Refugees, displaced persons and reconstruction in certain countries of the former Yugoslavia

Doc. 7470

23 January 1996

OPINION[1]

Rapporteurs: Mr BLOETZER, Switzerland, Group of the European People's Party and Mr van der LINDEN, Netherlands, Group of the European People's Party


I.        Introduction

I.          The Bureau, at its meeting on 10 January 1996, invited the Committee to present an opinion on the report of Mrs Robert and Mr Iwinski (Doc. 7440) presented by the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, in particular as regards  reconstruction in certain countries of former Yugoslavia.

II.         Since the Dayton Agreements, which entered into force upon signature in Paris on 14 December 1995, form the basis for this reconstruction, a short analysis of these Agreements and the roles given to the various international organisations is set out below. Furthermore, a number of issues related to the implementation of the Agreements are discussed. As regards the situation in Croatia, a memorandum on a recent visit is attached as Appendix.

II.        The Dayton Agreements

III.       The Dayton Agreements are based on a General Framework Agreement for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina concluded by the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia signed also on behalf of the Republica Srpska.

IV.       A set of agreements, contained in Annexes 1 to 11 between the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republica Srpska form the substance of the document.

V.        The agreement on the military aspects (Annex 1-A) provides for the establishment of the Multinational Military Implementation Force (IFOR). NATO is mainly responsible, but non-Nato countries also contribute. IFOR's mandate, based on a United Nations Security Council Resolution, consists in establishing a durable cease-fire, supervising  the withdrawal of foreign forces, the redeployment and the separation of the present forces. IFOR is authorized to use military force to ensure compliance. This Agreement also mentions the release and transfer by the Parties of all their prisoners no later than 30 days after the Transfer of Authority.

VI.       The OSCE is given major tasks under the Agreement. Negotiations on confidence- and security-building measures (contained in Annex 1-B on Regional Stabilization) are to be carried out under its auspices. Moreover, OSCE is to supervise the preparation and conduct of elections for the House of Representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the House of Representatives of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the National Assembly of the Republica Srpska and the Presidency of the Republic Srpska. "If feasible" it should do the same also for cantonal legislatures and municipal governing authorities. Elections are to be held between 6 and 9 months after the entry into force of the agreements. 

VII.      A provisional Election Commission is established by OSCE, chaired by Ambassador Frowick, Head of the OSCE Mission.

VIII.     Moreover, OSCE was invited to appoint a Human Rights Ombudsman, who, together with the Human Rights Chamber (see below, paragraph 10) constitutes the Commission on Human Rights. The choice of Mrs Gret Haller, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the Council of Europe and a former colleague, is very much welcomed. It is to be noted that the Committee of Ministers has agreed that she will be assisted by two staff members of the Council of Europe Secretariat. Furthermore, OSCE is to monitor the human rights situation in co-operation with other organisations.

IX.       The United Nations have a wide task. The Security Council, apart from authorizing IFOR's establishment, has also appointed the High Representative, Mr Carl Bildt. He is responsible for coordination of military and civilian operations. In addition, he is to monitor the implementation of the civilian aspects of the peace settlement and to mobilize and co-ordinate the civilian organisations and agencies. For that purpose, he is chairing  a "Joint Civil Commission" comprising representatives of the Parties, of IFOR and civilian organisations. Besides, a Human Rights Task Force (HRTF) is to be created. In addition, a United Nations international Police Task Force (IPTF) is established. It will act in liaison with Mr Bildt. Other United Nations bodies which are given a role are UNHCR, with regard to the refugees and displaced persons (in co-operation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and other organisations), and UNESCO which is to appoint the members of the independent Commission to preserve national monuments.

X.         As regards the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers is invited to appoint 8 of the 14 members of the Human Rights Chamber - other part of the Commission for Human Rights, including its President. The President of the European Court of Human Rights is to appoint 3 of the 9 members of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and 3 of the 9 members  of the Commission for Displaced Persons and Refugees, including its president. Besides, the Council of Europe is to appoint  a member of the HRTF.

