CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Bosnia: Civil Implementation of the
Updated January 12, 1998
(name redacted), Coordinator
Specialist in International Relations
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Bosnia: Civil Implementation of the Peace Agreement
The long and brutal war in Bosnia came to an end in December 1995 with the
signing of the Dayton peace agreement. The agreement paved the way for the
deployment of a 55,000-strong NATO Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia for
one year. While IFOR’s military tasks focused on keeping the peace and providing
for a secure environment, the implementation of many other civil tasks, coupled with
an inflow of humanitarian and reconstruction aid, was seen as essential to building
a lasting peace in Bosnia. NATO deployed a smaller Stabilization Force (SFOR) in
December 1996 in order to continue to provide a stable and secure environment for
ongoing civil peace efforts. SFOR’s mandate will expire in June 1998. NATO is
expected to approve a successor force to SFOR by March 1998, following President
Clinton’s announcement in December 1997 that U.S. will participate in a post-SFOR
military presence in Bosnia. President Clinton stated that the mission of the new
force should be tied to specific benchmarks in the peace implementation process.
Since Dayton, the civilian side of peace implementation has been challenged by
the scope of the tasks, and by the lack of commitment demonstrated by the Bosnian
parties to various aspects of the peace agreement. IFOR and SFOR have focused
primarily on the military tasks of the peace agreements, but have also lent selected
assistance to civilian agencies. Many international organizations have been involved
with assisting with other aspects of the peace agreement. Many countries and
financial and development institutions have provided reconstruction assistance.
Two years of peace implementation have produced many positive results. IFOR
and SFOR have successfully carried out their missions. Agreements on confidencebuilding measures and arms control were concluded and implemented. National and
local elections were conducted peacefully and joint political institutions were created.
Economic indicators have improved, especially in the Federation. On the negative
side, ethnic divisions between the three Bosnian communities have not been
overcome. All parties have resisted the resettlement of displaced persons and
refugees and freedom of movement across entity lines. Numerous human rights
violations persist. Nationalist parties won dominant shares in the elections and some
politicians have continued to advocate ethnic separation. Over fifty indicted war
criminals have remained at large, most notably the former Bosnian Serb leaders
Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic.
The international community and the Bosnian authorities have identified
numerous priority areas, such as: building functioning governmental structures,
furthering democratization and the protection of human rights, reforming the police,
encouraging economic growth, and fostering the return of refugees. The obligation
to turn over indicted war criminals remains a key priority. Overall, many
international policymakers have determined that the progress made in Bosnia after
two years is still not irreversible, and not at a point where peace in Bosnia is selfsustaining. This premise forms the basic justification for some form of continued
international military force to remain in Bosnia in order to provide a secure
environment for continued peace consolidation efforts.
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
International Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
London Peace Implementation Conference, December 1995
Florence Mid-term Review Conference, June 1996
Civilian Consolidation Plan And Second London Peace Implementation
Conference, November-December 1996 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Sintra Review Conference, May 1997 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Bonn Peace Implementation Conference, December 1997 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Status of Selected Implementation Provisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Formation of Governmental Institutions
The Federation and Croat-Bosniak Relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Mostar and Sarajevo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Forming a Unified Federation Army and Police Force . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
The Republika Srpska . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Status of the Brcko Region . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Arms Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
OSCE Role . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Confidence-building Measures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
OSCE and ICRC Roles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
National and Entity Elections, September 1996 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Municipal Elections, September 1997 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
RS Special Elections, November 1997 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Civil Police Task Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
U.N. Role . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Refugees and Displaced Persons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Human Rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Human Rights Commission and Other International Agencies’ Roles
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Outlook Through June 1998 and Beyond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Bosnia: Civil Implementation of the Peace
Prepared by (name redacted), Specialist in International Relations.
The Dayton peace agreement signed in Paris on December 14, 1995, brought an
end to the long and brutal war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.2 Agreement was reached
on a substantial package of documents that comprised a general framework
agreement and 11 annexes. The agreement paved the way for the deployment of a
NATO Implementation Force (IFOR) of about 55,000 multinational troops in Bosnia
under a one-year mandate. IFOR’s mission was limited to military tasks, such as
enforcing the cease-fire and a zone of separation between forces, outlined in Annex
1A of the peace agreement. IFOR was to provide a secure environment to allow
peace to take hold in Bosnia, but its deployment was not intended to serve as an end
in itself. Rather, implementation of the vast array of civil tasks outlined in the peace
agreement, coupled with an inflow of reconstruction aid to redress the physical
consequences of four years of war, were regarded as essential to securing long-term
peace in the Balkans. Less than satisfactory progress in civil implementation by the
end of 1996 provided the justification for a follow-on NATO Stabilization Force
(SFOR), smaller in size than IFOR and under an eighteen-month mandate, to
continue to provide a secure environment in Bosnia.3 A similar justification is
expected to be invoked for a successor force for SFOR after June 1998. NATO will
be deciding among various options for a successor force in early 1998.4
Since Dayton, implementation of the civilian aspects of the peace agreement has
been challenging for several reasons. First, the sheer size and scope of the many
important tasks to be implemented was daunting. The tasks included negotiating
arms stabilization and confidence-building measures, managing the return of
displaced persons and refugees, holding free elections, establishing new
governmental institutions, and securing observance of human rights, among others.
Meanwhile, NATO troops have contributed to a secure environment for these tasks
to progress, but have not been directly responsible for their implementation.
Although NATO has been adverse to any broadening of its mission, it has
acknowledged that military and civilian implementation plans must complement each
other. Both IFOR and SFOR have lent selective support to civilian agencies.
Second, full implementation of the civilian tasks was always expected to take
longer than any particular deadline set for both IFOR and SFOR. While the peace
agreement set some ambitious deadlines on certain civilian tasks, a complete
restoration of civil conditions and the construction of durable governing structures
could only begin during the first two years after Dayton. In November and December
1996, the international community endorsed a civilian consolidation program in
Bosnia for the next two year period. U.S. policymakers have emphasized that the
mandate for any military force that succeeds SFOR after June 1998 will not be tied
to a set deadline, as IFOR and SFOR were. Rather, it is to be linked with established
benchmarks that would measure progress in establishing a self-sustaining peace. The
The state is referred to as “Bosnia and Herzegovina” in the peace agreement.
For further information on SFOR, see U.S. Library of Congress. Congressional Research
Service. Bosnia Stabilization Force (SFOR) and U.S. Policy, by Steven Bowman, (name redacted),
and (name redacted). CRS Report 97-475F. April 17, 1997.
See U.S. Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Bosnia Options After June
1998: Summary of a CRS/GAO Seminar, by (name redacted). CRS Report 98-23F. December 23,
exact date by which the entire peace process can be declared complete cannot be
The international apparatus that was constructed to oversee civil implementation
presented another challenge. Unlike IFOR and SFOR, the civilian side of
implementation enjoys no unified “command and control” apparatus. Dozens of
countries and numerous international organizations and agencies are involved with
civil implementation. Their efforts are linked by an ad hoc coordinating structure,
the Peace Implementation Council, and its steering group, which provide political
guidance for continued progress in the peace process. The High Representative
(formerly Carl Bildt and now Carlos Westendorp) coordinates the activities of the
international organizations and agencies.
Moreover, while international organizations have consistently assisted with
many civil tasks, primary responsibility for implementation and compliance has
rested with the Balkan parties. This fact has been repeatedly invoked by international
officials. Top U.S. and other officials have led numerous missions to the region to
repeat their insistence to the Bosnian parties on full compliance with various terms
of the peace agreement. Numerous implementation conferences have produced
statements recommitting the Balkan parties to implementation of the peace
agreement. In general, however, constructive and consistent political will on the part
of the Bosnian parties to implement all aspects of the peace agreement has been
lacking, reflecting the staying power of the parties’ different strategic objectives. The
Bosnian Serbs in particular have blocked most minority refugee returns to the
Republika Srpska, and have refused to turn in indicted war criminals to the war
crimes tribunal. Most observers believe that the continued presence and influence
of war criminals severely undermines peace consolidation and reconciliation
The international community has very few “enforcement” mechanisms at its
disposal to encourage or compel compliance with the peace agreement outside of
NATO’s mandate on military matters. The lifting of economic sanctions in October
1996 removed a major lever of influence on the Bosnian Serbs and SerbiaMontenegro. At the December 1996 London conference, the international
community, in an attempt to wield greater influence on the Balkan parties,
conditioned international reconstruction assistance on demonstrations by the Bosnian
authorities of compliance with and commitments to the peace agreement. Economic
conditionality was further emphasized at the May 1997 meeting in Sintra, Portugal.
At the December 1997 Bonn conference, the powers of the High Representative were
enhanced to enable him to impose binding solutions on the Bosnian parties in order
to break through ongoing stalemates.
Alongside the implementation of civilian tasks, economic recovery and
development are viewed as essential to chances for lasting peace in Bosnia and
For detailed information on the war crimes tribunal and status of war criminals, see U.S.
Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Bosnia War Crimes: the International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and U.S. Policy, by (name redacted)
Raphael Perl, and (name redacted). CRS Report 96-404F. Updated October 31, 1997.
Herzegovina. Reconstruction aid provided by the international community plays a
critical role in securing and implementing the overall peace. Pledging and disbursing
reconstruction funds has been slow, however. A major donors’ conference was held
on April 12-13, 1996, in Brussels. The conference met 1996 goals for the Priority
Reconstruction Program that outlined over $5 billion in emergency reconstruction
needs over the next three-four years. A pledging conference for 1997 was repeatedly
postponed because of delays in getting essential economic legislation passed by the
Bosnian government. The donors’ conference was finally held on July 23-24, 1997.
$1.24 billion was raised in pledges, of which $1.1 billion was committed to the
Priority Reconstruction Program. The conference emphasized political conditionality
to the disbursement of reconstruction aid.
This report provides a status report on the international framework for peace
implementation and on selected civil aspects of the peace agreement: the formation
of governmental institutions, arms control and confidence-building measures,
elections and election results, civil police, refugees and displaced persons, and human
In contrast to the NATO peace forces in Bosnia, the international effort to assist
with civilian tasks had no prior preparation or organizational resources. Rather, it
has been managed by an ad hoc institutional structure spanning dozens of countries
and international organizations. International leaders have repeatedly emphasized
that progress in implementation largely rests with the Bosnian parties themselves, but
with the assistance of the international community.
The peace agreement established the post of High Representative (Annex 10)
to facilitate the efforts of the parties and to mobilize and coordinate activities of
international organizations involved in implementing civilian aspects of the peace
agreement. The High Representative is considered to be the final authority regarding
interpretation of the agreement on civilian implementation. He has no command
authority over NATO forces. Appointed in December 1995, Carl Bildt of Sweden
served as High Representative until June 1997. As the Bosnia peace process slowly
progressed, Bildt acknowledged that the trend toward ethnic separation persisted, but
urged that international attention and commitment to the Dayton goals continue
beyond arbitrarily-set deadlines. He predicted that the overall peace process may
take “years, if not decades or generations,” and called for a strategic concept to
remove both the military option and the secession option from the still-distrustful
Bosnian parties.8 Bildt was replaced as High Representative by Carlos Westendorp,
of Spain, on June 20, 1997. Jacques Klein of the United States, formerly U.N.
