High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina


High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
High Representative of
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ohr-logo2-a.jpg
Incumbent
Valentin Inzko

since March 26, 2009
Inaugural holder Carl Bildt
December 14, 1995
Formation Dayton Peace Agreement
December 14, 1995
Website Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Politics and government of
Bosnia and Herzegovina



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The High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was created in 1995 immediately after the Dayton Peace Agreement to oversee the civilian implementation of this agreement. The High Representative and the OHR represent the countries involved in the Dayton Accords through the Peace Implementation Council. From 2002 until 2011, when Peter Sørensen was appointed on this position, the High Representative also served as the European Union Special Representative to Bosnia.[1][2]. In 2011 All of the High Representatives have been from EU countries, while their principal deputies have been from the United States. Principal Deputy High Representative serves the role of Brčko District Supervisor.

Contents

Legal basis in the Dayton Peace Agreements

The Dayton Agreement created the legal basis for the OHR. Its Annex 10 provide with the institution of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina to oversee the civilian implementation of the agreement, representing the countries involved in the Dayton Accords through the Peace Implementation Council.

The Bonn Powers of the OHR

At its December 1997 meeting in Bonn, the Peace Implementation Council agreed in granting further substancial powers to the OHR, in order to avoid the implementation of the Dayton agreement being delayed or obstructed by local nationalist politicians. The OHR was requested to:

  1. adopt binding decisions when local parties seem unable or unwilling to act;
  2. remove from office public officials who violate legal commitments or, in general, the DPA.[3]

The Bonn powers were extensively used by the OHR in the following decade. Some examples include the adoption of the Defence reform in April 2003, with the suppression of the Supreme Defence Council of the Republika Srpska, and the amendment of Entity Constitutional Laws[3]

Until 2004, the OHR had dismissed a total of 139 officials, including judges, ministers, civil servants and members of parliaments or ministers, sometimes along with freezing their bank accounts. After the 2002 elections, the OHR scrutinised all political candidates for major ministerial positions at Entity and State level.[3]

Criticisms of the action of the OHR through its Bonn powers include:[3]

  • the lack of accountability of his position, which is only responsible to the Peace Implementation Council;
  • the lack of appeal of his decisions, which are not bound on a preliminary hearing of the concerned persons, and which have immediate effect. Removals may in some cases also impose a life-ban on public offices.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which Bosnia and Herzegovina had joined in 2002, has voiced complaints against the actions of the OHR, requiring it to transfer his powers to the Bosnian authorities as soon as possible.[4]

The OHR's prolonged interference in the politics of Bosnia and Herzegovina is also considered to be one of the causes of the low commitment of citizens towards the state (shown by low voter turnout) and of low accountability of politicians (whose actions are finally subject to external review).[3]

Fusion with the EUSR post

Since 2002, the High Representative also serves as the European Union Special Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina.[5]

Under Christian Schwarz-Schilling, the OHR seemed to soften its invasiveness, thanks to pressures from the Council of Europe and a growing EU involvement. The number of OHR legislative initiatives and of dismissed officials lowered.[3]

On 27 February 2007, the PIC decided to end the High Representative's mandate on 30 June 2008. The EU decision to shut down the OHR by June 2007 unexpectedly arose disappointment and concern in the Bosnian population, NGOs, and politicians.[3] However, since the PIC February 2008 review, it was decided to extend that mandate indefinitely until a set of positive benchmarks have been fulfilled.[6]

Conditions for closure of the Office of the High Representative

In February 2008 the Peace Implementation Council set the conditions for closure of the OHR. The most critical issues will be considered objectives to be achieved by the BiH authorities before transition from OHR to a European Union presence can take place. From a long list of known priorities the PIC selected the key ones for transition, for closure of OHR:[6]

  • Resolution of State Property
  • Resolution of Defence Property
  • Completion of the Brčko Final Award
  • Fiscal Sustainability of the State - completed as of May 2010, should be continuously sustained[7]
  • Entrenchment of the Rule of Law - completed as of May 2010, should be continuously sustained[7]

In addition to these objectives there are also two conditions:

  • signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement - completed on 16 June 2008
  • positive assessment of the situation in BiH by the PIC Steering Board - to be assessed after all others are completed

Additional non-written condition to be enforced trough the "assessment by the PIC Steering Board" final condition, was adopted later by the US and some[by whom?] EU countries:[8]

Closure of the OHR is considered[by whom?] to be a pre-condition for EU membership and even for candidate status.[8]

List of High Representatives

# Name Took Office Left Office Country
1 Carl Bildt 14 December 1995 18 June 1997 Sweden
2 Carlos Westendorp 18 June 1997 18 August 1999 Spain
3 Wolfgang Petritsch 18 August 1999 27 May 2002 Austria
4 Paddy Ashdown 27 May 2002 31 January 2006 United Kingdom
5 Christian Schwarz-Schilling 31 January 2006 2 July 2007 Germany
6 Miroslav Lajčák 2 July 2007 26 March 2009 Slovakia
7 Valentin Inzko 26 March 2009 Incumbent Austria

See also

References

External links


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