Wednesday, October 24, 2007


SREBRENICA, Bosnia (October 24,2007) – The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak visited yesterday the Genocide Memorial Centre in Potocari near Srebrenica.

“The terrible crime of genocide took place here. It is very important that the centre does not fall into oblivion and that the place should serve as a warning that such a terrible event never again happens”, Lajcak said.

”Our job will finish once the last victim of the terrible event is found and once the people who had ordered this crime are brought to justice. We have done a lot but it is not enough. Justice is slow but it can be reached”, Lajcak said having placed a wreath to the Genocide Memorial.

Up to 10,000 Bosnian civilians were mass murderd by the genocidal Serbian aggressor on July 11, 1995, and over next several days in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica. It was the worst mass murder in Europe since World War II. Every year, more genocide victims' bodies are found in many mass graves around Srebrenica. DNA tests and other forensic methods have led to the identification and burial of more 2.907 genocide victims from Srebrenica so far.

At the meeting with mothers of Srebrenica, Lajcak stated that the International Community has taken certain steps towards Srebrenica and added that Srebrenica deserves to be one of Bosnia’s top priorities.

Commenting the latest events in Bosnia and demands of the political parties of the Serbians living in Bosnia to annul the Bonn Powers, Lajcak said that “the Bonn Powers are here. I have been trying to use them for the benefit of all Bosnian citizens and I will continue doing so.”

The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia had a meting with the municipality officials and discussed the projects that are to be implemented in the sector of reconstruction and economic recovery of Srebrenica.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2007) – France will unconditionally support measures imposed by the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR), French Embassy’s officials said yesterday. They added that his measures are aimed to ensure a more functional and efficient Bosnian state.

”The measures, aimed to ensure a more functional and efficient work of the Bosnian state institutions do not question the people’s constitutionality and existence of Bosnia's entities”, the Embassy officials emphasized.

The embassy officials are of the opinion that the OHR’s decisions are in accordance with the Dayton Agreement and the Bosnian Constitution. The measures are aimed to put the misuse of Bosnian Council of Ministers work to an end. The measures related to functioning of the Bosnian Parliament have been passed for the same reason.

”Of course, France expects everyone to perform his duties and to adjust the activities in accordance to the OHR’s decisions. In that way, everybody will contribute the country’s stability, which is in the interest of all Bosnian citizens”, French officials stated.

Also,the Ambassador of Holland in Bosnia, Karel Vosskuebler, made an official announcement yesterday in reaction to the measures imposed by the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak.

He emphasized that the Bosnian citizens want the country to join the European Union. However, he added that the association processes require great efforts in producing new laws and regulations.

“During these past 18 months, we have observed a worrying lack of such effectiveness. The latest measures by the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak merely intend to address the problem and deserve the full support of any serious politician in the country”, Ambassador Vosskuehler stated.


VATICAN CITY, Vatican (October 24,2007) – The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic is on a several-day visit to the Vatican. Ratification ceremony of the Base agreement between Bosnia and the Vatican will take place during his visit.

On the first day of his visit (yesterday), President Komsic visited Franciscan Curia and then the Santa Maria d’Ara-Coeli Church in which the Bosnian Queen Catherine is buried.

The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic will meet today with Italian President Giorgo Napolitano and Pope Benedict the 16th will meet with President Komsic on Thursday.

Ratification instruments exchange of the Base Agreement between Bosnia and the Vatican will take place after the official reception.

President Komsic will return from Vatican on Friday.


LYON, France (October 24,2007) – Delegation of the Bosnian Ministry of Security lead by Minister Tarik Sadovic, had a meeting in Lyon,France, with Interpol Secretary General Roland Noble.

During the meeting, participants talked about the international police cooperation development, exchange of police – related information and on forms of cooperation with the Bosnian National Interpol Bureau situated in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The hosts were introduced to the Bosnian National Bureau activities and ways of fighting organized crime.

Participants mutually expressed interest in continuation of cooperation.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2007) - The defence team of a convicted Serbian war criminal Gojko Jankovic, which considers that substantial violations of the criminal proceeding occurred during the first instance process, has asked for the revocation of the verdict and a new trial.

