IntroductionThe Dayton Peace Accords (DPA) provide for a fundamental social, military and political transformation of the former Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (RBH) into a new state - Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH), consisting of two entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBH) and the Republika Srpska (RS). This was to come about, in many instances according to a prescribed time-table, in conjunction with a programme of the military separation of the forces of the RBH, FBH and RS under the control of the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) which, together with the International Police Force (IPTF), was mandated by the UN Security Council to operate for "approximately one year", in effect until 20 December 1996. This date has become an important psychological barrier to the successful implementation of the Accords. On the one hand it encourages intransigence in the nationalists entrenched in the administrative structures who seek the effective partitioning of the country, as they feel they need hold out only for the remainder of this mandate before they will be free to do as they want without IFOR/IPTF interference. Conversely, it discourages people from investing money and effort in reintegration without the security which IFOR/IPTF at present provide. The result is in many areas of DPA implementation a virtual stalemate with one international agency after another reporting failure to advance against a wall of nationalist prevarication and procrastination. Some show signs of developing an "exit syndrome", regarding partition as inevitable and counting the days to their own departure. All is not lost, however, and with resolute action the basic objective of the DPA to achieve the peaceful reintegration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into a multi-ethnic society could yet be achieved. It is in the interests of the international community to do so because otherwise this country is likely to remain an area of instability engaging a disproportionate share of the world's attention and resources. Against this background this report sets out the focus of ICG's activities in the coming months.
War crimesThe removal of indicted war criminals is the single most important step towards reintegration. So long as they remain in or near positions of power and authority, they will themselves foster partition and will provide the justification for other hardliners to resist reintegration. Remove them and opposition will begin to crumble. Their vigorous prosecution is also important for reinforcing the values of international law in other contexts. The problem is how. IFOR has said repeatedly that it is not mandated to search for war criminals and that it is not trained for this purpose. This is not a complete defence, since all those states contributing to IFOR, which are also signatories of the Geneva Conventions for the protection of war victims, are obliged to search for persons alleged to have committed war crimes or to have ordered them to be committed. Any doubt on this score would need to be resolved by a decision from NATO. However, it is questionable whether governments would want to run the risk of their troops incurring casualties if, as is possible, the mass of supporters of those indicted or suspected of war crimes reacted violently to their leaders' apprehension. Moreover, an imposed solution might result in the further alienation of the people. A politically more attractive and effective way would be to pressure Serbia and Croatia, as Contracting Parties to the Dayton Accords, to organise the hand-over or voluntary surrender of these leaders. This would probably require another summit of all the parties to the Accords. However, if this approach fails, pressure should be exerted on the international community to have recourse to the legalistic alternative.
SecurityAs we have already set out in a separate paper, we believe there is a strong case for extending the mandate of IFOR for a further six months to increase the probability of important civilian aspects of the Dayton Accords having a reasonable chance of being implemented. A less acceptable alternative is the replacement of IFOR with a smaller version of itself for a similar period. The continuance of a military security umbrella is also necessary to minimise the risk of the outbreak of renewed ethnic conflict under the conditions which are likely to prevail at the end of IFOR's mandate period. The Bosnian army will not be able to fulfil this role, at least in the short term. Furthermore, the personal safety and security provided by the International Police Task Force, as detailed in our recent paper, will also need to be extended for a similar period. The IPTF has been hampered by lack of funds and qualified personnel, but it has notched up some successes, particularly with respect to the freedom of movement on the roads. Only those checkpoints which they authorise are permitted to operate. They are also having some impact at local level with police training and inspection of detention centres, but here too they are hampered by lack of basic resources. Regional security and arms control is also an area where little progress has been made for several reasons. First, on site activities have been designed to give experience to the OSCE officials as well as the local military and have therefore been trials rather than firm inspections. Secondly, OSCE military-related activities under its mandate have been completely separated from those of IFOR, resulting in the production of different sets of figures for equipment holdings. Lastly, negotiations on regional Confidence and Security Building Measures (CBSMs) on the one hand and measures for sub-regional arms control on the other are being conducted separately in Vienna. Coordination among the three and with IFOR should be pursued. What little is known is that practical applications, such as set-up of military liaison missions between the chiefs of the respective armed forces, have not happened. More importantly there is a strong link between the outcome of these issues with that of arming the Bosnians in that qualitative improvements, while maintaining internal (sub-regional) stability, can only be pursued in lockstep with the quantitative reductions foreseen in the Dayton Accords. It is understood that the US initiative to arm the Bosnians is based upon this premise as well as the questionable assumption that the Federation will remain intact.
