VRS Rudo Base inspected
By Capt. Jesus Campuzano
First published in
SFOR Informer #75
Rudo - On the east bank of the Lim River (tributary of the Drina River), just a few kilometres away from the border of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in the area of responsibility of the Multinational Division South-East (MND-SE) is the VRS (Army of the Republika Srpska) Rudo Base.
This base lodges the logistic unit of the 509th Brigade and the 1st Logistic Base of the VRS. During the first week of November, Rudo Base was inspected by SFOR. The inspection was carried out by two inspection teams from the Multinational Sites Control Unit (UMCS - Unit Multinacionale de Contrle des Sites) of the MND-SE.
"The inspection of the storage sites, including weapons and ammunition, is our main task. With these inspections, we intend to make sure that the Dayton Peace Agreement is being accomplished in the garrisons. On the other hand, these inspections contribute to the increased safety of the Entities Armed Forces (EAF). The outcome of the war is a lot of warlike material and the inspections allow us advice them on how to improve the organisation of their material storage sites. For instance, explosives and fuse devices should be stored separately. This rule also applies to weapons and ammunition storage. Usually, they are very co-operative and take our advice," explained Spanish Capt. Carlos Armada Vazquez, inspection team leader and officer in charge of this inspection. The procedure of the inspections is standardised. "The site inspection starts with a working meeting with the commander of the site or the officer in charge. The inspection team leader explains the plan for the inspection, and check the changes in the stored material since the last inspection.
"Afterwards, with the personnel in charge of the different warehouses, we inspect them carefully to make sure that everything that has to be in, is in - not more, nor less. Depending on the size of the site, it can take more than one day - like this one - it will take three days and two inspection teams. Sometimes, there is difference between the working paper and the reality. We then try to find out why. Sometimes it is only an administrative misunderstanding.
"Discrepancies and non-fulfilment of the given instructions could lead to sanctions like the confiscation of the questioned items. The inspection ends with a final report, signed by both sides, the EAF, and the OIC of the inspection," said Vazquez.
The teams consist of six personnel, plus the interpreter - all of them with special training to cope with the mission. "Before we come into Theatre, we take a course on the recognition of weapons and ammunition. This is improved by the experience gained in every inspection," explained Spanish Sgt. 1st Class Pedro Luis Garcia Cianca, one of the weapon specialists of the team.
All the site inspection teams are made up of personnel from two different nations. "Our team is formed of Spanish and Italians, and despite the language barriers, the multinational composition is an advantage more than a difficulty, it provides more points of view and different backgrounds to face the work," explained Italian 1st Lt. Alessandro Sciascia, second-in-command of the inspection team.
"Usually, you can see improvements in the storage conditions when you arrive for the second inspection. It is very rewarding to see that our work is getting results," said German Lt. Frank Erben, Commander of the Italo-German inspection team taking part in the Rudo Base site inspection.
But all this is just the visible part of the process. Previous to the inspection in the site, all the documentation related to the site is prepared and reviewed by the team, aided by the UMCS staff.
And after each inspection, all information in reference to the site is analysed and updated. This, added to the authorised movement records, will be the baseline for future inspections.