Tuesday, April 15, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 15,2008) – The upper house of the Bosnian State Parliament will have the final say on crucial police reforms tomorrow,April 16.The session of the Bosnian Parliament’s House of Peoples was expected to take place on April 14 but was postponed to allow deputy from the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, Sulejman Tihic, to undergo urgent medical treatment.

After months of tough political negotiations and several delays in the lower house of the Bosnian Parliament, the House of Representatives approved the police reform legislation on April 10. The two laws now have to be ratified by the House of Peoples. This is the last remaining condition for Bosnia to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, considered the first step towards the EU membership,

The two laws establish a number of coordinating and supervising bodies in line with EU requirements. The legislation does not insist on a greater centralisation of Bosnia's state, entity and local police forces, but includes a compromise amendment stipulating that further reforms will be made pending eventual future constitutional changes.

The reform laws were adopted by a majority gathered around two key parties the SBIH and the SNSD. The HDZ and HDZ 1990 also supported the legislation.

The SDA party and opposition Social Democratic Party, SDP remained resolutely opposed to the legislation. The SDA and SDP demanded larger centralisation of police forces.

The complicated voting system in Bosnia’s House of Peoples could enable the SDA and SDP to outvote the legislation. They could also block the vote altogether if they fail to appear at the session, meaning there would not be enough seated representatives required for normal functioning of the upper house of the Bosnian Parliament.

Over the weekend, some Bosnian media speculated that the SDA could use this strategy to continue blocking the legislation.

The President of the Party of Democratic Action and the Speaker of the Bosnian State Parliament’s House of Peoples Sulejman Tihic stated last week that the police reform laws adopted by the House of Representatives on Thursday are a matter of shame for Bosnia and for the European Union and that the act of adopting the bills is legalization of war solutions.

”These laws are a matter of shame for Bosnia and for the EU because they are legalization of war solutions, legalization of Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic’s police which committed genocide”, Tihic told the press.

”That is just another historical mistake made by the International Community and domestic politicians," Tihic said.

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