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Security Council calls on Bosnia to abide by decisions to certify police

Security Council calls on Bosnia to abide by decisions to certify police

Amb. Lauro Baja, Council President
The Security Council today called on the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to comply with decisions made under a United Nations certification process to weed out police officers whose past, particularly during the war, disqualified them from remaining on the force.

In a statement read out in an open meeting by its President for June, Ambassador Lauro L. Baja, Jr. of the Philippines, the Council called on Bosnian authorities to ensure that all decisions by the United Nations International Police Task Force (IPTF) were "fully and effectively implemented" and that those who were denied certification were terminated from their jobs and precluded from any position within any law enforcement agency in the country.

The IPTF was the branch of the former UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) responsible for helping the country set up law enforcement agencies and train police officers. The Mission's mandate concluded at the end of 2002 and it handed over responsibility to the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) on 1 January 2003.

In March, the international community's top civilian administrator in the country, High Representative Lord Paddy Ashdown, told the Council more than 150 non-certified officers have asked the courts to assess the legality of their employer's decision to dismiss them on the grounds that they had not been certified by the IPTF. He stressed that the vetting process must not be allowed to unravel.

The Council's statement today expressed concern at the failure by the Bosnian authorities to take steps to implement decisions to deny certification, and reaffirmed that the process was carried out pursuant to the IPTF's mandate, which was legally based in the UN Charter.

"The comprehensive and rigorous vetting procedure was designed to create a police force comprised entirely of personnel meeting internationally recognized standards of personal integrity and professional performance," the Council said.