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The State of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Political System

Since April 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been independent from former Yugoslavia (until May 2006 Serbia and Montenegro). The Constitution was included as Annex 4 into the Dayton, Ohio, General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) of 1995. According to the Constitution, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) comprises two entities - the Muslim-Croat Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (FBiH), and the Serb Republic (Republika Srpska - RS). Both Entities have their own parliaments, governments and administrative agencies.

In 1999, a court of arbitration did not award the politically and economically important town of Brcko at the entrance into the Posavina Corridor in the North-East of Bosnia to either of the two entities. Rather it was placed under the control of an international supervisor.

Besides the entity structure there are central-political institutions and administrative agencies like the state presidency, a two-chamber parliament,a central government and the ministries.

The first chamber of parliament (Parliamentary Assembly) is the House of Representatives with 42 members (28 from the FBiH, 14 from the RS). This chamber is elected directly by the people every four years. The voters in the FBiH and in the RS can vote only for their respective candidates. The second chamber, the House of People, is also elected every four years and comprises 15 members, five each from among the Muslims, Croatians, and Serbs. They are selected by the Parliaments of the two Entities.

Every five years the three-member State Presidency is elected by direct vote, consisting of one Muslim, one Croat and one Serb. The Chairmanship is rotated every eight months, with the chairman being the Head of State. This body is supported by the High Representative (HR - since January 2006 the German Dr. Christian Schwarz-Schilling following the British Lord Paddy Ashdown), who is responsible for the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Dayton Agreement. He is also the EU Special Representative to BIH. The HR is vested with exceptional political powers. He is selected by the Peace Implementation Council - a group of 55 nations and organizations. The UNSC confirms his appointment. The HR is not in the chain of command of EUFOR.

The elections of 2002 were the first elections that were not organized by the OSCE. At the end of 2002, a new common government was formed under Prime Minister Adnan Terzic, recommended by the State Presidency and approved by the House of Representatives. In essence, it consists of the three nationalist parties SDA, HDZ and SDS, the Serb-Bosnian PDP (Party for Democratic Progress), and the mainly Muslim SBiH. This government succeeded the coalition government "Alliance for Progress” consisting mainly of moderate parties.

The political landscape of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a complex, mainly because of the deep divisions within the multi-ethnic society. While the main government parties are relatively easy to grasp, there are many small parties in the opposition.

Apart from the state President there are also Presidents in the RS and in the FBiH. The President and the Vice President in the RS are elected directly by the people, while the President and Vice President in the FBiH are selected by their respective chambers. Representation of the people in the FBiH is similar to the common state. Apart from the House of Representatives there is also a House of People in which the members of the Canton Parliaments sit. In the RS the people send their representatives to their National Assembly by direct vote. The independent governments of the Entities carry significant political weight because the central government is in reality rather weak. The common institutions are responsible for foreign, financial, customs and immigration policies, also questions of immigration, defence, telecommunications and air traffic sovereignty. All other policy decisions are dealt with on the levels of the two entities.

The central government now consists of nine ministries. Domestic politics remains dominated by the formation of the nation and by far-reaching reforms across all sectors; defence, the judicial system, public administration, education, and economic policy.

Administrative Structure

The FBiH is made up of ten Cantons (Una-Sana - 1; Posavina - 2; Tuzla-Podrinje - 3; Zenica-Doboj - 4; Gora¾de - 5; Central Bosnia - 6; Neretva - 7; Western Herzegovina - 8; Sarajevo - 9; Livno - 10). As a rule, each canton is divided into six to ten communities or townships. Five cantons are mainly Bosniac (Sarajevo, Tuzla-Podrinje, Gora¾de, Una-Sana, Zenica-Doboj), and three are mainly Croat (Livno, Posavina, Western Herzegovina). The remaining two are mixed Bosniac and Croat (Central Bosnia, Neretva). In each canton a parliament is elected, and the head of each canton is the Governor. The seat of the main administration is Sarajevo.

The RS is divided into five communities or townships (Banja Luka, Doboj, Bijeljina, Sarajevsko-Romanijska, Trebinje). The town councillors are directly elected and are then responsible for appointing the mayors. The seat of the main administration is Banja Luka.

The Brcko District has a multi-ethnic administration with an elected Assembly, an autonomous multi-ethnic government, a separate police force, and an independent judiciary.

The Population

In 2004 the total population of Bosnia was estimated to be 4.36 million. However, this estimate is based on a census from 1991. As a result of the war and its associated ethnic cleansing an enormous shift in the population between occurred before 1995. The estimate must be considered highly unreliable until a further census can take place.

Altogether 1.7 million people fled because of the fighting and since Dayton around 1 million returned to the country. Today about 68 per cent of the population live in the Bosnian-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and the remainder of 32 per cent in the Serb Republic (RS).

The Entities

Before the war the various ethnic groups often used to live in mixed communities across the country. However the bitterness of the fighting has led to a state of affairs in which the population is particularly homogeneous at the present day.

The Bosniacs dominate Central Bosnia with its capital Sarajevo, the towns of Travnik, Zenica and Doboj including their connecting roads, the axis Tuzla - Mostar, and some enclaves as for instance Gora¾de in the RS in Eastern Bosnia.

The majority of the Bosnian Serbs live in two regions in the Northwest (area Banja Luka - Prijedor) and in the East of Bosnia (area Bijelina - Zvornik - Srebrenica - Foca - Trebinje), which are connected by the North corridor of Brcko.

