Constitutional and Legal Matters and Elections
Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Entities
- The Council welcomes the establishment of some of the common
institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and urges that the
remaining institutions be established without delay. The
authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are committed to cooperating
in the working of these institutions at all levels and to complying scrupulously with the Constitution and the rule of law.
- The Council underlines that all the political bodies elected on 14 September 1996 must respect the right of persons duly certified as elected by the OSCE to participate fully in the work of those bodies, irrespective of their religious beliefs.
- The Council stresses the importance of further decisions to
implement the Constitution, including agreement on a flag and other symbols of Bosnia and Herzegovina by 15 February 1997.
- The Council welcomes the progress made in implementing the Constitutions of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska. It expresses satisfaction that the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska have made most of the key changes to their Constitutions necessary to ensure conformity with the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and calls for the remaining changes to be made promptly referred quickly to the Constitutional Court.
- The Council recalls that, in accordance with the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the exercise of the right of each Entity to establish special parallel relationships with neighbouring states must be consistent with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- The Council considers that a fully operational Federation of
Bosnia and Herzegovina remains an essential prerequisite for peace
and a cornerstone for the successful implementation of the Peace
Agreement. To this end, comprehensive implementation of existing
Federation agreements must be pursued with vigour.
- The Council welcomes recent progress in the establishment of Federation structures, especially the convocation of the Cantonal and Federation Assemblies, the designation of the Federation representatives to the Bosnia and Herzegovina House of Peoples, the establishment of the Supreme Court of the Federation, the laws on the Federation flag and coat of arms, and the agreement on the future organisational structures of Sarajevo. The Council urges the Federation Assembly to adopt the proposal for the establishment of the Federation Implementation Council, as agreed at the Federation Forum in Washington on 14 May 1996.
- The Council urges all those with political responsibility in
the Federation to press strongly for the rapid election and
appointment of the highest Federation executive officials, and the
full integration of administrative, judicial and economic
structures on both the Cantonal and the Federation level. Special
attention must be given to the implementation of the future
organisational structures of Sarajevo.
- The Council reaffirms that all administrative and other
structures in the Federation must now be fully and irreversibly
integrated, and calls for the immediate dissolution, or where
appropriate transfer to the Federation, of remaining structures of
the so-called Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna or the Republic of
Bosnia and Herzegovina which are not in accordance with the
Constitution. In particular the Council deplores the taking over
by so-called Herceg-Bosna authorities in Mostar of premises
designated for the interim use of the city administration, along
with any other actions which have the effect of preventing the
effective functioning of the legitimate city authorities.
- The Federation authorities have agreed to take the necessary
measures to ensure full respect for law and order throughout the
city of Mostar, the effective operation of joint police, the
effective functioning of the unified City Council in Mostar, the
provision of adequate accommodation for the city administration in
accordance with previous agreements, and the ending of restrictions on access to public assets by Federation officials.
Arbitration of the Brcko Area
- The Council underlines the obligation of the parties, under the Peace Agreement, to accept the decisions of the Arbitration Tribunal on the issue set out in Article V of Annex 2. It requires the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska to engage fully in the process in their own best interests. The Council calls upon all those concerned to respect the strategic importance of this question for the whole process of reconciliation within Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- The Council welcomes the OSCE's decision to extend the mandate
of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina until 31 December
1997. The Council welcomes also the agreement of the authorities
in Bosnia and Herzegovina to OSCE supervision of the preparation
and conduct of the municipal elections to be held in 1997, and
their agreement to extend the mandate of the Provisional Election
Commission until the end of 1997. The Council invites the OSCE to
begin work immediately so that the necessary preparations can be
completed in good time, and to this end undertakes to support the
OSCE's efforts. It calls upon the authorities in Bosnia and
Herzegovina to agree by consensus by 31 January 1997 the detailed
rules for the municipal elections and to cooperate fully with the
OSCE and Provisional Election Commission. It notes the agreement
of the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina that the municipal
elections will be held by the summer of 1997.
- The Council recognises the political and organisational
complexities of the municipal elections. It therefore urges the
OSCE, its Head of Mission and the High Representative to continue
to coordinate closely and to work with SFOR, IPTF, UNHCR and other
agencies on the planning and implementation of the elections
process and the management of the post-election period, and on the
mechanisms for any necessary election re-runs and the installation
of the elected officials. The Council requests the Steering Board
and the OSCE Head of Mission to meet quickly, with the appropriate
agencies, to agree how best to take work forward in these areas.
- The Council welcomes the agreement of the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to create the permanent Election Commission, to be established by a law of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with responsibilities to conduct future elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the municipal elections have been held and the results certified. The Commission will include both government and opposition political parties. In its preparations for the 1998 elections the Commission will be supported by international experts, whose decision will be final in the event of genuine deadlock.
- Recalling the decision to align the duration of the first term of each of the bodies elected on 14 September 1996 with the two-year first term of the Presidency, the Council further welcomes the undertaking of the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to cooperate fully in ensuring the holding of free and fair elections in 1998. They have undertaken to comply with the recognised conditions for democratic elections referred to in Article I of Annex 3 of the Peace Agreement, to organise these and all other elections through the permanent Election Commission, and to accept assistance from the OSCE and international election observers. To this end the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the legislatures of the Federation and Republika Srpska will adopt or amend election laws.
- The Council welcomes the commitment of the authorities in
Bosnia and Herzegovina to full, free and open political debate,
including full participation by and free access for all opposition
parties to the mass media.
Standing Committee on Military Matters
- The Council notes with satisfaction the commitment of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina to establish at an early date the Standing Committee on Military Matters (SCMM) provided for in the Constitution, to include the Members of the Presidency, the Defence Ministers of the Federation and Republika Srpska and the Chiefs of Staff of the Federation and Republika Srpska, with the participation as observers (for the duration of their terms of office) of the High Representative and the SFOR Commander. The Standing Committee on Military Matters will hold monthly meetings. Any member, and the High Representative and the SFOR Commander or their representatives, will have the right to request a meeting outside that schedule. In areas within the competence of the Joint Military Commission, the decisions of the Joint Military Commission will take precedence over those of the Standing Committee on Military Matters.
- The Council recalls the responsibility of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina for appointing Ambassadors under Article V.3(b) of the Constitution. In this context, the Council urges the Presidency to appoint any new or replacement Ambassadors by the end of March 1997. All Ambassadors will represent the Presidency as a whole and the Presidency must have confidence in their capacity to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- The Council urges the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and
Herzegovina to adopt at an early date laws on the Central Bank,
passports, citizenship, foreign trade, foreign investment, customs
tariffs, customs policy, immunity, Presidency vacancies and
external state debt.