|For information only - not an official document.|
|Press Release No: UNIS/SC/1233|
|Release Date: 14 June 2000|
|Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Briefs Security Council|
NEW YORK, 13 June (UN Headquarters) -- Jacques Klein, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and Coordinator of the United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, told the Security Council today that the strategy of dealing with the area through exclusion from Europe combined with piecemeal military intervention had failed and only an immediate and credible commitment for entry into Europe would end the cycle of regional instability and external intervention.
Mr. Klein, who briefed the Council and introduced the Secretary-General’s report on progress in the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) since 15 March, said a vision was required similar to that of those who had planned the reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War. Bosnia and Herzegovina need not be a never-ending story if policy settings were right and European political inclusiveness was pursued. Solutions that had worked to defuse ethnic separatism in Western Europe should be applied to the Balkans. Imposing strict conditions on entry into Europe merely played into the hands of politicians who did not want intensive scrutiny by European legal and human rights institutions.
Mr. Klein rejected two allegations that had gained currency in public discourse: that the United Nations was unable to perform international peacekeeping in this period of inter-ethnic conflict and failed States; and that self-sustaining peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina would require decades rather than years. Two international missions had successfully completed their mandates in the territory of the former Yugoslavia -- the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) and the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP). With the right mandate, strong Security Council support and the right resources and organizational structure, the United Nations could manage complex conflicts.
The UNMIBH was not “mission impossible”, he added. Its outcome depended on policies and actions. The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina were living in a kind of Balkan no man's land, unsure of their identity and place in the modern world. Bosnia had been historically unable to participate in the democratic evolution of Western Europe.
He added that the Secretary-General’s report on the Mission outlined such tangible improvements as the integration of the Ministry of Interior in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, the establishment of a multi-ethnic State Border Service for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the establishment of a multi-ethnic Brcko District police force, and the restructuring of the previously ethnically separate anti-terrorist specialist police units. One of the yardsticks of the Mission’s ultimate success would be its contribution to changing the composition of police forces to better reflect the multi-ethnic communities they served.
Further, he said, UNMIBH was also working to ensure objectivity in the judicial system, rendered dysfunctional through political intimidation and non-enforcement of decisions. On judicial reform, the excellent judicial service assessment programme was about to end at a time when there was a real need not just to continue judicial reform, but also to speed it up. It was imperative that there be no gap when the programme was handed to another organization. The overall management of judicial reform should remain the responsibility of the High Representative assisted by an expert organization.
The representative of the Russian Federation, stressing the need to free the Mission's activities from politicization and short-term interests, said the failure to invite the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the Brussels meting of the Peace Implementation Council meeting on 24 May had been a serious strike against the spirit of the Dayton Agreement. That country was a signatory and guarantor of the accord.
That action had compelled the Russian Federation not to participate in the meeting, he said. The Russian Federation opposed any attempt to exclude the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from processes relating to settlements of the situations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo, as well as from any process in the Balkans as a whole. Such attempts would only lead to complications, resulting in a new crisis.
France's representative said other crises around the world must not lead the Council to pay less attention to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as its stability -- essential to the region's future -– was not yet guaranteed. International assistance would not continue at current levels, but the international community's investment must be consolidated now, so it could yield fruit.
Reform of the police and judiciary were essential and must continue, he added. In the past the police force had been too large and had not been impartial, and the judicial system had been subject to pressure. He sought a future where all people could be confident that the police would protect them and that they could obtain a fair trial.
The representative of the United States said that, while the increase in refugee returns was encouraging, the international community must send a message that the blocking of their return by some officials would not be tolerated. The United States encouraged an aggressive use of the High Representative’s mandate in that regard. It was also encouraged by signs that nationalism and hatred of the past were gradually giving way to democracy and the rule of law. Welcoming the new Croatian Government, he described it as a positive influence that had contributed to positive developments in Mostar, previously called the most divided city in Europe.
Before starting its meeting, Council President Jean-David Levitte (France) conveyed the Council's condolences to the Government and people of Syria on the death of President Hafez Al-Assad. The Council observed a moment of silence in his memory.
Also making statements today were the representatives of Argentina, Netherlands, Jamaica, Canada, China, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Ukraine, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Namibia and Mali.
Today's meeting began at 11:50 a.m. and adjourned at 1:45 p.m.
