ASSEMBLY INSISTS ON SURRENDER OF ALL INDICTEES TO INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA19971215 Acting Without Vote, Also Reaffirms Right of Refugees, Displaced Persons To Return Voluntarily to Homes of Origin
The General Assembly this morning insisted on the need to surrender all indictees to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and urged Member States to carry out their obligations under the Tribunal's statute and relevant Security Council resolutions, as it concluded its consideration of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Acting without a vote, on an orally revised text, the Assembly demanded that all acts of intimidation, violence and killings, including those designed to discourage the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons, be investigated and prosecuted. It also urged States to offer financial and other support to the Tribunal, to ensure completion of its purpose.
The Assembly again reaffirmed the right of refugees and displaced persons to return voluntarily to their homes of origin and called upon all the parties to establish immediately the conditions necessary for their return, as well as for the freedom of movement and communication of all the country's citizens. It called for the repeal of all property laws which prevent pre-war residents from returning to their homes, as well as for the passage of non- discriminatory legislation.
In addition, the Assembly called on all parties to cooperate fully in ensuring the substantial functioning of all of the country's common institutions, and urged the relevant international organizations to continue providing assistance to meet the infrastructure needs of those new institutions. It also urged all the parties to implement fully and without delay the results of the recent municipal elections in all municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Speaking in explanation of position, the representative of the Russian Federation said he could not agree with the draft resolution's excessive focus
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on the International Criminal Tribunal while other pressing issues such as the restoration of a multi-ethnic Sarajevo had not been included. However, because of the constructive attitude of its co-sponsors, the Russian Federation had joined in supporting the text.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Luxembourg (for the European Union) Japan, Malaysia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Jordan, Pakistan, Croatia, Brunei Darussalam, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Iran and Egypt.
Also this morning, the Assembly began its consideration of situation of democracy and human rights in Haiti. The representative of Argentina introduced a draft resolution on the subject. Statements were also made by the representatives of Barbados, for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and by Luxembourg, for the European Union and associated States.
In other business, Assembly President Hennadiy Udovenko (Ukraine) announced the appointment of Austria, the Bahamas, Romania, Thailand and Uganda to the Consultative Committee on the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), for three-year terms beginning on 1 January 1998.
He also announced the appointment of Argentina, the Bahamas, Belgium, Benin, Georgia, Iran and Lesotho to the Committee on Conferences, for three- year terms also beginning on 1 January 1998.
The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. today to take action on the reports of its Sixth Committee (Legal) and to continue its consideration of the situation in Haiti.
Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this morning to appoint members of the Consultative Committee on the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and of the Committee on Conferences. It was also expected to consider the Secretary-General's report on the situation of democracy and human rights in Haiti, and take action on a related draft resolution, as well as on a draft resolution on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Assembly had before it a note by the Secretary-General (document A/52/109), which states that members should be appointed to the 21-member Committee on Conferences by the Assembly President, after consultations with the Chairmen of the regional groups. Members will be appointed for a period of three years, based on the following geographical distribution: six from African States; five from Asian States; four from Latin American and Caribbean States; two from Eastern European States; and four from Western European and other States. One third of the Committee's membership retire annually, and those members are eligible for reappointment.
Since the terms of office of the Bahamas, Belgium, Ghana, Iran, Latvia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Senegal expire on 31 December, the Assembly is expected to appoint seven members to fill the resulting vacancies. The new members will serve three-year terms, beginning on 1 January 1998.
Under a 9-Power draft resolution on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (document A/51/L.67/Rev.1), the Assembly would express its full support for the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its annexes -- collectively referred to as the "Peace Agreement" -- and welcome such elements of it as the establishment of a lasting cessation of hostilities and the successful holding of municipal elections throughout the country. It would also express its full support for the efforts of the United Nations International Police Task Force, and call for the full cooperation of the parties with those efforts.
By other terms of the text, the Assembly would call on all parties to cooperate fully in ensuring the substantial functioning of all of the country's common institutions, and urge international organizations to continue providing assistance to meet the infrastructural needs of the new common institutions. Member States would be urged to offer financial and other support to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and to carry out their obligations under the Tribunal's statute and all relevant Security Council resolutions.
The Assembly would urge all the parties to the Peace Agreement to implement fully and without delay the results of the recent municipal elections in all municipalities. It would reiterate its demand for the full, comprehensive and consistent implementation of the General Framework
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Agreement. It would call for the repeal of all property laws which prevent pre-war residents from returning to their homes, as well as for the passage of non-discriminatory legislation. It would again reaffirm the right of refugees and displaced persons to return voluntarily to their homes of origin, and call upon the parties immediately to establish the conditions for such return and for the freedom of movement and communication of all the country's citizens.
