Operation Joint Endeavor

NATO operations December 20, 1995 - December 20, 1996


In the light of the peace agreement initialed in Dayton on 21 November 1995, the North Atlantic Council (NAC) authorized on 1 December 1995 the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) to deploy Enabling Forces into Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. This decision demonstrated NATO's preparedness to implement the military aspects of a Peace Agreement, and to help create the conditions for a lasting peace in the former Yugoslavia. The NAC also gave provisional approval to the overall military plan.

Also, on 1 December 1995, SACEUR tasked the Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe to assume control of assigned NATO land, air and maritime forces as the Commander IFOR, and employ them as part of the enabling force. Movement of these forces began on 2 December 1995.

On 5 December 1995, NATO Foreign and Defense Ministers endorsed the military planning for the Implementation Force (IFOR). On the same day the Acting Secretary General announced that fourteen non-NATO countries -- which had expressed interest in participating -- would be invited to contribute to the IFOR: Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Ukraine.

All the NATO nations with armed forces (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States) pledged to contribute forces to IFOR. Iceland is providing medical personnel to IFOR.

The Peace Agreement (General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina) was formally signed in Paris on 14 December 1995.

On 15 December 1995 the United Nation Security Council -- acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations -- adopted the Resolution 1031, which authorizes the Member States to establish a multinational military Implementation Force (IFOR), under unified command and control and composed of ground, air and maritime units from NATO and non-NATO nations, to ensure compliance with the relevant provisions of the Peace Agreement. Member States are also authorized to take all necessary measures to carry out the tasks identified by the same resolution.

On 16 December 1995, the NAC approved the overall plan for the Implementation Force and directed that NATO commence Operation Joint Endeavour and begin deploying the main Implementation Force into Bosnia that same day.

The Force has a unified command and is NATO-led, under the political direction and control of the NAC and under the overall military authority of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General George Joulwan; the responsibility as Commander-in- Theatre was assigned to Admiral Leighton W. Smith, Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe, who assumed command of IFOR.

The IFOR operates under clear NATO Rules of Engagement, which provide for robust use of force if necessary.

The transfer of authority from the Commander of UN Peace Forces to the Commander of IFOR took place on 20 December 1995, effective at 1100 hours local time. On that day, after all NATO and non-NATO forces participating in the operation came under the command and/or control of the IFOR commander, over 17,000 troops were available to IFOR.

On 21 December 1995 the first meeting of the Joint Military Commission (JMC) took place in Sarajevo. The JMC is a consultative body for COMIFOR. Based on the terms of the Peace Agreement, the JMC is the central body to which the signatories may bring any military complaints, questions or problems. JMCs have been formed at various levels, in order that problems can be solved at the lowest possible level.

On 19 January 1996 withdrawal of the forces of all parties behind the Zones of Separation, which included Sarajevo and Gorazde, was completed.

On 3 February 1996 the parties had fulfilled their obligations to withdraw from areas to be transferred. Some reported violations were attributed mainly to ignorance and lack of leadership rather than deliberate non-compliance. The parties were urged to fully comply with all aspects of the peace agreement.

On 18 February 1996 the Parties reaffirmed in Rome their commitment to the Peace Agreement. In particular, specific statements were approved on the work of the Joint Civil Commission Sarajevo; on the status of the implementation of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; on the situation in Mostar; on the normalization of relations between the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; on agreed measures to strengthen and advance the peace process.

On 18 February 1996 SACEUR reported to the Secretary General of NATO the completion of the initial deployment of IFOR. Thirty-two nations had been part of the deployment, with some 50,000 troops provided by NATO nations and approximately 10,000 from non-NATO contributors. The movement of IFOR had involved more than 2,800 airlift missions, some 400 trains and more than 50 cargo ships.

The following non-NATO countries contribute to the deployment of IFOR: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Morocco, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the Ukraine. Contacts are in progress with Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia about their possible participation. Each country is generally responsible for paying its own activities; there is, however, also some common NATO funding, i.e. for headquarters.

On 26 February 1996 the Secretary General of NATO transmitted to the UN Secretary General a progress report on the Implementation Force. The report included an assessment of the Commander of IFOR that Bosnian Serb forces had withdrawn from the zones of separation established in the Peace Agreement. The UN Security Council announced on 27 February that the economic sanctions imposed on the Bosnian Serb party were suspended indefinitely.

