May 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 April 2011
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EUROPE

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Expected Council Action
In May the Council expects a report from the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko of Austria, on implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. The Council is scheduled to hold a debate with a briefing by Inzko.

Key Recent Developments
Seven months after the 3 October 2010 general elections, the stalemate over the formation of a government in Bosnia and Herzegovina continues. Currently only the government of the Republika Srpska has been settled. The formation of the central government and of the government of the Muslim-Croat Federation remains stalled.

On 17 March, two Muslim parties and a Croat party formed a coalition to govern the Muslim-Croat Federation, bypassing the two main Bosnian Croat parties. The central electoral commission ruled that the government had been formed illegally. On 28 March Inzko overruled the electoral commission’s decision, utilising his authority as high representative to facilitate “the resolution of any difficulties arising in connection with civilian implementation” of the peace settlement. In response, nine mainstream Croat parties issued a joint statement, saying Inzko’s move reduced Croats to “lower than a national minority” and that it favours the Muslim majority.

Following these developments, leaders of the main Bosnian Croat parties on 18 April called for the establishment of a Croat entity and for amendments to the constitution that would allow for the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina into three entities. The renewed call for a Croat entity came in a statement adopted during a meeting in Mostar, where the parties established the Croat National Assembly.

On 13 April, the parliament of Bosnia’s Serb entity, Republika Srpska, began a debate on the possible abolition of the federal court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the state prosecutor’s office. Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik proposed a referendum on abolishing the federal court and office of the prosecutor, accusing them of anti-Serb bias in trying war crimes. In response, the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB), which meets regularly and provides the Office of the High Representative with political guidance, on 15 April issued a statement strongly supporting the state-level judicial institutions and condemning attempts to undermine them.

On 29-30 March in Sarajevo, the PIC SB expressed deep concern at the continuing problems in fulfilling its mission and embedding the rule of law. The board called for a rapid resolution of legal questions surrounding the creation of a new federation government. It also urged the quick establishment of a mechanism for developing constitutional reform proposals, stressing that the country will soon need to be in a position to adopt and enforce laws of the EU. The board also called for the completion of the outstanding objectives and conditions set by the PIC for the transition of the Office of the High Representative into an office of the EU Special Representative, known as the 5+2 agenda. (The five objectives are: the resolution of state property; resolution of defense property; completion of the Brcko final award; fiscal sustainability of the state; and entrenchment of the rule of law. The two conditions are signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU and obtaining a positive assessment of the situation from the PIC.) The PIC said that, of the remaining issues, resolving the apportionment of state and defense property between the central government and ethnic entities was particularly important. It welcomed the EU’s strengthened engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On 11 November 2010, Inzko briefed the Security Council. While praising Bosnia and Herzegovina for the recent completion of general elections, he continued to urge the country to put an end to internal disagreements and divisive rhetoric. On 18 November, the Council adopted resolution 1948, reauthorising the EU force for another year.

Human Rights-Related Developments
On 29 March, Thomas Hammarberg, the commissioner for human rights of the Council of Europe, reported that human rights and the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina remain threatened by the legacy of the country’s violent past. The commissioner warned that although some progress had been made, “the authorities at all levels…should proceed in a determined manner towards putting an end to discrimination, fostering reconciliation and building a country that reflects its multiethnic richness.” The commissioner called for national minorities to be given real opportunities for political representation.

Key Issues
A key issue is that due to the political uncertainty there has been little or no recent progress on meeting the outstanding conditions of the 5+2 agenda.

A related issue is that Bosnia and Herzegovina is still unable to form a government seven months after elections.

Constitutional reform, which is seen as necessary for the functioning of institutions and EU accession, is even more remote.

Options
One option is for the Council to simply receive Inzko’s briefing and for members to use the debate to put their national positions on record.

Another option given the deterioration of the situation since the Council last met is to seek to adopt a statement expressing concern about the challenges to the Dayton Agreement and its institutions and discouraging the continual pursuit of narrow ethnic goals by some actors.

Council Dynamics
Many Council members—in particular Russia, the US and the European nations—are interested in following developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, given that the EU is the main driver of international involvement, some Council members feel there is little role for the Council at this time.

Some Council members remain optimistic about the capacity of the parties within Bosnia and Herzegovina to work constructively together, citing that the country’s tri-member presidency (comprising a Muslim Bosniak, a Serb and a Croat representative) has cooperated productively during its time on the Security Council. But others are more worried about the trend of recent developments.

Council members have divergent views on the Office of the High Representative. Russia feels that there should be a focus on closing the office as soon as the outstanding objectives and two conditions set by the PIC SB in February 2008 are met. Other Council members, such as the US and the UK, are more supportive of keeping the Office of the High Representative open and are cautious about a premature closure. The US also stresses that constitutional changes are imperative for progress.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1948 (18 November 2010) reauthorised the EU Force (EUFOR) until 18 November 2011.
  • S/RES/1869 (25 March 2009) welcomed and agreed to the designation of Valentin Inzko as high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina by the PIC Steering Board.
  • S/RES/1575 (22 November 2004) established EUFOR.

Latest Meeting Records

Selected Letters

  • S/2010/510 (4 October 2010) was from the Secretary-General conveying the latest report on the activities of EUFOR from 1 December 2009 to 31 May 2010.
  • S/2010/235 (17 May 2010) was from the Secretary-General transmitting the most recent report of the high representative on the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
  • S/2010/113 (23 February 2010) was from the Secretary-General conveying the latest report on the activities of EUFOR from 1 September to 30 November 2009.
  • S/2010/51 (28 January 2010) was from Turkey transmitting “Conclusions on developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina” from the second meeting of the political directors of the South-East European Cooperation Process.

Other

  • S/1995/999 and annexes (21 November 1995) was the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Annexes, signed in Dayton, Ohio in the US.

Useful Additional Sources

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