Document Type

Honors Project


Bosnia's four years long conflict ended in 1995 with the signing of Dayton Peace Agreement and a hope that with international help and domestic cooperation, people of Bosnia will reconcile and work towards a more prosperous future. The conflict left behind not only 90 000 deaths but also around 2.2 million of displaced people. Country that used to be ethnically mixed before the war later became ethnically segregated into two regions, one with a Serb majority and the other one with Bosniak and Croat majority. In their search for safety during the war, many left their homes and cities and some occupied other's property. The process of property return and compensation organized by the international community is considered one of the largest in scope among peacebuilding projects ever done. However, the results, measured in the rate of return of displaced, were disappointing. Most people did not return to their old homes despite regaining possession of their property. This project examines the potential reasons for the failure of the property return project suggesting that the lack of sense of security, employment, and opportunities for education and cultural expression were some of the main reasons inhibiting return. The paper also suggests that these factors, although taken into consideration by the international actors, were not addressed in a timely and appropriate manner that would work hand in hand with the property return project and foster return. The paper finally suggests what are the lessons learned for future peacebuilding and property return projects.



© Copyright is owned by author of this document