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The Italian CIMIC Unit

By Sgt. Henrique Vale
First published in
SFOR Informer #76

Tito Barracks, Sarajevo - The Italian CIMIC Unit (ICU) has carried this name since June 20, 1998, after having been the Nucleo Genio Militare Italiano from January to December 1997 and the SFOR OPCON for 6 months. The ICU's mission is to consolidate and strengthen the peace by scheduling and surveying construction projects in Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH). Capable of taking a project through all its stages, the team, composed of nine Italian staff and three local interpreters (one of whom is also a draughstman) bring considerable support to the development of the civil infrastructure. Its logistical support is supplied by the Multinational Brigade North based in Zetra (Sarajevo).

"From the time ICU has a project, created either by themselves or assigned by such authorities as the EU, COMSFOR, the OSCE, the OHR or the UNHCR, a team of three engineers and three assistants work to complete the project, according to the technical plan", said Maj. Charles Matys, a CIMIC engineer. A team is put in charge of planning the project, establishing contracts with local companies and also to supervise the work taking place. The ICU can also count on a national partner, the Engineer School of Rome, in case of difficulties such as the lack of adequate materials.

But what makes the CIMIC unit particularly useful is the fact that since February 1999, they have acquired a finance section which enables them to manage a project on the administrative level. Considering Bosnia and Hercegovina does not have a fully functional legal system, the ICU applies European legislation. Through the intermediary of an Italian bank, approved by the European Community, the ICU can pay the subcontractor in three deadlines. "First of all the ICU produces a 10 percent policy of insurance for the work value, which arrives after approval of the subcontractor, if the subcontractor is financially sound and he has not been involved in crimes of war. After half the work is completed the UE receives the interim report and accepts 70 percent of the financing. Then the ICU pays its first deadline of 50% to the contractor. At the end of construction, the contractor receives 20 percent. Finally, after the UE examines the final report, they take final control and the contractor gets his final 30 percent", explained Capt. Giuseppe Egizi, who is responsible for the financial branch.

The ICU has now replaced the 1 Canadian Engineer Unit regarding work outstanding for Butmir 2000. They also have future plans such as the restoration of Tito Barracks in Sarajevo, and other projects in Multinational Division South East.

Related Link: Italy