Friday, November 23, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 23,2007) - The heads of Bosnia's most influential political parties discussed yesterday police reform vital to moving forward the country's bid to get EU membership.

The International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak, demanded a change in voting rules in the Bosnian Government to try to end frequent political deadlock by reducing the number of ministers needed to vote on laws.

After more than seven hours of discussion,Bosnia's politicians adopted what they termed "the Sarajevo Action Plan", reflecting their goodwill to work seriously to solving of the political crisis in Bosnia.

According to the agreement, both chambers of the Bosnian State Parliament should convene next week to discuss the new Standing Orders of the Parliament, and then open the process of nominating the new Bosnian Prime Minister.

Also,leaders of the most influential political parties in Bosnia agreed to continue to work on the Mostar Declaration, signed a month ago in the southern Bosnian city of Mostar to set a platform for final negotiations on police reform.

"We have made a step forward in relation to the police reform and this step could be decisive for the European Union to allow Bosnia initial the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA)", said Sulejman Tihic, head of the Party for Democratic Action (SDA).

The failure to agree on how to reform Bosnia's ethnically separate police forces, a key condition for the EU membership, has left Bosnia the only country in the Southeastern Europe without any formal agreement with the European Union.

Political representatives of the Serbians living in Bosnia said there would be no formal agreement on the measures until the crisis was resolved.

"We have discussed the actual situation but still do not have a definite answer," said Milorad Dodik,the Prime Minister of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia (RS), adding the agreement on the police reform could not become effective until the voting issue was resolved.

The most influential political leaders in Bosnia agreed to meet again on Tuesday and try to clinch a compromise deal on the voting system. Lajcak has told them to also streamline voting in the Bosnian Parliament by December 1, otherwise he would impose his decision on it.

Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric's resignation further complicated the situation. The parliament majority is unlikely to agree on a new prime minister-designate, opening the prospect of new elections that could derail reforms.

Serbians living in Bosnia fear the changes could lead to the end of their genocidal creature in Bosnia (RS). Their political representatives said if the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak doesn't withdraw the proposal, they will all resign from their posts in the Bosnian Government.

But,the U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia Charles English warned them on Wednesday that opposition to Lajcak would only hurt those who oppose him.

"Do not challenge the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia. A challenge to him is a challenge to the United States," Ambassador English said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 23,2007) – The U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia Charles English said, on the occasion of the 12th anniversary since the signing of the Dayton Agreement, that this document must be reformed to provide for a functional Bosnian state necessary for Bosnia's self-sustaining path to Euro-Atlantic integration.

“As we look back from this vantage point today, we must understand that Dayton was a document of its time. It was a remarkable accomplishment, but all parties understood it was, in and of itself, incomplete”, Ambassador English said speaking at the “Open Thoughts” panel debate organised in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo on the 12th anniversary of the Dayton Agreement.

“Despite its limitations, Dayton has allowed slow and steady progress towards the goal, which was articulated by Secretary Rice and shared by us all: Bosnia firmly and irrevocably incorporated into the family of Euro-Atlantic nations”, the U.S. Ambassador said.

However, he warned that hard work of twelve years is being undermined by a return to the failed and empty strategies of division.

“This cannot be allowed to happen.You must defend the hard won achievements and demand more from your leaders.This is the only way forward”, Ambassador English said.

The U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia Charles English said that at the core of any functional democracy is the ability of various interest groups to reach compromise that allows the country to move forward.

“This country is being tested on this ability, and it is failing.Police reform, more than simply an initiative to reorganize security structures, was an opportunity for your leaders to demonstrate their ability to come to grips with difficult political choices and compromise on issues of substantive importance”, he said.

The blame for this failure, according to Ambassador English, falls equally on all political parties and leaders n Bosnia.The hollow rhetoric of ethnic division that has shaped the political debate in this country since last year’s elections has lead to its inevitable outcome: national paralysis that builds nothing but mistrust and fear.No political party or ethnic bloc is exempt from the responsibility for this setback,he said.

"Let me be clear.We recognize that this is a society that has been beset with fear and suspicion. The United States accepts its responsibility, as part of the broader international community, to do its part to assuage those fears and to promote a climate where all citizens feel secure and empowered in any corner of this country," English said.

