Security Council SC/7319
4484th Meeting* (AM) 5 March 2002
SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES EUROPEAN UNION OFFER TO PROVIDE POLICE MISSION
IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA FROM 1 JANUARY 2003
As it reviewed the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina this morning, the Security Council welcomed the acceptance by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council on 28 February of the offer of the European Union to provide a European Union Police Mission, from 1 January 2003, to follow the end of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH).
Unanimously adopting resolution 1396 (2002), the Council also welcomed the European Union's intention to invite non-Union member States to participate in the Police Mission. Further, it encouraged coordination between UNMIBH, the Union and the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement, to ensure a seamless transition of responsibilities from the International Police Task Force (IPTF) to the European Union Police Mission.
In addition, the Council welcomed and agreed to the designation by the Steering Board of Lord Paddy Ashdown as High Representative succeeding Wolfgang Petritsch, as well as expressed their appreciation to Mr. Petritsch for his achievements.
In doing so, Council members reaffirmed the important role of the High Representative in implementing the Peace Agreement and giving guidance to and coordinating the activities of the civilian organizations and agencies involved in assisting the parties to implement the Peace Agreement.
The Council also welcomed the Steering Board conclusions concerning the streamlining of the international civilian implementation effort in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In a debate held prior to the adoption of the resolution, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said UNMIBH was well on track to complete its core mandate by the end of 2002. It had improved and integrated the police, while serving as a voice of co-existence, tolerance and cooperation at all levels of society. Through all those efforts, UNMIBH’s civilian and police officers had done much to give the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina faith in a better, peaceful and united future.
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* 4482nd and 4483rd Meetings were closed.
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However, he stressed that there were still challenges to be faced by the Bosnians themselves and by the international community committed to helping them. Among those, in the area of police, were low salaries and poor housing conditions; lack of funds; and continued political interference in the work of law enforcement agencies. There would, undoubtedly, continue to be a need for international monitoring and assistance in order to sustain the progress that had been made.
In his final address to the Council as High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement, Wolfgang Petritsch stated that the European Union Police Mission represented a unique opportunity for the Union to develop its political engagement with Bosnia and Herzegovina and supported a structural reform crucial to the country’s Europeanization process.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, he stressed, had reached a crucial juncture in its path towards permanent recovery. Time was of the essence. The elections to be held on 5 October would be the first post-war polls organized by the national authorities and would introduce a four-year election cycle, which should further enhance the stability of the political system.
As the rule of law had begun to take hold, he continued, the number of returning refugees had increased dramatically. Last year, more than 92,000 minority returns were recorded -- a 36 per cent increase over the corresponding figure for 2000. If that rate was maintained, mass return would be completed within two years.
Outlining remaining challenges, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jacques Paul Klein, said some major projects depended on additional funding. The UNMIBH was short of $3.5 million for capital and equipment costs to be able to complete basic police equipment and facilities. In addition, the political support of the High representative was vital for the completion of police restructuring.
There was a grave imbalance in the rule of law whereby police standards had improved, but the judicial system remained dysfunctional, he added. Arresting criminals was useless if they were freed by timorous or corrupt judicial officials a few hours later, and then intimidated witnesses or threatened the families of police officers. Band-aid measures were not enough. Immediate radical reform of the judiciary and prosecutors was key to everything the international community was trying to achieve in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Also addressing the Council, Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the European Union Council and High Representative for Foreign Policy and Common Security, stated that the new European Union Police Mission would seek to establish sustainable policing arrangements under national ownership in accordance with best European and international practice, thereby raising current Bosnian police standards. The Mission, entrusted with the necessary authority to monitor, mentor and inspect, should achieve its goal by the end of 2005. It emphasized the openness of the European Security and Defence Policy and the willingness and ability of the Union to work closely with the United Nations.
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The representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina said the substantial progress achieved in the peace implementation process in his country in the last year was only the first step in building a sustainable country. In light of the long-term orientation of UNMIBH towards the self-sustainability of local institutions, he emphasized the need for further assistance from the international community, since the progress so far was still fragile.
Noting that UNMIBH's mandate would terminate at the end of this year, he recommended that the Organization prepare a comprehensive evaluation of its involvement in the Dayton Peace Agreement. That evaluation could be used as a base for the further evolution of the peace process. It could also serve as a guide in the update and upgrade of the Dayton-based constitutional structure, in accordance with European Union human rights standards.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Spain (on behalf of the European Union), United Kingdom, Bulgaria, United States, Syria, France, Guinea, Russian Federation, Singapore, Ireland, Mauritius, Mexico, Cameroon, Colombia, China, Norway, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Croatia and Ukraine.
