Wednesday, September 26, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) – The Bosnian Justice Minister Bariša Čolak has expressed regret that Bosnian citizen Ilija Jurišić is still in custody in Serbia - and has said that the Bosnian authorities are doing whatever is possible to help him.

"The Bosnian Ministry of Justice and myself have undertaken all actions that are possible within the legal framework related to application of bilateral agreements between the two countries, and within the scope of all international conventions signed and ratified by Bosnia and Serbia. We have done absolutely everything we could," Čolak said.

Ilija 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.Jurišić has been arrested by the Serbian aggressor and has been in a prison in Belgrade since 11 May 2007.

Jurišić is also former chairman of the Municipal Council of Tuzla, and a member of the city's Public Safety Service emergency headquarters.

"If it was up to us to decide, Jurišić would be processed before the Bosnian State Court." Čolak said.

This case is also known as "the Tuzla Column".The Serbian aggressor, with the active participation of Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) forces, seized about 70 per cent of Bosnia in the first few weeks of the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.JNA was totally controlled by Serbia and the role of the JNA in the early stages of the war was very important.

In May 1992,the JNA troops came under attack by the Bosnian Army as they were withdrawing from the eastern Bosnian city of Tuzla and up to 200 JNA soldiers were reportedly killed and 140 JNA soldiers were taken prisoners by the Bosnian Army.

Čolak said that, during his visit to Belgrade, he was informed that the official stand of the Serbian Ministry of Justice was that Jurišić could not be extradited to Bosnia "because the Serbian criminal code does not foresee extradition if the person is charged with a criminal offence punishable by an imprisonment of ten years or more".

The Bosnian Justice Minister Bariša Čolak said that he has not received information on the official stand of the Court Council with the Special Court of Serbia, but he has received assurances that "an investigation will be opened soon and that, in mid October, a decision will be rendered as to whether the criminal prosecution against Jurišić will be halted."


SREBRENICA, Bosnia (26.September,2007) – Members of the Bosnian expert team have exhumed 11 complete and 40 incomplete bodies of the genocide from the Zeleni Jadar mass grave, a week after this secondary grave site was opened.

The activities will last at least for another 5 days. Murat Hurtic, head of the Bosnian team of experts stated that several dozens of skeletons are expected to be fund.

They are supposed to belong to the Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica murdered in July 1995 by the genocidal Serbian aggressor,who were first buried at Kravice and Glogova and later relocated by the Serbian aggressor to Zeleni Jadar in order to destroy the evidence of the crime.


TUZLA, Bosnia (26.September,2007) - The government of Switzerland continues to support the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). During his visit to the ICMP center in Tuzla, the Swiss Ambassador to Bosnia,Rolf Lenz, announced that the Swiss government will be contributing 80.000 Euros in 2008 to the ICMP.

This contribution will be used to support the project “Capacity Building for Associations of Families of Missing Persons – Fostering Mutual Understanding”. Mr. Lenz stressed that his country, respecting the priorities of the Swiss foreign policy, has been engaged for many years in the peace and stabilization process in Bosnia.

ICMP assists governments in the process of locating, recovering and identifying missing persons through the use of forensic archaeology, anthropology and DNA science. It provides policy assistance to governments in establishing appropriate laws and mechanisms to address the missing persons issue and it supports the development of networks of civil society organizations which advocate for truth, justice, and the rights of family members of missing persons.

“I believe that addressing the horrors of the past is very important for the prospects of the future”, said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, when the funding was announced.

“ICMP could not have existed without the political and financial support of generous governments and their openhearted citizens. I should like to thank the government of Switzerland for their valuable support since 2001”, Bomberger added.

The work of ICMP is also supported by the governments of Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, the Vatican, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. The C.S. Mott Foundation provides funding to ICMP for the “Paths to Reconciliation” project, ICMP said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) – The fourth round of technical talks on the Bosnian police reform concerning the Protocol on Police Reform, which was presented to Bosnia's political leaders late last month, will be held in Banja Luka, the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) confirmed yesterday.

Police reform is a condition for Bosnia for signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU and the talks should be completed by the end of this month, as the European Commission is prepared a new report on progress of Bosnia on the road towards European integration.

The meeting will be held in the OHR office in Banja Luka.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) – The International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia, Miroslav Lajčák, met yesterday with the Monitoring delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), led by Assembly member Mr. Kimmo Sassi.

Lajčák informed Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly delegation about the present political situation and the status of reform processes in Bosnia, especially police reform, as final remaining obstacle on the road of Bosnia's European integration.

The Delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the High Representative Miroslav Lajčák agreed that Bosnia has made minimal progress in implementation of post-accession obligations towards the Council of Europe.

Bosnia is yet to make progress regarding implementation of reforms in the education field and establishment of a single ombudsman institution.Also, it is recognized that it is now very important for Bosnia to continue with the reform processes, police reform in particular,they said.

"Solving this issue opens the road for Bosnia to join the European Union, only proper future, as opposed to self imposed isolation", the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia,said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) – “Corruption, organised crime and war criminals continue to undermine the fabric of the Bosnian society, yet the information that the Bosnian State Intelligence-Security Agency (OSA),gathers is only of use if it is acted upon,” the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajčák said yesterday.

The High Representative and EU Special Representative met with Almir Džuvo, Director General of the Bosnian State Intelligence-Security Agency in Sarajevo yesterday.

Welcoming the progress that OSA has made since its inception in June 2004 Lajcak underlined that Bosnia must develop effective, state-wide policing strategies if the information that this agency gathers is to be used effectively.

“Good management and technically competent staff have made the Bosnian State Intelligence-Security Agency a trusted partner in the region,in the rest of Europe and with the broader international community in the global fight against organized crime and war-crimes,” Lajcak said.

the Bosnian State Intelligence-Security Agency's mandate is to gather, analyse and disseminate intelligence information and cooperates closely with the Bosnian police agencies.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) – The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia welcomed the approval for the ratification of CEFTA by the Bosnian Parliament yesterday.The Agreement will contribute to increased competitiveness and help attract direct foreign investments by applying international trade system rules,the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) stated.

All these are preconditions for creating new jobs and fostering economic prosperity in Bosnia.The development of a functioning market economy is also key requirement for Bosnia's European integration,the OHR said.

By joining forces with other countries to create a regional free trade zone, Bosnia is following in the footsteps of the founding members of CEFTA, who have all since become full members of the EU and enjoy standards of living that are incomparably higher than they were a decade ago,the OHR said.

The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia now looks forward to a speedy completion of the ratification procedure by the Bosnian Presidency,the OHR concluded.


NEW YORK, USA (26.September,2007) – The Bosnian Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic, who is leading the Bosnian delegation at the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly, attended a special session of the UN on the first day of the visit to New York. The session focused on climate changes.

He emphasized the burning issues in the light of ratification of the agreement of the UN Frame Convention on Climatic Changes from Kyoto and its implementation in Bosnia since July 2007.

Bosnia is prepared to take the next step: the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanisms.

"The global warming has already affected all the continents and oceans. Its negative influence is felt especially in the world’s poorest countries.There is no dilemma on whether or not a continual and a productive dialogue is to be made. All forms of polarization are to be avoided in the process, especially for the sake of the common benefit. Voices of the poorest countries, the least developed and the most vulnerable are to be heard”, Komsic stated in his address.

He presented participants of the session with the Bosnian activities that are related to climatic changes.

He added that Bosnia ratified the Frame Convention on Climatic changes in 2000 and that the instrument on Bosnia's association to the Kyoto protocol was submitted to the depositor - the UN Secretary general on April 16 2007. It has been put in force July 15 2007.

"Alignment of the national legislature with the European Commission’s demands is Bosnia’s priority. The Kyoto Protocol was one of the base and key steps in the process of European integrations.The next step is implementation of Clean Development Mechanisms. In that sense, Bosnia is making all the preparations necessary," Komsic emphasized.

The level of gas emissions in Bosnia has decreased compared to the year 1990. In spite of that, several programs are being implemented in Bosnia, such is the rationalization of energy, gasification process, tree planting, healthy food production… That is one of the most important aspects for integration of Bosnia to the international activities in the field of protection against the global climate changes.

Bosnia has also recently signed an agreement on regional energetic community based on the Memorandum of Athens from 2002/2003. The unified natural gas market was formed by the memorandum, as well as the electric energy market for the area of the whole of the Southeastern Europe.

The memorandum is aimed to create a legal and economic frame for formation of an energy network of the Southeastern Europe. That region is to be connected with the EU network and means an implementation of the EU acquits in the sectors of energy, environment, and competition and energy resources.

”Today we own much more than we have owned in the past. Our countries have become connected in many ways and dependent on each other. Together we are facing global climate changes. We need to act in cooperation with the rest of the world, all for the purpose of a sustainable development”, Komsic said.

Prior to this special session,the Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic met shortly with the presidents of the neighboring countries: Stjepan Mesic (Croatia), Boris Tadic (Serbia) and Zeljkom Sturanovic (Prime Minister of Montenegro). He also met with Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General.

