Wednesday, January 30, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) - The Bosnian Presidency held a special meeting yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) threatened to remove the Old Bridge in Mostar from its world heritage list.More than six months ago UNESCO warned the Bosnian authorities they should stop building of the Ruza (Rose) Hotel near the UNESCO's flagged bridge and the old centre of the southern Bosnian city of Mostar.

The hotel near the bridge in the eastern side of the city was destroyed during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

The reconstruction of the hotel was not a problem for UNESCO, but concern was over the decision of the city's authorities to build additional floors that would visually damage the image of the Old Bridge.

UNESCO therefore set the beginning of February this year as the deadline for Bosnia's authorities to offer a solution, threatening to start the procedure of dropping off the Old Bridge from the world heritage list. The bridge was added to the list in 2005.

"We have decided that Bosnia will fully comply with the requests of UNESCO and will fulfil those requests so that the Old Bridge remains on the world heritage list," the Bosnian Presidency said in a statement after the meeting.

"I am happy that the state decided to stand behind this problem ... and agreed to fulfil all UNESCO's requests," head of the Bosnian State Commission for cooperation with UNESCO Slobodan Soja said after the meeting.

He also said the Bosnian officials, including the Mostar city authorities, also agreed to stop rebuilding the Ruza hotel and dismantle the disputed fourth floor.

The Old Bridge in Mostar was built in 1566 during the Ottoman Empire rule in Bosnia, being a rare sample of architectural and artistic beauty for more than four centuries.

The bridge was destroyed by the Croatian aggressor on November 9, 1993, during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 1990's, but was completely reconstructed and reopened in 2004.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) – The Bosnian Council of Ministers, at proposal of the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, adopted the Information on Annex 7 Strategy Realization. The document presents all important data on situation in the sector of return in Bosnia.

Keeping in mind that the process has not been completed, the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees in cooperation with all the relevant domestic institutions made Annex 7 of the Dayton Agreement Implementation Strategy Action Plan Revision, Minister Safet Halilovic’s Cabinet announced.

According to the Ministry’s data, about 1.025.000 displaced Bosnian citizens have returned to Bosnia. Out of that number, 442.000 are refugees and 583.000 are displaced persons.Out of that number, about 750.000 persons returned to the FBIH entity and about 255.000 persons have returned to the RS entity, 21.000 persons returned to the Brcko District. Property has almost completely been returned to the pre-war owners.

According to the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees’ data, about 452.000 apartment facilities were destroyed during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia, About 260.000 apartment facilities were restored by the end of 2005. The level of reconstruction of apartment funds has reached the amount of about 60 per cent. Most of the apartments have been reconstructed in the FBIH entity (66,7 per cent), Brcko District (46,3 per cent) and the lowest reconstruction rate is in the RS entity (about 40 per cent).

In the process of re-registration of the displaced persons in 2005, at the public call made by the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, 61.211 family demands for revision of status were filed and that means 188.307 persons. Status of displaced persons was confirmed for 44.155 families, which means 135.500 persons.

The current data submitted by the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees on potential users of help for reconstruction of apartment units state that 39.547 families, that is, 134.202 persons may claim that right. That means that about 40.000 families want to return to their homes and that 600 million Bosnian Marks is necessary for reconstruction of their homes.

The Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees emphasized that these families need to be provided with, apart from homes, conditions for sustainable return (employment, health and social protection, education). It has been estimated that 400 million Bosnian Marks is necessary for that.

It has also been emphasized that the revision of Annex 7 Implementation Strategy will contain the newest data on the situation in the return sector. The data will be presented to all the relevant institutions and the Bosnian public.


SREBRENICA, Bosnia (January 30,2008) - About 3 million Bosnian Marks have been planned for opening of new jobs in Srebrenica and attraction of new investors into the area, Abdurahman Malkic, Mayor of Srebrenica stated yesterday.

