Tuesday, October 2, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2007) – "Today is 1 October and the deadline for agreement on police reform has passed. Unfortunately, what has been achieved is not enough to continue the Stabilisation and Association Process with the European Union. It is in the hands of political leaders to change this situation by coming to an agreement on police reform," the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia,Miroslav Lajcak stated yesterday.

"What is at stake and what needs to be done to make progress in the process of European integration was clear to everyone.

I have to say that, as of today, we do not have a political agreement that enjoys the support of the required majority and that is in line with the three European principles.

I want to thank all those who were constructive from the very beginning, or later during the process, in looking for a solution. In particular, I wish to thank HDZ BiH and HDZ 1990, and the SDA with its President Mr Tihic. They all supported the ”Draft Protocol on Meeting the Police Reform Requirements Necessary for Initialling and Signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement", which I put forward and which meets the three EU principles. They have shown responsibility towards their country and its European future.

On Friday afternoon I received a paper reflecting the views of SBiH and SNSD. I informed them, and I wish to state this publicly, that it is positive that these two party leaders have taken the police issue and the future of the country seriously and decided to work towards a solution. This was not the case in the past, and the country suffered as a result. It is encouraging that they have narrowed their positions on this key issue. The document however leaves some key questions unresolved. I have asked both party leaders for clarification on these points.

Based on what I just told you, there is more work to be done before we can say that police reform is proceeding in line with expectations from the European Union.

What I am seeing is a new level of engagement by political leaders and this is certainly positive and encouraging.

It has always been up to the political leaders to find a solution and make compromises. That is the European way of conducting politics.

You know that I truly want Bosnia to move forward, on a European path, and to succeed in this endeavour.

We know that Montenegro will sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement in the next few days and it looks like Serbia could initial its SAA in mid-October. There is still a chance for Bosnia not to be left behind. I have spoken with Commissioner Rehn about recent developments and we agreed that, in light of encouraging developments, the European Commission could wait a few more days – but only a few days. Therefore we, the European Union and the International Community, expect Bosnia's leaders to do their best to come to an agreement as soon as possible – an agreement that will meet the European requirements and will have the necessary political support.

All politicians,some sooner than others,have shown a readiness to respect the due process and make progress towards finding a compromise. This is encouraging in any case, and they should follow this road to the end. It would be a real shame if they stopped half way. Now is the time to leave behind the negative rhetoric and engage in constructive political dialogue to find a solution, which is much closer today than it was a few days ago," Lajcak said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2007) – “The Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) is of the opinion that there is certain imprecision in the Dodik – Silajdzic Police Reform protocol, i.e. that there are certain parts of the document which have not been completely defined”, Oleg Milisic, OHR Spokesperson announced.

He said that the OHR will send letters to both Silajdzic and Dodik, that is, their parties, and ask them to submit certain ingformaiton in order to remove all the imprecision.

Milisic added that all the speculations as whether or not the Protocol is in accordance with the three European principles should be avoided.

”The only institution authorized to pass such a judgement is the European Commission. The document has been submitted to all the three EU bodies”, Milisic said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2007) – The SBIH Party’s Assembly supported at an emergency session the party’s leader Haris Silajdzic who signed in Sarajevo a protocol on police reform in Bosnia.

The document was later submitted to the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia.

Silajdzic arrived to the emergency session after the signing and told the press that the issue of the survival of the police of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia "the RS" has not been defined by the protocol and that the issue will be discussed later.

The Party for Bosnia (SBIH) Assembly fully supported Haris Silajdzic and his efforts in police reform and constitutional reform processes in Bosnia.

The Assembly supported the continuation of the police reform negotiations and the protocol that has been signed.

Silajdzic presented the SBiH Party delegates with the protocol contents. Beriz Belkic, the party’s high official stated that Silajdzic has shown that he is ready to make compromise.

Silajdzic emphasized that the part of the protocol focusing on national balance of the police forces is based upon the 1991 census.

”There are certain issues that have not been agreed upon. He added that the Bosnian police forces’ multiethnic structure pleases him.

A multiethnic police will guarantee the Bosnian citizens’ safety,Silajdzic concluded.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2007) – The Party for Democratic Action (SDA BiH) stated that it will not support the Protocol on police reform signed by a member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic and leader of the Serbians living in Bosnia Milorad Dodik. SDA emphasized that the party officials did not participate in the development of the document.

SDA is of the opinion that the signatory of the Protocol, the person who has built his image on the thesis that the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia "the RS" should be eliminated along with the entity voting principle, has finally proven that all that had been nothing but a well-calculated farce.

The only principle he cares about is the “everybody takes care of his own criminals” principle. He completely made that happen by singing the Protocol,the SDA party announced.

SDA emphasized that the party is determined to make sure Bosnia’s future is in the European Union and in that sense that the SDA officials will support the reform processes and is willing, in that sense, to accept the International Community's High Representative Miroslav Lajcak’s proposal on police reform in Bosnia with certain changes.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2007) – The President of the Social Democratic Party (SDP BIH) Zlatko Lagumdzija said that the police reform protocol signed by a member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic and leader of the Serbians living in Bosnia Milorad Dodik on Friday is unacceptable for the SDP BiH Party.