Administrator in Eastern Slavonia, and Gerd Wagner of Germany were later
appointed co-deputies to the High Representative. Hanns Schumacher of Germany
See relevant cited CRS Reports for more detailed information on the subjects of war
crimes, SFOR, and reconstruction assistance.
Prepared by (name redacted).
Remarks to the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., May 1, 1997.
replaced Wagner after his untimely death, with eleven other passengers, in a
helicopter crash on September 17, 1997.
At regular intervals, the international community has convened ministerial
meetings and summits to review and guide the Bosnia peace process. In addition to
such large-scale conferences, the United States and other countries have held
impromptu summit meetings with the Balkan presidents to press for progress in
peace implementation and compliance with various commitments.
“implementation summits” have intended to focus attention on particular current
problems relating to the peace process. Some of the conferences and meetings have
established various deadlines for compliance in specific areas of civil
implementation. Beginning in December 1997, the High Representative can impose
binding arbitration on the parties when they fail to meet deadlines established by the
international community or the Office of the High Representative.
London Peace Implementation Conference, December 1995
Following conclusion of the peace agreement at Dayton, on November 21, 1995,
representatives of over fifty countries and international organizations met at a Peace
Implementation Conference in London, on December 8-9, 1995. The conference was
meant to mobilize the international community behind the goal of a durable peace in
Bosnia and Herzegovina and in support of the peace agreement. Conference
participants reached agreement on a number of conclusions. The London conference
approved the appointment of Carl Bildt, the European Union mediator for the former
Yugoslavia, as High Representative.
The London conference set forth new structures to manage civil peace
implementation. A Peace Implementation Council (PIC) composed of all of the
states and organizations represented at the London conference was established, taking
the place of the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia, which had been
jointly sponsored by the United Nations and the European Union. A Steering Board
of the PIC was established. The board’s members — representatives from Canada,
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the
United States, the European Union, the European Commission, and the Organization
of the Islamic Conference — have provided political guidance to the High
Representative on peace implementation, convening about once a month. The
international “contact group” (France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and
the United States) on the former Yugoslavia, which led international diplomatic
efforts on Bosnia in 1994-1995, also continues to meet on Bosnia peace
Other major international conferences launched in December 1995 were the
Brussels conference on short-term financial assistance (December 20-21) and the
Budapest ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE, December 7-8). In Brussels, donor countries pledged over $600
million for immediate humanitarian and refugee assistance needs; this meeting was
followed up in April 1996 by a major pledging conference among donor countries
that raised $1.2 billion for the rest of 1996. At the Budapest OSCE meeting, OSCE
members accepted the various mandates requested of the organization in the peace
agreement. They established an OSCE mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina
responsible for implementing OSCE tasks such as arms control and confidencebuilding negotiations, elections, and human rights. Robert Frowick of the United
States was named head of the OSCE mission. In December 1996, OSCE extended
its mandate in Bosnia for a second year. Frowick to be replaced in January 1998 as
head of the OSCE mission in Bosnia.
Florence Mid-term Review Conference, June 1996
Foreign ministers from over 40 countries comprising the Peace Implementation
Council (PIC) met in Florence on June 13-14, 1996. The meeting was intended to
review progress after six months in meeting the terms of the Bosnia peace agreement.
Much of the focus of the conference was on prospects for holding elections on
schedule and on the problem posed by the continued leadership of indicted war
criminal Radovan Karadzic. Antonio Cassese, president of the war crimes tribunal
at the Hague, called for the arrest and extradition of indicted war criminals as a
precondition for elections. Cassese repeated his recommendation that economic
sanctions be applied to enforce compliance with the tribunal.
The Florence conference concluded that cooperation with the war crimes
tribunal, a requirement under the peace agreement, remained substantially unfulfilled.
It specified that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic should no longer hold a
position of leadership in the Republika Srpska. Conference participants, however,
did not agree to call for a re-imposition of sanctions against violators, but rather
referred to sanctions as a measure of last resort. Finally, the Florence conference
recommended to the OSCE that elections in Bosnia should take place on schedule on
Civilian Consolidation Plan And Second London
Implementation Conference, November-December 1996
Prior to the second full meeting of the PIC in December 1996, the PIC Steering
Board convened a meeting with the newly-elected Bosnian presidency and other
Balkan ministers on November 14, 1996, in Paris. The meeting produced a set of
guiding principles for civilian consolidation of the peace process over the next two
The civilian consolidation plan identified thirteen priorities for the two year
period: implementing regional stabilization agreements; creating a secure
environment and re-establishing law and order; ensuring respect of human rights;
building and promoting democracy, including an independent media; conducting
municipal elections in 1997 and general elections in 1998; increasing freedom of
movement; facilitating the return or resettlement of refugees and displaced persons;
fully cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal; facilitating reconstruction
and other economic assistance; creating conditions for a market economy; promoting
long-term reconciliation; re-establishing educational systems; and making further
progress in removing mines in Bosnia. The two-year period was divided into two
“action plans” of twelve months each, with mid-term reviews.
The PIC meeting in London on December 4-5, 1996, lauded the progress made
during the first year, especially the ongoing cessation of hostilities, the holding of
elections, the establishment of common institutions, and the start of reconstruction.
It noted, however, still little progress in refugee returns, observance of human rights,
and freedom of movement, among other areas. The PIC endorsed the two-year
civilian consolidation plan and outlined a specific action plan for 1997.
The PIC noted again that the task of consolidating peace was primarily the
responsibility of the Bosnian authorities. The conference stated that the international
community’s willingness to expend human and financial resources would be
conditional on the commitment of the Bosnian parties to implementation of the peace
Sintra Review Conference, May 1997
Foreign Ministers representing the Steering Board of the PIC met in Sintra,
Portugal, on May 30, 1997, to review peace implementation in Bosnia. The ministers
concluded that all of the authorities in Bosnia were failing to live up fully to their
obligations under the peace agreement, and that this was “unacceptable.” They
demanded a “significant acceleration” in implementation in numerous specific areas,
such as the development of governmental institutions and the ability of refugees to
return to their homes.9 For the former, numerous deadlines were established for
policy decisions to be made by the common Bosnian governmental institutions. The
High Representative was charged with establishing further deadlines for decisions
that remained outstanding.
At Sintra, the ministers re-emphasized the conditionality of international
assistance on the parties’ compliance with and implementation of the peace
agreement. In particular, assistance for housing and infrastructure was to be
dependent on the acceptance of return. Moreover, aid priority was to be given to
municipalities receptive to the return of ethnic minorities.10 The Sintra meeting also
appointed Carlos Westendorp to replace Carl Bildt as High Representative.
Prior to the Sintra meeting, the U.S. Administration announced a renewed effort
to accelerate progress in peace implementation in Bosnia. The top priorities for this
new push included bringing war criminals to justice, developing self-sustaining
democratic institutions, promoting the safe return of refugees, enhancing public
security, and establishing a military balance.11 The U.S. initiative did not address
plans for possibly maintaining an international security presence in Bosnia after
SFOR. In early April 1997, the State Department appointed Ambassador Robert
Gelbard to be Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State for the
Communique, Declaration from the Ministerial Meeting of the Steering Board of the PIC,
Sintra, May 30, 1997.
Ibid., paragraph 46.
“U.S. to accelerate efforts to implement Dayton Peace Accords,” USIS Washington File,
May 22, 1997.
Bonn Peace Implementation Conference, December 1997
The Peace Implementation Council met in Bonn on December 9-10, 1997, to
review progress in implementing the peace agreement. At Bonn, the Council noted
progress in the following areas: municipal elections in September and early elections
in the RS in November; arms control measures, police reform and restructuring;
some progress in minority returns; economic revival in the Federation; the
development of independent media; and the rise in the number of indicted war
criminals in custody at the Hague. The Bonn meeting also specified areas where
more progress was needed, especially in governmental structures, the protection of
human rights, and refugee returns.
The Bonn conference enhanced the existing authority of the High
Representative. It welcomed the High Representative’s intention to make binding
decisions, when necessary on certain issues. In a speech before the PIC, High
Representative Carlos Westendorp stated that his ability to execute decisions would
“break the log-jam” in areas where other approaches have failed. The initiative to
strengthen the Office of the High Representative received strong backing from the
United States, among others. The High Representative is now able to adopt interim
measures to take effect when the Bosnian parties are unable to reach agreement. He
is also able to make binding decisions on “other measures to ensure implementation
of the peace agreement...as well as the smooth running of the common institutions.”
Such measures may include actions, including the dismissal from office, against
persons in violation of their commitments under the peace agreement.
The Bonn conference established numerous additional deadlines for specified
implementation measures. It invited the High Representative to take appropriate
measures in case of non-compliance. In December, High Representative Westendorp
utilized his enhanced authority by imposing interim laws on citizenship, customs
tariffs, and landmines. These laws are to remain valid until the central Bosnian
political leaders can come to agreement on final laws.
Status of Selected Implementation Provisions
Formation of Governmental Institutions12
The Dayton peace agreement affirmed the continued existence of the state of
Bosnia and Herzegovina. The state consists of two Entities, the Federation of Bosnia
and Herzegovina (largely inhabited by Croats and Bosniaks) and the Republika
Srpska (RS-the Bosnian Serb Republic). The central Bosnian government has very
limited powers, as specified in the new Bosnian constitution, which forms part of the
peace agreement. All other powers are held by the two Entities. The Entities are
Prepared by (name redacted), Specialist in European Affairs.
entitled to establish “special parallel relationships” with neighboring states (i.e.,
Croatia and Serbia-Montenegro).
The Bosnian Constitution called for the establishment of six main central
governmental institutions: the Presidency, the Council of Ministers; the
Parliamentary Assembly; the Constitutional Court; the Central Bank and the Standing
Committee on Military Matters. The first step to form new Bosnian central
government institutions after the September 14, 1996 elections was taken with the
first meeting of the three-person Bosnian collective Presidency on September 30,
1996 in Sarajevo. The Presidency’s three members are Bosniak Alija Izetbegovic
(who is chairman of the Presidency), Serb Momcilo Krajisnik and Croat Kresimir
Zubak. The Presidency approved the membership of the country’s new central bank
on October 29, 1996. The bank is charged with setting Bosnia’s monetary policy.
The formation of the Council of Ministers for the central government was
repeatedly delayed due to disputes over issues such as who would chair the body,
who would be appointed as ministers and where the government would meet. After
three months of deadlock (due in large part to Bosnian Serb obstruction), the 42member Bosnian House of Representatives met for its first working session on
January 3, 1997, and approved a Bosnian central government. The new government
is led by two co-chairmen. Bosniak Haris Silajdzic and Serb Boro Bosic alternate on
a weekly basis in chairing the government. Croat Neven Tomic is the vice chairman
of the government. The government has only three ministries. The Minister of
Foreign Trade and Economy is Bosniak Mirsad Kurtovic. The Bosnian Foreign
Minister is Croat Jadranko Prlic. The Minister of Civil Affairs and Communications
is Serb Spasoje Albijanic. Each minister has two deputies representing the other two
ethnic groups. The other house of the Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly, the 15person House of Peoples, met for the first time on January 3, 1997.
In October 1996, the European Court of Human Rights nominated three judges
as the international members of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Constitutional Court. The
House of Representatives of the Federation elected two Bosniak judges to the Court
on January 24, 1997 and two Croat judges on March 18. The judges from Republika
Srpska were appointed by the National Assembly of Republika Srpska on March 16.
