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UN Vetting Of Bosnian Police Must Improve

Challenges To UN Vetting Of Bosnian Police Must Be Addressed, Security Council Told

While Bosnia and Herzegovina has made real achievements in defence, intelligence reform, customs and indirect tax, the growing number of challenges to the United Nations-led police certification process requires attention, the Security Council was told today.

High Representative Lord Paddy Ashdown, the international community's top civilian administrator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said in an open briefing there were currently more than 150 non-certified officers who have asked the courts to assess the legality of their employer's decision to dismiss them on the grounds that they had not been certified by the United Nations/International Police Task Force (IPTF).

Even though most of those proceedings were currently pending, the first non-certified police officer was reinstated in January by order of a local court, Lord Ashdown said. The country's Human Rights Chamber has also decided that it is competent to examine whether such dismissals have been carried out in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The United Nations decertification process - which took place under the former UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) - had weeded out police officers whose past, particularly during the war, disqualified them from remaining on the force. Lord Ashdown stressed that this process must not be allowed to unravel.

Echoing that sentiment, the UN's Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, told the Council that although the UN no longer has a mandate for police reform in the country, it has sought to provide Lord Ashdown with assistance in dealing with those challenges, but so far, the question remains unresolved.

Mr. Guéhenno suggested that the Council could consider calling on the Bosnian authorities to abide by their international legal obligations. He backed the High Representative's view on the need for an early solution to challenges to the outcomes of the vetting process.

Adnan Terzic, Chairman of Bosnia's Council of Ministers, said his nation was another positive example of efficient international intervention and of how a post-conflict country could become active in the overall stabilization of an entire region. Following considerable efforts on the part of the international community and the local authorities, he said, "I dare say, that we are now, all of us together, close to the finish line."

While hailing the "huge job" that had been accomplished in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said more hard work was needed, calling for more joint efforts on domestic and international issues. He also assured the Council that the country's authorities would make whatever efforts necessary to fulfil the common goal of full political stability and economic sustainability.

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