Komsic also met with Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish prime Minister.They talked about the current relationship between Bosnia and Turkey.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stated again that Bosnia is a friendly and a brotherly country and that the secular and all other kinds of relationship are a good base for the advancement of the already developed relations between the two countries.


BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (26.September,2007) – Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Bosnia Dimitris Kourkoulas stated in Banja Luka yesterday that Bosnia has imposed sanctions upon itself by postponing or contributing the postponement of the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU.

Ambassador Kourkoulas stated that the International Community's High Representative’s proposal on police reform was in accordance to the three EU principles.

But,Kourkoulas emphasized the progress Bosnia made related to signing the visa facilitation regime, as well as the ratification of the CEFTA agreement. He did warn, however, that the SAA is still the base for the country’s association to the EU.

He also said that the signing of the agreement on support to tourism is a sign that the European Commission does not impose any conditions to anyone. It solely asks the implementation of the association conditions and offers various kinds of aid in the process.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) – The third technical round of negotiations between the representatives of Bosnia's eight biggest political parties on police reform, proposed by the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia,Miroslav Lajcak, was held in Sarajevo.No important results have been achieved. The talks are to continue in Banja Luka on Wednesday.

Agreement on police reform is a precondition for signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Bosnia and the EU (SAA).It should be reached by the end of September because the European Commission is preparing a report on Bosnia's progress for October.

SDP Party representative Damir Hadzic sees the only consistency in slowness in the process of reaching a solution. He stated that the only concrete issue agreed upon was international cooperation of the unified police structure, and a new text will be designed for everything else.

”If this practice continues, I am afraid that the deadline, the end of September, will mean nothing. The most important issues will not be agreed upon”, Hadzic said.

He expects that the police reform will be either affirmed or stopped. If that happens, it will be clear that no agreement is possible between the ruling structures.

Slobodan Nagradic, representative of the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP), stated that the issues discussed were of a more serious nature.

”Since we have not made an agreement on any of the important issues the OHR representatives thought of as easy, it seems normal to me that we cannot agree upon the ‘difficult’ issues”. Nagradic said.

He added that all the issues have been touched upon, including the police boards’ activities, police direction… Each party was given a “home assignment” to formulate the attitudes until the beginning of the next meting.

Semsudin Mehmedovic, SDA Party representative stated that he is not satisfied with the tempo of the talks. He expected that the entire text of the protocol would have been covered.

”However, we managed to cover a little more than a half. We have left the most difficult of issues, like financing and organization of police districts for the end. I think we will argue most about these issues. That is not in our mandate. Those are difficult political issues and only political parties’ leaders are to decide upon them”, Mehmedovic said.

He emphasized that he had no objections to a single item of the Protocol. He added to have accepted the complete text of the document, but the political parties of the Serbians living in Bosnia were the ones objecting certain issues.

”I am afraid that time is what certain people are trying to buy. They want us to run out of time. They want us to enter October without making any progress”, Mehmedovic said.

”As far as HDZ Party is concerned, this Protocol is a good base for an agreement”, Mijo Kresic said.

He added that certain differences in opinions were seen and that certain items in the document “limit the action” of the persons responsible in the police reform process.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) - The Bosnian Parliament did not accept at a session in Sarajevo Bill Amending the Law on Execution of Criminal Sanctions, Imprisonment and Other Disciplinary Measures.

Delegates adopted Bill Changing the Law on Competition which defines that after passing the decision on initiation of procedures, the Bosnian Competition Council is obliged to pass the final solution within three instead of the past 6-month period.

Changes and Amendments to the Law on Legal Procedures at the Bosnian State Court have been adopted. It has been agreed that in the first instance procedure, one judge, not the Bosnian State Court’s Council of Judges made up of three members, is to be at trial.

The Bosnian Court initiated changes and amendments to this law. This was done for the purpose of adjustment of the Bosnian judiciary system to the EU standards.

Delegates did not accept the proposal of the Bosnian Council of Ministers to urgently discuss the Bill Changing the Law on the Bosnian Customs Tariff. The Bill enables the import of 100.000 tons of wheat without customs for the needs of the reserves.


BOSANSKI ŠAMAC, Bosnia (26.September,2007) – The Bosnian Council of Ministers Chairman Nikola Spiric, the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Bosnia Michael Dimitris Kourkoulas and the Bosnian Indirect Taxation Authority Director Kemal Causevic opened the newly built border crossing in Bosanski Šamac.