The first working session of the Court, devoted to organizational issues, was held on
May 23, 1997.
On June 1, 1997, the Standing Committee on Military Matters was formed. The
committee is charged with coordinating the activities of the two entities. It consists
of the three Presidency members, the defense ministers of the entities, the
commanders of the armed forces of the entities, and a representative of the Bosnian
foreign ministry. The establishment of the committee completed the setting up of the
key governmental institutions called for in the peace agreement.
The protracted delays in forming these common institutions have been followed
by even more glacial progress in taking concrete action. Wrangling over a package
of critical economic legislation submitted by the Office of the High Representative
(the “Quick Start Package”) continued for months. The package (including laws on
the central bank, foreign debt, foreign trade, customs policy and tariffs, a Law on
Immunity, and a Law on the Budget and Budget Execution) was only approved by
the Parliamentary Assembly on June 20, 1997 after warnings by the international
community that a Bosnia aid conference could not go forward without passage of the
legislative package. Action on other critical legislation continued to be stymied,
Frustrated at the deadlock, the High Representative, with the backing of the
Peace Implementation Council, said at the December 1997 Bonn peace
implementation conference that he would exercise his authority to set the timing,
location and chairmanship of meetings of the common institutions; to impose interim
measures on the parties until they reach agreement on an issue; and remove from
office officials who are absent from meetings of the central institutions without good
cause or who are in violation of legal commitments made under the Peace Agreement
or the terms for its implementation. The warning appeared to be aimed at Bosnian
Serb officials, who have obstructed the central government's work. On December 16,
1997, the High Representative imposed an interim law on citizenship. On December
24, the High Representative imposed three more laws: a customs tariff schedule and
two laws on land mines. It is unclear how interim laws will be implemented if a side
refuses to abide by the High Representative's decision.
The Federation and Croat-Bosniak Relations. The Federation was established
in March 1994 with the mediation of the United States, but continuing Bosniak-Croat
tensions stymied efforts to fully implement it. One stumbling block has been the
desire of Croat nationalists, particularly in western Herzegovina, to unite with Croatia
rather than form a federation within Bosnia with the Bosniaks (Muslims).13 Under
U.S. pressure, Bosnian Croats agreed to dissolve their Herceg-Bosnia para-state and
merge its functions into the Federation by August 31, 1996. Little discernable
progress toward this goal was achieved until December 19, 1996, when Bosnian
Croat leader Kresimir Zubak announced that Herceg-Bosnia had been abolished, that
its government and ministries had stopped functioning, and that power had been
transferred to Federation institutions. Despite this announcement, Herceg-Bosnia
institutions (as well as institutions of the wartime Bosniak government) continue to
function. An October 1997 report by EU investigators charged that both Bosniak and
Croat officials have diverted Federation revenues to finance these institutions. At its
December 1997 meeting in Bonn, the Peace Implementation Council (PIC),
demanded their elimination.
On September 14, 1996, voters in the Federation elected a new parliament and
new canton legislatures. The newly-elected Federation parliament held its first
session on November 6, and approved a federation flag, coat-of-arms and seal. The
parliament also chose the Federation members to the Bosnia-Herzegovina House of
Peoples. On December 18, 1996, the Federation parliament’s House of
Representatives approved a new post-election 14-minister Federation government.
Bosniak Edhem Bicakcic was elected as Federation Prime Minister. Croat Drago
Bilandzija was elected as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister. Croat Ante
Jelavic was elected as Federation Defense Minister. Bosniak Mehmed Zilic was
For background information on the Federation, see Congressional Research Service.
Bosnia Muslim-Croat Federation: Key to Peace in Bosnia?, by (name redacted). CRS Report
96-526F. June 7, 1996.
chosen as Interior Minister. Each minister has a deputy from the other ethnic group.
A key aspect of setting up Federation government structures is the establishment
of canton and municipal governments. Under the Federation constitution, the
cantons have their own constitutions, legislatures, governments and courts, as well
as wide-ranging powers in police matters, education, housing and other areas.
During the September 14, 1996 elections, voters chose new cantonal assemblies.
Formation of canton constitutions and governments, as well as determining cantonal
and municipal boundaries, has been a difficult process, particularly in two formerly
ethnically mixed areas where the Croat-Bosniak conflict was especially bitter, in
Central Bosnia canton and Neretva (central Herzegovina) canton. Similar difficulties
have occurred in forming municipal governments in some areas after the September
13-14, 1997 municipal elections.
Mostar and Sarajevo. A particularly contentious issue has been the
reunification of Mostar. This city, the second-largest in the Federation, has been
divided since brutal Croat-Bosniak fighting and ethnic cleansing in 1993-1994
created a purely Croat western Mostar and a crowded, impoverished, Bosniak eastern
Mostar. Croat leaders in Mostar have strongly resisted past U.S. and international
efforts to reunite the city. The European Union administered the city beginning in
1994. Efforts focused on freedom of movement between Croat and Bosniak areas,
the establishment of a unified police force, a crackdown on organized crime (rampant
in west Mostar and reportedly linked with local government officials), and the return
of refugees to their homes. However, few of these objectives were achieved (with
the exception of token joint police patrols), due mainly to the intransigence of
Mostar’s Croat leaders, many of whom view the Federation with deep suspicion.
European Union-monitored local elections for Mostar took place on June 30,
1996 without incident, a positive sign. However, the big winners were the main
Croatian and Bosniak nationalist parties, while non-nationalist groups did poorly.
The Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (SDA) won a slight majority over the
Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), due to large Bosniak majorities from polling
places set up in Western Europe for refugees. The HDZ refused to recognize the
final results of the vote, complaining of irregularities. After intense U.S. and
European Union pressure, the HDZ reversed its position. The city council met and
elected Croat Ivan Prskalo as mayor and Bosniak Safet Orucevic as deputy mayor on
August 14. On December 31, 1996, the European Union’s mandate to administer
Mostar expired. The city is now administered by still bitterly divided local
authorities, with the assistance of a local office of the High Representative. New
local elections were held in Mostar on September 13-14, 1997. Another threatened
HDZ boycott was avoided after a last-minute change of the election rules.
There has also been controversy over the Federation’s largest city, Sarajevo. In
March 1996, Bosnian Croat leaders protested against the formation of a cantonal
government for Sarajevo composed largely of Bosniaks, which they viewed as
ignoring Croat interests. The two sides subsequently agreed to jointly work out a
complex, multi-layered administration for Sarajevo, including canton, city and
district governments. However, talks over the next year moved very slowly. On
October 25, 1996, the sides agreed on a Protocol on the Organization of Sarajevo.
On March 27, 1997, leaders of the parties represented in the Sarajevo Canton
Assembly signed an agreement on establishing a City Council, electing a mayor of
Sarajevo and his Deputies, and to amend the Federation and canton constitutions.
However, the city council of Sarajevo was not established, and the Bonn peace
implementation conference called for the council to be established by December 31,
Forming a Unified Federation Army and Police Force. Creating a joint
Federation army from the Bosniak-dominated ARBiH and the Bosnian Croat HVO
has been one of the most difficult issues in integrating the Federation. Mistrust
between the two armies still lingers from the war they fought against each other just
over two years ago. The ARBiH wants the Federation Army to be as integrated as
possible at the lowest levels, while the HVO wants to keep its army intact, under a
nominal joint Federal high command. After months of pressure from the United
States, the Federation parliament passed a Defense Law on July 9, 1996 that
established a Ministry of Defense and a joint command structure. Slow
implementation of the law prompted further U.S. pressure, and Bosniak and Croat
leaders agreed on October 2, 1996 to establish a joint command for the federal
army. On January 29, 1997, the two sides announced an agreement on the
organization of the Federation Ministry of Defense and the Joint Command.
Both sides also have also agreed to build common police forces. Earlier
discussions on this issue had been stymied by issues as trivial as the color of the
uniforms to be worn by the police officers. The formation of ethnically balanced
cantonal police forces have encountered particular difficulties have occurred in the
Neretva and Central Bosnia cantons, and in Sarajevo and Mostar.
The Republika Srpska. The Republika Srpska, the other entity within BosniaHerzegovina, moved more rapidly to set up its structures and start legislative work
after the election, largely because the government and parliament are dominated by
the nationalist Serbian Democratic Party (SDS). Bosniak members of the RS
National Assembly (elected by refugees from the RS living on Federation territory)
participate in the work of the National Assembly, despite having refused to take an
oath of office that would have required them to pledge loyalty to Christianity and kiss
High Representative Carl Bildt expressed concern in a April 1997 report to the
U.N. Security Council that many Republika Srpska laws and institutions continue to
refer to RS statehood, and assert some control over issues such as foreign affairs,
foreign economic policy and foreign exchange that are in the jurisdiction of the
Bosnian central government, according to the peace agreement. Bildt also criticized
the February 28, 1997 agreement between the RS and the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia and Republika Srpska on establishing a “special parallel relationship,”
charging that provisions on setting up a customs union between the RS and FRY
were contrary to the peace agreement, and that the agreement must be reviewed by
the Bosnia-Herzegovina Parliamentary Assembly and brought into line with the
Bosnia Constitution. In addition, Bildt noted that the fact that the agreement was
signed not by RS President Biljana Plavsic, but by Momcilo Krajisnik, the RS
member of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was a violation of the RS
A constitutional crisis emerged within the Republika Srpska in June 1997 during
a power struggle between RS President Plavsic and fellow SDS members who
support ousted SDS leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Plavsic
attempted to fire RS Interior Minister Dragan Kijac for obstructing an investigation
into two Bosnian Serb companies associated with Karadzic and Krajisnik, who
Plavsic charges have been engaged in massive corruption. Plavsic also charged that
Karadzic continues to control the SDS, the government and police from behind the
scenes. Plavsic ordered the dissolution of the RS National Assembly on July 3 and
new elections. The RS government, led by Karadzic supporter Premier Gojko
Klickovic, canceled Plavsic’s decree, in violation of the RS Constitution.
New elections for the RS parliament were held on November 22-23, 1997.
Neither the SDS and its hard-line ally the Radical Party, nor Plavsic's supporters were
able to win a majority in the sharply divided parliament, which held its inaugural
session on December 27, 1997. President Plavsic has proposed a non-party RS
government of experts, but the hardliners have expressed opposition to the idea.
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones. The main central and
entity governmental institutions have been formed, after long delays. Problems
continue to exist in disputed cantons and municipalities within the Federation. While
some progress has been made in formally creating new institutions, it should be
stressed that they are very far from functioning effectively. Central government
institutions have been stymied by the refusal of Bosnian Serb representatives to
attend meetings of the presidency, government and parliament. The passage and
implementation of key legislation needed to integrate Bosnia and revive its economy
continues to lag. Central government ministries and the Constitutional Court have
not been properly financed and staffed.
Status of the Brcko Region
At the Dayton peace talks, perhaps the most intractable issue was the status of
the strategic Brcko region in northeast Bosnia, which forms a key corridor between
Serb-held regions in western Bosnia and Serbia. The peace agreement did not
resolve the issue, but called for binding international arbitration by December 14,
1996 to determine who would control the region, held at that time by the Bosnian
Serbs. The three-member arbitral tribunal would include one member from the
Federation, one member from the Republika Srpska and one member chosen by the
President of the International Court of Justice, who would serve as presiding officer.
U.S. mediator Roberts Owen was chosen for this post. On December 8, 1996, the
arbitral tribunal postponed its decision for another two months.