Council Work Programme
When the Security Council met this morning, it had a report from the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), which details the Mission's progress since 15 March 2000 and reviews activities conducted jointly by UNMIBH and other parts of the United Nations system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (document S/2000/529). The Mission's mandate is due to expire on 21 June 2000.
The Secretary-General reports that there are now visible and encouraging signs that peace is taking root in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but still much work to be done. The United Nations presence is helping establish the foundations of a modern democratic State. He, therefore, recommends the Security Council extend the UNMIBH mandate for a further 12-month period until 21 June 2001.
On 21 December 1995, the Security Council established the United Nations International Police Task Force (IPTF) and a United Nations civilian office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in accordance with the Peace Agreement signed by the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 14 December 1995. The operation is now known as UNMIBH.
In accordance with the Peace Agreement, the IPTF's main tasks include monitoring, observing and inspecting law enforcement activities and facilities, advising and training law enforcement personnel, assessing threats to public order and capabilities to deal with such threats, and accompanying law enforcement personnel as they carry out their responsibilities.
It was also to consider requests from parties or law enforcement agencies for assistance, with priority being given to ensuring conditions for free and fair elections.
In addition, UNMIBH has responsibilities in humanitarian relief and refugees, demining, human rights, elections and rehabilitation of infrastructure and economic reconstruction. Additional tasks have been allocated to UNMIBH by the Security Council since its founding, such as investigating allegations of human rights abuses by law enforcement officials, specialized training to address key public security issues such as refugee returns, organized crime, drugs, corruption and terrorism, and monitoring and assessing the court system.
The Mission is led by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of the United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jacques Paul Klein. The IPTF is led by Commissioner Vincent Coeurderoy, who succeeded Detlef Buwitt on 5 April.
The report before the Council states that, owing to requirements elsewhere, the strength of the Police Task Force has been below its authorized 2,057 for most of the past year. Its current strength is 1,602.
There has been steady progress in recruitment and selection of minority cadets for police academies, with UNMIBH support, the report continues, with 393 minority police officers either attending or having graduated from the two police academies.
An agreement on voluntary deployment of serving police officers to their former place of employment was signed by authorities of both entities, it notes. This contributes to prospects for multi-ethnic policing by specifying police officers entitlements if they join the police force in the other entity.
Despite efforts, progress has not been satisfactory, the Secretary-General reports. In the (Croat-Muslim) Federation, there is no significant recruitment of minority police, although recruitment of ethnic majorities has ceased following UNMIBH intervention, and, thus, the ethnic imbalance is at least not worsening. The UNMIBH has also ensured that in the Croat cantons cadets trained in Zagreb are no longer recruited.
In the Republika Srpska, the situation is even more disappointing, the Secretary-General reports. Little progress has been made on minority recruitment and almost none of the benchmarks in the 1998 Framework Agreement have been met. Here too, following UNMIBH intervention, recruitment of members of the ethnic majority into the Republika Srpska police has ended. The use of ethnic insignia on the Republika Srpska police uniform may become a stumbling block for minority recruitment.
Efforts to reduce political interference in police matters continues at a steady pace, the report states. The formerly separate specialized police forces in the Federation were integrated in January 2000 and continue to undergo training in crowd control and major incident management by the Task Force. In the Republika Srpska, selection for a new specialized police service has begun. The UNMIBH is working with the Stabilization Force (SFOR) to ensure that intelligence agencies are not co-located with civilian police forces.
Until court police services are fully established, the independent and effective work of the judicial institutions will be hampered by poor security arrangements and the lack of enforcement of court orders, the report states.
On 18 May, the Mostar Cantonal Assembly endorsed an UNMIBH-brokered agreement on the integration of the divided Ministry of the Interior, the report notes, which enables Bosniacs to work in West Mostar for the first time since the war. Another significant development in that canton was the appointment of judges from different ethnicities to the nine new municipal courts.
Positive effects of the November 1999 removal of obstructionist officials in the Muslim canton of Una-Sana are now being seen, the report states. Forty police officers have been terminated by the Minister of the Interior on grounds of fraud, and UNMIBH has worked closely with new authorities to secure important changes in senior police management. Similar progress has been made in the Zenica-Doboj canton, where local Bosniac authorities have cooperated to improve confidence of the Croat minority in Zepce. These developments show that progress is possible when local political authorities work with, not against, the international community.