”That is a good motif for potential investors to come to Srebrenica and open new jobs”, he added.

Malkic emphasized that the money is “a direct support of the entity governments and the state budget”. Municipality of Srebrenica will reimburse interests for loans they have been taking in the amount of 200.000 Bosnian Marks per year.

”Although with a tragic past, Srebrenica should become a community of social security and responsible citizens. There are obstacles on the way but I am of the opinion that we will be able to create a better ambience and conditions for living in Srebrenica”, Malkic emphasized.

He added that the aim of the local community in Srebrenica is to balance the development of the area and to define minimal conditions a habituated place needs to fulfil.

”In that context we are planning the development of our area”, he said.

Pre-war Srebrenica was fifth ranked on the development scale in Bosnia. Its economy mainly focused on the use of natural resources. All of them were destroyed during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia and are no longer functioning.

”Our goal is to reconstruct Srebrenica’s economy and to make sure all ecological standards are applied in the process. We want to make this town attractive for investors and enable easier procedures for new investments”, Malkic said.


BERLIN, Germany (January 30,2008) - The Bosnian Minister of Security Tarik Sadovic along with the Bosnian delegation left yesterday the 11th European Police Congress in Berlin,Germany, after the organizers of the Congress did not allow him to speak on the panel “European Strategy in the Fight Against Terrorism”, even though he had an VIP pass as a Congress guest and his participation in the panel was announced in advance.

Every year, 1.600 experts, representatives of interior ministries, ministries of justice, state border police and secret services, as well as members of state governments and parliamentarians from 50 European countries meet at the Congress.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) – The FBIH Entity Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic and the Iranian Ambassador to Bosnia Ahmad Fard Hosseini had a meeting yesterday and concluded that intensification of economic cooperation is necessary.

Brankovic accepted the call to visit Iran soon and conduct concrete meetings with the Bosnian and the Iranian teams of expert on certain projects.

Hosseini emphasized that Iran is interested in improvement of trade relations, as well as cooperation in certain sectors, like construction and railways. Iranian side is also interested in intensification of regional economic cooperation, so meetings have been scheduled with Iranian regions’ chambers of commerce with chambers of commerce of Middle Bosnia, Zenica – Doboj and Bosna – Podrinje cantons.

Brankovic welcomed this form of cooperation and emphasized the importance of economic assistance to the region of Gorazde, since in that way, a direct contribution will be made to sustainable return to the eastern Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) – Two genocide survivors from Srebrenica : Mevludin Oric and a protected witness have testified before the Bosnian State Court at the trial of Serbian war criminal Milorad Trbic yesterday.

They described what happened to the Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica after the genocidal Serbian aggressor had taken over the Bosnian town. Both witnesses survived the genocide that Serbian war criminal Milorad Trbic is charged with having participated in.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor considers that Serbian war criminal Milorad Trbic - who was a member of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations participated in the organisation of transport and detention of thousends of Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica, who were transported by buses and trucks to Bratunac, where they were detained and mass murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor at several locations.

Mevludin Oric said that he was in Srebrenica when the shelling commenced on July 11, 1995. According to this witness, the town was overcrowded with local residents and refugees from the surrounding villages.

"People ran away to the villages that could not be hit by shells. I had a feeling that Srebrenica was going to fall, but I hoped that Europe would not just watch them kill us. However, in the morning on July 11 we were informed that the UNPROFOR forces had tried to escape from their checkpoint located in a village near Srebrenica. Women and children tried to stop them by lying on the road and preventing them from passing by," Oric told the Bosnian State Court.

The witness said that he learnt about the fall of Srebrenica in the evening that same day. He headed towards a nearby village of Susnjari, to which a large number of Bosnian civilians had already arrived.

"Men decided to move towards Tuzla through the forest. Women and children headed to the UNPROFOR base in Potocari, hoping to be rescued by the UNPROFOR. About 14,000 people headed towards Susnjari," Oric said, recalling his escape from Srebrenica.

