Security Council                                                                                               SC/6454

3842nd Meeting (PM)                                                                                        18 december 1997


                       SECURITY COUNCIL BEGINS CONSIDERATION OF SITUATION

                                                  IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA


                                  Seventeen Speakers Address Council; By Draft Text,

                            Council Would Extend Mission in Bosnia until 21 June 1998


            The Security Council this afternoon began its consideration of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a draft resolution before it that would extend the mandate of the United Nations mission there, including the International Police Task Force, until 21 June 1998.


            The representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of 17 speakers today, told the Council that the most critical of all United Nations work in his country had been the establishment of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.  Reviewing the situation in Bosnia two years after the signing of the General Framework Agreement in Dayton, Ohio, he said while many nations had contributed much in terms of lives and resources since then, it was Bosnians who had paid the highest price.  Now, Bosnians of all backgrounds sought from the Tribunal one thing:  justice.  He urged Member States to ensure that the Tribunal had full access to evidence, witnesses and culpable individuals.


            The representative of Japan said the only way to peace and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina was through the General Framework Agreement.  Progress in its implementation, however, had not kept pace with expectations.  The country was still without a common flag, symbol, currency or passport.  The international community should not tolerate any attempt by any of the parties to dominate the central authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  He urged all parties to fulfil the obligations set out in the Bonn Conference of the Peace Implementation Council.


            The representative of Norway said that his country supported a more persistent approach to ensure that the parties fulfilled their commitments and took increased responsibility in implementing the Framework Agreement.  There was no alternative to the Agreement and compliance with it would continue to be a condition for Norwegian aid and assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Norway firmly believed that the stabilizing presence of a NATO-led military follow-on force authorized by a Security Council mandate would be required after June 1998.


Security Council                                               - 1a -                 Press Release SC/6454

3842nd Meeting (PM)                                                                18 December 1997


            The representative of the Russian Federation voiced support for a future United Nations presence in Bosnia for peace-building and confidence building efforts.  However, he said that recent "unilateral" actions taken by troops serving with the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR), which went beyond the mandate given it by the Council, threatened the lives of peacekeepers and the peace process itself.   While justice must win, he said, it must be won through legitimate efforts.


            The representative of France said continued international assistance must be linked to the cooperation of the parties with the implementation of the General Framework Agreement at all levels.  That huge effort could not lead to lasting restoration of peace unless the necessary reforms were undertaken and central institutions were able to function in a more acceptable way.  Progress was still needed in strengthening democratization and in the struggle against corruption.


            Statements were also made by the representatives of Chile, Costa Rica, Kenya, China, Portugal, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Egypt, Republic of Korea, Guinea-Bissau and Pakistan.


            The Security Council meeting was called to order at 3:25 p.m. and suspended at 6 p.m.  The Council will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday,

19 December, to conclude its debate and act on the draft resolution.


            Council Work Programme


            When the Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document S/1997/966) in which he recommends the 12-month extension of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), which expires 21 December.


            In addition to the one-year extension, the Secretary-General suggests that UNMIBH's civilian police force deployed throughout the country -- the International Police Task Force (IPTF) -- be augmented by crime prevention experts in financial crime, smuggling and corruption, as well as in criminal justice reform, and the development of modern judiciary and penal systems.  The continued presence of IPTF monitors is, however, contingent on the existence of adequate security arrangements, which, at present, could only be secured by a credible international military force, the Secretary-General states.


            The strong and consistent support for UNMIBH by the multinational Stabilization Force (SFOR) led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) -- made up of 35,000 troops -- has allowed the unarmed IPTF monitors to carry out the UNMIBH mandate in an effective manner, the Secretary-General goes on to say.  [One year ago, the Security Council authorized Member States to establish SFOR to succeed the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR).  Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council established SFOR for 18 months and authorized participating Member States to support and ensure implementation of the military aspects of the 1995 General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.]


