Bill Clinton's Secret Bosnia Commitments

By Hunter, Duncan L. | Insight on the News, March 4, 1996 | Go to article overview

Bill Clinton's Secret Bosnia Commitments


Hunter, Duncan L., Insight on the News


The Clinton administration claims that the U.S. commitment to Bosnia is of limited scope and duration: lasting "about" a year. A reading of the 12 annexes to the Dayton Framework Agreement, however, reveals a program that creates a Bosnian protectorate under foreign control for the next five years, at least. The agreement, written primarily by Clinton's negotiators, establishes the following institutions to manage nearly every aspect of Bosnian life.

* A new constitution. The preamble of this governing document, written for and imposed upon Bosnia in colonial fashion, does not declare for a "more perfect union." Instead, it is "Guided by the Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations" and "Inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, as well as other human rights instruments." Attached at the end of the constitution is a list of 15 of these other human-rights instruments, including the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 1990 International Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Article I proclaims that Bosnia and Herzegovina "shall remain a Member State of the United Nations." But Bosnian national sovereignty is surrendered in Article II, where it is declared that "The rights and freedoms set forth in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols shall apply directly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These shall have priority over all other law."

* A constitutional court. The court will have nine justices: two from each ethnic group (Croat, Serb and Muslim) and the other three appointed by the president of the European Court of Human Rights for the next five years. These last three, who will hold the balance of power, cannot be citizens of Bosnia or any of the surrounding countries. Thus, Bosnia's highest court, which will settle disputes in the parliament, hear appeals from the domestic legal system and interpret all constitutional issues, will be dominated by foreign judges.

* A central bank. For the first six years, the governor will be an appointee of the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, who cannot be a citizen of Bosnia or any surrounding state. During the first six years, the bank "may not extend credit by creating money," a prohibition consistent with the IMF propensity for austerity policies.

* A human-rights commission. Its ombudsman will conduct investigations, issue reports and refer cases to the Human Rights Chamber for judgment. For the first five years, the ombudsman will be appointed by the chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and may not be a citizen of Bosnia or any surrounding state. The chamber will have 14 members: two from each ethnic group and the remaining eight appointed by the Committee of ministers of the Council of Europe. This European-appointed majority cannot be citizens of Bosnia or any surrounding state. …

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