Thursday, October 4, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 4,2007) – An alarming situation in almost every segment of the Bosnian educational system and a general fragmentation of the state are the two biggest problems in Bosnia. This was stated by the UN Human Rights Council Special Envoy for Educational Rights Vernor Munoz.

Mr. Munoz has been in a visit to Bosnia from September 24. He visited Mostar, Banja Luka, Zenica, Vitez and Prijedor. He had about 40 different meetings with the authority representatives, as well as with the representatives of NGOs, ombudsmen, parents, students and pupils.

He stated at a press conference in Sarajevo that there have been some positive moves in the educational system in Bosnia, but also many negative elements that need to be altered as soon as possible in order for Bosnia to approach the world educational trends.

He added that politicization in Bosnia is one of the worst phenomena present in various segments of education – from the development of curriculum to appointment of officials.

Existence of various curricula creates obstacles for implementation of state laws. That enabled the existence of discrimination in educational sector and segregation of students, the best example being the “two schools under one roof” phenomenon.

That model, according to Munoz, is an unacceptable practice which disables the contact between the pupils and students living in the same town or village. He especially emphasized the intolerance amongst the schoolchildren and teachers as well. That situation also disables the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of Children, signed by Bosnia.

One of the most important challenges for Bosnia is creation of a unified curriculum. That curriculum would contain the key principles of education which would be set as equal at all levels authorities in the country.

Munoz also reacted to the fact that the disabled persons have been left out of many educational opportunities and that the free education principle is more of a formal character.

Commenting the higher education, the UN Special envoy is satisfied with the adoption of the Law on Higher Education, which demands implementation of the Bologna Declaration. He stated, however, that there are many lacks in the quality of the programs at all the universities in Bosnia.

He added that the fact that the higher education curricula are being developed at the state level without any counseling and contacts between the universities is worrying.

Munoz formulated recommendations to the authority representatives at all levels, as well as to the International Community and the donor countries and institutions. Those recommendations are aimed to overcome the problems and obstacles in the Bosnian educational system.

Vernor Munoz will present his report to the UN Council for Human Rights next year.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 4,2007) – Mr. Sci. Muhamed Mesic, an associate at the Institute for Research of Crimes against Humanity and International Law won the prestigious Echenberg Award as a part of the global genocide Prevention Conference, hosted by the City of Montréal from October 11 to 13.

This award is presented to the “exceptional young experts, activists and journalists in the sector of human rights protection”, the Institute for Research of Crimes against Humanity and International Law announced.

This award was also presented to other 35 young people from around the world.Muhamed Mesic is the first Bosnian to have been awarded the Echenberg award.

This is also the award to the Institute itself, which has been investigating the crime of genocide and other crimes in Bosnia for over a decade.

Mesic was born in Tuzla in 1984. He is an associate to the Vienna University. He has been known before to the Bosnian public as a person who can speak over 20 languages.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 4,2007) – The Commander of the European Union Forces in Bosnia (EUFOR) Rear Admiral Hans Jochen Witthauer met with members of the Bosnian Council of Ministers’ Workgroup in Charge of Regulations on Civil Control of Movement of weapons and Military Equipment.

Civil responsibility for the movement of weapons and military equipment will now be handed over to the Bosnian authorities institutions.

The workgroup has been developing bill on civil control of movement of weapons and military equipment, bill on movement of dangerous materials and the bill on weapons.

Witthauer stated after the meeting that EUFOR wants to hand over as many of competences as possible to the Bosnian authorities. He added that the process began early this year by the act of handing over the air space control. Several days ago, the mine clearance competences have been handed over by the EUFOR to the Bosnian Army.

Witthauer said that this issue has both a military and a civil aspect. The military aspect has already been covered.The Bosnian Armed Forces are already on the way to form a military center for weapons movement control. Civil control is a part of the civil aspect of the issue.

”This law needs to be aligned with the law on weapons and the law on movement of dangerous materials. Members of the Workgroup have been urged to present the time frame needed to complete the job”, Witthauer said and added that he has received a report that the commission is close to finishing the job and that the Bosnian Council of Ministers could receive the bills next week.

