The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 22, 2002

Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate

July 22, 2002

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

In my report to the Congress of January 21, 2002, I provided information on the deployment of combat-equipped U.S. Armed Forces to Bosnia and Herzegovina and other states in the region in order to participate in and support the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led Stabilization Force (SFOR). The SFOR began its mission and assumed authority from the NATO-led Implementation Force on December 20, 1996. I am providing this supplemental report, prepared by my Administration and consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148), to help ensure that the Congress is kept fully informed on continued U.S. contributions in support of peacekeeping efforts in the former Yugoslavia.

The U.N. Security Council authorized Member States to continue SFOR for a period of 12 months in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1423 of July 12, 2002. The mission of SFOR is to provide a focused military presence in order to deter hostilities, stabilize and consolidate the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, contribute to a secure environment, and provide, within its means and capabilities, selective support to key areas and key civil implementation organizations.

Initially, the United States vetoed the U.N. Security Council Resolution authorizing Member States to continue SFOR for a period of 12 months because it did not provide protection for U.S. forces participating in SFOR from the purported jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). In U.N. Security Council Resolution 1422, the Security Council requested that the ICC not commence any investigation or prosecution in any case arising from acts or omissions relating to a U.N. established or authorized operation that involve current or former officials or personnel from a contributing state not a Party to the Rome Statute for a period of 12 months starting July 1, 2002; this resolution has the effect of prohibiting the ICC from commencing any investigation or prosecution of U.S. forces in SFOR for a period of 1 year. The Security Council further declared its intention to renew this resolution on an annual basis. In light of these protections for U.S. forces and personnel, the United States voted in favor of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1423.

The U.S. force contribution to SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina is approximately 2,400 personnel. United States personnel comprise just under 15 percent of the total SFOR force of approximately 15,800 personnel. During the first half of 2002, 18 NATO nations and 17 others, including Russia, provided military personnel or other support to SFOR. Most U.S. forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina are assigned to Multinational Division, North, headquartered in the city of Tuzla. Additionally, U.S. military personnel are deployed to other countries in the region in support of SFOR. These deployments include approximately 60 U.S. military personnel deployed to Hungary and Croatia to provide logistical and other support. The U.S. forces continue to support SFOR efforts to apprehend persons indicted for war crimes. In the last 6 months, U.S. forces have not sustained any combat-related fatalities.

I have directed the participation of U.S. Armed Forces in these operations pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.

I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed about developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other states in the region. I will continue to consult closely with the Congress regarding our efforts to foster peace and stability in the former Yugoslavia.



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