The ORAO case
A short reminder of the events

Thierry Domin
First published in
SFOR Informer#159, March 6, 2003

On Oct. 11, 2002 SFOR troops completed an unannounced inspection of the ORAO factory complexes in Bijeljina, a town located in Northeastern part of Republika Srpska.

Bijeljina - The inspection was conducted as part of the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP), as implemented by the Instruction to Parties (ITP). This document requires SFOR to monitor weapons, weapon components, their movement, storage, manufacture and repair.
ORAO became a Government Ordnance Factory (GOF) in 2002, thereby falling under the SFOR Mandate that requires periodic inspections to be conducted. ORAO manufactures, puts together and repairs, among others, components aimed for aeronautical industries.
The inspection was conducted in a safe and professional manner with minimum disruption to the workers and production, as it took place at the end of the working week. There was no forcible entry and the ORAO management was co-operative throughout.
Preliminary inspection results uncovered the existence of a contract linking the ORAO Factory to the unreported export of weapons systems components, which violate the GFAP as implemented in the ITP. A thorough analysis revealed that the factory managers allegedly perpetrated some 'irregularities'. In particular, the investigation identified evidence that ORAO had sold military equipment to a country in contravention of a United Nations' embargo.
The International Community then ordered the RS government to set up an inquiry and to publish a report stating who had been involved. This document, which was delivered to SFOR on Dec. 31, 2002, has now been analysed by SFOR experts.
Since this report was not fully satisfactory and included some deficiencies, COMSFOR ordered Republika Srpska's authorities to provide further details on the contentious points. This report is to be submitted no later than March 17, 2003. The content of that report will be again assessed by SFOR, acting on behalf of the whole International Community.

Related links: Press Release (Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003)
SFOR at Work

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Photo: Courtesy of Combat Camera

A cut away section of an aero-engine as found at the ORAO factory.