            In his current report, the Secretary-General notes that UNMIBH has done much to assist in the implementation of the General Framework Agreement.  The UNMIBH -- which includes the IPTF, United Nations civil affairs and human rights officers, and the United Nations Mine Action Centre (MAC) -- has been working for two years to fulfil its tasks as set out in the peace agreement, which pertain to the inter-entity boundary line and related issues.  During that time, the Mission has contributed to:  the inauguration of joint Bosniac-Croat police forces in the two mixed cantons of the Federation; the initiation of a comprehensive police restructuring programme in the Republika Srpska; and the appointment of a multi-ethnic police leadership in the contested city of Brcko.


            Nonetheless, these developments are still in their early stages and remain fragile, the Secretary-General continues.  The future engagement of UNMIBH will be needed to support the development of policing practices in line with internationally acceptable standards.  Building the capacity of local police and of each entities' ministry of the interior is important to the achievement of self-sustained peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 


            Reforming the police, the judicial system and the prisons must be addressed in an integrated way if a law and order environment that is fair and non-discriminatory is to be created, the Secretary-General states.  To date, judicial system reform has been stalled due to the lack of resources and qualified personnel to carry out related activities in both entities.  The Secretary-General suggests that international organizations expand their cooperative efforts to ensure that reform of the judicial and penal systems advance in tandem with that of local police forces.


            Also, the States continue to loose revenue due to economic crimes, which

generally benefit those opposing the peace process, says the Secretary-General.

Investigations by the European Commission have highlighted the extent of financial crime, smuggling and other illicit operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The links between such activities and the political, police

and judicial structures in the three communities -- Serb, Croat and Muslim -- have been documented.  As part of the wider effort to bring about greater professionalism and transparency to public service, the IPTF intends to work with the ministries of the Federation and of Republika Srpska to improve their capacity to deal with financial crime. 


            At the current time, the Secretary-General reports, UNMIBH is ready

to begin training entity police forces in the detection of financial crime, smuggling and corruption.  Also, the Mission is prepared to assist in establishing anti-corruption units.  Close IPTF monitoring of police activities will also extend to this area of law enforcement.  In order to carry out the tasks related to judicial reform and economic crimes, however, the UNMIBH will require an increase in financial resources and in personnel with particular specialities.


            The Council also had before it a draft resolution (document S/1997/989) sponsored by France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Russian Federation, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States, which reads as follows:


            "The Security Council,

            "Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions concerning the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, including resolutions 1031 (1995) of 15 December 1995, 1035 (1995) of 21 December 1995, 1088 (1996) of 12 December 1996, 1103 (1997) of 31 March 1997 and 1107 (1997) of 16 May 1997,


            "Expressing its continued commitment to the political settlement of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States there within their internationally recognized borders,


            "Welcoming the conclusions of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council held in Sintra on 30 May 1997 (S/1997/434, annex) and the Peace Implementation Conference held in Bonn on 9 and 10 December 1997 (S/1997/979, annex),


            "Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 10 December 1997 (S/1997/966), and taking note of his observations, in particular with regard to the International Police Task Force (IPTF),


            "Affirming its full support of the High Representative and his staff and his responsibility in implementing the civilian aspects of the Peace Agreement,


            "Commending the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), in particular the IPTF for its valuable work in such areas as police

restructuring, training, weapons inspections and promoting freedom of movement,

as well as its assistance in connection with the municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina,


            "Expressing its appreciation to the personnel of UNMIBH and commending the leadership and dedication of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the IPTF Commissioner in their efforts to support implementation of the Peace Agreement,


            "Noting that the presence of IPTF monitors is contingent on the existence

of adequate security arrangements, which, at present, can only be secured by a

credible international military force,


            "1.  Decides to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which includes the IPTF, for an additional period terminating

on 21 June 1998, which will be renewed for a further period unless there are significant changes to the security arrangements as currently provided by the multinational stabilization force (SFOR), and decides also that the IPTF shall continue to be entrusted with the tasks set out in Annex 11 of the Peace Agreement, including the tasks referred to in the conclusions of the Peace

Implementation Conference held in London on 4 and 5 December 1996 (S/1996/1012, annex) and of the Sintra and Bonn meetings, and as agreed by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina;


