Saturday, September 15, 2007


TUZLA, Bosnia (September 15,2007) – Representatives of the Bosnian War Veterans’ Associations requested yesterday in Tuzla that Bosnia breaks off all diplomatic and economic relations with Serbia.

The Bosnian War Veterans’ Associations have made this demand in reaction to the Serbian Minister of Justice’s statement that Serbia will not hand over the “Tuzla Column” case to Bosnia.In May 1992,the Serbian aggressor's troops came under attack by the Bosnian Army as they were withdrawing from the Bosnian city of Tuzla and up to 200 Serbian aggressor's soldiers were reportedly killed and 140 of them were taken prisoners by the Bosnian Army.

Former Tuzla Municipal Council Chair Ilija Jurisic is in custody in Serbia on charges related to this case.Jurišić is a Bosnian patriot who participated in defending the Bosnian city of Tuzla from the Serbian aggressor,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggresion against Bosnia.He has been arrested by the Serbian aggressor and has been in a prison in Belgrade since 11 May 2007.

The Bosnian war veterans are unanimous in their support for Ilija Jurisic and all activities aimed at securing his release.

Representatives of the Coordinating Body also expressed their support for all of the other accused in the so-called “Brcanska Malta” case.

They condemned in the strongest possible terms the behaviour by the Serbian authorities and the lack of engagement from the Bosnian authorities on protecting their citizens.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 15,2007) – European Commission expects the Bosnian police reform agreement to be achieved as soon as possible, especially keeping in mind that the end of September is the time when the annual report for the countries aiming to become the EU members will be completed, Frane Maroevic said, commenting the current situation in the police reform sector.

”It is clear that without an agreement on this key reform,a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the EU will not be signed”, Maroevic said.

Apart from that, if the police reform agreement is not signed, the European Commissions’ report will clearly show that Bosnia is behind the other countries in the process of association to the EU,Maroevic said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 15,2007) – Sarajevo City Council Deputy Chair Emin Svrakic and Assistant Mayor Ramiz Kadic met with a delegation of the City of Bursa from Turkey headed by General Manager Ibrahim Er.

Bursa and Sarajevo signed a twining agreement in 1979.He meeting was also attended by a group of 25 high school students from Bursa who have come to Sarajevo to learn more about the culture and history of Bosnia.

Ibrahim Er proposed that Bosnian students also visit Bursa.Head of the International Affairs Department with the Bursa Mayor’s Office Hatice Yilmaz extended to the City of Sarajevo and the City Administration greetings from Bursa Mayor Hikmet Sahin.

Svrakic thanked Bursa, Turkey and its people for the assistance they have provided to Sarajevo and Bosnia during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions and the post-war period.

The students from Bursa and the delegation of the City of Bursa will stay in Bosnia until September 17. They plan to visit Mostar and Travnik, as well as Igman and Bjelasnica.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 15,2007) – Wednesday’s talks of the political parties’ experts on the latest police reform proposal made by the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak “were held in a constructive atmosphere and presence of all the political parties involved in the process”, the Office of the High Representative (OHR) officials told press, commenting the results of Wednesdey’s meeting, especially in the light of the fact that different parties’ representatives gave different statements on the results of the meeting.

”Methodology of technical talks, which will continue on Tuesday, has been agreed”. Participants will receive a summary of all the comments made by political parties which came as a reaction to the proposal”, OHR announced.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 15,2007) – The Bosnian government adopted the Operative Plan of Realization of Measures of Srebrenica Recovery and Development from the Budget Reserves.

Tarik Sadovic, Minister of Safety, stated at a press conference after the session that the sum reaches almost 10 million Bosnian Marks.The money will be used to finance the Srebrenica municipality recovery in 2007 and 2008.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers will nominate a Commission for control of the public purchase and money spending processes. Safet Halilovic, the Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees will be the president of the commission. The commission will be in charge of monitoring the implementation of funds.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 15,2007) – A Bosnian delegation will visit the general fair in Tabriz, Iran, in mid October - the Bosnian Foreign Trade Chamber Deputy President Mahir Hadziahmetovic and Head of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department for Central and North Europe Fard Hosseini agreed at a meeting in Sarajevo yesterday.

They discussed the possibility of establishing economic cooperation between Bosnian and Iranian cities and regions, as well as the signing of an agreement on cooperation between the two chambers.

There are also plans for organising a visit by an Iranian business delegation to Bosnia.

Hadziahmetovic underlined the readiness of the Bosnian Foreign Trade Chamber to accept every initiative that will contribute to the development of cooperation and the strengthening of economic ties between Bosnia and Iran.


PRIJEDOR, Bosnia (September 15,2007) - The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and the Programme of Cooperation with Public of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) organized a roundtable in Prijedor yesterdaY entitled "Informing the local public with the facts determined in verdicts of the International Court", the OSCE said.

The goal of the roundtable was to provide additional information for local officials, representatives of civil society and media, regarding the facts determined in cases before the ICTY relating to war crimes in the area of Prijedor, as well as to provide a forum for discussions over steps representatives of local community can take to encourage awareness of determined facts.

