Tuesday, October 16, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 16,2007) - Bosnia and Hungary should further boost cooperation, Bosnian and Hungarian presidents Zeljko Komsic and Laszlo Solyom said yesterday in Sarajevo.

The Hungarian president Laszlo Solyom, who arrived on a two-day official visit to Bosnia, met in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with members of the Bosnian Presidency, chaired by Komsic.

Bosnian and Hungarian officials agreed that both countries are interested in construction of the C5 corridor, a highway that should be the shortest connection between central Europe and the Adriatic coast.

The highway, seen as key to the future development of the European road network, should link Hungary with the Croatian coast, entering Croatia's east from Hungary, then passing more than 300 kilometres through Bosnia before ending in the southern Croatian port of Ploce.

The visit is an opportunity to sign the agreements that have been agreed upon between Bosnia and Hungary – the intergovernmental commission for cooperation between the two countries and the Momorandum of Understanding on participation of Bosnia in the project entitled “Pecuh – the Captial of Europe in 2010”.

Solyom is also to visit Hungarian troops serving with the European Union Force (EUFOR) in Bosnia today, and then travel to the southern Bosnian city of Mostar.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 16,2007) - The Social Democratic Party (SDP) President Zlatko Lagumdzija issued a statement explaining reasons why he refused to attend the meeting at which the latest protocol on Bosnian police reform was considered and which has been signed by Ljubic and Covic.

“I did not attend the meeting on Thursday for reasons that are well known to the public and because of perfectly clear positions of SDP. However, I with to remind that SDP participated constructively in this entire process from the beginning at the political and expert level. We have tried to contribute to the completion of this three-year long process by putting in place a meaningful reform, which would allow Bosnia to finally open the blocked road to the European Union.

Unfortunately, the Protocol offered by Ljubic and Covic represents something that falls well short of everything that has been proposed so far, and it even falls short of what has been offered in the Protocol agreed by Silajdzic and Dodik.

What is especially worrying in this document on only two pages is that for the first time it places future police structures under the direct political influence of the ruling coalition, which is in direct violation of the second EU principle. The lack of seriousness in the overall approach by the coalition leaders to this problem is evident from the fact that that only yesterday I received practically two different versions of the protocol from the same people. One of them proposes a police structure in accordance with the 1991 census, while the other propose a police structure in accordance with the last census, which practically and institutionally legalises ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.

After Dodik offered a four-page text, which largely diminishes the entire police reform process, I find it completely baseless to take any further part in these talks. We in SDP will never agree to the succession of the police as advocated by the leaders of the ruling coalition today. The offered protocol is a scam, both for the citizens of this country and the international community. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the essence of this Protocol in fact represents a struggle for seats and other benefits.

When will Bosnia finally get authorities that will be responsible towards the citizens and the real problems that the Bosnian citizens face on a daily basis represents the biggest problem of this country. Let the dear God be of help to us as long as we have such authorities”, Lagumdzija said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 16,2007) - The Bosnian State Prosecutor's motion to include three statements into the material evidence has been rejected by the Bosnian State Court at the trial of four Serbian war criinals charged with war crimes committed in the eastern Bosnian town of Bratunac,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Serbian war criminals Zdravko Bozic, Mladen Blagojevic, Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic are on trial in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo accused of committing crimes against humanity committed in eastern Bosnia.

"The written records containing the statements of Blagojevic, Zaric and Zivanovic can, under certain legal conditions, such as during their testimony, be included in the records in the further course of this trial," the presiding judge explained.

The prosecution did not ask for the inclusion of Serbian war criminal Zdravko Bozic's statement into material evidence.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor also requested that some criminal codes be admitted as material evidence. However, the Trial Chamber rejected the proposal, explaining that laws cannot be admitted as material evidence
and that "the prosecution will probably use some legal regulations and include them in the records in the course of the trial".

Defence lawyers Dragica Golusac and Miroslav Ristic have asked the Bosnian State Court to order the transfer of their clients,Serbian war criminals Bozic and Zaric, from detention units in Tuzla and Mostar.