In addition, the Assembly would insist on the need to deliver all indictees to the Tribunal for trial. It would underline the obligation of all the parties to arrest and surrender to the Tribunal all such persons in territories under their control and to cooperate with the Tribunal's work, including through exhumations and other investigative acts. It would also demand that all acts of intimidation, violence and killings, including those designed to discourage the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons, be investigated and prosecuted.
The draft is sponsored by the Czech Republic, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia and Turkey.
In his report on the situation of democracy and human rights in Haiti (document A/52/687), the Secretary-General recommends the extension of the United Nations component of the Organization of American States (OAS)/United Nations Civilian Mission in Haiti (MICIVIH) for one year until 31 December 1998. He says the present mandate should be returned, with an emphasis on judicial reform, institutional consolidation and local capacity-building. The Mission's extension should be placed in the context of institutional consolidation and transition. The transition period should be used to prepare successor mechanisms or agencies, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the OAS, to assume fully the Mission's responsibilities in institution-building which require long-term planning and implementation.
The report states that MICIVIH carries out three major tasks -- technical assistance, which includes institution-building, technical cooperation and local capacity-building; human rights promotion and civic education; and monitoring of the human rights situation. It has contributed to democratic consolidation through the deterrence and prevention of human rights violations; improvements in the performance of the judiciary, police and prisons with respect to human rights, due process and international norms; and acquisition of new skills and knowledge by officials and elected representatives that enhance institutional development. The relations of trust MICIVIH has built with all sectors of the population have made it a sought-after intermediary in resolving local conflicts.
According to the report, three years after the return to constitutional order, there has been tangible progress in human rights and fundamental liberties. This is mainly attributed to training, institution-building with respect to police and prisons, a concerted effort at accountability, and the
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deterrent effect of human rights monitoring. Institutional development, however, has been uneven and the police, frustrated by endemic judicial dysfunction, are taking the law into their own hands. Judicial reform, revamping of the judiciary and improvements to the administration of justice have been painfully slow and inadequate. Low institutional capacity and a lack of leadership have had a negative impact on the best efforts of MICIVIH and donors. Much remains to be done in that crucial area to enhance the rule of law and respect for due process.
The Mission's training and civic education activities for officials and representatives of civil society organizations have helped reinforce a democratic culture. Extensive capacity-building for local non-governmental organizations has prepared for the Mission's departure, but further development is required. Though substantial, the progress achieved so far with respect to human rights is fragile, and accountability is not yet deeply rooted in brand-new institutions. Civilian society oversight mechanisms with respect to police and prisons are still embryonic. A continuing human rights monitoring presence and institutional consolidation activities are, therefore, considered to be invaluable.
The human rights situation is satisfactory overall and fundamental liberties are widely enjoyed, the Secretary-General states. Nevertheless, there are ongoing though not systematic human rights violations, including violations of the rights to life, physical integrity, individual freedom and due process. Enormous challenges remain so that institutional development and changes become firmly rooted and more durable. The human rights monitoring activities of MICIVIH have fed closely into its institution-building work with a view to proposing lasting solutions to the most pressing problems and shortcomings identified.
The report also highlights issues relating to the Haitian National Police, prisons and detention centres, the system of justice, inter- institutional relations, and the question of impunity, compensation and rehabilitation of victims of past human rights abuses.
By the terms of a seven-Power draft resolution on Haiti (document A/52/L.65), the Assembly would authorize the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations component of the International Civilian Mission to Haiti until 31 December 1998. It would welcome the Secretary-General's recommendation to renew the mandate of the United Nations joint participation with the OAS in the Mission. Its tasks would include providing technical assistance at the Haitian Government's request in the field of institution-building, such as the training of the police and support for judicial reform and the establishment of an impartial judiciary. Those tasks would also include supporting the development of a programme for the promotion and protection of human rights, to further establish a climate of freedom and tolerance propitious to the consolidation of long-term constitutional democracy in Haiti, and to
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contribute to the strengthening of democratic institutions. They would also include verifying full observance by Haiti of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to submit at least two reports on the implementation of the present draft and, in the last such report, on ways in which the international community continue assisting in the tasks now being carried out by the Mission. It would also ask him to continue coordinating the efforts of the United Nations system to provide humanitarian aid and contribute to Haiti's development.
It would again reaffirm the international community's commitment to continue technical, economic and financial cooperation with Haiti in support of its economic and social development, and in order to strengthen its institutions responsible for dispensing justice and guaranteeing democracy, respect for human rights, political stability and economic development.
The draft resolution is sponsored by Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, Haiti, the United States and Venezuela.
