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Report nr 5 of the High Representative
Implementation of the Bosnian Peace Agreement


documents in: 







to the Secretary-General of the United Nations  -  14 April 1997  -  part 2 (2)
Freedom of Movement

83. Improvements in freedom of movement have been facilitated by the elimination of check-points and the establishment of inter-entity bus-lines operated by UNHCR. Under the auspices of UNHCR and UN IPTF visits to grave-yards or former homes in the other Entity have increased. However, freedom of movement is severely restricted by inappropriate policing practices and the lack of telecommunications and infrastructure.

84. The Freedom of Movement Task Force (FMTF), mandated at the London Conference and consisting of representatives of OHR, UN IPTF and SFOR and interested countries, has met a number of times to explore various implementing mechanisms to promote Freedom of Movement for people, goods and mail.

85. Police practices in both Entities are the single greatest obstacle to freedom of movement. The police engage in conduct that tends to make the IEBL a boundary, especially along the major cross-IEBL arteries. Checkpoints, the confiscation of documents and arbitrary fines, act as a deterrent to the movement of individuals. My Office fully supports the work of the UN IPTF to restructure and retrain the local police forces and I welcome the commitment to provide a further 186 UN IPTF monitors, and 11 civilians, for the Brcko region.

86. Uniform driver documentation and vehicle number plates would considerably facilitate freedom of movement. This issue has been raised within the Council of Ministers, though at present it is only being considered for those Ministers and bureaucrats who need to cross the IEBL. The FMTF will also be considering alternative methods to resolve the issue.

87. The internal transit agreement signed earlier this year, has contributed towards the free movement of foreign goods between the two Entities. The flow of domestic goods has however encountered problems similar to those experienced by private cars. Uniform number-plates and the adoption of the Customs Laws in the Quick Start Package are essential if there is to be real progress in this field.

88. The cross-IEBL bus-lines, established by the UNHCR, have become an effective tool in promoting freedom of movement between the two Entities for displaced persons, returnees and the local population. Under the auspices of the my Office, the Chambers of Commerce and bus companies of the two Entities have been meeting to discuss the registration of inter-entity bus-lines. UNHCR will be included in future talks. The implementation of locally run inter-entity passenger traffic, will be a vital step forward to the realisation of freedom of movement.

89. Inter-entity railway traffic should be established. In early February, the Commission for Public Corporations established a Railways Commission and four Working Groups to address the different aspects of the problem. Progress has however floundered on the differing concepts of the railways structure.

90. Exchange of information and regular contact between the citizens of the two Entities would contribute toward a climate conducive to movement. My Office is working with the European Commission to establish inter-entity telecommunications, but has encountered considerable reluctance from all sides to share exchanges or management. A new structural approach may have to be adopted; it is also essential that frequency control, management and telecommunications will be covered by just one of the Bosnia and Herzegovina ministries.

91. In the Brcko area, the Supervisor will promote a series of steps to ensure freedom of movement of people, goods and commerce. The announcement by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia of their intention to start immediate discussions on the rapid opening of their common border, with customs procedures and controls consistent with European standards, will be of particular importance for the Brcko area.

92. As part of the economic rehabilitation of the Brcko area, the European Commission, the World Bank and US AID have agreed to make major investments to improve road and rail structures of the area. Measures are urgently needed to upgrade the East-West road through the area, as well as the key road and rail bridges over the River Sava both in the immediate Brcko area and further to the West at Orasje and Samac. This would improve North-South communications for the unhindered use of both Entities and all communities of Bosnia Herzegovina. The Supervisor will also study the river traffic in co-operation with the parties.

Missing persons, Mass graves

93. The issue of missing persons remains highly volatile after a year of halting and inadequate progress. The exact number of missing persons is uncertain; the ICRC has received tracing requests for more than 19,000 persons; the Bosniak authorities estimate the number of missing to be closer to 30,000. To date, the status of approximately 1,000 missing individuals has been clarified. Due to the lack of progress, the ICRC is currently looking at new ways to move its tracing process forward.

