SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER LACK OF PROGRESS ON INVESTIGATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA19961010 Presidential Statement Appeals to Parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina To Help Identify Fate of Missing Persons for Humanitarian and Legal Purposes
The Security Council this morning expressed deep concern that little progress had been achieved with regard to the investigation of violations of international humanitarian law in Srebrenica, Zepa, Banja Luka, Sanski Most, Glamoc, Ozren and other areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In a statement, read by its President, Gerardo Martinez Blanco (Honduras), the Council strongly appealed to all the parties of Bosnia and Herzegovina to make every effort to identify the fate of the missing persons for both humanitarian and legal purposes.
The Council reaffirmed that violations of international humanitarian law in Bosnia and Herzegovina of the type described in its resolution 1034 (1995) must be properly investigated. By that resolution, the Council condemned "summary executions, rape, mass expulsions, arbitrary detentions, forced labour and large-scale disappearances" committed by Bosnian Serb and paramilitary forces.
The Council expressed concern that exhumations carried out by international authorities had been obstructed by Republika Srpska, and that the fate of only a few hundred missing persons had been so far established. The Council welcomed the recent visit by a Republika Srpska delegation to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and hoped that the visit marked a "turning point" in relations between Republika Srpska and the Tribunal.
All the parties were obliged to cooperate fully and unconditionally with international authorities and among themselves with respect to such investigations, the Council stressed. It condemned all attempts to obstruct investigations or to destroy, alter, conceal or damage any related evidence.
The full text of the statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1996/41, reads as follows:
"The Security Council has considered, in the light of its resolution 1034 (1995) of 21 December 1995, the current situation with regard to the investigation of violations of international humanitarian law in the areas of Srebrenica, Zepa, Banja Luka and Sanski Most, as well as in the areas of Glamoc, Ozren and elsewhere throughout the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
"The Security Council recalls the report of the Secretary-General of 27 November 1995 (S/1995/988).
"The Security Council expresses deep concern about the very little progress achieved so far in these investigations and strongly appeals to all the parties of Bosnia and Herzegovina to make every effort to identify the fate of the missing persons, both for humanitarian and legal purposes.
"The Security Council is concerned that endeavours by the relevant international authorities to identify the fate of the missing by, inter alia, carrying out exhumations has met with limited success largely due to obstruction by Republika Srpska. It notes with concern that the fate of only a few hundred missing persons have been so far established.
"The Security Council welcomes the recent visit by the delegation from Republika Srpska to the International Tribunal on former Yugoslavia in The Hague and expresses hope that this visit marks a turning point in relations between Republika Srpska and the International Tribunal and will facilitate cooperation with regard to investigations conducted by personnel of the International Tribunal.
"The Security Council condemns all attempts to obstruct the investigations or to destroy, alter, conceal or damage any related evidence. The Council stresses again the obligations of all the parties to cooperate fully and unconditionally with the relevant international authorities and among themselves with respect to such investigations and reminds the parties of their commitment under the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Annexes thereto (collectively the Peace Agreement S/1995/999, annex).
"The Security Council reaffirms that the violations of international humanitarian law throughout the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina as described in resolution 1034 (1995) must be fully and properly investigated. The Council reiterates that all States and concerned parties have an obligation, in accordance with resolution 827 (1993) of 25 May 1993, other relevant resolutions and the Peace Agreement, to cooperate fully with the International Tribunal and to comply without exception with requests for
Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6276 3701st Meeting (AM) 10 October 1996
assistance or orders issued by a trial chamber. The Council expresses again its support for the endeavours of the international agencies and authorities involved in these investigations and invites them to pursue and intensify their efforts. It encourages Member States to continue to provide the necessary financial and other support.
"The Security Council will continue to follow this issue closely. It requests the Secretary-General to keep it regularly informed on progress reached in the investigation of the violations of international humanitarian law referred to in the report mentioned above."
The meeting was called to order at 10:50 a.m. and adjourned at 10:59 a.m.
* *** *