Wednesday, October 10, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 10,2007) - The International community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak again urged Bosnia's political leaders to overcome all vanities and mistrust and to reach an agreement on police reform by the end of the week.

Lajcak expressed hope that the political leaders in Bosnia will be able to reach an agreement on this issue, which has the full support of the Bosnian citizens,he said,and to by doing so ensure that Bosnia joins the European Union together with its neighbours.

“If vanities and mistrust prevail again then your politicians will have decided that you do not deserve to be on the same platform as your neighbours”, the International community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia said after meeting with representatives of the NGO sector.

He announced that the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers would meet in Brussels on October 15 when conclusions concerning the political situation in Bosnia are expected to be adopted.

Lajcak received support for his Protocol on Police Reform from the three largest non-governmental organisations in Bosnia. They expressed their support for his proposal in conclusions adopted at a recently held roundtable on European integration.

President of the Croat National Council (HNV) Luka Markesic, President of the Council of the Bosniak Intellectuals Congress (VKBI) Sabira Hadzovic and President of the Serb Citizen’ Council (SGV) Mirko Pejanovic presented these conclusions to Lajcak.

They think that Lajcak’s document on police reform is a good basis for resolving the issue of police reform, which will allow Bosnia to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European union.

SGV President Mirko Pejanovic said that police reform is a strategic issue, both for the Bosnian citizens and the Bosnian state, because the resolution of this issue will determine whether Bosnia continues the process of EU integration or not.

These three non-governmental organisations described the current political situation in Bosnia as the worst since Dayton and urged politicians to accept the Protocol on Police Reform.

SGV, VKBI and HNV have urged the International community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia to take measures to ensure the success of the police reform process and stressed that not the citizens of Bosnia, but its politicians, should pay the price of failure.

Lajcak thanked for their support and described as extremely important the role of the civil sector in every society.

He also described as important the fact that these non-governmental organisations have chosen integration over isolation and expressed confidence that Bosnia's politicians will do the same.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 10,2007) – A ceremony marking the signing of Agreement on the the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Headquarters Country is taking place in Sarajevo, October 9 and 10, the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.

Bosnia singed the Agreement September 14 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.Bosnia is named headquarters of the Regional Cooperation Council for the Southeastern European Co-operation Process (SEECP) member countries and UNMIK/Kosovo.

First meeting of the RCC Steering Board took place yesterday at the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. SEECP member countries’ heads of delegations were given copies containing the data on RCC headquarters country.

Bosnia is the depositor of the agreement and process of ratification of the agreement was initiated immediately after the copies were given. Ratification process is to end by the end of 2007.

Hido Biscevic, RCC Secretary General attended, along with the Stability Pact Special Coordinator Erhard Busek. Representatives of Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, France, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA also attended the meeting.

RCC is a regional organization formed in the process of transformation of the Southeastern Europe Stability Pact.

RCC continues organizing political coordination over 25 various initiatives which developed under the jurisdiction of the Southeastern Europe Stability Pact, as well as over the newly-formed initiatives.

All countries participants are the SEECP member countries and members of the RCC and its Steering Board.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 10,2007) – Hamza Zujo, a court expert in medicine testifying at the trial of Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic before the Bosnian State Court, has spoken of the exhumation and autopsy of ten bodies of Bosnian civilians murdered by the Croatian aggressor in the early 90's and buried in a mass grave in the Tulice area, Kiseljak municipality.

"The complete skeletons of all ten people were found. One body had marks caused by burning. Eight bodies had skeletal injuries. We did not find such injuries on the body of Salko Bajraktarevic," Zujo has said.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic, as member of the Croatian aggressor's formations, with having aided the Prosecution, murder, forcible disappearance and torture of Bosnian civilians from the Bosnian village of Tulice,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 1990's.

The indictment alleges that Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic ordered a group of 30 Bosnian men to walk towards the local cemetery in Tulice. When they arrived there Mihaljevic, and two other Croatian aggressor's soldiers, shot at them and killed seven prisoners. After that, it is claimed that the Croatian aggressor's soldiers pillaged the Bosnian village of Tulice,Kiseljak municipalityv and killed several more residents.

During cross-examination, court expert Zujo has not been able to confirm how each of the persons died, but he has confirmed that all were shot with firearms.

Defence attorney Dusko Tomic has insisted on getting an answer from the court expert concerning the death of Bosnian civilian Salko Barjaktarevic, whose body was also found in the mass grave, but whose clothes were undamaged.

"We have not determined the cause of death of Barjaktarevic, but we suppose his death was violent," the court expert has said, explaining that "there were some injuries on his body", which should not be associated with what he was wearing as "his clothes might have been pulled up".

At the beginning of the trial, Tomic announced that the defence strategy would be based on the attempt to prove that Croatian war criminal Mihaljevic had not been in Tulice and that the village residents had not been killed, "but they had died in a different way". He also mentioned Bajraktarevic and said that no "tissue injuries" were found on his body.