In the Republika Srpska, spontaneous minority returns are beginning, but they are not encouraged or supported. Evictions of "double occupants" in towns has been carried out slowly. Little progress has followed the March agreement between the Republika Srpska and Croatia to begin cross-border refugee returns. In the period leading up to the fifth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, the situation in that area is volatile, with incidents of violence reported.
The multi-ethnic Brcko district police force is functioning even though the necessary legal framework is still not fully in place, the report states. In June, the first State Border Service entry point opened at the Sarajevo airport.
The UNMIBH judicial system assessment programme will end in December, the report states. It has found that the entire judiciary is politically, professionally and structurally dysfunctional. The programme has played a crucial role in creating the framework for a judicial review of all judges and prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina. An effective way to hand the programme's work to another organization is being sought. The UNMIBH will retain appropriate expertise to assist and advise the Police Task Force in its mandate regarding judicial organizations and activities.
The Secretary-General has proposed a budget for the Mission for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001 of some $153.6 million, the report notes. The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) proposed an appropriation of $150 million. The budget proposals are currently before the Assembly. As of 15 May, unpaid assessed contributions for UNMIBH amounted to $53.5 million.
Significant results achieved over the past 12 months must be consolidated, the Secretary-General observes. The UNMIBH must now address core mandate areas where little progress has been possible, such as recruitment of minority police. To improve its focus, all UNMIBH components have started preparing a framework for the fulfilment of the Mission's mandate by December 2002. Starting from that analysis, UNMIBH will identify goals to complete its mission, programmes and modalities to achieve those goals, and a time line for the completion of each programme.
While thanking Member States for their support of the UNMIBH trust funds, he notes that some $40 million is still required to support the State Border Service, to sustain police restructuring, and to attain a necessary minimum standard of police efficiency and competence in specialized areas.
The UNMIBH will need an effective SFOR presence to ensure security and safety of its personnel and property, as well as the political support of the High Representative to remove obstructionist officials when necessary, the report notes. He also expresses the hope that Member States with influence will put their weight behind UNMIBH. Ultimately, however, success depends on cooperation from the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and their leader's acceptance of personal accountability and responsibility.
The Council President, JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) conveyed the condolences of the Council, on the death of Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad, to the Government and people of Syria and the bereaved family.
JACQUES KLEIN, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, stated that, at the outset, he emphatically rejected two allegations that had gained currency in public discourse and had a bearing on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) –- that the United Nations was unable to perform tasks of the new international peacekeeping in this period of inter-ethnic conflict and failed States, and that self-sustaining peace in Bosnia would require decades and not years.
Only two international missions had successfully completed their mandates in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, he said. Those were the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) and the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP). Those missions showed that, with the right mandate, strong support from the Council and the right resources and organizational structure, the United Nations had the ability to manage complex conflicts. The international community faced a steep learning curve, he said, but -- as a general and an ambassador –- he knew that no organization was further along that curve than the United Nations.
The Mission was not “mission impossible” he said. The outcome depended on policies and actions. The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina were living in a kind of Balkan no man’s land, unsure of their identity and their place in the modern world. Bosnia had been historically unable to participate in the democratic evolution of Western Europe.
The international community now had an historic opportunity to put an end to a cycle of regional instability and external intervention, he said. But, to achieve that, Bosnia must not continue to be on the fringes of Europe. Everything depended on a credible commitment now to its entry into Europe. The solutions that worked inside Western Europe to defuse ethnic separatism should be applied to the Balkans. Imposing strict conditionally on entry into Europe merely played into the hands of politicians who did not want intensive scrutiny by European legal and human rights institutions.
Five sets of internationally run elections in five years had not yet had the desired effect of empowering democratic leaders who put the interests of all citizens above their own, he said. The people were tired of political exploitation, but during election campaigns the three nationalist parties fed off each other, denying political space to alternatives. No local elections had yet been fought on non-ethnic and non-ideological grounds. Too many elections could be as destabilizing and demoralizing as too few.
The progress achieved in the face of entrenched political obstruction had been substantial, he said, but it had also been arduous and slow. It was necessary to plan the next steps in the Balkans on the basis of objective analysis. "If you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting what you have got", he said. The strategy of exclusion from Europe combined with piecemeal military intervention had failed, and a vision similar to that shown by those who successfully planned the reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War was required. Bosnia and Herzegovina did not need to be a never-ending story, if policy settings were right and a target of European political inclusiveness was pursued.
