Changing Dynamics in the Western Balkans
Changing Dynamics in the Western Balkans
Briefing 66 / Europe & Central Asia

Brčko: Nesupervizirano

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Pregled

Vrijeme je za zatvaranje međunarodne supervizije Distrikta Brčko. Nekada smatran modelom posljeratnog pomirenja i dobre uprave, sada se guši u korupciji i lošoj upravi koje su procvjetale uprkos najboljim naporima supervizora. Teritorija je vitalna za stabilnost Bosne i Hercegovine; povezuje dva dijela kako Republike Srpske tako i Federacije BiH, i tehnički pripada oba entiteta ali ima neovisnu upravu i multietničnost. Mnogi od njegovih bivših lidera su pod sumnjom u istrazi zbog korupcije koja je možda samo zagrebala površinu; nekoliko visoko profiliranih razvojnih projekata se urušava u bankrotu i sudskim procesima. RS ima jak utjecaj u distriktu ali ne prijeti narušavanjem njegovog statusa. Ipak bi međunarodna zajednica trebala osigurati da lideri RSa nemaju nikakve sumnje da bi svaki pokušaj preuzimanja Brčkog doveo do snažne reakcije. Stabilnost sada ovisi o tome da li lokalni političari, institucije za sprovođenje zakona i sudstvo mogu preuzeti odgovornost. Međunardna supervizija više ne pomaže i potrebna je nova strategija. 
Specijalni međunarodni Arbitražni Tribunal uspostavljen kao dio Dejtonskog mirovnog sporazuma je stvorio Brčko Distrikt u avgustu 1999. (“Finalna odluka”), pod isključivim suverenitetom Bosne i Hercegovine kao multietničku, demokratsku jedinicu lokalne samouprave. Međunarodni supervizor, koji je i u funkciji zamjenika Visokog predstavnika, je također bio naimenovan 1997. za nadzor implementacije Dejtonskog sporazuma u Brčkom sa izvršnim autoritetom da proglašava obvezujuće regulacije i naredbe. 
U 2009. međunarodna zajednica je procijenila da institucije u Brčkom funkcinišu efikasno i naizgled trajno, što je glavni uvjet koji je postavljen da bi se omogućilo zatvaranje specijalne supervizije. Od tada su uvođeni dodatni uvjetu uglavnom za RS da bi se pokazalo da ona nema namjeru uzurpirati autoritet Brčkog. RS nema potraživanja prema distriktu i izgleda da je formalno ispunila i zadnji uvjet priznavanjem da međunetitetska granična linija (IEBL), koja dijela dva BiH entiteta, ne prolazi kroz Brčko. 
Ovo je naizgled loš trenutak za zatvaranja međunarodne supervizije. Distrikt se suočava sa najvećom krizom uprave i ekonomskog razvoja usljed radikalizacije političkih pozicija i endemske korupcije. Cijela BiH je potresena političkom i ekonomskom krizom. Više od godinu dana nakon izbora u oktobru 2010. nije formirana državna vlast niti su usvojeni budžeti za 2011. i 2012. Neki se plaše da je RS sve opredjeljenija da proglasi nezavisnost od BiH i da bi Brčko bilo mjesto gdje bi takvi potezi doveli do novih nasilja. Ali supervizija u Brčkom se odnosi samo na unutrašnju vlast; ne može uticati na bezbjednost u čitavoj BiH, što ostaje odgovornost već oslabljenog Visokog predstavnika (OHR) i bezbjedonosnih snaga EU (EUFOR). 
Međunarodni supervizori za Brčko nisu iskorijenili korupciju u proteklih deset godina i nemaju niti resursa niti međunarodne podrške da sada nametnu promjene. Zadržavanje supervizora kao nekoga ko snosi završnu odgovrnost u Distriktu daje mogućnost lokalnim političarima da na lak način izbjegnu konačno prihvatanje odgovornosti. Bosanci i Hercegovci će prije ili kasnije morati pokazati da su sposobni da zaštite svoje osnovne interese. 
FBiH je od samog početka zanemarivala Brčko district, stvarajući vakum koji je RS rado popunjavala. Vlada i političke partije FBiH, koje su prisutne u Brčkom trebaju raditi na popravljanju odnosa sa lokalnim kompanijama i političkim elitama kako bi izbalansirali uticaj Banja Luke. Sa svoje strane RS ima legitimne interese u Distriktu i bitno je doprinijela njegovom ekonomskom oživljavanju; ovaj benigni uticaj bi trebao biti podržan i treba da raste. Radeći skupa kroz BiH državu, Srbi, Bošnjaci i Hrvati trenaju surađivati i dogovoriti se da lociraju barem jednu značajniju lokalnu državnu agenciu u Brčko distriktu. Svi bi trebali intenzivirati napore u borbi protiv lokalne korupcije, posebno jačajući nezavisnost policije, tužilaštva i suda. 
U isto vrijeme dok međunarodna zajednica radi na tome da navede lokalne zvaničnike da preuzmu odgovornost za vlastita djela, ona bi trebala da napravi paralelne korake kako bi stavila svima do znanja da je njena opredjeljenost ka nezavisnosti i teritorijanom integritetu BiH i dalje čvrsta i da bilo koji pokušaj RSa da naruši odredbe Dejtonskog sporazuma, uključujući specijalni status Brčkog, će biti odlučno sankcionisane. Interesi RSa u Brčkom ne smiju dovesti do toga da se vjeruje da oni mogu uspješno dovesti u pitanje finalnu odluku. Shodno s tim:

