AFTER YEARS OF WAR, A NEW BOSNIAN NATION IS FORMED WITH THE HELP OF THE U.S. ARMY JAG CORPS
From 1991 to 1995, Yugoslavia was a nation torn apart by war. Friends, neighbors, even family members, were split along ethnic lines and bent on destroying one another. The three warring ethnic groups — the Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats — shocked the conscience of the international community with their actions.
Four years of unchecked violence resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Millions of people were displaced from their homes, and accusations of genocide flew from all sides. During this time, 36,000 U.N. troops were put on the ground in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the United Nations Security Council passed 61 resolutions. Still, the fighting continued.
Finally, a Herculean diplomatic effort paid off: In the fall of 1995, the Presidents of Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia initialed the Dayton Peace Accord. One month later, they formally signed the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP). A single, peaceful Bosnian state was born.
The U.S. Army JAG Corps was deployed to assist with these efforts of forming a new Bosnia. Over the course of several months, JAG Corps Attorneys were deployed to the area to advise commanders on operational law matters and help with the drafting of peace accords.
In this complex environment of creating a new nation, Army JAG Corps Attorneys assisted in an unprecedented scope of legal challenges, including:
- Crafting the General Framework Agreement for Peace
- Advising commanders at all levels on the Rules of Engagement, United Nations Security Council resolutions and prisoner detainment
- Negotiating, writing and interpreting the following:
- Status of Forces Agreements
- Transit Agreements
- Technical Arrangements
- Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreements
- Providing contract and fiscal law support
- Processing foreign claims
- Administering military justice (in forward and rear detachments)
- Providing legal support to Soldiers and their families
The day-to-day advice Army JAG Corps Attorneys gave the Commanders in Bosnia proved to be crucial on many levels. JAG Corps Attorneys worked diligently so that operations could flow smoothly and without interruption — which ensured a stable environment during the implementation of peace accords. In Bosnia, and in so many other deployments, JAG Corps Attorneys have been an integral part in making history.
"The mission was one I could truly take to heart, helping a nation recover from a brutal ethnic war...it was one of the most memorable and satisfying experiences of my life."
Captain Eric Feustel
JAG Corps Attorney serving in Bosnia from February to August of 2000.