Saturday, September 29, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 29,2007) – The Bosnian leaders and leaders of the Serbians living in Bosnia reached an agreement yesterday to reform the two ethnically divided police forces in the country.

The European Union had warned that Bosnia would not be allowed to sign the Stability and Association Agreement, the first step to join the EU, until it agrees to unify Bosnia's ethnically separate police forces.

It was reported that a member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic and political leader of the Serbians living in Bosnia,Milorad Dodik,signed the agreement proposed by the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia, Slovak diplomat Miroslav Lajcak.

"We hope this protocol would be good enough for Bosnia to sign the Stability and Association Agreement with the European Union," Bosnian Presidency member Haris Silajdzic said.

"This agreement does not answer all questions, but we want the police reform and of course we want to reform Bosnia," said Silajdzic, who first rejected Lajcak's reform proposal as unacceptable.

"If we decided otherwise, we would have decided against a European future," he added.

At the end of the 1992-1995 Serbian,Monternegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia, Bosnia was internally divided into two administrative entities : the FBIH and the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia "the RS", each with their own separate police forces.

The European Union has insisted the police be organized at the Bosnian state level, financed from a single budget and free of political bias.

It made the reform a key condition for Bosnia to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), the first step on the long road to full membership of the EU.

The Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) confirmed it had received the Dodik-Silajdzic protocol, which would be studied by the relevant EU institutions. The office advised caution.

"We would urge everyone to refrain from interpreting the document as only the European Commission can give an opinion whether this document is in line with the three EU principles," OHR's spokesman stated.

Bosnians first rejected Lajcak's plan, saying it fell short of unifying the ethnically separate police forces. The Serbians living in Bosnia said they would not give up their own force.

Experts representing their respective political parties had earlier yesterday failed to agree on the technical criteria for the reform.

But,Bosnian Presidency member Haris Silajdzic said that political leaders realized at the end that they needed to pursue reforms in order to achieve their common goal - enabling Bosnia to join the EU.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 29,2007) – The Bosnian government did not adopt on in Sarajevo the Decision on Confirmation of the Director of the Regulatory Agency for Communications (RAK).

Kemal Hrustanovic was nominated for the position. The Agency has been ordered to announce a new competition for the Director within 15 days. Hrustanovic will continue performing the duty until the end of the competition procedure.

Dragan Vrankic, the Bosnian Minister of Finances, stated after the session that no other data were submitted with the proposal. Those additional materials were needed in order to see who the other candidates for the position were.

Certain ministers expressed displeasure with the Agency’s work. They find certain activities of the Agency, like issuing licenses, problematic.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 29,2007) – Over a half a million of Bosnian citizens are socially excluded in some way. Disabled persons are at the top of the list. This has been emphasized in Sarajevo at a session discussion the topic “Social Inclusion”.

The data has been collected through a survey, which should help define the issue of social inclusion in Bosnia. That is a very important document in the process of the European integrations.

The social inclusion strategy should be adopted by the following year. After the strategy is adopted, signing of the memorandum on social inclusion will follow.

The session was organized as a part of the project entitled “support to the Development of Policies in the field of Disability in Bosnia”.

Purpose of the session was to offer experience and knowledge in the field of social inclusion to the people who are employed at the organizations dealing with the disabled persons or are engaged at the government institutions at the positions which deal with the disabled persons.

Disabled persons, who also participate at the session, are completely excluded from the social life. They face many problems in education, healthcare protection and other issues.

They are of the opinion that the Bosnian state should solve soon the disabled persons’ issues.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 29,2007) - Yesterday morning at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the European Union Forces in Bosnia conducted a search operation in the premises of Boro PEKEZ in Maglajani, between Banja Luka and Bosanska Gradiska with the aim of finding material or information which could assist the ICTY in the ongoing search for and capture of persons of Serbian origin indicted by The Hague Tribunal for genocide and putting pressure on networks believed to be involved in protecting these Serbian war criminals.

The operation was supported by NATO and was closely coordinated with the ICTY.This operation is legally based upon the mandate of the ICTY, EUFOR and NATO under the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia, EUFOR said.

It is believed that Boro PEKEZ is associated with the Serbian war criminal's Stojan Župljanin support network.The local police were informed of the operation and provided support.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 29,2007) – Bosnian Experience in Historical and Current European Context is the topic of the international conference which began yesterday in Sarajevo.The conference is organized by the Bosnian Pan European Union.

The conference participants, including the Bosnian officials are the International pan European Community Honorary President Archduke Otto von Habsburg and the current President Alain Terrenoire; as well as members of the Pan European Unions from several European countries. They are all discussing the issues important for the Bosnian citizens’ future. The European integrations process is in the focus.

President of the Bosnian Pan European Union Franjo Topic stated that Bosnia is not only a meeting place between the members of different ethnicities, but also a meeting place of civilizations.

