Cease Fire: General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina

THE GENERAL FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT: ANNEX 1-A

Article II: Cessation of Hostilities

1. The Parties shall comply with the cessation of hostilities begun with the agreement of October 5, 1995 and shall continue to refrain from all offensive operations of any type against each other. An offensive operation in this case is an action that includes projecting forces or fire forward of a Party's own lines. Each Party shall ensure that all personnel and organizations with military capability under its control or within territory under its control, including armed civilian groups, national guards, army reserves, military police, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs Special Police (MUP) (hereinafter "Forces") comply with this Annex. The term "Forces" does not include UNPROFOR, the International Police Task Force referred to in the General Framework Agreement, the IFOR or other elements referred to in Article I, paragraph 1 (c).

2. In carrying out the obligations set forth in paragraph 1, the Parties undertake, in particular, to cease the firing of all weapons and explosive devices except as authorized by this Annex. The Parties shall not place any additional minefields, barriers, or protective obstacles. They shall not engage in patrolling, ground or air reconnaissance forward of their own force positions, or into the Zones of Separation as provided for in Article IV below, without IFOR approval.

3. The Parties shall provide a safe and secure environment for all persons in their respective jurisdictions, by maintaining civilian law enforcement agencies operating in accordance with internationally recognized standards and with respect for internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, and by taking such other measures as appropriate. The Parties also commit themselves to disarm and disband all armed civilian groups, except for authorized police forces, within 30 days after the Transfer of Authority.

4. The Parties shall cooperate fully with any international personnel including investigators, advisors, monitors, observers, or other personnel in Bosnia and Herzegovina pursuant to the General Framework Agreement, including facilitating free and unimpeded access and movement and by providing such status as is necessary for the effective conduct of their tasks.

5. The Parties shall strictly avoid committing any reprisals, counter-attacks, or any unilateral actions in response to violations of this Annex by another Party. The Parties shall respond to alleged violations of the provisions of this Annex through the procedures provided in Article VIII.

Implementation History

1995

Intermediate Implementation

According to the UN Secretary General’s report,1 as soon as the cease fire agreement entered into force, the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina improved significantly. The compliance of provisions under the cease-fire agreement was much better and neither side was found engaging in offensive activities. The report further suggested that all parties were participating in joint military commissions. The complete cessation of hostilities was observed after October 1995.

  • 1. “Report of the Secretary-General Pursuant to Security Council Resolutions 981 (1995), 982 (1995) and 983 (1995),” United Nations Security Council (S/1995/987), November 23, 1995.
1996

Full Implementation

Notwithstanding the NATO enforced peace agreement, sporadic hostilities were reported between the three hostile factions in Bosnia on 6 January 1996. Skirmishes were reported in a the Serb suburb of Sarajevo. A Croatian policeman was shot to death in the Muslim side of Mostar town.2This violence occurred in conjunction with the handover of Serb-held suburbs to the Federation. The hostilities continued even when the warring sides met in Bosnia to discuss demobilization of their respective armed forces.3

Amidst upcoming elections, tit for tat violence took place in central Bosnia. Two mosques were damaged, one Catholic church firebombed, several vehicles destroyed, and a clutch of Muslim houses mined. These incidents were said to have involved Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats, who feared that upcoming elections would lead to rule by the “other lot."4 These hostilities, however, did not lead to a major outbreak of violence.

  • 2. “Gunfire rings out again over the weekend in Bosnia,” USA Today, January 8,1996.
  • 3. “Former warring sides in Bosnia meet to discuss demobilization,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, April 20, 1996.
  • 4. “Bosnia. Unravelling,” The Economist, August 3, 1996, 44.
1997

Full Implementation

No hostilities of major scale were reported.

1998

Full Implementation

There were no hostilities of major scale reported, but riots occurred in Drvar by Croats against returning Serb refugees in April 1998.

1999

Full Implementation

No hostilities of major scale were reported.

2000

Full Implementation

No hostilities of major scale were reported.

2001

Full Implementation

No hostilities of major scale were reported.

2002

Full Implementation

No hostilities of major scale were reported. The United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina was withdrawn in December.

2003

Full Implementation

No hostilities of major scale were reported.

2004

No hostilities of major scale were reported. Replacing NATO, the European Union took on its biggest military mission on 2 December 2004. It was in charge of 7,000 peacekeeping troops in Bosnia.5

  • 5. “EU takes over from NATO in Bosnia: Canadians remain,” The Gazette (Montreal), December 3, 2004.
2005

Full Implementation

No hostilities of major scale were reported.