HENNADIY UDOVENKO (Ukraine), Assembly President, said the terms of office of the five current members of the Consultative Committee on the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) expire on 31 December 1997. Following consultations, he had appointed Austria, the Bahamas, Romania, Thailand and Uganda as members of the Consultative Committee for three-year terms beginning on 1 January 1998.
He also announced that, following consultations with the Chairmen of the regional groups, he had appointed Argentina, the Bahamas, Belgium, Benin, Georgia, Iran and Lesotho as members of the Committee on Conferences for three-year terms beginning on 1 January 1998.
Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
DANILO TURK (Slovenia) introduced the revised draft resolution on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, announcing that Austria, the Netherlands and Kuwait had joined as sponsors. He said that major changes had taken place in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the last two years. An important recent event was the meeting of the Peace Implementation Conference in Bonn on 9 and 10 December. The Conference had confirmed that there was no alternative to the Peace Agreement as the foundation for the country's political and economic development. The multinational Stabilisation Force was vital in providing a secure environment for the implementation of the peace agreement. The conference had also confirmed the emerging consensus on the need for an international military presence to continue beyond June 1998. That was
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indispensable for the maintenance of a stable security environment for implementation of civilian aspects of the peace agreement.
The draft before the Assembly stated that all persons indicted for war crimes must be handed over to the International Tribunal, he said. The Conference had drawn particular attention to the failure by the Republika Srpska and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to carry out that obligation. The current draft reflected the urgency and universal character of concern for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The situation there continued to require the attention of the Assembly.
MUHAMED SACIRBEY (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said his delegation was not able to co-sponsor or vote in favour of the current draft resolution, which was exactly why the Assembly should support it. The text, which made a positive contribution to the peace process, strove to achieve consensus both among the delegations at the United Nations and within his Government. Unfortunately, some who held formal positions of power within his Government might lack genuine commitment to the peace process and to the State which they were sworn to serve. In fact, some might be using their official positions and legitimacy to undermine the Dayton/Paris Peace Accord and the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina itself. For now, his delegation would not co-sponsor the draft resolution, especially without a consensus within the central government.
The General Assembly's support of the draft resolution would promote the peace process, he said. The text was completely in accord with the peace agreement, relevant Security Council resolutions, Bosnia's Constitution and the recently concluded Peace Implementation Conference. Action on the draft resolution was important because it gave the Assembly and the entire membership of the United Nations an opportunity each year to voice views on the issue, which was not only important for his country, but also for regional and global security, and for the United Nations credibility and image. His delegation would not be able to vote on the text, because there had not been a consensus within his government to pay its past assessment and dues. Unfortunately, Bosnia and Herzegovina's membership in the United Nations, one of the most visible signs of its sovereignty and survival, was also being obstructed.
JEAN-LOUIS WOLZFELD (Luxembourg), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said there was no alternative to the Peace Agreement as the foundation for the political and economic development of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its two multi-ethnic entities. While 1997 had seen relative progress, further efforts would have to be made in such diverse areas as the re-establishment of security, the indictment of those responsible for war crimes, the establishment of a free media, the return of refugees and displaced persons, economic rehabilitation, and the holding of local elections.
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Both the third year of implementation of the Peace Agreement and the last phase of the consolidation process were now being entered, he said. Nevertheless, efforts must be made to ensure the functioning of viable structures in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its two entities, continuation of the democratization process, the adequate protection of human rights, promotion of the rule of law, the establishment of a market economy, and the unhindered return of refugees and displaced persons. The European Union expected that those in charge of the central authorities and of the entities, whether Bosnian, Croat or Serb, to cooperate fully with each other and with the international community.
He said the Republika Srpska's parliamentary elections in November should bring about a new start for its institutions towards a policy of cooperation in the framework of the peace process. In the upcoming 1998 general election in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was called upon to play an important role. The elections would represent a new and important stage in the democratization process. Further efforts were needed to create a permanent electoral system. To that end, reform of the media must be completed, so it might operate in a democratic and pluralist manner. He expressed concern that the central government in Bosnia and Herzegovina operated without any organic law, secretariat or fixed location. It had met only five times since its election last year. The central budget was not funded by the entities, which withheld customs revenues or did not collect them. Large sums were being managed without the necessary transparency, and outside the legal process. Bosnia and Herzegovina still had neither flag nor common currency. The Union would not tolerate attempts within the entities to undermine the country's sovereignty, nor would it tolerate attempts by any group to dominate the political institutions.
