4245th Meeting (AM)
SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL,
SAYS RECENT EVENTS PROVIDE ‘HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY’ TO CLOSE TRAGIC DECADE
United States Senator Joseph Biden Also Addresses
Council on Bosnia Mission Commitment, Helms-Biden Amendment
Jacques Paul Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) briefed the Security Council this morning and outlined three reasons for seizing what he called an historic opportunity to bring to a close a tragic decade in the Balkan region.
He said that democratic changes in Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were of fundamental significance because, despite the signing of the Dayton accords five years ago, nationalist regimes in Belgrade and Zagreb had torn Bosnia and Herzegovina apart for a decade. Both States had harboured indicted war criminals, treating them as heroes. They had also given military and financial support to separatists. In his recent meetings with the Bosnian leadership, they had all confirmed their intention to take a new path based on respect for the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A second cause for optimism was the clear commitment by the members of the European Union to South-East European integration, he said. The European Union road map, as highlighted at the recent Zagreb summit, and the Stability Pact for the first time gave the people of the region a credible destination in a European home. The challenge was to make the promise of Europe credible to the common people, who had not forgotten the promises made by the international community during the war, but which it had not had the political will to uphold.
Third, he said, though progress had been frustratingly slow, much had been achieved in building the infrastructure of a State that could function in a European context. The international community had committed itself to rebuilding the physical and social infrastructure not only for humanitarian reasons, but also because, politically, Bosnia and Herzegovina could not be relegated to a mere footnote in the Balkans or in Europe. It remained the historical, religious and ethnic fault line that could again rupture regional stability.
It was against that background that nationalist parties had preserved their positions in the recent elections, he said. But the election results had not been entirely negative. Major non-nationalist parties had consolidated their positions
and could theoretically form a grand coalition excluding the three main ethnic parties. The real disappointment was that, after five years of intensive international engagement, a sizeable proportion of the population continued to support those who had led them into the war, but who could not lead them into Europe.
He added that UNMIBH had made its task more difficult by not having acted robustly against criminality and corruption that had sustained the nationalist elites. The international community might have been overly conservative in implementing the Dayton accords. In addition, the continued presence of indicted war criminals undermined the establishment of the rule of law, inhibited inter-ethnic reconciliation, prevented the victims and their families from reaching psychological closure and held back the region’s political future.
Among UNMIBH’s achievements so far, he said, was the transformation and reduction of police forces from 40,000 war-time personnel in 1996 to under 20,000. It had established a Law Enforcement Personnel Registry to register and conduct background checks on all police personnel. Refugee and displaced person returns had increased dramatically, with rate doubling since last year and the number of return-related incidents, although still unacceptably high, had decreased in most areas. In addition, following two years of obstruction and delay, UNMIBH had inaugurated the State Border Service on 6 June.
Regarding Srebrenica, he said that five years after the infamous massacre of over 7,000 men and boys, the area remained a tragic and desolate place. The decision on a permanent burial site for the victims had removed a major psychological impediment, but substantial assistance was required to create the semblance of normal life.
Following the briefing, the representative of the Russian Federation noted that the Special Representative's businesslike approach had set a good example for other special representatives, including in the Balkans, who were unable or unwilling to carry out Security Council mandates. Warning that any revision of the Dayton accords would inevitably upset the situation, he stressed that leading forces in the country must shoulder their responsibility to maintain the peace. There must be an end to short-term expediency measures, especially the use of force in arresting war crimes indictees through the use of so-called sealed indictments. It was time to review the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in light of developments in the region.
United States Senator Joseph Biden said a lesson to be learned from Bosnia and Herzegovina was the need for a clear, credible and achievable mandate. The UNMIBH was an ambitious, necessary, often frustrating, but eminently achievable mission. However, the multinational stabilization force -- SFOR -- and the United Nations must stay the course, because to disengage before achieving their goals would only guarantee further violence. Regarding the attitude of the next United States Administration and Congress, he said the United States would be unable to participate fully in the United Nations if it did not work to reform budgetary assessment scales, including peacekeeping assessments. However, the United
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States, which for 50 years had been the largest single contributor to the United Nations, was not about to walk away from the Organization.