            "2.  Expresses its support for the conclusions of the Bonn Peace Implementation Conference and encourages the Secretary-General to pursue implementation of its relevant recommendations, in particular on the restructuring of the IPTF;


            "3.  Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed regularly about the work of the IPTF and in particular its progress in assisting the

restructuring of law enforcement agencies; to report every three months on the

implementation of its mandate of UNMIBH as a whole; and to include in his first

report a description of action taken to implement recommendations of the Bonn

Conference on restructuring the IPTF, particularly the creation of specialized

IPTF units to train Bosnian police to address more effectively key public

security issues;


            "4.  Reaffirms that the successful implementation of the tasks of the IPTF rests on the quality, experience, and professional skill of its personnel, and

urges Member States, with the support of the Secretary-General, to ensure the provision of such qualified personnel;


            "5.  Urges also Member States to provide training, equipment and related assistance for local police forces in coordination with the IPTF, recognizing that resources are critical to the success of the police reform efforts of the IPTF;


            "6.  Calls upon all concerned to ensure the closet possible coordination among the Office of the High Representative, the multinational stabilization force, UNMIBH and the relevant civilian organizations and agencies in order to ensure the successful implementation of the Peace Agreement and the priority objectives of the civilian consolidation plans, as well as the security of the IPTF;


            "7.  Pays tribute to the victims of the 17 September 1997 helicopter crash in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including members of the Office of the High Representative, the IPTF and a bilateral assistance programme, for their sacrifice in advancing the peace process;


            "8.  Decides to remain seized of the matter."


            Statements


            JUAN SOMAVIA (Chile) said that significant progress had been achieved.  His Government had, in the past two years, emphasized the humanitarian responsibilities of the Council.  It had urged respect for the work of humanitarian workers and international humanitarian law and the need for its application, where necessary.  He drew attention to what was happening to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and what would happen if the NATO troops withdrew.  Was the peace process self-sustaining? he asked.  Could there be reconciliation, if peace depended on the presence of international troops?


            Political understanding did not erase the mistrust that resulted from atrocities, he continued.  Emphasis should be placed on the achievement of reconciliation, because only the moral force of reconciliation could bring about peace.  The United Nations system as a whole, not only the Council, should help bring about peace.


            He requested the Secretary-General to place the issue of reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the agenda of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) for a discussion of all aspects of development assistance.  It was extremely difficult to see how understanding could be achieved in that society, but it could happen.  His own country had had to deal with the problem of reconciliation.  The United Nations and the Security Council could do more to stimulate peace.  He was convinced that a positive outcome in Bosnia and Herzegovina could be an example to other societies.


            HISASHI OWADA (Japan) said the basic tasks of the IPTF were essential to building a multi-ethnic democratic society in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He fully supported the draft resolution under consideration, which would extend the UNMIBH mandate, and he stressed the importance of the security arrangements provided by SFOR for the activities of the IPTF.


            He welcomed the decision of the United States to take part in an international military presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina beyond June 1998, he said.  He also noted the importance of the United Nations presence in other areas, such as human rights monitoring, demining, assisting the smooth conduct of elections, and promoting the return of refugees and displaced persons. He supported the Open City initiative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


            Japan had made significant contributions to the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said.  This year, his country had pledged more than

$190 million in the fields of economic reconstruction, humanitarian and refugee assistance, elections and other peace implementation activities.  His country had also dispatched a substantial number of supervisors and monitors to the municipal elections held under the supervision of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in September this year, as well as long-term advisers to the High Representative.


            He said the only way to peace and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina was through the General Framework Agreement.  Progress in the implementation of

that Agreement, however, had not kept pace with expectations.  The country was still without a common flag, symbol, currency or passport.  The international

community should not tolerate any attempt by any of the parties to dominate the

central authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  He urged all parties to fulfil

the obligations set out in the Bonn Conference of the Peace Implementation Council.


            FERNANDO NARANJO-VILLALOBOS, Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, said implementation of the General Framework Agreement was the only way to bring peace to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  War had been overcome by application of the Agreement and, as such, restoring peace, separating combatants and protecting civilians.  The second anniversary of the signing of the Agreement was an appropriate time for the Council to review the progress achieved and things that still needed to be accomplished. 


