[CRS Issue Brief for Congress]

91089: Bosnia - Former Yugoslavia and U.S. Policy

Updated December 20, 1996

Steven J. Woehrel and Julie Kim
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division

CONTENTS

SUMMARY

MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS

Roles and Objectives of the Principal Actors in the Region
Croatia
Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo
Bosnia-Hercegovina
International Responses
International Mediation and the Dayton Peace Agreement
Civil Implementation
NATO Implementation Force and Stabilization Force
U.N. Peace Forces
Other U.N. Actions
U.S. Policy
Post-Dayton U.S. Policy Developments
104th Congress

For additional information see the following CRS products:

CRS Issue Brief 93056 Bosnia and Macedonia: U.S. Military Operations.
CRS Report 96-526, Bosnian Muslim-Croat Federation: Key to Peace in Bosnia?
CRS Report 96-177, Bosnia: Civil Implementation of the Peace Agreement.
CRS Report 96-96, Bosnia Reconstruction: International Initiatives and the U.S. Role.
CRS Report 96-404, Bosnia War Crimes: the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and U.S. Policy.
CRS Report 96-723, Bosnia and the 104th Congress: the Implementation Force (IFOR) and Its Possible Successor.


SUMMARY

Before its dissolution, Yugoslavia was comprised of six republics -- Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia (with two formerly autonomous provinces: Vojvodina and Kosovo), Montenegro and Macedonia. Conflict first broke out in June 1991, when the Yugoslav federal army attempted to reestablish control over the breakaway republics of Slovenia and Croatia. Intense fighting occurred in late 1991 between Croatian forces and irregular Serb forces, who were aided by the federal Yugoslav army. U.N. peacekeeping troops were deployed in Croatia but the underlying causes of the conflict remained unresolved. In May 1995, Croatian forces successfully launched a limited offensive against Serb-held territory in one of the U.N. peacekeeping sectors, and followed with a massive offensive in August, re-taking most of Serb-held territory in Croatia. In April 1992, Bosnia-Hercegovina declared its independence from Yugoslavia. Bosnian Serbs, with large-scale support from Serbia, seized over 70% of the republic's territory. The land grab was accompanied by brutal "ethnic cleansing" campaigns and enormous civilian casualties. International negotiation efforts failed to bring peace to Bosnia-Hercegovina.

U.N. peacekeeping troops were deployed in Croatia, Bosnia, and Macedonia. In Bosnia, U.N. forces were mandated to facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid throughout Bosnia, and to protect six declared "safe areas." The U.N. mission in Bosnia, however, was unable to resolve or stop the fighting on the ground.

Early in the Clinton Administration, U.S. officials favored lifting the arms embargo against the Bosnian government and being prepared to launch air strikes at Bosnian Serb heavy weapons, but this option faced firm resistance from Europe and Russia. The Administration pushed for firmer international responses to the conflict, especially from NATO. Under U.S. mediation, the Bosnian Croats and Muslims agreed in early 1994 to form a Bosnian federation. An international Contact Group comprising the United States, Russia, and European Union countries, devised a peace proposal in July 1994, which was accepted by the Croat-Muslim federation, but rejected by the Bosnian Serbs. The Administration supported a multilateral lifting the arms embargo against Bosnia, but remained opposed to unilateral action which might precipitate the withdrawal of U.N. forces from Bosnia. Many Members of Congress favored lifting the arms embargo against the Bosnian government.

In mid-1995, the Administration took the lead in efforts to re-start the peace process. NATO launched extensive air strikes against Bosnian Serb targets. The Croat and Muslim armed forces made significant gains on the ground. The United States brokered a peace agreement with Bosnian, Croat, and Serb leaders on November 21. NATO deployed nearly 60,000 troops in a multinational implementation force (IFOR) to implement military provisions of the peace settlement for one year. Implementation of the military aspects of the accord has gone smoothly thus far, but many civil tasks are lagging, and the political commitment of the Bosnian parties to the accord remains in question. Elections for national and entity political offices were held on September 14, 1996. In December, NATO approved of a smaller follow-on force to succeed IFOR for an 18-month period. President Clinton pledged to contribute 8,500 U.S. troops to the Stabilization Force (SFOR). SFOR took over for IFOR on December 20, 1996.


MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Daily protests against Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic continued in Belgrade and other Serbian cities. The demonstrations, led by students, began after Serbian authorities annulled the opposition victories in the November 17 local elections. Although the Serbian Supreme Court first upheld the annulment, two courts later called for vote recounts in the cities of Nis and Smederevska Palanka. The United States and other countries have urged the Serbian government to recognize the local election results. A special delegation from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was sent to Belgrade on December 20 to make an independent assessment of the November 17 local elections.

On December 20, the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) handed over authority to the smaller Stabilization Force (SFOR). The U.N. Security Council authorized the deployment of SFOR to succeed the IFOR on December 12. SFOR is to comprise roughly half the size (30,000 troops) of IFOR. NATO ministers endorsed the SFOR mission on December 10 for an 18-month period, to be reviewed at six and twelve months and gradually drawn down in size. U.S. officials have suggested that an international police force, not SFOR, be formed and have responsibility for seeking out indicted war criminals.


BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS

Roles and Objectives of the Principal Actors in the Region

Croatia

Croatia's June 25, 1991 declaration of independence triggered combat between Croatian forces and local Serb insurgents (Serbs made up about 12% of Croatia's population) aided by the largely Serbian Yugoslav People's Army. The outgunned in Croats lost nearly one-third of their territory. Fighting stopped when both sides agreed in December 1991 on the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping presence in Croatia (dubbed UNPROFOR). Croatia supported the deployment only as a transitional measure toward the reestablishment of its full sovereignty over the conflict zones (and as a breathing space to build up its army). In contrast, Serbs in Croatia saw the U.N. presence as a way to establish their own state, which they viewed as a transitional stage to unification with Serbia and Serb-held regions of Bosnia-Hercegovina in a greater Serbia. UNPROFOR's presence from early 1992 deterred the reemergence of full-scale war, but Croatia became increasingly impatient with what it saw as UNPROFOR's failure to fulfill its mandate. In May and August 1995, Croatia unleashed its revamped army against the Serb-held regions of western Slavonia and Krajina, respectively. The Croats brushed aside U.N. forces in the regions, killing several peacekeepers. In both cases, Bosnian Serb forces and Serbia-Montenegro did not come to the aid of local Serb forces, which were quickly crushed. Each offensive triggered a massive exodus of Serbs from the conquered areas (an estimated 180,000 from both areas combined), emptying them of most of their population. U.N. officials have also reported strong evidence of Croat looting and atrocities against several hundred Serb civilians who remained behind.

Croatia has provided aid, advice, and personnel for Bosnia-Hercegovina Croat forces. Croatia, like their Bosnia-Hercegovina Croat brethren, has appeared to side at some times with the Serbs, who favored a partition of Bosnia-Hercegovina, and at other times with the Muslims. Tudjman, who has many Hercegovinian Croats in his entourage, abandoned his early support for the Muslims after the failure of the Vance-Owen plan in May 1993. Forces from Croatia joined in local Croat attacks on Muslim forces in Mostar and other areas. In February and early March 1994, Tudjman appeared to reverse course again. He helped bring about and supported a March 1994 agreement in Washington between Bosnian Croat and Muslim leaders to form a Croat-Muslim federation in Bosnia-Hercegovina, which would in turn join a confederation with Croatia. Observers believe that the change in course was due in part to the threat of sanctions against Croatia, and the possibility of economic aid and closer political ties with the West, if it agreed to the U.S.-brokered plan. Croatia signed the December 1995 Bosnia peace accord.

On November 12, 1995, Croatia and leaders of the Serb-held region of eastern Slavonia signed an agreement that will return the area to Croatia after a one-to-two-year transitional period under international control. The region will be demilitarized within 30 days of the appointment of a U.N. administration who will run the province for one year. During this period, the approximately 100,000 Croats who were driven from their homes during fighting in 1991 will be allowed to return, a temporary local police will be established, and local elections will be prepared and held. The one-year transition period could be extended to two years at the request of either party. On January 15, 1996, the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution creating a force of about 5,000 peacekeepers to implement the November 1995 agreement. The U.N. administrator, who heads the civilian and military aspects of the operation, is Jacques Klein, an American. The force completed its deployment in May 1996, and announced in June 1996 that the demilitarization of the Serb-held region had been achieved. On November 15, 1996, the U.N. Security Council extended the mandate of the U.N. force until June 1997.

Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo

Early in the Yugoslav conflict, the chief goal of Serbian leaders was to ensure that all Serbs live in the same state, whether in a reduced Yugoslavia under Serbian leadership, or an independent Serbia with expanded borders. Consistent with these goals, Serbia supported Serbian guerrillas and federal army units that seized areas of Croatia where many Serbs live. After months of fighting, Serbia gave its support to a U.N. peacekeeping force in the zones of conflict in Croatia in January 1992. However, three years of U.N.-imposed economic sanctions and war weariness may have convinced Milosevic to give up the "greater Serbia" dream. Serbia did not intervene militarily when Croatian offensives in May and August 1995 seized two Serb-held regions in Croatia. In November 1995, rebel Serbs in the remaining Serb-held region of Croatia, eastern Slavonia, agreed to return their region to Croatia peacefully, probably due to a fear (or knowledge) that Serbia would not come to their defense if Croatia tried to retake the region by force. This agreement opened the way to normalized relations between Serbia-Montenegro and Croatia, which would be a central element needed to restore peace in the former Yugoslavia. On August 23, 1996, Serbia-Montenegro and Croatia agreed to normalize relations.

Serbia aided attempts by Bosnian Serb forces to seize large areas of BosniaHercegovina . There are many reports that Serbia supplied the Bosnian Serbs with arms, equipment and even whole military units. Perhaps in part due to sanctions, Milosevic pressured the Bosnian Serbs to agree in October 1995 that Milosevic would head a combined Bosnian-Serb/Serbia-Montenegro delegation to peace talks based on the U.S. peace initiative and the contact group plan. Milosevic made key concessions at the Dayton talks to secure an agreement. After at first protesting against Milosevic's moves, Radovan Karadzic soon made an about-face and announced support for the plan after meeting with Milosevic.

In exchange for Milosevic's efforts, the U.N. Security Council voted on November 22, 1995 to suspend all economic sanctions against Serbia-Montenegro (Resolution 1022). The sanctions could be reimposed without a vote by the Security Council if SerbiaMontenegro does not fulfill its obligations under the accords. According to Resolution 1022, the formal lifting of the sanctions will occur ten days after elections are held in Bosnia-Hercegovina that OSCE declares to be "free and fair." Elections were held in Bosnia and Hercegovina on September 14, and the OSCE issued its certification on September 29. The U.N. Security Council lifted economic sanctions against SerbiaMontenegro on October 1 (Resolution 1074).

Since the peace agreement, Milosevic has cracked down on both ultra-nationalist and democratic opponents. He also had the governor of the Yugoslav central bank removed because of his independence and outspoken support for free market reforms. Milosevic maintains two key levers of control -- control over the mass media (particularly broadcast media) and the police force, which he has built up to nearly the size of the Yugoslav army. Milosevic's Socialist Party and its allies won a majority in November 3, 1996 elections to the federal Yugoslav parliament. However, in the second round of municipal elections on November 17, a broad coalition of opposition parties scored surprise victories in Serbia's 12 largest cities, including Belgrade, the capital. Local courts and electoral commissions, controlled by the Socialists, annulled the results in Belgrade and other cities, citing "irregularities." In response, Milosevic opponents have held huge demonstrations (in many cases involving over 100,000 people) in Belgrade and other large Serbian cities. Milosevic has so far refused to bend to the demonstrators demands to recognize the election results. However, in a possible signal of flexibility, Milosevic-controlled courts in the cities of Nis and Smederevska Palanka recognized the opposition's victory there, and Milosevic called on the OSCE to send a delegation to Belgrade to investigate the election results.