"We will do our part to support the checks and balances necessary within government to ensure that the country continues to move forward. That’s why we so strongly support the High Representative’s October 19 measures.They are designed to facilitate decision making in state-level institutions, which is critical to your country’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations," the U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia Charles English said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 23,2007) - The Office of the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia (OHR) welcomes the UN Security Council decision to extend the mandate of the European Union Force (EUFOR) in Bosnia,the OHR stated.

This decision is a confirmation of the serious commitment of the International Community towards Bosnia. Although the security situation in the country is stable EUFOR will continue to provide reassurance and remain ready to respond to eventual security challenges in the future,the OHR said.

The Extension of EUFOR mandate is an opportunity to continue excellent co-operation between the various EU institutions in Bosnia. Earlier this week,EU Foreign Ministers reiterated that as part of the European Union's overall engagement in Bosnia, the EU would retain a military presence in the country for as long as necessary in order to continue to contribute to the maintenance of a safe and secure environment,the Office of the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia said in a statement.


KAMENICA, Bosnia (November 23,2007) - The Bosnian forensic experts completed yesterday the excavation of a mass grave at Kamenica-9 location near the eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik and unearthed the remains of 616 genocide victim, the Bosnian Commission For Missing Persons confirmed.

The Bosnian village of Kamenica lies in an area nicknamed "Death Valley". Nine mass graves have been found there, containing remains of many of the 10,000 Bosnian civilians mass murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica in the last months of the 1992-95 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

"We found 76 complete and 540 incomplete bodies," said Ismet Music, an official of the Bosnian Commission For Missing Persons, standing on the edge of a muddy grave where white-clad forensic pathologists cleaned up bones.

Some bodies of genocide victims are very well preserved due to an extraordinary microclimate in the grave. Music said some faces were almost intact, with eyes staring wide open.

"It was quite a horrifying sight," he said.

Documents found at the newly-excavated site and on many of the bodies reveal their identities.The genocide victims were Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica. Bodies of genocide victims have been unearthed with eyes blindfolded, hands bound, and bullet wounds.

The exhumed remains of genocide victims will be sent for DNA analysis to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in the northern Bosnian city of Tuzla, for identification.

Nearly 3,600 complete and incomplete bodies of genocide victims from Srebrenica have so far been exhumed from 10 mass graves in the Kamenica valley.

The Bosnian forensic experts also announced the possibility of opening a new mass grave at another location in Kamenica soon.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 23,2007) - At the trial of four former members of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS) charged with war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians in the eastern Bosnian town of Bratunac in July 1995,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia, the Bosnian State Prosecutor asked that it be allowed to admit, as material evidence, reports compiled by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The reports in question concern the existence of mass graves on the territory of the eastern Bosnian towns of Srebrenica and Bratunac.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges 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), with responsibility for the happenings in and around the elementary school in Bratunac, where Bosnian civilians were detained by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in July 1995.

However, the Trial Chamber of the Bosnian State Court has refused Prosecutor Kwai Hong Ip's proposal to include the ICTY report on exhumations of the remains of genocide victims from Glogova 2 mass grave in the list of evidence.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor explained that the report describes the exhumations undertaken in Glogova, but it does not indicate the origin of the victims buried in the grave.

The Defence teams objected the proposal and asked that the investigator and author of the report be examined in the courtroom instead.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor also asked that a report containing details on who was found in the Glogova mass grave be admitted as material evidence. The report also contains data on how the persons, whose remains were discovered in the mass grave, had died. The defence objected to this proposal, instead asking for examination of the pathologist who had written the ICTY report.

The Trial Chamber of the Bosnian State Court will render its decision on this request at a later stage.

At the trial, the Defence cross-examined Muris Brkic, the Bosnian State Investigator who had appeared as a Prosecution witness at an earlier hearing. Brkic was present when the exhumations from Glogova, Zeleni Jadar, Budak and Pusmuljici mass graves were carried out.

According to Brkic, a protected Prosecution witness revealed the locations of these graves to the investigative bodies.

"He showed us the places where the mass graves were, saying that he had visited them, but he was not able to confirm that the bodies of the people who had been murdered in the school in Bratunac had been transferred to the Glogova grave."

