CRS Report for Congress
Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Background on U.S. Policy Concerns
March 28, 2001
Steven Woehrel
Specialist in European Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division

Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress

Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Background on U.S. Policy Concerns
In 1995, after over three years of conflict, the United States brokered the Dayton
Peace Accords, ending the war in Bosnia. The accords retained Bosnia as a single
country, divided into two largely-autonomous “entities.” A NATO-led peacekeeping
force and other international organizations are trying to help implement the accord
and bring stability to the country.
During the Clinton Administration, the premise of U.S. policy in Bosnia and
the region was that the stability of the Balkans is important to stability in Europe as
a whole, which the Administration viewed as a vital U.S. interest. During the 2000
Presidential campaign, candidate George W. Bush called for a U.S. withdrawal from
Balkans peacekeeping, leaving the task up to European countries. However,
Administration officials appear to have modified their views since taking office. In
February 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that while the United States
wants to reduce over time the number of U.S. troops in the region, the United States
would not “cut and run.” He stressed that United States and European forces in the
Balkans “went in together, [and] we’ll come out together.”
The U.S. deployment to Bosnia has been controversial in Congress. Critics say
this mission and others like it are open-ended, have overly ambitious, fuzzy goals that
amount to “nation-building,” and that suchmissions sap the readiness of U.S. forces.
Nevertheless, Congress has regularly provided funding for the Bosnia deployment
over the past five years. Repeated efforts by some Members to set deadlines for
withdrawal or tie a withdrawal to specific conditions have not become law. Congress
has imposed reporting requirements on many issues, including the impact of Balkans
peacekeeping missions on the readiness of U.S. forces, burdensharing with U.S.
allies, and the establishment of benchmarks to measure progress on the ground.
The United States and its allies have set the goal of a self-sustaining peace in
Bosnia, defined as a peace that will likely continue to exist after peacekeeping forces
have left. Benchmarks set to measure progress toward this goal include military
stability, improved public security and law enforcement, democratic governance,
economic development, an independent media and judiciary, reducing crime and
corruption, refugee returns, bringing war criminals to justice, and reintegrating the
strategic Brcko district. Supporters of the current approach of the international
community in Bosnia say the slow, steady accumulation of progress in implementing
the peace accord is changing the situation in Bosnia for the better. Critics charge
that most of this progress has come as a result of the international community’s
browbeating or direct intervention. They assert that, lacking a real domestic
constituency, this “progress” is by definition not self-sustaining. The international
community has several possible options in Bosnia. It could continue the present
course, or reduce the level of attention and resources devoted to Bosnia. Other
options include a formal revision the peace accords to move openly toward partition
on Bosnia, or re-interpreting or amending the accords to promote Bosnia’s unity.
Acting apart from the international community, the United States retains the option
of withdrawing unilaterally from Bosnia.

In troduction ......................................................1
Background ......................................................1
The Dayton Peace Accords..........................................3
International Peace Implementation Efforts..........................4
U.S. Policy.......................................................6
Congressional Concerns.............................................8
Key Benchmarks..................................................9
Military Stability.............................................10
Public Security and Law Enforcement.............................12
Judicial Reform..............................................12
Illegal Institutions, Organized Crime, and Corruption.................13
Media Reform...............................................14
Elections and Democratic Governance............................14
Economic Development........................................16
Displaced Persons and Refugee Returns...........................16
Status of the Brcko District.....................................17
Persons Indicted for War Crimes.................................17
Implications .....................................................18
Possible Options.................................................19
List of Figures
Figure 1. Bosnia’s National Government Structure......................22
Figure 2. Federation and Republika Srpska Entities’ Government Structures..23
Figure 3. Organization of Military and Civilian Operations in Bosnia........24

Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Background on U.S. Policy Concerns
Since brokering the Dayton Peace Accords which ended the war in Bosnia in
1995, the United States and the international community have spent billions of
dollars and deployed thousands of troops to Bosnia-Herzegovina in an effort to create
a self-sustaining peace there, defined as a peace that will likely continue to exist after
peacekeeping forces have left. However, while the situation in the country has
improved significantly in the more than five years since the accords were signed,
most observers believe that a self-sustaining peace is still a distant prospect. There
exist a variety of views among experts, U.S. policymakers and Members of Congress
on future policy options. Some see the international effort in Bosnia as a misguided
and impractical exercise in nation-building and not in the U.S. interest. They
advocate a U.S. pullout from Bosnia, leaving the main burden for Bosnian
peacekeeping with the Europeans. Some advocates of disengagement also favor a
partition of Bosnia. Others believe that the stability of Bosnia and the Balkans is
important to stability in Europe as a whole, which they view as a vital U.S. interest.
Many calling for a greater international role in Bosnia attribute the shortcomings of
current policy to an insufficiently active effort to defeat nationalists in Bosnia and/or
to flaws in the Dayton accords.
The history of Bosnia-Herzegovina has been shaped by a variety of factors.
Ethnicity is one important factor. Most of the population are from three ethnic
groups, all of Slavic origin. The Bosniaks, also called Muslims, are the descendants
of Slavs who converted to Islam after the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans in the 15th
century. In 1991, Bosniaks formed 43.7% of the population. Catholic Croats made
up 17.3% and Orthodox Serbs made up 31.4%. Ethnic relations in Bosnia-
Herzegovina have been peaceful during most periods, but have sometimes been
punctuated by horrific violence, frequently provoked by outside forces. Increasing
Serb and Croat nationalism has been an important factor, as extremists have sought
to claim part or most of Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of a neighboring Greater Serbia
or Greater Croatia. For example, the atrocities committed by Nazi-backed Croatian
Ustashe fascists are still remembered by Serbs today. Projects to partition Bosnia
among the three ethnic groups were complicated by the patchwork pattern of
settlement in Bosnia. Not all Serbs lived in areas neighboring Serbia, nor Croats in
areas near Croatia. Bosniaks were scattered throughout the province.

