Future Generator: Bosnia’s near-term media coverage to be increasingly negative
The ‘Future Generator’ is a highly unique and cutting-edge approach to forecasting ‘media sentiment’, developed by a partnership between Global Risk Insights (GRI) and Ethnographic Edge (EE). The aim of the forecast is to determine how media sentiment towards a country’s political environment might develop in the future. Considering the impact of media sentiment on trading and investments, our forecasts will give readers more time and context to maximize on market opportunities.
The following is a Future Generator assessment of Bosnia.
The EE signal suggests negative media sentiment towards Bosnia’s political climate.
EE’s data analytics platform projects that media sentiment towards Bosnia will trend negative over the next two weeks. Considering the strong correlation between media sentiment and political events, EE concludes that the Bosnian political environment will decline between now and March 20th.
GRI Assessment of the EE Signal
Based on local expertise and political risk training, Global Risk Insights agrees with the data analytics produced that Bosnia’s media sentiment and political environment will slide downwards. This is likely due to rising tensions in the region after Bosnia requested an appeal for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling regarding Serbia’s actions during the war.
The request angered Bosnian Serbs within the country and authorities in neighbouring Serbia. Authorities fear the appeal will be lead to an elevated risk of communal and ethnic tensions and could even restart conflict in the region.
Threatened strategic interests
On February 23rd, Bosnia filed an appeal to the ICJ’s 2007 ruling regarding the genocide that took place during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. In the ruling, the ICJ exonerated Serbia of direct responsibility for the killings, rapes, and ethnic cleansing that took place in the region, only acknowledging that Serbia had failed to prevent the tragedy.
The court also limited the definition of “genocide” to the events that took place at Srebrenica and not to the events that took place in other areas. The appeal brought instability to the Bosnian government since Bakir Izetbegovic, the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, took the decision without the consent of his Serb and Croat counterparts.
Two weeks after the filing of the appeal the ICJ rejected the polemical request. After considering the opinion of Bosnia’s tripartite Croat, Serb, and Bosniak presidency members, the court reached the conclusion that “no decision ha[d] been taken by the competent authorities on behalf of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state.”
The Bosnian Serb and Croat leaders vehemently opposed this course of action and are calling for measures to be taken against the Bosniak chairman. They argue that Izetbegovic’s filing of the appeal constituted an abuse of power from their Bosniak colleague and violates the country’s constitution. All three leaders are uncertain about the future of the three-member presidential system. Mladen Ivanic, the Bosnian Serb chairman, warned that the country is “entering a very serious crisis.”
After the appeal’s refusal, Bosniak member, Izetbegovic, said that the outcome was “a triumph of law over politics” and that the costs for calming down a political crisis were “a huge injustice committed towards Bosniaks.” Mladen Ivanic stated that the ICJ’s rejection was “completely expected.” “This decision of the International Court of Justice in The Hague is absolutely correct because any other solution would seriously jeopardise the functioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state and further contribute to raising unnecessary tensions in relations with Serbia, which no one needs, now or at any time,” said neighboring Serbia’s President Tomislav Nikolic.
Escalating animosity among volatile ethnic groups
Bosnia is a country divided along ethnic, religious, and political lines. As a consequence of the last events, there is a growing concern that the relationship between the different groups could turn even more sour.
The appeal against Serbia has divided opinions among the population. While it angered the Bosnian Serb population, it brought a short-lived hope to Bosniaks that were still waiting for justice. The events that took place during the break-up of Yugoslavia are considered the bloodiest since World War II, and thousands of people carry deep scars from what happened only two decades ago.
Izetbegovic’s opinion that “the court shut the door on those who are seeking justice” seems to be aligned with the general Bosniak population’s belief. “We hoped for justice but it’s absent,” said Hatidza Mehmedovic, who lost her husband and two sons during the conflict.
International and regional experts fear that these events will increase the rift among ethnic groups, which could lead to social and ethnic violence.
After the Bosniak member of the Bosnian government filed the appeal regarding 2007 ICJ ruling without his counterparts’ approval, the International Court of Justice refused the request due to the lack of agreement within the government. The filing of the appeal and its consequent refusal increased animosity between ethnic groups. The threat of conflict in the political and civic spheres confirm the negative media coverage of Bosnia until at least March 20th.
Carolina Santrovitsch da Silva is a risk analyst who currently works for the Brazilian Consulate in New York, studies international relations and diplomacy at Mercy College, and is a researcher with Ethnographic Edge, a geopolitical forecasting project.