The meeting, which began at 10:18 a.m., adjourned at 1:43 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1396 (2002) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, including resolutions 1031 (1995) of 15 December 1995, 1088 (1996) of 12 December 1996, 1112 (1997) of
12 June 1997, 1256 (1999) of 3 August 1999, and 1357 (2001) of 21 June 2001,
"Recalling also the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Annexes thereto (collectively the Peace Agreement, S/1995/999, annex), and the conclusions of the Peace Implementation Conferences held in Bonn on 9 and 10 December 1997 (S/1997/979, annex), Madrid on 16 and 17 December 1998 (S/1999/139, appendix), and Brussels on 23 and 24 May 2000 (S/2000/586, annex),
"Welcoming the conclusions of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) on 28 February 2002, as well as the conclusions of the General Affairs Council of the European Union of 18 February 2002 (S/2002/212),
"Expressing its appreciation to the Secretary-General, his Special Representative and the personnel of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), which includes the International Police Task Force (IPTF), for their contributions to the implementation of the Peace Agreement and preparations for the efficient transition to the follow-on to UNMIBH,
“1. Welcomes and agrees to the designation by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) on 28 February 2002 of Lord Ashdown as High Representative in succession to Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch;
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“2. Expresses its appreciation to Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch for his achievements as the High Representative;
“3. Welcomes the acceptance by the Steering Board of the PIC on
28 February 2002 of the offer made by the European Union (EU) to provide an EU Police Mission (EUPM), from 1 January 2003, to follow the end of UNMIBH’s mandate, as part of a coordinated rule of law programme, and the EU’s intention to also invite non-EU member States to participate in the EUPM;
“4. Encourages coordination between UNMIBH, the EU and the High Representative in order to ensure a seamless transition of responsibilities from IPTF to the EUPM;
“5. Welcomes also the PIC Steering Board conclusions on 28 February 2002 concerning the streamlining of the international civilian implementation effort in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
“6. Reaffirms the importance it attaches to the role of the High Representative in pursuing the implementation of the Peace Agreement and giving guidance to and coordinating the activities of the civilian organizations and agencies involved in assisting the parties to implement the Peace Agreement;
“7. Reaffirms also the final authority of the High Representative in theatre regarding the interpretation of Annex 10 on civilian implementation of the Peace Agreement;
“8. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”
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The Security Council met this morning to review the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It had before it a letter dated 26 February from the Secretary-General to the Council President, transmitting the report of the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement, Wolfgang Petritsch (document S/2002/209). The report covers the activities of the Office of the High Representative and developments in the country during the period from 26 August 2001 to 19 February 2002.
According to the report, the events of 11 September 2001 left their imprint on the domestic affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities demonstrated their commitment to global action by working closely with the international community to establish the Coordination Team in the Fight against Terrorism, review citizenship cases, develop a badly needed package of anti-terrorism legislation, and pass the five laws comprising the Citizens Identification Protection System..
At its 6 December 2001 meeting, the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board endorsed the High Representative's draft action plan on streamlining the work of the international civilian organizations in the country. The plan includes policy coordination task forces on rule of law, institution building, economic policy, and return and reconstruction. [He was to have presented a refined plan, including an assessment of multi-year funding requirements to the Steering Board at their meeting on 28 February.] The Board will also decide on the police follow-up mission replacing the United Nations International Police Task Force (IPTF), whose mandate is expected to terminate on 31 December.
The year 2001, he states, produced 92,061 "minority" returns, an increase of 36 per cent over 2000. On 24 January, the High Representative issued a decision ensuring transparency in the allocation of funds for refugee return in the entity budgets. Among other things, the decision requires entity ministers to notify periodically the State Minister for Human Rights and Refugees on their expenditure on refugee return.
He also states that, although there must be no legal pre-conditions for cooperation with The Hague Tribunal, it was a positive sign that the National Assembly of Republika Srpska passed in September a law on the matter. However, six months afterwards, the Republika Srpska authorities have not apprehended a single person indicted for war crimes. Moreover, the fact that the main Republika Srpska indictees, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, are still at large, is a worrying fact that seriously hampers the normalization of life in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In an effort to speed up preparations for the elections scheduled for
5 October, the High Representative appointed both the three international and four national members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Election Commission.
Fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended on 11 October 1995. From then until 20 December 1995, forces of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) monitored a ceasefire put in place to allow for peace negotiations being launched in Dayton, Ohio. On 21 November 1995, in Dayton, the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina was initialled. On 8 and 9 December 1995, the Peace Implementation Conference met in London, appointing the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina. On
14 December 1995, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as well as the other parties, signed the Peace Agreement in Paris.
The Agreement with its 11 annexes covered a broad range of issues including: military aspects of the peace settlement; regional stabilization; delineation of an Inter-entity Boundary Line between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska; holding of democratic elections; human rights; assistance to refugees; civilian implementation of the Peace Agreement; and an International Police Task Force. The parties agreed to a ceasefire, which had begun in October 1995, withdrawal of UNPROFOR and deployment of a NATO-led multinational Implementation Force, to be known as IFOR. All final decisions concerning military aspects of the implementation were to be made by the IFOR Commander. Full cooperation was pledged with "all entities involved in the implementation plan", including the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia located at The Hague.
On 15 December 1995, the Council, by its resolution 1031 (1995), endorsed the establishment of a High Representative to "mobilize and, as appropriate, give guidance to, and coordinate the activities of the civilian organizations and agencies” involved with the civilian aspects of the Peace Agreement. In December 1996, the Council authorized Member States to set up a multinational stabilization Force (SFOR) to succeed IFOR. The SFOR remains deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On 21 December 1995, the Council, by its resolution 1035 (1995), decided to establish the United Nations International Police Task Force (IPTF) and a United Nations civilian office, brought together as the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). The Mission exercises a wide range of functions related to the law enforcement activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also coordinates other United Nations activities in the country relating to humanitarian relief and refugees, demining, human rights, elections and rehabilitation of infrastructure and economic reconstruction.