Canada’s representative, while welcoming Senator Biden’s statement as a step forward, said success and reform were possible, but the Canadian Government would not accept a write-off of United States arrears. He expressed the hope that peacekeeping reform would take place as soon as possible, since it was probably the most important task facing the United Nations. He added that further assistance would be needed in Bosnia and Herzegovina even if the Mission were successfully concluded within two years. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United Nations were expected to contribute to those efforts.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Argentina, France
(on behalf of the European Union), United Kingdom, China, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Tunisia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Ukraine, Mali, Namibia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The meeting, which began at 10:15 a.m., adjourned at 12:50 p.m.
Council Work Programme
When the Security Council met this morning to hear a briefing by the Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General (document S/2000/1137) in which he requests that the authorized strength of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) for the period 2001/2002 be reduced to 1,850 International Police Task Force officers.
He says that meeting the Mission's timetable to complete its core mandate by December 2002 will depend on the provision by international donors of the financial resources UNMIBH needs to complete its work. Accordingly, the Secretary-General appeals to Member States to contribute generously to the priority projects of UNMIBH and to the Trust Fund for the Police Assistance Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina. European Member States, in particular, should bear in mind that Bosnia and Herzegovina has become a major transit point for illegal migration, trafficking in human beings and trade in illicit and stolen goods by well-organized criminal networks. A professional and fully deployed Bosnia and Herzegovina State Border Service is an essential preventive investment against illegal migration, and an important humanitarian instrument for the victims of trafficking.
He goes on to say that since the signing of the Dayton accords, the international community has made a massive contribution to the cause of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Much has been achieved, but progress has been frustratingly slow and difficult, owing mainly to political obstruction by extreme nationalists. The recent general elections held in Bosnia and Herzegovina demonstrated yet again how nationalist parties are willing to incite inter-ethnic fear and suspicion in order to preserve their power and privileges. The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina need to understand that their future is in Europe. The continued assistance of the international community depends on the actions that they take together to create a modern, democratic and tolerant society.
Progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina is inextricably linked to developments in the region, the report states. With the recent change in the leadership of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Croatia, there is, for the first time since the war, a realistic prospect of constructive bilateral relations based on mutual respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each State, while also developing the "special relations" envisaged in the Dayton accords. The recent visit of President Kostunica to Sarajevo was a first step towards full normalization of bilateral relations. Every effort should be made to move this process forward.
Meanwhile, according to the report, UNMIBH has continued to make measurable progress in all core areas of its mandate. Political and administrative impediments to the accelerated recruitment of minority police officers have been largely overcome. The State Border Service has been consolidated, and detailed plans and budget estimates have been prepared for its full deployment. Police professionalism with regard to the security of returnees has shown considerable improvement, except in certain parts of the eastern Republika Srpska and in
canton 10 (Herzeg-Bosna).
These developments have enabled the Mission to draw up the Mandate Implementation Plan with a proposed timetable of December 2002 for the completion of the core mandate of UNMIBH, subject to changes in internal or external circumstances.
Continuing, he says the legacy of Srebrenica continues to be of deep concern. The High Representative has exercised his authority to end the stalemate over the location of a permanent burial site for the remains of the victims and a memorial, and has established a trust fund for this purpose. This has helped to clear the way for reconciliation efforts, as well as to address the problems of the families of the victims who wish to return and the situation of local Serb residents who are themselves displaced persons and who wish to reclaim their own homes elsewhere, or remain in the area. The Secretary-General requested his Special Representative to examine ways in which the United Nations can play a special role in helping the people of Srebrenica. He urges the international community to contribute generously to enable two-way return and rehabilitation of infrastructure in Srebrenica.
The UNMIBH continues to require the effective presence of the multinational
stabilization force (SFOR) to ensure secure conditions for its responsibilities, personnel and property, the report states. The need for security is likely to increase as local police, advised by the International Police Task Force, begin to undertake robust operations against local and international organized criminal groups involved in prostitution, drug trafficking and illegal migration. The continued presence of war criminals and war crimes suspects in the Mission area is an added threat not only to the success of the peace implementation process, but also to international personnel. Any review of the presence or mission of SFOR will need to take full account of the security requirements of UNMIBH.
Statements by Special Representative
JACQUES PAUL KLEIN, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, said that last month, which marked the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Dayton accords, had coincided with the resurgence of nationalist parties during the sixth series of elections organized since the end of the war. Those who had defended the holding of perpetual cycles of elections as a panacea to confront the challenges of democratization were now reconsidering the relevance of the recourse to democratic procedures, even before democratic values had been established. Having spent the five years implementing peace in the Balkans, he did not share the pessimism of some commentators. For three reasons, there was a historic opportunity to close a tragic decade.