The Serbian province of Kosovo is bitterly divided between ethnic Albanians, who make up nine-tenths of the population, and Serbs, who dominate economic and political life in the province. Ethnic Albanians voted overwhelmingly for Kosovo's independence from Serbia in a September 1991 referendum organized by opposition leaders who have formed an underground Kosovo government. The heavily armed Serbian minority, with backing from Belgrade, has vowed to put down any resistance to their control of what they see as the historical heartland of Serbia. Of the three ethnically mixed areas of Serbia (Kosovo, Vojvodina, and Sandzak), Kosovo is viewed as the region most likely to explode into ethnic violence. Kosovar leaders have called for U.N. administration of Kosovo and the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers as an interim step to independence. They also call for the international community to maintain sanctions against Serbia until the Kosovo issue is resolved. Many ethnic Albanian political leaders see Kosovo's independence as a stepping-stone toward union with neighboring Albania. Montenegro has generally followed the Serbian lead through most of the crisis. Montenegrins are ethnically and culturally very close to the Serbs. After the withdrawal of the other Yugoslav republics from the Yugoslav federal institutions, Serbia and Montenegro in April 1992 established a new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).

Bosnia-Hercegovina

In 1991, the population of Bosnia-Hercegovina comprised Muslims (44%), Serbs (31%), and Croats (17%). Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, who is a Muslim, in December 1991 asked the European Community (EC) for recognition as an independent state. Bosnian Serb leaders warned that international recognition of Bosnia-Hercegovina would lead to civil war in the republic. In April 1992, shortly before recognition of Bosnia by the EC and the United States, Serbian militiamen 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. In response to the threat of Western sanctions, the Yugoslav Army in May 1992 "withdrew" YPA soldiers not from Bosnia, while leaving the remaining troops (mainly Bosnian Serbs) -- an estimated 60-80% of the total force -- and their equipment to the Bosnian Serb forces. Bosnian government officials have estimated that over 200,000 people were killed in the war or are missing. More than two million have been driven from their homes, creating the greatest flow of refugees in Europe since World War II. Serbian militias attacked civilian targets in order to drive Muslims and Croats from ethnically mixed areas. Fighting between Croats and Muslims in ethnically mixed areas of central Bosnia and around the city of Mostar from spring 1993 to spring 1994 also resulted in widespread reports of atrocities carried out by both sides in order to "ethnically cleanse" areas seized. In response to U.S. and European pressure, Bosnian Croat and Muslim leaders announced in March 1994 in Washington an agreement to form a Croat-Muslim federation in Bosnia-Hercegovina, which in turn would establish confederative links with Croatia.

On November 21, 1995, the presidents of Serbia-Montenegro, Croatia and BosniaHercegovina , as well as representatives of the Muslim-Croat federation and the Bosnian Serb republic, initialed a peace agreement for Bosnia-Hercegovina at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. The final peace agreement was signed by the parties at a peace conference in Paris on December 14. Under the agreement, BosniaHercegovina remains an internationally-recognized state within its current borders. Internally, it consists of two semi-autonomous "entities" -- the (largely Muslim-Croat) Federation of Bosnia-Hercegovina and the (Bosnian Serb) Republika Srpska. Each of the entities will have their own parliaments and governments with wide-ranging powers, as well as their own armed forces. Each entity may establish "special parallel relationships with neighboring states consistent with the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Most powers will be vested in the entities; the central government will have control of foreign policy, foreign trade and customs policy, monetary policy and a few other areas. Central government decisions will nominally be taken by a majority, but either entity could block any decision if it views it as against its vital interests. The Dayton accords provide for democratic elections for central, entity and municipal governments. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) organized and supervised the elections, which were held on September 14, 1996.

Under the accords, the Bosnian Federation has received roughly 51% of the territory of Bosnia-Hercegovina, while the Republika Srpska has received about 49%. Several parcels of land changed hands as a result of the accords. The most controversial transfer involved the Serb-held suburbs of Sarajevo. 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 Bosnian and Serbia. The status of the Brcko region has been submitted to binding arbitration. The Muslim enclave of Goradze will be connected to the rest of Federation territory by a road corridor. The military part of the accords committed the two sides (the Bosnian Serbs and the Croat-Muslim 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-Hercegovina. The plan contains agreements on the protection of human rights and the right of refugees to return to their homes or receive compensation, including the establishment of institutions in which non-Bosnians chosen by European organizations will play key roles. The Dayton accords also include agreements on the role of an international "high representative" for implementation of the civilian aspects of the pact and of international police monitors. (For texts of the peace accords, see the State Department Bosnia Home Page at http://www.state.gov/www/current/bosnia/boshome.html)

The military implementation of the peace agreement has gone relatively smoothly. However, civilian implementation has been mixed. The transfer of Serb-held areas of Sarajevo to the Federation did not go well. Serbs fled en masse from these suburbs, leaving them virtual ghost towns. Freedom of movement between the two entities, a key part of the peace accord, remains very limited. Very few refugees have returned to their former homes in the other entity. Efforts by some Muslims to return to homes in the zone of separation have increased tensions with Bosnian Serb authorities, requiring IFOR to step in to prevent conflict. Bosnian Serbs have blown up houses formerly occupied by Muslims, in order to prevent their return. The international economic reconstruction effort has also been slow to show results.