Finally, most of the Bosnian Croats dwell in Western Herzegovina and in the hinterland of the Adriatic Sea (area Livno - Drvar), and in two enclaves in the Posavina (Orasje and Odzak). In addition there are some minor enclaves like Jajce, Vitez, Zepce, Usora and Kiseljak in Bosniac-controlled Central Bosnia.

Religions, Cultures and Traditions

A professional soldier needs to be familiar with the religious, cultural and social peculiarities of the local population. Without some basic knowledge it is easy to lose the respect of the community. This will obviously have a negative effect on our ability to accomplish the mission. In Bosnia religious and ethnic affiliations are practically identical.

The Bosniacs are mainly sunni Muslims. The Serbs are mainly orthodox christians. And the Croats are overwhelmingly roman-catholic.

History of Religions: Christianisation: Bosnia was a part of the Roman Empire and therefore became Christian territory. During the Great Migration period many heathen tribes arrived, among them Slavs, who later adopted the Christian faith (e.g. the Franciscan Mission, and the Slav apostles Cyril and Method).

Eastern and Western Christianity: Since the early Middle Ages the border between the spheres of influence of Rome (Western) and Constantinople (Eastern) Christianity ran through the Balkans. This is why today there are both catholic and orthodox Christians in Bosnia. Around this period a Serbian kingdom was founded and subsequently an independent Serbian-Orthodox Church was created in 1346.

Bosnia in the Ottoman Empire: The Serbian Empire was to be short-lived as the Ottomans swept across Eastern Europe. Their rule lasted for several centuries. Islam spread rapidly in Bosnia and among Albanians, partly because of migration and partly for economic and social reasons. In the bitter struggle for independence from the Ottomans and in the drive for national identity in the 19th century, religious leaders of all three Entities were involved.

The Muslims promoted regional autonomy under Ottoman rule, the orthodox Christians felt affiliated with the neighbouring Serbs, and the Catholics with the Catholic Croats. The Russian Tsars protected the orthodox population living in the Ottoman Empire, and the Habsburg Emperors did the same for the Catholics living there.

Yugoslavia: After the end of Ottoman rule and World War I, above all the Muslims were politically and socially marginalized in the Yugoslav Kingdom. In the Tito era the religions were oppressed and did not play any significant role in public life. However, since the sixties and seventies they were allowed more freedom to develop because the regime feared their influence less and attempted to strengthen the smaller ethnic groups within Yugoslavia.

Religion in the Bosnian Conflict: The Bosnian conflict was not a religious conflict. Nevertheless, the different religions (Catholic, Serbian Orthodox and Islamic) played an important role: - Each religion backed "their own” ethnic group and in this way contributed to the rifts between them. This is because religion and ethnicity are by and large the same thing in Bosnia. Religion often marks the only distinction between the populations.

- Each religion maintains that "their” nationality was not responsible for the conflict. They see themselves as the victims and to a large extent agreed with the policies of their leaders. Each accuses the others of war crimes.

- Religion played an important role in the development of nationalist sentiment.

- Religion gained increasing importance in society, and was subsequently misused for nationalist purposes.

- Religious symbols were used to draw a clear dividing line between "them and us” (for instance Croatian soldiers frequently put rosaries on their uniforms), and the prominent symbols of the enemy became favourite and easy targets, e.g. the minarets and domes of mosques.

- Religion became increasingly present in the mass media, and politicians professed to their religious conviction and donated large sums of money. In return, this money bought religious support for the nationalist policies.

The Roles of the Various Religions: Serb-Orthodox Church: After the fall of communism, the Serb-orthodox church saw the chance to revive the close bond between (a Serbian dominated) state and church. In the Milosevic era the church started to play an important role. In the beginning it openly supported Milosevic’s policies and frequently stated the views that the Serbs had always been the victims, that it saw itself as the defender of the Serb nation, and that it was striving for a united state for all Serbs. In Bosnia the representatives of the Serb-orthodox church supported their leader Radovan Karadzic without reservations.

Catholic Church: Initially the "Bosnian-Croat Catholic Church” supported the Croat-nationalistic party (Croat Democratic Union, HDZ) against the Communists. Some of them, in particular the Bosnian Franciscans, worked closely together with the HDZ and their ultra nationalist ideology. Some were even involved in military activities. Senior church leaders had some reservations and maintained a more moderate nationalist stance.

Islam: Throughout its history Bosnian Islam has been moderate and oriented toward European influence. In daily social life religion had little influence. The reality was, before the war, the Islamists were not a noticeable element of society at all. The Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic was a devout Muslim. Before he came to office in 1990 he spent some time in jail for his religious convictions. He favoured a multi-religious and multinational Bosnia but it was the catholic Croatians and above all the Serbs that feared a growing influence of Islam.

After failing to secure European support during the war - the diplomatic efforts of the EU and UN meant that European nations remained publicly neutral during the conflict - Izetbegivic turned to Islamic countries for help. They assisted the Bosniacs with money, weapons and even mujahadin mercenary soldiers. This tied Bosnia closer to the Islamic world and brought an influx of more radical Muslim ideology.

The Legal Status of Religion (according to the Religions Act of 2004): A summary of the essential elements: - Bosnia is a multi religious state, - every citizen has the right to freedom of religion, - religious discrimination is forbidden, and - all recognised religions enjoy equal status.

This Act expressly grants legal status to: - Islam, - Serbian-Orthodox church, - Catholic church, and - Judaism.

There is a provision to recognise additional religions. Most importantly from the act is a strict separation of church and state. There cannot be any official state religion.

Cultural Do‘s and Dont‘s: General: - In general, remain impartial and speak in a calm manner when dealing with both civilians and uniformed personnel. Neutrality in all discussions is vital to preserving the confidence of the population that EUFOR is unbiased. Avoid any judgement or assessment of the political situation regardless of the ethnic origin of whom you may be talking to.