First, the democratic changes in Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were of fundamental significance, he said. For a decade, nationalist regimes in Belgrade and Zagreb had torn Bosnia and Herzegovina apart. Despite the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, those regimes had done everything they could to frustrate its intentions. Both States had treated indicted war criminals as heroes and given them refuge. Both had given military and financial support to separatist forces. In his recent meetings with President Mesic, Prime Minister Racan and President Kostunica, they had all confirmed their intention to take a new path based on respect for the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina. For Croatia, that meant ending direct financial assistance to covert parallel Croat structures and channelling support in a way that enhanced State institutions. For the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, it meant quickly normalizing bilateral relations and exchanging ambassadors, as a first step towards addressing outstanding bilateral issues.
A second cause for optimism was the clear commitment by the members of the European Union to South-East European integration, he said. The European Union road map, as highlighted at the recent Zagreb summit, and the Stability Pact, despite its slow start, for the first time gave the people of the region a credible destination in a European home. The challenge was to make the promise of Europe credible to the common people, who had not forgotten that during the war the international community had made many promises -– such as the establishment of “safe areas” -- that it had not had the political will to uphold. Perhaps one of the reasons that people had voted for nationalist parties in the recent elections was that they did not have faith that democratic alternatives would lead them into Europe.
Third, he said, even though progress had been frustratingly slow, much had been achieved in building the infrastructure of a State that could function in a European context. In the fall of 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina had been a wasteland of human tragedy and destruction. Half the pre-war population -– some 2.2 million people -- were refugees or internally displaced persons. During three-and-a-half years of violent ethnic cleansing, more than 200,000 people had died. The economic infrastructure, the housing stock, the religious and cultural objects of an ethnically and culturally diverse land had been purposefully destroyed. The international community had committed itself to rebuilding the physical and social infrastructure not only for humanitarian reasons, but also because, politically, Bosnia and Herzegovina could not be relegated to a mere footnote in the Balkans or in Europe. Three times in the past century it had necessitated massive international intervention. It remained the historical, religious and ethnic fault line that could again rupture regional stability. And it was the only multi-ethnic State from the former Yugoslavia.
It was against that background that nationalist parties had preserved their positions in the recent elections, he noted. Their relatively weak showing in the April municipal elections had shocked them into mobilizing their old system of patronage and local media control to boost voter turnout in their favour. The election results had not been entirely negative. Major non-nationalist parties had consolidated their positions and could, in theory, form a grand coalition that did not include the three main ethnic parties. The real disappointment was that after five years of intensive international engagement, a sizeable proportion of the population continued to support those who had led them into the war, but who could not lead them into Europe.
He said there were lessons to be learned from those elections. The UNMIBH had made its task more difficult by not having acted robustly against criminality and corruption that had sustained the nationalist elites. For the past five years, the only engine of economic growth in Bosnia and Herzegovina had been international assistance, while nationalist parties had been able to plunder State assets. Resistance to the creation of a State Border Service and to economic reforms, such as privatization of public companies, was most accurately explained on criminal, not political, grounds. Greater progress would have been made had the Mission robustly tackled crime and corruption earlier, including through a more intrusive police and judicial mandate.
It could also be argued that the international community had been overly conservative in its implementation of the Dayton accords, he went on. A very high price had been paid for timidity in not arresting indicted war criminals in the early days of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization intervention. Their continued presence undermined the establishment of the rule of law, inhibited inter-ethnic reconciliation, prevented the victims and their families from reaching psychological closure and held back the region’s political future. Theefforts of the international community had often languished through conflicting political messages, uncoordinated projects and failure to follow through, which had been used by obstructionists to their advantage. That was the price of having different bodies mandating different organizations under a loose coordinating authority.
He said that, at a time of shrinking resources and competing regional priorities, some rationalization and consolidation of the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina should not be ruled out. Diminishing resources must be used to greater effect. That meant displaying far greater resolve and unity of effort. The dramatic changes in South-Eastern Europe had provided the opportunity and the necessity to re-evaluate strategies and synchronize operations on a national and regional basis, with European States playing the key role.