Another important factor to bear in mind when looking at Bosnia today is the
impact of Communism. Bosnia-Herzegovina was one of six republics in Communist
Yugoslavia. The political and economic system put in place by Yugoslav leader
Josip Broz Tito, while perhaps somewhat less harsh than other Communist regimes,
nevertheless retained many of their key characteristics. The League of Communists
of Yugoslavia (LCY) was not just the sole political party in the country. It had the
ability to appoint people to key posts not only in the government, but in the media,
judiciary, the economy, the educational system and other influential positions
throughout Yugoslav society. This practice, often referred to by its Soviet name of
nomenklatura, was a key tool of Communist control. The nomenklatura system
crippled or rendered meaningless concepts such as political pluralism, civil society,
the rule of law and the free market.
A feature of the system unique to Yugoslavia was the fragmentation of the LCY
and government structures in Yugoslavia along ethnic lines, a tendency that became
particularly marked after the adoption of the 1974 Yugoslav constitution and
accelerated after the death of Tito in 1980. The Yugoslav political system began to
seize up as a result of nationalist-tinged bureaucratic infighting among republic
governments and communist parties. The coming of multiparty elections in 1990
actually made this situation worse, as newly formed nationalist parties emerged and
won elections in Bosnia. This legacy continues in today’s Bosnia. The main
nationalist parties in Bosnia tend to use nomenklatura techniques to cement their
power and enrich themselves through corruption.1
The 1992-1995 war in Bosnia was also a critical factor in shaping the country
today. The rise of hard-line nationalism in Serbia under Slobodan Milosevic and a
similar movement in Croatia led by Franjo Tudjman in the late 1980s and early 1990s
posed a grave threat to Bosnia-Herzegovina’s unity. Bosnia’s own republic
government was split among Bosniak, Croat and Serb nationalists. The secession of
Slovenia and Croatia in August 1991 upset the delicate balance of power within
Yugoslavia. Milosevic conceded Slovenia’s independence after a few days, but
Croatia’s secession touched off a conflict between Croat forces and Serb irregulars
supported by the Serb-dominated Yugoslav Army. Bosnian Serb nationalists
demanded that Bosnia remain part of a Serbian-dominated Yugoslavia. Bosnian
Croat nationalists threatened to secede if Bosnia remained in Yugoslavia.
Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, worried about the possible spread of the
conflict to Bosnia, tried to find a compromise solution. However, these efforts were
made very difficult, given the nature of the Milosevic and Tudjman regimes, both of
which had designs on Bosnian territory. In addition, Izetbegovic’s hand was forced
by the European Community (EC) decision in December 1991 to grant diplomatic
recognition to any of the former Yugoslav republics that requested it, provided that
the republics held a referendum on independence, and agreed to respect minority
rights, the borders of neighboring republics and other conditions. Izetbegovic and
the Bosniaks felt they could not remain in a Milosevic-dominated rump Yugoslavia

1 European Stability Institute, Reshaping International Priorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
October 14, 1999, available on the ESI website at [
document.php?document_ID=4] .

and had to seek independence and EC recognition, even given the grave threat such
a move posed to peace in the republic. Bosnian Serb leaders warned that international
recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina would lead to civil war.
In March 1992, most Bosniaks and Croats voted for independence in a
referendum, while most Serbs boycotted the vote. In April 1992, shortly before
recognition of Bosnia by the European Community and the United States, Serbian
irregulars and the Yugoslav Army launched attacks throughout the republic. They
quickly seized more than two-thirds of the republic’s territory and besieged the
capital of Sarajevo. Bosnian government officials estimated that over 200,000 people
were killed in the war or were missing. About 2.3 million people were driven from
their homes, creating the greatest flow of refugees in Europe since World War II.
Serbian forces attacked Bosniak and Croat civilians in order to drive them from
ethnically mixed areas that they wanted to claim. Croats and Bosniaks were initially
allied against the Serbs, but fighting between Croats and Bosniaks broke out in
ethnically mixed areas in 1993-1994, also resulting in “ethnic cleansing” by both
sides. Bosniak forces also engaged in ethnic cleansing against Serbs in some areas.
In addition to the inter-ethnic bitterness it created and the damage it caused to
Bosnia’s economy, the war also greatly strengthened organized crime groups and
their links with government officials, an important stumbling block to Bosnia’s post-
war recovery.2
The war came to an end in 1995, after NATO conducted a series of air strikes
against Bosnian Serb positions in late August and early September. The strikes were
in response to a Bosnian Serb refusal to withdraw its artillery from around Sarajevo
after an artillery attack on a Sarajevo marketplace caused many civilian deaths.
Bosniak and Bosnian Croat forces, now better equipped and trained than ever before,
simultaneously launched an offensive against reeling Bosnian Serb forces, inflicting
sharp defeats on them. The Bosnian Serbs agreed to a cease-fire in October 1995, as
did the Croats and Bosniaks, after strong international pressure. Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, Bosnian President Alija
Izetbegovic, as well as representatives of the Bosnian Serbs and Croats, met at the
Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio in November 1995 to hammer out
a peace agreement with U.S. mediation. On November 21, 1995, the presidents of
Serbia-Montenegro, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as representatives of
the Bosniak-Croat federation and the Bosnian Serb republic, initialed a peace
agreement. The final agreement was signed by the parties at a peace conference in
Paris on December 14.
The Dayton Peace Accords
Under the Dayton Peace Accords, Bosnia-Herzegovina remains an
internationally recognized state within its pre-war borders. Internally, it consists of
two semi-autonomous “entities” — the (largely Bosniak-Croat) Federation of Bosnia-
Herzegovina and the (Bosnian Serb) Republika Srpska (RS). Under the accords, the
Bosnian Federation received roughly 51% of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina,

2 Ibid.

while the Republika Srpska received about 49%. The parties to the accords could not
agree on who would control the Brcko region, which forms a key corridor between
Serb-held regions in western Bosnia and Serbia. The agreement submitted the status
of the Brcko region to binding arbitration by a three-person panel consisting of
representatives of each of the two entities and a chairman designated by the
international community.
Each of the entities has its own parliament and government with wide-ranging
powers, as well as its own armed forces. Each entity may establish “special parallel
relationships with neighboring states consistent with the sovereignty and territorial
integrity” of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Most powers are vested in the entities; the central
government has responsibility for foreign policy, foreign trade and customs policy,
monetary policy and a few other areas. (For charts showing the structure of central
and entity governments, see Figures 1 and 2 in the appendix.) Central government
decisions are nominally taken by a majority, but any of the three main ethnic groups
can block any decision if it views it as against its vital interests. The Federation is
further divided into ten cantons, each of which has control of policy in key areas such
as policing and education. The Dayton accords provided for democratic elections for
central, entity, cantonal, and municipal governments.
The military part of the accords commits the two sides (the Bosnian Serbs and
the Croat-Bosniak federation) to maintain the cease-fire and separate their forces. The
accords require the parties to cooperate fully with the international war crimes
tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The accords prohibit persons under indictment
by the international war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia from running for
or holding public office in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The plan contains agreements on the
protection of human rights and the right of refugees to return to their homes or
receive compensation.3
International Peace Implementation Efforts
The accords assigned significant roles to several international organizations. A
NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) is tasked with overseeing and enforcing the
military aspects of the accords, and generally providing a secure environment for
implementation of the civilian parts of the agreement. In addition, SFOR, within the
limits of its resources, also assists civilian implementation efforts directly. The
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is responsible for
overseeing Bosnia’s elections, provides democratization aid, and monitors the
implementation of the arms control provisions of the accords. The United Nations,
through its International Police Task Force (IPTF), is charged with helping to
restructure and reform Bosnia’s police forces. The U.N. High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) deals with the return of refugees and displaced persons to their
homes. The World Bank and the European Commission (the executive body of the
European Union) have played the leading role in coordinating international
reconstruction aid.