Mr. Klein introduced the Secretary-General’s report, which he said outlined tangible improvements in all mandated areas of UNMIBH’s mission. Those included the integration of the Ministry of Interior in the Herzegovina-Neretva canton, the establishment of a multi-ethnic State Border Service for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the establishment of a multi-ethnic Brcko District police force, and the restructuring of the previously ethnically separate anti-terrorist specialist police units.
One of the yardsticks of UNMIBH’s ultimate success, he said, would be its contribution to changing the composition of the police forces to better reflect the multi-ethnic communities they served. He had placed the highest priority on recruitment, deployment and transfer of minority police officers.
The Ministerial Consultative Meeting on Police Matters, established in March, was producing results, he said. Basic conditions of minority police officers had been settled, and the first list of such officers had been produced. There had been excellent progress in data collection and initial screening for the Law Enforcement Personnel Registry. The second phase of that was now beginning. All re-registered police will be tested and subject to background checks before final certification.
Minimizing political interference by creating a professional civil service was a serious challenge, he said. The introduction of a police commissioner programme in some areas had established a precedent-setting single chain of command under professional and independent commissioners selected on merit, not ethnicity. That was a quantum leap from the current administrative structure of every joint institution, of a rotating ethnic triumvirate of political appointees -- a model that ensured there was no accountability or continuity.
The UNMIBH was working to ensure objectivity in the judicial system, rendered dysfunctional through political intimidation and lack of enforcement of decisions, he said. The establishment of court police was essential. Until citizens knew that witnesses were protected and court decisions enforced, even an effective police and court system would not guarantee the rule of law.
The role of UNMIBH with respect to refugees and displaced persons was to monitor police actions aimed at establishing an environment conducive to their return. The Police Task Force monitored evictions, compiled comprehensive data on return-related incidents and assisted in development of comprehensive security plans. It was important to ensure that police performance met professional standards. The Task Force was monitoring the police, but the key to achieving those standards was professional training. The essential UNMIBH training programme for every local police officer in human dignity, and transitional training, had now been completed, thus, making every police officer aware of the basic requirements for democratic policing. The UNMIBH aimed to create an effective educational infrastructure within one year, so training programmes for local police could become self-sustaining.
On judicial reform, he said the excellent judicial assessment programme was about to end at a time when there was a real need not just to continue judicial reform, but also to speed it up. It was imperative that there be no gap when the programme was handed to another organization. The overall management of judicial reform should remain the responsibility for the High Representative, he said, assisted by another expert organization. He favoured the Council of Europe or the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as candidates to take over the role.
There was some talk of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) taking over that role, he said. The local history of that organization was characterized by arbitrary decisions to cut successful programmes, which had resulted in the loss of its credibility with the legal community. In addition, its staffing and recruitment policy mitigated against recruiting personnel with the necessary skills and experience.
The UNMIBH had reached the point where -– alone among the international agencies -- the end of its particular slice of the international mandate could be envisaged, he said. A medium-term plan was in preparation for fulfilment of core tasks by December 2002. Through such preparation, he hoped to ensure a performance-oriented and results-based culture.
So much of the international effort in Bosnia had been about physical reconstruction, he said. The Peace Implementation Council had now set its sights on repairing the institutional infrastructure and concentrating on economic and corruption-related issues. That was an essential and timely endeavour.
However, it was his conviction that the international community must not neglect the importance of social reconstruction, he said. He had been advocating several key projects to foster the development of a State identity and social reconstruction, including the development of a national university, a project focused on religious tolerance such as the simultaneous rebuilding of key places of worship, and the reconstruction of the Sarajevo-Pale road.
As long as there were regimes in Zagreb and Belgrade that were not democratic, everything the international community sought to do in Bosnia and Herzegovina was problematic, he said. The change of government in Croatia had already had a beneficial effect on work in areas like Mostar. The Milosovic regime remained a fundamental obstacle to improved regional peace and security for all.
He identified three international priorities of an essentially political nature for bringing self-sustaining peace to Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were: entry into European institutions; the strongest possible measures to encourage and support democracy in Serbia; and more efforts to apprehend war criminals. Until the guilty were identified and punished, the innocent could not be set free, he said.
Events over the past year showed that tangible progress was possible, he said, if there was an intensive, coordinated and robust international commitment. He was aware of peacekeeping needs elsewhere in the world, but said that only with continued Council support could the basic mandate of UNMIBH be discharged in the next two and a half years. The United Nations must stay, so that later it could leave.