Turning to UNMIBH’s achievements so far, he said it had transformed and reduced police forces from 40,000 war-time personnel in 1996 to under 20,000. More than 95 per cent of police personnel had undergone transitional and human dignity training courses to ensure understanding of human rights, specialized training in drug control, organized crime, crowd control and senior management. A Law Enforcement Personnel Registry had been established to register and conduct background checks on all police personnel. Phase one of that project would be completed this month and, in phase two, it would be possible to weed out personnel suspected of war or other crimes. The Registry was also the basis for determining the ethnic composition of the police forces.
He said refugees and displaced persons returns had increased dramatically. In the first 10 months of this year; more than 46,000 minority returns had been registered, twice the number of last year. Returns were taking place throughout the entire country, even to very difficult areas where grave war crimes had been committed, such as Srebrenica, Zepa, Prijedor and Foca. The number of return-related incidents, although still unacceptably high, had decreased in most areas as a result of UNMIBH training and guidance to local police. Major steps had been taken towards changing the ethnic composition of local police forces to give confidence to returnees. Over 550 cadets, most of them minorities, had entered or completed training at the two multi-ethnic police academies (in Sarajevo and Banja Luka).
Following two years of obstruction and delay, UNMIBH had inaugurated the State Border Service on 6 June at Sarajevo Airport, he said. Three land crossings and the headquarters had been established, and the three local directors had worked effectively with UNMIBH to prepare detailed plans for full deployment within two years. In response to the alarming number of illegal migrants transiting through Bosnia and Herzegovina to Europe, the Mission had initiated a joint task force on illegal immigration and organized crime through the Cooperative Law Enforcement Arrangement between entity Ministries of Interior. Substantial progress had been made in the integration of the Federation Ministry of Interior and the Ministries of the Interior in mixed Croat/Bosniac cantons.
He said the Police Commissioner programme was making good progress. Its aim was to reduce political interference in police work and to institute a single chain of command in police forces under a professional and independent police commissioner. That was UNMIBH's contribution to the wider task of establishing a neutral and professional public service. The formerly separate Bosniac and Croat specialized police forces in the Federation had been integrated and trained for crowd control and major incident management. The excellent Judicial System Assessment Programme, which was terminated on 1 December, had completed 14 major reports on the systemic deficiencies of the legal and judicial system. Those reports were the essential baseline for the further work of the High Representative and the Council of Europe to bring the system up to European standards.
Regarding Srebrenica, he said that five years after the infamous massacre of over 7,000 men and boys, the area remained a tragic and desolate place. The decision on a permanent burial site for the victims had removed a major psychological impediment, but substantial assistance was required to create the semblance of normal life. Serb displaced persons currently living there needed political and financial assistance to be able to go home, thus releasing housing for Bosniacs to return to their homes. The infrastructure in Srebrenica municipality had not been repaired since the war and investment was required for job creation to support those returning and those who wished to stay.
JOSEPH BIDEN, United States Senator and ranking Democratic Party member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that in view of the complex situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was a striking reality that the country was at peace, a condition for which the efforts of SFOR peacekeepers should not be minimized. While members of all ethnic communities had been killed, tortured and brutalized, visitors now encountered a sense of normalcy in most areas.
Nevertheless, Bosnia and Herzegovina had many problems to overcome, he said. One of the lessons to be learned was the need for a clear, credible and achievable mandate. While that was the case with UNMIBH, it had not been the case with the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), which had been saddled with very restrictive rules of engagement, resulting in the seizing of United Nations peacekeepers as hostages. That grave mistake should not be repeated.
He said deployment should happen only when Member States were committed to providing peacekeeping troops fully. Never again should “Blue Helmets” be seen to be freezing to death or suffering under other conditions anywhere around the world. They should not be given responsibilities they could not perform, such as civilian police and judicial tasks. The UNMIBH was an ambitious, necessary, often frustrating, but eminently achievable mission. For SFOR or the United Nations to disengage before its goals were achieved would only guarantee further violence. It must stay the course.
Regarding the attitude of the next United States Administration and Congress, he said he and many of his colleagues wanted a much better partnership with the United Nations. But, it was unlikely that there would be any change in the attitude of Congress towards the Helms-Biden Amendment. The United States would not be able to participate fully if the United Nations did not work to reform budgetary assessment scales, including peacekeeping assessments.