Topic stated that one of the key issues for Bosnia is creating conditions for a full equality of its citizens. He added that true acceptance of the varieties is an essential part of that.

He urged all Bosnia's politicians to be more patient and wiser and to show a higher degree of responsibility regarding the future.

Our joint interest is Bosnia's membership to the EU. This was stated by a member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic.

He stated that there is a paradoxical possibility that Bosnia is the last country to enter the EU, because Bosnia is a paradigm of what the EU wants to become.

He warned against the fact that some retrograde ideas have resurfaced. He brought that fact to the connection with the context of the Bosnia’s recent past.

”All the past events are legalized today”, Silajdzic said and added that it is a bad message. He emphasized that the International Community is responsible for the current political situation in Bosnia.

The International community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak greeted the participants. He emphasized that the EU has given a clear message to Bosnia and that the union now expects this country to accept its principles and standards.

He stated again that Bosnia has no other alternative but to join the EU. This country belongs there both geographically and economically,Lajcak emphasized.

”Bosnia's political leaders have a choice – the European way or isolation”, Lajcak said and expressed expectation that Bosnia's politicians will show more understanding and responsibility in the process of fulfilling the obligations necessary for signing of the Stabilisation and association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union..

Archbishop Vinko Puljic urged for tolerance of coexistence in Bosnia and implementation of equality principles.

He urged the International Community representatives to advocate the same attitudes and opinions here as they do in the EU.

The international conference continues and is expected to end late in the afternoon.

The Robert Schuman Foundation is a co-organizer. The Bosnian Direction for European Integrations, the Bosnian Parliament and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation also greatly contributed in organizing this conference.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 29,2007) – A prosecution witness, who has testified before the Bosnian State Court yesterday about the mass execution of the Bosnian civilians in elementary school in Bratunac by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in 1995, has asked for special protection measures and immunity. The request was made because of fear caused by the threats he has received.

"I have asked the prosecutor to give me immunity as I have already received threats and I do not want to refer the guilt to one of the four indictees," witness said after defence attorney Danilo Mrkaljevic read a part of the decision on immunity during the cross-examination.

Addressing the witness, Mrkaljevic has said: "The prosecutor has considered the severity of the actions and omissions you have committed, as well as the nature of your involvement, solidity of the evidence against you and your relative guilt".

In the course of the hearing held on 19 September, witness said, during cross-examination, that Serbian war criminals Zdravko Bozic, Mladen Blagojevic, Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic had participated in "guarding" and murdering of Bosnian men detained in an elementary school in Bratunac in July 1995.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Serbian war criminals Bozic, Blagojevic, Zaric and Zivanovic, as former members of the genocidal paramilitary forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS), with having "planned, ordered, abetted, executed, aided and supported the murder, forcible deportation and detention of people".

"I remember that Bozic carried a machine gun just like me, and that Blagojevic, Zaric and Zivanovic had guns, in addition to automatic guns," witness said.

Blagojevic's defence attorney Miroslav Ristic has presented the witness with three statements he gave to the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) in the course of the investigation in 2006.

In one of the statements the witness claimed that Serbian war criminal Zaric had opened a fire from 'browing' towards a Bosnian man from Srebrenica detained in the school in Bratunac. This is in contradiction to his statement given in the course of the hearing held on 19 September, when he said that Blagojevic, and not Zaric, had been shooting,Ristic said.

"During the first examinations I was under stress and I may have said something wrong, but I have recalled the events very well since then. Those were my first testimonies and, normally, I was a little bit nervous," witness explained.

In the course of the cross-examination, attorney Stanko Petrovic asked witness to define the terms "genocide" and "secondary and primary grave".

"Secondary grave is when you transfer bodies from one grave to another in order to conceal the genocide against Bosniaks. Genocide is extermination of one nation and it is a mass crime," witness has said.

"I do not think your definition is correct, but I do not want to interfere," attorney Petrovic has said.

The four Serbian war criminals have failed to appear at the hearing yesterday. On 10 September they began a hunger strike and refuse to attend hearings.

On the basis of the daily report submitted by the Medical Service in Kula, Trial Chamber Chairman Stanisa Gluhajic has concluded that the four Serbian war criminals are "conscious and oriented. They do not have high temperature, but all of them claim they have some problems such as weakness, stomach pain...".

The trial of the four Serbian war criminals before the Bosnian State Court is due to continue on 1 October 2007, when another protected witness will be examined.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 29,2007) – The European Union Police Mission to Bosnia continues to strongly support the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak in his efforts to reach an agreement on Bosnian police reform.

“I am convinced that the political representatives of this country can and must reach an agreement on police reform by the given deadline. The Protocol put forward by the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia entails all elements required for a meaningful police reform in line with the well known European Principles,” said Brigadier General Vincenzo Coppola, Head of the EU Police Mission to Bosnia.