The UNMIBH would move into a new headquarters next month, he said. It had broken burdensome contracts for five different localities, and was now using a dormitory that had been bombed. He invited Council members to visit the new United Nations headquarters. Staff of the Mission included the nationals of 13 Council member States, and some 60 other States. The Mission itself was an example of international cooperation for peace.
In a region that was still unstable and tense, he encouraged the Security Council to stand by it commitments. Give UNMIBH the tools it needed, and it would complete the job, he said.
Mr. LEVITTE (France), Council President, said he had held a meeting with representatives of troop contributors, during which questions had been raised about the criteria for the selection of international police officers, including the criteria of working language and the creation of police services for the courts. Also during that meeting, some countries had announced that they would be increasing their contributions.
LUIS ENRIQUE CAPPAGLI (Argentina) noted the progress made in the establishment of a multi-ethnic police corps in Brcko, the integration of specialized police units comprising both Bosniacs and Croats, and training in combating organized crime and prostitution. Also commendable was the decision of the Canton 7 Assembly to endorse the cooperation of Bosniacs in Mostar for the first time since the war.
Nevertheless, he said, much still remained to be done, both in the Republica Srpska and in the Federation. While efforts of the judiciary were praiseworthy, it was necessary to ensure that UNMIBH’s evaluation of that institution was transferred smoothly to another organization, which would ensure that its effectiveness was maintained.
He said the recent establishment of the State Border Service had been pending for a very long time. Another question that required priority attention was that of the return of refugees, as well as adequate security for them. As UNMIBH would not stay on indefinitely, the people and leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina must do their utmost to establish and maintain institutions appropriate to a modern State.
SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation), stressing that any revision of the Dayton Agreement was inadmissible, said that the positive changes occurring in Brcko and the meaningful contributions made towards the building of democratic institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina should not give grounds for complacency. Unfortunately, there continued to be a type of action and thinking that was based on ethnic approaches. There was still discrimination based on ethnicity. Nationalist parties still prevailed and positive structures were blocked, due to the lack of the political will required to achieve reconciliation.
Highlighting other areas needing attention, he said the refugee question was still an acute problem, with 300,000 refugees remaining outside Bosnia and Herzegovina. The armed forces must be reduced in order to effect a reduction of the defence budget. There had been a drop in the level of international assistance and additional efforts must be made to attract investment, combat corruption and combat organized crime.
He said several activities must be freed from politicization and short-term interests. The failure to invite the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the Special Peace Implementation Council meeting of 24 May had been a serious strike against the spirit of the Dayton Agreement, as that country was a signatory and guarantor of the accord. Similarly, the failure to invite the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the Brussels meeting of the Peace Implementation Agreement would have a negative impact.
That action had compelled his country not to participate in the Brussels meeting, he said. The Russian Federation opposed any attempts whatsoever to exclude the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from processes relating to settlements of the situations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo, as well as from any process in the Balkans as a whole. Such attempts would only lead to complications, resulting in a new crisis.
A. PETER VAN WALSUM (Netherlands) said that in five years the international community had not left the calls for assistance of Bosnia and Herzegovina unheeded. As had been previously noted, Bosnia stood at a crossroads. Now that reconstruction and stabilization had been achieved, all focus should be on the creation of a new institutional infrastructure. The Bosnian leadership must play a key role and it should meet the challenge. That leadership could have achieved much more over the past five years. He hope that it would now focus its efforts on comprehensive nation-building.
Three areas required immediate attention, he said. In the political domain, the State needed functioning and democratically accountable institutions. He expected Bosnian authorities to exercise the will and leadership needed to bring those about. Regarding economic reform, not much had been achieved thus far, except the continuation of an economic status quo that served vested political and economic interests. A breakthrough could be brought about by quick, transparent and equitable privatization.
Regarding the return of refugees and displaced people, the Secretary-General had reported that minority returns had quadrupled, he noted. That was a welcome development, but the Secretary-General had also reported the rate of return was unsatisfactory and below expectations. All Bosnian authorities should give the highest priority to the return of refugees and internally displaced people.
Finally, he said he shared Mr. Klein's enthusiasm for the establishment of the new State Border Service, but recalled with impatience that the Netherlands had offered to contribute to operational costs of that service, on the condition that the contribution appeared in the national budget. That simple condition had not been met.
M. PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said she agreed with the assessment that ultimately the success of UNMIBH depended on the cooperation of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Against that background, she commended the Special Representative and the UNMIBH staff.