He said that Congress had expressed that clearly and overwhelmingly, not as an American diktat, but to help solve a problem. Had he been the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reform would not have been linked to the payment of outstanding United States dues. But, there would never have been agreement on a start to paying the arrears had there not been a Helms-Biden Amendment.
The United States, which for 50 years had been the largest single contributor to the United Nations, was not about to walk away from the Organization, he said. It needed the United Nations and, while one could not say the Organization needed the United States, having it made things easier. However, one thing had not changed -- United Nations stability and development required that every voice be heard. There must be broader participation.
He said that, while it was clear that the poor countries could not be held to the same standard as the wealthy ones, a small number of countries could not continue to share the lion’s share of the burden. That issue must be resolved now, otherwise there would be negative outcomes, including the diversion of critical development funds away from peacekeeping.
LUIS ENRIQUE CAPPAGLI (Argentina) said the rule of law was the precondition for peace. For that reason, the progress achieved by UNMIBH was of such importance. He was encouraged that political and administrative obstacles to the recruitment of police from minorities had been overcome. He expressed concern, however, about the financial obstacles to establishing the police service. Given the magnitude of police problems, the State Border Service, to function fully, must have adequate human and financial resources. Investing in that Service was a preventive measure of the utmost importance. He saw as a positive sign the progress achieved in the return of minorities. On the other hand, however, was the lack of housing and the behaviour of police towards returning refugees. Much remained to be done to achieve full implementation of the Dayton accords.
Setting a deadline of 2002 for the reduction of UNMIBH strength might be possible, as long as internal and external circumstances did not change, he said. As for the NATO-led stabilization force -- SFOR -- any review of its presence must be conducted in light of the safety and requirements of UNMIBH.
JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union had, for 10 years, provided massive aid to the countries of the Balkan region. Between 1991 and 1999 more than $15 billion had been allocated to those countries by the European Union and its member States, representing more than 65 per cent of the total amount allocated by the international community to South-Eastern Europe. By comparison, the contribution of the largest non-European Union donor accounted for less than 3.5 per cent of the total.
Member States of the European Union had also hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees chased from their countries by conflicts in the Balkans, he continued. Very large amounts of money had been dedicated to making that hospitality possible. Union member States supplied 60 per cent of the SFOR troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 63 per cent of the KFOR troops in Kosovo. The Union planned to deploy, by 2003, up to 5,000 policemen in peace operations throughout the world. Currently 625 of the 1,776 members of the UNMIBH International Police Task Force were European Union nationals, or 35 per cent of its members.
He said the aid supplied by the international community in support of peace could not solve all the problems. It was in the interest of extremist nationalists to keep people locked in their ethnic divisions. The yoke of those men must, therefore, be thrown off. Through the ballot box, the Balkan peoples had made considerable progress along that path. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the effects of the democratic changes in the region would be beneficial, even if the multi-ethnic parties had not made the expected breakthrough in the last general elections. However, much in terms of effort and determination on the part of the international community would be required before the anticipated outcome could be achieved.
The UNMIBH was making an excellent contribution to that long-term undertaking he continued. The United Nations Mission had an appropriate mandate and worked effectively, in line with very clear guidelines identified in advance. Within the UNMIBH, the International Police Task Force played an essential role well. It was responsible for advising the local police, developing Bosnian police cooperation with the judicial system and accompanying its transformation into a structure that fully respected democratic values. It contributed to the stabilizing situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole and the confidence that Bosnian citizens had in the institutions of their country would largely depend on its success. That task must continue without interruption, until completed.
Another important police issue, he said, was the strengthening of the Border Police Service. The increased trafficking in humans and criminal activities could not be left unchecked. He expected the Bosnian authorities to take resolute measures to put an end to it. In particular, the presence of border units should not be confined to only four points of entry into the country. Moreover, operations targeted against mafia networks and identified sources of criminal activity should be increased.
Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom), paying tribute to the role of the United States in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the past decade, said it demonstrated just how much could go wrong without that country’s participation and just how much could go right when all Member States worked together.
Supporting and endorsing the statement by the French Presidency of the European Union, he welcomed UNMIBH’s efforts to reform the local police system, but shared the Secretary-General’s concern about the slow pace of that reform in certain cantons. The United Kingdom also welcomed Mr. Klein’s police commissioner programme, aimed at removing political interference in police reform.
