Wednesday, June 11, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 11,2008) - The International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajčák welcomes the long awaited arrest of Serbian war criminal Stojan Župljanin,indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia,who was finally arrested earlier today.

"Actions taken by High Representative, the international community and domestic partners to disrupt their support networks have helped create the conditions that have lead to the arrest or surrender of numerous persons indicted for war crimes". the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) said.

"I will always do everything in my power to help bring war crimes indictees to justice. Pressure on their support networks will continue, especially as the search now boils down to the two most wanted suspects, Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić. This arrest and those to follow are important for families of victims to find closure to the tragic atrocities that took place in Bosnia, for which their families paid dearly. For all in Bosnia this is important as it enhances the reconciliation process and opens up a perspective to a future less burdened with the crimes from the past", said Lajčák.

Former leaders of the Serbians living in Bosnia,Serbian war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, both wanted by the ICTY on genocide charges, are still on the run.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 11,2008) - A Prosecution witness, whose personal details may not be publicly announced, as requested by the Trial Chamber, testified yesterday before the Bosnian State Court that Serbian war criminal Miodrag Nikacevic raped her in June 1992.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor considers that, in July 1992,in the early stages of the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia,Serbian war criminal Miodrag Nikacevic abused and raped a Bosnian woman in the eastern Bosnian town of Foca.

Serbian war criminal Miodrag Nikacevic,former member of the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor's formations, is charged also with another rape committed in April 1992, as well as with kidnapping one Bosnian civilian from Foca.

As determined in the course of the investigation, both rape victims still suffer the consequences of that crime.

"In June 1992 Miodrag took his wife to a hospital, as she was supposed to deliver a baby. He came to pick me up, saying that I should clean up his apartment. While I was vacuum cleaning, he was lying there, touching himself. Then he started unbuttoning his clothes. He pushed me on the floor. I resisted as much as I could... He told me to take my clothes off, or otherwise he would call my brother to do that," the witness said.

According to this witness, the indictee then asked her to "cuddle and kiss" him, telling her that he liked her and her long hair.

"He said he would do it quickly this time, as he did not have much time but maybe the next time would be a bit better. He raped me and then he left. He told me to finish what I was doing. Then I took scissors and cut my hair in order to punish myself," the witness said.

The witness said that, after the indictee's wife had delivered a baby, she had to move in to Serbian war criminal Miodrag Nikacevic's apartment', as she was his slave until August 13, 1992, when she escaped from Foca.

She said that she was pregnant when she left Foca. From there she went to Novi Pazar, where she had an abortion.

"I did not want any papers or evidence related to the abortion. I just wanted to settle that. When I got married I could not conceive. All gynecological aspects are fine but doctors say that it is all in my mind," the witness said.

The Prosecution witness was 21 years old when the Serbian aggression against Bosnia started. She told the Bosnian State Court that, prior to being raped by Serbian war criminal Miodrag Nikacevic, she was raped by Serbian war criminal named Raso Kovac, who came "to search her apartment" in April 1992. She said that she did not become pregnant at that time.

The trial of Serbian war criminal Miograg Nikacevic is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on June 17, when two Prosecution witnesses will be examined.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 11,2008) - The Bosnian State Prosecutor examined yesterday Amel Mehmedovic (born in 1971), who survived the Tuzlanska kapija massacre in May 1995, as a Prosecution witness at the trial of Serbian war criminal Novak Djukic before the Bosnian State Court.

"I saw a flash and then I fell down. I was thrown away. I was disoriented and started crawling. I saw a couple of sliced bodies, two girls without legs... I was injured too. Some guys got me into a car and drove me to the hospital," Mehmedovic said, adding that, as a consequence of the wounding, he is a 70 percent disabled person.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Serbian war criminal Novak Djukic, as former member of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS) of having ordered the shelling of the Bosnian city of Tuzla on May 25, 1995,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia. One shell hit the downtown area, killing 71 and wounding more than 200 Bosnian civilians.

The witness told the Bosnian State Court that the location, at which he was wounded on that day, was "traditionally a gathering point for young people".

