Tuesday, September 25, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 25,2007) – The situation in Bosnia is serious and worrying. The international community is very concerned because of that and Bosnia is again the topic of senior international forums,the International community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak warned in Sarajevo speaking at the session of the Association of Independent Intellectuals Krug 99.

Lajcak said that some of the greatest problems in Bosnia are the lack of a strategic objective for the country, the lack of trust or the “great mistrust between the leading political figures” and the lack of a sustainable development of the country, which became evident in the two years since the international pressure lessened and everything that was built so far began to dissipate.

The only idea that can become dominant in Bosnia is European integration, and it enjoys more than 70 percent of support among all Bosnian citizens,he said.

“Bosnia is a European country in every sense, and it remains to be seen how much time will be lost until work on concrete steps begins”, Lajcak.

Police reform is important in this respect, because the political leaders have accepted two years ago the three European principles and the fact that police reform be the ticket to the process of European integration, i.e. a direct condition for signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Bosnia and the EU.

Lajcak described as “absurd” calls for this issue to somehow be bypassed, because the rules for integration are clear and there can be no detour, and police reform is only the first from a series of steps towards that objective.

The International community's High Representative in Bosnia said that police reform is a technical, rather than a strategic issue and added that the future of Bosnia does not depend on the colour of police uniforms, but that it certainly depends on European integration.

He expressed confidence that his proposal on police reform is the best possible, that it is in accordance with the three European principles and that it is based on the fact that it needs to be adopted by the state and the two entity parliaments.

This plan, Lajcak said, establishes a common police structure, a functional police force, it transfers authorities to the state level and forms a state budget.

He warned that all problems of the country “cannot be resolved through the police”, because that would be a way to catastrophe, not a solution. He expressed concern with the fact that certain politicians in Bosnia who advocate Bosnia as a state of citizens are refusing to listen to the arguments of the other national groups. Lajcak said that creating an image of a victim of one people is in contradiction with the thesis of advocating for a multiethnic state.

He explained that this does not mean his disrespect for the victims of war, especially not the victims of genocide, but that he is against using the status of a victim as a political card every time arguments disappear.

Lajcak also condemned the disloyalty of certain politicians towards their own country, especially since those politicians have large influence on their supporters.

He described as shocking the fact that a significant number of politicians have disregarded the European importance of this “technical issue” and that they have engaged in mutual accusations and have also accused him of being a Russian spy.

“A result will not be achieved with maximalistic demands. That is a direct rejection of the principle of a multiethnic state”, he said.

Lajcak said that if an agreement on police reform is achieved the road towards signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement will be opened, the trend of negative events stopped and the road towards constitutional reform opened.

The rejection of his proposal would represent not only a rejection of the Eu future, but also a direct challenge to the international community. Such a scenario would lead to concrete consequences, including the financial rating of the country, while responsible officials would bare consequences for that, Lajcak warned.

Stagnation that would lead to isolation with a further deterioration of the political atmosphere would lie in store for the country.

“If we are unable to agree on technical issues how will we be able to tackle strategic issues”, he said.

He said that not a single Bosnian politician has since the last talks on March come forward with a concrete proposal on police reform, and that instead they have only engaged in the interpretation of the European principles.

This is not the only example of Bosnian politicians failing to do their job, Lajcak said. He cited the example of the Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic who in during a whole year did not organise a single conference on return “even though he receives a salary for that and comes from a party which advocates return”.

Lajcak also rejected any connected between the resolution of the status of Kosovo and police reform in Bosnia.

“I am not hiding behind Kosovo as certain politicians here do”, he said.

He also stressed that the international community is completely untied on the issues of police reform “even though this has not always been the case when Bosnia is in question”.

“There are no holes in the international community. They are looking for them in vain”, Lajcak said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 25,2007) – Representatives of 8 biggest Bosnia's political parties assembled yesterday at the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) for the third round of technical negotiations on Bosnian police reform.

The new platform has been proposed by the International Community's High Representative Miroslav Lajcak.

