Tuesday, November 13, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 13,2007) – Following news that the genocidal Serbia has raised an indictment against Bosnian citizen Ilija Jurišić on November 9, the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj has immediately contacted the Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Vuk Jeremic and in a telephone conversation demanded explanation for such a move.

Alkalaj expressed dissatisfaction with the latest developments, especially in light of the fact that the process of taking statements from witnesses in this case is currently underway before the Bosnian Prosecutor’s Office.

Jeremic expressed readiness to actively get involved in this case, which is burdening relations between the two countries, and requested detailed information concerning the Jurisic case. He also expressed determination to make this case one of the Serbian government’s priorities as soon as Bosnia provides the necessary information.

Ilija Jurišić is a Bosnian patriot who participated in defending the Bosnian city of Tuzla from the Serbian aggressor,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggresion against Bosnia.Jurišić has been arrested by the Serbian aggressor and has been in a prison in Belgrade since 11 May 2007.

The indictment charges Jurišić with the use of "prohibited means of combat" during the attack on a Serbian aggressor's column in the eastern Bosnian town of Tuzla on May 15 1992.

In May 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia,the genocidal Serbian aggressor's troops (JNA) came under attack by the Bosnian Army as they were withdrawing from the Bosnian city of Tuzla.Up to 200 Serbian aggressor's soldiers were reportedly killed and 140 of them were taken prisoners by the Bosnian Army.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 13,2007) – A member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic sent a letter to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barrosso expressing his disappointment with the decision of the European Commission to allow Serbia to initial the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, while at the same time it has delayed doing the same with Bosnia.

“The European Union has insisted for years that a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia will be possible only after all indicted war criminals, especially Ratko Mladic, are attested and transferred to the Hague. The European Commission has lately reduced this obligation of Serbia to general terms, stressing that talks with that country can start after Serbia achieves “full cooperation” with the Hague Tribunal, but senior EU officials have clearly stated that this also means that Mladic first needs to be arrested”, Silajdzic said.

This week, however, we have witnessed the fact that international obligations are subject to broadest possible interpretation, because Serbia was allowed to initial the Stabilisation and Association Agreement even without taking concrete steps towards arresting persons indicted for the most gruesome of all crimes – the crime of genocide, Silajdzic said.

And while Bosnia fully respects the right of the European Commission to independently decide whether to continue talks with any other country, it is of critical importance for Bosnia to have legitimate rights and interests concerning this issue, he added.

Silajdzic reminded that on February 26 this year the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Serbia is responsible for violations of the Convention on Preventing and Punishing Acts of Genocide by failing to prevent genocide in Bosnia and arresting persons indicted for committing genocide. The Court ruled that Serbia needs to, without any delay, arrest and transfer to the Hague all such persons.

“Serbia continues to ignore this court order and to violate its international obligations towards Bosnia, which stem from the Convention on Genocide”, Silajdzic said.

“Considering these international obligations and in light of the European Commission’s earlier clear positions we can view this Commission’s decision only as a decision influenced by the announced resolution of the status of Kosovo”, Silajdzic said.

“I take the liberty to remind you that this strategy does not promise results, because history has shown that concessions to Serbia in one field did not bring results in other fields. What is more important, however, is that I am disappointed with the fact that the Commission has effectively embraced a country which continues to violate the most important international obligations towards another potential member of the EU”, Silajdzic reminded and added that a country that is suffering violations of those obligations has been effectively rejected by the Commission.

The European Commission has rejected to initial the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Bosnia under the explanation that the Bosnian police reform has still not been implemented.

Silajdzic added in the letter that the decision of the European Commission to delay talks with Bosnia, while at the same time it continues talks with Serbia, seriously threatens to encourage obstructionists to diminish the possibility of police reform.

“While Serbia has been allowed to allow the perpetrators of genocide to escape justice, Bosnia is forced to wait at the doorstep of the EU as long as the leadership of Serbia and the RS insist on the preservation of the RS police, an organisation identified by the International Court of Justice as an organisation that took part in the perpetration of genocide in Srebrenica”, Silajdzic said.