XI. The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Annex 4 to the Dayton Agreements) provides that the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols shall apply directly in Bosnia and Herzegovina and have priority over all other law. Additional human rights agreements to be applied to Bosnia and Herzegovina include the European Convention on the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the European Charter for Regional and Minority Language and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

III.        Issues concerning the implementation of the Dayton Agreements

XII.      Of major concern is the lack of progress towards implementation of the Federation. The original Federation structure established by the Washington Agreement of March 1994 was substantially modified by the Dayton Agreement, but so far little progress has been reported. On the contrary, increasing obstruction and lack of political will have been observed by the European Community Monitoring Mission (ECMM) and other international observers. The problems in Mostar concerning the city's reunification are but an example of difficulties between Croats and Bosniacs. These problems recently led the United States to nominate an American ombudsman. Hence, the city is now under a dual mediation : European and American.

XIII.     Another problem which has already appeared, and which has demonstrated IFOR's limitations, is how to guarantee freedom of movement. Difficulties have also been encountered as regards exchange of prisoners which is being linked by the Bosnian side to missing persons. In this respect, it is essential that reports about alleged mass graves, such in the mine of Ljubija, be thoroughly investigated by IFOR. According to representatives for human rights organisations, this mine provides key evidence about massacres having occurred in that part of Bosnia.

XIV.     The duration of IFOR's mandate, "approximately one year", seems to have been dictated more by domestic policy considerations of certain contributing states, than by an assessment of the needs on the ground. IFOR's premature withdrawal could render the Dayton 'peace' a mere "cease-fire", with even worse to come afterwards.

XV.      In this context, the military assistance offered to certain parties to the conflict by third countries does not bode well.

XVI.     The High Representative is insisting that the civilian side of the Agreement be adequately funded. There is, for instance, still much uncertainty about the financial basis for the human rights mechanisms established. As regards the Council of Europe, although it is to be welcomed that the Committee of Ministers took a rapid decision as regards certain urgent measures, the sum allocated to reconstruction so far (less than 4 million French Francs) is totally inadequate for tasks the Organisation has been finally called upon to undertake. Major pressure should be brought by the Assembly, and also by its members in their own national parliaments. Voluntary contributions should be encouraged.

XVII.   As regards the holding of elections, our Assembly has a specific role, since Bosnia-Herzegovina has requested Council of Europe membership. 

XVIII.     Sarajevo is also a matter of concern since the Bosnian Serbs want to postpone the transfer of authority over certain Serbian residential areas to the Bosnian government until the elections.

XIX.     Furthermore, Serbs and Croats do not seem willing to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. At the end of last year, 52 persons - Serbs and Croats - had been indicted but only one - a Serb - was waiting for his trial at the Hague.

XX.      One must be well aware of the essential role of the Tribunal. By effectively carrying out its mission, the Tribunal can help to create a climate of confidence, necessary for a lasting peace, and counter notions of collective responsibility of peoples.  

XXI.     Relations with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) will be reconsidered. Particular account should be taken of the situation in Kosovo, Vo´vodina and Sandjak, which remains very unsatisfactory. The OSCE has repeatedly asked to be allowed to re-open its permanent missions there but, so far, Belgrade refuses. Moreover, the question of the release of Bosnian prisoners held in the FRY is still not settled.

IV.       Conclusions

XXII.    The Dayton Agreements constitute a comprehensive approach to a peace settlement. It deals with military aspects, security, reconstruction, human rights, democracy, the rule of law, refugees and arms control. The responsibility for the implementation is shared by a large number of international organisations.

XXIII.  There is thus need for mutual support and assistance as well as clear co-ordination between these organisations. In the field of Council of Europe's expertise such a co-operation and co-ordination should particularly be carried out with the OSCE. According to information provided by the Secretary General such a co-operation is well under way.

XXIV.  The non-military aspects of the peace settlement, including the human rights mechanisms, require a major financial effort. In view of the tasks attributed to the Council of Europe such an effort is also required of the Committee of Ministers. A voluntary fund of action in Bosnia-Herzegovina should therefore be created.

XXV.   The Assembly should agree to put the implementation of the Dayton Agreements again the agenda for the April 1996 part-session of the Assembly.