Agreement between the political parties’ representatives is a precondition for the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Bosnia and the EU (SAA). It should be reached by the end of the month because the European commission has prepared a new annual report on Bosnia's progress on the way to the European Union.

SDA Party representative Semsudin Mehmedovic announced that he will propose other parties’ representatives to be more flexible and to work longer hours today if necessary, for unless the talks are over before the end of the week, it would be pointless to continue them.

Representative of the Party of Democratic progress Slobodan Nagradic is of the opinion that the talks will not finish with this round of negotiations and that the higher party authorities will have the last say.

SDP BiH Party representative Tomislav Limov is hoping that a step forward will be achieved and that preconditions for police reform will be created, for there is no alternative to that.

Limov is of the opinion that the agreement is primarily needed for the sake of the Bosnian citizens’ interests. He added that the parliamentary majority bears most of the responsibility.


BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (September 25,2007) - Bosnia has made progress in implementation of post-association obligations towards the Council of Europe. It is now necessary for the country to continue with the reform processes. In that sense, police reform is of the essence; as well as the constitutional reform which will enable the Bosnian state to function normally,Kimmo Sasi,a member of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary assembly,said yesterday in Banja Luka.

Sasi stated at a press conference that there is a list of issues that need to be solved in order to see the process to an end. That includes strengthening of the whole country for the purpose of achieving its better functioning and a clear division between the state and entity jurisdiction.

In that process, apart from the police reform, implementation of the higher education reform and creation of the ombudsman institution at the state level is also very important,he said.

Sasi stated that Bosnia has made progress in the defense reform.He however refused to name the persons responsible for the fact that other post-association obligations have not been fulfilled yet.


BIHAC, Bosnia (September 25,2007) – 15th anniversary of killings of the Orasac, Ripac and the surrounding villages’ civilians was marked in the Duljlci village near the western Bosnian city of Bihac.40 Bosnian civilians were killed in September of 1992 after the genocidal Serbian aggressor had imprisoned and tortured them.

The youngest victim was only 12 years old. The search is in progress for other missing genocide victim. There are some witnesses’ statements that some bodies are buried in the graves not far away from the crime scene.

From 9 June 1992, the Bosnian village of Ripac near Bihac was sealed off by the Serbian aggressor and became a de facto centre of detention for the inhabitants of the village and Bosnian civilians from other areas.

Nobody has been prosecuted for the crime so far.That is what makes the Ljutocka Dolina citizens bitter. They have already organized peaceful protests in front of the Bihac Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office.

Cantonal and municipal representatives have placed flowers on Sunday to commemorate the genocide victims.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 25,2007) – Andre Kujawinski, a former member of the British Battalion with UNPROFOR, has testified before the Bosnian State Court at the trial of Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic.A former member of the United Nations' Peace Forces in Bosnia testified about the horrors he witnessed in Ahmici and Vitez.

The witness has told the Bosnian State Court about the killing of Bosnian civilians by the Croatian aggressor in Vitez and Ahmici in April 1993.

As part of his regular duties, former UN Peace Forces soldier Kujawinski patrolled in Vitez on 16 April 1993. He has said that, "somewhere by the road" he saw the corpses of an old man and a boy "who was approximately six years old".

"It was a horrible scene. The child had been shot in the head," Kujawinski has recalled.

Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic is charged, in his capacity as a member of the Croatian aggressor's formations, with having participated in the planning of the 16 April 1993 attack on the Bosnian town of Vitez, in which "civilians were murdered and their property was destroyed".

On the same day, Kujawinski was told to visit the Bosnian village of Ahmici. He claims to have seen similar scenes in the village.

"In Ahmici the bodies of whole families – women and children – were scattered near the destroyed houses. Near one house I saw a man and a child whose had been shot in the head. A dog was licking a puddle of blood next to them," the witness said, adding that, judging by their clothes, he "guessed" the civilians were Bosnians.

The Bosnian State Prosecution also charges Croatian war criminal Ljubicic with having participated in planning and issuing of orders for the attack on Ahmici village, where more than 100 Bosnian civilians were murdered.