            The situation in Bosnia still presented serious problems, he said.  The national authorities must work to build governmental structures to guarantee democracy, respect human rights and allow the return of displaced persons and refugees.  Fundamental human rights must be protected, as must the rights of the displaced and refugees.  Those people continued to confront difficult situations because the authorities of the entities had not taken the actions that would allow them to return to their homes.  It was essential to educate the population about basic tolerance and reconciliation.  International cooperation was needed to create an educational programme to that end.


            Fighting impunity was vital, he said.  The suffering due to the impunity of criminals should be the subject of greater attention.  The parties to the Agreement were not fulfilling their obligations to cooperate with the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and other international bodies working to that end.  Complete cooperation was needed, as was access

to mass grave sites.  Until all war criminals were brought to justice, the reconciliation of the people in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be limited.  Impunity there must disappear.  Due to the outstanding issues, particularly the need for continued reform of the police and the justice system, his Government supported extension of UNMIBH.


            It was clear that there were continued obstacles to peace, he said.  While the responsibility of the national parties was paramount, the international community must continue to play its part.  International assistance was needed in the effort to rebuild the fiscal and institutional structure in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Only through international support could the sustainability of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina be achieved.


            NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya) said that significant progress had been made in the police restructuring programme.  The UNMIBH had played a crucial role in assisting with the municipal elections held on 13 and 14 September 1997 and the elections for the Republika Srpska Assembly held on 22 and 23 November 1997.  The improved cooperation between the IPTF and the local police had facilitated the implementation of the checkpoint policy since May 1997.  The report of the Secretary-General indicated that by August the number of checkpoints approved had dropped from more than 300 per day to 15.  While welcoming that very positive development, he agreed with the Secretary-General that the reduction could only be one element of a broader strategy to promote freedom of movement.


            There was a need to continue focusing on efforts to facilitate the return of all refugees and displaced persons to their origin in safety and dignity, he said.  Harassment of returning refugees and displaced persons was unacceptable.  The presence of mines was, also, still a serious problem.  An average of 50 men, women and children had been injured or killed each month by those indestructible, hidden weapons.  In that regard, he supported the efforts of the Mine Action Centre, the European Commission, Norwegian people's aid, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other groups.


            Economic development was an integral part of any peace process, he said.  As the Secretary-General noted in his report, much had been achieved, but much

remained to be done.  The support of the international community, was therefore,

necessary for Bosnia and Herzegovina to consolidate the progress made so far.  He supported the extension of the mandate of UNMIBH for a further six months.  

            QIN HUASUN (China) said that the peace process was proceeding smoothly in

Bosnia and Herzegovina and should be nurtured.  The parties should implement the

process in earnest.  He hoped the parties would take into account the fundamental interests of the people.  The parties should continue their efforts to solve

outstanding issues and enable institutions to become functional.


            Without peace, there could be no development, he said.  Economic reconstruction was a formidable task, and he appealed for international assistance to enable the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to heal their war wounds.  He also supported the work of the United Nations in accordance with the peace accords.  The United Nations should proceed with care over issues relating to judicial and economic matters, as they were sensitive.  His Government had supported the peace process and hoped the countries in the region would live in harmony.


            SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that although there had been

difficulties, the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina was being implemented.

 A major achievement was the retention of peace and the establishment of a unified state.  Institutions were being established and refugees were returning.  As reaffirmed in Bonn, there was no alternative to the General Framework

Agreement signed in Dayton.


            However, the pace of the peace process was not equal to the amount of international assistance given, he said.  Demonstrations of a lack of political will to secure the peace still took place, and he was concerned about continued unilateral actions that had been taken.  He noted the arrests made yesterday in Bosnia and Herzegovina of individuals by NATO troops, actions which went beyond the mandate given to them by the Security Council.  Such unilateral actions could threaten the lives of peacekeepers and threaten the peace process.  Justice must win, but only through legitimate efforts. 