But, the Bosnian State Prosecutor denied these allegations and has asked the Appellate Chamber of the Bosnian State Court to confirm the first instance verdict.

The only party to the proceeding to appeal the verdict was the defence.

Serbian war criminal Gojko Jankovic was sentenced by the first instance verdict to 34 years imprisonment for war crimes committed on the territory of the eastern Bosnian town of Foca in the course of 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Serbian war criminal Gojko Jankovic is, inter alia, charged with having committed murders and deportation of Bosnian civilians from the villages in Foca area and rape of Bosnian girls and young women – the youngest being 12 years old.

The first instance Trial Chamber pronounced the verdict in February 2007. Its verdict also included a paragraph indicating that the indictee should cover the costs of the proceedings.

After the defence filed a complaint about this decision, all injured parties were advised to take legal action in that regard.

Milan Trbojevic said that his client did not feel well and, for that reason, a request was made to postpone the proceeding before the Appellate Chamber of the Bosnian State Court.

He said that Serbian war criminal Gojko Jankovic was severely wounded during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.He further said that Serbian war criminal Jankovic suffered from kidney cancer and that he should be operated on.

The same diagnosis was confirmed by the medical commission, which examined the indictee as per a request made by the Trial Chamber. The commission concluded that an operation was needed, but that the indictee's health condition was not alarming. Nevertheless, the Appellate Chamber decided to proceed with the hearing.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor reiterated that it did not file an appeal against the first instance verdict, but it asked for its confirmation. It described the allegations contained in the defence's appeal as "ungrounded".

The Convicted Serbian war criminal Gojko Jankovic said he "wanted the real truth to be revealed", even if he would be pronounced guilty.

"I am now prepared to defend myself. In the course of the first instance trial I was not prepared, as I was not feeling well. In addition, the prosecutor did not allow me to do anything," Serbian war criminal Jankovic said.

In response to his statement, the chairwoman said that the process was led by the court and not by the prosecution. Jankovic did not comment on the judge's remark.

Serbian war criminal Gojko Jankovic's defence announced that, in case a retrial was opened, the indictee was ready to provide the court with the names of those who perpetrated the crimes charged upon him.

The Appellate Chamber of the Bosnian State Court shall render its decision at a later stage.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2007) - Serbian war criminals Sreten Lazarevic and Mile Markovic, charged with having committed crimes against Bosnian civilians on the territory of the eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, have pleaded not guilty before the Bosnian State Court.

Serbian war criminal Dragan Stanojevic said he would defend himself with silence and he therefore did not enter a plea.

The fourth Serbian war criminal Slobodan Ostojic, failed to appear at the hearing, as did his defence attorney, who had informed the Bosnian state Court of the reasons for his absence. The plea hearing of the fourth indictee has therefore been postponed. It will take place some time between November 10 and 15.

The indictment alleges that Serbian war criminals Sreten Lazarevic, Dragan Stanojevic, Mile Markovic and Slobodan Ostojic, former members of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia, assisted others and personally caused bodily injuries to Bosnian civilians detained in the eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik from May 1992 to March 1993,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor suggested that the case be transferred to a lower instance court for further processing.The prosecution also said that other courts in Bosnia are not overloaded with cases as much as the Bosnian state Court. The referral of the case is therefore requested in order to achieve better efficiency. The explanation further indicates that "this is not a very complex case".

The Bosnian State Court shall render a decision concerning this proposal at a later stage.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2007) - At the trial of Serbian war criminals Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic, who are charged with crimes against humanity committed against Bosnian civilians detained by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in the concentration camp in the eastern Bosnian town of Foca,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, two expert witnesses have spoken of the cause of death of the genocide victims exhumed from mass graves one and two in Miljevina mine.

"In the first grave we discovered 26 and in the second 47 corpses," said Dr Hamza Zujo, a court expert, adding that bullets were found in many of these bodies.

