Friday, May 9, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 9,2008) – The Bosnian Central Elections Commission passed a decision in Sarajevo yesterday on local elections in Bosnia in 2008. The elections will be held on Sunday, October 5 2008.The President of the Bosnian Central Elections Commission Suad Arnautovic told the press that the elections will be held for municipal councils and assemblies, for mayors of municipalities, the Brcko District Assembly, as well as for the Mostar City Council and Banja Luka Assembly and Mayor.

The Commission also passed the Instruction on Deadlines and Timetable of the Electoral Activities for the Local Elections. Arnautovic said that the first of these deadlines will expire May 23. That is the time when political parties and independent candidates, as well as associations of citizens are obliged to submit the applications for participation at the elections. The Commission is to verify the applications by June 7.

Arnautovic said that the regular electoral lists currently contain the names of 2,98 million voters in Bosnia. According to the Commission’s data, these local elections will cost about 11 million Bosnian Marks. The Bosnian state institutions will provide 4 million Bosnian Marks and municipal authorities will provide the rest of the money. According to the Commission’s decision, the elections abroad will be held at the Bosnian diplomatic and consular offices in 25 countries.

He emphasized that these will be the first elections in Bosnia at which members of minorities will be able to vote for their representatives at the municipal bodies. They will be able to vote for their representatives in municipalities in which over 3 per cent of their nation lived before the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

After the Bosnian State Parliament adopted on Wednesday changes and amendments to the bosnian Electoral Law, in relation to the voting process in Srebrenica, the Commission will issue a special sub-legal act which will regulate the entire process of enlisting the voters for the Srebrenica Base Electoral Unit.

Arnautovic stated that the list will be formed on the basis of the passive registration. The list will also contain the names of persons who express a wish to vote in Srebrenica. All the persons who registered via post office or from abroad will be at the list as well.

The process will be implemented on the basis of the Commission’s special action plan.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 9,2008) – The Bosnian Ministry of Defense and Peace Support Operations Training Centre (PSOTC) organized yesterday in Sarajevo, at the Butmir military camp, a six-day regional exercise for representatives of the western Balkans countries.

The training entitled “Regional Inter-Agency Planning Exercise” is an opportunity to exchange experience and learn about NATO methodology and peace operations planning.

Coordinator of the exercise Hazim Hodzic stated that the training “scenario” plans solving of several non-conventional situations, including formation of UNHCR’s centers for refugees, demobilization and social reintegration.

Over 50 representatives from Bosnia,Macedonia,Croatia,Montenegro,
slovenia and Serbia participate in the exercise, as well as 13 international and non-governmental organizations and students of journalism from Sarajevo universities.

The PSOTC has become one of the 15 verified centers of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Programme (PFP). Its mission is to ensure education and training of junior officers.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 9,2008) – The International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak had a meeting in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with representatives of the Bosnian NGOs (non-governmental organizations) assembled in the coalition “Responsibility”.

All of them are signatories of the petition submitted to the Bosnian State Parliament calling for an accelerated progress of Bosnia towards the EU membership.

Lajcak told the press that the essence of association processes is not the date of signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), but readiness of the Bosnian state institutions to respond to the obligations arising from the process.

With convictions that Bosnia will sign SAA with the European Union on May 26, Lajcak said that a serious process will be initiated by that act, a process which will show readiness of responsibility for other steps that will follow the day after signing of the SAA, so that the time is not wasted again.

In that context, Lajcak encouraged representatives of NGO sector to personally contribute the process and to act as “consciousness of the society, as a public institutions’ control and as the citizens’ voice.

On behalf of the coalition, President of the Bosnian Helsinki Committee Srdjan Dizdarevic emphasized that the Bosnian state institutions need to open themselves towards the initiatives coming from the NGO sector.

He especially underlined the need of strengthening of responsibility of the elected officials, as well as of acceleration of the EU association processes. He added that the NGO sector is anticipating certain demands from Brussels, including the reforms that need to be implemented in that sense.

They agreed that dialogue should continue in relation to the issues discussed. They emphasized determination for Bosnia’s EU perspective.

At the same time, it was agreed that the NGO sector will have full support of the Office of the International Community's High Representatives in Bosnia (OHR).


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 9,2008) – The Bosnian Social Democratic Party (SDP BIH) invited Bosnian citizens, organizations and parties which are against the Bosnian Parliament delegates’ increase of salaries, to gather on may 14 for a peaceful protest in front of the Bosnian state institutions building in Sarajevo.

”The Bosnian State Parliament’s House of Representatives scheduled for May 14, with the 8th act on the agenda being increase of delegates’ salaries”, stated on yesterday’s press conference SDP delegate Damir Masic.

”This intention of political parties is shameless”, stated Masic.

Until May 14, parliament shall receive a petition of the Bosnian citizens who are against the salary increase for the Bosnian state officials.

