CITSEE Stories

The road to Sokolac
29 June 2012

Securing the benefits of ‘Greater-European’ citizenship for forensic psychiatric detainees in Bosnia

The fragmentation of authority in BiH is as evident in the country’s prison systems as in any other sector. State institutions have only a recent and limited role in the field of criminal detention. For now, sentenced inmates are held in entity facilities. Pre-trial inmates are held by the entities and in more recently established facilities under the authority of the Brčko Judicial Commission and the state Ministry of Justice.  The entity systems house sentenced detainees from the courts of Brčko District and the state-level Court of BiH, but that should change in 2013 with the long-awaited opening of a state-level prison for pre-trial and sentenced inmates. The sharing of responsibility for the execution of penal sanctions is not unique to BiH, but in this case it is complicated by the recent history of conflict and the structures which result from the Dayton settlement.

YU passport
5 June 2012

Amongst broad layers of the populations in BiH and Serbia, I found over the years, the SFRY passport allowed people to articulate resentment of their current entrapment in terms of their own past, both remembered and misremembered. Notwithstanding its uniqueness on a global stage, they asserted an entitlement to smooth visa-free mobility like the one they had lost. The red passport allowed everyone who was old enough, regardless of how much they had actually travelled, to say that they could have.'Normal lives' in Yugoslavia, then, were not only recalled in terms of living standards, order and welfare, but also of what we could call a sense of geopolitical dignity. Here, the red passport joined forces with Tito.

Turkish flag
1 June 2012

One could argue that the AKP’s neo-Islamist policies of de-secularisation and the return of religion in the public space has helped to furnish with full citizenship rights the religiously conservative mainstream, which the Kemalist modernisers had kept from power. And indeed, the growing number of religious men and women in every-day life, in the economy and in public service suggest a process of reconciliation between the state and the conservative middle-classes. This new coalition has also brought some conservative Kurds, who have renounced secular Kurdish nationalism, into the fold of a more Islamic Turkey. Yet neither secular Kurds and Turks, nor the Alevis, members of a non-Orthodox Muslim community, see themselves represented by this new hegemonic alliance. In terms of every-day citizenship, they feel discriminated against, excluded from public tenders and government services.

Bosnia and Belgium
14 March 2012

The recent political crises in Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina have made this comparison particularly apposite. Both countries have broken the existing records for the time it took their political elites to form a government after the general elections. The Belgian elections took place in June 2010; the government was formed in early December 2011. The Bosnian elections took place in October 2010; the government was formed only in late December 2011. However, both countries have gone through a serious political crisis that at times threatened the stability of their respective political systems. Scenarios of dissolution for both countries became more than hypothetical models.

Bosnia's three pillars
14 February 2012

The citizenship regime in Brčko and BiH today is a product of a complex peace settlement. BiH has a two-tiered system of citizenship, in some ways similar to the former Yugoslav or even European citizenship regime. Citizens of BiH are by rule citizens of either of the entities, the Federation of BiH or Republika Srpska. However, the Brčko District, a de facto third entity with matching competencies of the entities, lacks its own citizenship.

Citizenship and money
6 February 2012

A number of countries facilitate the naturalisation of wealthy individuals who invest in their economy. This practice is called ‘investor citizenship’, ‘citizenship by investment’, or ‘economic citizenship’. Investor citizenship can be obtained either at the authorities’ discretion, or through specific programs which lay out in detail the amount of the investment and other criteria for naturalisation.

Live and Work in Palestine
10 December 2011

It is perhaps the ability of art to translate the singular into the plural that provides the greatest potential for art to affect change outwith its own borders. Each individual action mentioned in this text, taken out of their contexts and as isolated incidents, are simply acts of singular citizens having their passport stamped, receiving a counterfeit passport or dubiously obtaining an EU passport. Once viewed in their artistic contexts, however, they become plural, one passport being cancelled (in the case of Jarrar) becoming a symbol of the denial of citizenship in Palestine, one marriage (in the case of Ostojić) standing as an emblem highlighting the plights of innumerable citizens in a comparable position to the artist.

7 November 2011

Today citizenship is largely distributed amongst the ‘diaspora’, ministries and governmental agencies are dedicated to relations with co-ethnics abroad (who are often their citizens) and citizens abroad are increasingly included in votes for parliamentary and presidential elections. But this has not always been the case.