"There were a few bodies that did not have any visible injuries and the cause of death was therefore not determined. All the others died in a violent way," Zujo explained.

The bullets and capsules that were discovered in these graves were sent to Nijaz Smajic, an expert in ballistics and mechanical traces, in order for him to determine the caliber and type of the weapons used.

"It has not been possible to determine which weapons were used, as the bullets were of several different calibers," Smajic said.

The defence teams of Serbian war criminals Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic did not have any questions for the court experts. While they did not have any objections against these findings, the defence denied any link between the indictees and the mass graves in Miljevina mine.

"I am terrified when I listen to all this. It was an awful thing to do – for someone to take people, allegedly to be exchanged, and then to kill them," said Serbian war criminal Mitar Rasevic.

The indictment alleges that Rasevic, guard commander in the Foca concentration camp , and Todovic, its deputy manager, were responsible for the Bosnian civilians detained there.The indictment further alleges that the Bosnian civilians were taken out of the Foca concentration camp by the Serbian aggressor and that they have been missing since then.

At this hearing, the Bosnian State Prosecutor presented 166 pieces of material evidence. Following the presentation, Serbian war criminal Savo Todovic's written complaint against the defence attorneys appointed by the Bosnian State Court was discussed.

"I cannot understand how the two attorneys can come to a trial and they do not even know who is supposed to testify on that day. In the course of the seven months, they have never pushed this button in order to protect my rights," Serbian war criminal Savo Todovic said. He claims that "his hand was shaking" while he was writing the letter and that he wrote it after a careful consideration.

Defence attorneys Mladen Sarenac and Jovan Debelica have also complained, from the very beginning of the trial, about the lack of communication with the indictee.

Trial Chamber Chairman Hilmo Vucinic said that the issue could be defined as a dilemma whether or not to release the defence attorneys from their duty and that the chamber "would consider what was said".

At the next hearing, due on October 30, one more protected prosecution witness will testify.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2007) - The International Community's Principal Deputy High Representative in Bosnia, Raffi Gregorian, met with the representatives of the World Congress of Bosnian Diaspora headed by the President, Senada Softic Telalovic.

During the meeting representatives of the Bosnian Diaspora briefed Gregorian on obstacles they have when intending to stay engaged in the Bosnian society by bringing investments, best practices and knowledge gained in the countries where they live now.

Ms. Senada Softic Telalovic briefed the International Community's Principal Deputy High Representative in Bosnia on the idea to form a Committee of the Bosnian Diaspora Council under the auspices of the Bosnian Council of Ministers.

"Diaspora of all constituent people and others wishes to do more for their homeland, however political obstacles are in their way of achieving that. They are saying - we want to help, we want to come back, but the Bosnian authorities have to do something to help them do that" said Gregorian.

The question of dual citizenship was also addressed.Gregorian pointed to the High Representative's Decision issued five years ago by which time for resolving of the issue of dual citizenship is extended until 2013.

"I hope that the Bosnian authorities will consider a much more fundamental reform of dual-citizenship provisions, in order to bring Bosnia into line with increasingly common international practice. This issue affects Bosnia's human capital, as many of the Bosnian citizens who live abroad are well educated, have valuable skills and investment potentials. This is an important resource for the future development of the country," Gregorian concluded.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2007) – The Bosnian Human Rights and Refugees Minister Safet Halilovic and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),Deputy Resident Director Stefan Priesner, signed yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo a document related to the Bosnian Integrated Local Development Project implementation. The project is aimed to modernize and professionalize the local development planning and management in 20 municipalities of Bosnia.

The project is 3.130.000 USD worth. The main goal of the project is to align standards with the EU in the public sector services and to design the key capacities necessary for managing the pre-association funds. UNDP in partnership with the municipalities’ representatives and Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) will implement the project.

The Bosnian Human Rights and Refugees Minister Safet Halilovic stated after signing that the project will increase the municipalities’ capacities ad the civic society development sector. It will also enable Bosnia’s long-term and sustainable social and economic development within the human rights sector and implementation of the rule of law. Halilovic used the occasion to thank the UNDP representatives for a long-term cooperation with the Ministry, and for this project aimed to improve lives of the Bosnian citizens.