For months, the international community tried without success to remove RS President Radovan Karadzic and Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic (both indicted war criminals) from office. Observers believe Karadzic and Mladic are determined to undermine the implementation of the non-military aspects of the peace agreement in order to maintain power and prevent any significant reintegration of Bosnia. On July 17, after talks between Milosevic and U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke, Karadzic resigned as RS president and as chief of the ruling Serbian Democratic Party (SDS). The move cleared the way for the opening of the campaign for the September 14 election; OSCE election organizer Robert Frowick had threatened to bar the SDS from the election unless Karadzic stepped down. On November 9, 1996, Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic fired Gen. Ratko Mladic as the Bosnian Serb army commander. Plavsic also fired other leading Bosnian Serb army officers. Gen. Pero Colic was chosen to succeed Mladic. Plavsic said that international pressure prompted her decision to depose Mladic, although other observers claimed the move was also prompted by a longrunning power struggle between Bosnian Serb civilian and military leaders. Mladic rejected Plavsic's order to quit his post at first, but after a brief standoff, he resigned on November 27. Critics note that both men remain at large, and may continue to play a leading role in Bosnian Serb affairs.

The campaign for the September 14 Bosnian elections was marked by fraud and manipulation of registration procedures (primarily by the Bosnian Serbs), as well as intimidation of opposition candidates by ruling nationalist parties of all three major ethnic groups. All three ruling parties have restricted media access to opposition groups. On August 27, OSCE Ambassador Frowick postponed municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, citing manipulation of registration procedures. These elections will now be held in 1997, most likely in the summer.

Elections at all other levels took place on September 14 without violence or other serious incidents. U.S. and OSCE election observers said there were no major irregularities in how the vote was carried out, although other observers sharply criticized this assessment as excessively upbeat. These observers said impossible turnout levels -- over 100% in some areas -- pointed to fraud. OSCE officials attributed such results to organizational shortcomings in vote-counting. Several aspects of the vote may foreshadow continuing difficulties in efforts to reintegrate Bosnia. Fewer than 10% of the voters who registered to vote in the other entity dared to do so on election day. In addition, the outcome of the ballot was a victory for the three major nationalist parties in Bosnia, who won the overwhelming share of votes in their own ethnic communities. Alija Izetbegovic, leader of the Muslim SDA party, was elected as chairman of the three-person Bosnian collective presidency. OSCE mission chief Robert Frowick certified the election results on September 29.

In the first step toward forming Bosnia's central government institutions after the September 14 elections, the Bosnian collective presidency held its first meeting in Sarajevo on September 30. The Presidency approved the membership of the country's new central bank on October 29. The bank, chaired by Frenchman Serge Roberts, will set Bosnia's monetary policy. On December 12, the Presidency approved the selection of Haris Silajdzic as chairman of the new Bosnia-Hercegovina Council of Ministers. However, he will have to share chairmanship duties with Serb representative Boro Bosic. The central government will have only three ministries: foreign affairs, foreign trade, and civil affairs and communications. The first post will be filled by a Croat, the second by Muslim Hasan Muratovic and third by a Serb.

On December 1, 1996, the Republika Srpska pulled out of an arbitration panel tasked by the Bosnian peace agreement to determine the status of the strategically important town of Brcko, which is held by the Bosnian Serbs, but claimed by the Muslim-Croat Federation as well. Observers believe the move was intended to guard against the possibility that U.S. arbitrator Roberts Owen might not uphold Serb claims to the area.

Another difficult issue is Croat-Muslim relations within the Federation. Croat leaders in Mostar have resisted efforts to reunite the ethnically divided city, despite numerous pledges to do so since the setting-up of the federation. Other problems within the Federation include allowing the return of refugees and setting up Federation institutions, including a common government and army. Under U.S. pressure, Bosnian Croats agreed to dissolve their Herzeg-Bosnia para-state and merge its functions into the Federation by August 31. The Bosnian Croats announced the dissolution of Herzeg-Bosnia on December 19, but it remains to be seen if this decision will be implemented. The inability of Croats and Muslims to solve their problems, if it continues, could cast doubt on the viability of the Federation and thereby on the Dayton accord itself. (For more on the Croat-Muslim Federation, see CRS Report 96- 526, Bosnian Muslim-Croat Federation: Key to Peace in Bosnia?)

International Responses

International Mediation and the Dayton Peace Agreement. In 1992-1993, numerous international efforts failed to bring about a peace plan agreeable to all of the Bosnian parties. In April 1994, the United States, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany formed an ad hoc "contact group" that proposed a 51%-49% territorial division between the Bosnian Federation and Bosnian Serbs, which was repeatedly rejected by the Bosnian Serbs. In August 1995, the United States launched a new diplomatic initiative, adding some changes to the contact group proposal. Leaders from Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia agreed on two sets of basic principles for a Bosnian settlement in September 1995. U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke negotiated a cease-fire agreement on October 5, which took effect early on October 12. The United States hosted talks with Croat, Bosnia, and Serbian delegations from November 1 to 21, 1995. After talks had nearly broken up, all three presidents on November 21 initialed a comprehensive peace plan envisaging a single Bosnian state of two republics, a central government, a unified Sarajevo, and a 51%-49% distribution of land between the two republics. The Dayton accords included annexes on military implementation, arms control, free elections, a constitution, human rights, refugees, and civilian police tasks. The Bosnian peace agreement was signed in Paris on December 14, 1995, formally ending the war. Since December, periodic summit meetings with the Balkan presidents have convened as a means to recommit the parties to the peace agreement.

