BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN BOSNIA
"The progress is unmistakable. But it is not yet irreversible. [Bosnia]....
remains poised on a tightrope, moving toward a better future, but not at the
point yet of a self-sustaining peace. To get there, the people of Bosnia still
need a safety net and a helping hand that only the international community,
including the United States, can provide."
December 18, 1997
President Clinton's leadership in negotiating the Dayton Peace Accords for
Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995 ended a brutal conflict that had devastated the
region, resulted in the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of people
and sowed the seeds of mutual distrust among Bosnia's three warring ethnic groups.
By almost any measure, the Dayton Accords have been a success: the peace has
been sustained, a civil society complete with active opposition parties and
non-governmental organizations is taking root, police and court systems are
in the process of reform and national and local elections have taken place throughout
the country. While ultimate responsibility for peace and reconciliation lies
with Bosnia's people and leaders, U.S. and international involvement remains
critical to ensure that the remaining tasks - promoting economic recovery, encouraging
further minority returns and apprehending war criminals still at large - are
A RECORD OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
Ending War in Bosnia
- Brokered the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995 to end the bitter inter-ethnic
conflict that decimated Bosnian society, claimed the lives of more than 200,000
thousand people and resulted in the displacement of two million civilians.
The Dayton negotiations were preceded by months of intensive shuttle diplomacy
led by U.S. officials, who painstakingly brought the three warring Bosnian
ethnic groups and their patrons to the brink of a settlement. The landmark
Dayton agreement, reached after three weeks of round-the-clock talks held
at a secluded air base in Ohio, provided the framework for a durable peace
in Bosnia. The negotiating effort at Dayton also resulted in a settlement
of the long-standing ethnic conflict in the neighboring Eastern Slavonia region
- Returned more than 670,000 people (refugees and displaced persons) to their
homes since Dayton. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees registered
43,000 minority refugee and displaced persons returns in 1999.
- Helped return over 325,000 troops to civilian life.
- Identified and cleared more than 1,600 minefields, trained and equipped
over 450 local de-miners, and destroyed almost 48,000 mines and unexploded
ordinance, under Stabilization Force oversight.
- Established, under U.S. leadership, the Permanent Secretariat for the Standing
Committee on Military Matters to coordinate activities of the armed forces
in Bosnia. The Clinton Administration successfully pressed the parties to
sign a major arms reductions agreement, which led to cuts in Serbian forces
of 25% and Bosnian Serbs of 75%. At the Sarajevo Summit in July 1999, Bosnia's
tripartite Joint Presidency announced agreement on a further 15% force reduction
and military budget in each entity.
Supporting Economic Recovery
- Restored, together with international donors, Bosnia's Gross Domestic Product
to roughly 40 percent of its pre-war level (including growth by an estimated
55 percent in 1996, 35 percent in 1997 and 25 percent in 1998). Unemployment
has been reduced from a post-war high of 90 percent to roughly 31 percent
in early 1998, though levels vary widely across the country.
- Rebuilt major portions of Bosnia's infrastructure, including the repair
of over 100,000 housing units and 970 schools. The United States has provided
almost $1 billion in reconstruction assistance since Dayton. Major reconstruction
projects in Bosnia are now largely complete.
- Forged agreement on the adoption of a permanent currency, with the Konvertible
Marka introduced in mid-June 1998. A uniform customs code was passed in July
1998, increasing customs revenues.
Prosecuting War Crimes
Establishing Joint Institutions
- Actively supported the public indictment of 94 war criminals for crimes
committed in Bosnia. With assistance of the Stabilization Force, 49 indictees
have been taken into custody in the Hague, including Moncilo Krajisnik (Karadzic
deputy), Maj. Gen. Stanislav Galic (for responsibility in the shelling of
Sarajevo), Radislav Krstic (for involvement in crimes in Srebrenica), and
Radoslav Brdjanin and Momir Talic (both for responsibility for crimes in the
Prijedor area). Twenty six indicted war criminals remain at large.
- Helped create all Dayton-mandated national institutions, including the
Joint Presidency, the Council of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly
- all of which meet regularly. A Constitutional Court has issued several significant
- Played a key role in negotiating the November 1999 New York Declaration,
under which the Joint Presidents agreed on several important measures to enhance
state-level institutions, including establishment of a State Border Service,
which began operation in June 2000.
- Worked toward increasing freedom of movement by actively supporting the
adoption of common license plates.
- Supported the adoption of a national flag, flown over Bosnian embassies
and offices of the joint institutions and new passport laws, under which old
passports are no longer accepted.
Holding Elections and Fostering Democratization
- Promoted political pluralism by providing political and financial support
for free and fair municipal-level elections in 2000. General elections are
planned for November 2000. A Draft Permanent Election Law is now under discussion.