“I urge political representatives of this country to respect the deadline and thus provide Bosnia with an effective police structure able to respond to the security needs of the country.“ concluded Coppola


BUDAPEST, Hungary (September 29,2007) - The European Union should continue to keep its doors open to applicants that meet all accession criteria, the Hungarian Speaker of Parliament Katalin Szili told a conference of house speakers from the West Balkan region in Budapest yesterday.

Szili said over the past few years, the EU member states seemed to be rather skeptical about further enlargement. She hoped that this enlargement fatigue would not influence the admission of West Balkan nations.

The house speaker confirmed Hungary's support for the EU and NATO accession of the countries concerned.

The settlement of Kosovo's future is the most complex challenge the European Union faces today, and the Western Balkans is the " birthplace and catalyst" of the EU common foreign and security policy, Szili said.

The conference focused on EU and NATO integration. The event was attended by the speakers of Albania,Bosnia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia as well as by the Ambassadors to Hungary of Austria, Croatia and Macedonia.


NEW YORK, USA (September 29,2007) - The Bosnian President Željko Komšić, presented an optimistic but honest outlook on the future of Bosnia in a World Leaders Forum event in New York.

Covering topics as varied as the country’s fierce war in the mid-1990s to current employment opportunities for his nation’s youth, President Komšić’s address focused on the future of Bosnia. The forum was moderated by Catherine Nepomnyashchy, director of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University.

Though the country has seen much violence and political strife, Komšić said, “Our nation will fight all the diseases of the modern world ... and survive just as it has survived to this day.”

Ravaged by war from 1992 to 1995 after the Bosnian Government seceded from Yugoslavia, Bosnia has endured years of rebuilding and uncertainty.

“The most difficult task (for us) is how to heal the society, how to bring our values back,” Komšić said.

During the question and answer session, audience members raised concerns about the number of young people seeking education and employment on foreign soil—reportedly 65 to 85 percent, according to Komšić.

The president said that “the government holds responsibility to change this,” though he blamed instability caused by “those who are inciting ethnic and religious hatred” as the source of the problem.

Komšić, who was elected in 2006, was the first Croat member of the Bosnian Presidency to be elected from outside of the political parties of the Croatians living in Bosnia. A member of the Bosnian Social Democratic Party, he was the first Croat not elected primarily by Croatians living in Bosnia.

“We have yet to see whether I am a political incident or am becoming the rule,” he said. He promised “to take care of all the citizens of Bosnia, whether or not they’re Bosniak,Croat,Serb or Jewish, and also regardless of whether or not they voted for me.”

Aida Tunovic, a Columbia graduate student originally from the Bosnian capital Sarajevo who was at the event, said that the Bosnian President was “very honest ... and genuinely proud of his country.”

Moderator Nepomnyashchy agreed, saying, “He was very convincing. They (the people of Bosnia) need the help.”

But some, like former Bosnian resident and businessman Vladimir Ilic, found his words less encouraging. Ilic disputed Komšić’s optimistic presentation of his country’s future.

“It makes a big difference who you talk to,” he said. “The people that elected him were a very, very small minority. ... I don’t think he represents the Croats well.”

Despite such accusations, President Komšić looked forward. “We wish to become a member of the European Union, and we’re going to get there,” he said in his closing statement.

“It is my political intent to present Bosnia the way it is, as a good country with good people, regardless of how strange this sounds and regardless of the wars we had.Bosnia will survive all of us,” President Komšić said.


NEW YORK, USA (September 29,2007) - The Foreign Ministers of United States,Great Britain, Russia, France, Italy and Germany, discussed in New York issues on Bosnia and have released the following statement:

"The Contact Group has played a central role in efforts to achieve peace and stability in the Balkans for the past fifteen years. Since the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995, substantial progress has been achieved in Bosnia to implement the terms of the agreement and on reforms necessary to ensure the stability and sustainability of the country.

Contact Group Ministers are concerned, however, that over the past 18 months, progress on Dayton Implementation and reform has come to a halt, and extremist rhetoric has been on the rise. Ministers urge Bosnia's leaders to put polemics aside and focus on the pressing issues that will promote a normal and improved quality of life for the country's citizens, as well as progress toward the EU.

Ministers expressed their full support for the High Representative Miroslav Lajcak and his efforts to fully support the Dayton Accords and to advance reforms, particularly police restructuring, which are essential for Bosnia to move forward and build a better future for all citizens of Bosnia.

The Contact Group reiterates its support for the Dayton Peace Accords and for the territorial integrity of Bosnia. Ministers underscore that it is time for Bosnia's politicians to end the practice of questioning the fundamental structure of the state or its component parts. Changes to the governing structures of Bosnia can only be made in accordance with established procedures in the constitution of Bosnia," the statement said.