SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES DEEP APPRECIATION FOR
NEW YORK, 12 December (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this morning expressed its deep appreciation for the efforts that have brought about the successful conclusion of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), the mandate of which will expire on 31 December 2002, while hearing from the Secretary-General, his Special Representative and the three members of the country’s Presidency.
In a statement read by its President, Alfonso Valdivieso (Colombia), the Council also expressed its thanks to all countries that took part in and contributed to the accomplishments of the Mission. Further, it welcomed the European Union’s decision to send a Police Mission from 1 January 2003, as part of a broader rule of law approach, as well as the close coordination being taken to ensure a seamless transition of responsibilities.
The Council reiterated that the primary responsibility for the further implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Annexes thereto (S/1995/999, annex) lay with the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina themselves. It also reiterated that the continued willingness of the international community and major donors to assume further burdens of implementation and reconstruction would be determined by the compliance and active participation by all the authorities in the country in implementing the Peace Agreement and reforms needed to rebuild a civil society.
In his opening statement, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said UNMIBH had completed successfully the most extensive police reform and restructuring project ever undertaken by the Organization. The country had now a police "fit for Europe".
He added that, with the end of two missions, UNMIBH and the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP), an era of United Nations involvement in the former Yugoslavia had come to an end. "This era has seen some of peacekeeping's bitterest moments, which have left a lasting impression on the Organization, and on all of us who were personally involved." UNMIBH and UNMOP had shown that, with the right mandate, the cooperation of the parties and the strong support of the Council and Member States in general, United Nations peacekeeping operations "can make an important difference", he said.
The Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirko Sarovic, said the end of UNMIBH was the new beginning for the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina; less dependent and more sustainable. He said his country was fully committed to the implementation of the provisions of all United Nations resolutions. The Presidency and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina had confirmed its commitment to full reform on its way towards the European and Euro-Atlantic integration processes. After the general elections of October, the newly-elected three-member Presidency wanted to emphasize its determination to continue reforms and to lead the country towards lasting peace and a self-sustainable society.
Jacques Paul Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Chief of Mission, said a platform now existed on which the people of the country could build a society based on respect for the rule of law and functioning, democratic institutions. However, systemic challenges remained in both the political and economic areas. He urged the country’s leaders to bring their bloated bureaucracies under greater fiscal discipline and get the State the revenues it needed to prosper. The country, he said, must also cooperate in full with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The meeting was called to order at 10:45 a.m. and adjourned at 11:45 a.m.
The full text of the Presidential Statement, to be issued as S/PRST/2002/33, reads as follows:
"The Security Council welcomes the briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
"The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to support the implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Annexes thereto (collectively the Peace Agreement, S/1995/199, annex), as well as the relevant decisions of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC).
"The Security Council takes this opportunity to express its deep appreciation for the efforts of the Secretary-General, his Special Representative Mr. Jacques Paul Klein and the personnel of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), which includes the International Police Task Force (IPTF), for their contributions to the implementation of the Peace Agreement. The Council highly appreciates the achievements of cooperative efforts in bringing about the successful conclusion of UNMIBH’s mandate, which will expire on 31 December 2002, and expresses its thanks to all the countries which took part in and contributed to the accomplishments of this Mission.
"The Security Council welcomes the decision of the European Union (EU) to send a Police Mission (EUPM) to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1 January 2003, as part of a broader rule of law approach, as well as the close coordination between all those concerned to ensure a seamless transition of responsibilities from IPTF to the EUPM with the participation of the interested States non-members of the EU.
"The Security Council reiterates that the primary responsibility for the further successful implementation of the Peace Agreement lies with the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina themselves and that the continued willingness of the international community and major donors to assume the political, military and economic burden of implementation and reconstruction efforts will be determined by the compliance and active participation by all the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in implementing the Peace Agreement and all reforms needed to rebuild a civil society.
"The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to the principles of the sovereignty and territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Council encourages continued commitment by Bosnia and Herzegovina to the promotion of peace and stability in the region, including through enhanced political and economical cooperation.
"The Security Council expresses its intention to keep the implementation of the Peace Agreement, and the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, under review. The Council invites the EU to keep it regularly informed, as appropriate, on the activities of EUPM."
When the Security Council met this morning, it had before it the Secretary-General's final report on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) (document S/2002/1314). The Mission will complete its mandate on 31 December.
According to the report, over the last half year UNMIBH continued its core programme of police reform, in particular granting final certification to the local police officers. The Mission's landmark project to minimize political interference in police work by establishing independent police commissioners has been completed, as has the deployment of the State Border Service, which now controls all land borders with neighbouring countries. The three-year project to establish a court police force serving all 174 courts in the Federations has also been completed. The State Information and Protection Agency has been established and its directors have been appointed.
The European Union Police Mission (EUPM) will take over from UNMIBH from 1 January 2003. The current Commissioner of the International Police Task Force (IPTF) will continue as the first EUPM Commissioner. To ensure continuity, 119 IPTF officers will be retained in their current positions and transferred to the EUPM. The drawdown of the IPTF presence will be completed at the end of December. A small liaison office will remain in Sarajevo until June 2003 to ensure completion of the transition.