Spiric said that this border crossing should accelerate communication between Bosnia and the rest of the Europe, and stressed that everything possible is being done to accelerate Bosnia's road towards the EU membership and other international structures.

He said that all sides in Bosnia should make an effort to complete the necessary reforms of the Bosnian constitution and police, which will then allow Bosnia to join the EU.

Ambassador Kourkoulas reminded of activities that are being taken to put Bosnia in control of its borders.

He added that Bosnia is expected to become a full member of the EU and that as other member states is will then no longer need such border crossings.

30 million Euros have been spent on the project of managing the Bosnian border crossings during the past ten years.

The Bosnian Indirect Taxation Authority Director Kemal Causevic said that the opening of this border crossing will improve the collection of indirect taxes in Bosnia.

The border crossing Bosanski Šamac is on the M-17 road and on the border between Bosnia and Croatia. Its opening marks the start of the second phase of building modern border crossings, which will also be built in Bosanski Brod, Zupci and Klobuk.

The EU funded the construction of the border crossing Bosanski Šamac with 3.8 million Euros.


BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (26.September,2007) – Representatives of chambers of commerce from several Southeastern European countries concluded at a meeting in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka that the consistent implementation of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) is needed.

They stressed that they would insist with their governments on the rapid creation of conditions for the consistent implementation of this agreement, especially on the application of rules concerning the origin of products.

Participants in the meeting expressed confidence that Bosnia and Serbia will also soon fully ratify CEFTA.

The Bosnian Foreign Trade Chamber Vice President Milan Lovric said at the meeting that the Bosnian companies need to be allowed access to other markets.

Representatives of chambers of commerce from the region agreed to continue mutual cooperation in order to further strengthen good neighbourly relations, stimulate economic growth and the competitiveness of the economies in the region, and that they will actively contribute to the acceleration of the process of accession to the EU.

Representatives of chambers of commerce from Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Vojvodina,Croatia and Serbia took part in the meeting.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) – Food safety protection needs to be seen as a regional, not a local issue. This has been emphasized yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo at the regional conference on food safety.

The Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations organized the conference, together with the Bosnian Agency for Safety of Food and with support of the UN’s FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). The conference should result in recommendations for advancement of the efficient national systems of food safety and control.

Yesterday’s session was marked as an important opportunity for the representatives from the countries of the region to exchange opinions for the purpose of protection of the consumers’ health. It has also been emphasized that the work of the Bosnian Agency for Safety of Food is important from the point of view of the European integrations.

Project Coordinator for Bosnia Marijo Perc emphasized that a control system has been implemented in Bosnia put that the involvement of the healthcare sector is expected at a greater extent.

Yesterday’s session is a part of the FAO activities in the project entitled “Strengthening of the Food System in the SE Europe Countries”.

Head of the Project Mary Kenny stated that the main goal is to develop a food strategy in the countries where it does not exist yet, placing a special emphasis on control, which means construction and equipping the labs.

Representatives of the following countries participate:Bosnia,Romania, Moldova, Macedonia, Kosovo and Croatia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) - This week the Ministry of Interior of the Sarajevo Canton will launch information campaigns on domestic violence and juvenile delinquency.

They will visit schools to raise young people’s awareness, air spots and participate in TV and radio shows.

Inspector Mićo Letić stated that the Sarajevo Canton police have been implementing prevention projects since 2003, but that much remains to be done.

“The Bosnian government has adopted a strategy to prevent juvenile delinquency last year.However, nothing has been done so far,” he said.

Inspector Suada Kuldija said that only five years ago the police could not react to a report on domestic violence as it was not considered a criminal offence. There was not way to sanction perpetrators at the time. Today, they appeal to victims to turn to the police.

Inspector Kuldija added that the Sarajevo Canton is the only canton in Bosnia that has a coordination body to combat domestic violence, including ministries, NGOs and the media. This has widely contributed to curbing similar criminal offences.


MOSTAR, Bosnia (26.September,2007) - The OSCE Mission to Bosnia has produced the report entitled "Education Inspectors: A Neglected Resource: Overview of Status and Activities of Education Inspectors in Bosnia".

Education inspectors are the first control mechanism in case of violation, misinterpretation, or non-application of the law regulating pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, as well as higher education in Bosnia. They are fundamental to the sound functioning of the education system, yet they are not efficiently used,the OSCE stated.

The report outlines data obtained by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia, based on interviews with teaching staff, school directors, parents, school boards and government officials.

The report also contains a set of recommendations necessary for improvement of the work of education inspectors in Bosnia. One example is the importance of amending legislation in order to articulate more clearly the status, authority, responsibilities and the role of this body.

