Thursday, March 27, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo the fallen fighters’ cemetery and memorial of Kovaci and paid tribute to late Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic.

The Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, accompanied by the Bosnian Minister of Security Tarik Sadovic and Sarajevo Canton Prime Minister Samir Silajdzic visited the President Alija Izetbegovic Museum.

”I am proud for having been given an opportunity to, together with other members of the delegation, pay tribute to Alija Izetbegovic, a great leader, a great man, my dear friend”, the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stated after the visit to the Museum.

Minister Erdogan stated that President Izetbegovic was a man who will enter history as a great fighter and a leader.

He hopes that the Alija Izetbegovic Museum will, in time, be made richer with more artefacts which will serve as a reminder of the President Izetbegovic’s personal contribution to the defence of Bosnia,during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic and members of the Bosnian State Presidency Zeljko Komsic and Nebojsa Radmanovic met in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.They discussed relations between Bosnia and Turkey and emphasized that political relations between the two countries are good, and that there is enough of space for a better cooperation in the sector of economy and trade.

It has been emphasized that the cooperation in the sector of defence and culture should be continued.

The Turkish Prime Minister stated that Turkish entrepreneurs are encouraged to invest in Bosnia and that it is one of his personal tasks. He also expressed pleasure that he is in a visit to friendly Bosnia, which is important for Turkey as a multiethnic country and it is the best example of the meeting of civilizations and an example of unity in plurality.

”We are of the opinion that Bosnia is extremely important for peace and future of the entire Balkans and it is something that can positively reflect on the country’s future”, the Turkish Prime Minister stated. He confirmed full support of Turkey to Bosnia’s Euro-Atlantic association processes.

They also talked about the projects in Bosnia that are in need of Turkish support. Some of them are reconstruction of the Ferhadija Mosque, completion of the Konjic Old Bridge reconstruction, the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge which has been made a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, and other projects.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic stated that Bosnia and Turkey have been historically connected in the past, present and will be in the future.

Members of the Bosnian Presidency thanked the Turkish Prime Minister for everything Turkey has done for Bosnia, since the declaration of independence, as well as for all the future support of the friendly country.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) - At the plea hearing before the Section I for War Crimes of the Bosnian State Court, Serbian war criminal Jovan Ostojic pleaded not guilty yesterday.He is charged with crimes against humanity committed during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

As alleged in the indictment, Serbian war criminal Ostojic, as Commander of a genocidal Serbian paramilitary unit, in the period from July 14, 1992 until December 31, 1992, together with other Serbian aggressor's soldiers participated in a joint criminal enterprise in Bosanska Krupa.

As alleged in the indictment, during the period from July 14 and August 21, 1992, at least 36 Bosnian civilians, were detained by this genocidal Serbian aggressor's paramilitary unit in a school building in Bosanska Krupa.

Several detained Bosnian civilians were repeatedly severely beaten by the Serbian aggressor's soldiers who were subordinated to Serbian war criminal Jovan Ostojic, as alleged in the indictment.

The detained Bosnian civilians were regularly forced to perform labor including removing corpses, digging trenches and cleaning the streets in Bosanska Krupa, being intentionally exposed to dangers to life. As further alleged in the indictment, on or about July 28, 1992, some guards subordinated to Serbian war criminal Jovan Ostojic, gave a poison to one detained Bosnian civilian who died two days later.

On or about August 12, 1992, as alleged in the indictment, one of the guards subordinated to Serbian war criminal Jovan Ostojic, murdered 11 Bosnian civilians by firearm. On August 21, 1992 all of the detained Bosnian civilians who had remained at this school building in Bosanska Krupa, 20 of them, were blindfolded and brutally tortured.

Later on, the detainees were allegedly transferred to the concentrationn camp in Kamenica where they were detained until November 3, 1992. During this period they were further abused and at least four of them were murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – A retrial against Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun, charged with war crimes committed in the Gabela concentration camp near the southern Bosnian town of Capljina,during the croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 1990's, has commenced yesterday before the Appellate Chamber of the Bosnian State Court.

After the Prosecution read the indictment, both parties presented their introductory arguments. Audio recordings of the statements given by three Prosecution witnesses to the first instance Trial Chamber of the Bosnian State Court of BiH were then listened to.

The first instance verdict sentenced Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun to 13 years of imprisonment for war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians in the Gabela concentration camp. However, after having considered the appeals filed by the Bosnian State Prosecution and Defence, the Appellate Chamber quashed the verdict and ordered a retrial.

The indictment alleges that Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun was deputy commander of the Gabela concentration camp and responsible for the events at the concentration camp, in which Bosnian civilians were detained by the fascist Croatian aggressor, in 1993. He is also charged with having killed one Bosnian civilian and participated in two more murders in the Gabela concentration camp.

In her introductory arguments the Bosnian State Prosecutor Vesna Tancica said that she expected the Chamber to announce Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun guilty.

"In their statements, witnesses confirmed they knew Andrun and that he was deputy commander of the Gabela concentration camp and foreboded evil – as, whenever he appeared, an evil happened," Tancica said.

The Defence considers that it will persuade the Chamber that Andrun was not guilty.

"We are not denying what happened to the detainees but I can say that politics is to be blamed and not a common soldier, like myself," Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun said.

The statements given by witnesses Mirza Colakovic, Enes Bratic and Alija Suta,survivors of the Gabela concentration camp, were heard.

Colakovic, who was arrested by the Croatian aggressor on July 2, 1993, was first detained in the Dretelj concentration camp. On September 28 he was then transferred to the Gabela concentration camp, where he was detained, together with "300 or 400 persons" in a hangar. The witness stated that Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun and two other Croatian aggressor's soldiers tortured him up on September 30.

