NEWSMAKER: RICHARD HOLBROOKE
AUGUST 11, 1997
The Dayton Peace Agreement ended the fighting in Bosnia, but many say it has failed to end the ethnic strife that tore the Balkan nation apart or to bring major war criminals to justice. After this background report, Richard Holbrooke, the chief U.S. negotiator of the peace agreement, reports on recent efforts to get the peace agreement back on track.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Richard Holbrooke was the point man for the American team negotiating the Bosnian peace plan in Dayton, Ohio in November 1995. The deals he struck silenced the guns in the former Yugoslavia after three and half years of war. The human toll: tens of thousands dead, 1.2 million refugees abroad, and 1 million people internally displaced. The Dayton Accords paved the way for NATO troops to deploy in Bosnia to enforce the peace. Eight thousand Americans there now as part of what is known S-FOR--the stabilization force. At the signing ceremony in Dayton, then Secretary of State Warren Christopher described what he hoped would happen.
A RealAudio version of this NewsHour segment is available.
August 11, 1997:
Richard Holbrooke reports on his recent efforts to restart the peace process in Bosnia
September 13, 1996:
Low turnouts, delays and problems with voter registration:The Bosnian elections.
July 22, 1996:
Newsmaker:Richard Holbrooke on Bosnia's war criminals.
February 21, 1996:
Holbrooke discusses the possibility for peace in Bosnia.
November 30, 1995:
A NewsHour summary of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
Browse the Online NewsHour's coverage of Bosnia.
WARREN CHRISTOPHER: I trust that one day we'll look back and say Dayton was the place where fundamental choices were made; this is where, this is the place where the parties chose peace over war, dialogue over destruction, reason over revenge, and this is where each of us has accepted the challenges to make the choices made here meaningful and to put them into effect so that they will endure.
An incomplete peace?
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Dayton agreements did stop the war. NATO troops enforced lines of demarcation between the combatants and the massive killing ceased. But violence persisted; these car bombings last month, for example, outside UN police and military offices--and attacks on returning refugees. Earlier this month Muslim farmers near the town of Jajce finally arrived home only to be forcefully evicted by local Croats. Of the more than 2 million total refugees, about one third have returned to Bosnia according to UN figures. Of these, only about 10,000 have returned to areas where they were the ethnic minority. The Dayton Accords provided for elections and in September last year Bosnian Serbs, Croats, and Muslims chose a three-person presidency, as well as a parliamentary assembly. At the municipal level voting has been postponed and is now scheduled for mid September.
$3.2 billion have been pledged for reconstruction of the ravaged country, but to date, only a small portion has been committed to actual projects. Real GDP has almost doubled since 1995 and unemployment has dropped from about 90 to 50 percent. Of the 75 people publicly indicted for war crimes and the smaller but unknown number of sealed indictments, only 10 are being held in custody.
Major war criminals still at large
Just two--neither high level commanders--have been tried and convicted at the UN tribunal at the Hague in the Netherlands. One indicted suspect, the police chief of Prijedor, was shot and killed by British troops last month, and another suspect was taken into custody at that time and brought before the tribunal. But the two most wanted people indicted for war crimes, Bosnian Serb Leader Radovan Karadzic and Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, have not been arrested. Last summer, Richard Holbrooke traveled to Bosnia and hammered out a deal providing for Karadzic to remove himself from the Bosnian political scene.
But Karadzic, who signed the agreement, has repeatedly broken it. In recent weeks, he has become more brazen in challenging the elected Bosnian Serb President, Biljana Plavsic, for power. This was one of the key issues Richard Holbrooke addressed on his trip late last week. He dealt with other problems too, meeting with the key players in the region, including Bosnian Serb President Plavsic and Yugoslavian President Milosevic.