While commending the Special Representative’s efforts to highlight the scale of illegal immigration in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he expressed concern over the phenomenon, saying it had disturbing ramifications for all Europe, including the United Kingdom, and should remain a priority for UNMIBH. He also expressed concern over the rise of the nationalist parties during the elections, and the wish of many young people to leave the country. They must be reassured that they had a future in the country of their birth.
WANG YINGFAN (China) said there had been continued good progress and with the assistance of local police elections had been conducted smoothly. The Mission had collected valuable experience for peacekeeping operations. Nevertheless, the progress of the Dayton Peace Agreement had been slower than the international community had expected. The plight of the refugees, and where they could return, was the touchstone for the Peace Agreement. Much remained to be done to achieve national rehabilitation and harmony.
Peace could be accomplished only through strengthening the economy, he said. He called on the international community to continue providing assistance and helping the local population to achieve self-government. His Government would continue to support the work of UNMIBH and would provide police officers and diplomats.
He said that Senator Biden had reiterated the importance the United States attached to the United Nations and expressed a willingness to strengthen relations between his country and the Organization. The United Nations and the Security Council had achieved a common understanding regarding reform. The scale of payment to the United Nations was not the subject on today’s Council agenda, but since it had been introduced this morning, he would offer a brief reaction. The vast majority of Member States thought there should be some adjustment to the
two-level scale of assessments, but the question was how. The two scales should reflect the capacity to pay and should be adhered to by all the Members of the United Nations. Ultimately, however, the decision on the two scales should be made through the consultations of the Member States. The Permanent Representative of the United States, Richard Holbrooke, had engaged in tireless efforts to that end. He sympathized with the United States representative with regard to the difficult task that had been entrusted to him by the United States Government. To overcome the difficulties he faced, Mr. Holbrooke needed the support of the United States Congress. Mr. Holbrooke would have to leave one day and he hoped that he would leave with a smile on his face.
He went on to say that flexibility on the part of all was required and his delegation was willing to work together with other delegations. The next two weeks were crucial.
SHAMIM AHMED (Bangladesh) said that overall progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina was linked to the development of the region as a whole. There had been significant developments in the region with changes in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and in Croatia. The return of refugees and displaced persons, including minorities, to their pre-war homes was encouraging. However, some of them were returning to find their homesteads destroyed or rendered uninhabitable in their absence.
Commending UNMIBH’s judicial assessment programme, he said it was one of the Mission’s major mandates. Its report would be key in evaluating and improving the overall performance of the judiciary, including the independence of judges. Despite the painfully slow progress achieved in national reconciliation, it was extremely difficult to overcome age-old ethnic animosities and the Mission’s efforts were commendable.
A. PETER VAN WALSUM (Netherland) said his Government subscribed to the statement made on behalf of the European Union. He said that five years after Dayton the animosity among the three population groups had not subsided. The Dayton accord had granted important powers to the two entities with the aim of building strong State institutions. The recent elections were disappointing, in that they underlined the divisions along ethnic lines.
He said he had noted that whenever Bosnia and Herzegovina was discussed in the Council, most criticism was levelled at the Republic of Srpska. But, the election results had highlighted the role played by the Bosniacs. Under Dayton, the entities had received so many powers that the State institutions were almost powerless. The major problem was the absence of State revenue. The State depended on financial transfers from the entities and the entities kept that to a minimum. As a result, the State institutions were almost entirely financed by the international communities.
OTHMAN JERANDI (Tunisia) said that the reform and restructuring of the police were essential in conquering fear and would allow the building of a multi-ethnic society, he said. He supported the Mission’s efforts to raise professional standards and to change the ethnic composition of the force to better reflect the multi-ethnic character of Bosnian society. It was also necessary to change the chain of command, in order to end political and partisan interference and to promote full respect for the law.
While gratified by the return of refugees and displaced persons in such great numbers, he expressed concern at the lack of resources allocated to UNMIBH for the reconstruction of damaged houses. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had estimated that, as of last August, 18,000 must be rebuilt in order to facilitate the process of repatriation. In addition, UNMIBH must rigorously apply property laws and continue to ensure the security of returnees.