Slobodan Saraba, Deputy President of the bosnian Parliament's Committee for Defense and Security stated that the parliamentarians have been informed on the most significant acts of the laws related to civil control of movement of weapons and ammunition.

Saraba emphasized that the most important aspect to the law is that the civil control of movement of weapons and ammunition is placed to the hands of the Bosnian authorities.

”This has been so far the exclusive jurisdiction of EUFOR. The Bosnian authorities will now take over the competence. By the time this law is adopted, Bosnia will be a step closer to the EU”, he said.

Jozo Krizanovic, member of the Committee, stated that the competence will be handed over to a Bosnian Ministry of Safety’s department, which will supervise the movement of weapons and ammunition in Bosnia from the stage of production to storage and export.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 4,2007) – The Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic and UNDP Acting Resident Representative in Bosnia Stefan Preisner signed in Sarajevo an agreement on Regional Development Project of the Upper Drina Region which will encompass the following municipalities: Cajnice, Kalinovik, Foca, Gorazde, Novo Gorazde and Foca-Ustikolina.

The project is aimed to develop local communities and is related to the sectors of economic development, local administration development, reconstruction and development of regional infrastructure.

Halilovic stated after signing that the project is a significant contribution to the development of the region and a contribution to sustainable return in the municipalities of Foca, Cajnice, Novo Gorazde, Kalinovik, Gorazde and Foca/Ustikolina. He said that the project is worth 13 million Bosnian Marks (9.346.153 US Dollars) and will be implemented within three years.

Halilovic emphasized that the project and its realization is the result of good will and true efforts of all the participants willing to contribute the local and regional development of the upper Drina area.

Halilovic thanked the donors: Government of Holland and the municipalities who are participating in the project implementation and who have provided money for it.

”We are also grateful to the UNDP, who not only co-financed, but also created the project”, Halilovic said.

The UNDP Acting Resident Representative in Bosnia Stefan Preisner emphasized that it is necessary to focus on the most endangered regions of Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 4,2007) – The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic met on in Sarajevo with the German Minister for Europe and member of the German Bundestag Günter Gloser. The two officials exchanged attitudes and opinions on the current political situation in Bosnia and region, as well as on Bosnia's reform processes.

Komsic and Gloser concluded that the bilateral relations between Bosnia and Germany are exceptional and that the economic and cultural cooperation should be further developed.

Members of the German delegation were especially interested in the current political events in Bosnia. They were also interested to hear about the halts in Bosnian police reform process.

Gloser emphasized that he has been carefully monitoring the events in Bosnia and in the entire region.

Komsic said that police reform is key to signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Bosnia and the European Union (SAA).The officials also talked about the regional issues and relationship between Bosnia and other countries of the region.

Answering the question on Bosnia’s attitude related to the Kosovo issue, Komsic said: “We in Bosnia primarily need to take care of our own issues. Kosovo is the issue of the International Community and an issue of Belgrade and Pristina”.

”If an agreement cannot be reached, the best alternative would be a UN SC’s unique stance regarding the attitude. If any unilateral action is taken, Bosnia will side the attitudes of the EU and NATO. As far as the relations in the region are concerned, they should be built on the basis of mutual trust and all the issues should be solved for the benefit of prosperity of the entire region”, the Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 4,2007) - The commander of the European Union Forces in Bosnia (EUFOR), Rear Admiral Hans Jochen Witthauer met with members of the Bosnian Parliament’s Committee for the Defence and Security chaired by Branko Zrno and also with members of the Bosnian Council of Ministers Working Group on the legislation for the movement of civilian weapons and military equipment, chaired by Lieutenant Colonel Davor Juric.

The meeting served a dual purpose.The EUFOR Commander outlined the progress made on the handover of EUFOR responsibilities to the Bosnian authorities on the subject of movement control. In addition, the state level working group briefed about the draft law on civilian movement control. Witthauer also re-confirmed the necessity to move the draft law into an approved format so that the momentum in this area was not lost, the EUFOR said.