  • na sastanku Vijeća za implementaciju mira (PIC) 12. i 13. decembra supervizor za Brčko bi trebao predložiti zatvaranje supervizije u okviru određenog broja mjeseci, ali bi Arbitražni Tribunal trebao ostati otvoren kao sigurnosni mehanizam. U slučaju ozbiljnog narušavanja autonomije Brčkog od strane RS (ili FBiH) Tribunal bi ponovo mogao otvoriti superviziju ili čak izmjeniti Finalnu odluku i dodijeliti Distrikt drugom entitetu. Zatvaranje supervizije i zadržavanje tribunala nije bilo predviđeno u Dejtonskom mirovnom sporazumu i finalnoj odluci iz 1999 ali članice PICa to sada ozbiljno razmatraju. Čini se manje vjerovatno da bi se tvrdnje protiv ove strategije mogle održati ukoliko bi se PIC, Brčko supervizor, Predsjedavajući Arbitražnog Tribunala za Brčko, američki diplomata Roberts B. Oven složili oko ovog poteza, kao što su se složili sa zadržavanjem tribunala 12 godina nakon donošenja Finalne odluke.
     
  • EU bi trebala dodatno staviti do znanja svoje namjere da će posvetiti veću pažnju Brčkom. EU delegacja u BiH treba pomoći BiH zvanićnicima da se bore protiv korupcije kroz jačanje vladavine zakona i relevantnih institucija i pripremanje za pristupanje EU, uključujući otvaranjem ureda u Distriktu, kada se regionalni ured na čijem je čelu supervisor zatvori. Veći dio odgovornosti za donošenje i implementaciju (acquis com¬¬mu¬nau-taire) EU zakona, pripada BiH entitetima i kantonima, i Brčko distriktu, koji ima bitno slabiji kapacitet. On zahtijeva podršku kroz postepenu reformu. Koristan prvi korak bi bio da supervizor u svojim finalnim mjesecima radi sa vlastima kako bi podržao usvajanje strategije protiv korupcije za 2009-2014, čiju bi implementaciju pomogla EU. 

 

Sarajevo/Istanbul/Brisel, 8. decembar 2011.

I. Overview

It is time to close international supervision of Bosnia’s Brčko District. Once seen as a model of post-war reconciliation and good government, it is drowning in corruption and mismanagement that flourished despite its supervisors’ best efforts. The territory is vital to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)’s stability: it links the two halves of both Republika Srpska (RS) and the BiH Federation (FBiH), and belongs technically to both entities but is independently governed and multi-ethnic. Many of its former leaders are under suspicion in a corruption probe that may have only scratched the surface; several high profile development projects are collapsing in bankruptcy and litigation. RS has a strong influence on the district but is not threatening to undermine its status. Nevertheless, the international community should ensure that Serb leaders of that entity are left in no doubt that any move to take Brčko over would meet a strong reaction. Stability is now dependent on whether local politicians, law enforcement and the judiciary can take responsibility. International supervision is no longer helping, and a new strategy is needed.

A special international Arbitral Tribunal established as part of the Dayton Peace Accords created the Brčko District in August 1999 (the “Final Award”), under the exclusive sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a multi-ethnic, democratic unit of local self-government. An international supervisor, who also serves as Deputy High Representative, was also appointed in 1997 to oversee implementation of the Dayton agreement in the Brčko area with executive authority to promulgate binding regulations and orders.

In 2009 the international community assessed that Brčko institutions were functioning effectively and apparently permanently, the main condition that had been set to enable closing down the special supervision. Since then additional conditions have been put mainly on the RS to demonstrate that it has no intention to usurp Brčko authority. The Serb entity is making no claim on the district, and apparently has formally fulfilled the final condition by acknowledging that the inter-entity boundary line (IEBL), which splits Bosnia’s two entities, does not run through Brčko.