- Many people have returned from living overseas - either working or living as refugees from the war. Do not presume that in speaking English or even other languages they will not understand - somebody will!

- Religious symbols should not be publicly displayed. This is a reflection of EUFOR‘s neutrality.

- Permission should be sought before taking pictures of people, especially in rural areas.

- When indicating the number 3 with the hand then do not use the thumb, index and middle fingers as this sign is the Serbian "Victory” sign and would be taken as an insult by Muslims and Croats.

- Conversely, the index finger and middle finger "victory” sign is an insult to the Serbs.

- Do not point at people with fingers as this may be considered rude.

- Do not collect war trophies or souvenirs. It is forbidden and extremely dangerous due to the presence of UXOs and mines.

- When not involved in military operations do not enter a mosque as this right is reserved for Muslims. If you are invited shoes should be removed, and females should cover their hair and exposed parts of their bodies.

- In public soldiers should behave in a proper and decent manner at all times. Loud and improper behaviour will be viewed as lack of respect for the local population.

- Do not conduct business with the local population unless officially appointed for this role. Examples include trading in cigarettes, alcohol, fuel, or changing money.

- Sexual relationships with the local population may cause serious problems. Very strong family ties prevail in these societies and violations of family "honour” may lead to acts of revenge. During the 1990’s an American was assassinated in Tirana because he had allegedly disgraced an Albanian girl.

- Photographing or filming of military installations is allowed only when ordered by a superior authority.

- Do not talk publicly about religion or politics since these topics are quite sensitive.

- Do not show off with your money in public, and do not throw it around. Average incomes in Bosnia are low and so boasting about money is very bad style and may give rise to offence.

- Do not put up EUFOR posters on trees because the local population usually fix their obituaries there.

- Some people complained about environmental pollution allegedly caused by EUFOR members. Bosnia is a beautiful country and environmental protection should be as important as it is in your home country.

For Her: - Dress tastefully - do not wear sleeve less T-shirts or shorts. The same applies to men.

- Do not wear garments that bring out your figure, like tight lycra sports clothes.

- As to your headgear, adapt to the environment and wear at least a headscarf where local women go entirely veiled.

- Do not shake hands with men because this is considered as too intimate.

- Do not go out alone after darkness.

For Him: - Do not stare at women and avoid eye contact with "Bulas” (Muslim women dressed in their traditional costumes).

- Avoid eye contact with women accompanied by their husbands since this may cause aggressive reactions from the men.

- As a couple, do not exhibit caresses in public, like kissing or holding hands.

- Do not take pictures of people without first obtaining their permission; in particular, this applies to women.

- Avoid walking through very narrow lanes in old centres of towns because they are often part of the sitting rooms of the residents and the domain of women.

- Politeness toward beggars is an Islamic tradition, and alms giving is an important part of this religion.

- During Ramadan, the month of fasting, withdraw from the public when eating, drinking and smoking.

- Arabic is the language of the Koran but is not spoken in all Islamic countries; however, everyone understands the greeting "Assalom Aleikom” - "Peace be with you”.

- Although others, mainly tourists, may not care about good behaviour - you as a soldier should!

Military Courtesy: As a soldier in a multi-national force you are a representative of your army. This applies to your military skills as well as to your behaviour and manners.

Service in a multi-national environment requires understanding of other nations. Be aware of the cultural diversity in EUFOR. After all, 33 nations from four continents are involved in the mission. It would be prudent to avoid passing judgement on the performance of other national contingents or individual.

In different societies gestures may carry different meanings. Therefore, avoid gestures that may be misconstrued. Some nations place particular value on rank, which should also be appreciated.

Operational conditions may entail hardships that may lead to personal discomfort. Complaining about such hardships in the presence of members of other contingents does not solve the problem but rather smears the reputation of one’s own contingent. Likewise, formalities play an important role in the reputation of a contingent. In particular salutes. Respect for other members of EUFOR must be a matter of course.

Importance of Towns

Many people were driven from their villages and moved to the better protected towns. Today many villages are deserted, and roads have gone to ruin. Agricultural areas were exten sively mined during the war and many are lying fallow. The social structure of towns has changed dramatically due to the arrival of many previously rural inhabitants and the exodus of much of the more wealthy and educated citizens. Today about 45 per cent of the population live in urban areas.

Languages and Script

In the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbo-Croatian used to be the official language, a combination of Serbian and Croatian. Today Bosniacs, Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs speak their own dialects which were recognized as languages in their own right after the collapse of Yugoslavia. In reality they differ only slightly in vocabulary and pronunciation. Linguistically speaking, the Bosnian version is identical to the Serbian and Croatian variants except for the addition of a large number of Turkish words. According to the FBiH Constitution, Bosnian and Croatian are official languages. In the RS, Serbian is the official language but a dialect, the "ijekavic” variant, is spoken, which is different from the "ekavic” variant spoken in Serbia. In the light of rising nationalism, the Bosnian-Croat Entity uses Latin characters whereas the Serb Entity prefers the Cyrillic script.

English and German are widely understood because of the large number of workers that have worked abroad.


The education system of Bosnia drifts in three separate directions. Each of the three entities attempts to explain contemporary history from their own viewpoint. Common classes on lan guage and history are not encouraged by the educational authorities, even in mixed communities. There is compulsory education between the ages of seven and fifteen. Universities are established in Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Mostar and Tuzla.

In summary, education in Bosnia is in serious need of reform. The three separate ministers of education agreed on a reform plan in May 2000. This provided for restructuring subjects, updating textbooks and methodology and an evaluation of the curriculum with a view to eliminating elements that foster the separation and fragmentation of the society.

