II. Activities of the Mission
International Police Task Force
- Pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1103 (1997) of 31 March 1997 and 1107 (1997) of 16 May 1997, the authorized strength of the International Police Task Force is 2,027. As at 4 September, the Task Force had a strength of 2,015 monitors from 38 different countries (see annex).
- Activities of the Task Force continue to be carried out by two main components: Operations and Development. The Operations Division monitors the local police in order to ensure freedom of movement, adherence to professional police procedures and respect for human rights. The Development Division assists the local authorities in the restructuring of their police forces through downsizing and the screening of their officers for criminal records. Officers are then tested, approved for service and trained.
There has been further progress in the restructuring of the Federation police during the current reporting period. The formal inauguration of the Gorazde cantonal police, on 15 July, provided momentum to continuing efforts to restructure the cantonal police in the ethnically mixed Neretva and Central Bosnia cantons. In protracted negotiations that have continued beyond the signing of the 6 June agreement to integrate the Neretva canton police, Bosniac and Croat officials agreed to restructure the six Mostar city police administrations and its multi-ethnic central district first and then to do the same in the canton's six rural municipalities. Many politically inspired delays in implementing this agreement have required the constant attention of my Special Representative and senior Task Force officials, as well as the intervention of the Office of the High Representative and officials of Member States. Similar delays in the restructuring of the police were also experienced in the ethnically mixed Central Bosnia canton. However, the formal inauguration of the newly integrated police force took place on 22 August and the process of implementing the restructuring has begun. The restructuring of the Federation police in the remaining cantons is expected to be formally completed by the end of September. However, continuous efforts at training will be needed to ensure that formal integration leads to the development of a genuine modern police force.
- The International Police Task Force conducted further training courses for local police to facilitate their transition to police forces that operate according to internationally accepted democratic policing standards. Newly certified police in Sarajevo have begun to undergo a three-week transition course taught by trained local police officers under Task Force supervision. In addition, 1,150 students have already attended a one-week human dignity course, also taught by trained local police officers under Task Force supervision. The Task Force plans to introduce a field officer training course (in cooperation with the international criminal investigative training assistance programme), as well as a six- month recruit training course and a supervisor training course. While beginning to rehabilitate the current Federation Police Academy in Sarajevo, the Task Force is assisting in the planning for another academy with more specialized courses.
- Efforts have continued to reach an agreement on police restructuring with the authorities of the Republika Srpska. However, two developments have made this task even more difficult than in the past. On 28 June, President Biljana Plavsic, who is based in Banja Luka, suspended the Minister of the Interior, giving among other reasons his failure to cooperate with the International Police Task Force in the restructuring of the Republika Srpska police. That action, which was rejected by the Prime Minister and other officials based in Pale, has led to a serious constitutional crisis in the Republika Srpska, which has made it difficult for UNMIBH to find a legitimate and competent interlocutor on police matters. In addition, on 10 July, the Stabilization Force (SFOR) conducted an operation to detain two men with sealed indictments for crimes against humanity from the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. This action precipitated a three-week period of sporadic petty violence directed against international organizations deployed in Republika Srpska, which hindered operations of civilian agencies in that entity and impeded negotiations over police restructuring.
Against this background, on 7 August, my Special Representative came to an agreement with the SFOR Commander on the status of the paramilitary forces known as "special police" or "police anti-terrorist brigade". SFOR confirmed that, under the terms of annex 1A of the Dayton Agreement, such forces would be treated as military units, subject to SFOR control. It issued Instructions to the Parties specifying the controls to which forces would be subjected. In that connection, the International Police Task Force established a target date of 31 August for completing negotiations with the Republika Srpska authorities on police restructuring and indicated that members of the special police forces could be included in the regular police through the restructuring process. Regrettably, owing mainly to the political crisis within the Republika Srpska leadership, the target date was not met. In addition, the Task Force and SFOR agreed that, with effect from 31 August 1997, any police force that was still operating in a canton of the Federation where restructuring was complete and that had not been certified by the International Police Task Force was illegal and would be dealt with by SFOR.