            He said that the efforts of the United Nations mission had been vital in efforts towards peace-building and confidence-building.  He supported the continued work of UNMIBH and the IPTF in terms of the current mandate.  At the current stage, all international players must monitor the situation with a neutral and dispassionate approach, in line with the agreements reached in Dayton and Paris.


            ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal) said that, despite the considerable progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina, much remained to be done.  The UNMIBH and the IPTF played crucial roles in the implementation of the General Framework Agreement, and it was clear their tasks had been carried out effectively over the last year.  It was a difficult mission, requiring input from other international actors, in particular the NATO-led stabilization force, which provided the security environment necessary for the implementation of the Agreement.


            It was essential, however, for the Bosnian parties themselves to commit fully to peace and cooperation with each other, and with the international organizations there, he said.  He urged the parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to make increased efforts to address inadequate progress, particularly in noting the following areas:  the functioning of common institutions; the protection of human rights; the return of refugees; economic management; and cooperation with the International Tribunal.  The implementation of the results of the municipal elections must also be completed and the problems of local administration must be addressed.


            He said he welcomed the conclusions of the Bonn Peace Implementation Council.  Taken with the Framework Agreement, they represented the blueprint for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There was no alternative to the Framework Agreement, and the mandate of UNMIBH and the IPTF should, therefore, be extended.  Without adequate security arrangements, the work of the United Nations and others in the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Framework Agreement would be compromised.  The security arrangement was currently provided by SFOR, but arrangements should be established after the end of that mandate to ensure the continuity of international efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


            His country had more than 60 personnel serving with the IPTF and more than 300 with SFOR, he said.  He believed very strongly in the need for adequate security. The time for the withdrawal of the international community had not yet come; it must remain in Bosnia to help consolidate peace.


            ZBIGNIEW MATUSZEWSKI (Poland) said that his statement was aligned with that which would be made by the Permanent Representative of Luxembourg on behalf of the European Union and associated States.  The progress made by Bosnia and Herzegovina since the conclusion of the conference in Dayton,

Ohio, was significant.  It constituted yet another example of the political

far-sightedness of the architects of the General Framework Agreement.


            Having participated in the Bonn meeting of the Peace Implementation Council, his Government fully identified itself with that conference's assessments and conclusions, he said.  He regretted that there were still those who seemed to take lightly the obligations they carried under the terms of the Framework Agreement and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.  In that context, he reaffirmed his Government's appreciation to

the Croatian authorities for the important step they had taken in sending

10 citizens to The Hague for trial.  The magnitude of the task in Bosnia and Herzegovina warranted a great deal of organization and coordination on the part of the international actors present in that country.  Their achievements deserved deep appreciation.


            HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said expectations may have been too high when the Dayton Peace Agreement had been reached two years ago, which had caused frustration and impatience in many quarters.  It was important not to lose sight of what had actually been achieved.  After the success of military implementation, a collective presidency and a Council of Ministers had been established.  There had also been increased freedom of movement, economic

revival in some areas and progress in the field of arms control and confidence- and security-building measures.  The media situation had also improved.  Although

far from sufficient, such developments had at least opened the perspective of a viable future for hundreds of thousands of individuals, and paved the way for further progress.


            From the outset of the Dayton Peace Agreement, he said, Sweden had stressed the importance of taking a long-term view of its implementation.  Although this long-term perspective could not always be expressed in binding

resolutions, Sweden was satisfied that, in practice, the international community increasingly acted with this perspective in mind.  The determination expressed

through the Bonn Declaration of last week was a clear indication of this.


            He said Sweden believed that efforts in 1998 should be focused on free media and a democratically controlled police.  It was also essential to enable refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes, including into

so-called minority areas.  The success of refugee return during 1998 would be crucial for the whole reconciliation process.


            The time had not yet come to relax the international involvement in securing the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said.  Sweden was committed to continuing its full support for the peace process in the region, and remained convinced that the success of all efforts in the civilian implementation was contingent upon the continued existence of a credible international military force in Bosnia.  Sweden was prepared to continue to contribute to such a force after SFOR, provided that it was still mandated by the United Nations, NATO-led, with United States participation on the ground.