Health and Social System

Since the end of the fighting health care has noticeably improved, although it bears no comparison with Central Europe yet and still suffers from a lack of technology and awareness of hygiene. In many areas there are no doctors educated to European standards and speaking foreign languages.

The social system works along the lines of the old Yugoslav system and the transition to a Western oriented system shows no sign of happening soon. This is due to a lack of investment from the responsible government authorities.


Landscape and Topography

Like most of the Balkan region, Bosnia is dominated by mountains divided by deep river valleys. About 90 per cent of the country is mountainous, with the exception of the Sava lowlands in the North and numerous "poljes” (hollow basins with flat, fertile ground). In some South Western parts these basins extend over hundreds of square kilometres.

In the North of the country is the Posavina, a lowland along the Sava River and its tributaries Una, Vrbas, Bosna and Drina. It constitutes the Southern-most part of the Pannonic Basin, a very fertile agricultural area.

In the central part of the country we find the Bosnian Ore Mountains that contain significant deposits of metal ores and granite.

The Southern part of the country consists of a complex pattern of peninsulas, islands and bays. The Dinaric-Hellenic Mountains spread like a broad belt beside the Balkan Mountains in a South Easterly direction. This belt starts at the Yulic Alps and ends at the island of Crete in the South. The Dinaric Alps rise steeply along the Adriatic Coast and form a natural border between the coast and the interior regions of the country. From Western Slovenia it runs parallel to the Adriatic Coast in a South-easterly direction for about 640 km, and joins the Albanian Alps in the North of Albania. The Western part of these limestone mountains is characterised by numerous crevices, hollows and caves. In the South the mountains are jagged and rugged. Many rivers flowing across the mountain ranges form massifs that show typical karstland structure. High-lying basins feature prominently in the landscape. Many of the rivers that originate in the mountains disappear into caves and sink holes. They emerge at the foot of the mountains near the Adriatic coast. The Neretva River flows in one of very few steep canyons through the mountains to the Adriatic Sea. The highest peak is the Bobotov Kuk in Montenegro with a height of 2,522 m. In general, the karst uplands lie at an altitude between 1,500 and 1,800 m above sea level. They are structured by high-rising mountains mostly above 2,000 m (highest peak: Maglic 2,386 m) and by extended "poljes”. The largest among them are near Livno, Trebinje and Glamoc. These areas are centres of agriculture and settlements because of the fertile soil deposited by floods.

In contrast the dry tableland in the South of the country is less densely populated than the wet and altogether friendlier uplands in the central and Northern areas. The karst tableland drops steeply to the Adriatic Sea. Several seismic lines of disturbance run through the mountains, and this is the reason why heavy earth quakes occur time and again.


The main rivers in Bosnia are the Sava, which drains into the Danube, and the Neretva, which flows into the Adriatic Sea.

The watershed between Danube and Adriatic Sea runs about 50 km inland parallel to the Adriatic Coast. An exception is the Neretva whose catchment area reaches almost 100 km inland.

The Sava forms the border with Croatia in the North and is navigable upstream as far as Sisak from its mouth into the Danube. Other important tributaries are Una, Vrbas, Bosna and Drina. Over a short stretch the Una forms the border to Croatia in the Northwest. The Bosna rises at the foot of Mount Igman near Sarajevo and empties into the Sava after a flow of 240 km. Over a long distance the Drina forms the Eastern border to Serbia. In its upper course the Neretva flows through ravines and gorges in mostly uninhabited areas, but in its lower course where the Mediterranean climate prevails, the valley widens. All these rivers have in common that in the spring (March, April) and in the autumn (October, November) floods occur very often, rendering the marshy bank areas impassable.

The rivers have remarkable hydro-electric potential. Major hydro-electric power plants are situated at the Drina near Bajina Basta and Zvornik, and at the Neretva near the Jablanica Reservoir about 25 km North of Mostar.

In the karst areas in the Southwest of the country most of the rivers flow underground through a branched out web of karst caves. Typical of karst areas, the surface drainage system is rather fragmentary and does not play a major role. Collapsed caves form "dolinas” (funnel-shaped sinkholes of some hundred metres in diameter caused by water erosion typical for karst landscapes) or "uvalas” and "poljes” (large examples of dolinas of several kilometres in diameter). Their bases are covered with deposits and weathering products that collect water, which often leads to extended floods in those areas lasting for several months. On the other hand, only few lakes and ponds can be found there, which often dry out in the summer. The situation is different in the North. In the shale and sandstone areas a dense web of bodies of water exists, which flow along the gentle North-South slope toward the Sava River. Only in limestone areas are they deeply cut into the surface. Typical of these areas is the rapid change between narrow and deep ravines and gorges, and wide valleys. This is because the rock composition changes quickly, with narrow gaps characteristic of limestone and wide valleys of sandstone and shale.


Large areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina have a Continental climate, characterised by long winters with lots of snow, warm and rather wet summers, and high precipitation during the transition seasons.

In spite of the proximity to the Adriatic Sea, large areas of the country are cut off from the Mediterranean influence because of the Dinaric Alps. However, in the basins of the South and West, this influence prevails, with milder and rainy winters and relatively hot and dry summers. In general, precipitation diminishes from the West to the East and from the North to the South. Other differences in temperature and precipitation are caused by different altitudes. The region with the highest precipitation is Popovo Polje Northwest of Trebinje with about 2,000 mm per year; the area with the lowest precipitation is in the East of the Posavina and in parts of Central Bosnia with only about 650 to 800 mm.

