Bosnia and Herzegovina’s declaration of independence from the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991 triggered the Bosnian War. In the devastating fighting that followed, it is estimated that 100,000 people were killed and two million were displaced.
When the war ended in 1995 with the Dayton Peace Agreement, two separate regional entities were established, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska.
The conflict left a legacy of weapon stockpiles within the Balkans. Coupled with high numbers of civilian owned firearms, this increases the probability of diversion for unlawful use—brought sharply into focus by the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris in 2015. Illicit gun trafficking is recognised as a security threat, not just for European countries but throughout the world.
HALO has been active in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2017, helping the government meet its obligations in relation to the control of guns. We are currently working in partnership with Small Arms Survey, the Ministry of Defence, BiH Armed Forces and European Union Force Althea (EUFOR), to establish a sustainable and comprehensive weapons management system, reducing the risk of illicit gun ownership and trafficking.
We have completed the initial preparatory phase of the project and are now conducting training in marking, registration and record keeping. We are also sourcing equipment and developing the necessary infrastructure and support for the inventory and marking of all weapons held by the military.