In that context, Sweden warmly welcomed today's statement by President Clinton.


            Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom) said his Government welcomed the latest action by SFOR to detain two Bosnian Croats who had been indicted for war crimes.  The SFOR troops were to be congratulated for a brave and successful operation.  Other war crime indictees still at large were thereby put on notice that they, too, remained accountable and should surrender themselves to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia without delay. 


            He said the Bonn Peace Implementation Council had set an accelerated agenda for civilian implementation for next year.  It reaffirmed that the only way forward was a unified State of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with two multi-ethnic entities, sovereign and secure within its existing borders.  His Government was determined to put its whole weight behind the peace process and

strongly supported the High Representative's intention to use his full authority under the General Framework Agreement.  The meeting in Bonn had reaffirmed the

full backing of the international community for his efforts.


            Action was expected from the Bosnian authorities on media freedoms, he said.  Action that would allow refugees and displaced persons to return home was also expected.  Progress should also be made on consolidating the central institutions and on introducing good government practices, particularly in the area of transparency in public accounts.  It was hoped that the new Republika

Srpska Assembly and Government would meet soon and emphasize that all political institutions throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina would be held to internationally accepted standards of democratization and accountability.


            British troops had been on the ground in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the beginning of the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNPROFOR), and remained the largest European contingent, he said.  The British Government had made it clear that it was ready to stay for the foreseeable future, if others were.  President Clinton's commitment in principle to contribute United States troops and command to a follow-on force was, therefore, welcome.  That would help to ensure the success of a post-SFOR mission and to consolidate SFOR's considerable achievements in advancing civilian implementation.


            His Government looked forward to the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the IPTF, he said.  The extension of the IPTF mandate for six months was strategically coherent, while offering the best way of meeting operational requirements.  It was hoped that the extension would be agreed on without difficulty.


            ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said there had been progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The military aspects had been largely completed.  Major reconstruction had been undertaken, with the European Union the major donor for the economic reconstruction.  Continued international assistance must be linked to the cooperation of the parties with the implementation of the General Framework Agreement at all levels.  That huge effort could not lead to lasting restoration unless the necessary reforms were undertaken and central institutions were able to function in a more acceptable way.  Progress was still needed in strengthening democratization and in the struggle against corruption.  Also, the return of refugees and displaced persons must continue.


            All indicted persons must be handed over to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, he said.  The parties held the primary responsibility in

that regard.  His Government was shocked by recent comments in the press

criticizing the activities of SFOR in carrying out the efforts of the Tribunal.

  All nations participating in SFOR shared the responsibility to ensure that indicted war criminals were brought together.  That activity had been agreed upon jointly by the countries involved.  The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina called for additional efforts by all, particularly on the part of the parties.


            NABIL ELARABY (Egypt) said many achievements had been made in  implementing the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Yet, a thorough analysis of the provisions of the peace accords made clear that some aspects were lagging, which could lead, in time, to a collapse of the peace process.  Despite the difficulty of dealing with war criminals, SFOR had apprehended some war criminals, proving that SFOR was able to deal with that question.  Of nearly 80 indicted war criminals, only 20 had been apprehended and only two tried and sentenced.  The Bosnians had been the only party who had extradited all indicted criminals within their jurisdictions.  Of seven in the Republika Srpska, several had been apprehended, with some remains at large who exercised a good deal of influence.  The reconciliation process would not be successful without bringing those indicted war criminals to trial. 


            The international community must link international aid with the achievement of commitments by the authorities in the Republika Srpska, he said.  The great attention given to political goals, over the humanitarian and refugee aspects, threatened the whole peace process.  Obstacles continued to stand in the way of the  return of large numbers of displaced persons and refugees.  Full respect for human rights was needed, as was full freedom of movement and the press.


            The second stage of arms reduction had not been achieved by authorities in the Republika Srpska, which cast doubts on its military intentions, particularly as the Federation's military capacity remained far below the level set in the Framework Agreement, he said.  The Council must ensure the implementation of that aspect of the Agreement to prevent eruptions in the future.