94. Recognising that the missing are - with very few, if any, exceptions - deceased, the local authorities, my Office and other members of the international community, have focused efforts on the exhumation of mass graves and the clearing of unburied mortal remains. After the winter delay, the parties met on 31 March under the auspices of my Office and agreed to resume inter-entity exhumations on 10 April. Work will begin simultaneously at two sites on that date.

95. While frustrating for the families of the missing, the winter-imposed break in exhumations provided an opportunity for the international community to organise resources and focus activities in order to improve the conduct of joint exhumations during 1997. Under the auspices of the Expert Group on Exhumations and Missing Persons, chaired by the OHR and consisting of several international organisations, a number of efforts are underway to assist the joint exhumation and identification process. These include projects by Physicians for Human Rights to train Bosnian scientists and technicians in exhumation techniques, to provide a co-ordinator for international forensic monitoring of exhumations and to establish an antemortem data base (in conjunction with the Association for the Promotion of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights). Physicians for Human Rights is also working on an identification project designed to assist in scientifically verifiable identification of mortal remains.

96. The International Commission on Missing Persons announced at its meeting on 21 March that it had established a fund to aid family associations of missing persons. The Commission has also indicated its willingness to support aspects of the exhumation process such as the de-mining of exhumation sites and the provision of equipment for exhumations and identification. Other assistance provided by the international community includes donations from the Swiss Government and the UN Trust Fund.

97. Although beneficial, these projects cannot by themselves resolve the many issues relating to missing persons. Additional resources, security for exhumation sites, and substantial political will are required if this issue is to be addressed effectively.

Human Rights

98. The Peace Agreement expects the authorities to secure the highest level of internationally recognized human rights, however there are many indications that the responsible authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not view this obligation as legally binding. The authorities have yet to take a number of concrete steps to demonstrate their commitment to protecting human rights. For example, both the Federation and the Republika Srpska conceded in July 1996 that their laws relating to abandoned property were contrary to basic human rights. Eight months later, neither Entity has brought their laws into compliance with the Peace Agreement. The Republika Srpska has still to amend its amnesty law to extend coverage to persons who deserted or avoided military conscription. Such delays pose a substantial obstacle to return of refugees and displaced people and contribute to ethnic division.

99. The authorities responsible for protecting human rights, in particular the police, continue to account for a substantial portion of reported abuses. Political leaders and police in both the Federation and Republika Srpska have often implicitly condoned abuses by failing to respond appropriately. A particularly egregious example, is the failure of the Republika Srpska police to conduct proper investigations into four separate cases in which Bosniaks were murdered in Teslic, Doboj, Dubrave and Zvornik.

100. In addition, the police themselves are directly responsible for numerous abuses, most notably the 10 February incident in Mostar in which uniformed and plain clothes police fired at the backs of retreating civilians, killing one and injuring more than 20 people. Arrests have still not been made in the case of a Bosniak man who was beaten to death while in police custody in Banja Luka last summer; this month the local police proposed to the RS Ministry of Internal Affairs that the salaries of the five officers on duty be partially docked for one month. In both Entities there have been numerous reports of beatings in detention.

101. These problems graphically illustrate the need for the restructuring and training of the Entities' police forces to be accelerated. While the vetting of the Federation police forces is underway, the Republika Srpska has yet to submit the lists of officers to be vetted. The Republika Srpska must fully co-operate with the UN IPTF in the restructuring and reduction of the RS police force.

102. A precarious human rights situation, characterized by widespread discrimination and abuse on ethnic grounds, continues to reign. Harassment of minorities residing, visiting or travelling through areas where another group is in the majority continues unabated. The most severe abuses are occurring in the Republika Srpska and in Croat majority areas in western Herzegovina. A worrying development during the reporting period has been the tit-for-tat attacks on religious and cultural edifices, such as churches, mosques and cemeteries, within the Federation.

