Boundary Demarcation: General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina

THE GENERAL FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT: ANNEX 2

Agreement on Inter-Entity Boundary Line and Related Issues (With Appendix)

The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska (the "Parties") have agreed as follows:

Article I: Inter-Entity Boundary Line

The boundary between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska (the "Inter-Entity Boundary Line") shall be as delineated on the map at the Appendix.

Article II: Adjustment by the Parties

The Parties may adjust the Inter-Entity Boundary Line only by mutual consent. During the period in which the multinational military Implementation Force ("IFOR") is deployed pursuant to Annex 1-A to the General Framework Agreement, the Parties shall consult with the IFOR Commander prior to making any agreed adjustment and shall provide notification of such adjustment to the IFOR Commander.

Article III: Rivers

1. Where the Inter-Entity Boundary Line follows a river, the line shall follow natural changes (accretion or erosion) in the course of the river unless otherwise agreed. Artificial changes in the course of the river shall not affect the location of the Inter-Entity Boundary Line unless otherwise agreed. No artificial changes may be made except by agreement among the Parties.

2. In the event of sudden natural changes in the course of the river (avulsion or cutting of new bed), the line shall be determined by mutual agreement of the Parties. If such event occurs during the period in which the IFOR is deployed, any such determination shall be subject to the approval of the IFOR Commander.

Article IV: Delineation and Marking

1. The line on the 1:50,000 scale map to be provided for the Appendix delineating the Inter-Entity Boundary Line, and the lines on the 1:50,000 scale map to be provided for Appendix A to Annex 1-A delineating the Inter-Entity Zone of Separation and the Agreed Cease-Fire Line and its Zone of Separation, which are accepted by the Parties as controlling and definitive, are accurate to within approximately 50 meters. During the period in which the IFOR is deployed, the IFOR Commander shall have the right to determine, after consultation with the Parties, the exact delineation of such Lines and Zones, provided that with respect to Sarajevo the IFOR Commander shall have the right to adjust the Zone of Separation as necessary.

2. The Lines and Zones described above may be marked by representatives of the Parties in coordination with and under the supervision of the IFOR. Final authority for placement of such markers shall rest with the IFOR. These Lines and Zones are defined by the maps and documents agreed to by the Parties and not by the physical location of markers.

3. Following entry into force of this Agreement, the Parties shall form a joint commission, comprised of an equal number of representatives from each Party, to prepare an agreed technical document containing a precise description of the Inter-Entity Boundary Line. Any such document prepared during the period in which the IFOR is deployed shall be subject to the approval of the IFOR Commander.

Article V: Arbitration for the Brcko Area

1. The Parties agree to binding arbitration of the disputed portion of the Inter-Entity Boundary Line in the Brcko area indicated on the map attached at the Appendix.

2. No later than six months after the entry into force of this Agreement, the Federation shall appoint one arbitrator, and the Republika Srpska shall appoint one arbitrator. A third arbitrator shall be selected by agreement of the Parties' appointees within thirty days thereafter. If they do not agree, the third arbitrator shall be appointed by the President of the International Court of Justice. The third arbitrator shall serve as presiding officer of the arbitral tribunal.

3. Unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, the proceedings shall be conductedin accordance with the UNCITRAL rules. The arbitrators shall apply relevant legal and equitable principles.

4. Unless otherwise agreed, the area indicated in paragraph 1 above shall continue to be administered as currently.

5. The arbitrators shall issue their decision no later than one year from the entry into force of this Agreement. The decision shall be final and binding, and the Parties shall implement it without delay.

Article VI: Transition

In those areas transferring from one Entity to the other in accordance with the demarcation described herein, there shall be a transitional period to provide for the orderly transfer of authority. The transition shall be completed forty-five (45) days after the Transfer of Authority from the UNPROFOR Commander to the IFOR Commander, as described in Annex 1-A.

Implementation History

1995

No Implementation

On the issue of Brcko area, the parties failed to reach an agreement on arbitrators within the required time of 30-days.1

1996

Full Implementation

According to a report from the High Representative, a sub-commission of the Joint Military Commission was addressing the inter-ethnic boundary issue. They had held nine meetings thus far.2

The situation improved by the time of the third report of the Office of the High Representative (OHR). The report stated that “the substantial progress achieved earlier in adjusting the Inter-Entity Boundary Line (IEBL), on 17 July the parties signed a formal agreement resolving most of the practical issues that had been outstanding at the time of the signing of the Peace Agreement. Discussions continue under IFOR auspices on the last remaining sections of the IEBL and in particular on the sensitive Sarajevo district of Dobrinja."3

To complete the agreement on the territory of Brcko, on 15 July 1996 the President of the International Court of Justice appointed Roberts B. Owen as third arbitrator and presiding officer of the Tribunal. After his appointment, Mr. Owen called for a preliminary conference that would be held in Sarajevo on 7 August 1996.4

1997

Full Implementation

The tribunal’s hearing on Brcko continued in 1997. Inter-ethnic boundary demarcation was largely completed in 1996.

1998

Full Implementation

No information was available on the Brcko tribunal.

1999

Full Implementation

On 5 March 1999, the Brcko arbitration tribunal delivered its verdict and decided to create the Brcko district of Bosnia and Herzegovina to be held in condominium by both entities. The UN Secretary General lauded the decision.5 The United States called the decision the “right one” and asked both parties not to obstruct implementation. If one of them should obstruct the implementation of the award, the arbitration panel said that it could award Brcko to the other.6

  • 5. “U.N. Chief Lauds Decision to Set Up Brcko District in Bosnia,” Xinhua News Agency, March 5, 1999.
  • 6. “US calls Bosnia decision on Serb-held area 'right one',” Agence France Presse, March 5, 1999.
2000

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2001

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2002

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2003

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2004

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.