Tuesday, April 8, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 8,2008) – – The Bosnian Islamic Community Council adopted in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo a Declaration on Refugees , expressing concerns over the slow and difficult return of refugees in Bosnia.

The Bosnian Islamic Community Council urges the Bosnian state authorities to finally and without delay enable and materially support the return processes in the country.

The Bosnian Islamic Community Council stated that Bosnian national interests have been threatened for several times because of the past political diversity and difference in opinions. In that sense, the Bosnian Islamic Community Council called all Bosnian politicians to enter the upcoming local elections together, with a unified list of candidates.

Since the International Court of Justice determined February 27 2007 that the Serbian aggressor committed genocide in Srebrenica, the Bosnian Islamic Community Council demands the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) and international community that the Bosnian citizens from Srebrenica should be allowed to vote in Srebrenica, regardless of their current residence.

The Bosnian Islamic Community Council, as the highest body of the Bosnian Islamic community, calls all Bosnian Muslims to understand that the upcoming local elections are extremely important and that they should be politically and socially united in all processes.


BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (April 8,2008) – The Main Board of the biggest political party in Bosnia,SDA,confirmed at the session held in Banja Luka that the party will not support the police reform laws. SDA party leader Sulejman Tihic stated that Bosnia is experiencing a halt in progress and that the problems that exist in the parliamentary majority are best seen through the set of laws on police reform.

Tihic stated at a press conference after the Board’s session that his party holds that the laws offered are not even the mere beginning of police reforms, unlike the defense reform which clearly presented all the standards and rules.

”Depending on which of the International Community's High Representatives is present in Bosnia, the three EU principles are commented differently”, Tihic stated and added that the existing police reform would only legalize the current situation.

He emphasized that the claims that he has given up the Mostar Declaration are not true He added that the Declaration contains in the text the three EU principles, but none of the principles are present in the “so-called police reform laws”.

”The Mostar Declaration clearly states that the existing local police structures are only a part of a unified police system, which is the condition I insisted on prior to singing of the Declaration”, Tihic said.

He confirmed that he had informal meeting on Saturday with Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric. They all remained loyal to their police reform attitudes.

”Spiric again stated that he will not be Bosnia's Prime Minister if the police reform laws are not adopted. I told him that it will happen if the SDA party’s amendments are accepted”, Tihic said.

He emphasized that SDA will not enter opposition if the police reform laws are adopted and added that it would not be good if the laws are adopted without support of the biggest political party in Bosnia.

SDA may trigger the vital national interest protection issue, but that depends on what is adopted.

Tihic added that if “such a reform” is condition for signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union, it is better than to conclude the agreement without the piloce reform laws and continue the police reform after constitutional changes are made.

SDA party’s Main Board held the session in Banja Luka for the first time. Several conclusions were adopted. Tihic emphasized that the Board adopted conclusion that Srebrenica needs to be granted a special status at the local elections, for that same practice is seen in Mostar and Zepce.

”Genocide occurred in Srebrenica and we cannot legalize any such situation at any elections. That would cause far-reaching consequences and we are of the opinion that the town needs to be made a legal exception”, SDA party leader said and added that the goal is - enabling the Srebrenica citizens vote in accordance to the 1991 census.

Returnees were an important topic of the session. SDA Main Board once again emphasized the need of implementation of the Bosnian Constitutional Court’s Decision on the Peoples’ Constitutivity. The party also emphasized the need of introducing symmetric solutions in entities, meaning identical representation of the Bosnia's constitutive peoples in authority structures, according to the 1991 census.

In that sense, Tihic gave an example that RS has all the jurisdiction, while the two vice presidents are not dealing with important issues.

The SDA Main Board also welcomed the NATO Summit’s decision on inviting Bosnia to approach the Intensified Dialogue phase. The party officials are of the opinion that that is primarily the result of defense reforms in the country, in which SDA greatly contributed.

Also, the SDA party demands all the employees at the Bosnian State Parliament not to accept solutions proposed on the increase of salaries and pensions and also urges the delegates to fight for solutions which will be in accordance to the current economic and social situation in the country. The party officials added that soldiers, police officers and state servants should be favoured.

The party sharply condemns all the attempts of threatening Bosnia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and demands the Bosnian state institutions and the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) to take measures against such persons.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 8,2008) – Croatian war criminal Ante Kovac, former member of the fascist paramilitary formations of the Croatians living in Bosnia (HVO),appeared before the Bosnian State Court yesterday and pleaded not guilty to participating in war crimes against Bosnian civilians committed in Vitez in 1993,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Kovac with having "ordered, approved and participated in the unlawful detention of Bosnian civilians" in the premises of Radnicki Univerzitet, the cinema and Public Accounting Service building in Vitez in 1993.

Croatian war criminal Ante Kovac asked the Bosnian State Court to transfer him to the Correctional Facility in Sarajevo "for medical treatment," but he did not give any further details. The Bosnian State Court will announce its decision at a later stage.

The Prosecution also charges him with the abuse and rape, and detention of a group of Bosnian civilians, who were transported by the International Red Cross Committee to Zenica for medical treatment, and their detention in the Radnicki Univerzitet premises.

Croatian war criminal Ante Kovac was arrested by the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) in late January 2008. The indictment against him was confirmed by the Bosnian State Court in March this year.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 8,2008) – The work group for fiscal decentralization of the network of local and regional authorities of the southeastern Europe (NALAS) organized in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo a meeting attended by experts from 12 countries.

The goal of the meeting was to help local authorities in securing adequate sources of financing which is in accordance with their competences and needs.

Executive director of the municipalities and cities union of the FBiH entity Vesna Travljanin stated that the countries in the region have extremely good cooperation of the local authorities associations which could serve as example to higher levels of authority.

Considering that municipalities and cities in countries in transition, but also in countries with developed democracy, meet with similar problems, that is often receive duties for which funds are not secured and today’s meeting was a good opportunity to exchange experiences and propositions.

Travljanin gave the example from the FBiH entity .On Friday the law on demobilized soldiers was to be discussed, according to which part of assets, around 22 million Bosnian Marks was supposed to be transferred to municipalities, that is taken from the assets gained from taxes.

"We reacted as a union, we sent a letter to the entity prime minister, alarmed the media… We said that this is not the competence of municipalities and that there are no assets for this and that they cannot give competences which are not followed by adequate assets”, she stated and added that for now this proposition was withdrawn.

She added that it is often said the local government in BiH is not regulated neither with entity nor state constitution.

"We fight for local self government to be finally recognized and that the local level influences the changes in the constitution. All packages of constitutional changes which were discussed did not include the local level”, stated Travljanin.