Appendix

Croatia's request for membership of the Council of Europe

Rapporteur: Mr van der Linden, Netherlands, EPP

MEMORANDUM

on the visit to Croatia from 7 to 10 December 1995

I.          Introduction

1          The Rapporteur, together with the Rapporteur of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Mr Jansson (Finland, LDR) visited Croatia from 7 to 10 December 1995. The Rapporteur of the Committee on relations with European Non-Member Countries, the Earl of Dundee (United Kingdom, EDG) also participated on 7 and 8 December 1995.

2          The Rapporteur would wish to express his thanks to the Croatian authorities for their hospitality and the excellent programme. He would further wish to thank the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Zagreb, Mr Havlin, for having, (in his capacity as representative of the Committee of Ministers' Bureau), organised once again an extremely useful meeting with Ambassadors of the Member States of the Contact Group.

3          Following discussions in Zagreb, the Rapporteurs travelled through former UNPA sectors North and South (referred to by the Serbs as the "Krajina"), visiting inter alia Knin and the Kupljensko refugee camp (see programme in Annex 1). Discussions, in particular also with President Tudjman, centred on the human rights situation in this area, especially in view of the documented human rights violations that took place after the military operations of August (operation "Storm"), and on the possibilities for a return of the Serb population, which fled the area. Moreover, the prospects for a peaceful reintegration of Eastern Slavonia, co-operation with The Hague Tribunal and commitments to be entered into, were discussed.

II.        The situation in former UNPA Sectors North and South

4          Following Operation Storm (4-7 August 1995), most of the Serb population left the area. While their exact number is disputed, it would appear that around 190.000 people are concerned. It has been alleged that they were driven out by Croat forces, while the Croatian Government contends that this mass exodus had been carefully planned by local Serb leaders, who also threatened to use force in case of non-compliance. Most refugees are now in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) (FRY).

5          Although it is impossible to determine the exact cause, a mix of the above factors is likely. When speaking to a Serb refugee who had returned to the area, the Rapporteurs were told that she had initially left "because everyone else did so".

6          While the exact responsibility of the Croatian authorities for the departure of the Serb population is thus unclear, the human rights situation in the area following the military action has been the object of strong international criticism. This criticism is, inter alia, contained in reports of the United Nations Secretary General (Doc. A/50/648 of October 1995), the report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, Mrs Elisabeth Rehn (Doc. A/50/727 of 7 November 1995), as well as in the Report on Refugees, Displaced Persons and Reconstruction in certain countries of former Yugoslavia prepared by Mrs Robert and Mr Iwinski on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography (Doc. 7440 of 19 December 1995).

7          In her report, Mrs Rehn noted cases of killing of (more than 120) Serb civilians, ill-treatment by Croatian soldiers, policemen as well as civilians, as well as massive burning and looting of houses belonging to the Serbian population which had fled. She also referred to the occupation of houses belonging to the Serbian population and, in some cases, eviction of Serbs residing there.

8          During our visit, these findings were confirmed by UN representatives in Zagreb, representatives of the Serb minority as well as by the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.

9          The Rapporteurs noted that most of the houses they saw in the area were either totally destroyed (in the case of Croatian villages) or had been burnt and looted (in Serbian villages). Several catholic churches and cemeteries damaged following events in 1991 were also observed. Although certain orthodox churches (such as in Knin) were intact, the UN observers have reported cases of destruction. The Rapporteurs were unable to verify these reports during their visit. The UN estimates that about 75 % of all homes in the area have been destroyed. The whole area seemed deserted. The above impressions were confirmed by a fact-finding visit made on behalf of the Committee on Culture and Education (see AS/Cult/AA (1995) 13).

10         President Tudjman and Foreign Minister Grani_ did not deny that criminal acts had taken place in the wake of operation "Storm". According to President Tudjman, many of these had been carried out by Serb terrorist groups while Foreign Minister Grani_ admitted that revenge acts by returning Croatian displaced persons had taken place, in addition to ordinary criminal acts. It was pointed out that the area, because of its geography and infrastructure, was difficult to control. However, the Rapporteur considers that access to the region could have been blocked relatively easily.

11         Assurances were given by the Croatian authorities that offenders were being brought to justice. However, despite repeated requests for details, only figures were given (for instance that 750 persons had been indicted of which 230 were said to have been formally charged). United Nations representatives in Zagreb stated that they were not given the possibility to verify any of these claims. In her report, Mrs Rehn also regretted the absence of specific information. Human rights organisations claim that in fact no prosecutions are taking place.