The return of refugees and displaced persons remained a priority, he said. A large number of refugees had still not returned home, fearing acts of intimidation and violence. Urgent administrative and legal measures must be taken by all parties to enable the return of refugees and displaced persons -- including to areas where they had been a minority -- and for their reintegra- tion into their community of origin in conditions of safety and dignity. The Union fully supported the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Although there had been some progress in the level of cooperation with the Tribunal, it remained unsatisfactory. As long as indicted individuals were not handed over to the Tribunal, the prerequisites for reconciliation and the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina would not be met.
He said the Union wished that the impulse given by the Peace Implementa- tion Conference this month would be decisive for the peace process and that it would be matched by the actions and full cooperation of all concerned parties. The Union was in a position to make a special contribution to the process of stabilization and economic renewal by encouraging the development of relations
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with all regional countries, in a context favourable to democracy, the rule of law, high human rights standards, the rights of minorities, and transformation to a market economy. Free market principles would enable Bosnia and Herzegovina to reduce its dependence on international aid.
YUKIO TAKASU (Japan) said in the two years since the signing of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, progress in its implementation, especially in civilian aspects, had not kept pace with the international community's expectations or those of the country's citizens. Although the common institutions which were supposed to govern the country as a single State had been formally established, they were not yet functioning as initially envisaged, owing to various impediments by one party or another. A desire for renewed multi-ethnic coexistence and inter-ethnic cooperation had been increasing among the citizens. However, the behaviour of the leaders of the three main ethnic groups and of the two entities had tended to thwart, rather than encourage, that desire. Japan was concerned that neither entity had demonstrated enough commitment to ethnic reconciliation and the rebuilding of a multi-ethnic society. Serbs showed separatist inclinations, and from time to time the Croats also revealed separatist tendencies. His delegation urged Bosniak leaders to cooperate in sharing power under the central authorities with other ethnic groups, to facilitate the functioning of common institutions.
He emphasized the importance of the conclusions of the Peace Implementation Conference held in Bonn this month. All the parties of Bosnia and Herzegovina must make maximum efforts to fulfil their obligations as contained in those conclusions, to substantially expedite the peace process. The primary responsibility for the peace process lay with the parties of Bosnia and Herzegovina themselves. International support depended upon the cooperation and on actions by the parties on the ground to advance the process.
MARZUKI MOHD (Malaysia) said important common State institutions had been formed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the recent municipal elections should lead to new ethnic alliances in many places. Nevertheless, the peace process remained fragile. Some of the common institutions were ineffective because of the frequent absence of Serb members. All the parties must honour their commitment to the common State institutions and their efficient functioning. The consolidation of peace depended on a safe, secure environment, freedom of movement, and respect for human rights and basic freedoms. Refugees and displaced persons must be allowed to return to their homes safely.
Only a quarter of an estimated 2 million refugees and displaced persons have returned, and mostly to areas where they were the ethnic majority, he said. Minority returns had been disappointingly few. All concerned must
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ensure that Bosnian displaced persons were able to return to their homes without fear and with respect for their human rights.
He expressed concern that many indicted war criminals, including Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, were still at large and continued exercising political influence in the Serb entity. Their freedom hindered the creation of a unified Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Malaysia demanded their immediate arrest and trial. The multinational peacekeeping force had maintained relative peace and security over the past two years. Their presence has helped create an environment for implementation of the Dayton Peace Accord's civilian aspects. The international force should remain in place after the peacekeeping force's mandate expired in June 1998.
The Bosnians must play a major part in rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, he said. Malaysia had contributed $12.1 million in 1996, and pledged a further $12 million for 1998. It was also working with the Bosnians on a project to build confidence and promote reconciliation. The international community must continue showing its commitment to the full implementation of the Peace Agreement, but the main responsibility lay with the Bosnian authorities. A durable peace also required cooperation by the country's neighbours, which must be committed to full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
VLADIMIR GALUSKA (Czech Republic, said his Government was a co-sponsor of the draft resolution and supported a united Bosnia and Herzegovina based on the principle of single citizenship. However, it recognized that Bosnia and Herzegovina now consisted of two entities, the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Republic of Srpska. The three ethnic groups must be aware of the advantages of mutual cooperation. There had been inadequate progress in activating common Bosnian institutions, mainly because of the lack of political will on all sides. The internal development in the Republic of Srpska was character- ized by a growing rift between the supporters of the two political parties. Although the November parliamentary elections demonstrated the prevailing desire for democratization, they did not mark a turning point in the effort to build an independent and multi-ethnic state.