The High Representative, appointed by the 1995 London Peace Implementation Conference, works closely with UNMIBH and is the final authority on interpretation of civilian aspects of the Peace Agreement, which was initialled in Dayton, Ohio, in November 1995 and signed in Paris the following month. The Agreement resulted in the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina into two Entities, the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The High Representative’s Office has focused on the effective functioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina State (or common) institutions, economic reform, judicial and legal reform and, in general, the country’s integration into Europe.
KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said UNMIBH was well on track to complete its core mandate by the end of 2002. It had improved and integrated the police, while serving as a voice of co-existence, tolerance and cooperation at all levels of society. Through all those efforts, UNMIBH’s civilian and police officers had done much to give the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina faith in a better, peaceful and united future.
Specifically, UNMIBH had transformed the police force from a 4,000-strong wartime militia to a 16,000-strong professional police force, he said. In addition, each police officer had been trained in human rights; selected groups had been trained in drug control, organized crime and crowd control; two multi-ethnic police academies had been established in Sarajevo and Banja Luka; and the State Border Service presently covered 75 per cent of the country’s borders, and had reduced illegal immigration through Bosnia and Herzegovina by two thirds.
However, he stressed that there were still challenges to be faced by the Bosnians themselves and by the international community committed to helping them. Among those, in the area of police, were low salaries and poor housing conditions; lack of funds; and continued political interference in the work of law enforcement agencies. There would undoubtedly continue to be a need for international monitoring and assistance in order to sustain the progress that had been made.
He welcomed a recent decision by the European Union to establish a post-UNMIBH follow-on police mission to commence on 1 January 2003. The next phase of capacity-building in law enforcement -- including improving judicial and penal systems – would, therefore, be carried out in the European context. The United Nations stood ready to cooperate closely with the European Union, the Office of the High Representative and others concerned to ensure timely planning and a smooth transition.
Ultimately, it was the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina who would take control of their own destiny and build a peaceful, prosperous future as a successful multi-ethnic State, he said. Hopefully, they would find support and inspiration in the many countries around the world that had made their diversity their greatest asset, with opportunities for all in a climate of tolerance and mutual respect.
WOLFGANG PETRITSCH, High Representative for the Implementation of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Peace Agreement, said that consolidating the rule of law had underpinned the Implementation Council strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, since institution-building, refugee return and economic development could only be promoted in a secure environment of law and order. In that respect, the work of the IPTF, mandated by the Dayton/Paris Peace Accords to provide the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina with an efficient and impartial police service, had been key to the peace implementation efforts.
On 18 February, the European Union’s General Affairs Council announced that the European Union was ready to establish a police mission, which would take over from the IPTF from 1 January 2003, he said. The police mission, supported by the Union’s institution-building programmes, would contribute to peace implementation and to the Union’s overall policy in the region. It represented a unique opportunity for the European Union to develop its political engagement with Bosnia and Herzegovina and supported a structural reform crucial to the country’s Europeanization process. The Union’s initiative was welcomed and accepted by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council on 28 February.
He said that policing in Bosnia and Herzegovina would not be fully effective as long as there was a belief that certain individuals were beyond the reach of the law. In that respect, the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the cooperation given to the Tribunal by the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities at the State level and in both entities, was crucial to the country’s overall recovery.
While international efforts in the broad sphere of the rule of law had yielded results, progress in some areas had fallen short of expectations because there had not yet been a thorough reform of the judiciary. The Judicial System Assessment Programme, set up by UNMIBH two years earlier, had been terminated in November 2000. As a result, his Office was tasked to set up the Independent Judicial Commission. On 14 March 2001, he issued the decision formalizing the establishment of the Commission and determining its mandate. However, the Commission reported an alarming picture -– judges and prosecutors, many of whom gained office during or immediately after the war on ethnic or political rather than professional grounds, were often unfit to carry out their duties. There was a lack of adequate financing, and courts were often subject to undue external influence.
He had presented a reinvigorated programme of judicial reform measures for 2002/2003 to the Political Directors of the Steering Board. That combined a restructuring of the Bosnia and Herzegovina court system and a depoliticized appointment procedure, with the introduction of a High Judicial Council. It also encompassed the reform of key laws, including civil and criminal procedure codes.
Bosnia and Herzegovina had reached a crucial juncture in its path towards permanent recovery, he said. The main political parties were discussing how to implement the Constitutional Court’s decision on the constituency of peoples throughout the country. That was the test case of whether Bosnia and Herzegovina would develop into a State committed to human rights and the rule of law and to the protection of individuals, as well as the protection of the nation’s three Constituent Peoples and the group of the so-called Others.
Time was of the essence, he stressed. The current constitutional discussions must produce a successful outcome within days, so the necessary amendments could be made to the Entity constitutions and the Bosnia and Herzegovina Election Law within the timeframe required to hold general elections on schedule in October. Those elections would be the first post-war polls organized by the domestic authorities and would introduce a four-year election cycle, which should further enhance the stability of the political system.
As the rule of law had begun to take hold, the number of returning refugees, throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, had increased dramatically, he said. Last year, more than 92,000 so-called minority returns were recorded, a 36 per cent increase over the corresponding figure for 2000. If that rate was maintained, mass return would be completed within two years.
As the circumstances of peace implementation had considerably changed, the Implementation Council had adapted its engagement so as to meet new challenges in the most effective way. In the spring of 2001, he was asked to oversee the streamlining of international civil implementation structures in the country. Among the key elements of the final streamlining plan, the Steering Board would remain the overall board of directors. At the centre, there would be four task forces covering the core strategic areas of economic reform, refugee return, institution building and the rule of law. The streamlined model, being put into effect immediately, would deliver a leaner, less bureaucratic Implementation Council presence with reduced overall costs.