She was pleased to note efforts to restructure and reform the police force, the screening of police personnel and efforts to make the forces reflect the ethnic communities they served, she said. The key to success in those was professional training. She appreciated that more needed to be done in recruiting minority police officers. She noted that some $40 million was still needed for that reform, and joined Mr. Klein in his appeal for additional funds and generous contributions. She also agreed that there was a gap in the progress, in the area of judicial reform. If UNMIBH was to fulfil its mandate, the judicial system must be comprehensively reformed. That could not be left to chance.
She was pleased to note the development of a strategic framework for the end of the Mission by September 2002, she said, and she hoped that by that time true freedom, transparency and accountability would exist in Bosnia's administration. For that to be achieved, there must be unwavering support from the political leaders and people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On human rights, she believed that continued emphasis must be given to rooting out trafficking in human beings and, therefore, asked for information on what was done following the report that UNMIBH had produced on that issue. Her Government supported the extension of UNMIBH's mandate, to consolidate the gains it had made and to address the remaining challenges, she concluded.
MICHEL DUVAL (Canada) said that the State Border Service, through its anti-smuggling efforts, would bring Bosnia and Herzegovina closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions.
He said his country was encouraged that progress was being made in changing the composition of police forces to better reflect the multi-ethnic character of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The return of refugees to their homes remained a top priority. Progress on that front would be critical in measuring the commitment of Bosnia and Herzegovina to lasting peace within the framework of the Dayton Agreement.
SHEN GUOFANG (China) said his country supported UNMIBH and the International Police Task Force (IPTF) in their work and welcomed the progress made in police training under difficult circumstances. However, progress in the recruitment of police officers from minority communities was not satisfactory. Moreover, the return of refugees, particularly those from minority communities, had been very disappointing.
He said the process had been going on for five years and if it was prolonged further, it would change the demographic composition of Bosnia and Herzegovina and further complicate the situation. The achievements of UNMIBH depended, to a large extent, on the political will of the different parties in the Federation, and the Mission's success was, therefore, in the hands of the people and the leadership.
China appreciated the constructive role played by the United Nations system in efforts for the peaceful reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said. There should be a clear division of labour among international organizations to avoid duplication and the overlapping of jurisdictions.
ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said UNMIBH had made good progress in its mandated area over the last year, including with the establishment of a State Border Service, registration of the Law Enforcement Personnel Registry, recruitment and redeployment of minority police personnel and building of the police institution. The establishment of court police services was still in its initial stages, particularly in the Republica Srpska, and that initiative required further emphasis. In addition to its being a constitutional requirement, the independence and effectiveness of the work of judicial institutions depended on court police services.
He said that an essential component of the IPTF was the assessment of the judicial system over a period of two years. That was due for completion by the end of the year 2000. The findings so far had not been unexpected: the judiciary had been found to be dysfunctional to a varying extent –- politically, professionally and structurally. The work of UNMIBH on the judicial system, including its assessment, recommendations and advisory role, had been playing a crucial role in building the system. The UNMIBH should continue to retain the necessary expertise in that field.
While expressing appreciation for the contributions of Member States to the trust funds administered by UNMIBH, he said additional funds were necessary for support operations of the State Border Service, restructuring the police force and improving their efficiency, and minority recruitment. He underscored the key role of UNMIBH in police restructuring and consolidating the judicial system. Although some important initiatives had been launched and gains achieved, much of the progress would depend on overcoming factors causing obstruction and delays. It was hoped that, with the willingness and commitment of all parties concerned, such cooperation would increase and considerable headway in the efforts of UNMIBH would be possible.
JAMES B. CUNNINGHAM (United States) said the United States supported the extension of UNMIBH's mandate, and was encouraged by plans to complete the Mission by 2002. That was realistic, if adequate resources were provided. He also supported the priorities for Bosnia and Herzegovina established by the recent meeting in Brussels of the Peace Implementation Council. The United States had set aside resources to support those areas, and would continue its significant contribution to the IPTF.
He was encouraged by the positive development mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report, he said. It was encouraging that there had been an increase in refugee returns, but that would be more than just a trend if some officials stopped blocking their return. The international community must send a message that it would not be tolerated, and the United States encouraged an aggressive use of the mandate of the High Representative in that regard.