Faced with the irreconcilable positions of the two sides, who threatened to go
to war over the issue, Roberts Owen announced on February 14, 1997 that a final
decision on the status of Brcko would be postponed until March 15, 1998. Until
then, a Deputy High Representative for Brcko would supervise the implementation
of the peace accord in the region, with the authority to issue binding orders to local
authorities that would supersede local laws, if necessary. Implementation tasks
include ensuring freedom of movement, the return of refugees, preparing the way for
free and fair local elections in September 1997, and promoting economic recovery
in the region. An expanded international police presence in the region is aimed at
easing the process. At a Brcko implementation conference on March 7, 1997, High
Representative Carl Bildt appointed U.S. diplomat William Farrand as the Brcko
supervisor. On March 31, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1103,
increasing International Police Task Force (ITPF) strength by 186 police and 11
civilian personnel for deployment to Brcko. The Brcko’s supervisor’s office was
opened on April 11, 1997. Municipal elections were held in Brcko on September 1314, 1997, without major incidents. On December 31, 1997, a 230-man, multi-ethnic
Brcko police force began operations and Farrand appointed judges for Brcko's multiethnic judiciary. On January 5, 1998, a multi-ethnic Brcko government held its first
Annex 1-B of the Dayton peace agreement covered so-called “regional
stabilization” efforts, referring to arms control at regional and sub-regional (within
former Yugoslavia) levels and confidence-building measures (see following section).
The purpose of the arms control negotiations was for the parties to achieve balanced
and stable force levels at the lowest possible numbers.
Arms stabilization measures were launched in mid-December 1995 with a
conference in Bonn, Germany. The Balkan parties agreed to engage in separate
negotiations on sub-regional arms control (“Article IV”) and on confidence-building
measures (“Article II”). Negotiations on regional (involving the former Yugoslavia
and neighboring countries) arms control (“Article V”) were to be undertaken under
the auspices of the OSCE’s Forum for Security Cooperation.
The objective of the sub-regional level of negotiations was to establish a regime
of limits on military equipment in the categories laid out in the 1990 Treaty on
Conventional Forces in Europe (“CFE treaty”). The parties and OSCE were given
180 days to conclude negotiations. The annex did not specify any enforcement
mechanisms for compliance with the future accord. Were talks to break down or fail
to conclude by 180 days (June 11, 1996), the annex provided a fail-safe formula on
armaments limits along a 5:2:2 ratio: the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia would be
limited to 75 percent of a predetermined baseline of collective arms holdings; Croatia
would be limited to 30 percent; and Bosnia and Herzegovina 30 percent. Within
Bosnia, the ratio of holdings between the Federation and Bosnian Serb Republic
would be two to one.
Negotiations in Vienna got off to a rocky start in early January 1996. First, the
talks were delayed one day over a dispute over the use of the term “Republika
Srpska” at the talks, and compromise arrangements on terminology had to be made.15
Further progress became stalled after the Yugoslav delegation did not provide OSCE
Prepared by (name redacted).
The agreed designations were “parties to the Dayton agreement Annex 1B, Article 4.”
Reuters, January 5, 1996. The parties represented: Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation
of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republika Srpska, the Republic of Croatia, and the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia.
with information on its holdings of heavy armaments by the 30-day, or January 13,
deadline. Yugoslav authorities insisted that technical difficulties, not a lack of
political will, prevented them from meeting the deadline. Talks briefly adjourned,
while Yugoslavia was given more time to turn in its data lists to negotiations
chairman General Vigleik Eide, but resumed on January 23. In February, however,
the Bosnian Serbs suspended all contacts with the Bosnian government in protest of
the capture of a few top Bosnian Serb military leaders (two of whom were eventually
brought to the Hague tribunal). The Bosnian Serbs briefly boycotted further
stabilization talks in Vienna. Bosnian Serb leaders have repeatedly expressed
dissatisfaction with the default disarmament terms within Bosnia (2:1 between the
Federation and Bosnian Serb republic) outlined in the peace agreement.
OSCE negotiators aimed to have an agreement initialed on June 6 and signed
on June 11. The basic principles for arms limitations were agreed to on June 6.
However, last minute disputes broke out over the political status of the Republika
Srpska; this time it was over whether the RS should be considered an equal party to
the agreement or an “entity” subordinated to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as demanded
by the Bosnian government. The Bosnian Federation also disputed the weapons
stocks that were reported by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Finally, the accord on sub-regional arms control was signed on June 14 at the
Florence Peace Implementation Council review meeting. The agreement set ceilings
on five categories of armaments (tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, combat
aircraft, and attack helicopters) along the same ratio as in the Dayton agreement (see
table, below). The agreement did not apply to small arms or military equipment
components. The terms of the accord were to be implemented in phases and
completed within 16 months from July 1, 1996 (November 1997). Notwithstanding
the agreement, implementation of the build-down and verification mechanisms will
ultimately determine the success of the accord. The accord named the parties to be
responsible for verification, with the assistance of the High Representative.
Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control*
* Article IV, Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control, June 14, 1996.
Implementation of the terms of the regional arms control accord began slowly.
Numerous inspections were carried out, in accordance with the agreement, to verify
compliance. In October 1996, the United States charged that the Bosnian Serb armed
forces were under-reporting their equipment holdings “to an egregious degree” and
were thus not meeting their treaty commitments.16 The Bosnian Serbs were allegedly
underreporting their holdings and attempting to retain their heavy weapons by
exploiting accounting rules in the arms control agreement. Firm accounting of
equipment holdings remains a difficult task. Estimates on the actual holdings of
Bosnian Serb artillery pieces, for example, vary significantly.17 In April 1997, High
Representative Bildt noted that equipment reporting needed improvement, and that
Federation authorities still needed to determine allocations within the Federation.
NATO forces have seized and destroyed unauthorized weapons found in Bosnia. In
November, the OSCE determined that the former Yugoslav parties had fully
complied with their treaty obligations.
Prior to Dayton, many observers of the Bosnia conflict believed that the arms
imbalance favoring the Bosnian Serbs, coupled with the U.N. arms embargo holding
the imbalance in place, were major contributing factors to the outbreak and duration
of the war. A Clinton Administration priority, shared by many in Congress, has been
to promote an equilibrium of forces on the ground via a program to train and equip
the Bosnian Federation forces. While the Administration supports arms control
negotiations to bring about and implement a “build-down” of Bosnian forces and
armaments, it has asserted that arms control measures would not preclude
international efforts to equip and train the Bosnian Federation forces, provided such
efforts remained consistent with the terms of lifting the arms embargo. The United
States and Turkey co-sponsored an international conference on raising financial
support for a train-and-equip program for the Bosnian Federation armed forces on
March 15, 1996. On June 26, President Clinton certified compliance with the
Department of State Daily Press Briefing, October 29, 1996.
The New York Times, October 19, 1996, p. A6.
requirement that all foreign forces be withdrawn from Bosnia. After the Federation
parliament passed a common defense law on July 9, President Clinton gave final
approval for the train and equip program, which subsequently included two
shipments of military equipment. The Dayton peace agreement itself does not
contain any provision corresponding or referring to the U.S.-led program to equip and
train the Bosnian federation to establish a self-defense capability.18
In the Dayton peace agreement, the parties agreed not to import any arms for 90
days, and any heavy weapons for 180 days. The U.N. Security Council passed a
resolution on November 22, 1995, lifting the U.N. embargo on armaments and
military equipment to the former Yugoslavia in phases consistent with the peace
agreement. The arms embargo was fully terminated on June 18, 1996.
OSCE Role. Germany sponsored an initial disarmament conference in Bonn
on December 18, 1995. The parties agreed to commence regional stabilization talks
in two groups: one on arms control, and one on confidence-building measures, both
under the auspices of the OSCE. Negotiations for sub-regional arms control resumed
on January 5, 1996, in Vienna.
The OSCE’s Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) was tasked with organizing
and conducting negotiations on an arms control agreement. General Vigleik Eide of
Norway was named OSCE Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office
and chair of the negotiations.
The Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control created a sub-regional
consultative commission, headed by the OSCE Personal Representative, to oversee
implementation of the provisions of the accord.
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones.
! Within 30 days of the Paris peace conference, the five parties (representing
Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the
Republika Srpska, Croatia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) were to
have commenced negotiations, under OSCE auspices, on armaments levels.
Both sets of negotiations began before the deadline. By the same time, they
were to have submitted information on their holdings of heavy weapons. This
requirement was met on January 23, after Yugoslavia was given an extension.
! The December Bonn conference set a deadline for arms control negotiations
for June 6, 1996, with a signing on June 11. After some last-minute disputes,
the arms limitation agreement was signed on June 14. The limitation levels
are to be implemented in phased stages within 16 months from July 1, 1996.
The agreement adhered to the default ratio of 5:2:2 of the baseline of
armament holdings among Serbia-Montenegro, Croatia, and Bosnia and
For further information on the equip and train policy, see Congressional Research Service.
Bosnia: U.S.-Led Train-and-Equip Program, by (name redacted). CRS Report 96-735F.
Updated August 19, 1997.
Herzegovina. A 2:1 ratio between the Bosnian Federation and Republika
Srpska was upheld.
! The U.N. ban on the import of small arms ended on March 13, 1996, or 90
days after the Paris peace conference, while the ban on heavy weapons
remained in force for another 90 days. The arms embargo was fully lifted on
June 18, 1996.
! The baseline validation period extended from August 18 until October 31,
1996. Numerous inspections were carried out during this period. Reductions
of arms stockpiles covered by the accord began in October. First phase
reductions, with a target of 1,700 pieces of military hardware, were to have
been completed by December 31, 1996. Before leaving his post in June 1997,
High Representative Carl Bildt charged that both Bosnian parties were not
meeting agreement deadlines. All reductions were to be completed by
November 1, 1997.
! On November 21, 1997, OSCE reported full compliance by the parties on
fulfilling their reduction requirements under the arms control agreement. A
total of nearly 6,600 heavy weapons were neutralized, and most of these were
! At the Bonn PIC conference, the Council underlined the importance of starting
the Article V process, regional arms control, without delay.
Article II of the annex on regional stabilization addresses confidence-and
security-building measures (CSBMs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Negotiations,
conducted under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe, were to devise an agreement on a series of measures to enhance mutual
confidence, increase military transparency, and reduce the risk of renewed hostilities.
Negotiations were to draw fully upon the OSCE’s 1994 Vienna Document of the
Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures.
Negotiations on confidence-building measures aimed to increase transparency
through the exchange of information on numbers and locations of weaponry, troops,
and arms production facilities. They also sought to impose restrictions on military
movements. At Vienna, the parties (from the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
the Muslim-Croat Federation, and the Bosnian Serb Republic) agreed first to set up
military liaison missions in Sarajevo.
On January 26, 1996, the parties signed an agreement outlining a set of
confidence-building measures focusing on information-sharing, consultation and
communication mechanisms, constraints on military operations and exercises,
military contacts and visits, and a verification and inspection regime. Fifteen areas
of confidence-building measures were covered by the agreement. They included: the
Prepared by (name redacted).
exchange of military information; notification of changes in command structure or
equipment holdings; risk reduction; notification of certain military activities;
restrictions on military deployments; restraints on reintroduction of foreign forces;20
withdrawal of forces and heavy weapons to barracks; restrictions on locations of
heavy weapons; notification of disbandment of irregular armed groups; identification
and monitoring of weapons manufacturing; military contacts and cooperation; nonproliferation; verification and inspection regime; communications; and
implementation assessment. The agreement went into force immediately. Lead
negotiator Istvan Gyarmati of Hungary hailed the “substantial package” and
especially noted the accompanying verification regime.