Such a scenario, Silajdzic added, not only ignores the victims of genocide, as well as European and international obligations, but also threatens to undermine the stability of Bosnia and the entire region.

“I therefore hope that the European Commission will soon review its approach to the entire process of European integrations in the region and that its decisions will not be motivated by factors that are not directly connected to defined obligations”, Silajdzic concluded.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 13,2007) – The political crisis in Bosnia is fairly serious, however,it is fabricated and everything is connected to the issue of Kosovo, a member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic said in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo upon his return from the United States.

Silajdzic said that the purpose of the visit was to present the situation in this region and its implications for Bosnia, and to advocate for the further engagement of the United States in Bosna.

“We have turned attention to the gravity of the situation and the fact that the open issue of Kosovo favours those who wish to see a destabilisation of the situation. There is a clear intention to have two parallel crises so that they can merge into one big crisis and strengthen the negotiating positions of those who have other plans for Kosovo”, Silajdzic told a press conference at the Sarajevo International Airport.

“The international community is not reacting in the right way, especially the EU which has given Serbia a green light for initialling the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU, while it stopped Bosnia from doing the same”, Silajdzic said.

He added that the aim of the visit to the United States was also to neutralise a well organised and funded propaganda campaign which has been going on for some time and is already showing effects.

“On the world stage we need to turn to neutralising the effects of that campaign, which is certainly not in the interest of Bosnia”, Silajdzic said.

The so-called Caucus of Congressmen for Bosnia is trying to help in presenting the situation in Bosnia to the American public and politics. 15 US Congressmen have joined this caucus and that this expected to mark a new start for our presence in the US, Silajdzic said.

Commenting on comments from the press that that nationalistic rivalry is pushing Bosnia further into a crisis, Silajdzic said that this can be resolved by working on changes to the Bosnian Constitution that will promote civil values in Bosnia.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (November 13,2007) - The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj will arrive in Malaysia today for a three-day working visit to boost bilateral ties and trade cooperation between Bosnia and Malaysia, said the Malaysian Foreign Ministry yesterday.

The Malaysian Foreign Ministry said that Alkalaj is expected to meet with his Malaysian counterpart Syed Hamid Albar to discuss "bilateral issues, trade and investments as well as other possible areas of cooperation between Malaysia and Bosnia."

The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj, who is leading a delegation of senior Bosnian officials and businessmen to Malaysia, will also attend a business seminar which is expected to draw local businessmen to invest in Bosnia.


MOSTAR, Bosnia (November 13,2007) – Cooperation between Bosnia and Croatia is of vital importance for the future, peace and stability in the Southeastern Europe,the Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said yesterday in the southern Bosnian city of Mostar.

“The future of Bosnia cannot depend on the resolution of the issue of Kosovo, not can it depend on any other factor outside Bosnia, Sanader said and added that Miroslav Lajcak has his full support and the support of his government in implementing his mandate as the International community's High Representative in Bosnia.

“There is no need for imposing artificial issues that burden our bilateral relations. For example the Peljesac Bridge. Croatia has the right to connect two parts of its territory. The Peljesac Bridge will be built on Croatian territory and in doing that we shall respect Bosnia's right to territorial access to international waters”, Sanader said.

Croatia started building a coastal bridge in the southern Adriatic recently despite protests from neighboring Bosnia, which has threatened to launch a lawsuit to stop it.

The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry has informed the Croatian Embassy in Bosnia that Bosnia keeps the right to launch a suit before an international court or arbitration body.

"Bosnia is not opposed to Croatia's sovereign right to link parts of its territory but this cannot be done in a way that violates Bosnia's rights and interests," a member of the Bosnian Presidency, Haris Silajdzic stated recently.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 13,2007) – “We should focus our future cooperation to a more efficient work which will benefit the Bosnian citizens”, the Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic stated at a meeting in Sarajevo with representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

There are possibilities for expansion of cooperation in at least four priority sectors – the mine disposal, refugee return, electrification and Srebrenica development sectors. The activities should also focus on strengthening the Gender Equality Agency.

