Bosnia and Herzegovina: a European future [fr]
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Satetment by Mrs Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 8 May 2019
I too would like to thank the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Valentin Inzko, for his informative brief, which shows that the current situation clearly still requires the attention of the Security Council.
Ten days ago, on 29 April in Berlin, President Macron, together with Chancellor Merkel, reaffirmed France’s commitment to contributing to the stability of the Western Balkans. This re-engagement in the region is focused on economic and social development, security, justice and defence — four pillars of a French strategy presented in advance of that meeting with the leaders of the Western Balkans. Bosnia has its rightful place in this French strategy, which supports the actions of the European Union. It is to that European future that turn their attention. My country therefore welcomes the replies sent to the European Commission in February rather than reopening the wounds of the past. Three points deserve the full attention of the Council.
First, it is time to put an end to the declarations aimed at undermining the authority of the decisions taken by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which was succeeded more than a year ago by a residual mechanism. France strongly condemns the advocacy of crimes and war criminals, regardless of their community of origin. National and international justice has done outstanding work to identify those responsible for the atrocities committed during the conflict. All initiatives aimed at challenging or reinterpreting ICTY decisions — I am thinking in particular of those relating to the Srebrenica genocide — are likely to undermine the country’s cohesion. We call on all political actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to favour a constructive approach to strengthen this cohesion, without which the country will not be able to meet the challenges of development and the construction of the rule of law.
As such, the formation of a new Government must be a priority. Instead of being the subject of sterile polemics, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should be the basis for national consensus. The improvement of the well-being of the entire population is at stake.
Secondly, it is urgent to strengthen and consolidate the judicial system. Let us not forget that the rule of law and respect for human rights are not luxuries to which only prosperous countries can lay claim. On the contrary, it is the condition for fair and sustainable economic and social development, the vitality of civil society and the stability of institutions. France calls on all political movements to respect the competences of the central State, in particular in the field of defence, and the decisions taken by national and international judicial bodies, including the Constitutional Court. The functionality of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s institutions suffers from the refusal, often motivated by political calculations, to comply with the decisions taken by the courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
My third and final point is that the European perspective requires more than a redoubling of efforts to adopt the reforms that the country sorely needs. In this regard, France associates itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union delegation to the Council. The prospect of integration into the European Union, when the time is right and the conditions are met, is an extension of the European Union’s massive and multifaceted engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The European Union-led peacekeeping force Althea, mandated by the Council, is a testimony to this support. Beyond this support, it is the responsibility of the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to adopt bold reforms to make progress in European rapprochement. Those reforms in the economic and social fields can give new opportunities to the younger generations and encourage them to contribute to the country’s development.
Stable institutions, a prosperous country and fair justice are within Bosnia and Herzegovina’s reach. Its leaders must rise to this historic challenge in a spirit of compromise and political courage. France stands with Bosnia and Herzegovina’ to build this future and make progress in European rapprochement.