restricted access 6. Peacebuilding Practices and Institutions
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6 Peacebuilding Practices and Institutions At this point the finding that rapid economic and political liberalization had negative effects in Mostar is not terribly surprising. There are many examples of similarly detrimental outcomes to such policies in the peacebuilding literature. Perhaps a more interesting and important question concerning sequencing is why the lengthy and intensive institution-building approach undertaken in Brčko did not suffer from a lack of legitimacy and support from the local populace? As noted in chapter 1, critics of the institutionalization before liberalization model warn that peacebuilding interventions often come to be perceived as authoritarian and undemocratic , perceptions that in turn undermine the legitimacy of international officials, and local participation in the peacebuilding process. Yet despite the vast authority wielded by the supervisory regime it generally received broad support from District residents over the years. Moreover productive participation by local elites in the reform process was greater than anywhere else in Bosnia. How did international officials in Brčko manage to achieve this? Peacebuilding Practices and Institutions 117 Successful postwar peacebuilding requires a strong international presence at the local level, a meaningful engagement with local actors, and sustained commitment of resources and personnel. In Brčko the broad supervisory powers established by the Arbitral Tribunal concentrated decision-making authority and policy formulation responsibilities in OHR Brčko’s hands to a far greater extent than elsewhere in Bosnia. This clear place-based hierarchy gave the supervisors significant influence over other Brčko-based international staff, improving the coordination of policy activities. It also imparted greater legitimacy to peacebuilding efforts in the eyes of political and economic elites in Brčko, both due to the supervisory regime’s relative independence from outside interference and the development of dense daily interactions between international and local officials. In Mostar, in contrast, the practice and organization of peacebuilding militated against the establishment of an effectively localized international presence. First, internationals in Mostar suffered from a lack of independence from distant superiors, which undercut their authority and impeded their ability to create productive working relationships with local officials. Second, as elsewhere in Bosnia the various international civilian and military organizations in Mostar lacked sufficient coordination of policy creation and execution, a problem exacerbated by shifting and poorly aligned areas of responsibility and the different nationalities of organizational heads. Finally, a lack of social and political embeddedness by international officials working in the city had a further detrimental effect on international-local relations and policy decision making. The Supervisory Regime and the Concentration of Political Authority in Brčko One of the most fascinating and consequential aspects of international intervention in Brčko has been the series of awards issued by the Arbitral Tribunal, the ad hoc legal institution charged with ruling on the disputed portion of the IEBL in the Brčko area. As noted in chapter 3, the First Award, which created the OHR supervisory regime in the Brčko area, gave supervisors the power to “promulgate binding regulations and orders ” that would supersede “any conflicting law.”1 The Final Award two years later further expanded the mandate of OHR Brčko in the District: it 118 Chapter 6 was charged with writing a statute for the new District government; appointing an interim assembly; setting up a law review commission to rewrite the laws inherited by the entities; establishing an independent tax system and budget authority; constructing new, multiethnic institutions; and deciding when the IEBL had no legal significance—and thus ceased to exist—within the Brčko area. Essentially the Final Award made the supervisory regime the “final authority in the District on virtually everything.”2 This comprehensive mandate and sweeping set of powers was central to the success of peacebuilding in Brčko. To begin it has concentrated policy authority in OHR Brčko’s hands at a level unmatched in Mostar or other field offices in Bosnia. As Henry Clarke has observed about the internal dynamics of OHR elsewhere in the country during his time as supervisor, “The 2001 Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina was a large, centralized staff in Sarajevo, which shared little authority and information about its plans with a deliberately weak set of field offices.”3 The OHR Brčko office in contrast was relatively powerful and independent , since its source of authority derived from the Arbitral Tribunal’s awards. One key benefit of this political dynamic is that supervisors were afforded greater latitude to tailor their policies to local...