Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Missing Persons, Missing Peace: The role of the war-related missing persons in post-conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina
by O'Sullivan, Maeve, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2014, 98; 10305856
Abstract (Summary)

The Yugoslav wars in the early 1990s resulted in unimaginable horrors including the genocide of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys. It also resulted in 40,000 missing persons with 30,000 in Bosnia-Herzegovina alone. This thesis examines the effect that these war-related missing persons continue to have on Bosnian society more than twenty years after the conflict began.

The war ended with the Dayton Peace Agreement in 1995 and ushered in internationally driven transitional justice mechanisms to prevent a reawakening of conflict. However, this resulted in a negative peace existing in Bosnia-Herzegovina where the dominant ethnic communities of Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs, all of whom fought against each other during the conflict, remain fragmented due to an underlying fear, suspicion and distrust of each other.

This thesis explores the issue of war-related missing persons and how this affects Bosnian society and the attempts at achieving positive peace. It aims to determine whether the issue of war-related missing persons is a factor in the lack of ethnic integration and most importantly whether it is hindering post-conflict reconciliation in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The thesis examines Ruti G. Teitel’s theory of transitional justice focusing primarily on the issue of war-related missing persons in Bosnia-Herzegovina and draws on two months of research carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which included conducting thirty interviews and participant observation with victims, survivors and transitional justice stakeholders.

Through the theoretical and empirical research, this thesis confirms the hypothesis that Bosnian society is trapped in the mentality of the 1990s war and will remain so until the issue of the war-related missing persons has been sufficiently dealt with.


Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Perry, Susan
School: The American University of Paris (France)
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: International Relations
Keywords: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Enforced disappearances, Genocide, Missing persons, Transitional justice
Publication Number: 10305856
ISBN: 978-1-369-49420-4
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