Civil Implementation. A series of implementation conferences followed conclusion of the Dayton accords. While the civilian aspects of the peace agreement were always expected to take longer to implement than the military ones being handled by NATO, many officials have pressed for greater progress in the civilian side of implementation. On December 8-9, 1995, over 50 countries and international organizations formed a Peace Implementation Council (PIC) and Steering Committee to oversee all civilian aspects of implementation. Carl Bildt was named High Representative of the Council. At its six-month implementation review conference on June 13-14, 1996, the PIC confirmed its support for holding free elections in Bosnia by mid-September 1996. On November 14, members of the steering committee and the Bosnian Presidency agreed to a set of Guiding Principles of the civilian consolidation plan for Bosnia. The Principles envision a two year consolidation period for implementing the peace agreement, and include a 13 point plan for implementing priority tasks. London hosted a second peace implementation conference on Bosnia on December 4-5, 1996. The conference expressed dissatisfaction with most aspects of civil implementation and implied that future international assistance would be conditional on compliance with the peace agreement. (For more detailed information on civil implementation, see CRS Report 96-177, Bosnia: Civil Implementation of the Peace Agreement.)

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has been the lead organization assisting with elections, human rights monitoring, and arms control negotiations. OSCE renewed its mandate in Bosnia through 1997. OSCE negotiated a package of confidence-building measures on January 26, 1996; it included an exchange of military data, limits on military maneuvers, and mutual verification exercises. On June 14, representatives from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Croatia and Bosnia signed an arms control agreement. The agreement provides for a 16-month period for the reduction of key categories of military equipment (tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft and helicopters) to ceilings set for each of the parties (including the two entities within Bosnia).

OSCE has also overseen the elections process. OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Swiss Foreign Minister Flavio Cotti, on June 25 certified that elections should take place, even though he acknowledged that the prerequisites for a free and fair vote were not fulfilled. On August 27, Ambassador Frowick decided to postpone elections at the municipal level due to massive irregularities in voter registration, particularly in strategically located cities such as Brcko and Srebrenica, among others. OSCE had announced preliminary plans to hold the municipal vote in late November 1996, but on October 22 Ambassador Frowick further postponed the local vote until some time in 1997. Elections for the national presidency, parliament, entity parliaments, Republika Srpska presidency, and Federation cantons were held as scheduled on September 14. Over 50 parties and nearly 3,500 candidates ran for office. An estimated 60%-70% of 2.9 million eligible voters participated. Some international observers noted significant problems with voting lists, access to polling stations, and crowding at the polls. Relatively few (15,000) voters opted to cross entity lines on voting day. However, OSCE officials and other international monitors cited no major irregularities or violent incidents and provisionally endorsed the poll the following day. The nationalist parties won substantial victories within each ethnic group. Bosnian President Izetbegovic to assume first chairmanship of the collective presidency. After a two week review period, OSCE mission chief Robert Frowick announced the certification of the election results on September 29, and characterized the voting process to be "reasonably democratic."

A U.N. civilian police force was created by the U.N. Security Council in December 1995. The small task force (under 2,000) is authorized to monitor, observe, and train local police forces, but not serve by itself as a policing force with executive authority. In December 1996, U.S. officials began calling for an additional police force to be formed to be responsible for arresting indicted war criminals. In mid-January, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadato Ogata, unveiled plans to repatriate over 2 million displaced persons and refugees from Bosnia. To date, approximately 250,000 displaced persons have been resettled. However, this number has been offset by new refugee movements; moreover, returns that have occurred have largely been limited to areas of own ethnic dominance.

In December 1995, the World Bank identified $600 million in immediate humanitarian aid needs and estimated reconstruction costs to reach over $5 billion over the next three-four years. Over 50 countries and 30 international organizations attended a World Bank-EU pledging conference on reconstruction aid on April 12-13, 1996, in Brussels. Donors met the goal of $1.8 billion for 1996 by pledging about $1.2 billion for the remainder of 1996. The United States pledged over $200 million. The World Bank approved of over $75 million in credits for five reconstruction programs on July 31. (For further information on reconstruction, see CRS Report 96-96, Bosnia Reconstruction: International Initiatives and the U.S. Role.) On September 30, the World Bank reported that around 75% of the pledges for 1996 had been committed to specific programs.

NATO Implementation Force and Stabilization Force. (For more on IFOR/SFOR, see also CRS Issue Brief 93056 Bosnia and Macedonia: U.S. Military Operations.) Following the signing of the Dayton peace agreement, the U.N. Security Council authorized IFOR to implement the military aspects (Annex 1-A) of the peace agreement. The North Atlantic Council approved Operation Joint Endeavor on December 16, activating the deployment of the main body of troops. The formal "transfer of authority" or command from the U.N. Protection Force to IFOR took place on December 20. IFOR's mandate was for one year. As the year progressed, lack of progress in the non-military aspects of peace implementation suggested to many that some form of international force would need to stay in Bosnia beyond December 1996.

At Bergen, Norway, on September 22, NATO ministers began to review security options for the post-IFOR situation in Bosnia. They included: a full withdrawal from Bosnia, extension of the existing IFOR, formation of a deterrent force outside of Bosnia, and formation of a smaller, sustaining force. On November 18, NATO countries agreed in principle to deploy a multinational force to succeed IFOR. The new Stabilization Force (SFOR) is to be about half the size of IFOR with about 31,000 troops. U.S. officials intend that the SFOR would have "fewer and different" tasks, and that its size would be further reduced after one year to about 13,500 troops, and fully withdrawn by approximately June 1998. NATO ministers approved the plan for Operation Joint Guard on December 10, 1996, and the U.N. Security Council authorized the force on December 12, for an 18-month period. SFOR formally took over command from IFOR on December 20.

IFOR's primary mission has been to implement the military aspects of the peace agreement. These have included marking the inter-entity boundary line, patrolling the four-kilometer zone of separation, and monitoring and enforcing the cease-fire and airspace over Bosnia. NATO has reported general compliance with the military requirements of the peace agreement throughout the year. SFOR's mission is to deter renewed hostilities and to stabilize and consolidate peace in order to contribute to a secure environment in which civil implementation plans can be pursued. SFOR will retain the same command, rules of engagement, enforcement authority, and status of forces that IFOR had.