On March 13, Ambassador Gyarmati expressed satisfaction with cooperation
on implementing the agreement on CSBMs. International teams arrived in Bosnia
on March 11 to conduct verification inspections on military data on both Federation
and Bosnian Serb republic territory. OSCE reported that the parties had carried out
all of the agreement’s inspections in 1996.21 In April 1997, the High Representative
reported that implementation of the CSBMs continued to proceed satisfactorily.
A different kind of confidence-building measure contained in the peace
agreement addressed prisoners of war. Annex 1A on military aspects included
provisions on the mutual commitment to release and transfer all prisoners within a
set time frame. At the time of the deadline, only some 200 persons had been
released, leaving about 700 still in detention. The Bosnian government expressed
reluctance to release all of its prisoners before it received information from the
Bosnian Serbs on tens of thousands of missing persons. In early 1996, the U.S.
Administration strongly pressed for the immediate release of all prisoners, in
accordance with the peace agreement, which did not link prisoner release to the issue
of missing persons. Then-Secretary of State Christopher indicated that the provision
of U.S. reconstruction and military aid would be conditional on the parties’
adherence to the peace agreement.22 Later, the contact group threatened to put off the
donors’ reconstruction aid conference scheduled for mid-April until the Bosnian
parties had met their obligations to release all prisoners. Under ICRC supervision,
over half of the remaining 200 prisoners were released by the end of March and early
April. ICRC has emphasized that no party has any valid reasons to continue to detain
prisoners. By the end of 1997, approximately 1,100 prisoners of war were released
under ICRC supervision.
The issue of missing persons remains important to the Bosnian parties. In
October 1996, ICRC estimated that approximately 14,000 persons remained missing,
some of whom could be subjected to hidden detention. International observers have
also reported numerous incidents of arbitrary arrest and detention.
All forces of foreign origin were required to leave the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina
by January 13, 1996, a requirement that remained unfulfilled for months.
General Accounting Office (GAO/NSIAD-97-132), Bosnia Peace Operation, May 1997,
Reuters, January 23, 1996; State Department Daily Press Briefing, January 24, 1996.
OSCE and ICRC Roles. The Organization on Security and Cooperation in
Europe opened confidence and-security-building negotiations in Vienna on January
4, 1996. Negotiations, chaired by Istvan Gyarmati of Hungary, concluded on January
26 with an initial set of measures to enhance mutual confidence. The Vienna
agreement established a Joint Consultative Commission (JCC), comprised of highlevel representatives of each party and the High Representative, to oversee
implementation. The JCC met for the first time on February 28, in Sarajevo. OSCE
has also established international monitoring and verification teams to implement
terms of the agreement.
With regard to prisoner exchanges and missing persons, the International
Committee of the Red Cross has been the lead international agency overseeing this
process. The peace agreement stated that the ICRC was to enjoy full and unimpeded
access to all paces where prisoners were being kept.
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones.
! As required by the peace agreement, lists of prisoners were provided to the
International Committee of the Red Cross on January 4, 1996. Since Dayton,
approximately 1,100 prisoners have been released.
! On January 5, at the Vienna negotiations, the parties agreed to set up military
liaison missions in Sarajevo within ten days. The missions were established
on January 15.
! By thirty days of the transfer of authority, or January 19, 1996, all prisoners
were to have been released. On the day of the deadline, ICRC representatives
reported that less than one-third of registered prisoners had been released. By
December 1997, about 1,100 prisoners of war had been released. The High
Representative has cited evidence of detained persons who had not been
registered with the ICRC.
! Within forty-five days of the peace conference, negotiations on confidence-
and-security-building measures were to have been completed. Negotiations
in Vienna were concluded on January 26. The first on-site inspections were
carried out on March 11-12. Ambassador Gyarmati has reported full
compliance thus far with the Vienna agreement on CSBMs. Further military
inspections, one on Federation territory and one on Bosnian Serb territory,
were successfully carried out in mid-March. OSCE-led inspections continued
until the end of June 1996.
The early holding of free and fair elections was considered to be an essential
precondition for stable, democratic and representative governance in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. The Peace Agreement called for open contests for representatives in
newly-created institutions and offices. Elections were envisaged for: the three-
Prepared by (name redacted).
member presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the 42-seat House of Representatives
of Bosnia and Herzegovina (which will then select delegates to the 15-seat House of
People); the House of Representatives of the Bosnian Federation; the National
Assembly of the Bosnian Serb Republic; the Presidency of the Bosnian Serb
Republic; and, for local municipalities and cantonal governments within the
Federation. Elections for political institutions at all levels above the municipal level
(i.e., state, entity, and Federation canton) were held on September 14, 1996. The
municipal vote was repeatedly postponed and is currently scheduled to be held on
September 13-14, 1997.
In Annex 3 of the peace agreement, the parties agreed to ensure that conditions
exist for the organization and conducting of free and fair elections. They requested
that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) provide
assistance in organizing and supervising elections. Elections were to take place six
months, or no later than nine months if a delay proved necessary, after the agreement
came into force. An OSCE election commission was to adopt electoral rules on party
and candidate registration, on voter and candidate eligibility, and on voter
registration. OSCE was to supervise an open and fair campaign as well as all other
aspects of the electoral process, and organize elections monitoring missions.
The elections annex defined an eligible voter to be any citizen of Bosnia and
Herzegovina aged 18 or older and registered in the 1991 census for Bosnia and
Herzegovina. A provisional electoral list containing approximately 3.2 million
voters, based on the 1991 census, was drawn up by the provisional election
commission. As a general rule, citizens were expected to vote where they lived in
1991. They could alternatively submit an absentee ballot for that municipality, or
apply to the commission to cast their ballots elsewhere. About 4,000 polling stations
were opened throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. The constitution (Annex 4 of the
Dayton peace agreement) barred persons indicted by the International Tribunal for
the Former Yugoslavia from holding or seeking appointive, elective, or other public
Post-Dayton conditions in Bosnia and Herzegovina posed severe challenges to
the effort to hold prompt elections. Lack of progress in certain areas of peace
implementation and the general environment on the ground threatened to put off a
decision to hold elections on schedule. Certain pre-conditions for a free, fair, and
democratic vote were outlined in the peace agreement: a politically neutral
environment free from fear and intimidation; freedom of expression, association, and
the press; freedom of movement; and freedom of return for displaced persons and
OSCE was to decide by mid-June 1996 whether or not to approve of holding
elections that September. Many observers, including OSCE officials, questioned
whether elections should go forward under such adverse conditions. They pointed
to the lack of progress in refugee return, restrictions on freedom of movement,
restrictions on the independent media, and the continued political control practiced
by indicted war criminals. The Clinton Administration was strongly in favor of the
vote, arguing that delay would not improve the situation, but would rather strengthen
forces for ethnic separation and partition. The United States also argued that
elections were a prerequisite to the formation of the necessary political institutions
and entities envisaged by the peace agreement. OSCE Chair-in-Office Flavio Cotti
eventually on June 25 issued certification for the elections to take place on September
14, 1996, even though he asserted that virtually none of the prerequisites for a free
and fair vote had been fulfilled. Cotti concluded, however, that “there are no
convincing alternatives” to holding elections.24
The decision to hold elections in September was most seriously challenged by
the continued presence in power of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and
General Ratko Mladic, both indicted by the Tribunal and ineligible by the Dayton
agreement to run for or hold political office. At the end of June, Radovan Karadzic
devolved most presidential powers to the RS Vice President, Biljana Plavsic, but did
not formally resign. Moreover, Karadzic was elected to chair his party, the Serbian
Democratic Party (SDS). Most international officials deemed Karadzic’s move
unacceptable, and called for his full resignation as president and leader of the party.
OSCE officials threatened to disqualify the SDS from the elections as long as
Karadzic retained a position in the party. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, chief
architect of the Dayton peace agreement, returned to the former Yugoslavia in midJuly to pressure Serbian President Milosevic with sanctions unless Karadzic was
removed from power in Republika Srpska. On July 19, Karadzic signed an
agreement on fully relinquishing his positions as president of Republika Srpska and
of the SDS. Karadzic also pledged to withdraw from all political activities and not
appear in the media. A shortcoming of the Holbrooke agreement was that it did not
call for Karadzic’s extradition, leaving open the possibility of continued, “behind the
scenes,” activity by the former RS president. The agreement also did not address the
standing of General Mladic who remains in firm control of the RS armed forces.
A sort of “test case” for the September elections were the municipal elections
in Mostar. After some delay, elections were held in the European Unionadministered city of Mostar on June 30. The city’s Muslim, Croat, and Serb voters
cast ballots for the city assembly and local administrations in six municipalities. The
results largely confirmed Mostar’s split along ethnic lines between Muslims and
Croats. Moreover, the Croatian HDZ party at first refused to accept the election
results. EU administrator for Mostar Ricardo Perez Casado nevertheless pointed to
many successes in the voting process. Voter turnout was about 60%, a good deal
higher than anticipated. Voters were able to cast ballots where they had resided in
1991, even when this involved crossing ethnic lines within the city. A strong IFOR
presence and numerous EU and other international monitors contributed to area
security and other practical challenges to the voting process in Mostar. In addition,
refugees were able to cast remote ballots in designated European cities.
National and Entity Elections, September 1996. As the September 1996
election date approached, evidence mounted of “election engineering” through the
registration process. In an apparent attempt to skew the district voting results in
strategically located municipalities, significant numbers of refugees, primarily ethnic
Serbs, utilized the option of registering to vote where they “intended” to live. While
the Dayton agreement allowed for the possibility of registering in a different location,
international officials viewed that widespread manipulation of the registration
Declaration of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Vienna, June 25, 1996.
process would seriously distort the elections at the local level. As a result, OSCE
chair Ambassador Frowick formally postponed the municipal elections on August 27,
but reaffirmed higher level elections for September 14.
Absentee balloting for refugees living abroad commenced on August 28. Over
640,000 refugees from 55 countries had registered to vote. The absentee vote
constituted a substantial portion of the overall vote.
Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina were held on September 14, 1996, under
OSCE supervision with IFOR assistance. OSCE, IFOR, and the IPTF designated and
established 19 secure routes across the IEBL for persons voting across entity lines.
Fewer security problems than expected surfaced, in large part due to the relatively
small number of persons (about 20,000) who crossed the IEBL to cast their ballots.
According to the High Representative, the elections were held in a “calm, orderly and
dignified manner,” with “no serious restrictions to freedom of movement.”25 The
Coordinator for International Monitoring, Edward van Thijn, assessed that the
elections went well from a technical viewpoint, but that the general climate
surrounding the elections indicated numerous imperfections. Clinton Administration
officials called the elections a “remarkable achievement,” and a “victory for the
In contrast, some human rights observers reported numerous instances of
irregularities at the polling stations, cases of voter intimidation, and extensive
limitations on freedom of movement. After the vote, one international monitoring
group, the International Crisis Group (ICG), asserted that the preliminary election
results, when considered against OSCE estimates on the number of eligible voters,
revealed a voter turnout of well over 100%, indicating likely fraud. OSCE officials
countered by revising their estimate on the number of eligible voters. The ICG also
asserted that the elections should not have been declared free, fair or democratic.26
In response to complaints filed by the Party for Democratic Action and by the
International Crisis Group, the election appeals subcommittee issued a
recommendation on September 27 that the ballots be recounted in order to rebuff
charges of voter fraud. The provisional election commission, however, overruled the
recommendation, and Ambassador Frowick certified the election results on
September 29. The results provided by the OSCE are as follows:
Report from the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement,
September 29, 1996, S/1996/814.