This meeting covered one of the key tasks of EUFOR’s overall mission in Bosnia. Civilian movement control functions are vital for ensuring a safe and secure environment. Therefore every effort must be made to ensure the timely implementation of all necessary measures,the EUFOR announced.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 4,2007) - The Bosnian State Prosecutor has begun presenting its material evidence against the four Serbian war criminals charged with war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians detained by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in Omarska and Keraterm concentration camps,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The first piece of evidence presented is a decree on the establishment of Omarska detention camp, signed by Serbian war criminal Simo Drljaca, former member of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia, on 31 May 1992.Serbian war criminal Simo Drljaca was killed in 1996.

By this decree,a former mine complex in Omarska, was transferred into a a concentration camp by the genocidal Serbian aggressor. The decree also ordered that the whole complex be surrounded by wire and mined and that the treatment of "the captured persons should be done in accordance with the situation".

The Prosecution of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) originally charged Serbian war criminals Zeljko Mejakic, Momcilo Gruban, Dusan Fustar and Dusko Knezevic with crimes committed in these concentration camps. As per a motion filed by the ICTY prosecution, the case of Mejakic et al was referred to Bosnia for further processing.

The indictment alleges that Omarska concentration camp was established at the end of May 1992. It further alleges that about 3,000 Bosnians and Croatians living in Bosnia were detained in that concentration camp by the Serbian aggressor.

At the same time, Keraterm concentration camp was also formed by the genocidal Serbian aggressor within a Bosnian ceramic equipment factory. The two concentration camps were closed in August 1992, after being visited by foreign journalists.Detained Bosnian civilians were then transferred by the Serbian aggressor to Trnopolje and Manjaca concentration camps.

According to the indictment, Serbian war criminal Zeljko Mejakic was commander of Omarska concentration camp from 24 May to 30 August 1992,Serbian war criminal Momcilo Gruban, known as Ckalja, was guard shift commander and Serbian war criminal Dusan Fustar was one of the three guard commanders in Keraterm concentration camp from 24 May to 30 August 1992.

The witnesses and the indictment allege that Serbian war criminal Dusko Knezevic visited Keraterm concentration camp and "participated in torturing and beating of prisoners that happened every day".

As suggested by the Trial Chamber, the presentation of material evidence shall continue on Friday, 5 October. Until that date, the Bosnian State Prosecutor and the defence teams are expected to agree on a list of material evidence that both parties find acceptable as determined facts.

"The Chamber has decided that you are to agree on the list of evidence acceptable to both parties. You are also expected to define the pieces of evidence against which you have some objections," Trial Chamber Chairman Saban Maksumic said.

The trial of four Serbian criminals before the Bosnian State Court is due to continue tomorrow.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 4,2007) - The defence teams of 11 Serbian war criminals charged with genocide continue presenting their evidence before the War Crimes Chamber of the Bosnian State Court.

Serbian war criminal Miladin Stevanovic, one of 11 indictees charged with murdering around a thousand captured Bosnian civilians in the village of Kravica near the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, has ended his 22-day long hunger strike and appeared in Court. His fellow Serbian war criminals Petar Mitrovic and Branislav Medan are still on hunger strike and have now refused to appear at six hearings before the Bosnian State Court.

The detainees in Kula Correctional Facility who are tried before the War Crimes Chamber of the Bosnian State Court started the hunger strike on 10 September. .

The Bosnian State Court decided recently to transfer the detainees from Kula to other detention units throughout Bosnia. So far, six detainees have halted their hunger strike.

The Trial Chamber of the Bosnian State Court has once again rejected the request by Serbian war criminal Petar Mitrovic's defence team to consider if the indictee is capable of following the trial in view of his alleged starvation.

"He can decide if he wants to stop taking food, but he is aware that he can face the consequences," Trial Chamber Chairman Hilmo Vucinic has said, adding that the indictee "is not going to achieve anything but the prolongation of the process by being on strike".

The Prosecution considers that the ten former Serbian aggressor's soldiers took part in genocide against Bosnians in Srebrenica in July 1995,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia. The indictment alleges that the 11 Serbian war criminals participated in the murdering of around a thousand Bosnian civilians detained by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in a hangar in Kravica village on 13 July,1995.

Three more Defence witnesses, invited by seven Defence teams, have been examined. All three have provided an alibi in their testimonies.