UNDP Deputy Resident Director Stefan Priesner emphasized that he will demand the municipalities to ensure dedication to sectors of human rights and gender equality, in accordance with conventions on human rights. He added that he will also demand a certain degree if participation in cofinancing the technical assistance, training and initiation funds.

Swiss Ambassador to Bosnia Rolf Lenz emphasized that the cooperation between the Bosnian Government, Switzerland and UNDP in the project will enable the improvement in the sector of operative reforms and will increase the capacities in 20 municipalities in Bosnia. The project will ensure social and economic development and the municipalities’ residents will prosper,Lenz said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2007) – Save the Children UK, in cooperation with the British Embassy in Bosnia, presented in Sarajevo its five-year plan of activities in the field of the protection of children and inclusive education.

These initiatives will be implemented as a single program for the region of Southeastern Europe. The aim is to achieve sustainable improvements of the lives of endangered and socially excluded children from marginalised groups.

The implementation of the plan for inclusive education will provide some 650.000 socially and endangered children in the region an opportunity for a more complete development as a result of the improvement of policies in the fields of children’s protection.

Furthermore, 63.000 children without parental care, children under the risk of separation from families and victims of abuse and violence will enjoy better care and protection.

In regards to the program of inclusive education, Save the Children will ensure access to high quality education for 65 percent of the 850.000 poor children in the region.

British Ambassador to Bosnia Matthew Rycroft underlined the fact that many children in Bosnia do not have the privilege to live a happy childhood, which is not only a consequence of the past war, but of the current social-economic trends in the country.

This has a massive impact on the lives of children, especially those who are socially excluded, children with special needs, children living in poverty and without parental care, Ambassador Rycroft said.

He stressed the need for a partnership between all relevant social factors, especially the responsibility of governments at all level in order to achieve changes for a full implementation and the respect of the rights of children.

Save the Children Program Director for the Southeastern Europe Tim Bainbridge said that changes for children can be achieved only with the support of governments, the civil society, private sector and the international community.

“Our objective is to achieve long-term and sustainable changes for marginalised children”, Bainbridge said.

145.000 children live in poverty in Bosnia and 245.000 lives just above the poverty line.The general rate of enrolment to schools in Bosnia stands at 96 percent.

Save the Children will by supporting policy change and practice in this field, and by advocating responsibility of the authorities, try to introduce positive changes for all children by 2012.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2007) – Sponsored by the FBIH Entity Government, the 2nd International Sarajevo Stock Market (SASE) Conference began yesterday. The topic discussed is “Development of the Capital Market – Reaching the Higher Market Liquidity”.

This two-day conference was opened by the FBIH Entity Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic, who announced that the FBIH Entity Government plans to announce a part of the privatization processes through the SASE Market.

”The efforts put in at the financial market need to be made in cooperation with the FBIH Entity Government. When one talks about the capital market, investors need to be placed in focus. Without them, there is no market”, Brankovic said.

Apart from the main topic, the conference will also focus today on the public biddings through the stock market, privatization and state capital sale. The participants will also talk about the institutional investors and the FBIH Entity Capital Market portal will be presented.

Zlatan Dedic, SASE Director, emphasized that the institution is heading upwards and that the SASE business, in the period since the last conference ended, reached the amount of 1,4 billion Bosnian Marks. He added that the market capitalization has increased per 101 per cent.

SASE Supervisory Board President Muris Cicic, addressed the conference participants and stressed that the Bosnian market capital is a vital market which can be doubled and that the stock markets can be a stimulating factor of development, provided that the political situation in the country is stabile.

”SASE is still at the start. We are not aware of all the combinations that can be made”, Cicic said.

Moderators and speakers at the conference are eminent experts in the field of market capitals from state, regulatory, stock market, investment funds and also experts in other fields of economy. They have come from all over the world and will, as announced, exchange the stock market experience from the region.

Representatives of Zagreb, Belgrade, Ljubljana and Vienna stock markets participate.