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close this bookCountry Report Bosnia - Herzegovina - ICRC Worldwide Consultation on the Rules of War (International Committee of the Red Cross , 1999, 56 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAbout the People on War Project
View the documentCountry context
View the documentCountry methodology
View the documentExecutive summary
View the documentThe war experience
View the documentThe meaning of norms
Open this folder and view contentsAttacking non-combatants
Open this folder and view contentsExplaining the war on civilians
Open this folder and view contentsInternationalization of the war
View the documentAnnex 1: General methodology
View the documentAnnex 2: Questionnaire *

Country methodology

The findings in this report are based on an extensive consultation carried out by the ICRC in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The project was overseen by a multinational research team from Greenberg Research, with the participation of two local partners, Medium and PULS, established research firms in Belgrade and Zagreb. With their help and guidance, ICRC staff and members of the Red Cross organizations in the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Republika Srpska carried out a range of research activities. These were as follows:

· Twelve intensive focus group (FG) discussions were organized in Banja Luka, Mostar and Sarajevo. In each area, ICRC/Red Cross representatives organized the following groups: ex-soldiers, family members of the missing (women), mothers who raised children during the war, and journalists. The participants were recruited from throughout each entity by ICRC staff, based on guidelines provided by Greenberg Research. The local partner research companies, Medium and PULS, recruited the professional moderators, who facilitated the discussions using guidelines prepared by Greenberg Research. The focus group discussions were held in Banja Luka from 8-10 December 1998, in Mostar from 11-13 December, and in Sarajevo on 14 and 15 December.

· Sixty in-depth interviews (IDI) were conducted with a broad range of people who had experienced the war in different roles, including ex-soldiers, family members of missing persons, students, current members of the armed forces, displaced persons, detainees and medical staff. The in-depth interviews took place between early December 1998 and January 1999.

· In addition, ICRC staff and members of the local Red Cross organizations conducted a nationwide quantitative survey of 1,482 respondents, selected using a stratified, multistage cluster sampling method. The sample was stratified to ensure representation (about 500 interviews) from each of the principal conflict-affected geographic areas or ethnic/religious groups. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, that meant 1,482 interviews (approximately 500 from Republika Srpska, and 500 each from the Bosniac and Croat areas of the Federation). The local research companies trained staff and oversaw the administration of the sample design. In this survey, 31 per cent of respondents described themselves as Serbs, 17 per cent as Croats and 43 per cent as Bosniacs or Muslims. Seven per cent described themselves as of “mixed” or “other” origin and 1 per cent did not know or refused to answer the question. The quantitative survey was conducted between 15 February and 5 March 1999.

Percentages reported here are subject to a sampling error of +/- 3.5 percentage points (at a 95 in 100 confidence level). Results in smaller segments, such as the 500 interviews for particular areas, are subject to an error of +/- 6.3 percentage points. 1

1 These estimates are based on population values of 50 per cent. Obviously, many reported percentages are lower or higher than that; higher percentages would have a smaller sampling error. For example, a reported percentage of 90 per cent for the total population would have a sampling error of +/- 2.2 percentage points.

· Greenberg Research commissioned a parallel national quantitative survey of 1,500 respondents earned out by Medium and PULS. The aim of the parallel survey was to assess the quality of the ICRC’s own research and to identify potential areas of bias. While the parallel study points to areas of overstatement or understatement in the responses to key questions on the rules of war, the findings of the two studies are quite similar. These studies provide a unique glimpse into the war experience and attitudes towards the rules of war. 2

2 Where relevant, footnotes will highlight where the parallel research suggests a modification of the assessment offered in the main body of the report.