Mostar is typical of the Mediterranean influence in the West and Southwest of the country, and Sarajevo is typical of the continental influence. The data given for Bjela¹nica, a massif Southwest of Sarajevo, stand for altitudes of up to 2,386 m in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In that region the summers are short and cool, and the winters long and severe because of the cold winds from the Dinaric Alps.


More than 45 per cent of the surface of Bosnia is wooded, in the Herzegovina region the share is 90 per cent. Dominant trees are beech and oak (about 60 per cent), and fir, spruce and pine trees (about 40 per cent). Woods can be found throughout the whole country, with the only exception the karst areas in the South. There the forests are rather sparse with the tree line at about 1,600 m above sea level and the region of dwarf pine and alpine meadows above.

Only in national parks like the one in Sutjesky are the forests still unspoilt. The timber industry has been an important economic factor in the region for many years. Poor forest management explains why some formerly densely wooded areas bear only sparse vegetation.


The Problem Areas: In many cases barracks of the former JNA were occupied by UNPROFOR, IFOR and SFOR. This meant taking over the ecological burden of the past. EUFOR has now assumed the burden of past environmental mistakes together with the costs. Some serious ecological problems are only now starting to emerge. Large amounts of toxic waste require removal and disposal.

Problems of Disposal: The disposal of garbage and dangerous waste poses a particular problem in Bosnia for the following reasons: - There is no Environmental and Waste Disposal Law on the basis of which EUFOR could act in the framework of its Statute of Force Agreements (SOFA).

- There is no network of waste disposal sites and waste disposal facilities.

- The administration in this field is practically non-existent. Bosnia has not ratified the "Basle Convention”, and therefore the disposal of dangerous substances outside the country is not possible. This becomes a problem when EUFOR finds and seizes dangerous substances and the responsible party cannot be identified.

- Monitoring of disposal enterprises is very difficult due to an absence of suitable administration.

Since in EUFOR environmental questions are defined as "national matters” and only general guidelines have been passed, there are wide variations in standards. This requires particular efforts in the mission area to raise awareness, training and education.

Three Reasons for Environmental Protection in the Mission Area: The Question of Value: When considering the environment as the basis of life of man, it puts the individual at the centre of all calculations. A SFOR document states: "In addition to its forces, SFOR brings value which it seeks to impart on all communities. One of these values is respect for the environment and for the people who live in it.” This establishes the connection between the respect of the individual and the preservation of his natural resources, the protection of the environment.

The Protection of Our Own Soldiers: Our own soldiers need pure water and clean air in the environment in which they live. Therefore, the basis for life and the health of our soldiers must be a top priority.

Economic Considerations: Most peace support operations take place in an environment with civilian real estates and civilian ownership. This requires measures to protect the environment. In this context, environmental protection is no luxury but an economic necessity. Damage to property and the resulting claims against EUFOR are a significant expense. Environmental protection is cheaper than compensation for damages caused and must rank as highly as it does in our own countries. Planning for operations must include consideration of the effects on the environment.

Lessons Learned

Simple solutions work best!

Measures for the protection of the environment need not be expensive but must be taken into consideration in order to avoid future problems. Successful environmental protection in peace support operations will give confidence to the local population. Like other successes a clean environment can be used as good publicity in the course of the CIMIC framework. Conversely, environmental damage may spoil costly public relations exercises and lead to claims for damages. The protection of our soldiers (force protection) requires measures of environmental protection in the field of hygiene, e.g. water supply, waste disposal, air pollution control and noise protection, and when handling dangerous substances, e.g. chemicals, fuels and the like.

Therefore, measures of environmental protection have a high practical value for the success of our mission.

Transport and Communication


The main obstacle to transport and communication is the heavily rugged terrain. Constructing roads requires significant effort. In the usually harsh winters heavy snow fall causes snow drifts and jammed traffic. Moreover, the Civil War greatly affected the existing roads because a great deal of the transport infrastructure was destroyed at the beginning of the nineties.

Roads: The most important roads run from Croatia through Banja Luka, Jajce and Zenica to Sarajevo, and from the Adriatic harbour Ploce through Mostar, Jablanica, Sarajevo and Doboj to the Croatian border. Most of these roads run along river valleys in order to avoid steep and winding mountain passes. The most important lines of communication between the central part of the country and the harbours at the Croatian Adriatic coast follow the Neretva-Bosna valley Southwest of Sarajevo, which is the only one that crosses several canyons in the high karst zone. The road network is about 22,000 km long, of which about 4,000 km are motorways or dual carriage ways. Only half of the roads have hard surfaces.

Railways: Rail connections run from Sarajevo to the Adriatic coast and through Doboj to the Northwest and North. The most important railway is the connection ©amac, Doboj, Sarajevo, Mostar to Ploce, which crosses the full width of the Dinaric Alps and connects the country with the Croatian coast. Another track leads from Zagreb through Bosanski Novi and Banja Luka to Sarajevo.

Some sections of the railway net require repair or reconstruction. The sections which originally were electrified are now operated by diesel or steam until the electric net will be fully repaired again. Of the about 1,000 km of the railway net roughly 60 per cent are electrified. The gauge is standard gauge of 1,435 mm, and most of the routes are single-tracked.

The state-operated railway companies are ®eljeznice Federacija Bosne i Herzegovine (®FBH) and the ®eljeznice Republike Srpske (®RS).

Inland Waterways: The only navigable waterway is the Sava River. At the same time it forms the border to neighbouring Croatia. The most important harbours along the Sava are Bosanska Gradiska, Bosanski Brod, Bosanski Samac and Brcko.