            He said in the view of the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Contact Group, the role of the Security Council in Bosnia should not be limited to UNMIBH or IFOR.  The role of the Council must also include setting guidelines to deal with existing problems in coordination with the Peace Implementation Council.  Also, SFOR must be given a larger role to impose the will of the international community, as must the international force that will succeed SFOR.


            PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said the positive developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the conclusion of the Dayton Peace Agreement were due, in large part, to the coordinated involvement of a host of international players in the region. Military action, secession and the domination in the country by one ethnic group had all so far been avoided, but careful attention was still needed. 


            His country believed implementation of the Peace Agreement was the only way to attain a comprehensive solution.  Multi-ethnic political and social structures should be created and economic rehabilitation fostered.  He said urgent action must be undertaken to ensure that refugees and displaced persons could safely return to their homes, and that their property rights should be protected.  All parties should redouble their efforts to cooperate with the International Tribunal, in order to strengthen a sense of justice and the rule of law.  There must be full respect for human rights, irrespective of ethnicity, by all parties.


            Common institutions in the central government must function effectively in order to reintegrate Bosnian society and to reconcile the people.  The leaders of the respective groups should be flexible in step-by-step actions to that end.  International economic assistance should continue to be linked to the degree of compliance by the various authorities with the obligations and

conditions set out in the Peace Agreement and subsequent international meetings.


            It was also essential, he said that the local police restructuring undertaken by the IPTF be further pursued, and that the process be combined with comprehensive judicial reform.  Recent initiatives aimed at tackling financial crime and corruption should also be supported by the international community.


            ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL (Guinea-Bissau) said the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina was continuing, and the progress achieved so far was modest, which meant there was much to be done.  it was up to the authorities of the country to work for the establishment of peace, whatever the role of the international community.  All the parties should commit themselves with determination to the implementation of the agreements they had signed.


            He said the future of refugees and displaced persons remained uncertain.  They had a right to return to their homes if they so desired, and he commended the efforts of United Nations bodies, the European Union and non-governmental organizations that were carrying out projects to ensure the safe return of refugees.  He also welcomed the continuation of the Open City programme.  He noted the importance of the preservation of the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


            He agreed with the recommendation of the Secretary-General to extend the mandate of the Mission.  In particular, he agreed with the proposal to proceed with the reform of the country's judicial system.  He welcomed the conclusions of the meeting in Bonn of the Peace Implementation Council and the need to maintain the presence of the international military force.


            MUHAMED SACIRBEY (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said the United Nations had not failed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  However, neither had it yet succeeded.  The fault for that situation lay with those who could and should have done more themselves.  But, the United Nations was left with a job that it could never fully complete.  Under such circumstances, the United Nations could at best be seen as partially succeeding.  Nonetheless, the efforts of the United Nations and its agencies had saved lives.  The commitment of many individuals must be recognized, particularly those who lost their lives. 


            However, the facts were that 5 per cent of the Bosnian population -- more than 250,000 people -- lost their lives in the conflict and 50 per cent of the population had been displaced or made into refugees, he said.  Those facts revealed why the efforts of the United Nations could not be termed a success.


            His Government welcomed the extension of the mandate of the multilateral force, led by NATO, beyond the deadline of the summer of 1998, he said.  The operation would be the linchpin of the concerted efforts to secure a real and lasting peace in Bosnia.  Nonetheless, as the last two years had shown, the military aspect of implementation would prove to be rather hollow without a coordinated and revitalized effort on the so-called civilian aspects of implementation.  


            The High Representative must receive the necessary support to implement his mandate, he continued.  The agencies and organs of the United Nations in Bosnia had been decisive to the success of peace.  The role of the UNHCR in rolling back the consequences of ethnic cleansing and facilitating the return of refugees from abroad was essential.  The efforts of the IPTF enhanced democracy, human rights and the respect for law, as well as freedom of movement and return of refugees throughout the country. 