The Task Force has also developed a draft agreement with the Republika Srpska on an overall restructuring plan that would generally conform to the provisions already agreed upon with the Federation authorities, but which would also reflect the constitutional arrangements in the Republika Srpska. This draft has been presented for the consideration of President Plavsic and of the authorities in Pale.
- The constitutional crisis in the Republika Srpska took a dramatic turn on 17 August, when evidence was revealed of the interception of President Plavsic's communications by the police and of intimidation of two judges of the Republika Srpska Constitutional Court involved in the ruling on the legality of the President's decision to dissolve Parliament and call for new elections. President Plavsic then appointed new chiefs of public security and of state security in Banja Luka. At the request of the Office of the High Representative, the International Police Task Force initiated an urgent investigation of the allegations of human rights abuses at the Banja Luka Public Security Centre, during which it uncovered large quantities of illegal weapons and ammunition. After the High Representative determined that the Republika Srpska President had the legal authority to suspend the chief of police and appoint a replacement, and after President Plavsic indicated her support for the IPTF police reform programme, an operation was conducted by IPTF and SFOR that uncovered additional large quantities of illegal weapons from four other police stations in Banja Luka. During that operation the newly appointed chief of police took control of the Banja Luka Public Security Centre. All illegal weapons were confiscated by SFOR.
- On 28 August, disturbances between supporters of the President and of the Prime Minister broke out in Brcko. In connection with those disturbances, a number of completely unprovoked attacks were made on United Nations personnel and property. Fortunately, only one Task Force monitor was slightly injured, but more than 30 vehicles were seriously damaged and the Task Force station in Brcko completely looted. The Special Representative delivered a strong protest to the authorities in Pale, which, at his insistence, was read out in full over Bosnian Serb television.
- The Operations Division of the International Police Task Force continues to contribute to the improvement of freedom of movement, to monitor and assist in the establishment of safe conditions for returning refugees and displaced persons, to monitor and assist in the establishment of safe conditions during the election campaign and to carry out investigations into allegations of abuses by the local police.
- Freedom of movement is promoted through the implementation of the checkpoint policy, which was described in my previous report (see S/1997/468, para. 5). The attitude of the parties to the checkpoint policy has remained basically unchanged.
- The checkpoint policy has led to tangible results. In May, an average of 300 checkpoints were permitted each day and during the first two weeks of implementation of the checkpoint policy, the International Police Task Force identified 13 illegal checkpoints in the Federation and 23 in the Republika Srpska. By contrast, currently only about 15 checkpoints a day are approved and, during the first two weeks of August, only 8 illegal checkpoints were identified in both the Federation and the Republika Srpska. This reduction in checkpoints has substantially improved freedom of movement, although problems remain with travel between the two entities. The Task Force has undertaken a comprehensive review of policy, which, it is anticipated, will conclude that, whereas harassment of drivers has substantially decreased and key transit routes are relatively open, there will not be full freedom of movement until the authorities from both entities adopt a common licence plate, as mandated by the Ministerial Meeting of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council, held at Sintra, Portugal, on 30 May 1997 (see S/1997/434).
- In accordance with its mandate, IPTF carried out investigations of human rights violations by local police during the current reporting period. Those investigations related to incidents in Sarajevo and Jajce (in the Federation) and, as noted above, in Banja Luka (in the Republika Srpska).
- In cooperation with the Federation Ministry of the Interior, the International Police Task Force completed its investigation of 28 cases of alleged human rights abuses by Sarajevo canton police that had been reported in the period from 1 January to 15 June 1997. The allegations involved assault, harassment and use of excessive force. The investigation substantiated five cases of assault in which local police officers had been directly involved in beatings. On 22 July, the Task Force met with the Sarajevo Minister of the Interior and recommended the suspension of one police officer, disciplinary action and demotion in the case of three other officers and the issuance of warrants against four additional officers. In August, the Sarajevo cantonal Ministry of the Interior announced that disciplinary actions had been taken against the local police officers, as suggested by the Task Force.