Bosnia has access to the Adriatic Sea near the small town of Neum along a 13 km costal strip but does not have any harbour there. A bilateral agreement with Croatia regulates Bosnia’s access to the Croatian harbour of Ploce. Bosnia has no merchant navy.

Aviation: There are international airports in the vicinity of Sarajevo, Banja Luka, and Mostar. The Bosnian state-operated airline is Air Bosna (identification JA).


Telephone: The telecommunications network requires expansion across the country. It also requires comprehensive modernisation. Financial aid and diplomatic pressure from the international community enabled telephone communication between the entities to be re-established at the beginning of 1998. It has been working without major problems both within the country and internationally ever since.

Telephone numbers must be dialled in the following sequence: 1. International prefix: 00 2. Country code BIH: 387 3. City routing code, e.g. 33 (Sarajevo) 4. Local phone number 00-387-33-local number Roaming: Roaming service works in all foreign GSM networks with which the provider has concluded a contract. From the network of the roaming partners calls can be made anywhere, and moreover the calls are forwarded to foreign countries automatically. All calls from Bosnia to foreign countries must be made by means of the relevant international area code. The costs follow the regulations of the relevant provider for trunk calls and depend on the chosen tariff model.

Eronet Mobile Communications: GSM 900 Display: "ERONET” Technical identification: 218-3 218 = Mobile Country Code (MCC) for BiH 03 = Mobile Network Code (MNC) Fax service available GPRS service not available Data service available Website: www.eronet.ba Public Enterprise BH Telecom GSM 900 Display: "BIH BHGSM” or "BHGSM 21890” Technical identification: 218-90 Fax service available GPRS service not available Data service available Website: www.telecom.ba RS Telecommunications/MOBI´S Joint Stock Company Banja Luka GSM 900 Display: "GSM MS1” Fax service available GPRS service: no information available Data service available Website: www.gsmms1.com Internet: Internet Service Providers: BIH Net http://web1.bih.net.ba HPT Net http://www.tel.net.ba Open Society Fund (Soros Foundation) http://www.soros.org.ba Postal Services: Surface mail and air mail are in operation.

Mass Media

The mass media are still ethnically dominated. Although there is no censorship, direct influence of the party machines through steering of staffing and distribution of resources is still heavily felt. Nevertheless, especially in FBiH, there is a press critical of the government. International newspapers are available in major towns.

Television and Radio: Satellite TV is widespread and almost standard even in rural areas. Throughout the country about 40 television stations and more than 140 radio stations are operating. The most important media are the local radio stations, and most of them operate without license.

State-operated television stations: - FTV 1, FTV 2 (Radio-Televizija Fedaracije Bosne i Herzegovine): TV-station operated under public law; seat in Sarajevo; can be received throughout the FBiH and some parts of the RS.

Privately operated television stations: - HTV Hayat Sarajevo; independent; Bosniac influence; can be received in Greater Sarajevo.

- HTV Zetel Zenica; independent; can be received in the Zenica area.

- Independent TV Tuzla Founded by free journalists who want to promote the "values of a free society.” - HTV Oscar C Western Mostar; Croatian.

State-operated radio stations: - BH Radio 1 - Radio Federacije BiH Privately operated radio stations: - Studio 99 - Student’s Radio eFM - Studio N - Radio Nes - Radio Kameleon - Croatian Radio Herceg-Bosna - Studio 88 - Radio Pegaz International stations: Also the international community operates stations. Apart from some EUFOR radio stations for the entertainment and information of the troops there is TV OBN (Open Broadcasting Network) and Radio FERN (Free Elections Radio Network). OBN is under control of the High Representative and can be received throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina (http:// www.obn.net). Both stations are operated by local journalists of all Entities under the auspices of the international community.

Print Media: Access to print media is guaranteed although at relatively high prices. Papers from Croatia and Serbia are available only in the areas of their respective ethnic groups. In the Bosniac part of the Federation press products from Serbia-Montenegro and Croatia are available on a limited scale.

The most important papers: - Oslobodjenje ("Liberation”) Quality paper representing the Bosniac point of view but anxious to be independent.

- Dnevni Avaz Sarajevo; most widely read daily paper for the public at large; SDA influence.

- Sarajevske Novine Sarajevo; daily paper.

- Jutarnje Novine ("Morning News”) Sarajevo; daily paper.

- Glas Srpski ("Serbian Voice”) Banja Luka; daily paper; organ of the SR government.

- Nezavisne Novine ("Independent News”) Banja Luka; only paper which appears throughout the entire country.

- Slobodna Dalmacija BH Mostar; daily paper.

Sarajevo weekly journals are the party organs Hrvatska Rijec (HDZ BiH) and Ljiljan (SDA), and the independent political journals Dani, Slobodna Bosna, and Start.

News Agencies: - FENA Sarajevo; state-operated news agency.

- ONASA (Oslobodenje News Agency Sarajevo) Independent privately operated news agency.

- AIM (Alternativna Informativna Mreza) Non-commercialized network for the exchange of information between independent media in the entire area of former Yugoslavia, financed by foreign investors.

- SRNA Banja Luka; state-operated news agency of the RS.


Together with Macedonia and second only to Kosovo, Bosnia was among the poorest regions in former Yugoslavia. During the war large parts of the agricultural and industrial infrastructures were damaged or destroyed. Industrial production slumped by 80 per cent and fast rising unemployment and inflation resulted in a prospering black market. By 1995 unemployment rate had risen to 75 per cent, which caused the World Bank to describe the Bosnian economy as totally destroyed by the War.

