Monday, February 18, 2008


PRISTINA, Kosovo (February 18,2008) – Kosovo's Parliament adopted the Declaration of Independence in Pristina yesterday.Members of Kosovo's Parliament voted for the declaration yesterday around 16.00 with 109 votes for the independence. Political representatives of the serbians livig in Kosovo were not present at the Assembly.

"From this moment on Kosovo is independent and sovereign state”, declared Hashim Thaqi at the Plenary Session of the Kosovo Parliament.

Bosnia would not be among the countries to recognize an independent Kosovo in the near future, the Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic said yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The situation in Bosnia remained calm following the declaration of independence by Kosovo.More police had been deployed across the country over the weekend.

Meanwhile in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, dozens of cars drove through city centre, with blaring horns and waving Kosovo flags, celebrating Kosovo independence.

While Bosnians and members of the Albanian community in Bosnia, celebrated in Sarajevo, some 100 Serbians living in Bosnia gathered in downtown Banja Luka to protest the declaration of Kosovo's independence.

"We have waited for this for so long, and that finally happened," said Ismet Alia - a member of the Albanian community in Bosnia.

A member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic stated for the press that due to Kosovo's declaration of independence, measures of information exchange between Bosnian and foreign subjects are intensified related to possible repercussions on the security situation in Bosnia.

”Based on information it can be concluded that the Bosnian state institutions are ready to answer the challenges”, stated Silajdzic at the press conference.

"Declaration of independence by Kosovo must have no effect on Bosnia. The change of the status of Kosovo is not related to Bosnia and Bosnia will not allow any interference in its internal affairs," Silajdzic said in a statement in Sarajevo.

U.S. Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, who is seeking the US presidency, has welcomed Kosovo's independence declaration as "a historic step that will allow the people of Kosovo to finally live in their own democratic state."

"I urge our friends and allies and around the world to join the United States and European Union countries in promptly recognizing an independent Kosovo," she said.

Kosovars wave an Albanian flag (L) and the flag of independent Kosovo (back) which was unveiled yesterday at the Kosovo Parliament after the declaration of independence was made in Pristina. Kosovo on Sunday declared independence from an angry and anxious genocidal Serbia, completing the conflict-strewn breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

U.S. President George W. Bush said yesterday that he supports the independence of Kosovo.

"On Kosovo, our position is that its status must be resolved in order for the Balkans to be stable. Secondly, we have strongly supported the Ahtisaari plan," Bush said, referring to a so-called "supervised independence" plan put forward by the former Finnish president and UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari.

The European Union and NATO appealed for calm in the region after Kosovo's declaration of independence.The move put the EU and other nations under pressure to recognize Kosovo as an independent state.

"This is not a race" to recognition, said Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, in Brussels. "We are involved in trying to secure the stability of a very volatile region at a critical period in time. We have to do it with car," he said.

Still, diplomats said, most of the 27 EU nations planned to recognise Kosovo, led by Germany, Britain and France.

Javier Solana, the EU's foreign and security affairs chief, said he was in contact with leaders in the region to stress the importance of stability.

"I urge everybody to act calmly and in a responsible way.I am convinced that the Kosovar leaders will be up to their responsibilities in this crucial moment," Solana said in a statement.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 18,2008) – As part of its information campaign on Bosnia's EU integration, the Office of the High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia (OHR/EUSR) launched a new website and an image competition.

The website provides up-to-date information on the campaign and lets the Bosnian citizens voice their opinions and concrete suggestions. Online comments can be left as text or video. Citizens will also be able to register via the Internet for any of the 16 public debates planned across Bosnia.

The theme of the image competition is “Bosnia and the European Union”. Images should show a unique, fresh and powerful statement or expression of the benefits of Bosnia's membership in the European Union.

The author of the first-ranked work will be awarded 999 Bosnian Marks. The second- and third ranked works will receive 666 Bosnian Marks and 333 Bosnian Marks respectively. The winning images will also be printed on posters, flyers and adverts to promote OHR/EUSR campaigns.

The deadline for entering the competition is 15 April 2008. The competition is open to all Bosnian citizens.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 18,2008) – At the trial of Serbian war criminals Milorad Savic, Mirko (son of Spiro) Pekez and Mirko (son of Mile) Pekez before the Bosnian State Court ,Prosecution witness Fahrija Mutic recognised Serbian war criminal Milorad Savic and said that he participated, together with other Serbian aggressor's soldiers, in the mass murder of a group of Bosnian civilians in the Bosnian village of Tisovac in September 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The witness claims that the two Serbian war criminals named Pekez also participated in the mass murder.The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Serbian war criminals Milorad Savic, Mirko (Spiro) Pekez and Mirko (Mile) Pekez with murdering of 23 Bosnian civilians from Ljoljici and Cerkazovici villages in Jajce municipality.

