Operation ALTHEA, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Basic information:

Official name:

European Union Force
in Bosnia and Herzegovina


2. December 2004 (UN SC resolution 1551/2004 and 1575/2004)



Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mission HQ:

Sarajevo (Camp Butmir)

Mission Commander:


Slovak Contingent Commander (LCC Commander):

Lt. Col. Štefan RIGAS

Mandate of Slovak forces in the operation:

51 (resolution of the National Council of the SR No. 1358 of 1 December 2004 and No. 194 of 7 December 2010)

Current number of Slovak forces in the operation:

42 (August 2018)


Operation ALTHEA website
Operation ALTHEA on the website of the EU Council


After the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina was thrown into bloody war between major ethnic and religious groups: Serbs, Croats and Muslims, accompanied with mass murders, mass rapes and violence against women, ethnic cleansing and systematic destruction of the territory. The civil war was successfully stopped only by external interventions. The peace agreement was reached in 1995, in the American town of Dayton and under the auspices of President Bill Clinton. NATO troops were tasked with supervising the observance of the Dayton Agreement in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This brought only a fragile political compromise – after 1966, the country remained officially unified only through the federalisation of two entities, a Muslim-Croat federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republic of Serbia, separated by a 4-km zone of separation.

The Operation EUFOR ALTHEA (name is derived from the Greek goddess of healing) was launched on 2 December 2004 and was established through transition from the NATO-led stabilisation operation SFOR which operated in the country from 1997 to 2004. Transfer of responsibilities was made under the terms of the Berlin Plus agreement on cooperation between NATO and the EU, and currently, it is the only operation which is carried out under this agreement. The EUFOR ALTHEA Commander is a Deputy Supreme Allied Commander of NATO in Europe (D-SACEUR) headquartered at SHAPE LT GEN Olivier Ritttimann (France). After handing over the primary responsibility for maintaining a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EU, NATO retains its military headquarters in Sarajevo. The main effort of the Operation ALTHEA is to ensure “deterrent” presence, safe and secure environment (SASE) to prevent the recurrence of violence. It also supports the Office of the High Representative (OHR) of the international community which was created immediately after the Dayton Agreement in 1995. A non-executive support and advisory part of the operation was launched on 1 May 2010 with the aim of supporting the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina in training and building units for participation in international operations. Therefore, the operation ALTHEA is characterised as a hybrid operation, i.e. operation comprising executive, as well as non-executive (support) missions.

The Operation ALTHEA is part of the EU´s comprehensive approach to security, political and socio-economic stabilisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and fits into the overall mosaic of the EU´s stabilisation objectives in the Western Balkans. In addition to the operation ALTHEA, an active role in the EU´s efforts is played by its Special Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUSR), Peter SORENSEN. The EUFOR ALTHEA was initially mandated for 1,300 troops; however, owing to their lack, the Operation ALTHEA was gradually reconfigured, and on 1 September 2012, as a result of such reconfiguration, the number of troops was reduced.  The force now numbers 600 troops. Even though the number of troops based in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been reduced, they are backed up by the Immediate Reserves, stationed in the Troop Contributing Nations at state of readiness to be deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina upon the call of the Operations Commander. 
The mandate of the Operation ALTHEA is linked with the UN Security Council mandate which is extended on an annual basis. On 6 November 2018, by the UN SC resolution 2443/2018, the mandate for the operation was extended for a further year, i.e. until November 2019.

Slovak Republic in EUFOR ALTHEA:

Since the beginning of the operation officers of the Armed Forces of the SR have served at EUFOR HQ and at NATO HQ Sarajevo, as it was stated under the terms of the resolution of the National Council of the Slovak Republic No. 1358 of 1 December 2004. In the years 2006-2010 (resolution of the NC SR No. 2003 of 14 December 2005) the AFSR participated in the operation ALTHEA deploying Force Protection Platoon in Camp Butmir 2 in Sarajevo.  During 2009, from February to June, the AFSR provided two transport helicopters which were deployed for transport, special and training flights.
The Force Protection Platoon of the AFSR ceased their activities in the operation ALTHEA (resolution of the NC SR No. 194 of 7 December 2010), and in 2011, the AFSR took over the responsibility for 3 Liaison and Observation Teams (LOTs) in Novo Sarajevo, Foca and Visegrad. The key task of the LOTs is to operate in direct contact with officials of local governments, NGOs and with structures of international organisations in the area of operation in order to ensure adequate response of the EU to any changes in the security situation. From 1 March 2011 to 31 August 2012, the Slovak Republic acted as a Lead Nation of the Regional Coordination Centre (RCC) South which supervises the control and coordination between LOTs stationed in the South of the country and the EUFOR HQ body in charge of the situational awareness.
In September 2010, as a result of the reconfiguration of the operation, the Regional Coordination Centres were replaced with a single LOT Coordination Centre (LCC), responsible for the management and coordination of all LOTs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Slovak Republic has commanded the LCC since 1 September 2012. The LCC maintains the situational awareness across Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The current military presence of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic in the Operation EUFOR ALTHEA is as follows:
  • EUFOR HQ – 4 members of the AFSR
  • LCC (Lead Nation) – 4 members of the AFSR
  • 3 LOTs – 8 members of the AFSR in each team
  • National Support Element (NSE) – 3 members of the AFSR
  • International Mlitary Police (IMP) – 2 members of the AFSR

Last update: 08.04.2019

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