- Defended principles of ethnic cooperation and tolerance and protected the
progress made toward implementing key measures of the Dayton Accords by removing
extremists from government positions in both Federation and Republika Srpska
cities and denying anti-Dayton political parties the right to register for
- Supported the peaceful settlement and good faith implementation of the
Brcko arbitral decision, which established joint entity and international
control over one of Bosnia's most hotly contested cities. The Final Award
was issued in March 1999 and an annex addressing implementation in August.
Implementation of the Award is now underway.
Supporting Police and Judicial Reform
- Fostered greater cooperation between the police services of the two entities,
with police academies now up and running in both the Federation and Republika
Srpska, and minorities heavily represented in recruit classes.
- Provided key logistical and financial support to the International Police
Task Force (IPTF), which has provided international oversight, training and
coordination for the entity police services.
- Supported the establishment of a Human Rights Chamber, which has completed
over 300 cases in support of human rights.
Promoting Independent Media
- Provided assistance for the transformation of government-controlled electronic
media into nonpartisan public broadcasters, including the establishment of
the Independent Media Commission (IMC), a transparent radio and television
licensing regime and sensible, enforceable media regulatory structures. Ethnic-based
political parties no longer control Bosnia's television networks.
TIMELINE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
||Pro-European, pro-Dayton political parties make significant gains in national
||Recognizing the historic democratic transition underway in the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), the Stability Pact decides to formally admit
the FRY as a member. The FRY also gains membership in the
United Nations, the IMF and the OSCE and moves quickly to establish diplomatic
relations with its neighbors, including Bosnia.
|Sept. -Oct. 2000
Following presidential elections, Slobodan Milosevic is toppled from
power and a democratic government around opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica
is formed. Kostunica travels to Sarajevo and voices support for Dayton
||Constitutional Court issues landmark decision ruling that portions of
the Republika Sprska and Federation Constitutions that discriminate on the
basis of ethnicity are unconstitutional.
||Member of the Presidency Alija Izetbegovic announces he will retire from
||New Council of Ministers constituted under guidelines established by the
Constitutional Court. Three new ministries created.
||General elections are scheduled for November.
||SFOR, under the "Enhanced Agility" model, completes force reductions
to approximately 20,000. U.S. participation is reduced to under 4,600.
||Successful municipal elections are held throughout Bosnia.
||The Office of the High Representative concludes the formation of the Brcko
district - the last unresolved issue from the Dayton accords - and announces
an inter-ethnic government for the new district.
||Ambassador Holbrooke wins the agreement of Bosnia's Joint Presidency to
implement further aspects of the Dayton Accords, including the establishment
of a State Border Service.
||Secretary Albright hosts the Steering Board in New York, endorsing the
concept of "Bosnian ownership" of the Peace Process.
||The United States, along with the European Union and with support from
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, sponsors the Sarajevo
Summit to launch the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, a process designed
to strengthen democracy, economic development and security throughout the
||Deputy Secretary of State Talbott represents the United States at Madrid
Ministerial, where further benchmarks and timelines are established for
||Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott attends the Bonn Ministerial
for the Peace Implementation Council. New, sweeping powers are appointed
to the High Representative (responsible for civilian implementation in Bosnia)
to make binding interim decisions on issues where the parties fail to reach
agreement - thus eliminating the ability of any single party to block progress.
||President Clinton visits Sarajevo, delivering a message of reconciliation
and assuring Bosnia's citizens of the U.S. commitment to ensure peace and
stability in their country.
||Indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic goes into hiding in response to
SFOR efforts to arrest him.
||The United Nations Security Council, with strong U.S. support, votes to
establish a follow-on stabilization force for Bosnia, SFOR.
||With strong U.S. logistical, financial and personnel support, democratic
elections are successfully held at the national, entity and cantonal levels.
||First shipment of equipment arrives in Bosnia as part of a U.S.-led international
effort to train and equip Federation forces in order to establish a self-defense
||The United States, together with its NATO allies and Russia, approve the
deployment of a NATO-led multinational Implementation Force. By mid-February,
NATO and forces from 18 other countries had deployed over 60,000 troops
||Following a cease-fire, the United States, along with its Contact Group
partners, successfully brokers a comprehensive peace agreement after three
weeks of negotiations in Dayton, Ohio.
||Following Bosnian-Serb shelling of a Sarajevo marketplace and other assaults
on UN-declared safe havens, U.S. leadership is instrumental in forging NATO
agreement to intervene actively in order to halt the violence. Meanwhile,
on the diplomatic front, President Clinton's negotiating team, directed
by then Secretary of State Warren Christopher and led by Ambassador Richard
Holbrooke, embark on exhaustive shuttle diplomacy throughout the region
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