While IFOR was not directly tasked with civilian tasks, the establishment of a secure environment to assist civilian efforts remained a secondary IFOR mission. Beginning in March, IFOR and NATO officials emphasized a "shift in emphasis" toward greater assistance to civil projects, to be decided on a case-by-case basis. IFOR's policy regarding indicted war criminals was that IFOR would arrest and detain such persons if it came in contact with them, but it would not actively seek out or hunt down war criminals. IFOR worked closely with the OSCE in preparing for elections on September 14. IFOR helped to transport ballots and other electoral materials to polling stations, and secured 19 routes across the IEBL for voters on election day. SFOR is likely to provide similar support for the municipal elections in mid-1997. NATO officials have emphasized that SFOR will also not be responsible for hunting down war criminals. Instead, U.S. and other officials have suggested that a non-NATO police unit be tasked for this purpose.

NATO's Deny Flight operation, enforcing the no-fly zone over Bosnia, terminated on December 20, 1995, when IFOR assumed responsibility for airspace over Bosnia. Deny Flight enforced the no-fly zone, provided close air support to U.N. troops, and conducted approved air strikes under a "dual-key" command arrangement with the U.N.. After the fall of the eastern Bosnian "safe areas," in July 1995, the international community agreed to steps to extend NATO air power. NATO launched a sustained air strike campaign, "Operation Deliberate Force," beginning on August 30, 1995, against Bosnian Serb military targets in response to a Bosnian Serb mortar attack on civilians in Sarajevo. NATO's maritime Sharp Guard operation, established to enforce economic sanctions against Serbia-Montenegro and the arms embargo, was suspended after termination of both sets of sanctions.

U.N. Peace Forces. Prior to the conclusion of a peace agreement, U.N. peacekeeping forces were deployed in three operations in the former Yugoslavia. In Bosnia, many forces in the U.N. Protection Force (UNPROFOR) transferred over to the NATO Implementation Force. On December 15, 1995, the U.N. Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the U.N. charter, passed a resolution authorizing IFOR and terminated UNPROFOR's mandate as of the transfer of authority on December 20. On January 15, 1996, the Security Council approved of a "U.N. Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium" (UNTAES), of up to 5,000 peacekeepers. The Secretary-General reported UNTAES' deployment on May 20; it began the process of demilitarization the following day. UNTAES' one-year mandate expires on January 15, 1997. In October 1996, the Secretary-General recommended that UNTAES' mandate be extended for a second year. The U.N. Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) in Macedonia is the smallest mission in the Balkans, with about 1,100 troops. In November 1996, the Secretary-General recommended that UNPREDEP be extended for six months and that its size be drawn down by one-third in early 1997.

Other U.N. Actions. After the conflict first broke out in 1991, the U.N. imposed an arms embargo against Yugoslavia. The United States, Islamic members of the United Nations periodically supported a multilateral lift of the arms embargo against Bosnia-Hercegovina, but other countries, particularly Russia, Britain, and France, remained firmly opposed. After Dayton, the Security Council terminated the arms embargo against all former Yugoslav parties (Resolution 1021, November 22), in three staged phases corresponding with arms control measures laid out in the Dayton accords. The ban on small armaments was lifted after 90 days (March 13, 1996), the ban on heavy weapons was lifted after a second 90-day period (June 11, 1996). On June 18, following conclusion of an arms control agreement, the U.N. Security Council announced the termination of the arms embargo.

For its role in the conflict in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia-Montenegro came under U.N. economic sanctions on May 30, 1992. On April 17, 1993, the Security Council further tightened the embargo by banning transshipment of goods through Serbia and Montenegro by land, and on the Danube River; barring ships from entering Montenegro's territorial waters; impounding Yugoslav transport and cargo outside of its borders; and freezing financial assets abroad. Limited sanctions were suspended in late 1994 after Milosevic instituted a blockade on the Bosnian Serbs. On November 22, 1995, the Security Council suspended all sanctions against Serbia-Montenegro (Resolution 1022). During this period, sanctions could have been reimposed if Serbia failed to meet its obligations under the accord. After the OSCE certified the election results, the Security Council terminated all sanctions on October 1, 1996. The resolution stated that the council would consider reimposing sanctions on any party that failed to meet its obligations under the peace agreement. However, most observers doubt that a future vote to restore sanctions would pass the Security Council. The United States has maintained that an "outer wall" of sanctions, entailing full diplomatic relations, membership in international organizations, and international economic aid, will remain in place until Serbia fulfilled all of its obligations. In November-December 1996, the United States specified that such limited sanctions would remain until Serbia ceased its anti-democratic practices at home.

In May 1993, the U.N. Security Council established an international criminal tribunal to prosecute persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law in the former Yugoslavia. South African judge Richard Goldstone served as the tribunal's chief prosecutor from July 1994 through September 1996. Justice Goldstone was succeeded by Louise Arbour on October 1, 1996. Since November 1994, the tribunal has indicted over 70 individuals, mainly Bosnian Serbs, with war crimes. Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic have been indicted twice. Currently only seven persons are in custody at the Hague. The first verdict of the against Dusan Tadic, a minor Bosnian Serb camp guard, is expected in early 1997. On May 31, a rank-and-file Bosnian Croat soldier serving in the Bosnian Serb army, Drazen Erdemovic, pleaded guilty to war crimes related to the mass execution of Muslims in Srebrenica in July 1995. NATO transferred 2 indicted Muslims to the Hague on June 13. The tribunal began special hearings against Karadzic and Mladic on June 28, even though neither is in custody. It issued international arrest warrants against the two Bosnian Serb leaders on July 11, and also called for the prosecutor to extend his investigation to include Serbian President Milosevic. In October, the tribunal called for the arrest of four indicted Bosnian Serbs who were believed to be working with the Bosnian Serb police in northwest Bosnia.

