Wednesday, October 17, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 17,2007) – The Bosnian Minister of Security Tarik Sadovic is dissatisfied with the fact that Bosnia's politicians failed to reach an agreement on police reform, for that halted the country’s way to the European Union.

Sadovic told the press in Sarajevo that a huge part of the responsibility for the failure lies in the hands of domestic politicians. He added, however, that the International Community is to blame as well.

”We should consider future actions together. Certain steps should be taken to overcome this unpleasant situation”, the Bosnian Minister of Security Tarik sadovic stated.

He could not comment the possible measures the International Community could take because of the police reform failure. Sadovic did say, however, that the “Brussels will make the final decision”.


LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg (October 17,2007) – The European Union has repeated its warning to the political leaders of Bosnia about the need to introduce police reforms.

“It’s rather simple: no police reform, no Stabilization and Association Agreement”, said Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Enlargement, with reference to a key agreement, the initialling of which has been held up for months.

“The sooner the political leaders of Bosnia can agree on this crucial reform, the sooner we can also move towards the EU pre-accession process, by initialling and then signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA)”, Rehn added.

Javier Solana, the EU’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, confirmed that the top international official in Bosnia, Miroslav Lajcak, was working hard to find an agreement on police reform.

“For the moment, the process of signing the SAA is stopped until this issue is settled”, Solana said.

After the meeting in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers called on Bosnian leaders to show responsibility towards their people and their desire to advance towards the EU.

At a meeting focusing on the Balkan issues, the EU council for General Policy and Foreign Affairs concluded that the upcoming meeting of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) that is to be held October 30 and 31 is an opportunity for the International Community to deal with the situation in Bosnia.

The conclusions adopted by the Council fully support the International community's High Representative and the EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak and his efforts to adopt the reforms that are of the essence for the country to move ahead, especially the police reform

The Council once again emphasized that the police reform agreement in accordance with the three EU principles is the key priority and one of the necessary conditions for Bosnia to initial the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the european union.

The Council expressed regrets over the fact that Bosnia's political leaders have not shown will to reach an agreement on police reform that is in accordance with the three EU principles.

The Council has also seen some moves lately that the political leaders of Bosnia have made and has asked them to show responsibility towards the people of Bosnia and its wish to become a part of the EU.

The Council noticed that the PIC meeting will be an opportunity for the International Community to deal with the situation in Bosnia and again emphasized the need of Bosnia’s fulfillment of all four conditions necessary to end the SAA negotiations that were defined December 12 2005.

The Council again fully supported Bosnia’s European perspective. The Council also emphasized that the tempo of Bosnia’s progress depends on Bosnia’s own efforts.

However, an SAA with Montenegro, initialled earlier this year, was signed on the margins of the foreign ministers’ meeting, putting the small Adriatic country two steps ahead of Bosnia in the EU integration process.


BRUSSELS, Belgium (October 17,2007) – International Community should find new partners in Bosnia for the current politicians are not able to implement the reforms necessary, the International community's High Representative in bosnia,Miroslav Lajcak,stated.

After a meeting with the Contact Group representatives on failure of police reform in Bosnia, Lajcak, as stated by a Bosnian State TV reporter, said that the biggest responsibility for such a situation lies in the hands of the leaders of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia "the RS".

”I wanted my work in Bosnia to be focused on the country’s association to the European Union. We currently do not have partners to achieve that. We need to deal with that situation now in order to avoid the possibility of another failure”, Lajcak said.

Answering the question who is to blame for the failure, Lajcak said that the RS politicians have “mostly given up the previously defined obligations”.

”That is the fact and they know it”, Slovakian diplomat said and added that they are not the only ones to blame.

”I truly expected a more serious approach”, Lajcak said and emphasized that the negotiations participants on police reform acted as if they had a lot of time.

Reacing an agreement on police reform was the key condition for Bosnia to initial the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union.

Negotiations failed because the political leaders of the Serbians living in Bosnia did not want to eliminate the police of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia "the RS".