3 A text of the peace accord can be found at the website of the Office of the High
Representative (OHR): [].

The accords created the post of the High Representative, who is designated by
the international community. The Office of the High Representative (OHR) was
given the responsibility for overall coordination of the civilian implementation effort
on the ground. The accords state that the High Representative “is the final authority
in theater regarding interpretation of this Agreement on the civilian implementation
of the peace settlement.” A Peace Implementation Council (PIC) of leading
countries and international organizations meets about once a year to set the strategy
of the international community in Bosnia. A PIC Steering Board meets about every
other month. These are only a few of the most prominent international players in
Bosnia; other international organizations, non-governmental organizations and
individual governments have also played important roles. (For a chart of the main
international organizations active in Bosnia, see Figure 3 in the appendix.)
The international community in Bosnia confronted problems from the outset.
Although the military forces of the former warring sides were quickly separated and
reduced, it became clear that nationalists, in particular Bosnian Serb and Croat
leaders, had little interest in implementing many of the civilian aspects of the peace
accord. The international community soon found it lacked the tools to deal with local
leaders’ obstructionism and lack of initiative. One problem was poor coordination
between civilian and military authorities and among agencies responsible for civilian
implementation and reconstruction. Critics said that the international community
lacked a clear strategy and pursued conflicting objectives.4
After it deployed in 1996, the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) focused
primarily on its core military mission, which it achieved quickly, but was reluctant
to play a key role in directly aiding civilian implementation. However, by the end of
the year, it became clear to U.S. and other Western leaders that IFOR, or its successor
force SFOR, would be not be able to leave Bosnia without risking a renewal of
fighting unless more progress was made on the civilian side. The situation began to
improve in 1997. In the summer, SFOR conducted its first operation to arrest
indicted war criminals. Observers say the detention and trial of indicted war criminals
removes from power some of the nationalist extremists and criminals that have
obstructed the peace process, intimidates others, and helps to begin the healing
process between ethnic groups by shifting responsibility for atrocities from a whole
ethnic group to specific individuals. SFOR also seized broadcast facilities from
nationalists in the Republika Srpska as the first step in a plan to create responsible
media based on Western standards. In an effort to head off a coup against Republika
Srpska President Biljana Plavsic, SFOR began to take action against “special police”
and intelligence organizations, which have acted as enforcers for nationalist leaders.
SFOR has also played an important role in monitoring the armed forces of the two
entities, removing, or rejecting the appointment of, high-ranking officers who have
obstructed the peace agreement.
There have also been problems among international civilian organizations.
Insufficient coordination led to duplication of effort, and even to international
organizations unwittingly working against each other, critics say. For example,
many aid providers focused on disbursing assistance as rapidly as possible. This

4 ESI, Reshaping International Priorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ESI website.

approach may have helped improve conditions in the war-damaged country more
quickly, but it may also have helped to strengthen the hand of nationalist leaders by
giving them increased resources. The efforts of other international organizations to
impose conditionality on aid recipients was undermined, critics claim.5
In an effort to at least partly ameliorate these coordination problems and to
develop more effective tools to deal with obstructionism, the role of the Office of the
High Representative has expanded since the peace accords were signed. At the
beginning, OHR had a limited mandate to coordinate international efforts and was
given few resources. Faced with obstructionism by local leaders, in December 1997,
the Peace Implementation Council ruled that OHR has the power to remove
obstructionist officials and impose laws not adopted by central institutions. Since
that time, OHR has expanded the use of this power to the point that it represents a
parallel legislative power at both the central and entity level. Laws have been
imposed that have not been submitted to local parliaments or governments. The
impact of OHR’s actions has been important in some areas, such as establishing
freedom of movement through imposing a common licence plate, less so in others,
such as dismissing recalcitrant officials, who are often replaced by equally inflexible
placemen of the ruling nationalist parties.6
U.S. Policy
Since its key role in brokering the Dayton Peace Accords, the Clinton
Administration said that U.S. engagement in Bosnia was important for several
reasons. Clinton Administration officials argued that the stability of Europe is a vital
interest of the United States, and that the key U.S. goal in the region is a Europe
“whole and free.” They said that instability in Bosnia and elsewhere in the Balkans
could have a negative impact on Europe as a whole. They asserted that the United
States must be engaged in trying to prevent or halt conflicts in the region before they
spread and intensified, pulling the United States into even more costly, difficult and
dangerous commitments.
In addition, they claimed that a failure to meet challenges in Bosnia and the
Balkans could deal a damaging blow to the credibility and future viability of NATO
and Euro-Atlantic cooperation. If the United States believes that it is in its interest
to be a leading European power, it can hardly avoid playing an important role in one
of the key challenges facing the continent, they asserted. They stressed that it is
proper that Europe bear the largest share of the burden in the Balkans, but that the
United States must also participate in efforts to rebuild the region to safeguard its
own interests. U.S. disengagement from the region could create a leadership vacuum7

that would harm prospects for regional stability, they argued.
5 ESI report, Reshaping International Priorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ESI website.
6 Ibid.
7 U.S. Information Agency transcript of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright CNN
interview on February 21, 1999.

The goal of U.S. policy in Bosnia since brokering the Dayton Peace Accords has
been to promote the emergence of a stable, democratic, prosperous Bosnia that is
integrated with the rest of Europe. The United States has favored Bosnia’s unity, but
also the continued existence of the two entities within Bosnia, both of which should
be democratic and multiethnic. These objectives are to be achieved by the full
implementation of the Dayton accords. U.S. policymakers have so far rejected efforts
to rewrite the agreement.
From FY1992 through FY2000, the Department of Defense has spent $10.57
billion for military missions in Bosnia.8 From FY1992 to FY1999, the United States
has obligated over $907 million in aid to Bosnia.9 U.S. aid to Bosnia has been scaled
back in recent years. SEED funding declined from $258 million in FY1998 to $158
million in FY1999 and $100 million in FY2000, for a total decrease of 61% over two
years.10 In FY2001, the United States expects to provide $79.8 million in aid to
Bosnia. Funding for reconstruction finance will drop to zero in FY2001.11 The focus
of U.S. aid is now on helping refugees to return to their homes, promoting the rule
of law (including anti-corruption programs), and economic reform. U.S. aid, like aid
from other countries and international organizations, is shifting from post-war
rebuilding to post-Communist reform.
A key problem for the Clinton Administration was how to deal with
Congressional concerns over an open-ended U.S. troop commitment in Bosnia. In
part to head off possible Congressional objections, in late 1995 the Clinton
Administration said that IFOR would be deployed to Bosnia for only one year. The
Administration abandoned this commitment in late 1996, saying that U.S. troops
would stay until peace could be sustained without their presence. At Congressional
insistence, the Clinton Administration established a series of benchmarks designed
to measure progress toward this goal. In attempting to rally support for a continued
engagement, the Clinton Administration pointed to the gradual reduction of U.S.
and allied troops in Bosnia as proof of the success of its policy. IFOR/SFOR has
been reduced from about 54,000 in 1996 to 19,500 in March 2001. The U.S.
contribution has fallen from 20,000 to 4,300 in the same period. The United States
plans to reduce its forces in Bosnia to 3,500 in April 2001. NATO conducts semi-
annual reviews of all aspects of the SFOR mission, including the number of troops
deployed and their composition.12
During the 2000 Presidential campaign, candidate George W. Bush and future
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said that U.S. military forces are

8 DOD Comptrollers Office, December 15, 2000.
9 “SEED Act Implementation Report, Fiscal Year 1999, March 2000. Figure includes
SEED, DA, ESF and IDA funds.
10 General Accounting Office, Bosnia Peace Operation: Crime and Corruption Threaten
Successful Implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, GAO/NSIAD-00-156, July

2000, p. 64.