ICG Bosnia Report No. 16, Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, September 22, 1996.
Results: B-H Presidency
No. of votes
approx % of vote
Chairman: Alija Izetbegovic (SDA)
Momcilo Krajisnik (SDS)
Kresimir Zubak (HDZ)
Results: B-H House of Representatives
No. of votes
Party for B-H
Results: RS Assembly
No. of votes
Alliance for Peace/Progress
Serb Radical Party
Party for B-H
Results: RS President
No. of votes
approx % of vote
Biljana Plavsic (SDS)
Abid Djozic (SDA)
Zivko Radisic (Alliance for
Results: Federation House of Representatives
No. of votes
Party for B-H
As widely expected, the nationalist parties and candidates won majorities in
each entity. The term of office for all of those elected in September 1996 is two
years. Some observers feared that the results would further mark the differences
between the ethnic groups and facilitate an eventual division of Bosnia along ethnic
lines. At the national Bosnian level, the political will of the elected officials,
especially the Bosnian Serbs, to construct and support joint governmental institutions
has been weak at best. Other observers pointed to the gains of the opposition
particularly in the Serb republic as positive signs of fledgling political plurality. The
ruling SDS received less than a two-thirds majority in the entity parliament, and the
Muslim vote via absentee balloting secured a second-place showing for the SDA.
Opposition parties are expected in some areas to make a stronger showing in the
Municipal Elections, September 1997. In October 1996, the municipal
elections were postponed for a second time until 1997. In January 1997, the
Provisional Election Committee set July 12-13, 1997, as a target date. In March,
however, the OSCE ruled that additional time for preparation was needed, and further
postponed the election date until September 13-14.
The problem of voter registration options for refugees and displaced persons
was reviewed by the OSCE. The ruling Bosnian Serb party conditioned its
participation in the municipal vote on the continued option for refugees to vote in
areas of intended residence, while the Muslim SDA insisted on the abolition of this
option. On January 28, 1997, the PEC adopted new rules and regulations for the
municipal elections. All prospective Bosnian voters had to re-register for the local
vote. The PEC upheld the principle of allowing refugees to register where they
intended to live, but established stricter rules for this option. Refugees must prove
with documentation legitimate reasons for registering with a particular municipality.
Voter registration opened on May 5 and extended to June 28. Ethnically mixed
or disputed cities, such as Brcko, were considered to be especially susceptible to
attempts at registration manipulation, since the voting outcome in these cities may
be especially significant for both entities. In response to specific cases of registration
violations, the Election Appeals Sub-Commission has imposed penalties on Bosnian
Serb and Bosnian Croat political parties, primarily by striking various party
candidates from party lists. Pervasive registration violations observed in Brcko
prompted the OSCE to close registration centers in that city in June and establish a
new registration process.
OSCE estimated that approximately 2.5 million persons had registered for the
September vote. 93 parties registered to participate in the vote in a total of 136
municipalities. As IFOR had, SFOR assisted OSCE with security and logistical
assistance for the elections, and little violence was reported on the election days. An
estimated 87% of registered voters participated in the vote. OSCE mission chief
Robert Frowick called the September vote a “great achievement.”
Overall, nationalist Serb, Muslim, or Croat parties won the largest shares of the
vote. Only in Tuzla did non-nationalist parties win a majority in the local council.
In Brcko, Bosnian Serb parties won a majority of city council seats. In Srebrenica,
the Muslim Party for Democratic Action won a majority, even though virtually no
Muslims have returned to Srebrenica since they were driven out in mid-1995. The
Muslim victory was achieved through the option of absentee voting. Ethnic Serb
parties won a majority in the western city of Drvar, currently controlled by Croats but
formally with an ethnic Serb majority. In Mostar, the Muslim Party for Democratic
Action won a majority over the Bosnian Croat party.
Implementation of the municipal election results was thought to be problematic.
The OSCE pressed for swift formation of the local councils and assemblies, holding
out on final certification until the local political bodies were in place and functioning.
By the end of 1997, 133 out of 136 municipal councils had convened their inaugural
meetings. The exceptions were Srebrenica, Zepce, and Vares.
RS Special Elections, November 1997. In July 1997, President Biljana
Plavsic dissolved the RS parliamentary assembly and called for new elections. Mrs.
Plavsic’s new party, the Serb People’s Alliance, aimed to break the stronghold of the
hardline Serb Democratic Party (SDS), the party of Radovan Karadzic. Javier
Ruperez was appointed Special Representative of the OSCE to supervise the RS vote
scheduled for November 22-23. Nearly 70% of voters in the RS participated. On
November 24, Mr. Ruperez stated that the election represented “a step forward”, and
determined that is was well administered from a technical standpoint. He noted,
however, that the political environment in the RS fell short of democratic standards.
On December 7, OSCE announced the provisional results of the RS vote as
follows. No single party won a majority. An estimated 75% of the population
Results: RS Assembly
Coalition for a Single and Democratic Bosnia
Serb People’s Alliance
Serb Radical Party
RS Socialist Party
Independent Social Democrats
OSCE Role. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was
requested by the peace agreement to assist in preparing for, organizing, and
monitoring free elections. OSCE has twice extended its mandate in Bosnia, which
currently runs through December 1998. In late 1996, all Bosnian authorities agreed
to OSCE supervision of the municipal elections to be held in 1997. In September
1997, the OSCE agreed to supervise the special Republika Sprska elections in
November; 150 international observers monitored the vote
The Annex on elections in the peace agreement called for the establishment of
a Provisional Election Commission. The commission is led by the head of the OSCE
mission. On January 30, 1996, the OSCE designated a seven-member international
commission to prepare for and supervise elections. It is comprised of OSCE mission
head Robert Frowick of the United States, representatives from Britain, Germany,
and Canada, and three Bosnian representatives (one from the Bosnian Serb republic,
Slobodan Kovac, one from the Bosnian government, Kasim Begic, and one from the
Muslim-Croat Federation, Mate Tadic). The provisional election commission is
eventually to be replaced by a permanent elections commission, comprised of both
government and opposition representatives, after the municipal elections are held.
OSCE fielded 1,200 international monitors to supervise the September 1996
elections out of over two dozen field offices throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. A
Coordinator for International Monitoring (CIM) office, headed by Edward van Thijn,
was in charge of the campaign and election day monitoring missions. OSCE has also
sponsored an Open Broadcast Network project to assist in providing television access
to non-governing political parties and candidates. The OSCE’s Media Experts
Commission (MEC) is charged with monitoring media compliance with election
rules and regulations.
IFOR, SFOR, and the IPTF provided extensive support to OSCE in both the
national/entity and municipal votes. In the September 1996 vote, IFOR units
provided area security for 19 designated routes across the IEBL, guarded selected
polling stations, and transported ballot boxes and other supplies relating to the
elections. SFOR extended similar assistance to OSCE for the September 1997 local
vote and the November 1997 elections in the Republika Srpska.
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones.
! On February 23, 1996, the provisional electoral commission adopted a
framework electoral code which established basic rules and regulations for the
Bosnian elections. The framework document included decisions on several
issues, including the basic approach to voter registration, the registration of
political parties, and access to the media. The provisional election
commission published a provisional voter list, based on the 1991 census, at
the end of March.
! On April 22, the provisional election commission adopted formal rules and
regulations for the elections. All Bosnian citizens were to be given the option
of voting where they were registered, or by applying to vote by absentee ballot
or in a different municipality (i.e. where they currently live).
! Originally scheduled for May 31, the Federation held municipal elections in
Mostar, which has been under European Union administration, on June 30.
The EU validated the election results.
! Italian Foreign Minister Flavio Cotti, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, certified
on June 25 that elections would go forward on September 14, 1996.
Ambassador Robert Frowick announced the start of the campaign on July 19,
the day that Radovan Karadzic agreed to relinquish political office. On
August 27, OSCE election commission chairman Robert Frowick postponed
municipal elections due to widespread abuse of the rules and regulations at the
municipal level, but confirmed that elections at the higher levels would
! National and entity elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina were held on
September 14, 1996. Elected officials will serve a two-year term.
! On September 29, OSCE chief Robert Frowick certified the results of the
September 14 elections. The validation came in spite of the recommendation
two days earlier by the elections appeals subcommission that all ballots be
recounted. Certification paved the way for the United Nations to terminate all
sanctions against Serbia-Montenegro on October 1.
! After numerous delays, municipal elections were held on September 13-14,
! Special parliamentary elections were held in the Republika Srpska on
November 22-23, 1997.
! At the December 1997 Bonn PIC conference, the PIC established a deadline
of December 31, 1997, for the full implementation of the local election results.
It also declared that the High Representative and the OSCE would impose
final and binding arbitration in places where the local councils and assemblies
have not yet been certified by February 28, 1998.
! The next national and entity elections are to be held by September 1998.
Civil Police Task Force27
The Dayton Peace Agreement requested that an international police task force
(IPTF) be formed to assist the Bosnian parties establish a safe and secure
environment. The task force’s program of assistance outlined in Annex 11 included:
monitoring and observing law enforcement activities, advising and training local
enforcement personnel and authorities, facilitating law enforcement activities, and
accompanying local law enforcement personnel in joint patrols as they carry out their
In the first year, the task force’s limited mandate involved primarily monitoring
and observing. As in other U.N. civilian police operations, IPTF officers are
unarmed. The task force does not have any executive authority in a law enforcement
capacity, and therefore cannot arrest or detain persons (including war criminals). It
is intended not to establish conditions of law and order by itself, but to assist Bosnian
Federation and Republika Sprska law enforcement agencies achieve this and to report
on any violations.
In view of the importance of an effective police force to establishing and
maintaining conditions of peace and security, many observers have criticized the
weak mandate of the U.N. police task force, as well as its small size. NATO and
U.N. officials at first expressed dissatisfaction with the slow arrival and small size
of the U.N. police task force.28 Some police forces from contributing countries
lacked language and/or driving skills.29 Since mid-1996, however, the U.N.
Secretary-General reported improvements in regard to the problem of unqualified
monitors.30 Overall, however, many observers have noted a “policing gap” in the
Dayton accords, and have advocated a stronger mandate for the IPTF. In December
1997, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen urged a greater commitment and
contribution by the European countries to the IPTF.
Policing functions were explicitly excluded from the mandate of NATO’s
peacekeeping missions. NATO has drawn a sharp distinction between establishing
military security (part of IFOR’s and SFOR’s mandate) and securing law and order.
NATO officials have insisted that IFOR’s and SFOR’s role is not to stop crime.
However, various cases have demonstrated that policing needs in Bosnia remained
beyond what the police task force could or was supposed to address. For example,
the violent and unruly unification of Sarajevo in early 1996 demonstrated a complete
breakdown of law and order. IFOR expanded its troop presence in the capital
suburbs, but did not intervene during the incidents of violence and arson in the
Prepared by (name redacted).
