Sunday, October 21, 2007


SREBRENICA, Bosnia (October 21,2007) - A group of former Dutch UN soldiers, who served in peace keeping forces in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995,when up to 10,000 Bosnian civilians were mass murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor, have been prevented by the genocide victims' families from visiting the Genocide Memorial Centre in Potocari near Srebrenica and laying wreaths there.

The twelve visiting former Dutch UN soldiers had a stormy meeting with the families of the genocide victims from Srebrenica, but the meeting was disrupted after they failed to give clear answers to the families’ questions on why they didn’t prevent the genocide.

In July 1995, a Dutch battalion assigned to protect Srebrenica (a U.N.-declared "safe haven" in eastern Bosnia) did absolutely nothing and stood by as the genocidal Serbian aggressor mass murdered thousands of Bosnian civilians.

The genocide survivors have sued the Dutch government for a billion dollars in damages for participating in the genocide in Bosnia by failing to prevent it.

The genocidal Serbian aggressor had overrun the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995, which had been declared a safe haven by the United Nations two years earlier. The Dutch peacekeepers did not fire a single shot in defense, and the UN did not respond to the Dutch commander's calls for air support.

The Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica fled to the UN compound seeking protection, but most of them were not allowed in. The genocidal Serbian aggressor's soldiers later separated the Bosnian men and boys from the women and mass murdered them as the Dutch UN soldiers stood by.

The Dutch government resigned in April 2002 in a scandal over its role in the genocide in Bosnia.Over 2,000 genocide victims have been buried so far in the Genocide Memorial Center in Potocari near Srebrenica. Mass graves are still being excavated.

“We will under no circumstances allow them (the Dutch) to go to the Genocide Memorial Centre, because they don’t deserve it,” Munira Subasic, president of Srebrenica mother’s association said.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in February 2007 that the paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS) had committed genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 21,2007) – A protected prosecution witness has testified before the Bosnian State Court at the trial of Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic - but behind closed doors.Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic is charged with having committed crimes against humanity in central Bosnia during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 1990's.

The decision to close the trial to the public was rendered by the Trial Chamber on the basis of a motion filed by the Bosnian State Prosecutor David Schwendiman. This motion was also discussed in a closed session.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Croatian war criminal Ljubicic with having participated, during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the course of 1993, in the murder, beating, torture, forcible detention, property destruction and forced labour of the Bosnian civilians on the territory of Vitez and Busovaca municipalities.

The indictment alleges that Ljubicic, together with other members of the Croatian aggressor's formations, unlawfully detained Bosnian civilians in a cinema, veterinary station and public accounting bureau premises in Vitez, and then also in Kaonik prison near Busovaca and elementary school in Dubravica.

The prosecution believes that the Bosnian civilians detained in those facilities were physically and mentally maltreated by the Croatian aggressor, and that they were taken to the frontlines where they had to dig trenches and act as human shields.

The trial of Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic before the Bosnian State Court is due to continue on 23 October.


BRCKO, Bosnia (October 21,2007) – After months of negotiations, the US consortium E&I Group announced that it will build the first bio-ethanol factory and refinery in Bosnia in the northern river-port town and district of Brcko. The new plant is expected to start production in four years’ time.

"This business initiative has entered a serious phase. The investors have presented their project and it is up to the government of Brcko District now, once it has made a formal decision, to carry out legal procedures, such as opening a tender for concessions for the land", Hasan Hadzic, spokesman for the Brcko District Mayor, Mirsad Djapo said.

E&I Group’s $150 million investment in Bosnia will inaugurate a new supplier to the growing European biofuel market.It is a long-awaited boost to the local economy, creating new jobs and increasing exports.Economic analysts believe that it rewards the Brcko authorities and business community for their efforts in creating an attractive business environment in what was one of the most fought-over areas during the 1992-95 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

Since then Brcko has grown into one of the most developed and business-friendly areas in Bosnia, thanks, in part, to its international supervision and to being detached from the rest of Bosnia’s complex, expensive and inefficient administrative system.

"Currently, the Brcko District has the most attractive environment for foreign investment", says the director of the Bosnian Agency for Promotion of Foreign Investments in Bosnia, Haris Basic.

Besides the refinery itself, the new investment in Brcko will be used for mine clearance, growing the required crops and transport. According to the E&I Group, corn and millet are to be the main crops for the production of Brcko's ethanol.These will be grown on over 5,000 hectares, 35 per cent of which will be state-owned land under concession, and the rest privately farmed.

Brcko’s location, including its proximity to fertile land – much of it still mine-strewn and unused – as well as it access to the Sava river, road and rail corridors, were the key to attracting this investment.

