H.Res. 171: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives on the need for constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the importance of sustained United States engagement in partnership with the European Union (EU)

H.Res. 171

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives on the need for constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the importance of sustained United States engagement in partnership with the European Union (EU)

Date
May 12, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.Res. 171 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) on February 13, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.Res. 171 resolves that it is the sense of the House of Representatives that:

•  "It is increasingly urgent that Bosnia and Herzegovina work toward the creation of an efficient and effective state able to meet its domestic and international obligations with more functional institutions, including a state government capable of making self-sustaining reforms and fulfilling European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) requirements;

•  "Any agreement on constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina should take as its basis the Dayton Peace Accords, advance the principles of democracy and tolerance, rectify provisions that conflict with the European Charter of Human Rights, include the general public in the process, provide the conditions to enable economic development and the creation of a single economic space, and be consistent with the goal of EU membership;

•  "Continued efforts should be made domestically and at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) to achieve justice for victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, as well as to promote reconciliation among ethnic groups;

•  "The United States should continue to provide assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina to build effective state-level law enforcement and judicial institutions that can combat and investigate international terrorism, organized crime, and corruption;

•  "The United States should appoint a Special Envoy to the Balkans who can work in partnership with the EU and political leaders in Bosnia and4 Herzegovina to facilitate reforms at all levels of government and society, while also assisting the political development of other countries in the region;

•  "The Office of the High Representative (OHR) should not be closed until the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) can definitively determine that Bosnia and Herzegovina has met the five objectives and two conditions;

•  "The EU should carefully consider any future plans for the reduction or redeployment of the European Union Force (EUFOR) given the psychological reassurance of security and deterrence of violence provided by its continued presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and

•  "The United States should work closely with and support the EU in the transition to a European Union Special Representative (EUSR) to ensure that the EUSR has the authority and tools to manage effectively post-OHR Bosnia and Herzegovina, including a clear set of EU candidacy and membership conditions with explicit and objective yardsticks and a precise list of benchmarks to increase the functionality of the Bosnian state to be achieved by constitutional reform."

 

 

Background

According to the resolution's findings, a conflict marked by aggression and ethnic cleansing was brought to an end by the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (commonly referred to as the "Dayton Peace Accords"), which was agreed to at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, in 1995.  Since that time, leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina have agreed to reforms of public administration and broadcasting, the creation of law enforcement and judicial institutions, and the establishment of a unified armed services.

Bosnia and Herzegovina committed to the values of democracy, security, and stability by joining the Partnership for Peace program of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in December 2006.  Bosnia and Herzegovina also took a first step toward European Union membership by signing a Stabilization and Association Agreement in June 2008.