12         The Rapporteur considers it essential that in the light of the very serious human rights violations, which as such are not contested by the Croatian authorities, full clarification be provided on the prosecution of the suspected perpetrators. The Croatian Government was and is responsible for the safety of persons and property in the areas brought back under its control. Clearly, not enough was done to prevent criminal acts. Assurances that the situation is now under control should be verified.

13         The UN estimate that about 9,000 Serbs remain in the area. The Croatian authorities stressed that their safety was now guaranteed and that they were being given proper assistance. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has registered these people individually. Their average age is over 70 and most are living in isolated homes. As the area is virtually empty, the social fabric has disappeared. People are totally dependent on assistance. The Croatian government should be urged to provide this.

14         The Croatian authorities stressed that Serbs are welcome to return, but only on an individual basis. However, it would appear that although several thousand applications for return have been made, only a handful of people have in fact been allowed to return. From the discussion with President Tudjman it became clear that the question of return of Serb refugees is being linked to the return of Croatian displaced persons to Eastern Slavonia. This position was criticised by members of the Croatian opposition parties, who consider the right to return to be a basic human right which should not be arbitrarily restricted. The Rapporteur, too, finds it unacceptable that the return of people to their homes and the exercise of their rights to property be in any way made dependent on developments in Eastern Slavonia. On the contrary, conditions should be created for a return of the Serb population.

15         A Croatian Government Act on the temporary taking-over and administration of property left by Serb refugees, initially gave a 30-days (later extended to 90 days) deadline to return to Croatia and claim property. This deadline was suspended by the government on 27 December 1995.  While this decision is to be welcomed, Croatia should be urged to abolish the time-limit, as well as all other impediments, definitively.

III.       Kupljensko Camp

16         The Rapporteurs also visited the Kupljensko refugee camp (near the town of Vojinic) where around 19,000 Bosnian Muslims, many of them children, were living in inhuman conditions by the side of a road. These people are followers of rebel leader Fikret Abdi_, who controlled the nearby Bosnian region of Velika Kladuša. The already appalling conditions described in the report of Mrs Robert and Mr Iwinski (Doc. 7440) had worsened even further at the time of our visit because of the sub-zero temperatures. A press release was issued to draw attention to their situation and to put pressure on the Bosnian and Croat authorities to find a solution (see Annex 2). Tribute should be paid to the outstanding work done by the UNHCR staff in the camp, without whom the refugees would not have survived.

17         Pending a solution enabling a return of the refugees, the Croatian authorities should urgently improve their living conditions.

IV.       Eastern Slavonia

18         On 12 November 1995, an agreement was reached between the Croatian Government and a Serb negotiating delegation on the peaceful reintegration of Eastern Slavonia, Barania and Western Sirmium. The text of this agreement is contained in Annex 3. Its implementation will be the acid test of the agreement on mutual recognition and normalisation of relations concluded between Croatia and FRY.

19         Moreover, the UN Secretary General's proposals for a peace-keeping force of about 9,000 troops in the area has so far not been approved by the Security Council and is unacceptable to the Croatian Government. The Rapporteurs were repeatedly told that the Serbian side was blocking the implementation of the agreement and that a military solution might therefore become necessary.

20         It should be noted that apart from its economic value, the region and its main city Vukovar are of great psychological importance to Croatia. According to the UN, apart from disarming the Serb militia, housing will be the major  problem since tens of thousands of Croatian displaced persons will want to return to houses which have been taken by around 75,000 Serb refugees.

21         A new military action of Croatia could have serious consequences for the stability in the region and would almost certainly provoke a new mass exodus. Both sides should therefore be urged to stick to the terms of the November agreement. Moreover, the Council of Europe Member States should be asked to facilitate the creation of the necessary UN force.

22         On 16 January 1996, the UN Security Council decided to establish a transitional authority supported by a peace-keeping force.

V.        Other issues

23         During their various meetings, the Rapporteurs raised a series of other issues related to Croatia's request for membership.