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 17,2007) – Economic reforms need to be made a focus of the Bosnian Government. This was stated yesterday at the opening of a conference aimed to place a focus to the Bosnian economic issues.

The conference entitled “Through Reforms and Partnership to Bosnia’s Sustainable Economic Development” was organized by the Office of the International High Representative in Bosnia (OHR). Political officials, businesspersons, union representatives and others participated.

Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric,the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak and Head of the EC Delegation to Bosnia Dimitris Kourkoulas opened the conference.

Spiric stated in his opening speech that the decision making process in the sector of economy is always a challenge, especially in a country such is Bosnia, because of the complex structure of authorities.

According to him, one of the key goals of the conference is institutionalization of dialogue between the key factors of the Bosnian economic life.

”Authorities are aware that the top down approach does not function well in the sector of economy. Because of that, it is impossible to implement the laws. That results in a business climate that is not beneficial for the investments to the country. It also negatively affects the employment”, Spiric emphasized.

He added that an energetic dialogue between the key political and businesspersons results in passing of legislature in the sector of economy.

”That is why I urge all the participants to initiate a dialogue without many phrases and with a lot of practical examples that are dialogue-focused”, Spiric said.

The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak stated in his speech that “the reforms, which would improve the situation in the economy sector, were the most serious victims of political dead end”. He added that it is a problem the Bosnian citizens should not feel.

He added that the European future of the country is most probably the most important economic issue. Keeping in mind Bosnia’s geographical position, this country has no other option than to look for partners in the EU.

”Economic reforms EU demands should be a part of Bosnia’s economic development”, Lajcak said. It is obvious that reaching an agreement on purely political issues is difficult to achieve. However, that does not mean that agreements cannot be reached in the field of practical laws aimed to advance the country’s living standards.

”Economic reforms should not be put on hold”, Lajcak emphasized.

”The European Commission supports the Bosnian authorities in the process of economic reforms’ implementation. Those reforms are aimed to increase the foreign investments, reduce poverty and open new jobs”, Dimitris Kourkoulas said.

He emphasized that a fast action is needed in the sector. Not for the purpose of making the official Brussels happy, but because of the fact that Bosnia needs to become a prosperous country.

”EU has an enormous potential of making the reforms efficient and less painful”, Kourkoulas said.

Economic potentials of Bosnia and the recommendations in the process of opening the new jobs were discussed at the separate panels.


TIRANA, Albania (October 17,2007) – As a part of the European Commission’s and Council of Europe’s Regional Program, the 2nd minister conference was held in Tirana,albania, on social security systems entitled “Support to the Social security Institutions in the Southeastern Europe”.

The Bosnian Deputy Minister of Civil Affairs Senad Sepic signed the Tirana Declaration on behalf of the Bosnian Government.

The declaration obliges the countries to improve coordination of the social security sectors. That especially concerns the health and pension insurance sector.

Addressing the participants, Sepic stated that the social security issues are very important for the Bosnian citizens.

That is why a joint approach to the sector of all the authorities in Bosnia is needed,he said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 17,2007) – The Bosnian Government defined yesterday the Proposal of the Law changing and amending the Law on the Use and Protection of the name of Bosnia, which will be forwarded to the Bosnian Parliament for consideration.

Changes to this law state that all legal entities which wish to use the name of Bosnia in their title can use that right if they state in their founding act and statute that they will conduct their activities in the entire Bosnia.

The Bosnian Government also adopted Nikola Spiric’s proposal for the participation of Bosnia in EXPO 2010 in Shanghai, China.

The Bosnian Government also defined the Proposal of the Platform for negotiations on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Bosnian Ministry of Civil Affairs and the World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Europe.

Pursuant to this Memorandum, the Bosnian Ministry of Civil Affairs will establish a commission for international health legislations after the entities and Brcko District appoint their representatives to this Commission.

The Bosnian Government also defined the Proposal of the Platform for negotiations on reaching the biannual agreement on cooperation between Bosnia and the WHO’s Regional Office for Europe.

