass murders, ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs, primarily Bosniaks and Croats, established concentration camps and destroyed Bosniak and Croat cultural inheritance. By November 1992 Serbs had conquered 70% of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina and held Sarajevo in limbo by terrorizing its population by shelling and constant sniper fire. Relationship between Bosnians and Croats during the war. The existing diversity was increased because of the chaos and the war, but also because of conflicting views and moves by individual leaders of both sides and the United Nations. The creation of a Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia was a matter of dispute for Bosniaks. Croats accused Bosniaks of Islamization of the country and attempts to create Bosniak domination in all areas. So they withdrew Croat representatives from Parliament, Government and the Presidency.

The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina had catastrophic consequences, primarily because of disrupted relations between nationalities and religious communities. Due to Serbian expulsion, Bosniaks moved to other areas and thus disrupted the Croats' area and altered their pre-war ratio. Political disputes and minor incidents in central and northern Bosnia and in northern and central Herzegovina led to Croat-Bosniak War in November 1992.

The Vance-Owen plan was presented in January 1993. It was planned to create 10 cantons on the territory of the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This plan increased conflict between Croats and Bosniaks. The Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH) launched four offensives and conquered a large area which was under control of HVO; almost the whole Central Bosnia (except Novi Travnik, Vitez, Busovača, Kiseljak, Kreševo and Žepče and the wider areas around those towns and Usora, part of Municipality of Travnik, Zavidovići and part of Municipality of Vareš) and part of Herzegovina, Konjic, Jablanica and eastern and northern parts of Mostar. A number of crimes against civilians were committed on both sides. Hostility between Croats and Bosniaks ended with mediation by the United States and the signing of theWashington Agreement on 18 March 1994. The cooperation between Croats and Bosniaks was renewed, and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Bosniak and Croat controlled area was established. There was also a proposal to create a confederation of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republic of Croatia.

The joint command of ARBiH, HVO and Croatian Army (HV) was established in March 1995. The closer cooperation between Croats and Bosniaks was made through the Split Agreement where Bosnia and Herzegovina's Muslim leaders allowed the Croatian Army to free western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina with cooperation with ARBiH. After the Operation Storm, the Serbian hoop around Bihać was broken and Croatian and Bosnian armies continued to liberate western Bosnia. The UN unsuccessfully tried to establish peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina by trying to create a successful structure for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The UN showed a total inability when Serbs conquered UN-protected towns, Srebrenica and Žepa. The Serbs also launched an attack on the UN-protected town of Bihać, but they were stopped by the Croatian army during Operation Storm. Joint Croatian-Bosnian military successes made peace negotiations possible.

Washington Agreement

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was formed by the Washington Agreement of March 1994. Under the agreement, the combined territory held by the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croatian Defence Council forces was divided into ten autonomous cantons. The cantonal system was selected to prevent dominance by one ethnic group over another.

In 1995, Bosnian government forces and Bosnian Croat forces of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina defeated forces of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia, and this territory was added to the federation. By the Dayton Agreement of 1995, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was defined as one of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and comprised 51% of the federation area. The Republika Srpska comprised the other 49%.

On 8 March 2000, the Brčko District was formed as an autonomous entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina and it was created from part of the territory of both Bosnian entities. Brčko District is now a shared territory that belongs to both entities.



The Inter-Entity Boundary Line (IEBL) that distinguishes Bosnia and Herzegovina's two entities essentially runs along the military front lines as they existed at the end of the Bosnian War, with adjustments (most importantly in the western part of the country and around Sarajevo), as defined by the Dayton Agreement. The total length of the IEBL is approximately 1,080 km. The IEBL is an administrative demarcation and not controlled by the military or police and there is free movement across it.

Five of the cantons (Una-Sana, Tuzla, Zenica-Doboj, Bosnian Podrinje and Sarajevo) are Bosniak majority cantons, three (Posavina, West Herzegovina and Canton 10) are Croat majority cantons, and two (Central Bosnia and Herzegovina-Neretva) are 'ethnically mixed', meaning there are special legislative procedures for protection of the constituent ethnic groups.

A significant portion of Brčko District was also part of the Federation; however, when the district was created, it became shared territory of both entities, but it was not placed under control of either of the two, and is hence under direct jurisdiction of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Currently the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has 79 municipalities.


The government and politics of the Federation are dominated by two large parties, the Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (Stranka demokratske akcije, SDA) and the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Hrvatska demokratska zajednica, HDZ).[8]

In September 2010, the International Crisis Group warned that "disputes among and between Bosniak and Croat leaders and a dysfunctional administrative system have paralysed decision-making, put the entity on the verge of bankruptcy and triggered social unrest".[8]

Political division


The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina comprises ten cantons (Bosnian: kantoni Croatian: županije):

No. Canton Center No. Canton Center
Coat of arms of Una-Sana.svg 1 Una-Sana Bihać Coat of arms of Central Bosnia.svg 6 Central Bosnia Travnik
Coat of arms of Posavina.svg 2 Posavina Orašje Coat of arms of Herzegovina-Neretva.svg 7 Herzegovina-Neretva Mostar
Coat of arms of Tuzla Canton.svg 3 Tuzla Tuzla No coats of arms.svg 8 West Herzegovina Široki Brijeg
Coat of arms of Zenica-Doboj Canton.svg 4 Zenica-Doboj Zenica Coat of arms of Sarajevo Canton.svg 9 Sarajevo Sarajevo
Coat of arms of Bosnian Podrinje.svg 5 Bosnian Podrinje Goražde No coats of arms.svg 10 Canton 10 Livno



Ethnic composition in 1991

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina comprises 51% of the land area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is home to 62.1% of the country's total population.[9] All data dealing with population, including ethnic distributions, are subject to considerable error because of the lack of official census figures.

Year Bosniaks % Croats % Serbs % Yugoslavs % Others % Total
1991 1,423,593 52.3% 594,362 21.9% 478,122 17.6% 161,938 5.9% 62,059 2.3% 2,720,074


Former flag of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Flag of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Coat of arms of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been deemed unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and were due to be replaced by September. On 31 March 2007, the Constitutional Court placed its decision into the "Official Gazette of Bosnia and Herzegovina" officially removing them.[11] The federation has not yet adopted a new anthem or coat of arms, but uses the symbols of the central state as a provisional solution.[12]


See also



  1. Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Official Gazette of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  2. "First release" (PDF). Federal Office of Statistics, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. June 30, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Office of High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Archived 18 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Office of High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Archived 10 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. http://www.bhas.ba/obavjestenja/Preliminarni_rezultati_bos.pdf
  6. 6.0 6.1 Human Rights Watch 1999, p. 17.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Human Rights Watch 1999, p. 18.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Federation of Bosnia And Herzegovina – A Parallel Crisis". International Crisis Group. 28 September 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "POPULATION OF THE FEDERATION BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 1996 - 2006" (PDF). Federal Office of Statistics.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2013" (PDF). Federal Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 3 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "30th Plenary session". Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Reuters (16 July 2008). "Muslim Outcry Over Bosnian Serbs `State` Symbols". Dalje.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


External links