The United States was also encouraged by signs that the nationalism and hatred of the past were slowly giving way to democracy and the rule of law, he said. The new Croatian Government was a positive influence and had contributed to positive developments in Mostar –- previously called the most divided city in Europe.
More needed to be done on joint institutions, he said, and he supported efforts for progress in that area. He commended UNMIBH's judicial assessment programme, but believed that the OSCE's experience in matters of rule of law and in judicial issues meant it was best suited to take over the programme, although he would welcome the inclusion of the Council of Europe and others in an effort led by the High Representative.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said that despite the praiseworthy breakthrough in Canton 7's recent appointment of minority judges and progress in the recruitment and selection of minority police cadets, his country was seriously concerned at the lack of minority representation in the police forces, particularly in the Republica Srpska. Malaysia also looked forward to the early establishment of court police services in the Republica Srpska.
He said that, given the fact that the judicial system had been found to be politically, professionally and structurally dysfunctional, according to the Secretary-General's report, he supported further efforts for its improvement. Despite the Mission's achievements, the critical remaining tasks must be solidified, so that progress would be irreversible.
Reconciliation among ethnic communities clearly had a long way to go, he said. Much still depended on the commitment and sustained support of the international community. The work of UNMIBH, including the IPTF, should continue. He supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation that the Mission's mandate be extended for a further 12 months. The commitment of the international community should be met with a similar commitment among the Bosnian people and leadership.
VALERI P. KUCHYNSKI (Ukraine) said that the progress achieved in furthering the Dayton-Paris peace agreements had been significant, and the United Nations system had made a major contribution. The UNMIBH and the IPTF continued to play a crucial role in the implementation of the civilian aspects of the peace process, in particular, in promoting the rule of law.
His Government commended UNMIBH’s work in police restructuring, in building common institutions, and in promoting human rights, he said. The professionalism of the Police Task Force staff, which had carried out its mission despite reduced strength, must be acknowledged.
He congratulated UNMIBH for its recent achievements in building joint institutions. Ground-breaking projects had brought together the three major ethnicities in joint endeavours to build a State. Such significant developments had, he noted, enabled Croats and Bosniacs to work together in West Mostar for the first time since the war ended.
He agreed with Mr. Klein that more needed to be done in police minority recruitment by both entities and in ensuring the security for minority returnees. The international community could not be satisfied with the increased incidents of violence against returnees and of property rights violations. The Stabilization Force (SFOR) and the IPTF should take additional measures to address those areas of concern.
More attention should also be given to accelerating cross-border returns, he said. He noted some positive steps mentioned in the Secretary-General's report aimed at enhancing joint efforts between organizations of the United Nations family and with other international organizations, such as the plans to hand over responsibility for judicial assessment to another international organization ready to carry out the programme on the basis of UNMIBH’s experience.
He also welcomed the preparation that had begun on a framework for completion of UNMIBH's mandate, he said. That was a positive sign that the United Nations could fulfil its mandate, but it was too early to even anticipate withdrawal. There was still a long way to go to make the peace and stability of recent times irreversible.
A major problem was ensuring that the Bosnian leaders and people were totally committed to the full implementation of the Peace Agreement, he said, while also realizing that the future of the country was their responsibility. Ukraine shared the Peace Implementation Council's reservations about the level of commitment by Bosnian authorities to the process. The Council should continue to give solid support to UNMIBH and strongly encourage Bosnian authorities to commit to the agreement.
His country would continue to contribute to the IPTF, he said. As a member of the Peace Implementation Council, it had endorsed the priorities established at the recent Brussels meeting -- of market economy reforms, of accelerating refugee return, and of accelerating democratic institutions.
Four years of UNMIBH had been worth the effort, he said. There had been undeniable results. In view of the remaining problems, UNMIBH, with SFOR backing, was still needed. Thus, Ukraine supported the extensions of the mandate and wished the Mission further success.
ODHMAN JERANDI (Tunisia), after paying tribute to the memory of President Hafez Al-Assad of Syria, said that the municipal elections held in Bosnia and Herzegovina last April had been a test demonstrating the people’s will to move towards democracy. Progress made in registering police personnel and the recruitment of minorities should be commended. However, those efforts were not enough and must be strengthened. The role of the police at such a crucial stage spoke for itself. The scourges of drugs and organized crime must be combated.
The safe return of refugees, especially those from minority communities, was a matter of continuing concern, he said. In order to be solid, peace must be established on the moral values of tolerance and respect for differences. It was necessary to establish a liberal university where young people could learn how to live together. He stressed the need to strengthen economic vitality, noting that important results had been seen where a willingness had been shown to work with UNMIBH towards such goals.
