Monday, June 16, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 16,2008) - The Draft Strategy on Processing of War Crimes, which has been prepared by a Working Group led by the Chief Bosnian State Prosecutor, has been completed. It is supposed to be considered by the Bosnian government soon.

Jusuf Halilagic, Secretary of the Bosnian Justice Ministry, confirmed this information.As stated by Halilagic, following the procedure that has to be conducted by the State Council of Ministers, "the Draft Strategy will be reviewed by the Bosnian State Parliament, who commissioned the strategy in the first place".

The Draft Strategy is expected to offer solutions and define the roles of all structures dealing with war crime cases in Bosnia.

The Working Group, which made the Draft War Crimes Processing Strategy, was formed by the Bosnian Justice Ministry in July 2007. The Group has been chaired by the Chief Bosnian State Prosecutor.

Officials employed in the Bosnian Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Ministry of Security, as well as representatives of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, the State Court, the State Investigation and Protections Agency, entity Ministries of Justice and Finance and judicial institutions from Brcko District participated in the Working Group.

The Bosnian State Prosecution advocated for the passage of a state war crimes processing strategy, considering that there was a need to set "realistic deadlines" and targets for efficient conducting of war crime proceedings.

"It is certain that the Strategy cannot solve the war crime cases, but it will provide guidance and involve relevant institutions in solving the issues present in our country today," said Marinko Jurcevic, former Bosnian State Prosecutor.

Milorad Barasin, who took over the chairmanship of the Wokring Group, after having become Chief Prosecutor in March this year, shares his opinion.

"The State Startegy for war dealing with war crime cases will determine how many persons and how much material and technical resources the judicial and police institutions, at the entity and state levels, need in order to complete the large number of war crime cases within a reasonable timeframe," Milorad Barasin said earlier this year.

Miroslav Lajcak, the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia, upheld the idea of a state-level strategy for war crimes processing. He said, on several occasions, that the ratio between the number of investigators and war crime cases was disproportionate. The data available to the Bosnian State Prosecution suggest that there are about 14,000 war crime cases.

"Considering these figures, we would need more than one hundred years to process all war crime cases. Unless some changes are introduced, the answers will be given by the passage of time, and not by justice," Lajcak considers.

The Strategy is expected to help determine the final number of war crime cases, which will be processed, as well as the criteria that will be followed.It has taken more than one year for the Working Group to complete the Draft Strategy. The process was supervised and advised by the international community.

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