11 “Bosnia SEED Budget,” State Department fact sheet, January 2001.
12 For more on U.S. forces in Bosnia, see Bosnia: U.S. Military Operations, by Steven R.
Bowman, CRS Issue Brief IB93056, updated regularly.

overextended globally, and that peacekeeping responsibilities in the Balkans should
be taken over by U.S. allies in Europe. Colin Powell expressed similar views in
statements after Bush announced his nomination as Secretary of State. After taking
office, however, Administration views appeared to have shifted. On February 4,
2001, Secretary of State Powell said that the United States had a commitment to
peace in the Balkans and that NATO forces would have to remain in Bosnia and
Kosovo for “years.” He said the United States was reviewing U.S. troop levels in
Bosnia and Kosovo with the objective of reducing them over time, but stressed that
the United States would act in consultation with its allies and was not “cutting and
running.”13 In another statement on February 27, Powell said that U.S. and European
forces in the Balkans “went in together, [and] we’ll come out together.”14
Congressional Concerns
The U.S. commitment to Bosnia has been a controversial issue in Congress. In
late 1995, some Members of Congress expressed opposition to the deployment of
U.S. troops to Bosnia or demanded that the Administration secure prior
Congressional authorization for it. After the deployment, the 104th and 105th
Congresses focused on the escalating cost of the Bosnia mission and on whether to
cut off funds for the deployment. Many Members were skeptical of the
Administration’s one year limitation on the U.S. troop commitment, and were angry
at the Administration’s revision of that decision.15 Members made several efforts
to limit or terminate the U.S. troop commitment, without success. Instead, Congress
approved the Administration’s requests for funding the deployment, but required the
Administration to submit reports on progress toward achieving the objectives of the
deployment as well as on its impact on the readiness of the U.S. military.
Congress also appropriated large amounts of aid for civilian peace
implementation and reconstruction in Bosnia, and has placed conditions on such aid.
These conditions included a prohibition on U.S. aid to regions of Bosnia not
cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
(ICTY). However, these conditions included waiver provisions that were frequently
used by the Clinton Administration, in particular to help moderate RS Prime Minister
Milorad Dodik bolster his position against hard-liners.
The 106th Congress did not focus legislative attention on Bosnia, but rather on
another emerging regional problem, Kosovo. However, Congress continued to
impose reporting requirements for the troop deployment and aid conditions, identical
or similar to those imposed in 1996 and 1997. Through hearings and public

13 Transcript of interview with Secretary Powell on ABC “This Week” program, February

4, 2001.

14 “Powell Reassures NATO on U.S. Troops in Balkans,” Reuters news agency dispatch,
February 27, 2001.
15 For more on Congressional action on Bosnia in 1995 and 1996, see Bosnia
Implementation Force (IFOR) and Stabilization Force (SFOR): Activities of the 104th
Congress, by Julie Kim, CRS Report 96-723, January 6, 1997.

statements, some Members began to look at evaluating U.S. experience in Bosnia —
what has been achieved, and what problems remain, including corruption and reports
of stolen international aid. Some Members have expressed concern that the United
States is engaged in an open-ended “nation-building” exercise. They criticize the use
of U.S. military forces to pursue non-military objectives. Congressional supporters
of the current policy say that there is no quick fix alternative to the patient work of
building stability in the region. They assert that U.S. resources devoted to the region
are modest, and reject the idea that the deployments have inflicted serious harm on
the readiness of our forces.16
Congressional debate on Kosovo revisited many issues of previous deliberations
on Bosnia. These include whether the President required prior Congressional
approval for the deployment of U.S. forces. Members expressed concern about
whether Kosovo represented another open-ended commitment that could have a
negative impact on U.S. military readiness. Congress also considered proposals to
cut off funding for the U.S. troop presence in Kosovo, although proposals were partly
tied to a new issue, burdensharing with European countries on reconstruction and
other aid to Kosovo. As in the Bosnia debate, Congress did not adopt these proposals
and approved the funding the Administration requested for peacekeeping. Congress
even adopted a compromise approach similar to that adopted in the Bosnia debate by
requiring the Administration to draw up benchmarks for achievement of U.S. goals
in Kosovo in the FY2001 defense authorization bill.
The actions of the 107th Congress on Bosnia will likely depend in part on the
strategy of the Bush Administration. The political demise of Milosevic in October
2000 may also pique Congressional interest in a withdrawal. However, narrow
majorities in both chambers may make achieving consensus more difficult. One
important issue that Congress may continue to address is burdensharing with U.S.
allies, not only in Kosovo, but throughout the region, including Bosnia. Congress
may also address the question of U.S. strategy in the region.
Key Benchmarks
In the FY1998 defense appropriations law (P.L. 105-56), Congress required the
President to establish benchmarks to measure progress toward a self-sustaining peace
in Bosnia, and set a schedule for their achievement, which would permit the
withdrawal of U.S. troops. The law required the President to seek to have the
benchmarks adopted by the North Atlantic Council. The Clinton Administration
worked out a list of 10 benchmarks, which were adopted by the North Atlantic
Council and the Peace Implementation Council. Four semi-annual reports have been
submitted so far. In general, they provide a relatively upbeat picture of incremental
progress, while admitting difficulties. The Administration conceded that none of the

16 For the latter view, see Sen. Joseph Biden, “Nation Building? Yes,” New York Times,
January 25, 2001, p. 23.

benchmarks has been completely achieved, and has declined to predict when they
will be.17
Military Stability
Perhaps the only clear-cut success of the Dayton Peace Accords so far has been
achieving military stability. Annex 1-A of the accords calls for a cessation of
hostilities, withdrawal of foreign forces, redeployment of forces behind the Inter-
Ethnic Boundary Line (IEBL) between the two entities, placing heavy weapons in
designated cantonments, and demobilization of forces. These requirements were
fulfilled by mid-1996, under the supervision of the Implementation Force (IFOR).
IFOR and its successor the Stabilization Force (SFOR) have subsequently ensured
continued compliance by frequent inspections.
Annex 1-B of the accords commits the Republika Srpska, the Federation of
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro and Croatia to substantial reductions of
heavy weapons, including tanks, armored fighting vehicles, artillery and combat
aircraft and helicopters. It also calls for a system of confidence and security-building
measures between the two entity armies, including the exchange of information and
inspections. These provisions have been largely implemented, but mainly due to the
persistence of the international community rather than a real willingness of the
parties to cooperate. The international community successfully pushed the two
armies to reduce their defense budgets and military personnel by 15% by the end of
1999. An additional 15% cut is underway. Observers note that budgetary stringency
in both entities may have made these decisions easier. 18
However, U.S. and other Western officials have recognized that successfully
policing a cease-fire does not in itself lead to a self-sustaining peace that would
eventually permit the total withdrawal of SFOR. Western countries have attempted
to move beyond the maintenance of the cease-fire and demobilization to push for
increased cooperation between the entity militaries and greater integration between
them, with the hope of eventually merging them. This effort has been much less
successful than efforts to preserve the cease-fire and reduce the forces of the entity
armies. Military Liaison Missions called for in Annex 1-B were not created until
July 1998 and have been hurt by a lack of a genuine spirit of cooperation. Annex
4 of the Dayton accords calls for the establishment of a Standing Committee on
Military Matters (SCMM) to coordinate the activities of the two entity militaries.
The SCMM did not begin to function effectively until July 1999, and still lacks the

