Diplomacy within Limits of the Law: Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Ivan Padjen Retired Professor of Law, Senior Fellow in Political Science, Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Law, University of Rijeka, Croatia
Keywords: Republic of Croatia’s foreign policy, Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dayton Peace Agreement 1995, law and policy, the State, people, nation


The paper deals with the main problem of the Republic of Croatia’s foreign policy on the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which fails to alleviate the social (political, economic, cultural, etc.) inadequacies of Bosnia and Herzegovina that can and ought to be solved within the limits of the law. It is of meagre success because it is a policy of political parties rather than of a nation-state. The mainstream policy is ethnicist. Its alternative ignores the fact that the Republic of Croatia, as a party to the Dayton Peace Agreement, whose part is the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is by international law entitled to demand other parties, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, to observe and change the Agreement. The subordinate problem is a paucity of knowledge

 Theoretical problems, which prevent Croatian policy-makers and their counsel to recognize and handle the practical problem, are consequences of doctrinal and/or ideological errors that have become part of Croatian law and diplomacy. The first is the belief in the separation of law and politics. The second is the  faith that the state is an embodiment of ethnic community.

 The principal goal of the paper is preparation of a research-project, which includes a choice of the theoretical and methodological framework (original legal dogmatics broadened by integral theory of law and policy oriented jurisprudence) and a solution of theoretical problems (application of law includes creation, i.e. legal policy; an ethnic community can become a nation and/or a nation state by first becoming a people), with a view of  gaining a balanced view of the practical problem and exploring the potential for finding a solution of the practical problems.