103. Inter-ethnic tensions within the Federation and between the two Entities continues to prompt forced and illegal evictions of minorities. Destruction of minority-owned homes in the zone of separation and in other towns during this period, further polluted the human rights environment in areas targeted for return of refugees and displaced persons. Widespread discrimination against ethnic minorities and supporters of opposition political parties, in the fields of employment, education and access to services, continued particularly in the Republika Srpska.

104. My Office is working with UNHCR and the Sarajevo city authorities to ensure that housing reconstruction furthers the right of return of pre-war occupants. Efforts continue to be directed at organizing local community councils, in areas where tense relations are reported between displaced Bosniaks and remaining Serbs. My Office has organized meetings between local authorities from Sarajevo canton and adjoining areas of Republika Srpska to: initiate police cooperation against crime; encourage freedom of movement; and to discuss possibilities of inter-entity economic cooperation in the wider Sarajevo region.

105. At its final meeting of 1996, the Human Rights Task Force (HRTF) set priorities for 1997 based on its assessment of the accomplishments and shortcomings of the human rights community's efforts to date. Priorities for this year include: human rights institution building, involving both strengthening of human rights institutions and support for NGOs; development of a human rights culture through public information, education and democratisation initiatives; strengthening the rule of law through projects including incorporation of human rights standards into law and reform of legal, administrative and law enforcement institutions.

106. Given the multiplicity of organizations involved in the human rights field, the HRTF called for improved integration of activities at an operational level, as well as better coordination of responses to human rights abuses. To address these objectives, the Human Rights Coordination Centre Steering Board was established on 8 January 1997. The Steering Board, which is composed of the leading human rights/democratisation officers of the major international implementing organisations, has been working to restructure coordination efforts to address both longer-term initiatives, as well as monitoring and response to more immediate issues.

107. Failure to implement the human rights provisions of the Peace Agreement should also be addressed by introducing new techniques to sanction non-compliance and by strengthening existing mechanisms. During 1996, the actions of some individuals hampered reconciliation and damaged the peace process. As agreed, an additional sanction which my Office will employ this year will be to request that persons who engage in substantial acts of non-compliance or human rights violations be denied visas allowing them to travel abroad. This sanction has now been applied for the first time on the three policemen identified as shooting at the retreating crowd in Mostar. Other strategies are being developed, including a more co-ordinated system for joint demarches to interested Governments and intergovernmental institutions, and methods to ensure effective and thorough incorporation of human rights considerations into decision-making relating to economic assistance and reconstruction.

Cooperation with ICTY and Strengthening the Rule of Law

108. The failure of responsible authorities, particularly in the Republika Srpska, to fulfill their legal obligation to cooperate with ICTY, continues. The Republika Srpska has refused to arrest and surrender persons indicted by the Tribunal, relying on a provision in their Constitution which is clearly superseded by the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other Annexes of the Peace Agreement. Concurrently, Bosnian Croat authorities have failed to arrest the numerous indicted persons who reside in or visit areas of the Federation previously under the control of the HVO. The presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina of people indicted by ICTY is a continuing threat to the peace process and a serious impediment to reconciliation. The responsible authorities must take immediate steps to execute arrest warrants for persons indicted by the Tribunal, to submit all cases involving suspected war crimes to the Tribunal for review prior to arrest or prosecution by national courts, and to provide information to assist in Tribunal investigations.

109. The Steering Board has agreed, that my Office will compile the necessary information to implement concrete measures against municipalities, such as Prijedor and Bosanski Samac, in which indicted persons hold public office.

110. During the reporting period, the Federation has taken some belated steps to implement the 'Rules of the Road' agreed in Rome on 18 February 1996 by identifying cases submitted for review by the Tribunal. The Republika Srpska has submitted virtually no cases for review, and continues prosecutions in both of the cases submitted in violation of the Rome agreement. In addition, both the Federation and the Republika Srpska continue to detain persons suspected of war crimes in violation of the Rome agreement.