SDP BiH is of the opinion that the document violates the three EU principles and legalizes the ethnic cleansing.

”We will not allow Dayton to reoccur in 2007. We are explicitly against the Dayton signed on Friday”, Zlatko Lagumdzija, SDP BiH Party leader told the press in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

Lagumdzija added that Dodik and Silajdzic have fallen under the lowest point regarding the police reform by signing the protocol. The lowest point was Lajcak’s proposal.

SDP BiH calls the International Community to end this farce and to prevent the Bosnian citizens be hostages to the people who lime power.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2007) – The German Minister for Europe Günter Gloser and members of the German Bundestag will arrive in a one-day visit to Bosnia today.

The purpose of his visit is to gain a deeper insight into the political situation and to support efforts of Bosnia on its road towards the EU, the German Embassy in Sarajevo announced.

Gloser will meet with the International community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia, Miroslav Lajcak, as well as with the senior Bosnian officials.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2007) - The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia,Miroslav Lajcak,will address the FBiH Entity House of Representatives today.Lajcak will speak about reform processes in Bosnia, placing the emphasis on police reform, House of Representatives Speaker Safet Halilovic said yesterday.

The 5th session of the FBiH Entity House of Representatives opened on September 25 and is scheduled to resume on October 2-3.

From the broad agenda for this session only the debate on the draft law on the income tax and the draft law on the profit tax, as well as proposed changes to the existing law on contributions, has been completed so far.

The FBIH Entity House of Representatives will consider the strategy for the development of the agricultural sector, while the report on the situation in the “Krivaja” company from Zavidovici will be discussed on Wednesday.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2007) – The Bosnian Minister of Justice has expressed concern over the current situation in the country's judicial sector, and announced the continuation of stalled reforms of the rule of law.

Colak said that the initial phase of the judicial reform, which started in 2003, was good, but added that it is necessary to "continue developing a contemporary and unified judicial system in the entire country".

With this in mind, he announced that the country's institutions will work on preparation of a strategy for further rule of law reform.

The strategy, according to Colak, should be completed before the end of this year and would comprise a plan to tackle numerous war crimes cases related to the 1992-95 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

"We must tackle some issues that are of particular importance in order to build a more effective, if not more responsible, and more professional judicial system," Colak said.

Most of the judicial reforms in Bosnia happened in the new millennium with the passage of a number of laws on state level, including the Criminal Code of Bosnia and the Criminal Procedure Code of Bosnia, but also the establishment of the state level court and prosecutor's office.

In addition, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) has been established which appoints and dismisses judges and prosecutors and regulates the work of judicial institutions.

Although the implemented reforms are voluminous, they have proven to be insufficient. Judges, prosecutors and many legal experts frequently point to deficiencies in the system and to the need for new changes, which would lead to modernisation of this sector and fulfillment of one of the conditions for Bosnia for joining the European Union.

Commenting on the work that has been done so far in the field of judicial reform, the Bosnian Justice Minister said that "certain steps have been made" but added that Bosnia "would not need the new strategy if we managed to completely reform the judicial system and achieve the EU standards".

The priority areas of the judicial reform include the establishment of an efficient organisational structure and the harmonisation of the local regulations with the EU ones. Colak said that draft strategy proposal will be published and that the Bosnian citizens will be given an opportunity to comment on it.

With 13,000 potential war crimes suspects still to be dealt with, Colak considers war crimes trials a very important issue which needs to be further regulated.

"Those who have committed war crimes must be tried. This will bring satisfaction for the victims, but it will also bring progress to the entire society. In order for this to happen, we need to amend the legislation," Colak said.

With such a high potential caseload, Colak said that case classification must be performed beforehand. "According to some indicators, there are criminal reports which affect entire military formations that existed during the war."

"It is impossible to process all of them simultaneously," Colak said but added that even if some cases do not make indictment now "if we find evidence tomorrow, a procedure can be initiated. It is important that these cases are processed."

The Bosnian Justice Ministry has taken the initiative for the creation of a state-wide war crimes processing strategy. This strategy should recommend solutions and determine the role of all structures dealing with war crime issues in Bosnia.

Colak says that, considering the large number of potential suspects, it will take decades to complete the entire process which reiterates the need to "define and suggest certain solutions by all structures, be they within or outside the judicial system".

In order to accelerate the processing of war crime cases "the capacity of judicial staff needs to be developed, financial resources secured and institutions able to handle such cases need to be strengthened,"he said.

Colak says that the strategy should be completed by mid-December. The document should provide "answers to many questions, including how much the country will have to pay for this and how we should plan the activities in order to complete this task".

Apart from the large number of war crime suspects, another issue facing the judicial system is the lack of a state prison where criminals would serve their sentence. Currently, convicts sentenced before the Bosnian State Court must serve their sentences in entity prisons.

Only two of these - one in Zenica and the other in Foca - are maximum security institutions.