17 The four benchmark reports through September 2000 have been printed as House
Documents 106-277, 106-231, 106-104 and 106-18. For a more critical assessment of
progress toward implementing the Dayton accords, see International Crisis Group, Is
Dayton Failing: Bosnia Four Years After the Peace Agreement, October 28, 1999 from the
ICG website [].
18 Ibid.

resources and authority needed to play an important role in security policy in
Bo s n i a . 19
There are significant obstacles to this effort to integrate the Bosnian militaries.
One is that bitter memories of the war may be still fresh in the minds of some
members of the Bosnian armies, making it difficult to bring them together. Another
obstacle is that nationalist political parties and leaders in Bosnia do not wish to give
up de facto control over “their” armies. The Federation military is not effectively
integrated. Below the level of the Federation defense ministry and the highest levels
of command (which are at least nominally integrated), the Federation army consists
of a Croat army controlled by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and a Bosniak
army controlled by the Party of Democratic Action (SDA). This division was made
more obvious in March 2001, when HDZ leaders, angry at actions taken by the
international community before and after the November 2000 elections, said the areas
they control would in effect secede from the Federation, including from the
Federation Army. Bosnian Croat officers subsequently resigned from the Federation
Army as the first step to setting up their own armed forces. The leadership of the
Republika Srpska has also rejected surrendering control of the RS Army, viewing it
as the ultimate guarantor of the RS’s security.
A related issue is the close links that the militaries have had with other
countries. Since its inception, the HVO, the Bosnian Croat military within the
federation, received the overwhelming share of its funding, equipment and many of
its officers from Croatia, under the leadership of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman
and the HDZ in Croatia. Serbia, under the leadership of former Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic, pursued a similar policy. However, Croatia’s military aid to the
Bosnian Croat military has been sharply reduced since the collapse of the Tudjman
regime in early 2000 and channeled through the Federation. The collapse of the
Milosevic regime in November 2000 has not yet led to similar developments in
relations between the RS army and the Yugoslav army.
The SDA and the Bosniak army have favored a united Bosnia in military and
other spheres in part because the Bosniaks have not had a regional protector. During
the war, Bosniak forces received covert aid from Iran and other Islamic countries.
U.S. officials and Members of Congress expressed concern about the possible
influence of radical Islamic groups on the Bosniak military and security forces. The
Dayton accords required the exclusion of foreign forces from Bosnia, which the
Clinton Administration and Bosniak leaders said was accomplished in 1996. In order
to secure Bosniak approval of the Dayton accords, the United States led an effort to
train and equip the Federation Army, including Bosniak forces, on the condition that
aid from Iran and other countries and groups hostile to the United States would be
excluded. While the Train and Equip program has been successful in giving the
Bosniaks a feeling of greater security, it has largely failed in integrating the
Federation Army, one of its key goals.

19 Ibid.

Public Security and Law Enforcement
Reform of police forces in Bosnia is particularly important, given the role that
they have played as a weapon used by ruling nationalist parties to carry out and
maintain ethnic cleansing and to harass political opponents. Annex 4 of the Dayton
accords calls for the restructuring of Bosnia’s police forces so that they are multi-
ethnic, professional, and respect human rights. Annex 11 established a U.N.
International Police Task Force (IPTF) to monitor, reform and train local police
forces, but not to carry out policing functions itself. The IPTF oversees the
restructuring and reduction of the police forces in the two entities. It has provided
“human dignity” training aimed at getting police officers to respect human rights, as
well as training intended to improve their professional skills in crowd control,
conducting investigations, and many other areas. These training courses are now
conducted by local instructors. The OSCE, Council of Europe, the U.S. Justice
Department’s International Criminal Investigation Training and Assistance Program
(ICITAP), and other organizations also provide training to police forces in Bosnia.
The IPTF has a program to screen and monitor local police. The IPTF has
offices inside or adjacent to most police stations. It inspects all aspects of police
work, including reviewing investigative and personnel files and sometimes
accompanying local police performing their duties. The IPTF cannot directly punish
or dismiss officers who commit abuses, but files non-compliance reports against
violators. However, its reports have been used by OHR in deciding to dismiss high-
ranking police officials for non-compliance.
Progress in reforming Bosnian police forces has been mixed. Progress has been
made in restructuring and reducing police forces and providing needed professional
training. With much difficulty, the international community has assisted in the
setting up of inter-entity police organizations, including the State Border Police
(currently operating at Sarajevo airport) and the Brcko police department (see Brcko
benchmark below). However, the IPTF admits that progress in ethnic integration of
police forces has been very slow. Police in the RS have been unwilling to hire Croat
or Bosniak officers, particularly if they are former refugees. Similar resistance to
minority recruitment and integration has been found in some Croat majority areas,
including the city of Mostar. Police in these areas have been unwilling to protect
returning refugees from other ethnic groups from violence and have dragged their
feet in investigating crimes against them.20 The IPTF does not have a mandate to
conduct policing duties itself, and cannot fill this void. SFOR, with its Multi-
national Specialized Unit (MSU) of heavily-armed police, has helped at times to
control crowds at flashpoints, but cannot fill the policing gap by itself.
Judicial Reform
Progress toward creating an independent and effective judiciary has been very
slow. The judicial system in Bosnia is largely an entity responsibility, and is
devolved to the cantons in the Federation. There is little cooperation between the

20 International Crisis Group, “Is Dayton Failing?: Bosnia Four Years After the Peace
Agreement,” ICG Balkans Report 80, October 28, 1999.

two entities on legal matters, or between Bosniak and Croat-dominated areas of the
Federation. Judicial independence is impaired by the interference of political
leaderships in the judicial process, including in the selection of judges. The local
judiciaries also suffer from weak professional standards and low pay. Law
enforcement bodies often ignore judicial rulings. Organized criminal groups, often
linked with local political leadership, can intimidate local judiciaries.21
The international community has worked to elaborate new criminal codes for
the entities and professional standards for the legal profession, but the situation on
the ground is changing more slowly. OHR pressed the adoption of a judicial reform
law, which takes the power of appointment out of the hands of the parties and gives
it to local selection boards. In December 2000, the OHR established a judicial
review commission to oversee the judicial appointment process. The international
community has also tried to bolster the role of the Bosnian Constitutional Court,
which has been taking a more activist role in recent years. In 2000, the Court struck
down provisions of the entity constitutions that discriminated against ethnic
minorities. However, it is unclear whether decisions of the Court will be
Illegal Institutions, Organized Crime, and Corruption
Most experts believe the existence of illegal institutions, organized crime and
corruption is a key factor that has hindered implementation of the Dayton accords.
Illegal institutions are a particular problem in the Federation, above all in Croat-
controlled areas. These institutions, as well as corruption and crime for the benefit
of nationalist political parties, corrupt politicians, and criminals receive funding from
many sources, including smuggling, diversion of customs revenues and other
criminal activities. Another avenue is the payments bureau. The three ethnic groups
maintain payment bureaus, through which all financial transfers must pass. This
situation gives enormous power and money to parties and organized crime. The
parties also control key firms, including utilities. This situation obviously harms
prospects for economic reform and foreign investment.22 In December 2000, the
High Representative imposed a law abolishing the payment bureaus.
A July 2000 report by the General Accounting Office says that international, but
not US aid, has been stolen by corrupt officials. However, perhaps more important
are the huge amounts stole from Bosnian government funds. Since corruption
reduces the overall amount of resources available to deal with Bosnia’s problems, it
can be said that it has an indirect negative impact on the effectiveness of U.S. aid.23
Organized crime is a critical problem in Bosnia. The power of these groups derives
in part from close connections with political elites, a legacy of the war.