On 14 March 1996, the Chairman of the UN Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 724 (1991) issued a statement confirming the termination of the embargo on delivery of weapons and military equipment to former Yugoslavia, except heavy weapons, whose delivery will continue to be prohibited until the fulfillment of terms established with UNSC resolution 1021 (1995).

On 18 March 1996 the Parties to the GFAP met in Geneva and expressed their determination to provide the political leadership necessary to ensure the complete fulfilment of the spirit and the letter of the Agreement and of the commitments made in Rome on 18 February 1996.

On 20 March 1996 — 91 days after the Transfer Of Authority — COMARRC completed his assessment of compliance with the military aspects of the GFAP. While assessment of overall compliance is in progress, IFOR expressed satisfaction for the military co-operation which had been provided, as an indicator of an intention to comply.

On 23 March 1996 the Parties further reaffirmed in Moscow their commitment to the Peace Agreement.

On 30 March 1996 muslem and Croat partners in the Bosnian Federation signed an agreement aimed at strengthening the new institution. The agreement marked progress on critical aspects necessary to establish a functioning Federation, including the merging of customs, a joint military command, and amendments to the constitutions.

April 18, 1996 was D+120, the last deadline in the military annex of the Peace Agreement. It was assessed that as of that date the parties were on their way toward compliance with the requirements for cantonment of heavy weapons and forces and their mobilization. Full compliance had not been achieved yet but that seemed to reflect practical difficulties, rather than an absence of intent. IFOR has continued actively to monitor progress towards full compliance.

On 29 April 1996 the NAC issued a declaration on IFOR's role in the transition to peace.

On 3 June 1996 the NAC - after a meeting in Berlin, at Foreign Ministers level - issued a statement indicating than, given the magnitude and complexity of the preparations for elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, IFOR would be maintained at approximately its current force levels until after the elections and would retain its overall capability until December, when its mandate comes to an end.

On June 13-14, 1996 the Peace Implementation Council met in Florenne. All the parties reaffirmed their commitment to the GFAP.

The Peace Implementation Council met in Florence on 13-14 June 1996. All the parties reaffirmed their commitment to the GFAP. On 18 June 1996 the UN Security Council lifted the heavy weapons embargo on the Former Yugoslavia. As a consequence, the NATO/WEU embargo enforcement Operation Sharp Guard was suspended.

On 1 July 1996 Bosnia's first free elections since the end of the war held in Mostar.

On 31 July 1996 Adm. T. Joseph Lopez relieved Adm. Leighton Smith as COMIFOR.

On August 19, 1996 IFOR destructed 252 tones of Bosnian Serb munitions in Operation Volcano.

On August 30, 1996, the NATO Airborne Early Warning E-3A flew its 50,000th flight hour in support of operations in former Yugoslavia.

On September 14, 1996 nation-wide elections under jurisdiction of OCSE were held in Bosnia Herzegovina.

On September 18, 1996 the Secretary General of NATO announced that the NAC agreed to new command arrangements for IFOR, to allow for the phased withdrawal of Headquarters ARRC and Headquarters AFSOUTH from Bosnia and Herzegovina and their replacement by a Headquarters based on LANDCENT. Purpose of this reorganization is to prepare for the execution of the last phase of the IFOR's mission, the redeployment of forces following completion of their mission.

On October 1, 1996 the United Nation Security Council adopted the resolution 1074, which provided for the termination of sanctions against Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, following the occurrence of the elections provided for in the Dayton Peace Agreement. As a consequence, NATO and WEU terminated Operation Sharp Guard.

On October 22, 1996, the OSCE announced that the municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were to be held in November, would be further postponed.

On November 7, 1996, General William W. Crouch replaced Admiral T. Joseph Lopez as COMIFOR. Transfer of Authority from the commander of Allied Forces Southern Europe tot the commander of Land Forces Central Europe (LANDCENT) took place the same time (13:30 local time, November 7, 1996).

On November 20, 1996 Lt.Gen. Sir Michael Walker and the Allied Command Europe (ACE) Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) departed Bosnia and turned control of Land Forces to Gen. Crouch and IFOR.

On December 20, 1996 General George Joulwan and General William Crouch presided over ceremonies marking the end of the IFOR mandate and the beginning of SFOR's mandate.