111. Both Entities should implement the "Rules of the Road" without further delay by: submitting files on all persons suspected of war crimes to the Hague; terminating all prosecutions of persons for whom files have not been sent to the Tribunal; releasing immediately any person detained on suspicion of war crimes should the Tribunal determine that the evidence submitted is not sufficient to warrant further detention or investigation. No arrests of war crimes suspects should occur prior to review and approval of a case by the Tribunal. It is essential that the international community provide ICTY with the resources it needs to fulfill its commitment to implement the 'Rules of the Road' procedure and to monitor prosecutions and trials by national courts.

112. With regard to persons detained following the peace agreement, substantial human rights violations continue. Arbitrary detentions, including cases of tit-for-tat arrests, continue, as does the war-time practice of detaining people for the purposes of exchange. In late March the Federation authorities in Bihac failed to release a Serb detained without sufficient evidence, until a Bosniak held in Banja Luka was released. The risk of arrest, which is compounded by the lack of clarity on who is being sought for war crimes, substantially impedes freedom of movement.

113. These problems demonstrate the importance of strengthening the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The extensive list of human rights obligations which form part of the Constitution, must be brought into law through adoption of implementing legislation and by review of existing laws to determine their compatibility with international human rights standards, in particular with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Federation has now formed an expert team to reform its criminal law and criminal procedure code; the Republika Srpska should begin this process with expedition and support from international institutions, including the Council of Europe. A greater effort is also required to inform the public both of their rights and of the legal framework which has been created to protect those rights. By monitoring sensitive trials and intervening to ensure that essential rights, such as the right to legal counsel, are protected, human rights organisations can play a vital role in deterring human rights abuses and building confidence in the legal system.

Economic reform and reconstruction

114. I have intensified my coordination efforts with major implementation agencies and international financing institutions, namely the World Bank, the European Commission (EC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Monetary Fund and the International Management Group, by creating a Secretariat attached to the Economic Task Force (ETF). This initiative has been supported by the recent secondment of two additional economists from the World Bank and the EC.

115. In the first quarter of 1997, with the exception of the extension to the USAID program for 1997 (US$ 71 million), no other major credit or grant agreements on reconstruction projects were signed with Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities. Implementation of on-going projects has continued however, and there is still a significant amount of project aid to be disbursed from last year. In order to adjust the imbalance of last year, when virtually all reconstruction projects were conducted in the Federation, a project for critical imports and a transport sector programme for the Republika Srpska have been prepared by the World Bank and are scheduled to be presented to the World Bank Board in May. With respect to telecommunications, the EC has recently signed a contract to finance the repair of the Republika Srpska backbone system and it's eventual linkage to the Federation.

116. Significant, but slow, progress has been made with respect to agreeing the minimum legal framework necessary for the development of the macro-economy and for reaching an agreement with the IMF. After the presentation of the Draft Laws in the Quick Start Package, which were prepared by various international lead agencies in coordination with my office, substantial time was absorbed in expert working groups created by the Council of Ministers. Due to this delay, it has not yet been possible to hold the planned Donors Conference. However, most laws have now reached the stage where they can soon be presented to the Parliamentary Assembly, and my office has been working with the Chairs of both Houses in order to facilitate their swift passage.

117. Within the framework of the transition to a market economy, I have continued to stress priority sectors such as infrastructure, employment generation and the restarting of production. The number of contracts completed or signed has increased by more than 600 in the last three months and, altogether, the total number of contracts related to civil works, and the provision of goods and services now exceeds 1500. There remain, however, significant financing gaps in all major sectors in spite of my strong recommendations to the donor community in the past. Also, in certain sectors such as railways or telecommunications, political constraints on the spot still impede quick project implementation. At the Donors Information Meeting, held in Brussels at the end of January, I pointed out that unless viable sector policies are adopted in these areas, no further financial commitments could be recommended. I will press to have these issues addressed at the 1997 Donors Conference.

118. The Implementation Conference on Brcko signaled the commitment of the international community to devote significant financial and material resources towards the sustainable development of infrastructure, transportation links, repair and construction of housing, social facilities and community and business structures in the Brcko area. This targeted economic assistance will be provided only if the local authorities demonstrate sustained co-operation with my Office in Brcko.

