By Cpl. Nicolas Girault
First published in
SFOR Informer#117, July 11, 2001
June 26, Maj. Gen. Rick J. Hillier, Commander
General of MND SW, announced during a press conference the SFOR
decision concerning the future of Resolute Barabara Range (RBR).
This firing range, located near Glamoc, is one of the main Stabilisation
Force's ranges in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Glamoc - Maj. Gen. Hillier answered a lot of interrogations
about RBR's future. The legal owners will recover their lands
located within the range ; but if SFOR worked a lot to reach a
solution, a great job will still be necessary to enforce this
range was established in the surroundings of Glamoc by IFOR (Implementation
Force) in February 1996. It was organised in three separate areas
: a tank range, a small arms range and a manoeuvring range.
British Lt. Col. Robin Hodges, MND SW chief G-5, who was in charge
of the file, explained that the area was then chosen for several
reasons : "the area was not far from the Inter Entity Boundary
Line (IEBL), the IFOR was stationed in the vicinity, the area
had been left by legal owners; furthermore it was close to a Yugoslav
National Army (JNA) airfield, and finally four Federation Army
ranges were still set up there." He added : "SFOR intentions
were to leave the RBR when people come back. For several years,
nobody claimed these properties, but in the last eight months,
displaced persons wanted to return to their pre-war homes. They
came back because the area is quiet, thanks to a safe and secure
environment provided by SFOR, and because of the Property Law
Implementation Plan (PLIP) enforcement." So, SFOR tried to
find a solution. Several branches of the Headquarters were involved
: G-9 (CIMIC), G-3 (operations) and G-5 (plans and policy).
Problems to solve
At first, further information was needed. CIMIC teams looked for
a better knowledge, sending messages to ask people for information
about the owners and searching through the cadastral register.
"The problem is that from about 200 owners who have returned,
each one holds several pieces of land. These lands are mostly
located in the Eastern and Western part of the range on about
20% of it." Thus, the decision from HQ SFOR was to reduce
the size of the range and concentrate the three kinds of activities
into one single manoeuvre range.
Two main problems still remain. The first one is the owners who
have land on the area which will still be used by SFOR. Hodges
declared : "according to the General Framework Agreement
for Peace (GFAP), we are not obliged to pay the owners which have
got bits of land in the range. So we think that if they come back
in accordance with the return policy, they merit a compensation
for their own pieces of land located in the range." To deal
with owners, SFOR will appoint a Land Appointer whose statute,
nationality and mission has not been yet finalized.
second problem concerns the safety of the area because of unexploded
ammunitions ; this area is one of the most mined of Bosnia and
Herzegovina. "Some areas are contaminated with live ammunitions
and mines, so we have to clear it, which takes 50 days for each
square kilometre," Hodges added. All the affected areas have
still not been identified. At first, SFOR's engineers will clear
the area, and after maybe teach the BiH de-miners to clear by
themselves. Furthermore, the range was not only contaminated by
SFOR, but also during the war and subsequently by the Federation
But with time, solutions will be found. SFOR would have participated
in the return to a normal life in this area by giving back lands,
but keeping part of RBR for essential daily military training.
Training and Exercises