RepatriationEuropean countries are bearing a huge burden of sustaining refugees in their countries (estimated by the UNHCR at 697,198 - in addition to 661,497 in the countries of former Yugoslavia). In ideal circumstances their return would take several years, but pressure is growing to return them sooner rather than later. However, if refugees are to be sent back to a country with a ruined economy ruled by nationalist parties, many would either refuse to return or try to stay where they are rather than live in conditions of economic and physical instability, if not conflict. In the event of renewed conflict, which cannot be ruled out, the exodus of refugees would be even greater. Many of those who stayed here throughout the war are not only thinking of leaving but would definitely go if trouble started again. According to the UNHCR plan, refugees should return only after displaced persons have been resettled (estimated at 1,282,257 throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina). However, even where local authorities have shown willingness to accept DPs, they are usually overruled by higher nationalist authorities, particularly in Serb- and Croat-held areas. (Repatriation to place of origin contradicts a key war aim of those at present in power. Even within the Federation, Bosniak and Croat authorities have linked the problems of one municipality with the problems in another, and show no flexibility, cooperation or tolerance in reaching solutions.) The Federal territories under Bosniak control are swamped with DPs from Eastern Bosnia, and Eastern and Western Herzegovina. Collective Centres still exist in Sarajevo, Zenica, Tuzla, etc. Most of the available housing in Republika Srpska has been occupied by Serbs from Krajina and the recently handed-over parts of Sarajevo. DPs are occupying houses and flats of refugees and DPs who cannot therefore return to them. Under present circumstances, Bosniaks from RS have no chance of going back there. Moreover, their property will have been taken by Serb DPs. Moving Bosniak DPs into abandoned Serb accommodation in the Federation is no solution since it merely confirms ethnic cleansing (but any uninhabited houses are likely to be excluded from reconstruction programmes). The commission on Refugees and Displaced Persons established by the Dayton Accords can play a significant role here. It will not only deal with real property claims but, by being the only body authorised to decide on vacant property, it can assist with temporary housing of returnees and prevent the respective authorities of the entities from abusing vacant property in order to achieve a permanent change in the demographic structure of the country. ICG's initiative, in this regard to raise funds to enable the commission to work, is therefore of extreme importance. A further important stumbling block to return is the lack of freedom of movement across the inter-entity boundaries. IFOR is doing a good job of removing illegal road blocks and other barriers but Bosniaks still cannot enter the RS: they cannot even visit many of the Croat-held areas in the Federation. Progress in this as in all other areas is linked with the removal of the ultra-nationalists in power.
ElectionsAccording to the Dayton Accords (Annex 3), the Organisation on Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is to supervise the preparation and conduct of elections in Bosnia-Hercegovina between 14 June and 14 September 1996. We understand OSCE are looking at 1 September. Elections are to be held for the House of Representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina; for the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina; for the House of Representatives of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; for the National Assembly of the Republika Srpska; for the Presidency of the Republika Srpska; and, if feasible, for cantonal legislatures and municipal authorities. According to the Washington "Memorandum of Understanding", elections must also be held in Mostar before the departure of the European Union Administration of Mostar (EUAM). The EUAM was scheduled to leave Mostar at the end of its two-year mandate on 23 July 1996. According to an annex of the Dayton Accords, both city and municipal elections are scheduled to be held before 31 May 1996, i.e. at a different time to elections elsewhere in Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, the EUAM is likely to be extended by a further six months and the elections will probably be held at the same time as the general elections. The OSCE has set up a Provisional Election commission (PEC) to adopt electoral rules and supervise the elections. The PEC consists of the Head of the OSCE Mission, the High Representative or his designee, and representatives of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina (the Parties to the Dayton Accords), and persons that the Head of the OSCE Mission, in consultation with the Parties, may choose. The PEC decides, among other things, the system for the registration of political parties and independent candidates, as well as the eligibility of candidates and voters. It also has to ensure that the electoral campaign is "free and fair" and certify the results. All citizens of Bosnia-Hercegovina over 18 and registered in the 1991 census are eligible to vote. Refugees and displaced persons are expected to vote in the municipalities where they were living in 1991, and if they are unable to vote in person they may do so by postal ballot. However, refugees and displaced persons may apply to the PEC to vote elsewhere. Before elections are held, the OSCE must decide whether the prevailing conditions will allow them to be "free and fair". The elections are no panacea for this war-ravaged country. To a large extent the 1990 elections amounted to a census with Muslims voting for the SDA, Serbs for the SDS and Croats for the HDZ. There is therefore every chance that new elections, especially if held in less than ideal circumstances, will produce similar results. By calling and certifying elections, the OSCE is running the risk of entrenching nationalists in power with a fresh mandate. Alternatively, if the OSCE decides conditions for elections have not been fulfilled, it is effectively extending the nationalists' mandate by leaving them in power. It may also be leaving Bosnia-Herzegovina in a political limbo and thus hampering reconstruction. If this is the case, OSCE's decision should be given international backing and the blame laid squarely on the ruling parties for their lack of cooperation and goodwill Since the Parties to the Dayton Accords are represented in the PEC, the nationalist parties are effectively able to shape the electoral system (including the rules concerning registration of political parties) while non-nationalist parties have no say! Since the three nationalist parties do not compete with each other for votes and may be happy with the partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina, this can only be at the expense of the moderate parties hoping for the