He also said that the genocidal Serbian aggressor shot at the convoy of men, "killing many of them", including his father whose remains have still not been found. The convoy broke up and Oric moved on.

On July 13, 1995, the genocidal Serbian aggressor arrested him and detained him "in a warehouse in Konjevic Polje". He was then transported, together with other Bosnian civilians, to Bratunac. They spent the night in the buses parked in front of an elementary school in Bratunac.

"We could hear creepy voices and shooting coming from the school building. From time to time they would come to the buses and take our men out. They also killed one mentally handicapped man," Oric said, adding that the genocidal aggressor's soldiers told the prisoners, on July 14, that they were taking them to Kladanj for an exchange.

An UNPROFOR military transporter, "driven by VRS members", led the column of buses. Oric said that, instead of being taken to Kladanj, the prisoners were taken to a gym in "some school", together with about 2,500 people. Some time later, former commander of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS) Ratko Mladic visited them.

"In the afternoon they blindfolded us and took us out. They transported us, by small trucks, to some location where a mass grave had already been dug. After lining us up, they started shooting. I survived the shooting because my nephew's body protected me. He fell over me," Oric ended his testimony.

The indictment alleges that Serbian war criminal Milorad Trbic committed, "together with other members of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations, the execution of more than 7,000 Bosnian civilians".

On July 11,a protected witness and her brother went to Potocari, "hoping to be protected by UNPROFOR". She said she was separated from her brother in the former UN base. His body was recently discovered in one of the mass graves in the Srebrenica area.

The trial of Serbian war criminal Milorad Trbic is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on February 4.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) – After three-hour blockade of state border crossing of Orasje, the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations met the demands of the Bosnian farmers and passed decision according to which customs tariffs on obligatory purchase of livestock will be implemented.

The President of the Bosnian Association of Farmers Miro Pejic stated that this is a victory of agricultural producers in Bosnia and a hit to the import lobby, for this decision obliges domestic food producers to purchase livestock and meat from the Bosnian producers. That will positively reflect the agricultural production.

Jerko Ivankovic Lijanovic, the President of the Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly’s Board for Agriculture at the Commission for Foreign Trade and Customs supported the farmers.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) – Vinko Dumancic, Head of the Bosnian State Border Police, suspended Fadil Jaganjac, Head of Terrain Office for Airports.

Suspension followed after the Bosnian State Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation on the basis of reasonable doubt that the suspect committed crime of “illegal mediation”, the Bosnian State Border Police announced.

At the same time, the Bosnian State Border Police passed decision on initiation of a disciplinary procedure for reasonable doubt that the suspect committed an offence when performing the duty “for he caused damage to reputation of police organs”.

Solution on temporary suspension of Mr. Jaganjac will last until the procedure is terminated, as well as the criminal investigation.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) - The FBIH Entity Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic met with the US Ambassador to Bosnia Charles L. English and political advisor to the NATO HQ in Bosnia, Bruce McLain. They were discussing further steps in the Bosnian defence reform.

Ambassador English said that a document regulating the issue of immovable property that would be available for use in defence in future as well needs to be signed as soon as possible by the state and entity governments.

Brankovic pledged that the FBIH entity government would do everything it is expected regarding the Bosnian defence reform.

NATO Political Advisor for Bosnia McLane thanked Prime Minister Brankovic for support of the FBIH entity government in implementation of Law on Defence, especially in engagement of its expert teams.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) - The Bosnian Council of Ministers failed to adopt the amended 2008 draft budget for the Bosnian state institutions, but proposed to the Bosnian State Presidency to adopt the earlier version (from January 17).

The Office of the President of the Bosnian Presidency Zeljko Komsic stated that he had made a new budget proposal in the meantime, which is to be discussed by the Bosnian Presidency. The proposal contains more funds for agriculture, science, technology and return of refugees.