On 21 December 1995, the Security Council, by its resolution 1035 (1995) established, for an initial period of one year, the United Nations International Police Task Force (IPTF) and a United Nations civilian office in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was done in accordance with the Peace Agreement signed by the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 14 December 1995. The operation came to be known as the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). The Security Council renewed the mandate of UNMIBH on several occasions. Following the successful conclusion of its mandate, UNMIBH was terminated on 31 December 2002, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1423 (2002) of 12 July 2002.
In accordance with the Peace Agreement, IPTF main tasks included:
- monitoring, observing and inspecting law enforcement activities and facilities, including associated judicial organizations, structures and proceedings;
- advising law enforcement personnel and forces;
- training law enforcement personnel;
- facilitating, within the IPTF mission of assistance, the parties' law enforcement activities;
- assessing threats to public order and advising on the capability of law enforcement agencies to deal with such threats;
- advising government authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the organization of effective civilian law enforcement agencies;
- assisting by accompanying the parties' law enforcement personnel as they carry out their responsibilities, as the Task Force deems appropriate.
In addition, the Task Force was to consider requests from the parties or law enforcement agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina for assistance, with priority being given to ensuring the existence of conditions for free and fair elections.
UNMIBH was headed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who exercised authority over the IPTF Police Commissioner and coordinated other United Nations activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina relating to:
- Humanitarian relief and refugees;
- Human rights;
- Rehabilitation of infrastructure and economic reconstruction.
UNMIBH closely worked with the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement, appointed by the London Peace Implementation Conference and approved by the Security Council, and whose task was to mobilize and coordinate the activities of organizations and agencies involved in civilian aspects of the peace settlement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and monitor the implementation of that settlement.
UNMIBH also closely cooperated with the NATO-led multinational Implementation Force (IFOR), authorized by the Security Council to help ensure compliance with the military provisions of the Peace Agreement, and continued such cooperation with the successor to IFOR - the multinational Stabilization Force (SFOR).
Throughout its existence, UNMIBH was mandated to perform a number of additional tasks.
By resolution 1088 (1996) of 12 December 1996, the Security Council gave UNMIBH additional responsibilities relating to the investigation of allegations of human rights abuses by police officers or other law enforcement officials of the various authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This decision was taken in accordance with the Conclusions of the Peace Implementation Conference, held in London on 4-5 December 1996.
By resolution 1103 (1997) of 31 March 1997, the Security Council endorsed the Secretary-General's recommendations relating to international policing in Brcko. This resolution followed the decision of 14 February 1997 by the arbitral tribunal on the disputed portion of the Inter-Entity Boundary Line in the Brcko area. The Council decided to increase the strength of UNMIBH by 186 civilian police personnel, taking into account the fact that the arbitration award called for the monitoring, restructuring and retraining of the police in the Brcko area with an intensity far beyond that in other parts of the country.
By resolution 1107 (1997) of 16 May 1997, the Security Council decided to increase the strength of UNMIBH by 120 civilian police personnel. This decision was based on the Secretary-General's assessment that in order to carry out, in a satisfactory manner, the additional and existing tasks relating to human rights investigation, monitoring of the local police, strengthening of police training, police restructuring and the development of guidelines for democratic principles, IPTF would have to move from a police force with primarily generalist functions to one with a substantial number of police experts in specialized fields. However, it would remain necessary for IPTF to maintain a sufficient monitoring presence throughout the country to provide an oversight of field activities necessary to prevent violations of international standards of human rights and democratic policing. It would also be necessary for IPTF to continue to monitor key locations, the resettlement areas of the zone of separation and other areas where substantial tensions still existed.
By resolution 1144 (1997) of 19 December 1997, the Security Council decided that UNMIBH, in the framework of the current mandate, should be entrusted with the following additional tasks: (a) the creation of specialized IPTF training units to address key public security issues, such as refugee returns; organized crime, drugs, corruption and terrorism; and public security crisis management (including crowd control); as well as training in the detection of financial crime and smuggling; and (b) cooperation with the Council of Europe and OSCE, under the coordination of the High Representative, in a programme of judicial and legal reforms, including assessment and monitoring of the court system, development and training of legal professionals and restructuring of institutions within the judicial system.
By resolution 1168 (1998) of 21 May 1998, the Security Council authorized a further increase in the strength of UNMIBH by 30 civilian police personnel to carry out new intensive programmes for the local police in a number of specialized fields.
By resolution 1184 (1998) of 16 July 1998, the Security Council approved the establishment by UNMIBH of a programme to monitor and assess the court system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as part of an overall programme of legal reform under the overall coordination of the High Representative. This programme became known as the Judicial System Assessment Program (JSAP).
Originally, the authorized strength of UNMIBH was 1,721 civilian police and 5 military liaison officers. As a result of the subsequent Security Council decisions, the authorized strength of the mission was increased to 2,057 civilian police personnel and 5 military liaison officers. The Mission also included international civilian and locally recruited staff.