A dangerous crisis is brewing in the Balkans. Will the West do anything to stop another war?

A Bosnian Muslim woman cries between graves of her father, two grandfathers and other close relatives, all victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, in July 2020.

(CNN)The Balkan state of Bosnia-Herzegovina is on the verge of what analysts warn is its most serious crisis since the end of the Bosnian war in 1995, in which thousands were killed and horrendous acts of ethnic cleansing were committed.

The international community's High Representative in Bosnia, Christian Schmidt, warned earlier this week that the US-brokered peace agreement signed at the end of the war is at risk of collapsing unless action is taken to stop Serbian separatists from pushing towards secession.
Milorad Dodik, the Serbian leader in Bosnia's three-person presidency, has over time repeatedly threatened to break away from the rest of the country, which has since the war been made up of two autonomous regions linked by a central government. This time, however, he is putting some flesh on the bones by introducing legislation that would divorce Republika Srpska (Serb Republic) from the state's joint institutions like the armed forces and judicial bodies.
    "This is tantamount to secession without proclaiming it," Schmidt told the UN Security Council, which met this week to reauthorize the longstanding mission of the European Union-led peacekeeping force EUFOR.
      In a country where ethnic divisions between Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats led to war crimes being committed in recent history, this level of tension is making observers very nervous.
      "There is no question that this is by far the most dangerous crisis since 1995 and that it could lead to another war," said Ismail Cidic, president of the Bosnian Advocacy Center, an independent NGO that advocates for a free, sovereign, democratic and secular Bosnia-Herzegovina.
      A Bosnian sniper attempts to shoot Serbian snipers in the mountains from his position on the 20th floor of a Sarajevo building during the war in the 1990s.

      Why is it happening now?

        Sectarian tensions between the communities have persisted ever since the end of the war and signing of the US-brokered Dayton agreement.
        The treaty ended the three-and-a-half-year war by dividing the state along ethnic lines, into the Serb Republic and the Federation, which is shared by both Bosniaks and Croats. The two regions are tied together by a three-person presidency, international envoys, and a central government.
        No peace treaty can erase the murder, systemic rape and other horrors people lived through during the war, but one incident lingers in the memory more than others: the Srebrenica massacre that took place between July 11-22, 1995.
        Thousands of Muslim men and boys were murdered by Bosnian Serb forces. Their leaders were later convicted of war crimes and the massacre has been recognized as a genocide by the international community. However, not all Serbs are willing to accept this.
        One such person is Dodik -- who has been particularly irked by the recent introduction of a law by the High Commissioner's office that could hand prison sentences to anyone who denies that genocide was committed.
        Earlier this year, he said of the law: "This is the nail in Bosnia's coffin ... The Republika Srpska has no other option but to start the ... dissolution."
        Newly elected members of the tripartite presidency -- Bosnian Croat member Zeljko Komsic (L), Bosnian Serb member Milorad Dodik (C) and Bosnian Muslim member Sefik Dzaferovic (R) -- attend their inauguration ceremony in Sarajevo in November 2018.