            The most critical of all United Nations activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina had been the establishment of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, he said.  He thanked the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands for their commitment and the courage of their soldiers for recent efforts, one of which occurred this morning, to bring war criminals to justice.  However, he was concerned about recent reports that indicated a lack of respect or even disdain for the Tribunal's mandate.  It was especially disquieting if that disregard had come from some countries around the Security Council table who had been instrumental in establishing the Tribunal, as well as in reaching the Dayton accords.  To refer to the Tribunal as a "show court" was unacceptable.


            While he was sure that Judge Louise Arbour could take care of herself, he said he was concerned about the lack of dignity shown to the Tribunal.  The lack of respect for the Tribunal was directly correlated with the level of respect shown to Bosnia.  He said that of equal concern was the fact that a large number of States had not yet adopted domestic legislation in line with full cooperation with the Tribunal. 


            While political decisions had been made in capitals, it was the individual that exhibited courage or cowardice, morality or shame, legality or illegality on the ground, he said.  It was the individual soldiers or officers who had witnessed the good and the bad, the acts of compassion, as well as crimes and genocide.  The only thing needed from Member States now was for them to ensure that full evidence be provided and that the Tribunal had full access to witnesses and culpable individuals.  While nations had contributed much in terms of lives and resources, it was Bosnians who paid the highest price.  It was Bosnians of all backgrounds who sought from the Tribunal the greatest asset that civilization could provide:  justice. 


            AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan) said that, although the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina had finally come to an end, the scar of the bitter past was deep, and the healing process arduous.  Important progress had been made since the

Dayton Peace Accords of 1995, but areas where progress had not been satisfactory included the return of refugees and displaced persons, the freedom of movement

across the inter-entity boundary lines, and the effective functioning of the common State structure, namely, the Presidency, the Council of Ministers and Parliamentary Assembly.  While the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina had

extended full cooperation in achieving those goals, he said, the Serbian entity

had demonstrated a lack of commitment, seriously hampering international efforts.


            He said the Serbs also continued to evade their obligations in the military field, under agreements on regional stabilization and arms control.  The international community should ensure that all parties fulfilled their obligations.  It should also ensure that the parties, particularly the Serbian entity, complied with the relevant provisions of the Dayton Accords relating to the issue of criminal proceedings.  The United Nations troops on the ground should also cooperate with the International Tribunal in achieving the ideal of "peace with justice" in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


            He said Pakistan supported the efforts of the IPTF in restructuring and training of police; those efforts would bear fruit if accompanied by a reform of the judicial system, for which adequate resources and personnel should be provided.  Pakistan had provided 100 police personnel for the IPTF and would provide more whenever required.  It was also implementing a programme for training of 200 Bosnian military personnel.


            JAKKEN BIORN LIAN (Norway) said that at the conference in Bonn last week, countries participating in SFOR agreed that important progress had been achieved, but that more remained to be done.  His Government supported a more persistent approach to ensure that the parties fulfilled their commitments and took increased responsibility in implementing the Framework Agreement.  As international involvement and support would still be needed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, his Government would remain actively engaged.  But, it demanded, at the same time, the full cooperation from all parties.  There was no alternative to the Agreement reached in Dayton and compliance with it would continue to be a condition for Norwegian aid and assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina.


            Praising the work of UNMIBH, he said he supported the extension of its mandate for another 12 months, unless substantial changes in the security situation occurred.  Within the NATO framework, the process of considering post-SFOR options in Bosnia and Herzegovina had begun.  He firmly believed that the stabilizing presence of a NATO-led military follow-on force authorized by a Council mandate would be required after June 1998.  Together, with allies and partners, Norway would continue to participate with troops in such a common endeavour.


            Support by a NATO-led military force would be crucial to the successful completion of IPTF's efforts to restructure, retrain and reform the local police and the judicial system.  His Government questioned whether any other formula could function more effectively than the SFOR-IPTF cooperation.  Mandating the arming of IPTF personnel to take on law enforcement tasks was not a viable option.  It was better to increase international assistance to IPTF efforts.  His Government would provide $400,000 in support of police academies and the purchase of uniforms.  Also, it would provide more IPTF police personnel with special qualifications, including training skills, as well as making further financial contributions to the IPTF police reform efforts.


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