CURTIS A.WARD (Jamaica) said that the comprehensive Mandate Implementation Plan provided a clear focus for the fulfilment of the mandate of UNMIBH by the end of 2002. He hoped that its implementation would be successfully completed and noted that the Plan focused on the critical core areas of: police reform; police restructuring; police and criminal justice cooperation; institution building and inter-police force cooperation; public awareness; and general support for the participation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the United Nations system, in particular peace operations. It was of fundamental importance that those programmes focus on various areas of law enforcement, particularly the individual police officer, the organizational structures of the police force and the required support for democratic policing.
Police restructuring was another area in which concerted efforts had been made to rationalize the size, structure and the resources of the police force to bring it in line with international standards, he said. The UNMIBH police commissioner project and the efforts made in changing the ethnic composition of the police force must continue to receive priority attention. The entrenchment of the rule of law was contingent upon cooperation between the police and the criminal justice system. The judicial system assessment had been an invaluable avenue for examining some of the deficiencies in the legal and judicial system. He was still concerned about the absence of mechanisms for the protection of judges and witnesses, as that seemed to be a major impediment to the full establishment of the rule of law. The lack of funding had served as an impediment and he hoped that that would be addressed in an expeditious manner. The same applied to the under-funded State Border Service.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia), noting that some of UNMIBH’s measures had begun to bear fruit, said the success of the whole Mission depended on the provision of the necessary resources and cooperation. The judicial assessment programme had carried out important work. He strongly supported the continuation of that work and urged concrete follow-up actions.
He said he was gratified that the State Border Service had been consolidated and would soon be deployed. It would be crucial in addressing increased illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings. It was also encouraging that preparations were under way to deploy a second contingent of 23 multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina civilian police officers to serve with the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).
It was encouraging that the return rate of refugees and displaced persons had doubled since last year, he said. However, the rate remained slow. The political obstructions in the way of return must be addressed. The continued emphasis on national reconciliation and on the arrest of indicted war criminals must remain priorities. Time and again, Malaysia had stressed the importance of bringing to book the leading war criminals -- Karadzic and Mladic.
VALERI KUCHYNSKI (Ukraine) said that UNMIBH continued to make vital contributions to the overall efforts of Bosnia and the international community aimed at the full implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace. His country, therefore, remained supportive of the activities of the mission conducted jointly with other bodies and agencies of the United Nations system on the ground. He welcomed the elaboration of a comprehensive Mandate Implementation Plan, with a proposed timetable of December 2002 for completion of a core mandate of UNMBIH. The division of the mission’s work into six core programmes was a correct and efficient approach to accomplishing the existing mandate.
He believed that more attention should be paid by the mission to the establishment of a court police service, in order to provide adequate court and judicial security, as well as mechanisms for the protection of judges and witnesses. His country was concerned at the data testifying to the growing increase in illegal migration and human trafficking through Bosnia and Herzegovina. That problem could be addressed through the expansion of the State Border Service, provided there was sufficient funding.
He said that Bosnia and Herzegovina was today at an important crossroad in its history. It was critically important that the leaders catch the winds of change and set the country on the right course for its future in Europe, becoming a part of all regional processes of Euro-integration and normalizing bilateral relations with its neighbours. The international community, for its part, should continue its assistance to the people of Bosnia in creating and assuming full responsibility for their own sovereign and multi-ethnic State.
PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada) thanked Mr. Klein for his briefing and contribution to UNMIBH, particularly the restructuring of the police, police reform and the assessment of the judicial system. His country commended UNMIBH for its judicial system assessment programme and the proposed fulfilment of the mandate by December 2002. But, there should be no exit without strategy, he added.
It was clear that further assistance would be needed, even if the mission were successfully concluded in two years time. NATO and the United Nations were expected to contribute to those efforts. Canada would focus on the core programmes of police reform and police restructuring. However, there would be no closure in Bosnia and Herzegovina until the two war criminals -- Karadzic and Mladic -- and their supporters were brought to justice in The Hague.
In reference to the comments by Senator Biden, Canada welcomed them as a step forward. Success was possible, and reform was possible. Nevertheless, his Government would not accept a write-off of United States debts. He hoped that the reform of peacekeeping would take place as soon as possible, because it was probably the most important task facing the United Nations. In closing, he said deeper thought needed to be given to the relationship between troop-contributing countries and the Security Council.