The Bosnian Government reached a decision on appointing members of the expert group for monitoring the Digitalisation Project.This decision establishes an expert team with the task of monitoring and implementing the project of digitalising links of public broadcast services in Bosnia, which should improve the quality of services, bring further investments into the infrastructure and introduce digital TV.

The Bosnian Government also reached a decision on keeping funds on the escrow account with the Bosnian Central Bank.

The Bosnian Government gave approval for Croatian citizens living in Bosnia to participate in elections for the Croatian Parliament scheduled for late November.

It also gave approval for Polish citizens living in Bosnia to vote in the premises of the Polish Embassy on the occasion of the elections for the Polish Parliament scheduled for October 21.

The Bosnian Government also endorsed several decisions concerning the Bosnian security policy.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 17,2007) – Representatives of cantonal, city and municipal authorities and members of the Bosnian war veteran associations visited the Sarajevo War Tunnel yesterday, as a part of the “Sarajevo Defenders’ Days” manifestation.

The object known as the “tunnel of salvation” was constructed during the Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia in 1993 under the Sarajevo Airport runaway. It had been the only communication between the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and the free territory at the time.

Mayor of Sarajevo Semiha Borovac emphasized the importance of construction of this object. She recalled the courage and dedication of the people who defended the city.

She announced that the tunnel will be reconstructed and turned into a monument symbolizing the city’s resistance. It will be a testimony of 1.400 days of siege of Sarajevo.

The idea of the tunnel was born in August 1992 and had been realized in the period from January 1992 to late July 1993.

The tunnel, 800 meters long, connected the two settlements of Sarajevo – Dobrinja and Butmir. The tunnel had enabled distribution of food and other necessities for the Bosnian citizens and the Bosnian Army.

Some estimates show that about 1,2 million people passed through the tunnel. The city had been supplied with electricity through the cables passing through the tunnel.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 17,2007) - Protected prosecution witness testified yesterday before the Bosnian State Court about the participation of Serbian war criminal Dusko Knezevic and Dusan Fustar in the maltreatment of Bosnian and Croatian civilians held by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in the Keraterm concentration camp.

Serbian war criminals Zeljko Mejakic, Momcilo Gruban, Dusan Fustar and Dusko Knezevic are charged with involvement in the murder, beating, rape and torture of Bosnian and Croatian civilians held in Omarska and Keraterm concentration camps during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

"Dusan Knezevic, who was better known as Duca, used to visit the concentration camp very often in a Mercedes, which had a sign on its door saying 'The Duke'. Some detainees called him by that name," the witness said.

"He was 27 or 28 years old at the time. He was a rather short man. Detainees told me that he was from Orlovci village. I do not think he performed any functions in the detention camp," said witness, who identified Serbian war criminal Dusan Knezevic in the courtroom.

"That is him," witness said.

The indictment alleges that Serbian war criminal Dusan Knezevic "occasionally visited Keraterm concentration camp and participated in the beating of detainees".

The witness told the Bosnian State Court that in the Keraterm concentration camp there were three guard-shifts known as "Kajo, Kole and Fustar's guard shift" and that shift commanders used to lock the rooms in which the detainees were held at night.

In November 2001, the International criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sentenced Serbian war criminal Dragan Kolundzija, known as Kole, to three years imprisonment for crimes committed in Keraterm concentration camp.

"They did not lock the rooms every night, but they did it occasionally. When they did it, we felt good because we knew that they would not take us out and beat us that night. And we could sleep as well," witness said.

In the course of cross-examination, all indictees and their defence attorneys were introduced to the witness. Following the cross-examination, the witness identified Serbian war criminal Dusan Fustar in the courtroom.

The indictment, filed by the Bosnian State Prosecutor, alleges that Serbian war criminal Dusan Fustar was one of the three guard commanders in Keraterm concentration camp from May 24 to August 30, 1992.