119. A major challenge for 1997 is the expected mass return of refugees to Bosnia and Herzegovina from host countries in Western Europe. It is clear that this will place a large burden on the very fragile recovery process. The co-ordinating role of the Return and Reconstruction Task Force will be crucial to avoid the potential destabilising effect of mass return.

Civil Aviation

120. There have been some positive developments in the field of civil aviation. The number of civil carriers operating into Sarajevo Airport has progressively increased, and the recent completion of work to fit an instrument landing system should further enhance the flow of civil traffic. But problems remain, not least the issue of a tunnel repair under the runway. These will have to be resolved quickly if the airport is to begin to operate to full capacity.

121. On a wider front the picture is less encouraging. Though the Parties agreed at the London Conference to work collectively and on an equal basis in a Bosnia and Herzegovina Civil Aviation Authority, this has yet to happen. Consequently, efforts to open the regional airports have been unproductive. An ICAO team has recently completed a Civil Aviation Master Plan dealing with the transition to civil control of all Bosnia and Herzegovina's airports and airspace, but it remains to be seen whether this will stimulate progress when it is presented to the Parties.

122. There has been one significant breakthrough, brokered in an initiative by SFOR, resulting in an agreement between SFOR, Croatia and FRY to reopen airspace over Bosnia and Herzegovina above altitudes of 33,000 ft to transiting civil aviation traffic. I welcome this development, given that it will provide financial benefit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and FRY, but more importantly because it should encourage the Parties to begin working together with the international civil aviation authorities.

Mine Clearance

123. Mine clearing has developed some momentum, but the resources available for this urgent task remain scarce and the number of mines being cleared is small. The efforts of the International Community, working with the UN sponsored Mine Action Task Force and the UN Mine Action Centre have been centered on a few well focused and effective projects conducted by local companies, Norwegian Peoples Aid and US Government sponsored teams. The UN Mine Action Centre has drawn up a comprehensive organisational structure for mine clearing activities across BH, however a Government structure has yet to be put fully in place and, until it is, proper coordination related to associated funding will not take place.

124. The key element is the establishment of a fully representative Bosnia and Herzegovina Commission for Demining capable of prioritising activities and processing projects. It must be clear that funding will be utilised sensibly. The Commission has commenced work however it has yet to function as a truly effective body. It is imperative that it becomes operative soon as urgent work is needed to take over certain project facilities and assume responsibility for the UN Mine Action Centre by the end of the year.

125. I welcome SFOR's new policy on mine-clearing by the Former Warring Factions (FWF). Linked to the US Department of State's initiative to train 450 FWF mine clearers, it will stimulate the Entities to accept greater responsibility for the long term task of demining. SFOR has been strict with the implementation, and the training should provide a sound basis for strengthening the FWF's mine-clearing capability. International supervision is likely to be required to ensure that the FWF sustain their efforts once this training is complete.

Regional Stabilisation

126. Implementation of the Agreement on Confidence and Security Building Measures in Bosnia and Hercegovina, pursuant to Article II of Annex 1B of the Peace Agreement, continues to proceed satisfactorily. Close cooperation between the Parties to the Agreement, the OSCE Mission and SFOR should contribute to the climate of trust and confidence necessary to lower military tensions over the longer term.

127. Progress with the implementation of the Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control (the 'Article IV' Agreement) has benefited from the renewed emphasis placed upon it at the London Conference. The Parties have revised their declarations of the equipment regulated by the Agreement, with the effect of increasing the overall number of items to be destroyed and reducing the quantity to be exempted from the reduction process. Equipment declarations, however, could be improved and the Federation partners have yet to agree on the allocation of equipment within the terms of the Agreement. The Parties must now redouble their efforts. It is likely that the full support of the international community will continue to be required to ensure that the letter and spirit of the Agreement are met on schedule. This will be a essential precursor to embarking on the negotiations for Regional Arms Control under the Article V of Annex 1B the Peace Agreement.


128. The presence of a credible international military force continues to ensure that the Parties pursue their goals through peaceful, political means. I envisage the need for this to continue for some considerable time to come.