According to him, action started by the SDP until now gathered around 80.000 signatures and it is estimated that the number will be around 100.000 until May 14.

Masic pointed out that certain political parties want to increase delegates’ salaries by more than 100%.


THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (May 9,2008) – The trial of Serbian war criminal Momcilo Perisic, the former Head Commander of the Yugoslav Army, for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Serbian aggressions against Bosnia and Croatia will start on July 24, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) announced yesterday.

Serbian war criminal Momcilo Perisic (63) has been indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity – for murder and persecution motivated by political, race and religious reasons.

The prosecution announced that the Serbian war criminal committed crimes during the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor's siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo (1992 – 1995), as well as in the genocide in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica . He also participated in an attack on the Croatian capital Zagreb in 1995.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 9,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric met with OSCE representative on freedom of the media Miklos Haraszti and talked about the media ambience in Bosnia.

Spiric and Harasti exchanged opinions on functioning of the Public Radio and TV Service in Bosnia. Spiric informed Haraszti that decision of the Constitutional Court’s decision is awaited in the issue of Public Radio and TV Service, so that the system is made complete, the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Public Relations Service announced.

Spiric also presented the OEBS representatives to the issues related to the nomination of Director of the Bosnian State Regulatory Communications Agency.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 9,2008) - At the plea hearing before the Bosnian State Court, Serbian war criminal Rade Veselinovic pleaded not guilty yesterday to all counts in the indictment, filed by the Bosnian State Prosecutor, charging him with war crimes against humanity in Hadzici municipality in 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

"I plead not guilty to all counts in the indictment," said Serbian war criminal Rade Veselinovic at the plea hearing before a preliminary hearing judge at the Bosnian State Court.

The indictment, which contains seven counts, charges Veselinovic, as former member of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS), with having committed crimes against the Bosnian civilians, including "murder, torture, forcible disappearances, detention and causing of great suffering and injuries."

Serbian war criminal Rade Veselinovic has been held in custody since his arrest on November 29, 2007. The Bosnian State Court confirmed the indictment in April 2008.

Attorney Milorad Rasevic asked the preliminary hearing judge to transfer the indictee to the Kula detention unit, which would enable "quicker and easier communication" with the indictee.

The judge said that "the capacities in the detention units are full, but he will certainly consider the proposal."

The trial of Serbian war criminal Rade Veselinovic will begin before the Bosnian State Court within the next 90 days.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 9,2008) - At the beginning of the trial of Serbian war criminals Gojko Klickovic, Jovan Ostojic and Mladen Drljaca the Bosnian State Prosecutor said yesterday that the war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians in the Bosanska Krupa area during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia were done in a planned way, with the indictees' support.

The indictments against Serbian war criminals Klickovic, Ostojic and Drljaca were merged, as per a motion filed by the Bosnian State Prosecutor, in April 2008. After Prosecutor Philip Alcock had read the three indictments, Serbian war criminal Gojko Klickovic said he did not understand his indictment.

"Should you include genocide and apartheid in it, the indictment would become an indictment against all Serbians. I do not think that its authors understand it either. Nobody can understand this farce," said Serbian war criminal Gojko Klickovic, while Serbian war criminals Jovan Ostojic and Mladen Drljaca confirmed they understood the indictment.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges these Serbian war criminals with having participated in the persecution, murder and torture of Bosnian civilians on the territory of this municipality,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

In the Prosecution's introductory arguments, Alcock spoke about the situation in Bosanska Krupa in the course of 1991 and 1992, where "the violence was obvious, frequent and clear to the three indictees."

"Imagine the amazing arrogance of the plans to join the municipalities and to clear them of all their residents. The municipality of Bosanska Krupa was indeed cleared of all Bosnians, step by step, going from one stage to another – by conducting murders, detentions and torture," said Alcock, adding that the Bosnian civilians, who were deported from Bosanska Krupa, were helpless and they did not represent any kind of a threat.

The Prosecutor also said that the indictees must have been aware of "the stage," where all these abuses happened in the municipality.

"How could they not know about the murders in the prisons, if there were more people who entered those prisons than the ones who left them. How could you not hear the screams of non-swimmers, who were forced, by the guards, to jump into the water.

The SDS (a political party of the Serbians living in Bosnia) conducted all events, and Gojko Klickovic was in the centre of the events. At the same time, he was just a string puppet, who executed orders received from top officials," said Alcock.

Although he initially said that he would not present his introductory arguments, Klickovic's Defence attorney Dusan Tomic addressed the Court by saying that the fewest crimes were committed in Bosanska Krupa and that the Serbians became "the biggest losers of the tragedy that happened there." He also informed the Bosnian State Court that Serbian war criminal Gojko Klickovic decided to participate in his defence.

