One year ago, a peace deal forged in Dayton, Ohio, halted the
fighting in Bosnia. Since then, the country's once-thundering guns
have remained silent, roads and bridges have been rebuilt, and an
uneasy calm has returned. But much needs to be done before
long-term stability can be assured.
On Dec. 4 and 5 in London, the parties involved in the original
Dayton agreement will meet to make key decisions about how much the
international community is willing to do to forge a foundation for
peace. Included on the agenda is what kind of mandate to give a new
force of 30,000 international troops.
Here is a look at the progress Bosnia has made and the
challenges it faces:
Bosnia's three-year war took the lives of 60,000 to 200,000
people. The Dayton peace deal - and the 60,000 NATO and Russian
troops sent to enforce it - made sure the killing stopped. The
troops - 20,000 of whom were Americans - strictly enforced the
military aspects of the peace agreement: withdrawal,
demobilization, and disarmament of the country's three armies.
These forces have reduced their sizes and put heavy weapons in
places monitored by the NATO-led force called IFOR.
"If somebody were to try to launch a military offensive, we
would know about it way ahead of time," says IFOR spokesman Brett
So far, IFOR has rebuilt 62 bridges, 330 miles of train tracks,
more than 1,500 miles of roads, hundreds of schools and orphanages,
70 hospitals, and four airports - all at a cost of $330 million.
IFOR troops have suffered 51 fatalities - mostly from car wrecks
and land mines - but have not engaged in any battles. As long as an
international military presence is in Bosnia, a return to war is
Balancing the apple cart
Although the military aspects of the peace deal have been
well-implemented, its civilian elements are tougher to enforce,
due, in part, to the international character of the Bosnian project.
The many countries, agencies, and civilian and military
personnel charged with keeping peace, rebuilding infrastructure,
and overseeing the creation of a government have their own ideas
about what should be done.
But the effort has gone smoothly, largely because decisionmakers
have shied away from enforcing key provisions of the deal for fear
of upsetting the careful balance between the many nations involved.
The London conferees will look at the following issues and try to
decide on responses.
Of 74 people indicted by the international war crimes tribunal
at The Hague, 67 are still free. IFOR's political masters - the
United States most of all - have decided not to risk soldiers'
lives to arrest them.
But many observers feel the integrity of the peace process is
threatened by the continued impunity of these alleged architects of
ethnic cleansing and genocide. …