In conclusion, he informed the Council of his intention to leave his post at the end of May. He was confident that his successor, Paddy Ashdown, with the Council’s continued support, would further build on the solid foundation that had been put in place.
JACQUES PAUL KLEIN, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), said progress since the Secretary-General’s last report had been steady. January had seen the completion of the two-year registration of 16,919 law enforcement officers. A process of vetting all those suspected of war and other crimes, as well as violation of property laws, had also begun. All provisionally authorized police officers had undertaken compulsory training courses in human rights, and had received or were completing advanced professional training.
He said that in the core area of police restructuring, a comprehensive systems analysis of 21 police administrations had begun in January. The Brcko District Police Force established last year served as the model for a democratic, multi-ethnic local police institutions. The goal was to accredit law enforcement agencies meeting that model. The expected completion of that project in September would coincide with the final certification of individual police officers.
Minority police representation had steadily increased, he said. Through the two established police academies, more than 1,050 minority officers, including
365 women, had been recruited. Some 192 minority officers had returned to their pre-war locations through UNMIBH’s voluntary redeployment programme, and 85 former officers had been re-employed following refresher courses. At least 300 minority cadets were expected this year, and more could be processed once the European Union-financed rebuilding of the academies was finished.
Regarding institution building and inter-agency police force cooperation, he said the State Border Service had made extraordinary progress, and by the end of April some 88 per cent of the border and all airports were under its control. The effective operation of the Service, together with the introduction of a partial visa regime and an airport landing card, had resulted in a 66 per cent decrease in illegal migration through Sarajevo airport in 2001 (down from 24,000 to 8,000). This year had witnessed even further reductions and an estimated 20 per cent increase in customs revenues.
The UNMIBH, working with the Bosnia and Herzegovina Government, expected the new State Information and Protection Agency to be established in the coming months, he said. It would be responsible for collecting, analyzing and distributing data to other law enforcement agencies to improve the fight against international and inter-entity crime. The UNMIBH had also established mechanisms for regional police operation through the regular ministerial level meeting on police and the trilateral Regional Law Enforcement Agreement.
He said UNMIBH continued to aggressively combat human trafficking. In the past six months, special teams of international and local police had monitored
270 raids and interviewed 800 women and girls involved in prostitution. Since March 1999, some 410 trafficking victims had been assisted and repatriated. The UNMIBH was now focusing on prosecuting trafficking and brothel owners, resulting in more than 50 criminal charges. Sentences had ranged from four to 36 months imprisonment and substantial fines.
The UNMIBH had investigated every single claim of alleged involvement by IPTF members in trafficking, he emphasized. Despite media sensationalism, not one allegation had been substantiated, and no additional information had been forthcoming. The UNMIBH pursued a rigorous zero-tolerance policy and it was disappointing that, despite its intensive efforts and the IPTF’s outstanding work, unfounded rumours continued to surface.
Outlining remaining challenges, he said some major projects depended on additional funding. The UNMIBH was short of $3.5 million for capital and equipment costs to be able to complete basic police equipment and facilities. In addition, the political support of the High representative was vital for the completion of police restructuring. Most cantons and the Republika Srpska entity were on track, but were facing determined obstruction in the Federation and in Canton Sarajevo from a political party that claimed that it wanted to be a partner of the international community while it sought to politicize and suborn the police forces.
He expressed deep concern about the inability or unwillingness of the local judiciary to do its work. There was a grave imbalance in the rule of law whereby police standards had improved, but the judicial system remained dysfunctional. Arresting criminals was useless if they were freed by timorous or corrupt judicial officials a few hours later, and then intimidated witnesses or threatened the families of police officers. Band-aid measures were not enough. Immediate radical reform of the judiciary and prosecutors was key to everything the international community was trying to achieve in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
UNMIBH’s downsizing and mission liquidation planning was well advanced, he said. The Mission intended to retain about 1,600 IPTF monitors until immediately after the October elections and then to rapidly downsize to around 600 IPTF in preparation for the transition to the European Union mission. However, even with a seamless transfer, the presence of SFOR would remain essential until there was full political stabilization and substantial progress in reconciliation. Of great importance to both those goals was the arrest of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.
INOCENCIO ARIAS (Spain), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the importance the European Union ascribed to the issue being discussed today was underscored by the presence of the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and the High Representative for Foreign Policy and Common Security, Javier Solana. He requested that Mr. Solana be granted an opportunity to speak.
JAVIER SOLANA, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for Foreign Policy and Common Security, said the Union welcomed the designation last week of Lord Ashdown as successor to Wolfgang Petritsch. He expected the authorities, at all levels, to cooperate fully with the new High Representative.
In meeting its responsibilities, the Union was playing an increasingly important role, in terms of financial assistance and in providing a longer-term political perspective and a concrete contribution to peace and stability. The European Union would continue to provide an important amount of financial assistance. In total, the Union had provided more than 3 billion euros in financial assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1991. This year alone, the Union was likely to contribute a further 200 million euros.