"We agreed that, from now on, Gojko Klickovic must be present in this courtroom in order to reveal the great truth and to avoid being found guilty of all the happenings in Bosanska Krupa. Klickovic is just a minor consequence of a great cause. Radovan Karadzic, a great evil magician, is still at large. Had this not been the case, this indictment would have never been filed. Now, Klickovic is going to be tried for the crimes committed by that man," Tomic said.

Serbian war criminal Gojko Klickovic addressed the Bosnian State Court, by saying that he was a puppet of his people, while the Prosecutor was "a puppet of some dirty games."

The Defence of Serbian war criminal Jovan Ostojic considers that the indictee was just "collateral damage," because they needed "someone who was in the military structure". He also said that he hoped the Bosnian State Prosecutor would give up on the indictment in the course of the process.

The examination of the first two Prosecution witnesses is planned for May 13.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 9,2008) - A ceremony was held at Pazaric Krupa to formally sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Commander of the Bosnian Army General Sifet Podzic and the Commander of the European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR) General Ignacio Villalaín, which states the responsibilities of the Bosnian Armed Forces and role of the EUFOR, regarding the establishment of management /inspection systems at ammunition storage sites in Bosnia.

This progress demonstrates the continued commitment between the Bosnian Army and EUFOR, to further advance the defence reform process, EUFOR said.

At the ceremony,General Villalain stated: “It is with great pleasure that we are here today to acknowledge another fundamental stage for the Bosnian Army to fully accept the responsibility of management and inspection of their ammunition storage sites, in support of the defence reform process. The signing of the MoU further emphasises the cooperation and commitment between the Bosnian Army and EUFOR to maintain a safe and secure environment in Bosnia.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to comment on another task which is at a crucial stage at the moment, which is the requirement for legislation to regulate Civilian Movement Control of weapons, ammunition and military equipment. EUFOR cannot hand over this responsibility until appropriate legislation is introduced. Draft legislation is in the Parliamentary process at present and I call on all involved to work towards adoption of this legislation,” he added.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 9,2008) - Giuseppe Rechhi, General Electric’s South East Europe Director, announced this company’s interest in power generation projects in Bosnia, as well as in cooperation in the production of medical equipment and infrastructural developments.

He had a meeting in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with the FBIH entity prime minister Nedzad Brankovic.They expressed interest for business cooperation in several sectors.

Recchi informed Brankovic about potentials and scope of business of the “General Electric” Company and ehxpressed a wish to cooperate with the Bosnian authorities in several ways.

Together with the projects related to the electric energy, there are several other sectors, like production of medical equipment, infrastructural development, networking with other partners and so on.

Brankovic presented the government’s ambitious projects of development, including the electric energy projects and transport sector, water management and other branches of economy. He marked that as a turning point in the future economic growth.

”In the following several years, realization of construction of new electric potentials and travel infrastructure, as well as realization of several other projects at the local level, will ensure mass employment and equal living conditions in all areas of the FBIH entity”, Brankovic said.

He emphasized that new meetings with the American partner will be organized.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 9,2008) - Bosnia imported 116 million Bosnian Marks worth of milk and dairy products last year, while its export in the same category of products amounted to 41 million Bosnian Marks.

Records of the Bosnian Chamber of Foreign Trade show that, although milk production in Bosnia exceeds the pre-war volumes, and purchase volumes increased by 100 million litres since 2002, Bosnian milk producers are having difficulties competing with neighbouring and EU dairy industries.

One of the biggest barriers to improving their competitiveness is the lack of laboratories for issuing international quality certificates.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 9,2008) - The FBIH entity government has adopted a report about the 2007 budget execution, establishing that in the past fiscal year budget revenue exceeded spending by 35.4 million Bosnian Marks.

The surplus is seen as mainly a result of increased financial discipline and tightened control over budget spending.

In the fiscal 2007 the FBIH entity settled all liabilities from 2006. Revenues totalled 1.374 billion Bosnian Marks (13.3 per cent below the budget projection, but 16.3 per cent over the 2006 revenue). 1.093 billion Bosnian Marks came from taxes.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 9,2008) - Announcing the opening of the Bosnian Finance Days conference yesterday, the Governor of the Bosnian Central Bank Kemal Kozaric asserted how the financial market is the most orderly part of the Bosnian economy.

The financial sector and commercial banks are playing important roles in the economic development of Bosnia, he said, and reminded that last year commercial banks in Bosnia lent a total of 11 billion Bosnian Marks. 43 per cent of that (4.8 billion Bosnian Marks) were loans to private companies; citizens borrowed 48 per cent of the amount (5.4 billion Bosnian Marks), while smaller shares went to the public sector (6 per cent, 658 million Bosnian Marks) and other borrowers (3 per cent).

Governor Kozaric is also the Organization Board Chairman for the conference starting today. The main topic discussed in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka will be “Financial stability – reality or illusion”.