He said that consistent implementation of all articles of the Dayton Agreement was crucial for the normal functioning of a democratic State capable of ensuring basic social, legal, security and other conditions for everyone. The military aspects of the Dayton Agreement were almost fully in place, but much remained to be done on the civilian aspects, despite recent moderate progress. Urgent problems included the return of refugees, freedom of movement, and efficiency of the local police force. The Czech Republic supported an extended mandate for the High Representative, with a view to effective and expedited implementation of the civilian aspects of the Dayton Agreement. The International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia had an essential role to play in dealing with the consequences of war.
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VOLODYMYR YEL'CHENKO (Ukraine) said that a reasonable level of the international military presence was still needed as a stabilizing factor in Bosnia and for further maintenance of the all-European security. Ukraine supported a continued military presence in Bosnia beyond June 1998 and was ready to extend its participation in a feasible post-Stabilization Force (SFOR) operation to be mandated by the Security Council. The role of the United Nations in reconciliation and civilian consolidation in Bosnia remained indispensable. As further success in implementing the Peace Agreement depended largely on fulfilling its civilian aspects, the United Nations role in solution of the humanitarian problems should be increased. Issues relating to demining also represented a serious obstacle to effective implementation of the civilian aspects of the Agreement. The solution of that problem would effectively contribute to the return of refugees, increase the freedom of movement, and the economic reconstruction of the country.
The final success of the peace process in Bosnia would not be achievable unless it was supported by effective economic reconstruction in the country, with the continued assistance of the international donor community, he said. Top priority should be given to projects aimed at promoting economic cooperation between the Federation and the Republika Srpska, and within the Federation itself. Countries such as his own, which had experienced serious economic losses as a result of the sanctions regime imposed by the Security Council on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, should have priority access to current reconstruction projects. Such assistance would be considered as a partial compensation of those tremendous economic losses. He emphasized the importance of establishing an effective mechanism to address the adverse consequences experienced by countries which complied with such collective measures undertaken on behalf of the entire United Nations. Ukraine had put forward a draft resolution on that matter, which would be introduced tomorrow.
PRINCE ZEID RA'AD ZEID AL HUSSEIN (Jordan) said the draft resolution before the Assembly noted and welcomed the efforts of the States, the parties themselves and other international actors, in bringing about a very difficult transformation from war to peace. Unfortunately, it had been a transformation from a bitter war to a bitter peace. The task of establishing new, common, federal institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina was still proving to be very difficult, primarily as a result of Pale's unacceptable attitude. The Bosnian Serb leaders in Pale did not recognize the legitimacy of any institution which confirmed the unitary nature of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their behaviour at the Bonn Conference last week demonstrated that little had changed in their uncompromising attitude toward the international community.
Until the very heart of the Dayton Accords, Annex 7, was implemented in full, and those refugees and displaced persons from minority areas returned to their original home towns, the Accords would never lead to real peace, he said. To facilitate that, Jordan called on all parties to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. From early on,
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Jordan had hosted refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and deployed peacekeepers there, first with the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNPROFOR) and presently with SFOR and the International Police Task Force. Jordan had always been committed to an independent, united, multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina. It considered recent media speculation over the idea of partition dangerous, highly immoral and totally unacceptable.
AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan, said the provisions of the Dayton Agreement were central to preserving Bosnia and Herzegovina as a united, sovereign and independent State. The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina had been forthcoming in fulfilling its obligations without any equivocation. Unfortunately, the Serbian entity had demonstrated a lack of commitment at every stage and phase of the peace process, seriously hampering international efforts. Pakistan was particularly concerned at the lack of progress in several areas, including the return of refugees and displaced persons, as well as in the freedom of movement across the inter-entity boundary lines. Pakistan supported the proposal by the High Representative that limited international reconstruction funds should be made available as rewards to municipalities which supported the peace process, while withdrawing funds from non-compliant municipalities.
He said the States must help to apprehend indicted war criminals, and the international community must ensure full and timely implementation of all aspects of the arrangements agreed to by the parties. The Bonn Peace Implementation Conference had rightly pointed out the failure by the Republic of Srpska and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in surrendering indicted war criminals. Pakistan had contributed $1 million out of the $8.6 million received by the Tribunal, whose work was hampered by a chronic shortage of funds and resources. The revival of Bosnia's economic and social infrastructure required priority attention and sustained commitment by the international community. The disbursement of international economic assistance to the various parties should be linked to their compliance with the Dayton Agreement, particularly their commitment to the integrity and unity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said while it was far from ideal, the Dayton/Paris peace model remained the only viable solution. The problems which arose in Bosnia and Herzegovina could be attributed, more or less, to deviations from the peace agreement. The slow progress in building new common institutions, combined with attempts to strengthen certain old centralized bodies, was one such problem. Moves towards the centralization of Bosnia and Herzegovina, if pushed over the Dayton/Paris limits, could be destabilizing -- not only for that country, but also for its neighbours. A lack of regard for the existing national and local customs and way of life led to increasing polarization, secessionist ambitions, and large scale migrations.