Before the War agriculture was the dominant sector of the economy. Although the agricultural businesses were in private hands, they still were rather inefficient, and therefore large quantities of foodstuffs had to be imported. Corruption and mismanagement in the public and private sectors aggravated the problems.

Subsequently, the international community gave intensive economic recovery and reconstruction aid. Industrial activities started again after the ratification of the Dayton Peace Agreement and economic growth resumed.

The most important obstacles for the rapid recovery of the economy is a general lack of a financial system, the uncertain future of the nationalized industries, the loss of former markets, and the high unemployment rate. After a long delay privatisation is gaining momentum now, and the number of small and medium-size businesses is growing.

Economic Sectors

A large portion of the population is still employed in agriculture although small and outdated structures, lack of cooperatives, and the danger of land mines pose the greatest problems. Agriculture is concentrated in the fertile Sava lowlands, the large polje areas, and in the mountainous regions of the South, which are mainly used for tillage and grassland farming.

The manufacturing businesses (foodstuffs, wood, metal, textile), the energy, gas and water supply, and mining carry some importance. Although industry in the RS areas did not suffer as much damage as in the FBiH, production remains low there because international sanctions have had a serious impact on economic activity and market access. While the FBiH economy has enjoyed rapid growth in recent years, the RS economy is distinctly slumping.

There are no reliable figures as far as the services sector is concerned. It contributes about 58 per cent to the gross national product.

Published economic data is notoriously unreliable since the underground economy and black market are not included.

Foreign Trade: According to estimates, Bosnia imported 4.6 billion Euros worth of goods in 2003, and exported goods with a value of 1.4 billion Euros. The imported goods come mainly from the manufacturing branches (foodstuffs, chemicals, crude oil, crude oil derivates, coke etc.), and the most important export goods are metals, several raw materials, clothing and wood products.

Most imported goods come from Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Hungary and Austria, and the main export trading partners are Italy, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Greece.

Energy Industry: Hydroelectric power plants are along the rivers Drina, Neretva and Rama. However, large hydroelectric resources remain untapped.

Crude oil and natural gas must be imported. In the North of Bosnia, parallel to the Sava River, runs the most important oil pipeline of former Yugoslavia from Rijeka to Belgrade. The refinery of Bosanski Brod is supplied by this pipeline.

In 2001 a total of 9.98 billion kWh of electricity was produced, of which 54 per cent was generated in caloric power plants, and 46 per cent in hydroelectric power plants. Power supply is provided with a voltage of 220 Volt and a frequency of 50 Hertz.

Mineral Resources: There are major deposits of iron ore, brown coal, salt, bauxite, manganese, lead, zinc, copper, gold, chromium, magnesia, kaolin, gypsum, clay and quartz sandstone, which make Bosnia a country of manifold and extensive mineral resources.

The centres of the mining industries are in the Tuzla Basin, in the area Sarajevo-Zenica and in the region around Mostar.

Economic Data

Agriculture (in per cent of GDP): 19 per cent Industry (in per cent of GDP): 23 per cent Services sector (in per cent of GDP): 58 per cent Gross Domestic Product (2003): 6.2 billion Euro GDP per capita (2003): 1,580 Euro Unemployment (2002): ca. 40 per cent External dept (2004): 2.3 billion Euro Balance of Trade (2004): 3.2 billion Euro Measures and Weights: metric

A Single Military Force for the 21st Century

[This chapter is an extract from the "Defence Reform Commission 2005 Report” submitted by the Defence Reform Commission, Sarajevo, September 2005.] The Defence Reform Commission (DRC) bases its recommendations on the continuing endeavour to secure credible Partnership for Peace candidacy for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the legal obligation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and entity institutions to work towards NATO membership as required in Article 80 of the Law on Defence, the 16 December 2004 letter from the NATO Secretary General to the Chairman of the BiH Presidency, the Commission’s mandate contained in the High Representative’s decision of 31 December 2004, and the BiH Presidency’s decision of 23 February 2005 expressing commitment to obtain NATO membership.

The Defence Reform Commission’s recommendations address two broad themes: the creation of a single defence establishment and single military force in Bosnia and Herzegovina under fully functioning state-level command and control; and, the restructuring of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet the requirements of the foreign, defence and security policy aspirations of the state - specifically, collective defence and security. The underlying premise behind these two themes is the attainment of NATO standards in order to facilitate the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Euro-Atlantic processes and organisations - principally Partnership for Peace and in the future NATO and the European Union; all while being sensitive to the unique circumstances of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state with three Constituent Peoples and Others and the need for its armed forces to belong to and protect all its peoples.

Key Facts

Command and Control: - There is a single chain of command. It runs from the Presidency of BiH, acting on the basis of consensus, to the Minister of Defence, to the Chief of the Joint Staff, to the Commander of the Operational Command and Commander of Support Command, and through them to their subordinate elements.

- The Ministry of Defence, together with the Joint Staff, is responsible for policies and plans. Operational Command, Support Command, and their respective subordinate elements are responsible for implementing the plans and policies issued by the Ministry of Defence and the Joint Staff in accordance with the law and regulations.

- The BiH Parliamentary Assembly will retain its responsibility for parliamentary oversight of defence institutions in accordance with the Law on Defence of 2003.

Conscription, Reserves, and Professionalisation: - The new Armed Forces of BiH will be comprised exclusively of professional personnel. Conscription will be abolished as of 1 January 2006. The obligation of conscripts for mobilization (age 40 in RS and age 60 in the Federation) will be abolished as of 1 January 2006.

- The conscript registries and other files related to military service currently held by municipal branch offices of the entity MoDs will be transferred to civilian municipal authorities so that any proof of training or other official documentation required by citizens will be available.