On the new European Union Police Mission, he said it would build on the remarkable achievements of the IPTF. It would follow, not replace, the IPTF and draw extensively on IPTF’s experience, and on Jacques Klein’s help and advice, reflecting what had been done and what needed to be done in the future. It would also draw from the very good and important cooperation established on the ground with SFOR. The Police Mission would seek to establish sustainable policing arrangements under Bosnia and Herzegovina ownership in accordance with best European and international practice, thereby raising current Bosnian police standards. The Mission, entrusted with the necessary authority to monitor, mentor and inspect, should achieve its goal by the end of 2005. Its strength would be around 470 police officers and 70 civilian experts.
The European Union’s aim, he said, was a broad approach to the whole range of rule of law needs, including police activities. The Mission, supported by the European Community’s institution-building programmes, would thus contribute to overall peace implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as to the achievements of the Union’s overall policy in the region, notably the stabilization and association process.
The Mission, he said, emphasized two things: first, the openness of the European Security and Defence Policy; and second, the willingness and ability of the Union to work closely with the United Nations. The Union had decided to invite 20 countries to make offers of contributions to the Mission. Both the European Union and the United Nations were aware of the need to establish practical arrangements to ensure a smooth and seamless transition between the IPTF and the Police Mission.
Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom), subscribing to the European Union approach set out by Mr. Solana, said 2002 was a crucial year with elections coming up in October. He requested a more detailed description of security conditions in the run-up to those elections and stressed the need to avoid downsizing the IPTF before full stabilization had been achieved.
Stressing the need for efforts to improve the rule of law in the run-up to the October elections, he said such measures should encompass judicial and penal, as well as police, reforms. Economic reform also remained a serious concern. Trade between the entities was disappointing, affecting unemployment, which was still too high, as well as other economic aspects.
Emphasizing that no individual was beyond the reach of the law, he welcomed recent efforts to capture Radovan Karadzic. The United Kingdom disagreed with misguided criticism of those efforts emanating from the Republika Srpska. The arrest and transfer to The Hague of Karadzic and Ratko Mladic would signal a new page in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said.
STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria) fully endorsed the conclusions offered by
Mr. Solana. He paid tribute to High Representative Petritsch for following through on the peace implementation plan and expressed satisfaction with the decision to appoint Lord Ashdown as his successor. His country had always supported the Dayton/Paris Accords and the efforts of the international community to bring about a united and multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina. He felt the local authorities should progressively take over the necessary functions so that the nation could become autonomous and take its place in the international community. It was important for the Bosnian authorities to be fully involved in the lead-up to the October elections.
He appealed to the authorities to implement the four decisions handed down in May by the Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitutional Court to facilitate the integration of the nation into the European Community. He appreciated the European Union’s strategy to ensure a seamless transfer of duties from the IPTF to the European Union Police Mission. The involvement of non-European Union members in the Mission should be clarified. The High Representative’s streamlining plan deserved the fullest backing of the Council. He also welcomed the high rate of refugee return, as well as progress in normalizing relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina with neighbouring countries. He stressed that more active cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was needed. He hailed the High Representative for promoting dialogue among the three major religious groups.
JAMES CUNNINGHAM (United States) said the draft plan on streamlining the work of the international civilian organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina was timely and necessary for implementing the next phase of the Dayton peace accords. However, there was still too little progress on the part of the Government in making the hard decisions.
He emphasized that economic growth in Bosnia and Herzegovina would not be sustainable until investors were confident that the Government could, on its own, address police, judicial, economic and other problems. While the upcoming elections were not premature, holding them would require a considerable effort on the part of the leaders and people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He expressed his country’s support for efforts to apprehend people indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The United States wished to see those indicted, including Karadzic and Mladic, brought to The Hague and urged the Republika Srpska to fulfil its obligations under the Dayton Accords by turning them over to the Tribunal.
MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) welcomed the decision of the European Union to appoint Lord Ashdown as successor to Mr. Petritsch and wished him success. He expressed satisfaction with the holding of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council, which had adopted the draft plan on streamlining the work of the civil administration bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He paid tribute to the efforts of the High Representative with regard to facilitating refugee return. The year 2001 had witnessed more than 92,000 minority returns, which would have a clear effect on the social and economic stability of the country.
He looked forward to the October elections and shared the call of the High Representative to accelerate preparations for those elections. Its success would have major effect on the political life of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He stressed the urgent need for reform and strengthening of the defence forces and the army for Bosnia and Herzegovina to discharge its security and defence duties after the transfer of power to it after this year. A cause of concern was the pace of economic recovery, which had been characterized by extreme slowness, which could cast a shadow on overall development of the country. He agreed that the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina were responsible for developing their country and government in a manner consistent with the country’s reality.
In addition, he welcomed the normalization of relations with neighbouring countries, particularly the exchange of ambassadors with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It was also necessary to implement the 1999 Treaty on borders between the two countries.
JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina still required the international community’s attention and stressed that the present momentum must be maintained. Ensuring development was an essential goal and to achieve it, investors must have confidence in the security of the economic environment. In that context, the promotion of the rule of law, the elimination of corruption and impunity, as well as the reinforcement of the independence and credibility of the judiciary, must be at the heart of public action.
He said the restructuring agreed upon by the Peace Implementation Council must begin immediately. It would make the international civilian presence more compact and coherent, and, therefore, more effective. The European Union would be establishing its role in strengthening the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, which would help assure the assimilation of European norms and requirements.
