Although fundamental elements of the Dayton Agreements were proposed as early as 1992 in international talks, these negotiations began after the failure of previous peace efforts and agreements, the Croatian military operation of August 1995 and its aftermath, the military offensive against Republika Srpska, conducted in parallel with NATO`s Operation Deliberate Force. In September and October 1995, the world powers in the contact group (particularly the United States and Russia) pressured the heads of state and government of the three parties to participate in the settlement negotiations; Dayton, Ohio, was eventually chosen as a venue. Prior to the agreement, Bosnian Serbs controlled about 46% of Bosnia and Herzegovina (23,687 km2), Bosnians 28% (14,505 km2) and Bosnian Croats 25% (12,937 km2). The main objective of the agreement is to promote peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to promote regional balance in and around the former Yugoslavia (Article V, Appendix 1-B), i.e. from a regional perspective.  The immediate purpose of the agreement was to freeze military confrontation and prevent its resumption. It was therefore defined as a „construction of necessity.“  The peace conference was chaired by US Secretary of State Warren Christopher and negotiator Richard Holbrooke, with two co-chairs in the form of EU Special Representative Carl Bildt and Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. General Wesley Clark was an important participant in the U.S. delegation.
The director of the British team was Pauline Neville-Jones, political director of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The British military representative was Col Arundell David Leakey. Paul Williams, through the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), served as legal advisor to the Bosnian government delegation during the negotiations. The belligerents approved peace and a single sovereign state known as Bosnia and Herzegovina, consisting of two parts, the Serb-populated Republika Srpska, and mainly the Bosnian Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The agreement has tasked a wide range of international organizations to monitor, monitor and implement elements of the agreement. IFOR, led by NATO, was responsible for implementing the military aspects of the agreement and was deployed on 20 December 1995 under the leadership of UNPROPA forces. The High Representative was responsible for civil implementation. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was tasked with organising the first free elections in 1996.  On 13 February 2008, the head of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eljko Komié, declared that the original Dayton Agreements had been lost from the presidency archives. The High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Miroslav Lajak said: „I don`t know if the news is sad or funny.“  On 16 November 2009, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed over the certified copy of the Dayton Agreements to the French Embassy in Sarajevo.
The copy was then handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The original was found in 2017 in a private residence in Pale, which led to the arrest of one person.  This was one of the first cases in which the Court of Justice had to deal with the question of the legal nature of the Constitution.