The witness also recalled a massacre in room number three, which happened at the end of July 1992.Between 200 and 250 Bosnian and Croatian civilians were shot dead by the genocidal Serbian aggressor on that occasion.

"I remember that, on 24 and 25 July, they killed a number of people from room number three, who were then driven in a truck in an unknown direction. I know that blood was dripping from the truck and that a water tank washed it out afterwards," said the witness.

The trial is due to continue on October 31, 2007.


SREBRENICA, Bosnia (October 17,2007) - A group of Dutch soldiers arrived yesterday in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica where had been stationed at the time when genocide was committed by the Serbian aggressor in July 1995.

The visit by the 12 Dutch soldiers, who served with UN troops in Bosnian during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia, accompanied by their spouses and friends, was organized by the Dutch Kamp Westerbork Memorial Centre and the Pax Christi organization.

It is believed to be the first ever visit of former Dutch troops to the Srebrenica area.During the three-day visit, the group plans to visit numerous sites, including their former positions, as well as places where the Srebrenica genocide occurred and the Genocide Memorial Centre in Potocari near Srebrenica.

The genocidal Serbian aggressor maurdered up to 10,000 Bosnian men and boys after capturing the former eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica on July 11, 1995.

At the time of the genocide Srebrenica was under UN protection as a UN safe zone, with some 450 Dutch troops deployed to protect the local Bosnian civilian population,but they refused to do so.

In July 1995, when the genocidal Serbian aggressor started operations to capture Srebrenica, Dutch troops withdrew from the area, leaving the local Bosnian population unprotected.

Dutch UN troops actually helped the Serbian aggressor commit genocide against Bosnians in Srebrenica.Dutch UN soldiers were deployed to protect the local Bosnian civilian population from the genocidal Serbian aggressor,but they refused to let the Bosnian civilians into the UN compound near Srebrenica when they came seeking help.

Besides visiting different locations in Srebrenica, Dutch soldiers were also scheduled to meet with the genocide survivors, including the representatives of the Association of Srebrenica Mothers.

But,some members of the Association of Srebrenica Mothers told Bosnian media they will not meet with the Dutch soldiers, especially if some of them were actually there at the time of the genocide.

Nine of the 12 Dutch soldiers were deployed in Srebrenica from January to July 1995.


THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (October 17,2007) - The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) yesterday upheld the acquittal of a former Bosnian general saying his involvement in a military operation in the southern Bosnian city of Mostar during which Bosnian troops murdered civilians (Croatians living in Bosnia) could not be proven.

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia upheld the 2005 acquittal by the lower court of 55-year-old former Bosnian general Sefer Halilovic.

The charges concerned particularly his alleged involvement in the so-called Operation Neretva in the villages of Grabovica and Uzdol in September 1993, during which Bosnian troops killed at least 38 unarmed civilians.

Halilovic, who cooperated voluntarily with the ICTY, was commander of the Bosnian Army at that time.

ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte indicted him in 2001 for his role in the combat operations of the Bosnian Army during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia,and alleged involvement in the killings of civilians.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 17,2007) - Representatives of Bosnia's two political entities and the central government signed yesterday in Sarajevo a document aimed at improving the country's economy.

Signing the document titled Our Platform of Action, the chairman of Bosnian central government Nikola Spiric and the prime ministers of the two entities, as well as the mayor of the Brcko District, agreed to urgently commence activities on necessary economic reforms.

"We fully accept that urgent economic reforms cannot be put on hold until major political disputes have been resolved," said the politicians' platform initiated by the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia, Slovak diplomat Miroslav Lajcak.

"Attracting investment, creating employment and raising living standards represent our most important and immediate challenges and we are committed to making economic growth one of our key objectives," read the document.

Bosnian officials, in accordance with the document, will have to work on improving fiscal coordination and stability by agreeing on revenue allocation, reviewing and streamlining social spending in order to improve their effectiveness, and reducing the public expenditure share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The platform also foresees a number of tasks to create a better business environment and promote other reforms ensuring sustainable development.