JMC 39

Lt. Anne-Claude Gouy
First published in
SFOR Informer#157, February 6, 2003

As stated in the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP), a Joint Military Commission (JMC) takes place on regular basis at SFOR Headquarters to discuss the future role of the Armed Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Chaired by COMSFOR, this commission serves as the central body for all parties to bring any military complaints, questions, or problems that require resolution by the SFOR Commander.

Camp Butmir - The JMC meeting is COMSFOR's principal method of passing instructions to the signatories of the GFAP. On Friday Jan. 24, the 39th meeting was held. “In general, the JMC occurs every three month. In fact, it’s the way to take a bearing,” said Italian Lt. Col. Claudio Testa, Staff Officer Restructuring, Joint Military Affairs (JMA), HQ SFOR. So, during the whole day, responsible persons from all parties - State level and Entity level - talked about the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s defence.
Same past…
“The present situation requires necessary changes, centralising all issues which represented problematic issues in the past. We are working about a reduction of the Armed Forces, reorganising it, and restructuring it,” said Lt. Gen. Atif Dudakovic, Federation Army (Vojska Federacije, VF) Joint Commander. Primary issues to be discussed included Standing Committee on Military Matters (SCMM) implementation status, Partnership for Peace (PfP) Task Force work, Active Reserve concept, Obsolete Weapons and other important subjects.
The SCMM has the mission to help the Parties in their path towards a unified army, “We will choose just one way, even if there are two ones. The first road is a modern and unified country, which wants to join the European Union. The second one is a way of ignorance and intolerance. We, and all people in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), want the first one,” explained Mr. Stjepan Pocrnja, SCMM Secretary General.
… for another future
“Our aim is to have one single State, one single army, one single country, one single Ministry of Defence. With patience, we will succeed. Step by step, BiH needs to build a nation,” added Pocrnja. Thanks to this great motivation, both Armed Forces feel really confident in the future. “It’s just a question of time. We already have the SCMM: that’s yet a big progress for us. And I’m sure that people from SCMM will do their job perfectly,” said Lt. Col. Gen. Momir Zec, Acting Chief of the General Staff of Republika Srpska Army (Vojska Republike Srpske, VRS).
COMSFOR has a big role to play in engaging the armies of both Entities. “JMC is an occasion for the parties to meet each other, in the presence of SFOR as a mediator. COMSFOR is in the same time mediator, catalyst, and the one who clarifies each thing that is decided,” explained Lt. Col. Testa. The proof is that, at the end of the meeting Lt. Gen. William Ward, COMSFOR, proposed a toast “to the team!”

Related link: SFOR at Work

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Photo: Sgt. Diego Ropero Pastor

The traditional family photo at the close of the 39th JMC. Lt. Gen. William E. Ward with the leaders of the Armed Forces in BiH and the members of the JMA, HQ SFOR.

GFAP, Annex 4, Article V. 5

The members of the Presidency shall select a Standing Committee on Military Matters to co-ordinate the activities of armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Members of the Presidency shall be members of the Committee.

GFAP, Annex 1A, Article VIII

A Joint Military Commission ('the Commission') shall be established with the deployment of the IFOR (SFOR) to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Commission shall be chaired by the IFOR (SFOR) Commander or his or her representative. It shall function as a consultative body for the IFOR (SFOR) Commander. To the extent possible, problems shall be solved prontly by mutual agreement. However, all final decisions concerning its military matters shall be made by the IFOR (SFOR) Commander.