bosnia report
No. 18 February - May 1997
 
Letter to Heads of State
by Alija Izetbegovic and Haris Silajdzic

On 21 April 1997 President Alija Izetbegovic (Chair of the Presidency of B-H) and Dr Haris Silajdzic (Co-Chair of the Council of Ministers of B-H) met with High Representative Carl Bildt and with diplomatic representatives of the Contact Group countries (France, Germany, Russia, UK, USA), Holland (currently presiding over the EU), and Turkey (representing the Islamic Conference) in order to give them the following brief critical analysis of the current state of implementation of the Dayton Accords for transmission to their heads of state or government.

'Dayton is not being implemented'
- a short analysis

Although some results have been achieved during the sixteen months that have passed since the signing of the Peace Agreement in Dayton, the overall peace process is in crisis because of inconsistent implementation and violation of agreed obligations. Neither a single part of the Peace Agreement, nor a single annex apart from the military one, has been implemented in the manner agreed or within the time-scale envisaged.

Keeping to the order of the Dayton text and commenting only on the most important issues, we can state the following: 1. Very important obligations from Annexes 1A and 1B, concerning military aspects of the Agreement and regional stabilization, have not been fulfilled.

Despite the presence of significant SFOR forces, the inter-entity boundary has not been established in part of Sarajevo-Dobrinja and part of the municipality of Bosanski Samac, nor has there been any transfer of power there.

Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and the Serb entity are not carrying out their mandatory obligations on reducing armaments, so that a military imbalance threatening the peace is still being maintainÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌäed.

Instead of starting to transfer control of air space to the institutions of Bos- nia and Herzegovina, in accordance with the Peace Agreement, SFOR has entrusted control to Yugoslavia and Croatia - which is wholly contrary to the Agreement.

2. The Brcko Arbitration envisaged in Annex 2 has not been decided, leaving the town as a potential flashpoint for conflict. This can be prevented only if the return of refugees to their homes begins forthwith.

3. Fundamental mistakes have been, and are continuing to be, made in implementing the agreement on elections (Annex 3). The OSCE Commission is making unprincipled compromises that are leading to the legalization of 'ethnic cleansing'. The Commission has totally neglected its obligations with respect to determining and evaluating the social and political conditions for the holding of elections in both entities. Although it is obvious that in the Serb entity and areas of the Federation under HVO control the overall democratic environment is below the basic democratic level (there is no media freedom, safety is not ensured for citizens, and freedom of movement is very limited), the Commission insists on holding elections at any price. In this way, those very leaders and parties who stand for totalitarian and even fascistic political programmes are being favoured.

4. We have seen particular obstructions to implementation of the Constitution of B-H (Annex 4). Several very significant institutions, such as the constitutional court of B-H and the central bank, have still not been established. The Parlia- ment of B-H, the Presidency, and the Council of Ministers, are functioning very slowly or their activity is being blocked. Although the mandated deadlines have long since passed, the entities have not brought their constitutions and laws into conformity with the Constitution of B-H. The Serb entity is trying to keep within its jurisdiction matters pertaining to customs, foreign policy and foreign trade, even though constitutionally these are clearly in the jurisdiction of the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Contrary to the Constitution of B-H, the Serb entity is introducing a law on citizenship that gives Serb refugees from Croatia the right to automatic citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

5. The agreement on human rights from Annex 6 is being flagrantly violated. The process of 'ethnic cleansing' is continuing, while national and religious discrimination continue to be an essential feature of the official policy carried out by certain leaders, institutions and political parties. The fact of the bad human-rights situation, particularly in the Serb entity and in areas of the Federation under HVO control, is confirmed by the reports of all international organizations and their representatives.

6. Equally discouraging are the results of implementation of the agreement on refugees from Annex 7. So far only about 130,000 refugees have returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Moreover, their return is not to the areas from which they were expelled, but to so-called 'ethnic majority' areas - which in practice means the completion of ethnic cleansing. The Serb entity openly rejects the right of return for members of other national groups, because they say they 'cannot live with people of a different religion or nationality'.

7. The agreement on establishing public corporations - Annex 9 - is still only a formal one on paper. In all sectors for which it envisions public corporations of B-H, a process of disintegration is under way. Instead of setting up transport or other public corporations of B-H, in practice separate systems are being planned and implemented for transport, telecommunications, energy and all similar fields. In certain cases such projects are even financed by funds from the international community. We may point out that all technical conditions for the railway network to function have been guaranteed, but until now this has been blocked by political decisions of the Serb entity.

8. ThÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌäe Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, or more precisely Serbia, is not complying with its obligations to respect the integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Agreement on special parallel relations between FRY and the Serb entity is contrary to the Dayton Agreement, and in certain respects openly violates the integrity and sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Obviously this represents an attempt by Serbia, through such 'special relations', to accomplish its territorial designs on B-H. Meanwhile, the weak reaction of the international community is alarming, because Serbia interprets it as approval.

9. Agreed obligations on delivering individuals indicted for war crimes to the Hague Tribunal are also being openly flouted. Despite the presence of SFOR, moreover, access is very difficult to mass grave sites in the Serb entity, where intensive work is going on to cover up and destroy evidence of war crimes. Ineffectiveness in bringing war criminals to justice represents a large obstacle to reconciliation among peoples and to positive development of the peace process.

The High Representative and his administration, faced with these and similar problems, are more and more often resorting to compromises that amount to revising or deviating from the Dayton Agreement. This has been especially evident in the drafts of several laws further reducing the jurisdiction of the institutions of B-H and unjustifiably enlarging the jurisdiction of the entities.

The above, unfortunately, is neither a complete nor a final list of violations of, and non-compliance with, the Peace Agreement.

Conclusions:

1. The whole peace process to date has had a generally negative trend leading to further disintegration of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is endangering the foundations on which peace was established. Furthermore, the policy is still being pursued of equalizing 'all parties', which is not only unjust and historically untrue but also counterproductive. Certain leaders, institutions and political parties who openly violate the Peace Agreement are still being accepted as partners.

2. In spite of the above, the Dayton Agreement still has a chance. This is a critical moment. Decisive implementation, combined with appropriate measures against those violating the Agreement, can turn the course of the peace process in a positive direction. With the indispensable help of the international community - and especially the sponsors of the Peace Agreement - B-H can be steered towards a stable and lasting peace. It is this very conviction that motivates us to deliver a warning about the present situation resulting from non-implementation and violation of the Peace Agreement. This is an invitation to undertake the necessary measures before it is too late. In every individual case, it is essential to determine who is responsible for obstructing implementation and violating the Peace Agreement, and to apply the appropriate sanctions, especially those that are most effective: political isolation and the suspension of economic aid.

These are the only means the international community has available - if, of course, it itself remains decisively committed to full implementation of the Peace Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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