The trial of Serbian war criminals Zdravko Bozic, Mladen Blagojevic, Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on November 27.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 23,2007) - At the trial of Serbian war criminal Jadranko Palija, conducted before the Bosnian State Court, the Defence was due to continue presenting evidence at the hearing . Although invited, witnesses Vaso Curguz and Zeljko Baljak have failed to appear. Therefore, they are expected to testify at the next hearing, which is scheduled for November 27.

Serbian war criminal Jadranko Palija is charged, as a member of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS), with having participated, from May 1992 to the end of the Serbian aggression against Bosnia in 1995, in the intimidation, arrest and detention of the Bosnian civilians and the Croatians living in Bosnia. He is also accused of murder and rape.

Defence attorney Ranko Dakic announced that these would be the last witnesses and that the evidence presentation process would be completed on November 27. The Defence said that it would not further insist on examining the two witnesses should they fail to appear at the next hearing.

The Defence has also presented 12 written pieces of evidence.

Dzemila Begovic announced that the Bosnian State Prosecutor would propose additional pieces of evidence at the next hearing.

The trial of Serbian war criminal Jadranko Pralija is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on November 27, 28 and 29, when both sides are expected to present their closing arguments.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 23,2007) - Contributing 200,000 US Dollars to the United Nations Development Programme's initiatives in Srebrenica Region, the Government of Greece joined the cohort of development partners aiming to provide support to social and economic development of the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

The partnership between the Greek government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bosnia was made official with signing the agreement that stipulates Greek contribution of 200,000 US Dollars for implementation of the UNDP project entitled „Establishment of a Training Centre in the Srebrenica Region”.

The agreement was signed by Constantina Mavroskelidou, the Ambassador of Greece in Bosnia and Stefan Priesner, the UNDP Resident Representative in Bosnia.

This activity is a part of the “Srebrenica Business Park” project that aims to improve current business environment in Srebrenica region by providing services and infrastructure for private sector development.

This will be achieved first through the establishment of a business park; and second, through the provision of technical assistance to the municipal authorities and local actors in economic and private sector development, the UNDP said.

More specifically, the Srebrenica Business Park will provide high quality business development support services; assist companies in upgrading of labor skills; invest in infrastructure supportive to investments; facilitate the process of finding appropriate sites for business; assist the authorities in fostering public-private dialogue; and promote Srebrenica as a place suitable for sustainable investment and business growth.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 23,2007) – Session of the FBIH Entity Parliament’s House of Representatives ended with an agreement that the delegates should state their opinion on the FBIH Entity Government’s document related to the privatization policy on the session that is to take place November 29.

The FBIH Entity Government sent to the parliamentary procedure the follow-up material of the priority development projects which are supposed to be financed by the money from the sale of the strategic companies such is the telecom. The amount of money that the FBIH Entity Government expects to earn from the sale rises up to 4 billion Bosnian Marks. Sector of electric energy is not a part of the plans.

The opposition placed several objections to the material, but the FBIH Entity Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic concluded that the FBIH Entity Government is heading the right way because it focused on the development of the FBIH Entity from the money that is to be ensured by the sale of the state-owned companies. That is an issue the opposition agreed with.

The biggest oppositional party – the Bosnian Social Democratic Party (SDP BiH), explained their priority stances by saying that the FBIH Entity Government does not foresee the development fund in their material.

”If the privatization money is to be given in the form of grants for certain development projects, it will be spent. Then what? One should invest into projects which will make money”, the opposition commented.

”We are not against the privatization, but we need to know what the post-privatization period is going to be like. We are of the opinion that a public discussion should be organized on the issue” SDP Party delegate Alija Behmen said.

The FBIH Entity Government, however, stated in the document that the privatization policy should in the essence mean the acceleration of the process – transition to the market business through the process of privatization of the state capital which is per 51 per cent higher; as well as the development of the primary and secondary capital market.

”Privatization should not be conducted for the sake of the very privatization. It should be conducted because of the development”, the FBIH Entity Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic said. The money would be used in two years’ period for two categories of the development projects. The first category is important for the entity and the second for the local communities’ development,he said.