In early 1996, discoveries of numerous mass graves prompted the Tribunal to request NATO assistance in providing security for investigations. In January, tribunal prosecutor Richard Goldstone and IFOR commanders issued a joint statement on IFOR assistance to Tribunal investigation teams. A memorandum of understanding between the Tribunal and NATO on specific details of cooperation and assistance was completed in May. On-site investigations, with IFOR escorts, of mass graves have been ongoing. On July 7, war crimes investigators began the long process of exhuming human remains from mass grave sites around Srebrenica.

The Dayton accords bar indicted war criminals from holding or running for office in Bosnia, and obligate the parties to cooperate with the tribunal. They do not require NATO forces to seek out and arrest indicted criminals. The Tribunal has forwarded to IFOR information and photographs on indicted persons believed to be in Bosnia. Justice Goldstone repeatedly expressed frustration with IFOR's apparent unwillingness to arrest indicted Bosnian Serb leaders, and with the international community's lack of "political will" to make the tribunal function. In December 1996, U.S. officials called for the formation of a special police unit that would have responsibility for arresting indicted war criminals.

U.S. Policy

The conflict in Bosnia was a key foreign policy priority of the Clinton Administration when it first came into office in 1993. In Spring 1993, the Clinton Administration advocated lifting the arms embargo against the Bosnians and threatening air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs, but this option stalled out of strong opposition in Europe. The February 1994 mortar attack on the Sarajevo market galvanized the Administration into further action, prompting NATO's February 1994 ultimatum on a weapons exclusion zone around Sarajevo. U.S. mediators brokered a reconciliation between the Bosnian Muslims and Croats, leading to the creation of a bi-communal Bosnian federation in March 1994. Later it was revealed that during this time the Administration had tacitly approved of an Iranian arms pipeline to Croatia and Bosnia. From early 1994 on, the Clinton Administration actively participated in the contact group, but differed with its allies and Russia on how to respond to Bosnian Serb intransigence. The Administration supported the continued presence of UNPROFOR in Bosnia, and opposed U.S. unilateral action on terminating the arms embargo, despite increasing pressure from Congress.

In 1995, the Administration supported European efforts to bolster the U.N. force, within limits. The Administration urged more robust use of NATO air strikes to defend the Bosnian safe areas. In August 1995, the Administration launched a new peace initiative aimed at securing Bosnian, Croat, and Serb agreement on revisions to the contact group peace plan, and capitalizing on balance of power shifts on the ground in Bosnia. Heading a new U.S. delegation after the accidental death of three U.S. diplomats on August 19, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke brokered a cease-fire and chaired "proximity talks" with the Balkan presidents in Dayton, Ohio, which concluded successfully on November 21. In a nationally televised address on November 27, President Clinton referred to the U.S. responsibility in exercising leadership to build a lasting peace and end the suffering in a region vital to U.S. interests. At the Paris peace conference on December 14, President Clinton pledged U.S. assistance with other countries in implementing the terms of the peace accord.

Post-Dayton U.S. Policy Developments

The United States completed deployment of its forces to IFOR in February 1996. In mid-1996, over 22,000 U.S. personnel were deployed in the region, of which about 16,000 were in Bosnia. Estimated U.S. costs to IFOR for one year are $2.2 billion for FY1996 and $0.7 billion for FY1997. Funding has come from reprogramming previously appropriated funds and supplemental appropriations. On the civilian side, the State Department estimates U.S. contributions to total some $580 million for FY1996. This amount includes the U.S. pledge of $200 million made at the Brussels donor conference on April 12-13, as the first tranche of a three-year, $600 million pledge.

Clinton Administration officials had insisted that the U.S. commitment to IFOR was for approximately one year and that IFOR remained on schedule to withdraw rapidly after its mission expires in December. However, they conceded that NATO was reviewing security options for a follow-on force for the post-IFOR situation. On November 15, President Clinton announced that up to 8,500 U.S. troops would participate in a follow-on force to IFOR for an additional 18 months. He stated that, while IFOR has achieved remarkable successes, conditions in Bosnia were not likely to sustain peace, and that the United States had a responsibility to see through its commitment to peace in Bosnia. U.S. officials insist that the mission for the sustainment force will be more limited that IFOR's and thus will require fewer troops.

Administration officials have also prioritized a parallel objective, separate from IFOR, to seek a force equilibrium on the ground through a "build-down" of arms through arms control measures and a "build-up" of equipment and training to the Bosnian federation. U.S. officials sought to raise $700-$800 million to support a train and equip program, of which $100 would come from the United States. Progress in implementing the train and -equip program was initially held up over the continued presence of foreign Islamic fighters in Bosnia. The President certified on June 26 compliance with the requirement that all foreign forces be removed. On July 9, the Bosnian federation parliament adopted a common defense law, removing the other major obstacle to the program. The first shipment of equipment, mainly light arms and equipment, arrived in Sarajevo by air between August 29 and August 31. Delivery of the second shipment, including tanks and other heavy weapons, was held up for weeks due to dispute between the United States and the Bosnian government over Hasan Cengic, a senior Bosnian defense official with close ties to Iran.

Administration officials pressed strongly for elections in Bosnia to proceed on schedule, arguing that they represent a precondition to the formation of the most basic political institutions in Bosnia. They also argued that adhering to the deadline will promote compliance with establishing suitable conditions on the ground. The Administration accepted the OSCE decision in August to postpone municipal elections, but reportedly pressed for them to be held in November 1996, or while IFOR was still deployed in Bosnia. Critics objected to the Administration's insistence on holding elections, citing major problems with voter registration, freedom of movement, refugee resettlement, and a free media, as well as the continued leadership practiced by indicted war criminals. President Clinton and other top Administration officials praised the conduct of the vote as a positive step forward in securing peace in Bosnia. The State Department expressed support for the OSCE's decision to postpone further municipal elections until 1997.

In response to the widespread anti-government demonstrations in Serbia beginning in November 1996, the Administration has harshly criticized the actions of the Serbian government, and has urged that it respect the results of the local elections. Officials have warned the Serbian government not to resort to violence to quell the demonstrations. While Serbian President Milosevic remains a guarantor of the Dayton peace agreement, Administration officials have emphasized that the democratic process has to be recognized and that any crackdown would only increase Serbia's isolation.