The indictment alleges that the three former members of the genocidal paramilitary forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS) and reserve police forces detained Bosnian civilians from these two villages, took them to Tisovac, and murdered them on September 10, 1992. According to the indictment, four Bosnian civilans survived the mass murder. Prosecution witness Fahrija Mutic was one of them.

The witness said how two Serbian aggressor's soldiers came to the house in which he and a group of other Bosnian civilians were hiding on September 10, 1992.

"Jovo Jandric and Mirko (Mile) Pekez knocked on the door and took us out. They were armed. Jovo told us that we were going to be exchanged and we believed him," the witness said, adding that he saw Serbian war criminal Milorad Savic on the way.

The witness said that the Bosnian civilians were taken by the genocidal Serbian aggressor to a meadow, where they were asked to put away their money and jewelry. He claims to have also seen Serbian war criminal Mirko (Spiro) Pekez on the way to the meadow.

"When we came to the meadow, they ordered us to stand by the abyss and then we heard shooting," the witness said, adding that he survived the shooting because his cousin's body protected him from bullets.

Second Prosecution witness Dragan Nisic said that, in September, Nedjeljko Jandric, a former member of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia, told him to check the news on the mass murder.

"On our way we met a Bosnian, who told us that Jovo Jandric was among the soldiers who had done the shooting," the witness said.

The Prosecution's indictment alleges that Serbian war criminal Jovo Jandric was an accomplice in the shooting.

"After that we met a man who claimed to have survived the shooting. He also said that Mirko Pekez, Milorad Savic and Zoran Maric were among the group of soldiers who had taken them. We also met a boy who had survived the shooting and this shook me up very much. The boy had a wound made by bullet and his ear was dangling," Nisic said.

The witness added that he "saw a scary scene at the location where the execution had taken place".

"There were bodies of killed civilians lying over each other and there were many spent bullets around them," Nisic recalled.

Witness Dragan Zdrnja also recalled the scene he saw at the location of the mass murder.

"I was very scared as I had never seen so many dead people. They were all civilians. I went back in a van, together with three wounded civilians. I took them to the ambulance," Zdrnja said, adding that he heard later that Serbian war criminal Jovo Jandric was involved in the execution.

The trial of Serbian war criminals Milorad Savic, Mirko (Spiro) Pekez and Mirko (Mile) Pekez is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court today, February 18, 2008.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 18,2008) – Embassy of the Netherlands in Bosnia denied the correctness of information published on Friday that this year there will be no reconstruction of houses in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

"The Embassy of the Netherlands is presently supporting three return and social housing projects through the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS)”, stated the release from the Embassy.

This will result in 100 new housing units in Srebrenica in the immediate future.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 18,2008) - The Bosnian Minister of Defence, Selmo Cikotic and the Commander of the Bosnian Army General Sifet Podzic, visited the European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR) Headquarters to attend a meeting with the EUFOR Commander,General Ignacio Villalaín.

During this time they discussed a number of issues regarding the progress made in the transferring of military responsibilities from EUFOR to the Bosnian Army.

Specifically the recent success of the countermining activity was reviewed. Also raised was the issue of weapons and ammunition storage sites.EUFOR and the the Bosnian Army have been conducting joint activities in the process of verification and significant progress has been made recently.

The storage of both weapons and ammunition in Bosnia has caused concerns in the past, but the work that continues in these areas by both EUFOR and the Bosnian Armed Forces will ensure that a safe and secure environment will exist.

The EUFOR Commander has recently visited an ammunition storage site to personally view the methods of the verification teams. He was very pleased with the work and passed on this view during the meeting with Minister Cikotic and General Podzic.

The meeting concluded with a discussion over joint training activities between EUFOR and the Bosnian Army.2008 has been described as a “year of training” for the Bosnian Armed Forces and this meeting has helped in the arrangement of more advanced training plans in support of this objective, EUFOR said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 18,2008) - The Bosnian Foreign Investors’ Council (FIC) entirely supports efforts the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) to encourage a public debate about European integration, a press release from FIC states.

Investors think that only through an active role of its citizens can Bosnia make progress towards this goal.

In the following months, the FIC will be drawing attention to some burning issues in the process of registering companies, issuing building permits, tax reform and judiciary. Their White Book for 2008 will be issued in September.