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He and his country was concerned about population shifts onto its territory -- not only of Croats, but also of other distressed groups -- which brought security problems and economic costs. Over the past year, Croatia had spent $1.1 billion for the care of Bosnian refugees, which was an enormous amount for a country its size. His country was increasingly burdened by the alienation of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their loss of confidence in the Dayton/Paris Accords and the international community in general should not be taken lightly because they happened to be the smallest of the three constituent nations.
The international community had often declared that the key to the reintegration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into a multi-ethnic State lay with the return of the Croats to central part of that country, he said. While that was undeniably true, the international community's concrete support for Bosnian Croats had not been sufficient and should be strengthened. One critical area for assistance was in the domain of the media, where Croatian language television and radio programs were permitted only at local level in the southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The disillusionment of the country's Croats was also a result of developments at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, he said. Owing to lack of cooperation by the two parties and the lack of determination to make those parties cooperate, Croats now accounted for 70 per cent of the imprisoned indictees. That proportion was unacceptable. The Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina were even more distressed by the lack of indictments against persons who had organized and committed mass murder against their communities in central Bosnia, for which there was ample evidence and documentation.
PENGIRAN MAIDIN HASHIM (Brunei Darussalam) said that lasting peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina could only be achieved through full implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreements. Many indicted war criminals had been brought to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, but many accused leaders remained at large. Lasting peace would be difficult to achieve if they were not brought to trial, as they still had influence in resisting efforts which promoted peace and stability. They should be brought to justice.
A considerable number of refugees and displaced persons had returned to Bosnia, but many were still homeless and had been prevented from returning to their former places of residence, he said. Brunei Darussalam was contributing to international efforts, which must be complemented by efforts on the part of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who were ultimately responsible for peace, unity and development in their country. The international community should continue its presence and exert its influence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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TONO EITEL (Germany) said the Peace Implementation Conference for Bosnia and Herzegovina held last week in Bonn had highlighted the degree of concern and determination with which the international community wanted to see lasting peace and reconciliation take root. Equally important was the unity with which it supported means of achieving that goal. The extensive conclusions of the Conference mapped out specific steps to be taken by the parties -- with the assistance and sometimes the insistence of the international community -- during the third year of the Dayton Agreement. The conclusions deal with all relevant aspects of the peace process, including human rights, legal reforms and war crimes, constitutional and legal matters, refugees and displaced persons, public order and police issues, the media and elections, economic reconstruction and reform, Brcko, regional issues, and the High Represent- ative. The conclusions also contain provisions addressing the return of refugees of Serb nationality, as well as the questions of Eastern Slavonia and Kosovo.
He said the peace agreement remained the blueprint for peace and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nevertheless, the house of a stable and peaceful Bosnia and Herzegovina could only be completed if all those living in the country -- Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs -- joined in the construction. The Conference had broadened the competences of the High Representative to impose decisions if the parties were unable to take them themselves. There would be no lack of international assistance and solidarity, but assistance would only be given to those who actively engaged in, cooperated with, and were ready for reconciliation and a common future. Those who blocked and sabotaged, who harboured indicted war criminals, who hindered refugees and displaced persons from returning, who incited hatred and strife, could not expect help.
ANDRE ERDOS (Hungary) said that despite progress, the peace process was not irreversible. The establishment of a multi-ethnic, multicultural Bosnia and Herzegovina required unconditional implementation of all the provisions of the Dayton Peace Agreement and the maintenance of an international presence in the country. Hungary regretted that the different ethnic communities were not complying with the agreement's provisions regarding the International Tribunal in an equal manner. The Tribunal must be provided with the financial resources necessary for carrying out its tasks, and it must have access to all the information it needed. The safe return of refugees and displaced persons was also an essential element of reconciliation.
The economic revival of Bosnia and Herzegovina was a sine qua non for achievement of the country's independence, sovereignty, democracy, unity, and legal and territorial integrity, he said. International assistance was needed in order to reach those objectives. There should be a connection between such assistance and the degree of cooperation with the international community and the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The consolidation of the progress of the past two years depended on the attitude of the Bosnian parties themselves.