Mr. BOUBACAR DIALLO (Guinea) said that following consideration of the Secretary-General’s report on Bosnia and Herzegovina on 5 December; the Council had assessed the slow but steady progress on the ground and had expressed its resolve to continue supporting UNMIBH. Now was the right time to reflect on the follow-up actions to the United Nations presence in that country. It was undeniable that progress had been made by the United Nations mission after six years of commitment on the ground. Now was the time to consider the exit strategy. It would be good not only to work on an exit strategy, but also to develop a genuine strategy to ensure that the country could fully join the international community and European structures. He welcomed the conclusions of the General Affairs Council, as well as those of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council. He also welcomed the decision of the European Union to provide a police mission to take over from the IPTF.
He paid tribute to the Electoral Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the work done in preparing for the elections in October. The commitment of the political leaders, participation of the people and support of the international community were all essential in that regard. He stressed the need to have a comprehensive strategy for the full restoration of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to ensure a seamless transition from the IPTF to the European Union Police Mission.
SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that all activities, including the reorganization of all forces, should be in the interests of strengthening the country as a single, stable State. The representatives of both entities must demonstrate greater willingness to cooperate rather than focusing on narrow ethnic interests. Constitutional reform was a priority, and a decision in that area must be taken by the entities themselves, as a solution imposed from above would be counter-productive.
Another important consideration was the regional dimension, he said. New opportunities were opening up with the recent signing of a bilateral free trade agreement and exchange of ambassadors between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as well as the creation of a border commission linking Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia. The return of refugees and internally displaced persons would also help on the regional front.
Expressing concern about the possible presence in Bosnia and Federation of Al Qaeda-type terrorist forces, he said the activities of the SFOR must nevertheless be carried out in strict accordance with the mandate issued by the Security Council. Efforts to establish a single army for Bosnia and Herzegovina could shatter the fragile stability built between the Serbs, on the one hand, and the Croats and Bosniacs, on the other. The establishment of armed forces was the responsibility of the entities.
YAP ONG HENG (Singapore) said that, although Bosnia and Herzegovina was moving ever closer towards eventual integration into the wider European Community, he was concerned about slower progress in several crucial areas, particularly the Republika Srpska's failure to advance the process of reconciliation. Although the Republika Srpska had passed a law on cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, it had refused to assist in the arrest of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, who remained at large. The situation in the Republic was also typical of generally slow economic progress throughout the region. So while there were overall signs of hope, the territory was far from being fully stabilized, as evidenced by the fact that it was without one single army. He stressed that efforts to address the issues that hampered fundamental progress in those and other areas should be sufficiently addressed.
To that end, he was encouraged by efforts to streamline the international civilian implementation initiatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He noted that the Task Force Model endorsed late last month by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council would enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the region’s international presence, as well as strengthen the role of the High Representative. The four task forces -- on rule of law, institution building, economic policy, and return and reconciliation -- recommended by a cabinet of leading agencies chaired by the High Representative, would prioritize action to address slow progress.
He went on to encourage all parties to continue to envision Bosnia and Herzegovina joining the European Union and to use that notion as motivation to pursue an all-inclusive and multi-ethnic society. Singapore welcomed the Steering Board's acceptance of the Union's offer to provide a European Union police mission to take over from the IFOR when the UNMIBH mandate expired at the end of the year. A seamless transition would evince a clear and well-planned exit strategy for UNMIBH. While the country was fortunate to have European support, it was, therefore, up to the leaders and the people of the country to ensure fundamental progress and stability.
GERARD CORR (Ireland) said the proposed European Union Police Mission was an important development which his delegation greatly welcomed. The Police Mission would contribute to the overall goals of peace implementation and would ensure the continued development of the police forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina through mentoring and inspection of police personnel structures over a three-year period.
As the transition phase approached, Ireland looked forward to the cooperation of all the relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He urged authorities there to work with High Representative Petritsch and UNMIBH to ensure the full implementation of the Dayton/Paris Peace Accords and the development of viable State institutions.
His delegation also welcomed and fully supported the appointment by
Mr. Petritsch of the members of the Electoral Commission as part of the preparations for the first general elections to be held on 5 October 2002. He said he also welcomed the current discussions between political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina to come to an agreement on the “Constituent Peoples” Decision, adding that it was important that they addressed that task urgently.
Failure to reach agreement on that issue would have serious consequences for the elections in October, as well as for Bosnia’s integration into European structures, he said. Satisfactory resolution of this issue, as well as enhanced cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s neighbours, could set the country on a road that led towards integration with the European Union. Ireland supported the recent decisions on the streamlining of the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina and welcomed the strengthened effectiveness of the international presence that would be achieved under that model.
BIJAYEDUTH GOKOOL (Mauritius) said that the relentless efforts of the High Representative regarding the implementation of the Dayton/Paris Accords had brought about significant progress. He applauded Mr. Petritsch for his efforts and wished him success. As the European Union prepared to take Bosnia and Herzegovina within its fold, it was appropriate for the Union to take over the police training duties from the United Nations. However, all necessary precautions should be taken to preserve the achievements of the IPTF. He encouraged all parties to collaborate closely to ensure a seamless transition.
The continued involvement of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina was crucial to help build a politically and economically sustainable State, he said. The report before the Council had highlighted the complexities involved in the reshaping of the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He took note of the High Representative’s streamlining plan, which would encourage better coordination to the benefit of the country. It was imperative that efforts be stepped up to complete the outstanding points on the roadmap to European Union membership.
ROBERTA LAJOUS (Mexico) said her country had followed events in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a number of years and looked forward with interest to the holding of the general elections on 5 October. Mexico also took note of the offer by the European Union to provide a European Union Police Mission.