24         Following the recent transfer of a Bosnian Croat (HVO) general Timohir Blaski_, indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague, to a post within the Croatian Army, the Rapporteurs strongly insisted during their meeting with President Tudjman that the Croatian authorities co-operate fully with the Hague Tribunal. Failure to do so would create a serious obstacle to Council of Europe accession.

25         It should be noted that even those interlocutors who criticised the government most strongly were generally in favour of Croatia joining the Council of Europe. However, it also appeared that there was much less unanimity on Croatia's meeting certain Council of Europe standards, such as freedom of the media and the independence of the judiciary. Clear commitments of the Croatian government in these fields will be necessary. When asked, President Tudjman stated that he was prepared to sign personally a list of commitments.

VI.       Conclusions

26         On 8 January 1996, the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned Croatia for the human rights abuses in the areas brought back under government control, and requested specific measures within a set time-frame (see Annex 4). Its findings closely correspond to those of the Rapporteurs as set out in this memorandum.

27         Full compliance with the demands of the Security Council must be a prerequisite for any further progress in the examination of Croatia's request for Council of Europe membership.

28         Only when such compliance has been ascertained by the UN Secretary General, - who has been asked to report not later than 15 February 1996 - should the procedure be continued.

29         After approval by the Committee, a list of commitments, taking into account the findings of the UN Secretary General, should be transmitted to the Croatian authorities. Following formal acceptance of these commitments by the Croatian President, a draft opinion could be prepared for the Committee's examination.

Annex 1

Programme of the visit of the Parliamentary Assembly Rapporteurs

to the Republic of Croatia

(7-10 December 1995)

Thursday 7 December 1995

5.00 p.m.Mr Ivan Zvonimir _i_ak, the President of the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and Rights of Minorities and his staff

7.00 p.m.          His Excellency Ondrej Havlin, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Republic of Croatia and Ambassador of Member States of the Contact Group and of the Council of Europe

Friday 8 December 1995

8.00 a.m.          United Nations Peace Force headquarters

10.00 a.m.         Vlatko Pavleti_, President of the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia

11.00 a.m.         _arko Domljan, the Vice President of the House of Representatives of the Parliament, President of the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives of the Parliament and the Head of the Delegation of the Parliament to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and members of the Committee

12.00 a.m.Mr Franjo Tudjman, President of the Republic of Croatia

1.00 p.m.                      working lunch

2.30-3.30 p.m.Mr Vladimir Šeks, Vice-President of the House of the Representatives of the Parliament and President of the Committee for Constitution, Rules of Procedure and Political System and members of the Committee

3.45 p.m.Mr Miroslav Kiš, President of the Committee for Human Rights and Rights of Ethnic and National Communities or Minorities and members of the Committee

5.00-6.00 p.m.Representatives of the Clubs of representatives of the opposition parties represented in the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia

6.15-7.15 p.m.Representatives of the Clubs of representatives of the Croatian Democratic Union

7.30-8.30 p.m.Representatives of the Serbian minority in the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia (Milan Duki_, Veselin Pejnovi_, Milorad Pupovac)

Saturday 9 December 1995

7.00 a.m.          Departure from Zagreb to Knin

12.00-1.15 p.m.The Commander of the Corps Station Knin and his staff, and Petar Paši_, Commissioner of the Government of the Republic of Croatia for Knin and his staff

2.30-6.30 p.m.Visit of Knin, Kijevo and Kistanje

around 7.30 p.m.Plitvicka Jezera

                                    (overnight stay)

Sunday 10 December 1995

8.00 a.m.          Departure

                                    Visit of Vojni_

10.00 a.m.         Visit to the refugee settlement Kupljensko - refugees from Velika Kladuša

12.00                            Visit of Glina

12.30-1.00 p.m.The Deputy County Prefect of the Sisa_ka-mooslova_ka County and the representatives of the Representatives of local authorities and Police Headquarters of Glina

1.00 p.m.          Croatian displaced persons and returnees

                                    Meeting with local Serbs

5.00 p.m.          Dr Mate Grani_, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia

Annex 2

Press release

Croatia: Urgent Appeal by the Assembly

STRASBOURG, 12.12.1995 - A rapporteur Group from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has urged the Croatian Authorities to take immediate steps to protect refugees.

