bosnia report
New Series No:49-50 December - March 2006
Chronology of events: October 2005 - January 2006

1 October 2005

The RS government accepts the amended final report of the Srebrenica Commission

4 October 2005

OHR declares itself satisfied with final report of Srebrenica Commission, expects ICTY and B-H prosecutors to prioritize investigation of individuals still holding office in RS or B-H institutions

Following RS refusal to accept police reform, EU foreign ministers exclude possibility of talks with B-H on accession to a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) beginning by tenth anniversary of Dayton

6 October 2005

Former B-H presidency member and HDZ leader Ante Jelavić is sentenced to ten years in prison for illegal distribution of funds donated by Croatia; he flees to Croatia, whose citizenship he holds

RS assembly approves a fresh proposal on police reform that the EC declares to be in line with its demands; HR Paddy Ashdown says that within five years B-H will have a single police minister, and police regions cutting across the inter-entity line will be established

9 October 2005

Srebrenica Taskforce member Smail Čekić meets with Srebrenica women to inform them that this body has completed and signed a report on the July 1995 events in Srebrenica that establishes the identity of 19 473 persons who participated in the massacre, 892 of whom are currently still employed in state, entity or municipal institutions; the women express disappointment that the report makes no mention of the involvement of Serbian units

20-21 October 2005

Meeting is held in Geneva to discuss changes to B-H’s Dayton constitution, on initiative of former HR Wolfgang Petritsch; despite roster of high-level participants, produces little in way of concrete or radical proposals.

EC recommends to EU Council of Ministers that SAA talks should be started with B-H in December

27 October 2005

Venice Commission of the EU recommends that the UN Security Council should examine the case of former police officers ‘de-certified’ by the OHR in 2003

28 October 2005

In entering a guilty plea at the Hague tribunal, Bosnian Croat Ivica Rajić confirmed the involvement of Croatian troops in military operations between the HVO and the Bosnian Army

4 November 2005

HR Paddy Ashdown lifts ban on 23 officials (mainly SDS members) participating in public life, reportedly as a reward to RS president Dragan Čavić for his cooperative attitude, notably over police reform

7 November 2005

Meeting of ‘Igman Initiative’ in Sarajevo ends without common statement by Serbia-Montenegro president Svetozar Marović, Croatian president Stjepan Mesić and B-H presidency member Sulejman Tihić on need to move on from Dayton agreement , due to RS opposition on B-H joint presidency

11 November 2005

Leaders of eight B-H parties meet for three days in Brussels, under auspices of European Commission, United States Institute for Peace, and the ‘Dayton Project’, to discuss US-inspired proposed changes to the Dayton constitution; although the changes proposed are relatively modest - involving some strengthening of central state institutions, but no erasure of the ethnic basis of the constitutional order - no agreement between the parties is reached.

Croatia announces that construction is beginning on a bridge linking the mainland to the tip of the Pelješac peninsula (thus bypassing the short B-H coastline round Neum), without formal B-H consent

16 November 2005

Former B-H Army commander, and later chief-of-staff, Sefer Halilović is acquitted by ICTY

18 November 2005

Unusual all-party consensus achieved as Council of Ministers endorses nomination of Igor Davidović, former ambassador to Washington, as chief B-H negotiator in talks with EU

19 November 2005

The Serb Civic Council, the Congress of Bosniak Intellectuals, the Croat National Council and Circle 99 issue a statement calling for a post-Dayton constitution establishing B-H as a state of all its citizens

20-21 November 2005

Leaders of eight strongest B-H parties meet in Washington to continue constitutional talks, finally - under intense pressure - signing a generic declaration of readiness to proceed with discussion of changes to Dayton constitution, but without any concrete, specific agreement even on the limited changes proposed by the US

25 November 2005

SAA talks begin between EU and B-H

1 December 2005

Admiral Leighton Smith, former NATO commander in B-H, states in an interview that during his term of duty he was not allowed to search for fugitive war-crime suspects

2 December 2005

B-H appeal court acquits Asim Fazlić, former deputy director of B-H Interpol, on all counts of abuse of office

7 December 2005

Italian General Gian Marco Chiarini takes over command of EUFOR from UK General David Leakey

8 December 2005

Miroslav Bralo condemned to 20 years in prison by ICTY after pleading guilty to 8 counts of war crimes committed against Bosniak civilians during the 1993-4 Croatian-Bosnian conflict

9 December 2005

Fugitive Croatian war-crimes suspect former general Ante Gotovina is arrested in the Canary Islands

10 December 2005

RS president Dragan Čavić calls on Karadžić and Mladić to give themselves up

11 December 2005

UK general John Drewienkiewicz, former advisor to OSCE mission to B-H, says in an interview that B-H could conceivably join NATO in 2008

14 December 2005

The Peace Implementation Council announces in Brussels that Christian Schwarz-Schilling, a former CDU minister who resigned in December 1992 over German and EU policy in the face of aggression against B-H, and who after the war served as International Mediator in B-H, will become the new High Representative on 31 January 2006, replacing Paddy Ashdown

18 December 2005

New round of US-inspired inter-party constitutional talks is suspended in Sarajevo, with agreement on strengthening of the B-H council of ministers, but little else

21 December 2005

Five members of a ‘Scorpion’ paramilitary unit go on trial in Belgrade for murders committed during the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995

Inter-party constitutional talks resume in Sarajevo, with RS representatives expressing determined opposition to US-proposed reform of the B-H presidency

24 December 2005

RS government decides to give financial assistance to Hague war-crime indictees; decision is sharply criticized by the RS Helsinki Committee; decision is suspended after a few days

2 January 2006

VAT is introduced throughout B-H, in a somewhat chaotic situation due to the failure of either entity to pass budgets for year 2006, and to the initial absence of any monitoring system

6 January 2006

New HR announces changes to OHR top staff. Only principal deputy HR Lawrence Butler will retain his post; new senior deputy HR will be Peter Bas-Backer from the Netherlands; new head of the political department will be Dieter Ruger, a former political advisor in the German embassy in London; new chief advisor to the HR will be Dieter Wolkewitz from Germany, formerly working with the OSCE mission to B-H and a founder of the European Stability Institute

15-17 January 2006

Resumed inter-party constitutional talks once again end in failure to agree; successive US-inspired compromises merely highlight deep differences between parties, against background of RS consensus in favour of entity powers, Bosniak and non-nationalist consensus against entity powers, and consensus among Croat parties that existing ethnically based set-up disadvantages Bosnian Croats

16 January 2006

Several hundred de-certified policemen begin a hunger strike in Sarajevo in protest over failure to review their case, but suspend it after a few days following a government promise to raise their case with the UN Security Council

22 January 2006

Kosova president Ibrahim Rugova dies

25 January 2006

Talks on SAA resume in Sarajevo between EU and B-H

27 January 2006

Following months of governmental crisis and party manoeuvring, RS government is defeated in assembly no-confidence vote by a coalition headed by Milorad Dodik’s SNSD

31 January 2006

HR Paddy Ashdown hands over to successor Christian Schwarz-Schilling


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