The issue of electrification of the refugee settlements has been especially emphasized. About 4.000 returnees in Bosnia are living without electricity. The Bosnian government passed decision recently in accordance with Halilovic’s proposal to ensure 10 million Bosnian Marks in the following three years to solve the problem.

UNDP representatives promised to provide help in the process of solving the electrification issue in the returnee areas.

Projects are currently realized in cooperation between the UNDP and the Bosnian Ministry of Refugees and displaced Persons in over 120 municipalities in Bosnia.

Kori Udovicki, UNDP Regional Representative for Europe, was a member of the delegation which met with Minsiter Halilovic, as well as the UNDP Resident Representative for Bosnia Christine McNab and her deputy Stefan Priesner.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 13,2007) - Prosecution witness Ramiza Mrkonja has told the Bosnian State Court yesterday about what happened in the Bosnian village of Ahmici on April 16, 1993, when she was deported from her house and her husband and son were murdered by the Croatian aggressor.

"I heard shooting and I saw my Sabahudin and Samir falling down," Mrkonja said at the trial of Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic, which is currently being heard before the Bosnian State Court in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The Prosecution of BiH charges Ljubicic in his former capacity as commander of the Croatian aggressor's formations, which also included the "Jokers" Squad.

The indictment alleges that Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic planned and ordered the attack on Bosnian towns of Vitez and Busovaca and the surrounding villages during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 1990's.

Mrkonja said that, on April 16, 1993 a few Croatian aggressor's soldiers in black uniforms, whose faces were masked, came to her house in Ahmici. After her whole family was forced to leave the house, the Croatian aggressor's soldiers singled out her husband and 17-year old son..

The women and children found shelter near the village and watched what was going on. A few hours later they saw UNPROFOR members entering the village and collecting the bodies and wounded people and looking for survivors. The people they found, including Ramiza, were taken to Travnik, which was controlled by the Bosnian Army.

The indictment alleges that, in the course of the attack on Ahmici, about 100 Bosnian civilians were killed, their houses were destroyed and two mosques were destroyed by the Croatian aggressor.

Protected witness "I" told the court that he was arrested by the Croatian aggressor in his house on April 15, and claims to have been taken to Kaonik concentration camp together with his brother. He stayed there until June 19.

The witness described the conditions in the concentration camp as inhumane. He said that the detained Bosnian civilians did not have food and had to perform forced labour at the frontlines. He also said that some prisoners were maltreated and that he "heard" that this was done by the "Jokers" members.

During cross-examination, the defence asked the witness to tell the court who "told him" that the "Jokers" members had maltreated the prisoners. The witness responded by saying that he "does not remember the name of the prisoner, but he was from Zavidovici".

The trial of Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on November 22.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 13,2007) - Amer Ramic, a Prosecution witness at the trial of Serbian war criminals Mirko Todorovic and Milos Radic, survived a May 1992 mass murder in Borkovac village. He identified the indictees in the courtroom yesterday and said they took part in this crime.

Ramic told the Bosnian State Court how his sister was murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor.

"They shot at her head. When she fell her head was above mine. I felt her blood pouring over my face and eyes," the witness said.

The indictment alleges that Serbian war criminals Todorovic and Radic, and four more members of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's soldiers, attacked a group of 14 Bosnian civilians in the eastern Bosnian village of Borkovac near Bratunac on May 20, 1992. After that, the genocidal Serbian aggressor shot the civilians at a slope near the local brook.

In May 1992, Amer Ramic and his sister Hamida were captured in the forest where they were hiding after the genocidal Serbian aggressor had entered their village. Amer was aged 18 at the time.

"We were hiding there until May 20, 1992, when we were captured. In the group of six soldiers I recognised Mirko Todorovic and I was relieved. I expected him to save us, as I had known that man my whole life," said Ramic, adding that Todorovic and Radic were his neighbours.

"When they lined us up, I was facing Milos Radic. I tried to give him a sign to help us. He did not react at all. He looked at me as if he had never seen me before. I understood that we could not expect any help," the witness recalled.