Giving an overview of the Mission's history, the report states that in the period 1996-1999, UNMIBH began under inauspicious conditions. As a result of the conflict, over 200,000 people had died, 20,000 were missing, and 1.2 million displaced. The fratricidal war had left a legacy of hatred and widespread fear of retribution. Police forces continued to discriminate against, harass and intimidate citizens who were not of their own ethnicity. Police forces were corrupt and politically dominated.
Within that highly volatile setting, UNMIBH focused on civilian security. As the immediate post-conflict crisis began to subside, UNMIBH began addressing the broader issues of the mandate. Freedom of movement was significantly improved in 1998. The introduction of IPTF procedures for selection and recruitment, setting targets for the force numbers and minority representation, laid the foundations for police reform. Recognizing the link between policing and an effective judicial system towards establishing the rule of law, UNMIBH created the Judicial System Assessment Programme in 1998.
By 1999, as security had further stabilized and significant returns of displaced persons began, the Mission concentrated in implementing the substantive aspects of its mandate. A conceptual model constituting the baseline of concrete police reform was drawn up, with as end goals: certification of individual officers; accreditation of police administrations; and the establishment of self-sustaining mechanisms for State- and regional-level inter-police force cooperation. The plan had six core programmes: police reform; police restructuring; police/criminal justice system; institution building and inter-police force cooperation; public awareness; and participation in United Nations peacekeeping.
According to the report, key challenges lying ahead regarding the full establishment of the rule of law are corruption, organized crime and political obstruction, which remain major impediments to economic development and regional integration. The continued presence of well-known persons who have been indicted for serious war crimes is a major obstacle to the post-conflict normalization process. The funding of fundamental crime-fighting institutions, integral to the security and stability of the country and the region, must be addressed. Pockets of obstruction to some of the Mission's reform measures, notably the appointment of independent Police Commissioners and minority law enforcement personnel, remain. The post-election scenario requires close monitoring to ensure that the substantial gains achieved are not reversed.
The report concludes that, through UNMIBH, the United Nations has demonstrated its ability to complete a complex mandate in accordance with a strategic plan and within a realistic and finite timeframe. The handover of long-term police monitoring to the EUPM is an excellent example of cooperation and smooth transition between the United Nations and a regional organization. Integral to all these achievements has been the innovative mandate implementation plan, which is now being emulated in other United Nations peacekeeping missions.
By improving public security and reforming and restructuring the police, UNMIBH helped lay the foundation for post-war recovery and development. The high standard of returnee security has encouraged the return of over 250,000 refugees to their pre-war homes. Police reform and restructuring in accordance with international standards has created "a police fit for Europe". As the EUPM embarks on its task, it will be able to count on the continued support from the international community to preserve and further develop what has been achieved by UNMIBH over the past six years.
Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN said the United Nations both in both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Prevlaka had completed their mandates successfully. The UNMIBH had successfully completed the most extensive police reform and restructuring project ever undertaken by the Organization, and had broken new ground in the techniques of United Nations civilian police operations. The country now had a police "fit for Europe".
He said by monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula, the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) had helped to shield that strategically important area from the fighting and tensions in the vicinity and, therefore, had maintained a favourable situation for an eventual negotiated settlement. While encouraged by the signing, on 10 December, of a protocol between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on an interim regime along their southern border, he said the protocol did not pre-judge the terms of the final settlement. It was, however, a tangible expression of willingness on both sides to settle the dispute in a good-neighbourly manner.
With the end of the two missions, an era of United Nations involvement in the former Yugoslavia came to an end, he said. That era had seen some of peacekeeping's bitterest moments, which had left a lasting impression on the Organization. Over time, important conclusions about the nature, scope and role of United Nations peacekeeping had been drawn, which had made it a better instrument for the international community. The UNMIBH and UNMOP had shown that, with the right mandate, the cooperation of the parties and the strong support of the Council and Member States, in general, United Nations peacekeeping operations could make an important difference, he said.
The United Nations would, of course, stay engaged in the Balkans, he continued. The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) was carrying out a complex mandate, making use of many of the lessons learned from Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Bosnia and Herzegovina itself, the United Nations family would continue to support the Government and people.
JACQUES PAUL KLEIN, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of the United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that it was a great honour to appear before the Council following the success of that operation. The role given to the United Nations under the Dayton Peace Accords had been fulfilled and a platform now existed on which the people of the country could build a society based on respect for the rule of law and functioning, democratic institutions.
However, he said that serious, systemic challenges remained in both the political and economic areas. He urged the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to bring their bloated bureaucracies under greater fiscal discipline and get the State the revenues it needed to prosper. The country, he said, must also cooperate in full with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and build up domestic capacity to try ICTY-approved war crimes cases.