The ICTY has issued sentences against 14 Serbian war criminals for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Prijedor in 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The discussion was hosted by Matias Hellman, a representative of ICTY Office in Bosnia, Francesco de Sanctis, legal adviser for war crimes at the OSCE, as well as representatives of the Helsinki Board for Human Rights, Municipality Prijedor and the NGO "Izvor" from Prijedor.

The OSCE supports the Bosnian courts and prosecutors in their efforts at informing communities in Bosnia and provides precise and comprehensive information related to their work in war crimes cases, the OSCE statement read.


SOFIA, Bulgaria (September 15,2007) - Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin hosted a meeting of the Foreign ministers of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) yesterday.

Bulgaria is rotating president of the working group until may 2008.The meeting took place in the Korona Express train, which used to belong to Tsar Boris III.The train travelled from Sofia to Plovdiv during the meeting.

Taking part in the informal meeting were Foreign ministers from Bosnia, Moldova, Albania, Montenegro, Turkey and Macedonia. Serbia, Romania and Greece participated at the level of deputy foreign ministers.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Kosova (SRSG) Joachim Rucker and Southeast European Stability Pact Coordinator Erhard Buzek had also been invited to the meeting.

On the agenda were current regional issues and issues regarding the transformation process of regional co-operation, a Foreign Ministry press statement said.

The process of transformation of regional co-operation included the application of the principle of regional affiliation, the press statement said. Under this principle, countries in the region should take more responsibility, including financial responsibility, for regional co-operation within the SEECP.

Part of the process was the successful implementation of the Council for regional co-operation (CRC).

After the arrival of the train in Plovdiv, the participants received an official welcome at the city-hall where the agreement for the founding of a new secretariat for the CRC in Bosnia was signed.


WASHINGTON, USA (September 15,2007) - Notwithstanding the improved situation in Germany, the United States continues to have concerns about religious freedom in European countries.

The Annual Report on International Religious Freedom found conditions for religious freedom worsening in Bosnia while they improved in Greece. Greece was praised for a new law allowing cremation, while Bosnia was criticized for selective enforcement of a law on religious freedom.

The report also said that religious freedom deteriorated in Serbia because of the government's uneven attempts to regulate religious practice. The U.S. State Department said, however, that conditions had improved in Kosovo, a breakaway region of Serbia that is pushing for independence with U.S. backing.

The findings were among a number of developments in Europe noted in The Annual Report on International Religious Freedom.

The United States has in previous reports complained that Germany discriminates against some religious groups, including Scientology, which Germany does not recognize as a religion. This year's reports noted many of the same complaints. But it also said that court decisions on complaints by Scientologists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and members of the Unification Church, had made it easier for those groups to practice their beliefs.

The report specifically cited concern about restrictions the German Ministry of Defense had made on the production of a film starring Tom Cruise, a Scientologist. It also cited a demand by Baden-Wuerttemberg Governor Guenther Oettinger that a television program drop an invitation to another Scientologist, actor John Travolta.

In its section on France, the report said that despite government efforts to combat anti-Semitism, attacks against Jews were becoming more frequent. It reiterated concerns about restrictions on Muslims, including the 2004 law banning headscarves and other conspicuous religious symbols in schools.

Among other findings, the report criticized a law that went into effect in May 2007 in Slovakia making it harder for religious groups to register with the government for benefits. The U.S. State Department found that poor conditions in Belarus became worse in 2006, while conditions improved in Georgia.


BELGRADE, Serbia (September 15,2007) - Serbian police have detained the son of Serbian war criminal Radovan Kardzic, his sister Sonja has said.Sasa Karadzic was taken into custody yesterday for questions on his father's whereabouts during a visit to Belgrade, where the family owns a flat, Sonja Jovicevic Karadzic said.

Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic,the political leader of the Serbians living in Bosnia during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, is wanted for genocide over the massacre of about 8,000 Bosnian civilians in 1995 in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebenica.

He has been on the run for the past ten years along with the former head of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formation in Bosnia,Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladic.

"Special police arrested around six in the afternoon Sasa in Belgrade," his sister Sonja Karadzic said.

She said he had been visiting his five-year-old son who had undergone hip surgery at a Belgrade hospital.

A Serbian minister suggested on Friday that tactics could be changed to put more pressure on the Karadzic family.

The Serbian war criminal Karadzic's family has been the target of raids by NATO and EU peacekeepers on several occasions in the past few years, without visible results.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Serbian police and no other details were immediately available.

The reported detention comes amid renewed pledges by the Belgrade authorities to intensify search for the remaining Serbian war criminals sought by the Netherlands-based U.N. war crimes court for former Yugoslavia.

It also comes before a visit later this month of the chief prosecutor of the Hague court, Carla Del Ponte, whose report about Serbia's efforts to arrest the fugitives will be crucial for the Serbia's future EU integration.