The Washington Post, February 2, 1996.
See The Washington Post, February 6, 1996, and The New York Times, March 21, 1996.
Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1035,
S/1996/460, June 21, 1996.
Sarajevo suburbs.31 In early 1997, SFOR units disengaged from violent incidents in
Mostar and Gajevi, both involving attacks on unarmed civilians, citing them as
“criminal acts.” SFOR has taken action against paramilitary, or “special police”
units, such as the kind that guard certain indicted war criminals. In August 1997,
SFOR determined that “special police” forces would be considered as regular
military units and subject to the same restrictions under Dayton as regular armed
Another problem has been that local police personnel themselves have been
responsible for most of the human rights abuses or other violations that obstruct
peace implementation. International agencies have criticized the local police
authorities of both Bosnian entities for setting up illegal checkpoints, restricting
freedom of movement, especially for displaced persons, and imprisoning persons
without cause. The High Representative has also noted an increase during 1996 in
incidents of police beatings and police participation in politically motivated crimes.
In some security concerns, the IPTF has worked with the NATO force and other
organizations. In May 1997, IPTF, SFOR, and the High Representative established
a Freedom of Movement Task Force that has, among other things, removed illegal
checkpoints that limit freedom of movement. In December 1997, the High
Representative noted improvement in freedom of movement as a result of this
stringent removal of illegal checkpoints. Beginning in August, the IPTF and SFOR
have conducted weapons inspections in local police stations. Illegal weapons found
during these inspections were confiscated. The IPTF has also assisted the OSCE in
enhancing security for elections, and has worked with other U.N. agencies on human
rights violations by law enforcement agencies.
The second functional component of IPTF’s mandate concerns advising and
training local police. The IPTF is assisting the parties in planning the reduction,
restructuring, screening, and training of their police forces. Training and
restructuring at first progressed only with Federation police. A formal agreement on
police restructuring between the IPTF and the Republika Srpska was reached in
September 1997. On occasion the IPTF has sought from the respective internal
affairs ministries the removal of certain local police personnel who were not in
compliance with the peace agreement.
The December 1996 London Peace Implementation Council conference called
on the international community to support IPTF’s continuing efforts to implement
Annex 11 tasks. It called on the IPTF to focus on the restructuring of local police
forces, including giving advice on the selection, promotion, and dismissal of local
police officials, investigating allegations of human rights abuses by law enforcement
officers, and monitoring the treatment of persons detained by local law enforcement
authorities. In view of this request, the U.N. Secretary-General later recommended
an increase in the size of IPTF’s personnel to fulfill these expanded responsibilities.
IPTF has carried out investigations into human rights abuses by local police
authorities in Mostar, Brcko, Drvar, and Gajevi.
For example, see The New York Times and The Washington Post, March 18, 1996.
U.N. Role. The Peace Agreement requested that an international police task
force be established by the United Nations as a U.N. Civilian Police operation to
administer a program of assistance. On December 21, 1995, the U.N. Security
Council passed Resolution 1035, which authorized the establishment of the
International Police Task Force for one year at a strength of 1,721 persons. The U.N.
mandate in Bosnia, including the IPTF, currently extends through June 1998.
The U.N. police task force is headed by a Police Commissioner who reports to
the High Representative. The U.N. Secretary-General appointed Peter Fitzgerald of
Ireland to be Police Commissioner on January 15, 1996. Manfred Seitner of
Denmark replaced Fitzgerald on March 3, 1997. The IPTF is headquartered in
Sarajevo, with five regional headquarters, 17 central police districts, and 109 police
stations, corresponding with locations of local police offices. 40 nations currently
contribute monitors to the IPTF. Its strength in December 1997 was just over 2,000.
In March 1997, the U.N. Secretary-General recommended to the Security
Council that the IPTF be enlarged to address two additional police tasks: to expand
the international police presence in Brcko as a result of the February 1997 arbitral
decision; and to carry out investigative tasks into human rights violations assigned
to the IPTF by the December 1996 London conference. For the former task, the
Security Council authorized IPTF strength to be increased by 186 civilian police and
11 civilian personnel on March 31, 1997 (S/Res/1103). On May 16, 1997, the
Security Council authorized an additional 120 police personnel for the addition of the
investigative function (S/Res/1107). Total authorized strength for IPTF stands at
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones.
! Within 30 days, the Bosnian parties were to have provided the Task Force
commissioner with information on their law enforcement agencies. This
information was provided to the United Nations through a U.N. police
reconnaissance mission conducted in December 1995.
! The task force was assembled and deployed somewhat slowly at first. U.N.
officials attributed the delay to the reluctance of member countries to release
active duty police officers from service and to the lack of qualifications of
some of the monitors.32 In December 1997, the strength of IPTF reached just
over 2,000 from 40 countries.
! Representatives from over thirty countries met in Dublin, Ireland on
September 28, 1996, to raise funds for the development of a democratic police
force in Bosnia. The conference sought to raise $99 million in pledges for
training and equipping Bosnian civil police.
! The Western European Union (WEU), which had deployed civil police
monitors to Mostar, transferred authority to the IPTF on October 15, 1996.
Reuters, January 15, 1996.
! On September 24, 1997, the IPTF concluded an agreement with RS authorities
on a police restructuring program in the Republika Srpska.
! At the December 1997 PIC conference, High Representative Westendorp
reported progress in police restructuring in the Federation, and recent
agreements with the RS to begin similar restructuring. However, he noted that
the police by and large continue to fall below basic standards of conduct.
Refugees and Displaced Persons33
Annex 7 of the Dayton Peace Agreement states that all refugees and displaced
persons have the right to return to their homes and have their property restored, or
receive financial compensation. The accords direct UNHCR to repatriate refugees
and return displaced persons to their homes. The agreement also established a
Commission to receive and decide on claims for the return of property or for just
compensation to these persons. While progress has been made in restoring the
infrastructure of the country and returning the refugees and displaced to their homes,
it is clear that the process will not be finished as quickly as the international
community anticipated during the peace negotiations.
Since January 1997, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) estimates that 110,000 persons from Bosnia from outside the country and
60,000 internally displaced have returned to their areas of origin. In 1996, 88,000
refugees and 164,000 displaced returned. Most returns have been to areas where the
returnees are of the same ethnic background as the local majority population, the socalled “majority return movements.” UNHCR plans to help up to 220,000 refugees
from abroad to return to Bosnia-Herzegovina during 1998. If 50,000 return to areas
where they are in the ethnic minority by June, it would be a breakthrough. In all,
over 400,000 refugees and displaced have returned to Bosnia since the Dayton
agreement, but only 32,000 to areas where they are ethnic minorities.
During the war, 1.2 million Bosniaks sought refuge in neighboring countries,
including 585,000 in other parts of the former Yugoslavia. According to UNHCR,
about 700,000 of these remain in exile at the end of 1997, about 340,000 of them in
other parts of the former Yugoslavia. An additional 1.3 million, about 30 percent of
the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, were displaced from their homes by
warfare but did not leave the country. About 800,000 are still displaced. Most of
those remaining abroad and displaced within Bosnia would be ethnic minorities if
they returned to their own homes.
During 1998, UNHCR anticipates that 870,00 of the population in Bosnia will
need some kind of assistance, down from 1.9 million in 1997. An additional 660,100
persons in other parts of former Yugoslavia will also need UNHCR assistance, many
Prepared by Lois McHugh, Analyst in International Relations. See also Congressional
Research Service. Bosnia-former Yugoslavia: Refugee Repatriation and Humanitarian
Assistance Under the Peace Agreement, by Lois McHugh. CRS Report 96-69F. June 13,
of them from Bosnia. Over 1.7 million in the former Yugoslavia remain away from
their former homes.34
On November 24, 1997, a plan to provide aid costing $406 million for calendar
1998 was presented to donor countries as part of a two year (1997-98) program.
UNHCR repatriation and humanitarian aid programs would include programs in
Bosnia ($263.4 million), Croatia ($44.6 million), Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
($45.5 million), and Macedonia ($3.4 million). USAID Office of Foreign Disaster
Assistance (OFDA) reports that the United States provided $399.3 million in FY1996
and $282.6 million in FY1997 to humanitarian programs throughout the former
As part of the repatriation effort, UNHCR has taken several steps to improve
confidence of displaced persons so they will be encouraged to return home. UNHCR
has prepared reports on living conditions in the 75 Bosnian municipalities and these
are kept up to date by local UNHCR staff. They are available in asylum countries
and to local and national governments in the former Yugoslavia. Regular bus service
across the Inter-Entity Boundary Line (IEBL) has been provided since the Spring of
1996 to enable residents to return to their homes or residential areas for visits or to
repair their houses. It now has 14 routes and represents the only public transit across
ethnic lines. In 1998, UNHCR will expand this service and turn it over to local
private operators. UNHCR has established eight transit shelters to provide
information and assistance for returnees and displaced persons.
Twenty six thousand homes sheltering 126,000 persons have been repaired
under UNHCR auspices as a result of last year’s $30 million program to provide
loans to homeowners. Building materials are purchased locally, helping to restart the
economy. USAID’s $25 million home repair program, which was completed in
December 1996, provided extensive repairs to 2,500 badly damaged houses, the
majority located near the U.S. area of responsibility.
Several plans are being
considered to provide credit programs for 1998 for housing reconstruction or repair.
Housing assistance will be the largest component of the 1998 budget and aid will be
focused on the return of minority groups and reconstruction in the now demilitarized
zones of separation. In addition, UNHCR will encourage other donors to fund
reconstruction in areas which will likely see voluntary returns of large groups. One
of the most serious obstacles to repatriation is that in many cases, displaced people
are occupying the homes of other displaced people, preventing them from returning
home. When these houses are occupied by members of the ethnic group which is in
the majority, the situation is even more difficult. The presence of mines is another
of the major obstacles to the returning population. From August 1996 to August
United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. JanuaryDecember 1998. United Nations. November 1997.
Of the $282,649,968 in FY1997, $78.2 million came from the Migration and Refugee
Account, $43.7 million from the Food Aid Account, $19.7 million from the OFDA, $7.6
million from the Office of Transition Initiative, $131 million from bilateral foreign aid funds
designated for Europe and the New Independent States, and $2.45 million from Department
of Defense Humanitarian Assistance funds.
1997, an average of 30-35 civilian mine casualties occurred each month. UNHCR
will support demining activities around targeted housing reconstruction.
Income generation programs will be increased in 1998, focusing on poor
Bosnian families, including returnees, displaced persons and vulnerable people. The
Bosnian Women’s Initiative (BWI), started with a $5 million U.S. contribution in
1996, has established 125 programs which help war affected women and their
families from all ethnic groups restart their lives. The 1998 budget for the BWI
program is $3.9 million.
UNHCR has repeatedly objected to numerous repatriation obstacles imposed by
all sides, despite guarantees in the Dayton agreement, that make repatriation nearly
impossible. All three ethnic groups continue to resist the return of minority residents.
Relief officials have expressed concern about the continuing destruction of the
homes of minorities who want to return. In April 1997, UNHCR announced a new
program to help resolve the minority resettlement issue and bypass obstructive local
officials. This “open cities” program provides supplementary community aid and
other inducements to municipalities which are willing to allow and ease the
resettlement of previous residents who are ethnic minorities to their homes. The
special areas are required to meet such criteria as allowing minorities to become part
of the police force and government administrations and to have access to medical,
school, and other local services. This open cities program will be the focus of
UNHCR activities in 1998.
