The OHR has reiterated it will not leave BiH until the Peace Implementation Council conditions and objectives are met.
By Drazen Remikovic for Southeast European Times in Sarajevo -- 31/05/12
Many see the May 23rd closure of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in the Brcko District as a step towards the end of the supervisory institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
But officials reiterated that the supervision will not end until five objectives and two conditions set by the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) Steering Board in 2008 are fulfilled.
Progress made in Brcko meant that supervision there was no longer needed, the OHR said.
"We are closing the supervision thanks to the local institutions and citizens which have shown great progress during past 15 years. They achieve to establish multiethnic institutions, have a high rate of return refugees [and maintain] an integrated system of education. The international community is convinced that local authorities and institutions have the political will and institutional capacity to work to serve the citizens of Brcko," the office said in a statement.
The PIC, however, has allowed for the reactivation of the office if the need arises.
The international community formed the OHR after the 1990's armed conflict to oversee the implementation of civilian aspects of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
To close the offices permanently, BiH must fulfill five objectives – resolution of state property, resolution of defence property, determine which entity should control the Brcko area, fiscal sustainability of the state and entrenchment of rule of law. In addition, it must meet two conditions – the signing a stabilisation agreement written June 2008, and the positive assessment of the PIC council.
Uros Gostic, an Alliance of Independent Social Democrats deputy in the Republika Srpska (RS) parliament, said that the end of supervision in Brcko is a positive move that is long overdue.
"This is definitely a step forward and we expect that the OHR will, in a short time, be completely abolished. BiH cannot enter the EU and NATO as a protectorate, and therefore it is necessary that the OHR leaves," Gostic told SETimes.
This position is supported by the Croatian Democratic Union in BiH, but representatives of the Bosniak parties oppose the OHR’s departure.
"Neither the legal nor the political conditions to close down the supervision have been fulfilled. The political situation in BiH is [not stable enough for] the abolition of the OHR or supervision in Brcko," Sulejman Tihic, the leader of the Party of Democratic Action, said.
Asim Mujkic, professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo, told SETimes "This is definitely a step towards the complete leaving of the OHR from BiH, but I don't see that the [removal] of this institution is going to solve the political problems in BiH,"
Munir Djecevic, 47, from Sarajevo, thinks that the OHR should remain in BiH because local politicians need supervision.
"If the foreigners leave, local politicians will do whatever they want. Their [inability] to lead the country has been proven countless times," Djecevic told SETimes.
But Ivan Bakic, 30, from Mostar, said that the OHR is an unnecessary institution.
"If we are unable to manage our own country then we should not have it at all. Therefore, the foreigners must leave the country so that we see, for ourselves, whether we are able to live like the rest of the world," Bakic told SETimes.