She appealed to the principal political actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to come up with solutions to the Federation's problems that took into account the rights of all its constituent peoples and respected the human rights of all.
MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU (Cameroon) said it was clear that it was a crucial moment for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The elections would be held on 5 October, and UNMIBH’s mandate would end on 31 December. He paid tribute to the High Representative and Mr. Klein for their commitment, cooperation and efforts in, among other things, police training, education, promotion of human rights, establishing State institutions, and facilitating the country’s joining of Europe. First, they had helped to set up a multi-ethnic police force which respected human rights. In that context, he commended the European Union’s decision to take over from the IPTF as of 1 January 2003.
Secondly, he continued, important efforts had been made in the area of education. It was important to the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina to prepare curricula, which consolidated understanding and harmony. Thirdly, progress made on human rights issues, described in the report, were encouraging. Regarding the fourth area, establishing State institutions under a rule of law, he welcomed arrangements for the October elections. He would like to know more about the pre-electoral atmosphere. Also, he welcomed the decision to recommend Bosnia and Herzegovina’s accession to the European Union.
ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) said today’s meeting marked the beginning of a new phase in the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina and called on the regional actors to become more active in preserving the success of UNMIBH.
He said the sustainable peace and development of Bosnia and Herzegovina continued to hinge on the work of the various international organizations there. It was, therefore, necessary to coordinate the transition in the country. Colombia welcomed the appointment of Lord Ashdown as the European Union’s new High Representative.
He emphasized the importance of continuing adherence to the Dayton Peace Accords, and apprehending war crimes indictees Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic and delivering them to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague.
WANG YINGFAN (China) said that, in recent years, UNMIBH had made progress in police training and judicial reform, which had laid important groundwork in the development of the country. Thanks to the help of the international community, Bosnia and Herzegovina had made progress in social, economic and political fields. The elimination of differences among ethnic groups and national reconciliation were among the urgent tasks facing the country.
The international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina still had a long way to go, he said, expressing hope that the international presence could collaborate in order to speed up the reconciliation process. He welcomed the European Union’s decision to send a police mission. China would continue to support the United Nations presence in the country and would support the adoption of the Council resolution.
Council President JAN PETERSEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, speaking in his national capacity, said it was evident that local, entity and State officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina must increasingly take upon themselves the primary responsibility for progress in the reform process. At the same time, the international community must remain engaged. He agreed with the High Representative that more focus should be given to strengthening institutional capacities and Bosnian “ownership” of Dayton implementation. In the coming months, Bosnia and Herzegovina was on course for membership in the Council of Europe. The October elections would be the first for which Bosnian authorities had the sole responsibility. Those were important expressions of confidence by the international community.
Despite significant results, extensive reforms were still needed to put Bosnia and Herzegovina firmly on the path to European integration, he said. It rested with Bosnian leaders to demonstrate the political will for moving forward. He welcomed the decisions of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council on 28 February, including on the streamlining of the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was vital that the international community acted in a unified manner.
He warmly welcomed the readiness of the European Union to provide a police mission to follow on the good work of the United Nations in that field. He strongly supported the development of a European crisis management capability. He was also pleased to note that the European Union would also invite non-Union member States to participate in the lice mission.
MIRZA KUSLJUGIC (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said the substantial progress achieved in the peace implementation process in his country in the last year was only the first step in building a sustainable country. The current priorities of his Government were the development of institutions, improvement in the rule of law sector, and implementation of economic reforms. In light of the long-term orientation of UNMIBH towards the self-sustainability of local institutions, he emphasized the need for further assistance from the international community, since the progress so far was still fragile.
He said it was also expected that the European Union police assistance mission would be focused on further education of police and judiciary officials, as well as on monitoring the restructuring of institutions and reforms to the rule of law. Regarding the latter, he welcomed the proposed strategy for judicial reform in 2002/2003, but emphasized the need for more decisive and firmer measures to be taken by the international community for its implementation.
By the end of March, it was expected that implementation of the Constitutional Court decision should be finalized regarding the equal rights of all constituent peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That would prove that the ideology of "exclusive ethnic territories" had been defeated, he said. The outcome of that process would have a decisive impact on the results of the forthcoming elections.
The activities of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, especially the trial against Slobodan Milosevic, former President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, substantially influenced the current political situation in his country. "We expect the trial against Milosevic to prove his individual responsibility for the wars in the last decade and thus contribute to inter-ethnic reconciliation in the region", he said. He emphasized, however, that a viable reconciliation process was not possible with indicted war criminals still at large and with political leaders in the region refusing to fully cooperate with the Tribunal.
Failure to apprehend war criminals, especially Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, six years after the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, prevented the beginning of sincere inter-ethnic reconciliation and a sustainable peace-building process. "We want to emphasize that the leading role of the international community, regarding the arrests of the already indicted war criminals, is of crucial importance and, at the same time, a test of its credibility in the region", he said. “Its readiness to give the utmost priority to making the arrests happen will be proof of its commitment to supporting the work of the ICTY and to the establishment of a system of international justice.”
He welcomed Paddy Ashdown as the New High Representative in his country and also thanked Mr. Petritsch for the commitment and leadership he demonstrated during his mandate. “We expect that the mandate of the new High Representative will be based on a clear vision, strategy and concept of how to support the process of building a sustainable and multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina”, he stated. Noting that UNMIBH's mandate would terminate at the end of the year, he recommended that the Organization prepare a comprehensive evaluation of its involvement in the Dayton Peace Agreement. That evaluation could be used as a base for the further evolution of the peace process. It could also serve as a guide in the update and upgrade of the Dayton-based constitutional structure, in accordance with European Union human rights standards.