UNHCR has also repeatedly stated that repatriation requires the successful
implementation of other components of the agreement to make Bosnia and
Herzegovina safe and peaceful in order to convince the displaced and refugees to
return. On June 20, 1997, UNHCR spokesman Carrol Faubert, discussed conditions
needed in Bosnia to encourage Bosniaks to return, in particular to minority areas. He
stated that arrest of war criminals, removal of certain leaders, and establishment of
a democratic police force would resolve repatriation problems. Other problems
include: resolving the fate of the nearly 20,000 missing, ensuring the rights of
minorities, establishing laws on citizenship and property ownership, including
property rights of minorities.
UNHCR officials state that it is still premature for countries hosting Bosnian
refugees to repatriate refugees who originate from minority areas, are members of
mixed marriages, and those special cases of ex-detainees or victims of extreme
violence at the present time. During 1997, Germany provided assistance to facilitate
the return of 35,223 refugees to Bosnia. Thirteen countries are offering repatriation
incentives of cash and transportation to refugees and to the communities they come
from in Bosnia to assist in their reintegration.
UNHCR and Local Refugee Commission Roles. In addition to its role in the
repatriation and resettling of refugees and the displaced, UNHCR continues to be the
lead agency in humanitarian relief in former Yugoslavia, coordinating the
humanitarian assistance provided by many governmental and private relief agencies.
UNHCR has placed liaison officers with the Commander of the Implementation and
Stabilization Forces and has regular meetings with the High Representative and the
United Nations Coordinator. Other partners include the U.N. agencies, the OSCE,
the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the ICRC,
International Organization for Migration, bilateral development agencies and private
The Commission on Real Property Claims of Displaced Persons and Refugees
is composed of nine local members, four members appointed by the Bosnian
Federation, two by the Bosnian Serb Republic, and three by the European Court of
Human Rights. It had received over 42,000 real property claims by early October
1997 and has begun to address the complicated issues of reconstructing accurate and
acceptable property records and searching for options for those who cannot, or do not
wish to return to their homes or other property. Unresolved issues of property claims
is a key factor in the return of refugees and the displaced, reconstruction efforts,
economic development, human rights protection and social rebuilding. During 1998,
the Commission will focus on activities to improve information on property rights
and laws, ease the process for reclaiming property, and provide options for those
whose property is not returned.
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones.
! In November 1997, the U.N. released its Consolidated appeal for 1998 asking
$406 million for repatriation and humanitarian aid for calendar 1998. This
includes programs in Bosnia ($263 million), Croatia ($45 million), Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia ($45 million), Macedonia ($3 million) and other
regional programs ($46 million). This is a multi-agency appeal.
! UNHCR estimates that approximately 170,000 persons returned or relocated
in Bosnia during 1997.
! Return of refugees and displaced is not occurring as quickly as the
international community hoped. Most of those who have returned are
returning to areas where they are part of the majority ethnic group. In addition
to local opposition to the return of ethnic minorities, both the occupation of
homes by other displaced persons and land mines are preventing the return of
! The Commission on Real Property Claims of Displaced Persons and
Refugees, called for in the Dayton agreement, was inaugurated on March 27,
1996. It is comprised of three members of the European Court of Human
Rights, four representatives from the Muslim-Croat Federation, and two from
the Bosnian Serb Republic. The commission will handle compensation claims
of refugees and displaced persons and adjudicate ownership claims. The
commission has established three regional offices in Bosnia-Herzegovina and
received 42,000 property claims by early October, 1997.
Extreme violations of human rights characterized the Bosnian war in 1992
through 1995. The cessation of fighting and process of building peace were hoped
to restore more humane conditions and safeguard basic rights and freedoms in
Bosnia. The peace process included proposals to create a web of institutions to
closely monitor the human rights situation in Bosnia and to press for the protection
of human rights.
The Dayton peace agreement contained extensive human rights provisions and
established new offices and mechanisms to oversee observance of human rights.
Annex 4 of the peace agreement, the constitution, enumerated basic human rights and
freedoms to be enjoyed by all persons within Bosnia and Herzegovina. The
constitution stated that the rights and freedoms set forth in the European Convention
for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms shall have priority
over all other law. It committed all parties to cooperate with and provide unimpeded
access to the International War Crimes Tribunal, and other human rights monitoring
Annex 6 of the accords, an agreement on human rights, repeated the
fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons in Bosnia outlined in the constitution.
It established a human rights commission to address alleged or apparent violations
of human rights and cases of discrimination. The commission is comprised of two
parts: an independent human rights ombudsman and a human rights chamber. The
ombudsman may receive applications concerning human rights violations, investigate
claims, refer cases to the human rights chamber, and/or issue findings. The human
rights chamber may also receive applications concerning human rights violations,
conduct proceedings to consider the applications, and adjudicate. The chamber may
decide upon steps to remedy human rights violations, and provisional measures to
address the situation. All persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina have the right to submit
applications to the commission concerning alleged human rights violations.
The human rights situation in Bosnia was also expected to be enhanced by the
release of prisoners of war and detained civilians and by the holding of free elections,
both addressed in other sections of this report.
In spite of the extensive human rights framework established by the peace
agreement, the human rights record in Bosnia has not been a positive one by most
accounts. Two years since Dayton, the obligations on human rights under the peace
agreement remain unmet, according to the High Representative. Violations in the
form of arbitrary arrests, harassment of ethnic minority groups, including forced
evictions and destruction of homes, denial of freedom of movement, and
discrimination practices, persist. These practices, and the lack of response to them
by local police authorities, have contributed to the trend toward ethnic separation.
The police themselves have accounted for many of the reported human rights abuses.
This fact led the PIC in late 1996 to call for the U.N. civil police to investigate
human rights abuses by the local police. The activities of the IPTF and SFOR in
Prepared by (name redacted).
removing illegal checkpoints and reducing the number of permitted checkpoints have
improved freedom of movement for Bosnia’s citizens.
Human Rights Commission and Other International Agencies’ Roles. As
described above, the peace agreement created a human rights commission to assist
with human rights issues. The human rights ombudsman, not a citizen of BosniaHerzegovina or its neighboring states, serves a five-year term. On December 21,
1995, the OSCE chairman-in-office appointed Gret Haller of Switzerland to be
human rights ombudsman. The second half of the commission, the 14-member
human rights chamber, is composed of four members from the Bosnian federation,
two members from the Bosnian Serb Republic, and the remainder appointed by the
Council of Europe. The chamber shall normally sit in panels of seven, with two
members from the Federation, one from the Bosnian Serb Republic, and four noncitizens of Bosnia.
At the London conference on December 8-9, 1995, participating countries
confirmed the importance with which they considered the establishment of human
rights institutions as outlined in the peace agreement. The London conference urged
the Bosnian parties to adhere to their commitments to the highest level of
internationally recognized human rights. The office of the High Representative (Carl
Bildt) established a Human Rights Task Force to coordinate international civilian
human rights efforts in Bosnia. Subcommittees of the Human Rights Task Force was
formed on the subjects of property, detention issues, legal assistance, and public
The U.N. Commission on Human Rights, the OSCE, and the U.N. High
Commissioner for Human Rights are requested by the peace agreement to monitor
closely the human rights situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and are invited to open
local offices and missions in Bosnia for this purpose. Elisabeth Rehn (Finland)
continues to act as U.N. human rights rapporteur for the U.N. Commission on Human
Rights, and has conducted human rights mission in the former Yugoslavia. In
January, the High Representative formed a Human Rights Coordination Center to
serve as a central point for the human rights activities of the various involved
Status of Implementation and Future Milestones.
! The 14-person human rights chamber was to be filled within ninety days of
signature of the peace agreement. The human rights commission, comprising
the office of the ombudsman and the human rights chamber, was formally
inaugurated on March 27, 1996, in Sarajevo. The Ombudsman’s office
opened in Banja Luka in July. By October 1997, the Ombudsman had opened
over 2,000 provisional cases and registered over 1,000 cases. The human
rights chamber had registered 59 cases and has made final decisions on two
! The Peace Implementation Council in June 1996 deemed that implementation
by the Bosnian parties of Annex 6 commitments on human rights has been
inadequate. It expressed concern about the parties’ failure to adopt amnesty
laws, bring property legislation into conformity with the right of return, and
to bring about freedom of movement.
! The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers appointed Michèle Picard as
the President of the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia on November 4,
! Five years after coming into force, responsibility for the human rights
commission is to turn over to the Bosnian government, unless the parties do
not agree, in which case the commission will remain as is.
Outlook Through June 1998 and Beyond
Most observers agree that, beginning in mid-1997, peace implementation efforts
have accelerated. After the first post-Dayton year, notwithstanding IFOR’s
successes, Bosnia appeared nearly as disintegrated as at the end of the war. By the
end of 1997, in contrast, many joint political institutions had been created, larger
numbers of refugees had returned, and the war crimes tribunal had a new lease on life
with the capture or surrender of some indictees. It was doubtful to many, however,
whether the gains of peace could endure the withdrawal of SFOR if no successor
force took its place.
On December 18, 1997, President Clinton announced his support in principle
for U.S. participation in a post-SFOR force after June 1998, reversing the
Administration’s prior position that U.S. troops would leave Bosnia at the end of
SFOR’s mandate. President Clinton stated that Bosnia still needed a “safety net” that
the international community could provide and that an international military presence
would assist. NATO is expected to decide on a successor force by March 1. The
Administration has continued to emphasize the importance of a sustained and
intensified civilian and economic engagement as the key to reaching a sustainable
peace. The likely maintenance of a military force beyond June 1998, however, has
arguably diminished the sense of urgency to accelerate civilian implementation that
SFOR’s planned withdrawal had created.
A new element to the post-SFOR force is that, by the President’s December
1997 statement, its mission is to be tied to specific benchmarks, not a timetable, as
IFOR and SFOR were. What these specific benchmarks or criteria are, and how to
establish ways to measure when they are met, are among the questions currently
being examined by NATO and its member states. Many observers doubt that the
post-SFOR force will explicitly take on a larger role in civilian implementation. On
the other hand, other observers contend that NATO will be in Bosnia for an extended
deployment, if the force does not actively assist in achieving the established
In his December statement, President Clinton outlined five priority areas in
civilian efforts. The first priority is to expand economic growth and opportunity.
The second is to reform and retrain the police. The third is to restructure the staterun media and establish alternative independent media. Fourth is to help more
refugees and displaced persons return home. Fifth is to bring indicted war criminals
to justice in order to remove their influence as obstacles to stability and to make them
answerable for their crimes. During his visit to Bosnia on December 22, President
Clinton furthermore outlined to members of the Bosnian leadership areas where their
commitment to the peace agreement was lacking.
As NATO most likely continues to remain engaged with a military operation in
Bosnia, with no precise exit date expected to be assigned to the post-SFOR force,
greater attention is likely to be paid to the criteria that may constitute the overall final
objective for the international community, i.e., a sustainable peace in Bosnia without
the need for an outside military presence. In the near future, NATO and the
international community are likely to focus on the range of criteria that can be
identified, measurements that can gauge how they can be achieved, the consequences
that may derive from them, and the role, if any, of the post-SFOR in meeting these
essentially civilian criteria.
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