The ruling on the Brcko 'condominium'

SARAJEVO, Feb 20, 2000 -- (AFP) Under the terms of the Brcko Arbitration Tribunal's decision announced on March 5, 1999, further clarified in an annex on March 19, the disputed town in northeast Bosnia becomes the "Brcko district of Bosnia and Hercegovina" under the exclusive sovereignty of the republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

The territory, including the town and the five-kilometer (three-mile) strip known as the Brcko corridor linking the western and eastern halves of the Republika Srpska, is to be held in "condominium" by both the Serb entity and the Croat-Muslim federation simultaneously.

The tribunal's ruling stipulates: "The territory of the RS will encompass the entire Opstina (Brcko region), and so also will the territory of the Federation. Neither entity however will exercise any authority within the boundaries of the District, which will administer the area as one unitary government."

The District government will be subject to the powers of the common institutions of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Powers of governance within the Brcko region will be exercised by the District government, subject to coordination with the two entity governments.

Responsibility for overall coordination will lie with the Supervisor for Brcko, under the authority of the Office of the High Representative for Bosnia.

No subdivision of the district on any ethnic basis will be permitted.

The Brcko Arbitration Tribunal formed under the 1995 Dayton peace accords was originally due to reach its decision in December 1996.

In February 1997 the ruling was deferred for a year, and then for a further year in March 1998.

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