129. The transition from the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) to the significantly smaller Stabilisation Force (SFOR) has not impinged pon the close cooperation established between the military and civilian agencies during the course of 1996. I and my staff continue to enjoy a close working relationship with Gen Crouch, and his staff in theatre, and also with both SACEUR at SHAPE and NATO HQ in Brussels.

130. As the smaller military force does not possess the same level of capability to support civilian tasks as its predecessor, it is more important than ever to ensure that there is common agreement on priorities and well-coordinated planning. I am confident that the arrangements are in place to maintain this over the coming year, as we tackle collectively some of the most important and difficult aspects of the Peace Agreement, including the local elections and the return of refugees and displaced people to their homes.


131. In my last report of 1996, I noted that the first year of peace implementation was, over-all, a year of success, although each step forward has demonstrated how many more are needed for the peace process to become self-sustaining and stable. The consolidation period of 1997 and 1998 should provide for this possibility.

132. During the first months of 1997, the focus of my Office's attention has been on constitutional implementation. It is, in my opinion, only by establishing and making the common institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina operational, as is laid down in the constitution of the Peace Agreement, that there is any possibility of taking the peace process forward.

133. With the common institutions functioning, there is hope of overcoming the bitter division of the country and addressing the pressing economic and social issues which are a legacy, not only of the war, but also of the failed policies of the previous decades. Without these institutions, there is a risk that the partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina could become permanent, thus endangering peace and stability in the country and in the region in the years ahead.

134. As noted above, all the common institutions have been established and, in most cases, have started to work. While my Office had to negotiate more or less every detail of the first meetings, they are now holding their sessions as a matter of routine and with only limited logistical support from my Office.

135. But in order to be more than empty shells of little relevance, the common institutions must take decisions on the laws and other issues which will turn the state into a functioning reality. With the support of other members of the international community - most notably the European Commission, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the US Treasury - my office has presented the so-called Quick Start Package of interim essential legislation to the Council of Ministers. These laws and other measures constitute what we consider the minimum for the state to start functioning in the key areas under its competence.

136. Progress on these issues has been slow. There has been controversy between those seeking to limit the functions of the state to well below what has been agreed, and those seeking to expand state functions in the direction of a unitary state. Nevertheless, the QSP has been moving forward, and I am confident that we will have decisions on all key issues in the near future.

137. These issues are important, not only in the context of building the common state, but also to pave the way for the economic reforms essential for the future economic and social development of the country. International reconstruction assistance will not continue on present levels for long; it is vital that conditions are created for self-sustained and rapid economic growth in the years ahead. This will require fundamental reforms to liberalize the economy, to privatize assets and to open the way for foreign trade and competition.

138. If decisions are taken on the relevant parts of the QSP, there will be the possibility for an agreement with the IMF, which will pave the way for holding the next Donor's Conference. It is my hope that this will be possible towards the end of May, although the absence of an agreement with the IMF would seriously limit the possibilities of holding a successful Donor's Conference. We would aim to mobilize funds, in the order of $ 1.4 bn, for reconstruction in 1997.

139. The economic and social issues are also important in facilitating return, not least of refugees from other countries primarily in Western Europe. We can not expect refugees to return easily if they see a country in economic and social despair. In this context, it is naturally worrying, that developments have lead to a situation in which the areas of the country from which the largest numbers of refugees originate, have been receiving the least economic assistance.

140. During 1996, I reported on the disturbing trend towards ethnic separation. I regret to say that I see no fundamental improvement in the situation. We are beginning to see some individual and discreet minority returns to certain areas but, as a rule, any attempt at major minority return is meeting fierce resistance ranging from the violent to the bureaucratic.

141. Of particular concern, in this respect, is the state of property legislation as it involves housing. Existing laws in both the Federation and the Republika Srpska make return very difficult, if not impossible. My Office has pointed out this situation repeatedly. In a recent landmark decision the Human Rights Ombudsperson for Bosnia and Herzegovina ruled that existing laws in the Federation fail to comply with the Peace Agreement; the same is true for the Republika Srpska.