"They took me to a building and started interrogating me. After that, they started hitting me," Colakovic said, adding that, due to the beating, he lost conscience. When he woke up, he saw "Andrun holding a black 10 cm belt and putting it around my neck". After that, he and some other soldiers, who "were standing on chairs and tables," pulled him up, holding the belt, "until I fainted."

"When I woke up they helped me to a wash-basin. They put my head beneath the water-tap and Andrun covered my eyes with a towel. The water poured directly into my nostrils... I fainted again," Colakovic told the first instance Chamber, also identifying the indictee in the courtroom.

Witness Enes Bratic also said that Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun tortured him, but he could not say when exactly he was arrested and released from the Gabela concentration camp.

The statements given by third witness Alija Suta in the courtroom and to the Prosecution in the course of the investigation were contradictory. He told the Chamber that Andrun saved him and 17 other detainees by putting them in hangar 3 of the concentration camp, as nobody tortured them there. He also said he did not know who issued orders in the Gabela concentration camp. During the investigation he also said that Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun was responsible for the disappearance of detained Bosnian civilians from the detention camp and that he was deputy commander.

Explaining the discrepancies between his statements, Suta said he had a car accident prior to his testimony and that, due to the injuries, he could not "remember the events very well," but he said that what he had said during the investigation was correct.

The trial of Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on March 28.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola spiric stated in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that the issue of Kosovo is complex and that it should be dealt with by the European Union, the United States, Russia.

“Bosnia needs to avoid the issue as much as possible. That means that we all need to focus on the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration processes. Anybody forcing us to get involved is not a friend of Bosnia”, Spiric stated answering a Turkish journalist’s question to comment possible recognition of Kosovo by Bosnia.


MOSTAR, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – The City of Mostar and Bosnia most honor their commitments they have taken when the Old Bridge was enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage List, stated yesterday the UNESCO Secretary General Koichiro Matsuura.

He stated that the authenthic appearance of the Old Bridge and the Old Town must be preserved and that the reconstruction of the Ruza hotel is still an issue that is the fourth floor construction which is in vicinity of the Bridge.

"Bosnia has lots of candidates for the World Heritage List and that is why it is so important for Mostar to be a good example for other cities candidates”, stated Matsuura who was handed an honorary citizen of Mostar plaque.

The plaque was handed by the City Council Chair Murat Coric. He explained that Matsuury was awarded because of his great contribution in reconstruction of the Old Bridge and putting it on the UNESCO list.

With the plaque, Matsuura also received a painting of the Old Bridge, handed by Mostar mayor Ljubo Beslic.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic stated that the Old Bridge in Mostar is not in danger since the construction of the hotel “Ruza” was aborted and it will be continued only after the UNESCO experts confirm that architectural construction of the hotel is in accordance with historical core of the Old Town in Mostar.

"Reconstruction of the Ruza holtel in Mostar is a large investment, important for the development of this city and which was aborted two years ago because we are trying to find a solution which will harmonize the heritage and development” stated President Silajdzic.

President Silajdzic repeated the request for Mostar to be helped by UNESCO until the solution is found and asked for experts of this organization give their opinion on the new solution before the 32nd session of the Committee.

President Silajdzic also invited the UNESCO Secretary General to tell the truth about the Old Bridge in Mostar, that it is not in danger and ensure additional help for the Bosnian heritage.

He reminded that the reconstruction of the bridge was possible only with the help from rest of the world, especially UNESCO as a key organization for preservation of cultural values.

Matsuura stated that he is encouraged with Silajdzic’s statement that the Old Town in Mostar shall be preserved and underlined that this universal value must be protected.

The Old Bridge in Mostar was enlisted in the World Heritage List of UNESCO in July 2005.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – The Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe met with representatives of the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees and the Bosnian Ministry of Security and discussed about overall position of minorities in Bosnia.

The Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic stated that the Bosnian government is working continuously on protection and improvement of the rights of national minorities and complete change of the law on protection of national minorities in Bosnia.

"We are aware of the fact that the implementation of this law and the Framework Convetion is condition with post-conflict situation in Bosnia and with the fact that the last population census was done in 1991. Its results do not even come close to showing real demographic state in the country”, stated Halilovic.

He pointed out that the law on protection of national minorities from 2003 recognizes 17 minority communities in Bosnia: Albanian, Montenegrin, Czech, Italian, Jewish, Hungarian, Macedonian, German, Polish, Roma, Romanian, Russian, Rusine, Slovak, Turkish and Ukrainian.

Minister Halilovic stated that the mentioned law clearly defines the obligation of constituting councils of national minorities with the Bosnian Parliament as advisory bodies. In this sense, the decision of forming these councils was adopted and announced in February and its fast operative and functionality is expected.

He also added that the amendments to the Election law of Bosnia opens possibility, more precisely prescribes obligations that minority communities depending on their percentage must participate in local authorities, municipal assemblies, as well as their participation on all level of government and executive powers in Bosnia.

Minister Halilovic reminded that the Bosnian government adopted the strategy for solving Roma problems as the largest minority in Bosnia and that the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees is preparing action plans for solving the problems of this population in the area of employment, healthcare and housing.

"It is realistic to expect the adoption of these documents in several weeks in the Bosnian Council of Ministers”, he explained.

Members of the Council of Europe delegation, Marju Lauristin, Eva Smith Asmussen and Francoise Kempf after the introductory speech of Minister Halilovic showed special interest in education of national minorities, employment and participation in election processes.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) - According to information provided by the Bosnian Motoring Club (BIHAMK), there were 58.6 kilometres of new motorways built in Bosnia last year, whereas 764.74 kilometres of the existing roads were renovated.

Compared to 1995, the network of regional and arterial roads was by 14 per cent longer by the end of 2007. The same source also informed about 783,482 motor vehicles being registered in the country by the end of 2007.