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As a neighbouring country, Hungary was ready to play a peacekeeping role in Bosnia and Herzegovina within the International Police Task Force, he said. His Government was also ready to participate in rebuilding the country's infrastructure. For several years, the Stabilization Force had been based in southern Hungary. His country would always be available to promote peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
HUSEYIN E. CELEM (Turkey) said although, since the signing of the peace agreement, there had been considerable progress on military issues. However, a lack of compliance on some crucial civilian aspects of the Agreement indicated that much remained to be done. The international community must now reiterate its concern about non-compliance by parties on crucial aspects of the peace agreements and demonstrate its willingness to take the necessary measures within its power to obtain full compliance. While Turkey welcomed the attention given to the protection and promotion of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the continuing obstruction faced by the refugees and displaced persons wishing to return to their homes was regrettable.
He stressed the need for timely information about the level of cooperation and compliance with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and its orders, as well as on the status of the return of refugees and displaced persons to and within Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the status and implementation of the subregional arms control agreements, so that necessary assessments might be made.
He called on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) to fulfil immediately the requirement of establishing full and unconditional diplomatic relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Such a development would eliminate another hurdle on the road to normalization. Turkey also welcomed the successful conclusion of the local elections of 13 and 14 September and expected full and unequivocal implementation of the election results.
He said that economic revitalization was essential for the process of reconciliation, for the improvement of living conditions and for the maintenance of durable peace -- both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the region. Necessary steps should be taken immediately, so the country might obtain an economic policy framework that would allow it to begin taking advantage of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank arrangements. He went on to say that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Implementation Force (IFOR) was indispensable for the maintenance of a stable security environment. Such an environment was essential for deterring -- or, if necessary -- halting a resumption of hostilities. Turkey welcomed the emerging consensus on the need for a military presence to continue beyond June 1998.
MAJID TAKHT-RAVANCHI (Iran) said the result of the September municipal/local government elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina had further
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shown that the people of that country had opted for a multi-ethnic and multicultural country. Any attempt to violate and undermine its territorial integrity, national unity and independence within its internationally recognized borders should be opposed. All possible means should be used to promote and strengthen the reintegration process and to establish viable and effective State institutions. It was a source of grave concern that refugees and displaced persons wishing to return to their homes still faced harassment and obstruction.
Further measures should be taken to accelerate the safe return of refugees and to prosecute those responsible for acts of intimidation and violence, he said. Moreover, every effort should be made to guarantee the freedom of movement of people, goods, services and information throughout the country. Iran attached great importance to the role of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in bringing justice to the region. Unfortunately, despite the repeated calls of the international community and in contravention of the Peace Agreement, war criminals remained free and disrupted the country's political affairs.
He said the Islamic countries, including Iran, had helped their Bosnian brethren through the provision of humanitarian assistance at the time of the war, and participation in the rehabilitation and reconstruction programme after the signing of the Peace Agreement. The Eighth Islamic Summit Conference, held in Tehran last week, reaffirmed the commitment of the Organization of the Islamic Conference's member States to preserve the legal continuity, unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina within its internationally recognized borders and fully supported the establishment of a sovereign, democratic, multi-ethnic and multicultural State.
He went on to say that the Summit had also called on the Security Council to ensure compliance by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and the Republika Srpska with the orders of the International Criminal Tribunal. It had also urged all countries and multilateral institutions which pledged resources for the reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina immediately to disburse those funds, so as to ensure the timely completion of priority projects.
MAGED ABDEL AZIZ (Egypt) said the current draft resolution reconfirmed the continued interest of the international community to follow up on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also reconfirmed the international community's commitment to the peace process in that region. Its adoption would also reconfirm the role of the United Nations in implementation of the Peace Agreement. Egypt welcomed such positive developments as the cessation of hostilities and the holding of elections, as well as the Special Declaration on Bosnia and Herzegovina issued in Tehran, and the conclusions of
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the Bonn Conference. The international community had demonstrated its commitment to ensure full implementation of the Peace Agreement.
He stressed need for a continued military presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina beyond the present June 1998 mandate, as it played an important role in implementation of the peace process. Also, all parties must be urged to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and to turn over all indictees for trial. Such cooperation was vital, and the non-compliance by the Republika Srpska posed a serious threat to the peace process. No major changes would be possible until the authorities there turned in those wanted for war crimes. The international community should not allow extremist elements to hinder the peace process.
He went on to say that the reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina should take place in a manner that promoted ethnic unity. Egypt had upheld all its material assistance commitments to Bosnia and Herzegovina and was prepared to respond to any further requests by that Government. However, assistance by the international community must remain conditional on the compliance by the parties in implementation of the Peace Agreement.
Action on Text on Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mr. TURK (Slovenia), speaking on behalf of the co-sponsors, presented an oral revision to the draft resolution. A new preambular paragraph was being added following the seventh preambular paragraph. It reads as follows: "Expressing support for the efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in facilitating the return of refugees and displaced persons throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and in particular, the Open Cities project carried out by the UNCHR."
