On 12 November 2013, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2123 renewing EUFOR Althea’s mandate. Following this adoption, the Security Council held a debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina in the presence of the Bosnian, Croat, Serb and European Union Representatives.
At this occasion, Mr. Valentin Inzko, UN High Representative for the country, presented his 10th report on the implementation of the Dayton Agreements. If he reported some advances, such as the first census over 20 years last October, many challenges were remaining concerning the implementation of peace agreements and the country’s territorial integrity. Bosnia and Herzegovina was in a political and institutional deadlock that prevented the achievement of the necessary objectives for the accession to the EU. Over the past six months, authorities were unable to achieve the necessary progress in stability and reconciliation. Their lack of commitment had a negative impact on the reform process. They did not respond in particular to the demands of citizens concerning discriminatory provisions in elections and the unique identification number, which led to demonstrations last June. Community leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina were prisoners of their own ethnic considerations, as shown by the secessionist rhetoric of the leaders of Republika Srpska. Despite these difficult circumstances, Mr. Inzko emphasized and welcomed the vital role of NATO’s and EU’s continued military presence.
In his intervention, the French Representative welcomed the stability of the security situation on the ground. However, he expressed concerns on the recurrent political crises which distracted Bosnian authorities from the objective of a Euro-Atlantic integration. He encouraged the Bosnian Government to return to the path of reforms, bring the Constitution into line with the European Convention on Human Rights and continue its cooperation with the Criminal Tribunal. Stressing the insufficient action of the authorities, he urged them to accelerate their course towards accession. Finally, the Representative of France called for the continuation of the reconfiguration of the international presence in the country, which illustrates the key role European Union is playing there.
The complete timeline of events here.
The Dayton-Paris Agreements, signed in November and December 1995, ended the conflict that had caused instability in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the break-up of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991. The agreements established the institutions that currently govern the country, as well as an international trusteeship, executed by a High Representative. The application of the agreements is guaranteed through the deployment of a NATO multinational peace implementation force, IFOR, authorized by Security Council Resolution 1031 (1995). The NATO-led multinational stabilization force, SFOR, took over in 1996 (Resolution 1088.)
The UN continues to play a key role in Bosnia and Herzegovina in several ways:
— Resolution 827 of 25 May 1993 established the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to prosecute war criminals. Cooperation with this tribunal was a pre-requisite for the signing of a Stabilization and European Union Association Agreement., which finally took place on 16 June 2008. The Serbs delivered Radovan Karadzic to the ICTY in July 2008. The Serbian authorities arrested Ratko Mladic on 26 May 2011 and Goran Hadzic on 20 July 2011.
— The Dayton-Paris Agreements established an international trusteeship executed by a High Representative (from the international community) with significant powers: the “Bonn” powers, which in particular allow him to dismiss key political leaders and to impose laws. The High Representative is assisted by a Peace Implementation Council (PIC) led by a steering board with representatives from France and the States and organizations most involved in the stabilization of the Balkans (Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference represented by Turkey).
The current High Representative is the Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko, who replaced the Slovak Miroslav Lajcak in March 2009. As of 2003, the High Representative is also the European Union’s Special Representative (EUSR) and, as such, coordinates the activities of all of the EU stakeholders in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The High Representative, although not a UN envoy, gives six-monthly reports to the Secretary General on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These reports prompt debates at the Security Council.
With the support of the Security Council, the European Union plays a key role in the stabilization of the country:
— Through Resolution 1575 of 22 November 2004, the Security Council authorized the European Union implementation of the EUFOR-Althea military operation, which took over from the NATO-led SFOR. The force had around 1600 personnel. Its mandate was renewed for a year under Security Council resolution 1948 in November 2010.
— A European Union Police Mission (EUPM) has also been deployed since 1 January 2003. EUPM (as of May 2010) has around 120 experts and 150 local members. The mission’s mandate was refocused in early 2010 on the support to the fight against organised crime and corruption.
A transition from the High Representative to the European Union’s Special Representative, at the same time as the transfer of responsibilities to the Bosnian authorities, was originally planned for June 2008. However, this was not possible due to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the PIC unanimously decided, when it met in February 2008, to extend the mandate of the High Representative without setting a new deadline for closing the Office of the High Representative. It also made the transition dependent on Bosnia and Herzegovina achieving five specific objectives (lasting and equitable agreement on the distribution of State property, distribution of military property, the continuation of the special status of the district of Brcko, financial sustainability and strengthening the rule of law), and on fulfilling two conditions (signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement and a positive evaluation of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, based on compliance with the Dayton-Paris Agreements).
In his April 2011 report, the High Representative made a globally negative assessments of recent developments, citing numerous internal conflicts and deadlocks. He particularly regretted that the authorities of Republika Srpska were willing to organize a referendum to challenge the judiciary power and all decisions taken by the High Representative since his position was created. He estimated that such a referendum would violate the Dayton accords. Mr. Inzko also expressed his concern at the lack of central government, which caused a slowdown in the European process.
The signing of a Stabilization and Association Agreement in 2008 was a positive step in the path towards EU integration, as well as the liberalisation of the visa regime for all Bosnian citizen at the end of 2010.
Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the Security Council on 1 January 2010 for two years as an elected member.
12 November 2013 - Security Council - Bosnia-Herzegovina - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
14 May 2013 - Security Council - Bosnia-Herzegovina - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
13 November 2012 – Security Council – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Statement by Mr. Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
15 May 2012 - Security Council- Bosnia and Herzegovina - Statement by Béatrice Le Frapper du Hellen, Counsellor for legal issues for the permanent mission of France to the United Nations
12 November 2013 - Resolution 2123 - renewing EUFOR ALTHEA
14 November 2012 - Resolution 2074 - renewing EUFOR ALTHEA
16 November 2011 - Resolution 2019 - renewing EUFOR ALTHEA
18 November 2009 - Security Council Resolution 1895 (2009) : renewing EUFOR
20 November 2008 - Security Council Resolution 1845 (2008): renewing EUFOR
22 November 2004 - Security Council Resolution 1575 (2004): authorizing EUFOR
12 December 1996 - Security Council Resolution 1088 (1996): authorizing SFOR
15 December 1995 - Security Council Resolution 1031 (1995): authorizing IFOR
25 May 1993 - Security Council Resolution 827 (1993): creating ICTY