Monday, January 28, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 28,2008) - The Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) representatives met with representatives of the Tuzla Municipal Council to discuss recent developments in the Ilija Jurišić case.

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.

In May 1992,the genocidal Serbian aggressor's troops came under attack by the Bosnian Army as they were withdrawing from the eastern Bosnian city of Tuzla and up to 200 Serbian aggressor's soldiers were reportedly killed and 140 of them were taken prisoners by the Bosnian Army.

Former Tuzla Municipal Council President Ilija Jurišić is currently in custody in the genocidal Serbia in connection to this event.

Bosnia and and the genocidal Serbia are parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. This convention offers technical mechanisms for resolving cases such as that of Bosnian citizen Ilija Jurišić. The Bosnian Ministry of Justice is the competent body to deal with international legal assistance, the OHR said.

The OHR has followed the case from the start and will continue to monitor developments. The OHR stands ready to facilitate a resolution to the Ilija Jurišić case within the framework of the above mentioned Conventions, if so requested by either party.


LONDON, UK (January 28,2008) - The Balkans have a chance to achieve stability and prosperity and the European Union can use the carrot of membership to drive reforms, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said.

In a comment piece for the British daily the Guardian. , Rehn acknowledged there was a "danger of instability, at the moment when Kosovo's future status is on the point of being resolved," but added that the EU could be a stabilising influence.

Writing ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels later today, Rehn said that the 27-nation bloc could have a positive influence "if the EU gives a decisive and unified steer to ensure a coordinated response, as foreign ministers meeting today should be aware."

"The western Balkans has made steady if uneven progress over recent years, and the goal of EU membership remains an important motivation to keep reforms on track," he said.

Rehn wrote that he hoped to see all of the countries in the region sign stabilisation and association agreements with the EU, which he described as "the gateway towards candidacy for membership".

Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia have all signed such pacts, and Rehn said the EU was "now waiting for Bosnia and for the genocidal Serbia to meet the remaining conditions to sign the agreement.

He added that "EU foreign ministers should today give a strong signal of Serbia's European future by deciding to sign the stabilisation and association agreement shortly."

"Seldom have citizens had as clear a choice as the Serbs do now, between a nationalist past and a European future. The EU is ready to welcome the citizens of Serbia into EU, not just through a contractual relationship with their state, but also individually," he said.

"The future for the Balkans can be far from dark. ... But ultimately people in the region have to exercise their democratic choice to determine their countries' future course," Rehn concluded.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 28,2008) - At the status conference the Bosnian State Court decided to begin the main trial in the case against Serbian war criminals Mirko (Spiro) Pekez, Mirko (Mile) Pekez and Milorad Savic on February 8, instead of January 31, as planned earlier.

The decision was made because Serbian war criminal Mirko (Mile) Pekez has been unable to follow the trial due to "deafness", according to his attorney Dusko Panic.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Serbian war criminals Mirko (Spiro) Pekez, Mirko (Mile) Pekez and Milorad Savic with war crime against Bosnian civilians committed during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The indictment alleges that the three former members of the genocidal paramilitary forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia participated in the capture and mass murder of Bosnian civilians from Ljoljici and Cerkazovici villages in Jajce Municipality" on September 10, 1992.

Zoran Kalaba, recently deceased, was originally Serbian war criminal Mirko (son of Mile) Pekez' Defence attorney. He was replaced by attorney Dusko Panic.

Panic said he has not been able to communicate with his client due to his condition. The only way the two of them can communicate is by exchanging written notes or if the client reads the attorney's lips.

Panic said that his request for a medical examination of his client was rejected. Trial Chamber Chairman said he would personally make sure that this was resolved.

At the status conference the Bosnian State Prosecutor announced that he intends to examine 11 witnesses and a medical court expert and present 63 pieces of material evidence in the upcoming period.

Slavica Cvoro,attorney for Serbian war criminal Mirko (Spiro) Pekez, and Nebojsa Pantic, Defence attorney of Serbian war criminal Milorad Savic, announced that they will examine five witnesses each. Dusko Panic, who represents Serbian war criminal Mirko (Mile) Pekez, was not able to say how many witnesses he will summon.

The eventual extension or termination of custody for the three Serbian war criminals was also discussed at the status conference.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor Mirko Lekic said that there were strong reasons for keeping the indictees in custody. The Defence teams responded by arguing that these reasons were no longer justified, as the indictees have never tried to escape or to influence witnesses. They suggested introducing certain restraining measures instead of custody.


DOBOJ, Bosnia (January 28,2008) - The Commander of the European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR), Major General Ignacio Villalaín, the Bosnian Deputy Minister of Defence, Marina Pendes and the Commander of the Bosnian Armed Forces General Sifet Podzic attended at a ceremony at the Bosnian Armed Forces Barracks in Doboj.

The purpose of this ceremony was to formally hand over the responsibility of military movement control from the EUFOR to the Bosnian Armed Forces.A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by both the commander of the EUFOR and the commander of the Bosnian Army.

This allows the Bosnian Armed Forces to take complete control of the military movements of personnel, weapons, and equipment in Bosnia.This makes a hugely significant step in the ongoing Bosnian defence reform process that began in 1995 after the Dayton Peace Accord was signed, the EUFOR said.

The Bosnian Armed Forces continue to play an important role in the integration of the country into the EU and the NATO and these models show the success that can be achieved when the will exists.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 28,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric had a meeting in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with British Ambassador to Bosnia Matthew Rycroft and British Coordinator for the Southeastern Europe Michael Tetham. He informed them on the activities of the Bosnian government in the process of fulfilling conditions for signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union.

Spiric stated that after the Dayton agreement, the SAA is the most important document and that its signing will bring Bosnia's political leaders into a new position related to fulfilment of the EU association obligations.

British Coordinator for the Southeastern Europe stated that his country has supported the integration of West Balkans into the EU, the Bosnian government announced.