MOCTAR OUANE (Mali) welcomed the statement by the United States representative and said he had taken note of the fact that Senator Biden had discussed concerns that were shared by all. He said his delegation appreciated the progress made in Bosnia and Herzegovina in building a tolerant society. He commended the United Nations Mission’s work in helping build that society.
The progress made deserved to be consolidated, he said. He invited the international community to contribute its financial support. He invited the parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to take advantage of the recent political changes in the region.
MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) welcomed the comprehensive Mandate Implementation Plan, which focused on fulfilling the UNMIBH mandate by the end of 2002. The Plan provided a road map for the implementation process, rather than merely establishing fixed targets. It had also been gratifying to hear the Special Representative's report on how much had been accomplished, regardless of how much remained to be done.
He said that of the six core programmes being carried out by UNMIBH, of particular note were the issues of police reform, police restructuring and cooperation between the police and the criminal justice system. While the problems in making progress were understandable, the slow pace of judicial reform was of concern. The absence of mechanisms to protect judges and witnesses in an environment where organized crime and corruption undermined the rule of law was troubling. The continued presence and assistance of the international community in building a multiracial and democratic Bosnia and Herzegovina was essential.
SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) stressed the need to concentrate not only on the Mission's successes, but also on its problems. The Special Representative’s business-like approach set a good example for special representatives in other missions, including those in the Balkans, who were unable or unwilling to carry out Security Council mandates. It was fortunate that such representatives, who wanted to conceal their failures and present their missions through rose-coloured glasses, would soon be departing.
He agreed with the Special Representative that the Dayton accords were the key to peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, having laid the foundation for Bosnian statehood on the basis of the two existing national entities. Any revision of Dayton would inevitably upset the situation. It was important that the leading forces in the country shoulder their responsibility to maintain the peace. Both entities must cooperate not only among themselves, but also with the international community, in accordance with the New York declaration.
He called for an end to short-term expediency measures, especially the use of force in tracking down and arresting war crimes indictees through the use of so-called sealed indictments. It was time to review the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in light of the latest developments in the region. The developments in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia would have a positive impact on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He said that the entire history of peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina reflected a general problem affecting United Nations peacekeeping as a whole. That had been the focus of the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations -- the Brahimi report. The Russian Federation supported a generally acceptable reform of the scale of assessments and reaffirmed its commitment to its special responsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council.
Senator BIDEN of the United States said he appreciated the candour with which Council members had spoken, and he reissued the invitation to Council members to come to the Congress again. He and his colleagues had learned a great deal during the Council members' previous visit. It had helped those who supported the United Nations to make others understand the importance of the United Nations.
He thanked the Council for its collective understanding and said the United States had a binding commitment to the United Nations, despite the “bumps in the road”, which were based on domestic politics. He fully appreciated the European Union’s contribution not only to the United Nations, but in the Balkans. He drew attention to speeches he had made on the Senate floor that described how the European Union was carrying the bulk of the burden in the Balkans. He understood the burden that was imposed as a consequence of hosting a significant number of refugees.
He also understood the desire for flexibility regarding the scale of payment. He was certain that significant reform in the United Nations would heighten prospects that the United States would increase its voluntary contributions. The United States wanted to pay its fair share, but also to participate in meaningful reform. An Organization like the United Nations could not meet its potential unless everyone made an investment.
He said he was impressed by Members’ suggestions concerning the need for patience in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He understood that most of the pain and obligations were being borne by Europeans. The United States would maintain its commitment and patience in the attempt to achieve success. He would not, however,
make a commitment to be out by 2002. The United Nations must stay as long as required.
MILOS PRICA (Bosnia and Herzegovina), noting the substantial progress made since the signing of the Dayton accords, emphasized the importance of economic development for the consolidation of peace in the country. The positive and welcome changes in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and in Croatia were of crucial importance for the Balkan region and for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He stressed that States in the region must respect the internationally recognized borders, the Dayton accords and the relevant Security Council resolutions. It was hoped that the question of the successor to the former State would be resolved as soon as possible.
Mr. KLEIN, Special Representative, in concluding remarks, recalled his appointment, when the Secretary-General had mandated him to repair the reputation of the United Nations, which had been somewhat tattered five years ago. Having led two missions -- the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) and now UNMIBH -- he said the Mission could succeed if the Security Council provided the necessary guidance and means.
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