142. Return is also hampered by the widely observed lack of respect for human rights. Here, the presence of the UN-IPTF is of essential importance, as is the programme to restructure and train the local police forces in the Federation and the Republika Srpska. The funding of these programmes is of great importance, and I am contemplating further initiatives, in coordination with the UN SRSG and Commander UN-IPTF, in order to ensure that these programmes can be carried forward as planned.

143. I welcome the authorization by the Security Council to lift the ceiling for UN-IPTF monitors, in order to be able to take part in the full implementation of the Brcko supervision. I regret, however, that it has taken so long to obtain approval for the UN-IPTF increases necessary to reinforce human rights supervision procedures agreed at the London Conference.

144. An issue of particular concern to me, is the question of full co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY). Neither the Federation nor the Republika Srpska co-operates to the extent required, and I am particularly concerned with situations where indicted persons hold public positions or exercise de facto political influence.

145. According to my information, persons indicted by ICTY hold public office or exercise public functions in the Republika Srpska municipalities of Bosanska Samac and Foca. I will recommend to international organizations that they cease all contacts with these municpalities, other than those necessary for assembling information, organizing election matters or for helping individuals in need. In the Federation, I am worried that a number of indicted persons living and working in the municipality of Vitez, are tolerated.

146. Of further concern, are the ongoing activities of Mr. Karadzic in the Republika Srpska. In spite of his undertakings to the contrary, and those of the Republika Srpska leadership, he seeks consistently to influence the political process. He remains a force of evil and intrigue which can only taint those personalities and institutions of the Republika Srpska which continue to tolerate his activities. This applies, in my judgment, to the member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Krajisnik. I would therefore recommend that contacts with him are limited to essential business related to his function as a member of the Presidency.

147. It remains my opinion that these issues must be resolved if we are to carry the political part of the peace process forward as envisaged.

148. Although we are only at the beginning of the consolidation period, it is only natural that we should look ahead in order to meet the different challenges.

149. It will take time, even under the best of circumstances, for the political institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the help of the international community, to implement all the civilian and related provisions of the Peace Agreement. The rebuilding and reintegration of Bosnia has progressed faster than any other comparable post-war situation, but it still has a very long way to go. War is an evil event in any society, the effects of which take years, decades and even generations to overcome.

150. Increasingly, we must concentrate on preventing the political development of the country from moving in a direction contrary to the Peace Agreement. In this regard, I am considering the need for us to prevent three courses of action, which might otherwise be pursued by one or the other of the political leaderships of the country or region.

151. The first of these, which needs to be blocked, is the military option. Until June 1998, the deterrent effect of the SFOR will ensure this. But it is, in my opinion, important that the message is sent that the international community will not tolerate any attempt to resort to armed force in the period thereafter.

152. It is only by removing the military option - the temptation to use military force, or the fear that military force will be used - that we can ensure the concentration, on the political, economic and social issues and challenges, so desperately required.

153. The second is the option of secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am far less concerned with the dangers of overt secession - which will never be tolerated by the international community - than with the evident risks of creeping secession concerning both the Croat and the Serb areas.

154. In this context, I have called attention to the nature of the concluded agreements on special and parallel relations with the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It is, in my view, necessary to bring these into line with the provisions of the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

155. The third of these options is that of domination of the existing political institutions by one group, namely the Bosniaks, with only lip-service being paid to the concept of power-sharing.

156. Indeed, there are signs of old structures being kept alive despite the fact that they should have been disbanded as the structures of the Federation and the new common institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina are established. The fact that not one single ambassador has been appointed or reconfirmed, regardless of the agreement that this should have been carried out before March 31, points to a similar danger of domination contrary to the spirit and letter of the Peace Agreement.

157. The challenges ahead remain large. It is easy to see what needs to be done as well as the difficulties we face. Nevertheless, if there is the right international commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region in the years ahead, I remain convinced that peace in the country will strengthen, as the simultaneous forces of European integration and co-operation create an increasingly strong web of stability and security for the region as a whole.

OHR Report of the High Representative
Brussels, 16 April 1997
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