Suzana Bursac, spokesperson for Raffi Gregorian, the international supervisor of Brcko District, said that the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia(OHR), the international body that oversees Bosnia’s post-war reconstruction, supports projects, such as this one, which bring new investments and benefit the region.

E&I is a global group of companies involved in environment, infrastructure, engineering and de-mining. Its chief executive officer, Rob Shahmir, spoke highly of the understanding and support coming from Brcko District, adding that such responsibility from a partner was a guarantee that the whole project would be successful and completed on time.

Eddie Banks, a spokesperson for E&I, said that the Brcko refinery would be built by one of the Group’s member-companies from Canada. The de-mining activities will be undertaken by a new company that will be established in Bosnia.
“We are considering the establishment of a Bosnian environmental company", he added.

The construction of the refinery is to get underway early next year, with production starting in 2011. The planned initial capacity is 113.4 tonnes a day, with annual production amounting to 39,800 tonnes.

The ethanol factory – whose financial, technical and marketing services will involve several US, Canadian and British companies – will provide employment for 400 people, and will indirectly generate a further 4,000 jobs. The project will require expert teams from the whole of Bosnia and the broader region.

The investment in the bio-ethanol refinery in Brcko reflects growing international interest in biofuels to replace oil due to its increasing price and contribution to global warming.

Fuel expert Lejla Kljakic says that green fuels are gaining ground in the motor industry, city transport services and farming. According to the European energy industry consortium, Eurobserv’ER, the consumption of biofuels in Europe increased by 78 per cent in 2006. Germany is in the first place, followed by France and Austria.

Output from the Brcko refinery will help meet new EU regulations which, as of 2009 require the sale at petrol stations of two types of fuel consisting of a petrol and ethanol mixture: E5, with 5 per cent ethanol, and E10 with 10 per cent. As of 2020, only E10 will be on sale.

Kljakic said that the local production of biofuels is unlikely to have a big impact on their use in Bosnia itself."The reason for this is that so many old vehicles are on the roads. On the other hand, it will benefit our exports and open up new jobs", she said.

However, optimists expect some improvements in Bosnia, too, at least in the medium to longer term. Bosnia is hoping to join the EU over the next decade or so. When it does so, Sarajevo will have to meet the increasingly stringent environmental standards introduced by Brussels.


VIENNA, Austria (October 21,2007) – A conference on social issues in the context of the Energy Community was held under the auspices of the European Commission and the Energy Community in Vienna,Austria.

The European Commission and seven states from the region signed a Memorandum of Understanding as an expression of political intent of signatory states to dedicate full attention to the prediction, recognition and response to social consequence that could arise in the context of the establishment of a single energy market in the region.

This primarily concerns the status of workers in the energy sector and the issues of large and sensitive groups of consumers.

The Bosnian Deputy Civil Affairs Minister Senad Sepic signed the Memorandum for Bosnia. Bosnia ratified last year the Agreement on the Establishment of the Energy Community.

Sepic underlined the need for European support in resolving the social consequences of the energy market in Bosnia. European Commission’s Deputy General Director for Trade Fabrizio Barbaso supported his position.


PARIS, France (October 21,2007) – The Bosnian Minister of Civil Affairs Sredoje Novic, who is leading the Bosnian delegation at 34th UNESCO General Conference in Paris,France, met with the organization’s Director General Koichiro Matsuura.

Novic emphasized the importance of UNESCO ideas for general development of Bosnia and thanked the UNESCO officials for all the efforts they have put in so far.

He presented the UNESCO Director General with a letter written by the Bosnian Council of Ministers Chairman Nikola Spiric in which he confirmed that Bosnia will host the regional seminar on education reform. 11 counties of the region are expected to participate. The conference will take place in early December.


JERUSALEM, Palestine (October 21,2007) – The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj visited Palestine and met with the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minsiter Riyad al-Maliki and Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat, the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry announced.

Alkalaj presented the highest Palestinian officials with the current situation in Bosnia and the reform processes.

The Palestinian officials thanked the people of Bosnia for permanent support to the Palestinian people, especially for the schooling of Palestinian students at the Sarajevo and Tuzla universities in Bosnia.

The dominant topic treated at the meetings between the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj and the Palestinian officials was the Middle East Peace Conference organized by the US President that will take place in November in the United States.

Representatives of Palestinian authorities expressed expectations from the conference since they are of the opinion that it will be a good opportunity to reach an agreement.

Alkalaj expressed hope that the Conference will succeed.The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister also placed a wreath to the grave of Yasser Arafat.