In Jajce, the Task Force investigated the Croat police response to acts of intimidation and violence against Bosniac returnees to the Jajce municipality. Such acts included setting houses on fire and, during the first week of August, a series of roadblocks, demonstrations, threats by groups of Croats and one murder. The Task Force found that the local police had not offered adequate protection to the returnees. Further, the police force was negligent during the roadblocks and demonstrations, because, almost invariably, they took no action even at the explicit request of the Task Force. As a result, some 400 to 550 Bosniacs had been forced to leave their homes by 4 August. The Task Force submitted a report on the incidents to the Federation authorities, asking them to investigate further the conduct of 10 Jajce police officers. On the basis of the evidence available, the Task Force Commissioner recommended that the Chief and Deputy Chief of the Jajce police be dismissed and that disciplinary proceedings be initiated against eight other officers.
- The International Police Task Force's close cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the implementation plan for the September municipal elections is based on the pattern of cooperation set at the previous elections in September 1996. The Task Force will increase its monitoring activities around election time to help ensure a secure environment for the polling. In addition, it will pay particular attention to ensuring security on the recommended voters' routes for voters crossing the Inter-Entity Boundary Line on election day.
- During the period under review, Civil Affairs was engaged in political reporting, providing guidance to the International Police Task Force, training and supporting the combined international effort on municipal elections. Since the eruption of the political crisis in the Republika Srpska, Civil Affairs has taken the lead in tracking the many developments in the crisis and has been the principal source of reporting on it for the United Nations and, in many cases, for the international community at large. Information was channelled through my Special Representative to the High Representative, the Commander of SFOR and the OSCE Head of Mission.
- Civil Affairs has also been actively pursuing its mandate to provide political guidance to the International Police Task Force, in particular in the Brcko area. Together with the International Police Task Force and the Office of the High Representative, Civil Affairs has taken the lead in formulating the United Nations response to the intransigence of the Republika Srpska police in Brcko. It has been closely involved in the consultations on all major policerelated policy questions in the Brcko area, including the issuance of Republika Srpska identity papers to non- Serbs returning to Brcko, the collection by the Republika Srpska authorities of illegal "visa fees", the non-attendance by the Republika Srpska police at regular chiefs of police meetings, and, most important, the ethnic structure of the Brcko police to be fielded after the municipal elections in September.
- Civil Affairs has also become involved in the training of Task Force monitors deploying into the country via the Sarajevo headquarters. Furthermore, at the request of the OSCE Chief of Mission, Civil Affairs has provided support to the OSCE-led election effort by organizing town hall meetings for candidates and members of the public in a large number of towns across the country.
Human Rights Office
- In order to fulfil its responsibility to carry out investigations of human rights violations by local police forces, UNMIBH has set up a Human Rights Office and recruited a Chief of Human Rights for the Mission. The Office is responsible for coordinating all human rights activities of the Mission, including maintaining liaison with the other human rights organizations operating in the mission area. The Human Rights Office led the investigation on the expulsion of Bosniacs from Jajce and related conduct by the local police.
- The Legal Office has continued to support the International Police Task Force in fulfilling its mandate by providing legal guidance on the authority of the Task Force Commissioner with respect to non-compliance of law enforcement officials other than police; by advising on the applicability of laws and regulations affecting freedom of movement; by advising on election-related issues and on resolving property disputes; by participating in the negotiations on the restructuring of the police of the Republika Srpska and on several agreements for the United Nations Mine Action Centre; and by commenting on the compatibility of cantonal laws on police with the General Framework Agreement for Peace.
Mine Action Centre
- On 11 August, at the completion of their training, 120 deminers, equipped and employed by the Mine Action Centre, started work in three separate locations. Under the terms of agreements that are now being negotiated, the authorities of the Federation and the Republika Srpska should take over the employment of these personnel not later than 31 December 1997. An additional 30 deminers have been trained by a non- governmental organization for deployment in Bihac, and the Centre has concluded six contracts for small emergency mineclearance projects by local commercial companies.