21 International Crisis Group, “Rule Over Law: Obstacles to the Development of an
Independent Judiciary in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” July 5, 1999, ICG website
[ ht t p: / / i s i s web.or g/ pr oj ect s/ bosni a/ r e por t s / bh49r m] .
22 General Accounting Office, Bosnia Peace Operation: Crime and Corruption Threaten
Successful Implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, GAO/NSIAD-00-156, July 2000
23 Ibid.

International efforts have targeted illegal institutions, crime, and corruption.
Efforts to reform the police and the judiciary, abolish the payments bureaus, set up
a treasury system, regulate utilities, accelerate privatization, establish a state border
service and other measures are partly aimed at dealing with these problems. The
United States and other donors have not only promoted institutional reform, but also
have tried to boost the investigative and enforcement capabilities of anti-corruption
bodies, and protect them from political interference.
In March 2000, in protest against changes in Bosnia’s election laws, leaders of
the hard-line Croat nationalist HDZ party declared that the areas under their control
would in effect secede from the Federation and establish a separate Croat entity, a
move that is in clear violation of the Dayton Accords.
Media Reform
Most media in Bosnia are under the control or influence of the government and
ruling parties, which use them to consolidate their power. The international
community was slow to react to the hardliners’ control of media. An important
turning point occurred in 1997, when SFOR moved to seize RS radio and television
transmitting facilities from hardliners. In 1998, OHR established the Independent
Media Commission, which set standards for and licences Bosnian broadcast media.
IMC can sanction or remove licences from violators. However, journalists
sometimes face harassment and pressure from nationalists and organized crime
figures.24 Appeals to ethnic hatred in the media are generally less widespread than
in the past, but journalistic standards remain low. The United States and other
countries and organizations have provided aid to train journalists.
Elections and Democratic Governance
Annex 3 of the Dayton Accords required OSCE-supervised elections for central,
entity and canton governments. In all, OSCE has supervised five elections from
1996 through 2000. The first elections were written into the accords, to be held no
later than nine months from signature. They were held on September 14, 1996. The
OSCE judged that the elections took place in a less than free and fair environment.
Media remained in the hands of the ruling nationalist parties, which also harassed and
intimidated opposition supporters. Partly as a result of these conditions, the ruling
parties won the elections. Municipal elections, which were planned for the same
date, were postponed due to fraud in the registration process, particularly by Bosnian
Serb leaders. Municipal elections were held on September 13-14, 1997. The OSCE
also supervised parliamentary elections in the Republika Srpska on November 23,
1997, general elections in 1998, municipal elections in April 2000 and general
elections in November 2000. The conditions under which these elections have been
held have generally improved, although problems remain. OSCE has banned
candidates and parties for violating election rules.

24 State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Bosnia and Herzegovina,
February 2001.

Critics of the OSCE say that it approved an election law favoring ethnic
gerrymandering and nationalist parties. The law thus permitted people to vote where
they live now, not in the areas in which they resided in 1991. This permitted
nationalists to concentrate their supporters in areas they wanted to control, thereby
giving democratic legitimacy to ethnic cleansing. On the other hand, the
implementation of election results has also been a problem, particularly when ethnic
minorities are elected to local governments in areas from which they have been
In the most recent elections, on November 11, 2000, voters elected a new
Bosnian central parliament, as well as parliaments for the two entities. RS voters
elected a new President, while voters in the Federation chose canton legislatures. In
the Federation, the results confirmed a trend of eroding support for the nationalist
SDA among Bosniaks, but continued HDZ dominance among Croats. In the
Republika Srpska, the nationalist Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) won 31 seats in
the 83-seat RS National Assembly, making it by far the largest party in the RS
parliament. The moderate Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) won 11 seats, as did
another moderate party, the Union of Independent Social Democrats, led by former
RS Prime Minister Milorad Dodik. In perhaps the greater setback to the international
community, Mirko Sarovic, the SDS candidate for the RS Presidency, crushed Dodik.
Sarovic has chosen PDP leader Mladen Ivanic as RS Prime Minister-designate. The
United States threatened the RS with an aid cutoff if SDS members were included
in the new government. The new RS government did not include any publicly known
SDS members, but reportedly contained persons close to it. The government also
included Bosniaks as deputy ministers.
The mixed election results produced some favorable outcomes for the
international community. After months of obstruction by the main nationalist parties,
the non-nationalist Social Democratic Party (SDP) and other parties formed an
“Alliance for Change” coalition with the Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina and other
non-nationalist parties at the central government level in February 2001 and the
Federation level in March. The alliance excluded SDA, HDZ and SDS. Furious at
OSCE election rule changes before the vote, the HDZ organized a “referendum” on
seceding from the Federation concurrently with the election. The OSCE responded
by cancelling the mandates of 13 HDZ candidates. When HDZ leaders announced
plans to secede from the Federation, OHR fired Federation President and HDZ leader
Ante Jelavic and other top HDZ leaders in March 2001.
Annex 4 of the Dayton accords, the Bosnian Constitution, called for the
establishment of six main central governmental institutions: the Presidency; the
Council of Ministers; the Parliamentary Assembly; the Constitutional Court; the
Central Bank; and the Standing Committee on Military Matters. However, these
institutions are very far from functioning effectively. Their powers are limited. Their
funding depends on the entities, which have little incentive to make them work.
Nationalist parties have also sabotaged them from within. As a result, the passage
and implementation of key legislation needed to integrate Bosnia and revive its
economy continues to lag. The High Representative has tried to fill this vacuum by
imposing key legislation. One of the main priorities of the international community
is to make the central government more effective. This includes providing it with its
own sources of revenue and creating a non-political, professional civil service.