The following paragraph, which originally began by "Expressing support for the efforts of the Coalition for Return..." would now begin by "Supporting also those efforts". In operative paragraph 8, the following words were deleted: "as was confirmed in particular in the joint declaration adopted at Geneva on 14 August 1996". It would now read: "Recognizes that responsibility for consolidating the peace lies primarily with the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina".
VADIM S. SMIRNOV (Russian Federation), speaking in explanation of position, said that peacekeeping must be carried out in strict compliance with the Peace Agreement and not allow for a one-sided interpretation, leading to a build-up of military forces. Unfortunately, it was not possible to get rid of the draft's one-sidedness. The Russian Federation could not agree with its excessive focus on the International Tribunal while other pressing issues, such as the restoration of a multi-ethnic Sarajevo, had not been included. However, because of the constructive attitude of its co-sponsors, the Russian Federation would support the text.
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CHRISTOS ZACHARAKIS (Greece), as Assembly Vice-President, announced that the following countries had joined as co-sponsors of the draft resolution: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Iran, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Senegal, Singapore and Tunisia.
The draft resolution, as orally revised, was then adopted without a vote.
Situation in Haiti
FERNANDO ENRIQUE PETRELLA (Argentina), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti (Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, United States and Venezuela) introduced the draft resolution on the situation of democracy and human rights in Haiti. He said it would extend the mandate of MICIVIH, in conformity with the 10 November request by the President of Haiti to the Secretary-General.
Three years had gone by since the return of constitutional law to Haiti, he said. Yet while reports spoke of tangible progress in the areas of human rights and fundamental freedoms, efforts must now be concentrated on reform of the judiciary, whose functional difficulties were affecting other areas of Haitian civilian life. Consolidation of Haiti's institutions would ultimately depend on the determination of the Haitian people and the wisdom of its political leaders.
He said that, in addition to Haiti and the Group of Friends, the following countries were also co-sponsoring the draft: Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
CARLSTON BOUCHER (Barbados), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that last June Haiti had become that body's fourteenth member. Future progress in Haiti would largely depend on its Government's growing capacity to secure a climate of domestic stability, which was essential to accelerate the country's economic and social development. The establishment of a United Nations Civilian Police Mission, which would help professionalize the national police force, was welcome. The sixth operative paragraph of the draft resolution recognized that economic rehabilitation and reconstruction were major tasks facing the Haitian Government and people, and that significant international assistance was indispensable for sustained development. It also underlined the international community's commitment to a long-term programme of support for Haiti.
He said the CARICOM States pledged their full support to the continuing international effort for Haiti, mindful that its Government faced a formidable challenge and that progress would be uneven. The CARICOM had been insistent
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in urging the international community to stay the course with Haiti, given the long-term nature of the development task ahead. So far, the robust economic recovery envisaged following the return to democratic order had remained elusive. Some estimates put the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1997 at less than two per cent, or just equal to the annual rate of population increase. He urged the international community, especially the multilateral institutions, to redouble their efforts to help Haiti secure its democratic future through sustained development. Haiti would need to do its part to create the domestic policy framework for rapid economic growth and poverty reduction, which were necessary to make broad-based development a reality.
Mr. WOLZFELD (Luxembourg) spoke on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Cyprus. He said that Poland, Slovakia, Cyprus and Slovenia had joined in co-sponsoring the draft resolution.
He said the Union encouraged the political parties in Haiti to cooperate in efforts to end the paralysis of the public authorities during this particularly delicate stage. The period between now and the elections scheduled for November 1998 was critical for the consolidation of democracy and national reconstruction. It was hoped that the Haitian people would have an opportunity to express themselves in free, honest and transparent elections, organized according to rules and procedures accepted by everyone.
The international community -- particularly international financial institutions and the United Nations -- must provide Haiti with sustained assistance, he said. The Union contributed ECU 310 million ($US 352 million) between October 1994 and the end of 1996. Since then, an additional contribution of ECU 148 million ($US 168 million) had been made. The Union was making efforts to provide aid for the judicial system and for judicial reform. The absence of a strategy and programme for judicial reform was blocking the development of institutions and the protection of human rights, which in turn was compromising the development of police and prison institutions.
The United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH) was essential for the restoration of a climate of freedom and tolerance, which was necessary for the consolidation of democracy and justice in the long term, he said. The Union welcomed the adoption by the Security Council of resolution 1141 (1997) establishing the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti for a one-year period, to provide the Government with support and assistance in professionalizing its national police. The Union also supported extension of the mandate of the United Nations component of UNSMIH until 31 December 1998, which would be authorized under the current draft resolution.
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