BiH Country Info

Facts

Short name: BOSNIA Official name: Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)

Local long form: Bosna i Hercegovina

Area: 51,197 sq km

Capital: Sarajevo

Independence: March 1, 1992

National Holidays: Bosnian Republic Day, 25 November; Independence Day, 1 March; Serbian Republic Day, 9 January

Constitution: December 14, 1995

Population: 4,621,598 (July 2010 est.)

Suffrage: 18 years old, universal

Ethnicity: Bosniak 48%, Serb 37.1%, Croat 14.3%, other 0.6% (2000)

Languages: Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian

Religions: Muslim 40%, Orthodox 31%, Roman Catholic 15%, Protestant 4%, other

Geography

Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Croatia

Geographic coordinates: 44 00 N, 18 00 E

Area: total: 51,197 sq km

land: 51,187 sq km

water: 10 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than West Virginia

Land boundaries: total: 1,538 km

Border countries: Croatia 932 km, Montenegro 249 km, Serbia 357 km.

Coastline: 20 km

Maritime claims: NA

Climate: hot summers and cold winters; areas of high elevation have short, cool summers and long, severe winters; mild, rainy winters along coast

Terrain: mountains and valleys

Elevation extremes: lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m highest point: Maglic 2,386 m

Natural resources: coal, iron ore, bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, cobalt, manganese, nickel, clay, gypsum, salt, sand, timber, hydropower

Political System

State Level

The President

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a three-member (Bosniak, Croat, Serb) presidency elected by direct popular vote for a four-year term. The chairmanship of the tripartite presidency rotates every eight months. The chairman is the head of state. The functions of the presidency are primarily in the area of foreign policy, appointment of ambassadors, international treaties, coordination with international and non-governmental organisations, etc.

President: Haris Silajdzic. Other members of the three-member rotating (every eight months) presidency: Zeljko Komsic (Croat), Nebojsa Radmanovic (Serb).

Legislative

The country's legislative power is in the hands of a bicameral Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which sits in the capital Sarajevo. Each house has a chairman and two deputies (one Serb, one Croat and one Bosniak).

The House of Representatives [Predstavnicki dom] is a 42-member body elected by party list vote from 2 multi-seat constituencies (28-seat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 14-seat Serbian Republic) for a term of 2 years.

The House of Peoples [Dom Naroda] has 15 members (5 Serb, 5 Bosniak and 5 Croat) indirectly elected by the Federation's House of Peoples and the RS National Assembly for a term of 2 years.

Executive

A Council of Ministers charged with overseeing foreign, economic and fiscal policy, represents the national government. Its Chairman (also called Prime Minister) is nominated by the president and his/her appointment is subject to approval by the House of Representatives. The ministers and their deputies are nominated by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and must also be approved by the House of Representatives.

Under the Constitution, no more than two-thirds of all ministers can be appointed from the territory of the Federation. Each minister has two deputies, who cannot be of the same constituent people as the minister. The Chairman, the ministers and their deputies form the cabinet, which currently includes 6 ministers and 12 deputies.

Entity Level

The President

Each entity has a president and vice-president, who are members of the executive.

President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Borjana Kristo (since February 22, 2007)

*note - president and vice president rotate every 6 months

President of Republika Srpska: Rajko Kuzmanovic (2-year term)

Legislative

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliament is a bicameral legislative body in which each house has a chairman and a deputy chairman. The House of Representatives has 140 members, and the House of Peoples has 80 members, including 30 Croats, 30 Bosniaks, and 20 others. The members of the Federation Parliament are elected for a two-year term.

The Serbian National Assembly is a unicameral, 83-member body, elected by popular vote in the Serbian Republic by proportional representation. Members are elected for a two-year term. The current Assembly president is Igor Radojcic.

Executive

The government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is headed by the prime minister and his deputy and includes 12 ministers and their deputies, as well as two ministers without portfolio.

Prime minister (FBiH): Mustafa Mujezinovic

The government of Republika Srpska is headed by the prime minister and includes his four deputies and 17 ministers.

Prime minister (RS): Milorad Dodik

Judiciary

The Constitutional Court consists of nine members: four are selected by the Bosniak/Croat Federation's House of Representatives, two members by the Republika Srpska's National Assembly, and three non-Bosnian members are selected by the president of the European Court of Human Rights.

BiH State Court consists of 44 national judges and seven international judges and has three divisions -- Administrative, Appellate and Criminal -- having jurisdiction over cases related to state-level law and cases initiated in the entities that question BiH's sovereignty, political independence, or national security or with economic crimes that have serious repercussions to BiH's economy, beyond that of an entity or Brcko District. A War Crimes Chamber opened in March 2005.

Each entity has a Supreme Court and a number of lower courts. The Federation has cantonal plus a number of municipal courts and Republika Srpska has five municipal courts.

International Administration

The Office of the High Representative (OHR) oversees the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Dayton Agreement. The OHR has extensive powers of intervention and can, for example, remove politicians from office for failing to meet the terms of the Dayton accords. The High Representative is nominated by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) and approved by the United Nations Security Council.

The OSCE mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina was mandated in December 1995 to promote democratic values, monitor and further human rights, organise and supervise elections and to implement arms control and security building measures.

Communication Regulatory Agency - (CRA) An independent local organisation, whose directors are appointed by OHR. Function: regulating communications through distribution of licences for TV, radio, mobile phones, etc.

The UN International Police Task Force (UNIPTF) is not armed and is in charge of overseeing the local police.

Economic Development

Travel, History and Traditions

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