reintegration of their country. PEC decisions, especially those concerning voter registration, are critical to the evolution and future of Bosnia-Herzegovina. For example, the right of a refugee or displaced person to vote where he or she was living in 1991, as stated in the Dayton Accords, is critical to the reintegration of the country. Any dilution of that right may lead to the division of the country. After much delay the PEC is hoping to publish election rules by the end of April. It appears that it has already decided to allow refugees and displaced persons to vote outside the municipalities in which they were living in 1991 as long as they do so in person. This decision appears to pave the way for some voter manipulation and the consequences should be investigated. The authorities in Republika Srpska, for example, may choose to bus displaced Serbs to Brcko (a critical town in the Posavina corridor whose status is yet to be resolved) to swing the election there. PEC decisions which have not been fully thought out may also cause opposition parties to boycott the elections. The opposition may also boycott elections if they are not given sufficient access to the media. According to the Dayton Accords, there must be freedom of the press before the OSCE can call elections. At present, this is not the case anywhere in Bosnia-Herzegovina, though the picture varies across the country. Alternative media already exist in government-controlled federation territory. However, the alternative media are dependent on foreign donations for their survival (more than $5 million has been invested in the media in the course of the war). Moreover, since foreign investment has been concentrated in radio, print and local television stations, the alternative media have little influence. The principal source of information for the vast majority of the population remains the evening news on state television. In Republika Srpska and Croat-controlled federation territory there has not yet been any comparable foreign investment in the media. As a result, alternative media barely exist. This situation would only change as a result of conscious and sustained international pressure. The OSCE and the Office of the High Representative have identified television as the key medium and are attempting to create an alternative network. Early attempts to build public service broadcasting on the BBC model were scuppered by vested interests. The only project currently under consideration is a UNESCO-backed scheme to link five "independent" stations in government-controlled federation territory and turn them into a network. The longer-term aim is to bring on board stations in both Republika Srpska and Croat-controlled federation territory. The obvious drawback to the existing project is that it appears to be yet another scheme aimed exclusively at government-controlled federation territory. It should be pointed out that Bosnian television already provides a reasonable news service and gives opposition parties some exposure. However, this is not the case either in Republika Srpska or in Croat-controlled federation territory. It is critical to direct media investment to those parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina as well. The Office of the High Representative is hoping to establish an editorial committee for the independent television network and ICG should be represented there. ICG should also have an input when it comes to programming. Given that so much of the media in Bosnia-Herzegovina is dependent on foreign investment, ICG should also carry out its own cost-benefit analysis of media subsidies to help devise the best strategy. It may be possible to act as a conduit for future investment with organisations such as the Westminster Foundation.
ReconstructionThe strategic plan of the government of Bosnia & Herzegovina and the World Bank is based upon the need to repair infrastructure, rejuvenate the banking system and set up an equitable legal system and strengthened democratic institutions. Some US$5bn is being sought internationally for this purpose but other funds will be necessary from the international private sector to bridge the capital gap to reconstruct agriculture, industry and commerce. The theory is that private industry and investors will be attracted by low wage rates, a well-educated work force and proximity to European markets. But an infusion of a limited amount of The World Bank's proposed funding will not quickly attract major private sector investment without adequate guarantees of peace and stability. Moreover, disbursement of development aid cannot be seen in isolation from political realities. The main issue is not whether such aid should be used politically but how. The political goal of stability in a reintegrated country should go hand in hand with the economic goal of reducing dependency on international handouts. The guiding principle should be rewards for performance rather than buying peace. At the top ministries should know that aid will go first to projects that foster reintegration and are economically viable. Lower down the provision of aid in a secure atmosphere should be used to influence local communities to resist or break with their political masters where the latter are obstructing reintegration. We would like to see this approach applied to Dr Schwarz-Schilling's attempts at building democratic institutions. The arguments should be pragmatic: that separate systems are more expensive and difficult to maintain, increasing the tax burden or dependence on outside subsidy and leading to declining living standards; whereas reintegration is cheaper and creates greater economic self-sufficiency. At the same time, international donors should also be stiffened to resist the temptations of expediency, even though there is a desperate need for a quick injection of aid to mitigate the problems of massive unemployment. By June, about 300,000 men will have been demobilised in the Federation. Most of them have no prospects of work and will be competing in any case for what there is with thousands of returning refugees and DPs.
1. Support for the work of the War Crimes Tribunal and pressure for the arrest of the war criminals concerned. Publicity for any cover-ups or evasion.
2. Support for the continuation of IFOR in some shape or form and for the IPTF to provide the necessary security umbrella for the peaceful implementation of civilian reintegration . Close monitoring of work on CBSMs, including direct liaison with Vienna.
3. Support for UNHCR's plans for return and for the effective work of the commission for Displaced Persons and Refugees .
4. Support for linkage between development aid and performance according to acceptable international standards and implementation of the DPA.
5. Close monitoring of the conditions and criteria for free and fair elections and intervention where necessary, and involvement in the elaboration of a viable media strategy.
6. Support by whatever means for reintegration, including assistance to Dr Schwarz-Schilling's mediation efforts in institution building.