The Witness said that "a man with curly hair who was about 40 years old" shot at the civilians. After the first bullet was fired, Ramic slipped and fell into the brook. Other bodies started falling over him. In the end, the genocidal Serbian aggressor's soldiers brought his sister (who had previously been singled out from a group of Bosnian civilians and raped), and killed her.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor also invited Sadeta Hasanovic, Ruseta Sulejmanovic and Zejneba Avdic to testify. Their husbands were also murdered in Borkovac on May 20, 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia. All three said that the surviving neighbours told them about the murder of their husbands.

The trial of Serbian war criminals Mirko Todorovic and Milos Radic is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on November 19, when the Prosecution intends to examine two more witnesses.


MOSTAR, Bosnia (November 13,2007) – Several citizens and seven police officers were injured in a clash between football supporters before a match between F.C. Velez and F.C. Zrinjski in the southern Bosnian city of Mostar on 10 November.

Police patrols were dispatched to the spot immediately after the clash started but, as police officers soon turned into targets of violence, the Canton’s Special Support Unit had to be called in for assistance. They arrested 12 persons, one of whom is still in custody.

“One hour after the clash started, the police managed to control the situation,” said Ivo Usar, the Chief Adviser of the European Union Police Mission in Bosnia (EUPM) in the Mostar region.

“We cannot blame the police, as they reacted to the incident in an appropriate way and no incident whatsoever occurred during the match itself.”

As a matter of fact, 450 police officers and over 100 security guards ensured that the game took place in a peaceful atmosphere. According to Usar, the organizers of the game hold part of the responsibility of what happened in Mostar this weekend.

“The problem lays with the organizers of the match, who did not provide enough transportation.It is their responsibility to ensure that football matches do not cause any problems,” Usar said.

Besides monitoring the investigations in order to make sure that the perpetators are brought to justice, EUPM will hence also ensure that the organizers of the football match are made liable for the incident,EUPM said.

EUPM will also continue to offer its support for the establishment of a state law on prevention of violence and hooliganism, which would make all stadiums in Bosnia more secure,EUPM stated in a press release.

The Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) has also condemned the riots that broke out on Saturday and Sunday in Mostar between the football fans of Velez and Zrinjski.

”Seven police officers ended up in hospital while they tried to accordingly perform their duties. the OHR wishes them a successful recovery. We also expect the perpetrators to be brought to justice”, the OHR said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 13,2007) - The EUropean Union Police Mission in Bosnia is currently hosting 15 journalists from across the European Union. They arrived in Bosnia on 11 November and will stay until 16 November.

In a wish to bring Bosnia back to the spotlight of international and especially EU media, the visit will present EUPM's activities and highlight achievements regarding security-related topics.

EUPM’s Press and Public Information Department organised a comprehensive programme covering issues such as organised crime, cross-border cooperation on human smuggling and relations between police and prosecutors.

The journalists will be provided with a series of presentations by experts in the domains of crisis management, war crimes investigations, international organised crime, immigration, smuggling, counterfeiting and border control.

In order to get a clear picture of how the EU actors coordinate their crisis management peace-making and institution-building efforts in Bosnia, the journalists will meet with Admiral Hans-Jochen Witthauer, EUFOR Commander, Ambassador Dimitris Kourkoulas, Head of the EC Delegation, and Boris Ruge, Head of the Political Department of the Office of the EU Special Representative/High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak.

They will also visit several law enforcement agencies throughout Bosnia, such as SIPA’s Special Support Unit Base,the Sarajevo Canton Ministry of Interior, the Sarajevo Canton Prosecutor’s Office, the Mostar Ministry of Interior, the Public Security Centre in Trebinje and a Border Police Station in the vicinity of Trebinje.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 13,2007) - The Bosnian Presidency accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Spiric, signalling the start of difficult talks on a new cabinet and possible early elections.

Haris Silajdzic,a member of the Bosnian Presidency, told reporters the Bosnian Presidency had tried to dissuade Spiric, but in the end had to accept his resignation.The presidency has 30 days to appoint prime minister designate, he said.

Whoever is nominated prime minister has to propose a cabinet and win parliamentary approval. If a deal is not reached, Bosnia must hold a parliamentary election, further delaying reforms the European Union says are needed for Bosnia to progress towards EU membership.