DEJAN ŠAHOVIĆ (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) reiterated that his country remained a staunch supporter of the Dayton/Paris Agreement. It had also respected and would continue to respect the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and had demonstrated its readiness to develop cooperation with that country. "The relations between our two countries are characterized by a dynamic political dialogue exemplified by many contacts between the highest representatives of the two States", he said. Close contacts between the parliaments of the two nations had been established as well, he added.
Bilateral relations between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina were gradually being expanded into the field of economic and other forms of cooperation, he said. Dual citizenship issues were in the process of being regulated, as well as the delineation of the borderline between the two countries.
He said that one of the outstanding issues that still required sustained attention, however, was the return of refugees. He pointed out that, as a result of an initiative by the Government, heads of the missions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia had agreed on the principles for refugee returns.
His country had made relations with neighbouring countries one of its foreign policy priorities and was determined to contribute to the strengthening of regional stability. That was the best way to speed up the process of integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures –- a goal shared by all in the region. Further development and improvement of his country's relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina constituted an extremely important element of such an approach, he said.
IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said the admission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Council of Europe in May would accelerate democratic processes, the rule of law and the protection of human right, as had been experienced in Croatia since joining that organization in 1996. If Bosnia and Herzegovina wanted to fully embrace European standards in the protection of human rights, it would have to adapt its institutional structure. Further efforts were needed towards implementing the Constitutional Court decision on equal rights of all three constituent peoples throughout the whole territory.
He said his country wished to see the parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina working together to bring about an evolution of the present constitutional arrangement so that it could respond to the new political environment and new challenges arising from it. Hopefully, the October elections would be another step in the development of a sustainable, European-oriented Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was also hoped that in the near future, the Government would start negotiating with the European Union a Stabilization and Association Agreement, such as that recently signed by Croatia.
The trial at The Hague of Slobodan Milosevic marked the beginning of a new era for the Balkan region, he said. It closed a chapter for hundreds of thousands of people in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo who had lost their loved ones and continued to live with bitter memories. The trial would also create a better understanding of the course of events in the former Yugoslavia that would further reconciliation among the peoples of South-East Europe.
Unfortunately, last week’s attempts by SFOR to apprehend Radovan Karadzic, another notorious war criminal, had not been successful, he said. He and Ratko Mladic should remain on the priority list of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Karadzic’s presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina constituted a permanent threat to the country’s stability and created a danger that must be addressed. The lack of success –- or political will -– in arresting Karadzic also reflected negatively on the credibility of SFOR and undermined international efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina overall. There could be no sustainable Bosnia and Herzegovina with Karadzic and Mladic at large.
VALERY KUCHINSKY (Ukraine) expressed satisfaction concerning the progress made in economic reform and in the consolidation of State institutions. The implementation of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitutional Court’s “Constituent People’s Decision” was in a crucial phase, and comprehensive reform of the judicial system had been instituted.
He noted that, in the last two years, there had been more than 130,000 returns of citizens to areas where their ethnic group was a minority. Finally, Bosnia and Herzegovina seemed ready to hold elections in October that would be the first since the end of the war to be organized by local authorities.
Welcoming the results achieved in police reform, police restructuring, institution building and inter-police cooperation, he said that by opening its offices at the Mostar airport, the State Border Service had taken full control over all international airports in the country that were used for commercial flights. It meant that the capabilities of the Service grew stronger each day, brining new results in the fight against illegal migration and cross-border crime.
He reiterated his country’s support for the efforts of Bosnia and Herzegovina to build a democratic and prosperous society under the rule of law and respect for the rights of each and every citizen. Ukraine looked forward to further steps aimed at strengthening the rule of law and fostering processes of institution building and economic transformation.
The protection of the rights of national minorities, in particular the Ukrainian community, remained a matter of concern, he said. Ukraine counted on further assistance by the High Representative and the European Special Representative in improving that situation.
Responding to questions posed, Mr. PETRITSCH stressed that the continued presence of SFOR was of ultimate importance for the upcoming elections and immediately thereafter. Also, it was ultimately up to the local authorities to provide security and personal safety by, among other things, carrying out the necessary reforms. One of the continued security risks was extremism, both political and other.
When it came to radical elements within the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), he said that it was essentially the top leadership. Things had changed considerably since last year, when the HDZ had tried to split away from the constitutional framework. That crisis was now over and the HDZ had returned to the legislative bodies. It was clear that there was now a split within the party, and it would have to come up with new leadership.
He thanked all speakers for their kind words about his achievements in the past two and a half years and urged continued support for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as for his successor. The situation was far more promising than it used to be, thanks to the efforts of the international community and the partnerships that had been built.
Mr. KLEIN added that, while police professionalism was improving, the police needed better pay. When police and civil servants were paid a human wage, it would decrease corruption. Regarding Herzegovina, much would depend on the constitutional decisions to be made in the coming weeks. Progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina might be slow and hesitant, but there was real progress. He congratulated Mr. Petritsch on the work that he had done.
Action on Text
By a vote of 15 in favour to none against with any abstentions, the Council adopted resolution 1396 (2002).
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