Education inspectors must be guaranteed independence to ensure detailed inspections and respect for their decisions. The risk of political interference has to be eliminated,the OSCE said.

The first two-day conference on “The Role of Education Inspectors in Bosnia” starts in Mostar today where the report will be presented and discussed. The press opportunity will take place on 27 September at 13:15, Hotel Ero, in Mostar.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) - Another UNPROFOR British battalion officer has testified before the Bosnian State Court at the trial of the Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic.Former member of the British Battalion with the UN Peace Forces in Bosnia,Michael Dooley ,has testified, as a Prosecution witness, about the war happenings in Vitez and Ahmici in 1993.

"Passing through Vitez we saw corpses near all houses, by house windows and by the road. I suppose I saw about 50 killed men," witness Michael Dooley said,adding that he did not see any Bosnian soldiers in Vitez at that time, but that there were the Croatian aggressor's soldiers.
"A group of soldiers was going towards the houses in which there were civilians who were still alive. We turned our guns towards the soldiers and we got ready to resist should they start shooting. They turned around and left," the witness has said.

Ljubicic, former member of the Croatian aggressor's formations, is charged with having ordered and participated in the attacks on Bosnian civilians in Busovaca, Vitez and the surrounding villages in the course of 1993,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia.

During these attacks, the Bosnian civilians from this area of Bosnia were deported or murdered, while their property was destroyed or pillaged by the Croatian aggressor.

Dooley claims to have visited the Bosnian village of Ahmici, after being in Vitez, because the "operational centre" informed him that some "problems were noticed" in that area.

"I did not see one single living person. There were many killed families. It seemed that they had run out of their houses and they had been killed in the courtyards," the witness said, adding that he collected the corpses together with other UNPROFOR members.

"We transferred the bodies to a safe place so that their family members would be able to find them when they heard what had happened," Dooley said, adding that they "collected between 20 and 30" bodies in one part of the village only, but there were many more in the other parts of the village.

The witness also claims that they saw about 15 Croatian aggressor's soldiers on the way out of Ahmici, and that UNPROFOR "would have started fighting with them had they known of any survivors in the village".

Answering Defence Attorney Tomislav Jonjic's questions during the cross-examination, Dooley has said that it would have taken at least 100 soldiers for the "operation" in Ahmici.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor considers that Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic lead the attack on the Bosnian village of Ahmici on 16 April 1993.

The trial is due to continue today, 26 September 2007.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) - Bosnia’s two entities have undertaken substantial reforms of the pension funds, but the current system cannot continue in the long term, the World Bank warned yesterday.

“Current provisions, therefore, will mean that the pension systems will not be sustainable in the long run without further reform,” the World Bank said.

“Pension reforms in Bosnia should aim to ensure that citizens receive adequate incomes in old age without straining the finances of the government and unduly burdening those who contribute,” the World Bank said.

While the retirement age has been officially raised to 65 years in Bosnia, a number of features in the system provide incentives for people to contribute only for shorter periods, perpetuating employment in the grey economy.

The World Bank suggests that further reform of the Bosnian pension system should include establishing the contribution rate of 24 per cent of net wages; removing the option for women to retire at 60 ; abolishing the limits which penalize those who want to contribute more than 40 years; and introducing indexation of pensions to match inflation.

“These reforms would ensure sustainable pension system in Bosnia and secure adequate benefits to the elderly,” the World Bank newsletter said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) - The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the right to education, Vernor Muñoz,is visiting Bosnia at the invitation of the Bosnian government from 24 September to 2 October 2007.

During this visit, the Special Rapporteur will consider how Bosnia endeavours to implement the right to education, the measures taken for its successful realization and the obstacles encountered, both at the national and international levels.

The Special Rapporteur, who will have the opportunity to visit Bosnian schools, will focus on issues related not only to access to education but also to the quality of education, in particular for girls, children from minority communities and other economically and socially disadvantaged groups such Roma, displaced and returnee children.

He will address particular issues for the promotion of the right to education in Bosnia, such as, inter alia, the coordination between different authorities in charge of education, the phenomenon of two schools under one roof, the implementation of education based on different curricula, the protection of child rights within the school system and the situation of higher education.

The Special Rapporteur will meet with the Bosnian government officials and with civil society representatives, including non-governmental organizations. He will also have discussions with education professionals, academics, students, parents and members of the media. He will be traveling to Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Mostar and their surroundings.

The Special Rapporteur will present a report on his mission to the Council on Human Rights in 2008.

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to help States, and others, promote and protect the right to education. For further information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and copies of available reports, please consult the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.