- The Centre's minefield database now holds details of 17,854 minefields, which is thought to be about half the actual total. New information is being added continuously, while existing information is being transferred onto detailed maps to be made available to mine-clearance teams.
- The Centre continues to cooperate with the European Commission, Norwegian People's Aid, SFOR, the World Bank and other bilateral donors in the implementation of their programmes. This includes the coordination of priorities with local authorities, the adoption of common technical standards and the coordination of mine-awareness activities.
- The total area cleared and reported to the Mine Action Centre by all organizations participating in the mine action programme for July and August 1997 was 320,228 square metres, with 545,117 square metres surveyed. The rate of clearance has risen rapidly since early July.
- The memorandum of understanding between the Department of Humanitarian Affairs and the Council of Ministers regarding the relationship between the Mine Action Centre and the national Commission on Demining is expected to be signed shortly. The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina has allocated an initial budget to the Commission. Detailed discussions are now under way between, on one side, UNMIBH, the Office of the High Representative and bilateral donors, and, on the other, the national Commission and the authorities of the Federation and the Republika Srpska, on the particulars of the arrangements for the management of demining activities after 31 December 1997.
- Since January 1997, the Department of Humanitarian Affairs has received new pledges and contributions for the Mine Action Centre in Bosnia and Herzegovina totalling $2,150,487. Additional contributions totalling $16 million are urgently required if the Centre is to reach its revised target for 1997.
Trust Fund Unit
- The Trust Fund Unit's internal review of its activities during the past three months concluded that the quick impact fund programme had made a positive contribution to the reconstruction of Sarajevo. UNMIBH therefore intends to use capital that is still in the Trust Fund for the quick impact fund and is currently identifying new projects that meet the criteria of the Trust Fund's terms of reference and provide sustainable benefit for a maximum target audience.
III. Activities of the United Nations System
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been focusing its efforts on the emergency production of high-quality seed for waraffected areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to establish early generation seed production and maintenance, to increase the production of high-quality primary seed and to install a seed quality control and phytosanitary capacity. During the current reporting period, the project dealt with the major crops, including potatoes, wheat, onions, alfalfa and beans. FAO has also procured equipment for seed quality control laboratories in Sarajevo and Banja Luka and has prepared interim premises for the laboratory in Sarajevo.
United Nations Children's Fund
- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) continued its focus on longterm reconstruction and development assistance. Regarding health issues, UNICEF concentrated its activities on young children by organizing a breastfeeding promotion training programme in the Republika Srpska and by discussing the creation of conditions for establishing "baby-friendly" hospitals with Federation health authorities. Promotion of health has also been achieved by the repair of school sanitary systems throughout the country, with a special focus on Brcko, and by issuing a comic book on sanitary water for elementary schoolchildren. UNICEF has contributed to mine awareness by sponsoring a series of training sessions with children's football clubs, with the support of famous British football players. In the "Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances" project, a secondary school pilot trauma project, was initiated in Banja Luka with an institutional partner. UNICEF also promoted the Convention of the Rights of the Child by publishing a book of poems In the World of Children's Justice, by a prominent Bosnian poet and by sponsoring a round table on the Convention, in cooperation with a local non-governmental organization. nited Nations Development Programme
- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) continued to expand its activities in the context of its country cooperation framework for 1997-1999 with emphasis on national sectoral reconstruction programmes and policy advisory support to Federation and Republika Srpska authorities. Requests from both the Federation and Republika Srpska authorities led UNDP to strengthen its aid coordination and debt-management units. UNDP has now begun reconstruction activities valued at $6.5 million in areas identified by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as targets for the return of refugees, as well as activities under its employment programme.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has concentrated on the following projects during the reporting period: the completion of the rehabilitation plan for the old town of Mostar; a project to enhance administration and planning capacity in the educational administration of the Central Bosnia canton and the Ministry of Education and Culture; the reconstruction and rehabilitation of part of Tito Barracks in Sarajevo for use as a national library; and the rehabilitation of four primary schools in Mehurici in the Central Bosnia canton.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
- During the period under review, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights continued activities in monitoring and confidencebuilding in the field of human rights. It organized two missions by the Special Rapporteur to the country, in which special attention was paid to the human rights situation of refugees and displaced persons, in particular those returning to the areas of Brcko, Drvar and Prozor.