104th Congress

In the first session of the 104th Congress, the key issues of the debate on Bosnia policy were whether the United States should unilaterally lift the U.N. arms embargo against Bosnia-Hercegovina and whether U.S. ground forces should be deployed to Bosnia to help enforce the U.S.-brokered peace agreement. (For more on legislation to lift the arms embargo see CRS Report 96-347, Bosnia: Legislation on Lifting the Arms Embargo, 104th Congress, 1st Session by Julie Kim. For more on legislation on U.S. troop deployments to Bosnia, see CRS Report 96-723, Bosnia and the 104th Congress: the Implementation Force (IFOR) and Its Possible Successor, by Julie Kim.)

In the second session of the 104th Congress, the legislative focus was on funding U.S. forces in Bosnia, as well as civil implementation and reconstruction efforts. On February 21, 1996, the Administration submitted to Congress a request for supplemental appropriations to support IFOR and the Deny Flight air monitoring operation totaling $620 million. The Administration also asked for $200 million to cover the initial costs of the U.S. civilian peace implementation programs in Bosnia. The move followed the Administration's January 22 presentation to Congress of its plans for reprogrammings and supplemental appropriations to cover U.S. FY1996 expenditures on IFOR and earlier Bosnia operations, which it estimated at $1.916 billion. On that date, the Administration submitted a request to Congress for $991.0 million of the funds to provided through reprogrammings based on a redrafting of the economic assumptions of the FY1996 DOD budget which freed savings from inflation across the budget for other purposes. (This request was approved by the House Appropriations Committee in February 1996. However, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved only $875 million of the reprogramming proposals, requiring the Administration to propose another source for the remaining amount.)

On April 18, the Administration submitted a request to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for an additional $507 million for the Bosnia operation. It said the additional amounts were for intelligence gathering and distribution, unanticipated NATO support requirements, and dealing with "unanticipated harsh environmental conditions." The Administration revised its cost estimates for the U.S. deployment from $2 billion to $2.5 billion. On April 25, the House and Senate agreed to the conference report on H.R. 3019, an omnibus spending bill. The measure contains $820 million in rescissions from DoD programs to pay the costs of U.S. military operations in Bosnia. The measure was signed by the President on April 26 (P.L. 104-134).

On September 25, 1996, Deputy Secretary of Defense John White told the House National Security Committee that the Administration had again revised cost estimates for the Bosnia mission. He said the cost through the end of the year would be about $3.3 billion. He said the additional funds would come from various supplemental accounts and would not affect the readiness of U.S. forces.

On March 29, the House and Senate passed H.J.Res. 170, a continuing appropriations resolution. H.J.Res. 170 contained $198 million in funding for reconstruction and other civilian implementation functions in Bosnia. The bill also imposed several conditions on the aid. One condition is that at least 87.5% of the funds must be used for projects in the American IFOR sector or the Sarajevo area. (This proviso does not apply to projects that involve both the U.S. sector and neighboring sectors.) Another condition is that priority "should" be given to projects on an IFOR list of civil projects to rebuild Bosnia's infrastructure. A third condition states that no funds from this act can be used for constructing new housing in Bosnia. In addition, no funds from the act or the FY1996 foreign aid appropriation law (P.L. 104-107) may be spent to repair existing housing in areas where "Federation or local authorities" refuse to allow refugees and displaced persons to turn to their homes due to ethnicity or political affiliation. The bill says that, effective 90 days from the enactment of the bill, none of the reconstruction aid in the bill may be released unless the President certifies that the total bilateral contributions of other countries for Bosnia's reconstruction are at least equal to the U.S. contributions contained in H.J.Res. 170 and the FY1996 foreign operations appropriations bill. H.J.Res. 170 bars the obligation of 50% of the economic revitalization funds under the act until the President certifies that Federation has complied with the peace accord's requirement for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and that intelligence cooperation between Bosnian and Iranian officials has ceased. The President may waive this provision and obligate funds after June 15, 1996, if he determines that it is in the U.S. "national security interest" to do so. The President signed H.J.Res. 170 on March 29 (P.L. 104-122).

On May 8, the House approved H.Res. 416, a resolution to set up a select subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee to investigate the U.S. role in Iranian arms transfers to Croatia and Bosnia, by a vote of 224-187. The subcommittee is required to submit a report no later than six months from its establishment. The House also approved H.Res. 417, a resolution to provide $995,000 for the expenses of the subcommittee, by a vote of 225-203.

On June 11, the House passed H.R. 3540, the FY1997 foreign aid appropriation bill. The Senate passed its version of the bill on July 26. Both measures contain $475 million for Central and Eastern Europe, of which about $200 million is expected to go toward Bosnia's reconstruction. The report bars funding for new housing or repair of old housing unless it is directly related to the efforts of U.S. forces to promote peace in Bosnia. It also bars the obligation of 50% of funds destined for Bosnia's economic reconstruction under the act unless the President certifies that the Bosnian Federation has removed all foreign forces from its territory and that Federation intelligence cooperation with Iran has been terminated.

The conference report prohibits the President from lifting any sanctions against SerbiaMontenegro unless the President certifies that self-government has been restored in Kosovo and that human rights are respected there. However, the measure allows the President to waive the prohibition in order to provide humanitarian aid or to achieve a Bosnian peace settlement. It bars U.S. aid from the bill to countries who knowingly harbor persons indicted by the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The bill permits the President to provide up to a total of $100 million in military aid to the Bosnian government in FY1996 and FY1997. The conference report on the bill was incorporated into H.R. 3610, an omnibus spending bill. H.R. 3610 was passed by the House on September 28 and the Senate on September 30. The President signed H.R. 3610 on September 30 (P.L. 104-208).

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