Article II of Annex 10 of the Dayton Peace Agreement directs the High Representative to:

  • Monitor the implementation of the peace settlement;
  • Maintain close contact with the parties to the Agreement, to promote their full compliance with all civilian aspects of the Agreement;
  • Co-ordinate the activities of the civilian organisations and agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure the efficient implementation of the civilian aspects of the peace settlement. The High Representative shall respect their autonomy within their spheres of operation while as necessary giving general guidance to them about the impact of their activities on the implementation of the peace settlement;
  • Facilitate, as the High Representative judges necessary, the resolution of any difficulties arising in connection with civilian implementation;
  • Participate in meetings of donor organisations;
  • Report periodically on progress to the United Nations, European Union, United States, Russian Federation and other interested governments, parties and organisations;
  • Provide guidance to the United Nations International Police Task Force (IPTF).

The OHR’s involvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s political life has changed and developed according to its mandate and focus in line with the requirements of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC). At the beginning of the peace process, the High Representative chaired a number of joint bodies that brought together representatives of the wartime parties and took care of the initial requirements of the peace process. The State and Entity Institutions envisaged in the Constitution were set up after the first post-Dayton elections in September 1996, but it took some time before they started meeting regularly. One of the OHR’s key tasks is to ensure that the institutions function effectively and in a responsible manner.

In the economic field, the reconstruction phase, financed under a $5.1 billion World Bank/European Commission program, was largely completed in the years immediately after the war; the emphasis now is on reforms that ensure fiscal and economic stability.

The OHR has also focused on establishing the rule of law, which is the starting point and an essential requirement for progress in all the other areas of reform.

Among the most important milestones in the peace implementation process was the PIC Conference in Bonn in December 1997. Elaborating on Annex 10 of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the PIC requested the High Representative to remove from office public officials who violate legal commitments and the Dayton Peace Agreement, and to impose laws as he sees fit if Bosnia and Herzegovina’s legislative bodies fail to do so.

Nonetheless, the governing principle of the OHR’s engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the concept of domestic responsibility. This concept calls on the officials and citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina to take responsibility for the peace process and the problems that their country faces.