RenÚ van der Linden (Netherlands, EPP), Rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee on Croatia's request for Council of Europe membership, today returned from a four-day visit to the formerly occupied areas of Croatia, together with his colleagues of the committees on Legal Affairs and Human Rights and on Relations with European Non-Member Countries.

They visited former UN Sectors North and South, brought back under governmental control in August including a refugee camp at Kupljensko.

In discussions with President Tudjman and Foreign Minister Granic, they stressed the need for the Croatian authorities to demonstrate that those responsible for the crimes committed in the area after the military operation were being brought to justice.

The Government should also facilitate and accelerate the return of the Serb population to the area.

They welcomed assurances that the Croatian government would co-operate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at the Hague.

Finally, the Rapporteurs urged the Croatian and Bosnian governments to find an immediate solution for the around 19,000 Muslim refugees at Kupljensko. "We were deeply shocked by the inhuman conditions under which these people, many of whom are children, are living by the side of a road without proper shelter and with temperatures well below zero" Mr van der Linden said. "These people should either be enabled to return voluntarily with adequate guarantees for their safety, or be given proper temporary accommodation".

Annex 3

Basic Agreement on the region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium

The parties agree as follows:

1.         There shall be a transitional period of 12 months which may be extended at most to another period of the same duration if so requested by one of the parties.

2.         The UN Security Council is requested to establish a Transitional Administration, which shall govern the Region during the transitional period in the interest of all persons resident in or returning to the Region.

3.         The UN Security Council is requested to authorize an international force to deploy during the transitional period to maintain peace and security in the Region and otherwise to assist in implementation of this Agreement. The Region shall be demilitarized according to the schedule and procedures determined by the international force. This international force and for police operating under the supervision of, or with the consent of, the Transitional Administration.

4.         The Transitional Administration shall ensure the possibility for the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes of origin. All persons who have left the Region or who have come to the Region with previous permanent residence in Croatia shall enjoy the same rights as all other residents of the Region. The Transitional Administration shall also take the steps necessary to reestablish the normal functioning of all public services in the Region without delay.

5.         The Transitional Administration shall help to establish and train temporary police forces, to build professionalism among the police and confidence among all ethnic communities.

6.         The highest levels of internationally-recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms shall be respected in the Region.

7.         All persons have the right to return freely to their place of residence in the Region and to live there in conditions of security. All persons who have left the Region or who have come to the Region with previous permanent residence in Croatia have the right to live in the Region.

8.         All persons shall have the right to have restored to them any property that was taken from them by unlawful acts or that they were forced to abandon and to just compensation for property that cannot be restored to them.

9.         The right to recover property, to receive compensation for property that cannot be returned, and to receive assistance in reconstruction of damaged property shall be equally available to all persons without regard to ethnicity.

10.        Interested countries and organizations are requested to take appropriate steps to promote the accomplishment of the commitments in this Agreement. After the expiration of the transition period and consistent with established practice, the international community shall monitor and report on respect for human rights in the Region on a long-term basis.

11.        In addition, interested countries and organizations are requested to establish a commission, which will be authorized to monitor the implementation of this Agreement, particularly its human rights and civil provisions, to investigate all allegations of violations of this Agreement, and to make appropriate recommendations.

12.        Not later than 30 days before the end of the transitional period, elections for all local government bodies, including for municipalities, districts, and counties, as well as the right of the Serbian community to appoint a joint Council of municipalities, shall be organized by the Transitional Administration. International organizations and institutions (e.g. the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations) and interested states are requested to oversee the elections.

13.        The Government of the Republic of Croatia shall cooperate fully with the Transitional Administration and the international force. During the transitional period the Croatian Government authorizes the presence of international monitors along the international border of the Region in order to facilitate free movement of persons across existing border crossings.

14.        This Agreement shall enter into force upon the adoption by the UN Security Council of a resolution responding affirmatively to the requests made in this Agreement.

DONE this Twelfth day of November, 1995

SIGNED:

Milan Milanovic

Hrvoje Sarinic

Head, Serb Negotiating Delegation

Head, Croatian Government Delegation

WITNESSED:

Peter W. Galbraith

Thorvald Stoltenberg

United States Ambassador

United Nations Mediator

Annex 4

Croatia: President of the Security Council statement of 8 January 1996

            The Security Council has considered the report of the Secretary-General of 21 December 1995 (S/1995/1051) submitted pursuant to its resolution 1019 of 9 November 1995 on Croatia and in particular the humanitarian situation and human rights violations described therein.