STEWART ELDON (United Kingdom) highlighted the steady progress made in police recruitment and in the recent establishment of the State Border Service, which had been successful in the face of considerable political opposition.
The Secretary-General's report also referred to the Judicial Service Assessment Programme, he said. That work had been disappointing and should be handed over to another organization. However, neither the Council of Europe nor the UNDP were the appropriate successors to UNMIBH in that area. An exit strategy for UNMIBH must be tied to the achievement of its objectives, not least the need to deploy resources where they could be of most use. The Mission's exit strategy should be considered in the light of an overarching strategy.
TJI-TJAI UANIVI (Namibia) said he agreed that without an effective police and judiciary, all efforts to find a durable peace and sustainable development would be incomplete. Notwithstanding the difficulties encountered, UNMIBH had achieved tangible results, such as the establishment State Border Service. He also noted that the Secretary-General reported a new spirit of cooperation in Mostar, which he hoped would be replicated throughout the country.
Namibia was concerned at the slow progress in achievement of gender and minority equity in recruitment to police forces, at the slow rate of return of refugees and displaced people, and at the trafficking in human beings. The leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina should address those issues, because the shape of their future country rested on the harmonization of those basic ingredients. He encouraged the Special Representative and UNMIBH, and the SFOR, to continue their work, and supported the recommended extension of UNMIBH’s mandate.
MOCTAR OUANE (Mali) said he was encouraged by progress made by the Mission. He was also encouraged by the positive response from Croat leaders to the Security Council President's recent statement. They had said they were prepared to become constructive partners in the peace process.
Mali endorsed the remarkable work done by the judicial assessment programme, he said. He hoped that would be consolidated and, to that end, the strong commitment of the international community was urgently needed. He welcomed Member States' contributions to the special funds, and hoped further contributions would be received. He also hoped that the Council and Member States would provide UNMIBH itself with support, while noting that cooperation from the population of Bosnia was essential to the success of the Mission.
The safe return of refugees and the displaced must be a major priority, he said. He encouraged Bosnian authorities to implement measures to encourage their return, through border legislation and the eviction programme. He supported the extension of UNMIBH's mandate for a further period, and thanked Special Representative Klein and UNMIBH staff.
The Council President, Mr. LEVITTE (France), speaking in his national capacity, said the existence of other crises must not lead the Council to apply less energy or attention to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Lasting stability was essential to the future of the region, and had not yet been definitively achieved. A great deal had yet to be done before locals could take full control. International assistance could not always remain at the current level. Thus, now was the time when the investment already made by the international community must be consolidated, so it could yield fruit.
France remained strongly engaged in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said. It was an important contributor to both SFOR and the IPTF. When it took over the European Union presidency, it would ensure that Bosnia and Herzegovina retained a role in the Union's strategies. The European Union was the largest contributor to Bosnia, by far. It was in a position to play a central role in the future of the country.
The actions of UNMIBH, and its main component -- the Police Task Force -- were essential to the establishment of a State and state of law. Behind the impressive figures on the training of police, the recruitment of minorities into police forces, and the reform of the judiciary, could be found the reality of the past and a plan for the future. The past reality was of a police force that was too large and was partial in the hands of the majority, with justice subject to pressure. The future was that every inhabitant would be able to go to the police in confidence that they would be defended and obtain a fair trial. Thus, the future was becoming more real every day.
The State should exist on the ground through controls over borders and through judicial reform, he said. Experience acquired through UNMIBH must be preserved in the follow-up to the judicial programme. His Government believed that a satisfactory solution might be to allow the UNDP to carry out the follow-up programme. He supported the Special Representative and UNMIBH. The Mission's successful action deserved to be commended.
Mr. KLEIN, responding to the statements by delegates, pledged to bring in the Mission on time and within budget.
Regarding trafficking in women, he said raids on houses had unearthed many foreign women, and they were being repatriated. Safe houses, counselling and reintegration for such women was ensured through diplomatic contacts with their countries of origin. The UNMIBH was also involved in finding them permanent housing.
He said that 13 Security Council members were represented on the staff of UNMIBH. They worked alongside the nationals of 63 other countries, demonstrating a good example for Bosnia and Herzegovina of how a mixed group of people from different races and cultures could work together peacefully.
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