In the past couple of years, a location for a new state prison has been secured and the initial phase of building has commenced.

"So far, 1.2 million Bosnian Marks (600,000 Euros) have been spent and we have two million more available until the end of the year," Colak said. But this is not nearly enough to complete the project.

"Estimates indicate that the building shall cost 14.5 million Euros," Colak said.

Asked if it will be possible to mobilise the required resources, Colak said "there are certain pledges for financial support from the Dutch government and the European Commission."

Colak said that there are also some indications that the World Bank might approve credit "under extremely opportune conditions, with a grace period of ten years and a favourable interest rate".

He added that "the state prison can be built up in two years" if the country manages to secure the necessary resources.

One of the problems facing the judicial system in Bosnia is unavailability of some war crime suspects. This is usually caused by the fact that they have dual citizenship of one of Bosnia's neighbouring countries – Serbia and Croatia most often. The current laws in those countries do not foresee the possibility of extradition, despite the existing indictment.

In order to solve the issue of dual citizenships, a few months ago Serbia and Croatia signed an agreement establishing that the indictees are to be tried in the country in which they were arrested,but Bosnia refused to sign this agreement.

Asked if Bosnia might change its mind, Colak said that he "believed it will not be signed any time soon", but added that "the agreement on the exchange of evidence will be implemented in practice, as this would facilitate the work of the courts and prosecutions in these countries".

"In Bosnia, war crimes are a particularly sensitive issue. I think that we need to persist on signing the agreements with our neighbouring states and move on within the limits acceptable in our society," Colak said.

"If we cannot reach an ideal solution immediately, we should at least start somewhere and build trust in our judicial system, but also build trust in the systems of the neighbouring countries. Otherwise, we shall keep the status quo, which will slow down delivery of justice to the victims and reconciliation of the society," the Bosnian Minister of Justice Barisa Colak concluded.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2007) – As requested by the Bosnian State Prosecutor, the hearing at the trial of Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic has been closed to the public in order to protect the identity of the witness.

Due to the introduction of special protection measures in favour of the Bosnian State Prosecutor's witness, the continuation of the trial of Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic, known as Pijuk, has been closed to the public.

The Trial Chamber has clarified that it has rendered the decision to exclude the public on the basis of a motion filed by the prosecution with the aim of protecting the witness' identity.

Croatian war criminal Mihaljevic, a former member of the Croatian aggressor's formations, is charged with having committed crimes against Bosnian civilians on the territory of Kiseljak municipality in the course of 1993,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia.

It has been said that the indictee has failed to appear at the hearing due to his participation in a hunger strike.

Trial Chamber Chairman Saban Maksumic said that the Bosnian State Court has ordered the police to apprehend Mihaljevic if he chooses not to attend the hearing.

However, the Court has been informed that this has not been possible due to Croatian war criminal's poor health.

Defence attorney Dusan Tomic has informed the Bosnian State Court that his client is feeling very unwell and that he has asked to be sent to hospital. The Court will render a decision on this issue at a later stage.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2007) – After refusing to attend hearings before the Bosnian State Court for more than 20 days, Serbian war criminal Mladen Blagojevic , one of four indictees charged with genocide committed by the Serbian aggressor against Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica in July 1995,has become ill in the courtroom. The trial has been stopped so that he could receive medical assistance.

The Trial Chamber has asked the medical team to advise if the indictee is able to follow the trial.

"I think that Blagojevic is not able to continue following the continuation of the trial due to exhaustion, sickness, dizziness and pain sensations in the kidney area," said Marija Kaucic-Komsic, court expert in neurology-psychiatry.

The indictment alleges that Serbian war criminals Mladen Blagojevic, Zdravko Bozic, Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic, as members of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia, "planned, ordered, instigated, executed and abetted murders" of the Bosnian civilians from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Also,Serbian war criminal Zdravko Bozic's defence attorney claims that his client is "in extremely bad health, which has become even worse after his transfer to the detention unit in Tuzla". The defence attorneys of the two other indictees have not explained why their clients have not appeared at the hearing.

The Trial Chamber of the Bosnian State Court has postponed the continuation of the trial until 10 October, when one more protected prosecution witness is due to be examined.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2007) – After completing a six-month training session, 18 cadets took their oath as Junior Inspectors with the Biosnian Border Police yesterday at the brand-new and recently inaugurated Bosnian Border Police Headquarters in Sarajevo.

This is the first generation of cadets that was educated in accordance with the Law on Police Officials and the new curriculum that has recently been harmonized for all law enforcement agencies in Bosnia and adjusted to EU standards.

Vinko Dumancic, head of the Bosnian Border Police, handed out certificates to the 18 cadets, upon which he welcomed them warmly, wishing them lots of success.

“Only well-trained staff can deal with the serious challenges of cross-border crime the Bosnian Police have to deal with,” he said.

Tarik Sadovic, The Bosnian Minister of Security also congratulated the 18 cadets.The newly graduated Inspectors have undergone six months of training, amounting to 520 hours of theory, field training and real-life exercises.