Kujawinski has also said that, in the vicinity of that place, he saw about 100 Croatian aggressor's soldiers in dark uniforms who were celebrating, drinking and toasting. He says that he "concluded" that they had committed the murders in Ahmici. The witness claims to have been "very furious" at the time.

"To my regret, I did not shoot at them," Kujawinski said.

The trial of Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic is due to continue today, 25 September 2007.


KUALA LUMPUR ,Malaysia (September 25,2007) - Malaysia's Tradewinds Corp Bhd said yesterday its wholly-owned unit TCB Wakil Sdn Bhd has won the bid to acquire a 99.71 percent stake in Bristol Mixed Hotel-Tourism and Trade Co Ltd, the developer of a hotel in Bosnia, held by the Bosnian government for 6,3 million Bosnian Marks (4,5 million US Dollars).

In a stock exchange filing, Tradewinds, one of Malaysia's largest hotel owners, said TCB Wakil has also agreed to complete the construction of a hotel currently undertaken by Grand Hotel Bristol Ltd Sarajevo for a total cost of 22 million Bosnian Marks (15,8 million US Dollars).

The proposed acquisition will enable the group to acquire a strategic asset in Bosnia. With the acquisition, the group will be able to tap into the tourism market in Europe and diversify the present concentration of hotel business in Malaysia abroad,' the company said.

Currently, there are only four hotels having hotel ratings above four-star in Bosnia and only one is an internationally affiliated hotel, it said.Trading in Tradewinds shares has been suspended to facilitate the announcement.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 25,2007) – The Association of Citizens “Bosnian Community”, in cooperation with the UN Volunteers and the UN Development Program (UNDP), has organised in Sarajevo yesterday the presentation of the “First Job” program.

The program allows students from universities in Bosnia to gain working experience in order to easier find permanent employment after completing their studies.

Representatives of the “Bosnian Community” and UNDP will select on the basis of grades and extracurricular activities 20 students from Bosnia who will receive 300 Bosnian Marks for their “first job” and will have the obligation to provide 20 hours of social work during the two months of their employment, “Bosnian Community” Executive Director Natasa Musa said.

“The program allows these young people to gain work experience and define their professional orientation in renowned Bosnian companies such as "ASA Auto", "Raiffeisen Bank", "Energoinvest", "Mozaik" Foundation, Wurth” and many others”, Musa said.

Presentations of the program will also be held in Tuzla, Mostar and Banja Luka in the coming days.The deadline for filing applications expires on October 15.


BRATUNAC, Bosnia (September 25,2007) - Mirsad Kebo, the FBIH Entity Vice President had a meeting yesterday in the eastern Bosnian town of Bratunac with the returnees. They talked about the possibilities of their sustainable return.Kebo was introduced to the needs of local communities.

The FBIH Entity Vice President met with the Bratunac Municipality authorities and was interested in knowing the economic situation in the region.

Mr. Kebo presented the Mayor of Bratunac a personal grant of 10.000 Bosnian Marks.The money is to be used for infrastructural development in Bratunac.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 25,2007) – Nikola Kovac,distinguished university professor, essayist and a member of the Bosnian PEN Centre died yesterday, aged 71.

Although born in Dubrovnik,Croatia, Nikola Kovac was tied to Sarajevo and Bosnia his entire life. He was the Ambassador of Bosnia to France at the most difficult of times in Bosnia's recent history, from 1994 to 1995,during the Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions.

Nikola Kovac, a member of the Bosnian PEN Centre, was an active participant and advocate of the freedom of speech, fight against totalitarian opinions and regimes and an analyst of the complex relations in the multiethnic Bosnia.

”He gave a specific contribution to our work since the Bosnian PEN Centre was founded in 1992. He published books and participated at the international and domestic conferences”; the Bosnian PEN Centre announced.

Kovac wrote about 15 books in the field of literature and visual arts. Some of his books were published in French. He also wrote a brilliant monograph about painting in Bosnia from 1945 to 1990.