The trial of Serbian war criminals Zdravko Bozic, Mladen Blagojevic, Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic will continue on October 22.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 16,2007) - More than a month after he started a hunger strike and stopped attending hearings before the Bosnian State Court, Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic ended his protest.

After refusing to appear at the four previous hearings, Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic attended his trial before the Bosnian State Court yesterday while his defence council confirmed that the indictee has ended his hunger strike.

"Zdravko decided to attend trial, although the transportation can endanger his health," Dusan Tomic said, adding that the defence would like Mihaljevic to be transferred from the detention unit in Tuzla back to Sarajevo.

Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic, a former member of the Croatian aggressor's formations, is charged with involvement in the capture, pillaging and burning of the Bosnian village of Tulice near Kiseljak on June 12, 1993,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia.

Seven Bosnian civilians were murdered by the Croatian aggressor
in this attack, while other residents were taken to Kiseljak, where they were held in inhumane conditions and maltreated.

On September 10, together with a number of other war criminals held in Kula prison, Mihaljevic went on hunger strike, requesting the Bosnian State Court to apply the Criminal Code of the Former Yugoslavia instead of the Criminal Code of Bosnia, which prescribes more severe punishments.

In the course of the strike, the Bosnian State Court rendered a decision ordering transfer of the detainees to other detention units in Bosnia. Croatian war criminal Mihaljevic was transferred to Tuzla.

At yesterday's hearing, the prosecutor Slavica Terzic completed presentation of material evidence, including a number of documents identifying and certifying the death of 12 Bosnian civilians from Tulice village.

The prosecutor also presented a written report on the work of the Croatian aggressor's Unit in Kiseljak, which indicates that 29 detained Bosnian civilians from Tulice were brought to Kiseljak on June 12, 1993 and that they had to perform forced labour.

The defence objected to the introduction of this document in the material evidence until all signatories of the document have testify. According to Tomic, these people are "available and they can be examined".

The Bosnian State Prosecutor has also included in the material evidence the verdicts rendered by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague against Croatian war criminal Dario Kordic (sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment for crimes committed in the Lasva valley) and Croatian war criminal Mario Cerkez (sentenced to six years imprisonment for crimes committed in the Lasva valley). Again, the defence has objected to the inclusion of these documents.

"In principle, the defence is against these pieces of evidence, as the verdicts do not mention the name of my client. Why the prosecution does not include in its material evidence the verdict against Ivica Rajic, which clearly shows what happened in Tulice," Tomic said.

Croatian war criminal Ivica Rajic pleaded guilty to charges before the ICTY and was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for crimes committed in Stupni Do village near Vares.

The Trial Chamber of the Bosnian State Court admitted all pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution and pointed out that the relevance and authenticity of these documents cannot be questioned. It also asked the defence to present its evidence presentation plan.

"For the time being, we have planned the examination of 11 witnesses. Two of them also testified as prosecution witnesses, but we would like to examine them directly," Tomic explained.

His list also includes Ivica Rajic and Tibor Prajo, who was found guilty of war crimes in Tulice by the Supreme Court of the FBiH Entity.

The first three defence witnesses will testify on November 2, 2007.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 16,2007) - As part of moves to meet EU immigration standards, Bosnia unveiled yesterday an electronic database to provide information on foreign nationals entering and leaving the country.

The Information System on Migration (ISM) will connect the Bosnian Foreign Ministry and Bosnian embassies abroad with the Bosnian Border Police, Service for Foreigners, security ministry and its service for asylum-seekers, Bosnian officials said.

"We have got an efficient weapon to combat illegal migration and smuggling and trade in people, which will surely boost our efforts to get closer to the European Union," the Bosnian Security Minister Tarik Sadovic told a news conference.

Sadovic said the Bosnian Border Police would now be able to access relevant data on a foreigner, including visa application, previous migration history and criminal register, to help them check his or her status.

The system has been funded by the European Commission as part of a 1.2-million-euro project to help Bosnia create a legislative and institutional frameworkto combat illegal migration.

Since the 1992-95 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions, Bosnia has been known for its porous borders and seen as a transit country for the smuggling of arms and people.

In recent years Bosnia has stepped up control of its borders and increased cross-border cooperation.