Monday, October 22, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 22,2007) – Relations between Bosnia and Japan are very good, however, there is great potential for intensifying cooperation in all areas and for exchanging visits at the senior level, the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj and the Japanese Ambassador to Bosnia Itaru Umezu agreed during a meeting in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

Alkalaj received the outgoing Japanese Ambassador in an farewell visit.He thanked the Japanese Government for the assistance it has provided to Bosnia so far and expressed satisfaction with the decision of Japan to raise representation in Bosnia to the level of an ambassador.

The two officials gave a positive assessment of cooperation between the two countries in international organisations.

They also discussed the need for signing bilateral agreements concerning economic cooperation.

The Japanese Ambassador to Bosnia Itaru Umezu praised efforts of Bosnia aimed at moving closer to Euro-Atlantic structures.


SKOPJE, Macedonia (October 22,2007) – Mayors of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and the Macedonian capital Skopje Semiha Borovac and Trifun Kostovski signed in Skoplje Agreement on Cooperation between the two cities.Signing of the Agreement preceded a joint statement signed by two mayors in July last year.

On the basis of this act, programs of concrete activities will be determined each year between Sarajevo and Skopje and all other forms of cooperation that are of mutual interests for citizens of both Sarajevo and Skopje will be determined.

Mayor Borovac emphasized that Sarajevo and Skopje have taken over the responsibility in developing and implementing concrete projects aimed to benefit the citizens.

”In the process of European integrations in the region, we need to advance cooperation and help each others on the way to the EU. In that way, we will become respectable partners”, she said.

Mayor of Skopje Trifun Kostovski stated that signing of the agreement is important for both Sarajevo and Skopje.

”We need to realize we belong to each other historically and traditionally”, Kostovski said.

Agreement signing ceremony was a part of the 11th Conference of Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals, hosted by Skopje.


MOSCOW, Russia (October 22,2007) – Economic relations between Bosnia and Russia need to be accompanied in the future with political relations of the same quality, which need to be intensified, especially in light of the increasing presence of the Russian economy in the Southeastern Europe.

This was concluded in Moscow during talks held as part of an official working visit to Russia by a delegation of the Bosnian House of Representatives’ Commission for Foreign Affairs. The Bosnian delegation met with Russian Duma Deputy Speaker Valentin Aleksandrovic Kupcov, the Bosnian Parliament stated.

Bosnian businessmen have had a traditional presence at the market of the former USSR and now Russia, and quality of their presence still represents a basis for future ties and the establishment of new contacts.

During talks with members of the Russian Duma’s Committee for International Affairs, the Group of Friendship between the Russian Duma and the Bosnian Parliament,the Russian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aleksandar Gruskov expressed especial interest in the current situation in Bosnia.

The two sides stressed the need to signing interstate agreement on avoiding double taxation, road, air and river traffic and other agreement of importance for economic cooperation.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 22,2007) – Since the end of the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia the position of disabled persons in Bosnia has only gotten worse. Coordination between relevant non-governmental organisations needs to be improved in order to make the position of disabled persons better. This is one of the conclusions from the regional conference “Guardians of Rights” held at Ilidza near Sarajevo.

The Sarajevo University’s Centre for Human Rights, the Croatian Helsinki Committee and the Centre for Human Rights from Belgrade organised the conference.

Participants in the conference concluded that funds provided for disabled persons need to be spent more rationally and that this can be achieved by providing them directly to individuals, rather than to institutions. They stressed that research has shown that 25 percent of these funds go to disabled persons, while 75 percent go to institutions because their spending is higher.

The “Guardians of Rights” conference has marked in a way the end of national seminars held in Bosnia,Croatia and Serbia and an attempt to highlight problems in this field through debate.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 22,2007) – The average net wage in Bosnia in the month of August totalled 651 Bosnian Marks (475 USD), which represents a nominal increase of 6,2 percent from December last year.

According to the Bosnian Statistics Agency, the average net wage paid in the month of August was 10,2 percent higher than in the same month of 2006.

The average gross wage in Bosnia in August totalled 964 Bosnian Marks (704 USD), which represents an increase of 5,9 percent from December last year.


BRCKO, Bosnia (October 22,2007) - The Brcko District Supervisor Raffi Gregorian met with Srdjan Blagovcanin, Executive Director, and Ljubinko Lekovic, Legal Advisor in Transparency International in Brcko.

The subject of the meeting was corruption issues and the mandate of the Transparency International in Bosnia. Supervisor Gregorian commended their work, especially the efforts in the project of Civic Advocacy Partnership Program dealing with the problems of corruption and insufficiently transparent and unaccountable government administration, and he expressed hope that some of their future projects would cover Brcko District as well.

Gregorian added that the citizens of the Brcko District are aware of the existence of corruption within their own local authority structures, but are unable to fight against it because the District’s NGO sector hasn’t developed capacities to investigate and address these issues.

However, the establishment of the Auditor’s Office and the Public Attorney Office now provides additional protections for citizens’ interests within the public administration.

“Citizens expect the Supervisor to deal with corruption but the Supervisor can fix only systemic and extremely obvious individual mistakes. That is why I encourage organizations like Transparency International to establish a presence in the District, so that citizens will be able to take things into their own hands long after Supervision is ended, “ Gregorian said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 22,2007) - It has been seven months since Serbian war criminal Gojko Jankovic was sentenced to 34 years of imprisonment for his involvement in crimes committed against Bosnian civilians in the eastern Bosnian town of Foca,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia. The Appellate Chamber of the Bosnian State Court will now review the case Tuesday, October 23.

In February 2007, the Bosnian State Court pronounced Serbian war criminal Gojko Jankovic guilty of murder, torture, rape and sexual maltreatment of Bosnian civilians in Foca in the course of 1992.

The trial of Serbian war criminals Ranko and Rajko Vukovic, former members of the genocidal paramilitary forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS), is due to start on Tuesday, October 23. The brothers are charged with having participated in war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians in Foca area in 1992.

A plea hearing in the case of Serbian war criminals Sreten Lazarevic, Dragan Stanojevic, Mile Markovic and Slobodan Ostojic, charged with war crimes against Bosnian civilians in Zvornik, is due to take place before the Bosnian State Court on the same day.

Lazarevic, Stanojevic, Markovic and Ostojic are charged with having helped others in causing of bodily injuries and with having caused injuries to Bosnian civilians detained by the genocidal Serbian aggressor from May 1992 to March 1993,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

On Monday, October 22, the trial is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court in the case of Serbian war criminals Zdravko Bozic, Mladen Blagojevic, Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic, former members of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS) indicted for the maltreatment and murder of the Bosnian civilians detained by the Serbian aggressor in the eastern Bosnian town of Bratunac in July 1995.

That same day, the defence team of Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek is due to continue presenting its evidence. The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Lelek with having participated in the deportation, forcible detention, murder and rape of Bosnian civilians in Visegrad during 1992.

Serbian war criminals Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic, charged with crimes committed against Bosnian civilians in the eastern Bosnian town of Foca in 1992, are due to appear before the Bosnian State Court on Tuesday, October 23, when the Bosnian State Prosecutor will examine court experts Hamza Zujo and Nijaz Smajic.

On the same day, Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic is due to appear before the Bosnian State Court. The prosecution charges the former member of the Croatian aggressor's formations with having "participated in and ordered the attacks on the Bosnian towns of Vitez, Busovaca and the surrounding villages,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 1990's. In the course of the attacks, many Bosnian civilians were killed, deported and imprisoned, while their property was pillaged and burned by the Croatian aggressor.