Bosnian Journal

By Joe Rubin

A typical Sarajevo street The streets of Sarajevo

A Country Still Divided

We arrive in Sarajevo just in time for a critical meeting about a proposed new constitution. Bosnia is divided between three governments, Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims. That means three presidencies, three police forces and so on. This “Balkanized” setup was part of the Dayton Agreement forged by President Clinton to stop the bloodshed in Bosnia. And although it stopped the carnage, it created a political system that is hopelessly corrupt and one in which the police who are charged with finding Karadzic and cracking down on his support system are mostly his ex-soldiers. European officials have told Bosnia that it must reform its constitution and become more of a single entity if it’s to have a prayer of entering the European Union. For two days, we try to interview the president of the Republic of Srbska, Dragan Kavic, but he ignores us when we walk into the meetings, and his staff gives us only vague promises. To be blunt, the closer someone seems to be to ultimate responsibility for finding Karadzic or Mladic, the less forthcoming they are. This goes for officials in Bosnia as well as high government officials in Serbia, who have been ducking any commitment to an interview for weeks now.

The international community had a lot riding on this meeting. The U.S. ambassador even spent three days there, but the meeting ultimately failed. Ten years after the end of hostilities here, Bosnia remains a country divided.

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“Bosnia: The Men Who Got Away” is Joe Rubin’s third broadcast story for FRONTLINE/World. He has produced and reported for ABC’s Nightline, including his 2000 documentary on an emerging resistance movement against Slobodan Milosevic, which got him hooked on the Balkans. He also produced the Rough Cut “Dark Shadows,” which covers the rise of nationalism in Serbia. An unbridled enthusiast for the possibilities of video journalism, Rubin spent time in Latin America as a Knight Fellow, where he taught digital journalism in Panama, El Salvador and Ecuador. Recently, Rubin’s been working on the Pitch Room, a program in development with HBO. He lives in San Francisco.