This may appear the wrong time to end international supervision. The district faces its greatest crisis yet of governance and economic development, due to hardening political positions and endemic corruption. All Bosnia is being shaken by a political and economic crisis. Over a year since the October 2010 elections, there are neither a state government nor 2011-2012 state budgets. Some fear the RS is increasingly intent on declaring independence from BiH, and Brčko will become the site of renewed violence in connection with such manoeuvres. But supervision there involves only the town’s internal governance; it cannot affect BiH-wide security, which remains the responsibility of the already weakened High Representative (OHR) and the EU member state force (EUFOR).

The Brčko international supervisor has not stemmed corruption for more than a decade and has neither resources nor international support to impose change now. Retaining him as ultimately responsible in the town provides an easy way for local politicians to avoid finally exercising that responsibility and accountability which Bosnians must ultimately show themselves capable of to protect their own basic interests.

The FBiH has neglected Brčko District since its establishment, creating a vacuum RS is eager to fill. The Federation government, and the FBiH-based parties with branches in Brčko, should work to improve relations with local business and political elites to balance the weight of Banja Luka. For its part, RS has legitimate interests in the district and has contributed much to its economic revival; this benign influence should be encouraged to continue and grow. Working together through the BiH state, Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats should also cooperate in agreeing to locate at least one significant government agency in Brčko District. All should intensify efforts to fight local corruption, especially strengthening independence of police, prosecutors and judges.

Moreover, at the same time as the international community acts to compel local officials to take responsibility for their own affairs, it should take parallel steps to make clear that its commitment to the independence and territorial integrity of Bosnia remains firm and that any attempt by RS to violate the provisions of the Dayton peace dispensation including the special status of Brčko will be met decisively. RS’s interests in Brčko must not be allowed to lead to a belief that it can successfully question the Final Award. Accordingly:

  • At the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) meeting on 12-13 December, the Brčko supervisor should recommend that supervision close within a set number of months, but that the Arbitral Tribunal stay open as a safety mechanism. In case of a grave violation of Brčko’s autonomy by RS (or the FBiH), the retained tribunal could reopen supervision or modify the Final Award and assign the district to the other entity. Closing supervision and retaining the tribunal were not foreseen in the Dayton Peace Agreement or in the Final Award of 1999 but is being seriously considered by PIC members. It seems unlikely that a claim against this strategy could be sustained if the PIC Steering Board, the Brčko supervisor and the head of Brčko Arbitral Tribunal, U.S. diplomat Roberts B. Owen, agree to these steps, as they have to the maintenance of the tribunal twelve years after the Final Award was made.
     
  • The EU should give further indications of its intention to pay greater attention to Brčko. Its delegation to BiH should help Bosnian officials fight corruption through strengthening the rule of law and relevant institutions, and preparing for the EU accession, including by opening a new office in the district, as the regional office of the OHR headed by the supervisor closes. Most of the responsibility for adopting and implementing the acquis communautaire, the body of EU law, falls to Bosnia’s entities and cantons – and on Brčko, which has a much smaller capacity. It will need support through gradual reform. A useful first step would be for the supervisor in his final months to work with the government to encourage adoption of the Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2009-2014, which the EU could help implement.

 

Sarajevo/Istanbul/Brussels, 8 December 2011

Changing Dynamics in the Western Balkans

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker talks to Crisis Group expert Marko Prelec about the precarious situation in the Western Balkans, as Serb separatism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the frozen Kosovo-Serbia dispute continue to stoke regional instability.

The Western Balkans, a region defined in part by not being in the European Union, also contains several countries that were devastated by war in the 1990s. Now it faces new troubles, driven in part by the legacies of the old. Bosnia and Herzegovina is confronted with calls for secession in the autonomous Serb-dominated region, Republika Srpska, as well as the ongoing electoral grievances of its Croat minority. Meanwhile, efforts to resolve Kosovo’s dispute with Serbia over its independence have come to a standstill, leaving minority communities on both sides of the border vulnerable.

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker talks to Marko Prelec, Crisis Group’s Consulting Senior Analyst for the Balkans, about why ethnic tensions persist in the region and whether there is any risk of a return to conflict. They discuss the prospects for European integration, asking whether the promise of EU membership remains an effective incentive for resolving these longstanding disputes. They also consider what impact Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had for stability in the Western Balkans, a region where painful memories of war are still very salient today.



Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more of Crisis Group’s analysis, make sure to check out our Balkans regional page and keep an eye out for our upcoming report on the risk of instability in the Western Balkans.

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