Social interactions at the local level are crucial to the analysis of the transitional justice and peace-building process. The reason that various international organizations in Bosnia have not been as successful in achieving the admittedly lofty goals of reconciliation is precisely because most of international representatives underestimated the agency of the local population, focusing exclusively on the actions of various local ethnic and civic elites. However, the parallel existence of competing state and nation building projects in Bosnia and their dominance over externally-supported projects of reconciliation cannot be simply explained by relying on one overarching variable – Bosnian nationalist elites’ work towards their own selfish interests and against the interests of the people. The stories that people tell themselves are many and they compete with each other: some are inclusionary, some less so, and some are downright exclusionist. Nevertheless, in each and every case, they provide the meaningful frame of actions that allow members of various local communities to cope with the exigencies of everyday life in Bosnia. A more suitable approach to transitional justice requires an analysis of what makes these stories so powerful and what are the objective political, social and economic factors that continue to provide a fertile ground for their wide-spread support.
Guzina, Dejan, and Branka Marijan. “Local Uses of International Criminal Justice in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Transcending Divisions or Building Parallel Worlds?” Studies in Social Justice, 7, no. 2 (2013): 245-263.