Karadzic is thought to be hiding in the part of Bosnia now controlled by the Serbians living in Bosnia , or in a remote part of Montenegro.Police in neighbouring Montenegro often search houses belonging to Karadzic's relatives.

Meanwhile on Friday the UN security council extended the appointment of Carla del Ponte as prosecutor of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia until December 31, when her still-unnamed successor will take over.

The outspoken Del Ponte, from Switzerland, has held the job for eight years and her term of office had been due to end on Friday.

She has been appointed Swiss ambassador to Argentina starting next year.

As Yugoslavia prosecutor she has helped bring a number of Serbian war criminals to court, including Slobodan Milosevic,the former Serbian fascist president.


SARAJEVO,Bosnia (September 15,2007) - Next week the War Crimes Chamber of the Bosnian State Court will pronounce a verdict in the case of a Croatian war criminal Kreso Lucic, accused of crimes against humanity.

A first instance verdict against Croatian war criminal Kreso Lucic is expected to be pronounced on Tuesday, 18 September.He was indicted for crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the Bosnian town of Kresevo in 1993.

Croatian war criminal Kreso Lucic,a former member of the Croatian aggressor's formations, is accused of having "ordered detention of Bosnian civilians in 'Ivo Lola Ribar' elementary school and 'Sunje' hangar, where they were tortured and maltreated" in June and July 1993,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia.

Also,The trial of Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek, a former member of the Serbian aggressor's formations, is due to continue on 17 September before the Bosnian State Court. The prosecution considers that Serbian war criminal Lelek was involved in the taking of Bosnian civilians from "Varda" factory in the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad, some of whom were killed and others are still missing, as well as in raping and torturing Bosnian civilians in this town in 1992,during the early stages of the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Serbian war criminal Rajko Vukovic is due to appear at a plea hearing before a preliminary hearing judge on Monday. This is the second time a plea hearing has been scheduled in this case. He failed to appear at the first hearing due to his involvement in a hunger strike 25 indictees began on 10 September.

Serbian war criminals Rajko Vukovic and Ranko Vukovic are charged with crimes committed on the territory of the eastern Bosnian town of Foca.

The trial of Serbian war criminals Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic before the Bosnian State Courtis is due to continue on Tuesday, 18 September, when the prosecution will examine two more protected witnesses. Serbian war criminals Rasevic and Todovic are charged with having participated in the torture, beating, murder and inhumane treatment of Bosnian civilians in Foca.

On 19 and 20 September, the trial of Serbian war criminals Zeljko Mejakic, Momcilo Gruban, Dusan Fustar and Dusko Knezevic is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court. They are indicted for crimes committed in the detention camps in the northern Bosnian city of Prijedor.

The continuation of the trial of Serbian war criminal Jadranko Palija before the Bosnian State Court is scheduled for 19 September, when the prosecution will present its material evidence. Palija, in his capacity as former member of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations, is charged with having "detained, maltreated and used Bosnians and Croatians as human shields".

On 19 and 20 September the trial will continue in the case of the 11 Serbian war criminals indicted for execution of 1,000 Bosnians at a farm in an eastern Bosnian village of Kravice on 13 July 1995.

The trial of the four Serbian war criminals charged with crimes against humanity committed in the Bratunac area during 1995 is due to continue on 19 September.Serbian war criminals Zdravko Bozic, Mladen Blagojevic, Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic are charged with having participated in the "detention and inhumane treatment, mass murder and forcible deportation of Bosnian civilians after the fall of the protected enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995".

The trial of Zijad Kurtovic, a former member of the Bosnian Army charged with crimes committed in Dreznica near Mostar, is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on 20 September.

The trial of former members of the Croatian aggressor's formations,Croatian war criminals Marko Radic, Dragan Sunjic, Damir Brekalo and Mirko Vracevic, charged with crimes committed in Vojno detention camp near Mostar is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on Friday, 21 September.

According to the official timetable of the Bosnian State Court, a pre-trial status conference in the case of Serbian war criminals Mirko Todorovic and Milos Radic is scheduled for 21 September. The prosecution considers that the two Serbian war criminals took part in the persecution of Bosnian civilians from the village of Borkovac, Bratunac municipality, where 14 Bosnian civilians were murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor.

Also on 21 September, the trial will continue in the case of Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic, who is charged with having participated in the attack on the Bosnian village of Tulice on 12 June 1993, when the village residents were captured and seven Bosnians were murdered by the Croatian aggressor.


BUDAPEST,Hungary (September 15,2007) - Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Hungary Rashid Ibrayev met with Bosnian Prime Minister Nikola Spiric in Budapest.They discussed issues concerning bilateral relations between Bosnia and Kazakhstan.

Spiric and Ibrayev noted enhancement of the political contacts and economic cooperation between the two countries.Within the framework of the meeting,Spiric called on the Kazakh businessmen to invest more actively in Bosnia.

Issues regarding the oncoming meeting of the presidents of Bosnia and Kazakhstan within the second session of the UN General Assembly were also deliberated upon.