- In an effort to contribute to the creation of an independent judiciary in Bosnia and Herzegovina - a crucial guarantee for the protection of human rights - the Office has initiated a legal assessment of the election and appointment of judges. It has cooperated with the Office of the High Representative, the International Police Task Force, OSCE and several non- governmental organizations in efforts to ensure that the Federation and Republika Srpska authorities respect and act in accordance with international standards on the independence of the judiciary. Human rights experts from the Mission continue to supervise a trial monitoring project throughout the country.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) continued its efforts to implement annex 7 of the Dayton Agreement. It is estimated that, since the beginning of the year, some 90,000 refugees and displaced persons have returned to their homes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, half of them from asylum countries. 38. The Office devoted considerable effort to the Open Cities Initiative, which aims at encouraging cities or municipalities where reconciliation between ethnic communities is possible to declare publicly their willingness to allow minority groups to return to their former homes and to participate as full members of the community. UNHCR has so far recognized four open cities: Konjic, Busovaca, Vogosca and Bihac, all in the Federation. Other cities and municipalities are being actively considered and may be recognized as open in the near future. In such open communities, where willingness to accept minority return has been demonstrated, the community is to be supported with international assistance.
- In another effort to expand the possibilities for minority return, UNHCR and cantonal authorities are working on plans to facilitate the return of refugees and their families to their homes in the Central Bosnia canton. The overall return plan will be finalized shortly and should make it possible for some 10,000 families to return.
- Throughout the period, repatriation-related assistance continued to be provided and the local authorities in both the Federation and Republika Srpska were supported in their endeavours to provide assistance to vulnerable displaced persons in collective centres.
- The World Bank's mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to implement the economic reconstruction programme approved by the international community at the Brussels conference in December 1995. The Bank is also helping Bosnia and Herzegovina to introduce reforms in the economic system to permit a more marketfriendly economic development. A total of $350 million in World Bank funds has been mobilized for 16 specific projects to date. In addition, a fund of $150 million is being managed by the World Bank to co-finance those projects. The value of the projects prepared by the World Bank now in the implementation phase exceeds $l billion. At the end of June 1997, contracts signed using World Bank- administered funds totalled 1,753, for a value of $283 million.
- The World Bank continues to help coordinate the work of donors participating in the reconstruction programme. A third donor's conference, held in Brussels at the end of July, mobilized a further $1.1 billion in donor support for reconstruction. Specific pledges have been provided to UNHCR for its priority refugee return programme. The Bank has been able to mobilize substantial resources to rebuild houses in the UNHCR target zones and to implement job-creation programmes and other schemes for infrastructure development. Other agencies playing a key role with the World Bank in coordinating reconstruction are FAO, UNESCO, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Those agencies lead reconstruction task forces set up by the World Bank, which cover agriculture, health, water and employment. The World Bank and UNDP have closely coordinated programmes, resulting in an excellent leverage of UNDP efforts and a particularly valuable contribution by UNDP to the World Bank-led reconstruction efforts.
World Food Programme
- The World Food Programme (WFP) has continued to concentrate on re- categorizing its beneficiaries in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the WFP-led joint food aid needs assessment mission recommended, in May 1997, the targeting of food aid to only the most vulnerable households. Consequently, the beneficiary caseload for Bosnia and Herzegovina was reduced from 1,334,949 in June to 662,500 in September. On the other hand, WFP increased its support to small-scale, short-term rehabilitation activities. To date, 625 tons of food have been programmed for 24 rehabilitation activities throughout the country, which will benefit 10,000 individuals.