- The DRC recommends that the entities take the necessary steps to eliminate from their criminal codes any offences related non-fulfilment of obligatory military service and offer an amnesty to any persons who may not have, for whatever reason, fulfilled their military service obligation since 1992.

- The Passive Reserve force of 60,000 (40,000 Federation; 20,000 RS) organized in six divisions will be abolished from 1 January 2006.

- A new Active Reserve force will be established over the next few years and will be 50 per cent of the active duty force. Its initial members will be recruited from the ranks of professional soldiers who have left service since 2002.

- The Active Reserve force will be staffed by professionals who have completed their active duty service and individual specialists recruited from the population and subjected to military training.

- Members of the Active Reserve will be expected to conduct periodic training each year, for which they will be paid.

- The Active Reserve will consist of elements that are sub-units of active duty formations, specialized units such as medical and Chemical/ Biological/ Nuclear/ Radiological warfare reaction units, and individual specialists.

The AFBiH Regimental System as a NATO-compatible Single Military Force: - There will be three infantry regiments, each responsible for maintaining and fostering military heritage and identity of the units from which they are descended, meaning the ARBiH and HVO components of the former Federation Army and the former VRS.

- The other, smaller branches of the AFBiH, such as engineers, signals, and artillery, will be organized as single regiments and have units assigned in support of the three brigades.

- Members of each regiment will wear their regimental insignia on their left arm and the flag of BiH on the right arm. The names and insignia of the infantry regiments have yet to be approved and should have input from senior military officers.

- Regiments have no operational or administrative authorities. They have small regimental headquarters of less than 10 military personnel that handle ceremonial and other regimental affairs.

- Each regiment may have a regimental "colonel”, which is a strictly honorary role as the head of the regiment. The "colonel” is usually a senior military person of significance to the regiment and may be an active duty, reserve, or retired officer.

- Recruiting for the new all professional AFBiH will be from throughout BiH and based on vacancy announcements specifying the location, unit and regiment of each vacancy. Applicants are allowed to express their preference for the regiment and unit they wish to join, and they will be offered a place in that regiment and unit if it is available. If the vacancy is over-subscribed, then the candidate may opt to take a posting in a different regiment or unit, but in no case will a candidate be assigned to a regiment against his or her choice.

The Active Duty Armed Forces: - The size of the active duty AFBiH will be reduced by eliminating those positions currently involved with the training and administration of conscripts and the passive reserves. The size will be somewhere between 9,000 to 10,000.

- The AFBiH will consist of three manoeuvre brigades, one tactical support brigade, and one aviation brigade, all under the control of the Operational Command.

- The three manoeuvre brigades will each consist of three infantry battalions, one from each of three new infantry regiments.

- Each manoeuvre brigade will have supporting arms such as artillery, engineers, signals, etc.

- The brigade headquarters will be in Banja Luka, Tuzla, and Mostar, but battalions and units assigned to the brigade will be stationed throughout each brigade’s area of responsibility.

Ethnic Representation in the AFBiH: - The AFBiH belong to and should reflect the composition of BiH as a state with three Constituent Peoples and Others.

- The Three Constituent Peoples are equally represented in each senior decision-making level beginning with the Presidency and down to the Operational Command and Support Command.

- The Minister of Defence, Chief of the Joint Staff, the Commander of the Operational Command, and Commander of Support Command each have two deputies whose responsibilities are defined in the law. The principal and his deputies cannot be from the same Constituent Peoples.

- The Presidency shall be responsible for setting the levels of ethnic representation in the AFBiH, taking into consideration the constitution, laws, the last census, operational readiness, manning, morale, and cohesion of the AFBiH. They will pay special care to ethnic representation within non-infantry regiments to ensure they have minimum representation of each Constituent Peoples.

Transfer of the Functions Performed by the Entity Ministries of Defence and Commands: - The functions currently performed by entity Ministries of Defence and Commands will be either absorbed by the BiH Ministry of Defence or Joint Staff, or transferred to the new Personnel, Logistics, and Training and Doctrine Departments of Support Command.

- The entity ministries of defence and commands will be legally abolished on 1 January 2006. Those employed in them will become BiH employees and continue to carry out their work until new books of rules and consolidated position descriptions are developed in each functional area. This will be done on a phased basis and will take up to two years to accomplish.

- With the elimination of conscription there will no longer be a need for municipal or cantonal branch offices of the entity MoDs. However, all qualified personnel employed by the entity MoDs will be considered for the new consolidated positions in the BiH MoD and other institutions.

- Nominations and appointments to the new consolidated positions will be done through an internal mechanism as defined in the law. Only qualified personnel currently employed in the entity and BiH MoDs and institutions will be eligible for these appointments until the transformation process is completed.

Defence Budget: - There will be a single defence budget at the level of the state from 1 January 2006.

- Stable funding for the next 3-4 years will be essential to implementing defence reforms.

- Defence spending has already dropped by 55 per cent since 2002 and further cuts would seriously hamper defence reform.

- Funds that otherwise would be spent on conscription should be reinvested into the AFBiH to implement defence reform and improve the quality of life for soldiers.

Timelines: - Implementation will begin with entry into force of the new laws, but the first major milestone is 1 January 2006, when the entity MoDs and commands will be taken over by BiH defence institutions and the new single defence budget comes into effect.

- The Presidency will need to approve the new force structure, size, and distribution of the AFBiH by 1 July 2006.

- By 1 July 2007 the new brigade headquarters, their assigned infantry battalions, the new infantry regiments, and the regimental headquarters should have been established and in their stations.

- By 31 December 2007 all other branches should have established their regimental headquarters and be in their new stations.

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