Witness Lazo Djuric has said that he met Miladin Stevanovic and Milenko Trifunovic in Skelani at "about 2300hrs" on 13 July 1995. He has further said that, "on one of those days", Dragisa Zivanovic invited him to a farewell party for his brother. However, although the Bosnian State Prosecutor insisted on having an answer, he has not been able to remember the exact date when the alleged party was organized.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor Ibro Bulic has filed an objection against this testimony.

Radenko Mijatovic has said that, on 13 July, "in the evening hours", he saw Miladin Stevanovic "and two more soldiers" in Skelani.

Ivan Savic claims to have lived "in a house by the road leading from Bratunac to Skelani" in 1995. He has recalled that, on 13 July, around 2300hrs, a military truck belonging to the special police forces passed by his house and "drove towards Skelani".

At the next hearing before the Bosnian State Court, scheduled for today, the Defence teams are due to examine four more witnesses.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 4,2007) - A former soldier of the Bosnian Army,Sefik Alic, charged before the Bosnian State Court with killings of four captured Serbian aggressor's soldiers in 1995, is no longer being held in custody.

Acting on a Defence motion, the Bosnian State Court has rendered a decision terminating custody of Sefik Alic. In addition, the Bosnian State Court has imposed certain measures, including a "ban on attending social gatherings on the territories of Buzim and Bosanska Krupa municipalities" and a "ban on meeting with witnesses mentioned in the indictment".

Alic has been held in custody since 2 November 2006, when he was arrested, as per a warrant issued by the Bosnian State Court, in his house in Buzim.

The former assistant commander of "Hamze" Battalion with the 505th Buzim Brigade of the Fifth Corps of the Bosnian Army is charged with having participated, on 5 August 1995, in the "Oluja" military operation when four members of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations were captured by the Bosnian Army and killed.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 4,2007) - The Bosnian Minister of Security Tarik Sadovic handed out certificates yesterday at the Bosnian Police Academy in Sarajevo to the new generation of immigration inspectors, i.e. 22 inspectors of the Bosnian Ministry of Security, who will control all kinds of migrations to and from Bosnia.

Their task will be to supervise legal and illegal migrants, approve their residence in Bosnia, as well as to control foreigners and their extradition from the country. The Bosnian state centre for illegal migrations should be opened by the end of the month.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 4,2007) - Brigadier Friedhelm Traenapp of the German Army replaced yesterday in Sarajevo his colleague Brigadier Rudolf Giegeling as the new commander of German troops serving with the European Union Force (EUFOR) in Bosnia.

The change-of-command ceremony, which was held at EUFOR military camp Rajlovac near Sarajevo, was led by commander of Operation Forces of German Army Lieutenant-General Karlheinz Viereck.

The ceremony coincided with the German national holiday, German Unification Day.
Some 800 German troops serve with nearly 3,000 EU soldiers in Bosnia.


VIENNA, Austria (October 4,2007) - The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry said yesterday that one of the two Bosnians arrested in Austria in an alleged plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Austria has been released,and the other is transferred to the prison hospital for psychiatric treatment.

The other suspect had been released, the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry said.Austrian authorities have informed the Bosnian Embassy in Vienna that both men were Bosnian citizens and that the act had no political motivation, the spokesman for the Bosnian Foreign Ministry, Fahrudin Dosljak said.

Asim C., a 42-year-old unemployed Bosnian man, was arrested Monday after his backpack,which carried grenades, plastic explosives and bits of metal — set off a detector at the embassy entrance. He fled on foot, but was captured nearby after tossing the backpack into the street.No one was injured.

Austrian investigators said the man had received psychiatric care over the past few years and that he might be treated while awaiting trial.

A second suspect was arrested Monday night and identified as Mehmed D., 34. Asim C. told police that Mehmed D. had instructed him to bring the backpack to the embassy, and he gave investigators Mehmed's name and address. But during questioning, Mehmed D. denied any involvement.

Their last names were not released under Austrian privacy laws.

"Of the two detained, one was released after he was questioned and the other was transferred to the hospital, since he is a person with psychological problems," Dosljak said.

This information was given to the Bosnian Ambassador to Austria, Darija Krsticevic, by Austrian authorities, who also informed her that "the act has no political background." No detonator was found in the backpack and that a detonation was not possible, Dosljak said.

Austrian police said they found about a pound of explosives during a search of Asim C.'s home.