He was a founder and a member of many associations of intellectuals and literary activists in Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 25,2007) - The Bosnian State Court issued a decision ordering one month custody to Suad Kapić, who is suspected of crimes against prisoners of war. Under this decision, custody may last until 19 October 2007.

In its motion seeking custody orders, the Bosnian Prosecutor’s Office alleges that during the Sana 95 operation in September 1995, Suad Kapic,who was a member of the 517th Brigade of the V Corps of the Bosnian Army,killed four prisoners of war who were members of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations.

On the basis of the evidence submitted, the Bosnian State Court concluded that there was grounded suspicion that Kapic had committed the above offence.

Also, the Bosnian State Court found that special circumstances exist which point to the risk that Kapic, if released, might influence witnesses and co-perpetrators.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 25,2007) - Yesterday was the first day of a weeklong visit by representatives of four United Kingdom Beacon Councils to Bosnia. The visitors will also participate in the launch of the Third Round of the Bosnian Beacon Scheme in Sarajevo on 27 September 2007.

The Beacon Scheme, launched in 2005 by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and the Council of Europe, seeks to raise standards in local governance and reward excellence in municipal service delivery to the Bosnian citizens.

Co-operation with the UK Beacon Scheme was essential from the beginning and remains important even as the Scheme has become an integral part of local government in Bosnia,the OSCE Mission to Bosnia said.

This week’s visit re-enforces the good co-operation between the Bosnian and UK Beacon Schemes. It reciprocates the learning exchange visit made by six Bosnian Beacon municipalities – Banja Luka, Posusje, Bosanska Krupa, Laktasi, Pale and Bosanski Samac – to the UK in June 2007. They will now host their peers from Staffordshire Connects, Forest Heath District Council, Lichfield District Council and South Norfolk District Council.

Around 75 per cent of the Bosnian municipalities have been involved in the Beacon Scheme in various ways since its introduction in 2005. Local partners such as the Associations of Towns and Municipalities of Bosnia have contributed to its success.

It is hoped that many municipalities will apply for the Third Round of the Bosnian Beacon Scheme. At the launch event on 27 September, the new themes will be announced and members of the Beacon Scheme advisory panel will explain the application procedure for municipalities willing to compete for Beacon status in the Third Round. The deadline for applications is 16 November 2007,the OSCE said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 25,2007) - The Appellate Chamber of the Bosnian State Court has accepted the appeals filed by both parties in the case of Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun - and overturned the original verdict.

The Appellate Chamber of the War Crimes Chamber with the Bosnian State Court has revoked the first instance verdict pronounced in the case of Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun and ordered a retrial.

The verdict was overturned after the Chamber reviewed appeals filed by both the Prosecution and Defence. The Chamber has concluded that there were "significant violations of criminal proceeding provisions" and "incorrect determination of factual status".

In December last year, Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun was pronounced guilty of having committed war crimes against Bosnian civilians,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 90's. Andrun was sentenced by the Bosnian State Court to 13 years of imprisonment.

The indictment alleges that, in the course of 1993, Andrun was deputy commander of Gabela concentration camp, which was controlled by the Croatian aggressor's forces.

The first instance Trial Chamber admitted seven, out of 13, charges contained in the indictment, which charged Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun with murder and complicity in murder, torture and inhumane treatment of detained Bosnian civilians, while threatening and terrorising them.


SARAJEVO ,Bosnia (September 25,2007) - The first international Agreement on Police Co-operation between Bosnia and Bulgaria was signed at a meeting of Bosnian and Bulgarian Ministers of Security Tarik Sadovic and Rumen Petkov.

The document provides for all types of organized crime counteraction, intensifying the information exchange and the co-operation on operational level between experts of the two countries.

An accent is placed on the fight against trafficking in human beings, drugs and weapons, illicit trade etc. The Agreement outlines the legal framework of a much more effective future interaction leading to a higher security level in the region.

At the short ceremony the Bosnian Minister of Security expressed his gratitude for the support that Bulgaria always lent to Bosnia.