Economic Development
In April 1996, international organizations and bilateral donors unveiled a $5.1
billion Priority Reconstruction and Recovery Program to rebuild Bosnia-Herzegovina
and promote economic reform. The last tranche of this amount was pledged by
international donors at a conference in May 2000. From 1996 through 1998, about
$2.8 billion was disbursed. The impact of international aid has been mixed. It has
been successful in rebuilding much of the country’s shattered infrastructure. Bosnia
has also experienced economic growth. Average annual growth in Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) from 1995 to 1998 averaged about 40%. GDP reached $4.1 billion
in 1998, about 40% of the pre-war level. However, most observers view this
economic growth as deceptive, based largely on unsustainable levels of economic
International officials have repeatedly warned Bosnian leaders that economic
aid to their country will decline sharply over the next few years, and that they must
work harder to reform their economy to lay the foundation for foreign investment and
self-sustaining economic growth. The focus of international aid efforts has now
shifted toward creating a single economic space in Bosnia, enabling private sector
growth, and privatization. However, economic reform progress has been halting, in
part due to foot dragging by corrupt Bosnian leaders.25
Displaced Persons and Refugee Returns
Annex 7 of the peace agreement guarantees all displaced persons and refugees
a right to return to their homes. Success in this area is key to reversing ethnic
cleansing and knitting Bosnia back together. Progress has been slow, but has picked
up in the past year. Figures are somewhat uncertain due to reporting problems and
the significant numbers of people who are returning without notifying international
officials. An estimated 2.3 million people were displaced or became refugees during
the war. UNHCR recorded over 728,000 returns of refugees and displaced persons
to Bosnia from January 1996 to January 2001.
However, the key figure is “minority returns,” that is, the number of people who
have returned to areas in which they are no longer the ethnic majority. There have
been over 100,000 minority returns since the signature of the Dayton Peace Accords,
mainly to the Federation. The number of minority returns are increasing. The U.N.
High Commission for Refugees said there were over 67,000 minority returns in 2000
alone. However, long after the war, many people are still displaced. In December
2000, UNHCR said that over 518,000 persons in Bosnia continue to be registered as
displaced persons. Nearly 21,000 Bosnian refugees remain in Croatia, while over
190,000 live in Serbia and Montenegro. There are an additional 52,000 refugees
outside the region who have not been repatriated to Bosnia or given long-term
residency in foreign countries. Just under 225,000 people have been repatriated from
foreign countries since the war.

25 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1996-1998 Lessons and Accomplishments: Review of the
Priority Reconstruction and Recovery Program and Looking Ahead toward Sustainable
Economic Development, available online at the World Bank/EU Southeastern Europe aid
website, [] .

Initial efforts of refugees to return to areas from which they were ethnically
cleansed were met with obstruction, intimidation and violence, particularly in the
Republika Srpska. Violence is less common now, but is still sometimes an issue.
Various kinds of obstruction continue to make refugee returns difficult. OHR has
imposed property legislation to guarantee the rights of refugees and displaced persons
to regain their property and has invalidated laws passed by the entities aimed at
infringing on these rights. However, implementation of these laws has been difficult.
One important problem is the presence of refugees from the majority community in
the homes of the returnees. Local authorities are very reluctant to evict the current
inhabitants. According to UNHCR, about 21% of nearly 250,000 property claims
have resulted in repossession so far. The percentage in the Federation in 29% and in
the RS only 13%.26
There are also practical issues that hinder returns; a lack of money to rebuild
damaged houses; a lack of jobs for minority returnees; and a lack of public services,
such as utilities, schools, and social benefits. Some of these problems are due to a
lack of international assistance, the poor state of the local economy or obstructionism
by local officials.
Status of the Brcko District
Annex 2 of the Dayton accords called for binding international arbitration by
December 14, 1996, to determine who would control the strategic Brcko region, held
at that time by the Bosnian Serbs. Faced with the irreconcilable positions of the two
sides, who threatened to go to war over the issue, the chairman of the arbitration
panel, U.S. envoy Roberts Owen, announced that a final decision on the status of
Brcko would be postponed. A Deputy High Representative for Brcko supervised the
implementation of the peace accord in the region. Finally, in March 1999, the Brcko
status issue was settled by making it a self-governing district not controlled by either
entity. However, progress toward real integration within the district remains slow.
Persons Indicted for War Crimes
The Dayton accords requires both entities in Bosnia to cooperate fully with the
ICTY, including turning indicted war criminals over to the Tribunal. Most observers
stress the importance of bringing war criminals to justice, both as a means of
promoting reconciliation and as a way to exclude extremists from the political
process. Bosniak areas of the Federation have largely cooperated with the ICTY,
while the record of Bosnian Croats is mixed. Leaders in the Republika Srpska, the
Serb entity within Bosnia, continue to refuse to turn in war criminals on their
territory. According to one study, persons responsible for war crimes still occupy27
important positions in the Republika Srpska.

26 UNHCR Bosnia website [].
27 “War Criminals in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska,” ICG Balkans Report No. 103, November

2, 2000.

SFOR soldiers have captured 21 indictees, and killed two others in self-defense
while making arrests.28 Fourteen others have surrendered voluntarily, and six were
detained by national police. Twenty-six indictees remain at large, of which five are
wanted for crimes in Kosovo and four others for crimes in Croatia, not Bosnia.29
There may be additional persons who have been named in sealed ICTY indictments
which have not yet been publicly disclosed. Although progress has been made in
catching war criminals, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic the wartime Bosnian
Serb political and military leaders respectively and the two most wanted Bosnian
indictees, are still at large.30
Supporters of the current approach of the international community in Bosnia say
the slow, steady accumulation of progress noted above is changing the situation in
Bosnia for the better. Critics charge that most of this progress has come as a result
of pressure by the international community. They claim the international community
has so far largely failed in its goal of encouraging local leaders to accept “ownership”
of reforms. They assert that, lacking a real domestic constituency, this “progress” is
by definition not self-sustaining. One key structural problem is the persistence of the
nomenklatura system, but an additional factor may be a lack of strong, active popular
support for change. An additional challenge is creating new, democratic structures
to replace the old ones. To some extent, Dayton itself may stand in the way, given
the weakness of central authorities, and the way it organizes the country on the basis
of ethnicity.
Western strategy is an important factor in Bosnia’s future. International aid to
Bosnia will continue to decline over the next few years. Given Bosnia’s dependence
on such aid and the slow pace of economic reform, “withdrawal” symptoms may
occur. These could include increasing public disorder or a nationalist backlash.
Increasing disorder could further strengthen organized crime groups, particularly in
the RS and in Herzegovina. However, optimists say that there could be a positive
effect. They note that economic hard times helped trigger the defeat of regimes in
Serbia and Croatia. Some analysts have gone so far as to say that the international
community has been unwittingly propping up nationalist regimes with aid and
electoral legitimacy, while condemning them publicly. They argue that if the
international community is skillful, it can support a democratic opposition and other
democratic institutions while delegitimizing ruling nationalists.
In the long term, the victories of reformist regimes in Serbia and Croatia will
probably improve prospects for Bosnian unity, especially when compared to the

28 SFOR fact sheet, November 2000, SFOR website [].
29 “ICTY Key Figures,” ICTY fact sheet, March 15, 2001, available online from the ICTY
website at [].
30 For more on the ICTY, see Yugoslavia War Crimes Tribunal: Current Issues for
Congress, by Julie Kim, CRS Report RL30864, February 26, 2001.