            The Security Council strongly condemns the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in the former sectors North and South in the Republic of Croatia as described in the report of the Secretary-General, including killings of several hundreds of civilians, systematic and widespread looting and arson other forms of destruction of property. The Council expresses is deep concern that there is a considerable discrepancy between the number of perpetrators that have so far been brought to justice and the number of reported violations of international humanitarian law and human rights. The Council urges the Government of the Republic of Croatia to make every effort to arrest all perpetrators and bring them promptly to trial.

            The Security Council is disturbed by the humanitarian and security situation of the mostly elderly Serb population who have remained in the former sectors in the Republic of Croatia. The Council is gravely concerned at the information contained in the report on the continuing extensive harassment and intimidation, looting of property and other forms of abuse. It reaffirms once again its demand that the Government of the Republic of Croatia take urgent measures to stop all such acts immediately and calls on the Government of the Republic of Croatia to provide urgently needed food, medical assistance and proper shelter to the Serb population.

            The Security Council reaffirms that all those who commit violations of international humanitarian law will be held individually responsible in respect of such acts. It recalls with dismay the failure to date of the Government of the Republic of Croatia to transfer to the custody of the International Tribunal established pursuant to its resolution 827 (1993) persons indicted by the Tribunal, and expresses its concern at the recent appointment of one of those indicted to a position in the Croatian army. The Council reiterates that all States must cooperate fully with the International Tribunal and its organs.

            The Security Council expresses its deep concern at the situation of the refugees from the Republic of Croatia who wish to return. The Council shares the Secretary-General's view that the rights of the members of the Serb population who fled during the military operation to return to their homes in safety and dignity are being severely curtailed by the absence of constructive measures to facilitate their return. The Council reaffirms its demand that the Government of the Republic of Croatia respect fully the rights of the members of the local Serb population, including their right to remain, leave or return in safety, and demands that the Government create conditions conducive to the return of those persons and urgently establish procedures to facilitate the processing of requests by persons wishing to return. It also urges the Government of the Republic of Croatia to refrain from any measure which would adversely affect the exercise of the right to return.

            The Security Council reaffirms its call on the Republic of Croatia to lift any time-limits placed on the return of refugees to reclaim their property. It notes the decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia of 27 December 1995 to suspend the deadline set in the relevant Croatian law as set in the right direction. The Council will follow closely whether the Republic of Croatia will lift any such time-limit in a definitive manner.

            The Security Council takes note with appreciation of the decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia of 30 December 1995 to suspend criminal proceedings against and release 455 local Serbs detained on suspicion of armed rebellion. The Council calls on the Government of the Republic of Croatia to take appropriate measures to ensure that the right to a fair trial of those Serbs who remained and have been arrested and accused of war crimes or armed rebellion is safeguarded.

            The Security Council affirms that it is necessary to ensure that the rights of persons belonging to the Serb minority are adequately safeguarded in the legal and constitutional framework of the Republic of Croatia. It urges the Government of Croatia to rescind its decision to suspend several articles of the "Constitutional Law on Human Rights and Freedoms and the Rights of National and Ethnic Communities in the Republic of Croatia" as described in the report of the Secretary-General. The Council stresses that strict respect for the rights of persons belonging to the Serb minority will also be of great importance to the implementation of the Basic Agreement of 12 November 1995 on the Region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (S/1995/951, Annex).

            The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council regularly informed on the progress of measures taken by the Government of the Republic of Croatia to implement resolution 1019 (1993) and the demands set out in this statement, requests the Secretary-General to report it no later than 15 February 1996 on this matter and expresses its intention to act as appropriate.

            The Security Council will remain seized of the matter.


Reporting Committee: Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography (Doc. 7440).

Committee for opinion: Political Affairs Committee.

Reference to committee: Reference N 2052 (Doc. 6951).

Draft opinion approved on 23 January 1996.

Secretaries of the committee: Mr Hartland, Mr Kleijssen and Mrs Ruotanen.


[1]. by the Political Affairs Committee