The examination of Zujo was requested by the Bosnian State Prosecutor. In addition, it has also presented material evidence, whose authenticity the Defence has denied by saying that they were "copied documents".

The Trial Chamber has asked the Prosecution to verify the disputed documents before the next hearing.

Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic has again failed to appear at the hearing. The Trial Chamber has read the medical report, which indicates that Mihaljevic "is not capable of traveling from the detention unit in Tuzla to Sarajevo".

Mihaljevic's health has been jeopardised by a hunger strike he began 30 days ago.

The trial of Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic before the Bosnian State Court is due to continue on 15 October.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 10,2007) – A Foca concentration camp survivor, who spent two and a half years in the concentration camp, has testified as a protected Prosecution witness at the trial of Serbian war criminals Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic before the Bosnian State Court.

"It was shocking for all of us when we saw the guards coming in with some papers in their hands," witness has described how the detainees felt when the guards would take other detainees away.

The indictment charges Serbian war criminal Mitar Rasevic, former commander of guards in the Foca concentration camp, and Savo Todovic, its former deputy manager, with having participated in a "joint criminal enterprise" against Bosnian civilians held in the Foca concentration camp established during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Witnes stated to have been brought to the Foca concentration camp by the Serbian aggressor on 18 April 1992 and released, through an exchange, on 5 October 1994.

Answering the Prosecution's questions, the witness has recalled one night when about ten Bosnian civilians were taken away by the genocidal Serbian aggressor. He has said that he heard screams after the Serbian aggressor's soldiers had taken those Bosnians out of the room. None came back.

"The guards could not do it by themselves. There must have been a superior officer in the concentration camp," witnes concluded, adding that he thinks that the facility's "management team" consisted of Serbian war criminals Milorad Krnojelac, Savo Todovic and Mitar Rasevic.

The ICTY sentenced Serbian war criminal Milorad Krnojelac, former "manager" of Foca concentration camp, to 15 years imprisonment for crimes committed there.

Speaking about the happenings in the Foca concentration camp, witness has also recalled working groups composed of detainees.

"Todovic established the working group and we had to perform various tasks prescribed by the management," witness said, adding that his participation in the group was a privilege, although the group members performed hard and exhausting work.

"When we went out to perform some work, we would sometimes get some extra food," said the Foca concentration camp survivor, who lost 40 kilogrammes in the first two months he spent in the concentration camp.

The indictment alleges,among other, that Serbian war criminals Todovic and Rasevic participated in the establishment of a forced labour system. The Bosnian civilians detained by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in the Foca concentration camp had to perform heavy labor in the furniture factory, metal and mechanical workshops, agricultural works, in mills and the Miljevina mine, clear debris from damaged buildings in Foca,etc.

The trial of Serbian war criminals Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic before the Bosnian State Court is due to continue on 16 October 2007.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 10,2007) – The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic met with Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the former Polish Prime Minister and UN Human Rights Commission Reporter, in Sarajevo.

Komsic thanked Mazowiecki for all he has done for the benefit of Bosnia and its citizens. He described him as a proven friend who has contributed immensely to the protection of truth in the past war events in Bosnia. He also congratulated him on receiving an honorary doctorate at the University of Tuzla and stressed the people such as Mazowiecki, who remain honourable and honest in difficult times, are rare.

“Time is doing its thinks, things fade out of memory, people fall to oblivion, but the people of Bosnia will never forget you, because there are many who appreciate what you have done for Bosnia and its citizens. You are therefore welcome in Bosnia and you can count on having true friends here”, President Komsic said.

Mazowiecki presented to Komsic a book titled “Reports 1992-1995”, which is a result of his visits to concentration camps during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

He expressed hope that it will prove useful on the road to reconciliation and truth and stressed that he is not pessimistic about the future of Bosnia and its accession to NATO and the European Union.

“The speed at which you will achieve this depends primarily on Bosnia's politicians”, Mazowiecki said.

Komsic said that truth, the truth about what happened during the war and the truth about us is the only path towards healthy relations in Bosnia. He added that the role of Mazowiecki is very important for all those who think that truth is the correct medicine.He stressed that the lack of communication between politicians, intellectuals and the religious elite is a big problem in Bosnia today.


MILOCER, Montenegro (October 10,2007) – Director of the Bosnian Directorate for European Integration Osman Topcagic, who is participating in the international conference “Through Cooperation towards Integrations” in Milocer, Montenegro, said that the host country has initiated and the participants in the conference supported the initiative that regional countries sign a joint memorandum on technical cooperation in the process of European integration.

“I expect all countries to take necessary internal procedures and the memorandum to be signed in the upcoming period. That would give an official form to the already good cooperation between our countries in the process of European integration”, Topcagic said.

Speaking at the conference in Milocer, Topcagic said that Bosnia is yet to reach an agreement on police reform, which is the main condition for signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.

“The agreement has been negotiated. Bosnia is building institutional capacities necessary for progress in the process of European integration”, Topcagic said at the conference.

The Montenegrin Secretariat for European Integration, together with the German Organisation for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), organised the conference.