destructive impact of the Milosevic and Tudjman regimes. However, this factor may
not be decisive, at least in short term. Since coming to office in early 2000, the new
Croatian government has sharply reduced aid to Bosnian Croat institutions, including
the HVO, the Bosnian Croat army, and has funneled the remaining assistance through
Federation institutions. However, Bosnian Croat leaders, perhaps fearing that
continued international pressure and the loss of backing in Zagreb could pose a grave
threat to their power, have become obstructionist, culminating in their announced
secession from the Federation in March 2001.
As far as Serbia is concerned, while some Serbs in Serbia (and perhaps most
Serbs in Bosnia), may entertain hopes that the Republika Srpska could one day
become part of Serbia, most realize that the international community is opposed to
such an outcome, and that Serbia cannot afford to alienate international aid donors.
Yugoslav and Serbian leaders are sympathetic to the problems of the Bosnian Serbs
and wish to bolster the Republika Srpska. In March 2001, the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia signed an agreement with the RS on a “special parallel relationship.”
Such agreements are permitted under the Dayton Peace Accords if they are consistent
with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia as a whole. The agreement has
the approval of the High Representative. The agreement calls for FRY-RS
cooperation on a number of issues. RS Prime Minister Mladen Ivanic said the
agreement would allow for military cooperation between the FRY and RS, but that
such cooperation would have to be “transparent.” He said that the two sides would
work on a free trade zone. He added that the agreement would permit RS citizens to
have dual RS-FRY citizenship.
Possible Options
The international community has a range of possible options in Bosnia.
One possible option would be to continue the present course, with similar
levels of financial, military and political commitment, with progress continuing to
accumulate gradually. The presence of democratic regimes in Serbia and Croatia
could contribute to such progress. As bitter memories of the war recede into the past,
slow, steady progress could achieve a sustainable “critical mass” over the long term,
advocates believe. However, growing international impatience with the pace of
change in Bosnia may make this option unrealistic. Critics believe that this approach
is doomed to failure, given the persistence of underlying political and economic
factors in Bosnia that will prevent the achievement of a self-sustaining peace.
A second conceivable option would be to put Bosnia on the “back burner.”
In this scenario, the international community would reduce its commitment to
Bosnia, leaving the Dayton accords tacitly unimplemented. This option could appear
to be politically attractive for Western governments weary of continuing a large
commitment that has so far shown modest results. Indeed, one could interpret
declining SFOR troop levels and international aid commitments as signs that the
international community may be drifting in this direction already. However, this
approach also carries significant risks. What little the international community has
achieved in civilian implementation would likely unravel, and political instability

could increase. A pullout of SFOR from Bosnia could be particularly destabilizing,
if nationalists decided to take advantage of the situation.
A third option could be to formally revise the Dayton accords to move openly
toward partition. This possibility could be combined with a regional territorial
settlement aimed at creating borders that would more closely correspond to current
patterns of ethnic settlement. This could involve the independence of Kosovo and
an independent RS, which could then merge with Serbia. This option could be
suitable for many Bosnian Serbs and Croats. However, the Bosniaks would reject this
option strongly. Given the fact that the Bosniaks are now the strongest military
faction in Bosnia, they might be tempted to secure a better deal for themselves
militarily. International peacekeepers could deter such a move, but that force would
operate under increased risk. Such a change in Western policy could also pose
serious challenges for the new democratic regimes in Croatia and Serbia, even if such
a division could be accomplished peacefully. The new regime in Croatia would de
facto have a portion of Bosnia thrust upon it without their wanting it. Many in
Serbia might want to control the RS, but perhaps not at the price of a regional
settlement that could result in the loss of Kosovo. Moreover, such a partition might
strengthen nationalist forces in both countries. This of course would be more likely
to occur if war broke out in Bosnia again. A partition of Bosnia could also further
destabilize Macedonia by legitimizing a partition of that country as well. There could
also be intensified fighting over the borders of an independent Kosovo.
Moving in the opposite direction, one could interpret the peace accords to
promote greater unity within Bosnia, and the international community could play
an even more direct role in shaping Bosnian society. Multi-ethnicity within each
entity could be strengthened. The powers and resources of the Bosnian central
government could be expanded. Greater activism by OHR, the further revision of the
election laws to the disadvantage of nationalists, the use of the Bosnian
Constitutional Court to reinterpret the Bosnian Constitution are some of the ways the
international community could move toward these goals. SFOR could force deeper
reductions on the Bosnian militaries as a step toward their unification.
The international community has already made incremental steps in this
direction in the past few years, as it has learned by trial-and-error the problems with
the Dayton Accords, the shortcomings of the parties to it, and which tools at the
disposal of the international community actually work. However, if taken further,
this policy could be risky because nationalists like the current situation in Bosnia and
could resist violently if their power were threatened. This option could also require
the international community to continue to devote considerable resources to Bosnia.
Economic reform and increased prosperity could be a much bigger blow to the
prospects of nationalist parties than OHR efforts to impose laws or ban politicians
or parties. Economic reform could help break the power of the nationalist parties by
weakening their financial bases. However, international investment will be needed
for economic reforms to take hold.
Taking this approach a step further, one could radically amend or invalidate the
accords, including getting rid of the entities and creating a genuine federal state,
perhaps with an international protectorate in the interim. Advocates of this
approach say that the Dayton accords are too fundamentally flawed to save, and that

its structural problems should be taken head-on. However, such a strategy would
provoke sharp opposition among Bosnian Serb and Croat leaders, and probably
among their populations as well. The risks of such a policy and the resources it would
require may make it politically unrealistic in the United States and other Western
Finally, an option for the United States alone would be a unilateral U.S.
withdrawal. Currently, the 4,300 U.S. troops in Bosnia represent 17% of SFOR’s
total force. The U.S. contribution will drop to 3,500 in April 2001. Advocates say
a complete U.S. troop withdrawal from Bosnia would reduce pressure on an
overcommitted U.S. military, and force U.S. allies in Europe to face up fully to their
responsibilities in the region. The impact of such a move would depend on the
response of the Europeans. It is likely that European countries could find troops of
sufficient number and quality to replace the U.S. contingent, particularly from major
NATO allies such as Britain, France, Italy and Germany.
However, perhaps more important than the military impact of a possible U.S.
withdrawal could be its political effect. Nationalists in Bosnia and in the region as
a whole could see such a move as a weakening of international resolve, particularly
if European countries also withdrew or showed the divisions and weakness that
hampered European forces during U.N. peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia from 1992-

1995. In addition to the impact of a U.S. withdrawal on the situation on the ground,

there is also the issue of NATO’s cohesion. European leaders say that the Balkan
deployments are a central part of NATO’s post-Cold War mission. A decision by the
most powerful member of the Alliance to end its participation in such missions may
call into question the Alliance’s viability.

Figure 1. Bosnia’s National Government Structure
Source: General Accounting Office, Bosnia Peace Operation: Crime and Corruption
Threaten Successful Implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, GAO/NSIAD-00-156,
July 2000, 64.

Figure 2. Federation and Republika Srpska Entities’
Government Structures
Source: General Accounting Office, Bosnia Peace Operation: Crime and Corruption
Threaten Successful Implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, GAO/NSIAD-00-156,
July 2000, 64.

Figure 3. Organization of Military and Civilian Operations in Bosnia
Source: GAO/NSIAD-00-125BR, Balkans Security.