World Health Organization
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has continued to work with the Federation Ministry of Health to complete its strategic plan in the health sector. WHO is supporting the training of 30 family medicine teams and seeks to expand this project to include health workers throughout the country. It has cooperated with the Governments of France, Italy and Sweden in training programmes and workshops with public health and medical professionals designed to increase skills and to build the capacity of institutions in physical rehabilitation, mental health and public health engineering.
- Following the joint statement issued by the Ministers of Health in November 1996, WHO has explored how progress in public health can contribute to increased communication across the Inter-Entity Boundary Line. Its six field offices represent geographical areas of responsibility, in which medical professionals from the Federation have begun to cooperate increasingly with colleagues from the Republika Srpska. In this way, the health needs of the Bijeljina region (in the Republika Srpska), are being coordinated by its office in Tuzla and doctors in Travnik (in the Federation) seek advice from its office in Banja Luka (in the Republika Srpska).
International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
- The Sarajevo office of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia acts as the contact point for the Tribunal's Prosecutor. It functions largely as a liaison office with the international organizations, whether civilian or military, in Sarajevo and provides support to investigations and ongoing trials in The Hague.
- The current crisis in the Republika Srpska is critical not only for the future of that entity, but also for the peace process and the role of the United Nations Mission in it. For almost two years, the authorities in the Republika Srpska have followed a policy of minimum implementation of the peace agreement. They have done little or nothing to reverse the effects of ethnic cleansing and to return refugees to their homes, they have obstructed the apprehension of persons indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity, they do not cooperate adequately with the joint institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and they have not concluded a police restructuring agreement. They have paid a price for this policy, especially in terms of access to the capital resources needed to finance the reconstruction effort. Now, for the first time, there are voices within the Republika Srpska urging implementation of at least some parts of the Dayton Agreement. It is essential for the international community that the present crisis be resolved in a way that will give greater voice to those forces wishing to move ahead with the peace agreement. The role of Member States in ensuring such an outcome will be important.
- I welcome the achievement, by the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, of an agreement on diplomatic representation, as required by the Ministerial Meeting of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council at Sintra, Portugal, on 30 May 1997 (see S/1997/434). However, the failure to achieve agreements on a common currency, on a citizenship law or on passports within the agreed time-frame is of great concern. Against that background, the adoption of a common vehicle licence plate by 31 December 1997, which was also agreed to at Sintra, promises to improve freedom of movement between the two entities. Given that the practical implementation of an agreement on common licence plates will take several months, it is imperative that a political agreement on this important matter be reached at the earliest possible moment.
- The slow rate of progress in police restructuring in the Federation is the result of the considerable barriers erected by Croat and Bosniac officials in ethnically mixed cantons to the conclusion and implementation of agreements. The efforts of senior United Nations negotiators to break down those barriers have been helped by concrete support from the Office of the High Representative and by senior officials from Member States on their visits to the region. Although important progress has been registered, it is not yet certain that hard-line nationalists have given up their efforts to stop the process.
- As the power struggle in the Republika Srpska plays itself out on the ground, the United Nations must continue to operate - and be seen by the factions to operate - strictly within its mandate. As long as the security situation allows UNMIBH and UNHCR to function, they intend to act pragmatically on the ground. In view of the fragmented nature of authority in the Republika Srpska, UNMIBH will cooperate with the de facto authorities in particular areas in implementing its mandate. In the case of the International Police Task Force, this means monitoring, advising and training the police, assisting with its restructuring and investigating abuses of human rights by local police forces. In the present tense and volatile situation, however, the security of United Nations personnel - unarmed civilian police, as well as other civilian UNMIBH and UNHCR staff - deployed in small groups across the Republika Srpska is a matter of serious concern. It is essential that they continue to enjoy the close coordination and active support of SFOR in carrying out their duties.