Supporting the priorities of the new High Representative -- "First Justice, then Jobs, through Reform" -- he said that politicians should read the results of the last elections as meaning programmes counted, and politicians could lose their offices. Turning to the details of UNMIBH’s completion of its core mandate, he said that the Mission’s intensive reform and restructuring efforts had culminated in the certification of individual officers and the accreditation of police administrations. Local partnerships and ownership had been key to the implementation and sustainability of objectives. All serving police officers were intensively trained in basic standards of democratic policing through the two Police Academies that UNMIBH established. That training had been handed over to local ownership.
He went on to describe the structural reforms instituted by UNMIBH, as well as institution-building and inter-police force cooperation in the country, saying it had resulted in growing public confidence and trust in the police. He also detailed the use of the two specialized United Nations Trust Funds for such programmes. Towards overcoming the legacy of Srebrenica, he said multi-ethnic representation continued to build confidence for returnees. In addition, a Srebrenica Regional Recovery Programme had been initiated in close cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and work had commenced on a memorial cemetery. He asked for support from Member States to allow victims to be buried with dignity.
Regarding the transition to the EUPM, he said it was already well advanced and he welcomed agreed priorities that included counter-trafficking measures and a robust approach to organized crime. Among the challenges still to be faced was safeguarding the integrity of police forces from political influence. In addition, there was still a lag in judicial reform, which needed to be accelerated.
Lessons to be learned from the seven years of UNMIBH and a decade of United Nations peacekeeping in Bosnia and Herzegovina included, he said, the importance of a complete strategic and operational vision along with an exit strategy. In addition, local capacity-building, for local assumption of the Mission’s tasks, had been incorporated in the mandate. The experience of UNMIBH also showed that simultaneous reform must take place in all areas related to the rule of law -- police, judiciary and the prison system. He finished by paying tribute to all those that worked for the collective success of UNMIBH.
MIRKO SAROVIC, Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said the final report of UNMIBH defined the end of one epoch -- Bosnia and Herzegovina’s dependency on the United Nations peacekeeping operations. The end was the new beginning for the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina, less dependent and more sustainable. In his country, peace had been achieved and preserved. A great confidence had been shown towards its institutions, especially in their ability to continue the rebuilding processes from within, and also in the strengthening of and participation in the regional processes.
He said after the UNMIBH mandate was completed, the EUPM would take over activities in the wider context of the European Union programme for institutions building. He fully supported that transition, as well as a continuation of the cooperation with the specialized United Nations agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He expressed gratitude to the United Nations, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Klein, as well as to all personnel of the Mission, stressing that the Mission had contributed in an extraordinary way to the implementation of the General Framework Peace Agreement, particularly in the field of police reform, the establishment of the State Border Service and participation of peacekeepers from Bosnia and Herzegovina in United Nations peacekeeping operations worldwide.
In conclusion, he said Bosnia and Herzegovina was fully committed to the implementation of the provisions of all United Nations resolutions. The Presidency and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina had confirmed its commitment to full reform on its way towards the European and Euro-Atlantic integration processes. After the general elections of October, the newly elected three-member Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina which represented the three constituent peoples and two entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republic of Srpska, would like to emphasize its determination to continue reforms and to lead Bosnia and Herzegovina towards lasting peace and a self-sustainable society.
DRAGAN COVIC, Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said full and equal sovereignty, constitutional rights and civil liberties for all Serbs, Bosnians and Croats were prerequisites to political stability. Bosnia and Herzegovina would institute sweeping economic and financial reforms; create a rule of law; promote regional and international scientific, technical and cultural cooperation; and strengthen the State border service and other institutions to stem organized crime and corruption.
Bosnia and Herzegovina was firmly committed to European integration and had made significant advances towards European Union membership. Poised for admission into the World Trade Organization (WTO), it planned to harmonize tax rates and customs regulations in line with WTO standards. Officials aimed to attract direct foreign investment through bilateral free-trade pacts and investment-promotion agreements. He also emphasized Bosnia and Herzegovina's strong resolve towards military reform, including cutting costs for military operations, collecting weapons and ammunition from civilians, and establishing civilian control over military forces.
SULEJMAN TIHIC, Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said his country would never forget that some 200 United Nations peacekeeping force members lost their lives in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Further, his country would need United Nations help beyond UNMIBH's completion to ensure the return of refugees, nearly half of whom have yet to return to their pre-war homes. The return of refugees, many of whom were jobless and whose homes had been destroyed, was a prerequisite for lasting stability, signifying the end of ethnic cleansing. He also requested full support of, and unreserved collaboration with, the ICTY, noting that the two biggest war criminals in Europe after the Second World War, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, were still at large.
The Secretary-General had said that the darkest page of United Nations history was written in Srebrenica. The Organization had failed to defend the Srebrenica safe zone, leaving 10,000 people, mostly civilians, dead. The United Nations role was undeniable in that tragedy. He asked the Council to help those Srebrenica inhabitants who survived the mass and brutal genocide to return home and to give the dead a proper, decent burial. And, despite those bitter words, he joined his colleagues in finding the United Nations mission in his country a positive one and thanked the United Nations for everything it had done.
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