"There were 200 or 250 people there. It was a bright, sunny day. Most young people wanted to go out as there was no shelling on that day. It was the Youth Day, the day of the most horrible tragedy. My brother and my friend were killed, and some other friends were wounded," Amel Mehmedovic said.

Serbian war criminal Ljubisa Corsovic, former deputy commander of the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor's 130mm Cannon Squad, appeared as Prosecution witness.He said that his unit was subordinate to the Ozren Tactical Group and that it could use the cannons "only if the Tactical Group ordered us to do so."

"The orders contained the target number and the number of projectiles. After we had executed the orders, we were obliged to confirm it. The targets were numerical and charted. I could not have known what the targets were. We used some 30-years old maps," Serbian war criminal Ljubisa Corsovic said. Answering the Trial Chamber's questions, he clarified that, most often, the shooting orders were issued by the Tactical Group Artillery Commander, who was known as "Major Omega."

The indictment alleges that Serbian war criminal Novak Djukic ordered the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor's artillery squad, situated in Panjik village on mount Ozren, to shell the Bosnian city of Tuzla, using 130mm cannons.

Serbian war criminal Ljubisa Corsovic added that he was not present on mount Ozren on May 25, 1995. He said he was "in the field somewhere else" and that he "heard about the shelling of Tuzla two or three months later."

The Defence did not want to cross-examine the witness, as it intended to examine him directly as a Defence witness.

The trial of Serbian war criminal Novak Djukic is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on June 17.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 11,2008) - The Bosnia-Croatia Interstate Council will will hold a session in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo later this month, the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj has announced, and expressed hope that both Croatia’s president and prime minister would arrive.

The two sides are expected to discuss several open issues, primarily the border and the Peljesac bridge.

Bosnian officials have been worried that the bridge,originally planned to be only 35 meters high,would block Bosnia's exit to the Adriatic, impeding access to the port of Neum and making maritime traffic impossible.

Among economic issues, there is the problem of Bosnia’s deficit in trade exchange with Croatia (around 1.9 billion Bosnian Marks).


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 11,2008) - The vast majority of the Bosnian citizens back EU integration and are more focused on jobs and the economy, an independent survey shows.

The survey, conducted by the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR), shows that more than 80 percent of all Bosnian citizens are in favour of Bosnia’s integration into the European Union,the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak said.

Speaking at a public debate yesterday in the Bosnian city of Zenica, Lajcak said the survey shows that the Bosnian citizens are primarily focused on unemployment, corruption and education.

“This shows that people in all parts of Bosnia are struggling with the same problems, that they think absolutely in the same way," Lajcak said.

Lajcak, together with the Head of the European Commission Delegation, Ambassador Dimitris Kourkoulas and the French Ambassador Maryse Berniau in capacity of the incoming EU Presidency, yesterday also urged Bosnian leaders to move on with reforms – such as the rule of law, state property among others – which are crucial for the continuation of Bosnia's EU accession process, a OHR statement said.

Speaking at a thematic session of the Bosnian government devoted to obligations stemming from European integration, the three diplomats called upon local politicians to “refrain from nationalist and anti-state rhetoric and function during the election campaign as an effective government, in service of the citizens."

“The latest polls show that public support across Bosnia for EU membership is up to 85 per cent. It is your job to give this to them,” Lajcak said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 11,2008) - As a part of its administration downsizing, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will close its office in Bosnia, the Governor of the Bosnian Central Bank Kemal Kozaric said today.

In an interview for Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz published today, the Bosnian Central Bank Governor said the IMF has decided to downsize its presence in Bosnia since it had neither its regular “Stand-By” arrangement nor any other “firm relations” with the Bosnian government for several years now.

Governor Kozaric stressed that IMF will maintain regular support and cooperation with Bosnia.

The IMF and the World Bank are the two leading international financial institutions charged with assisting poor and middle-income countries worldwide. The IMF’s role is focused on supporting fiscal stability in its target countries through its credit lines called Stand-by arrangements.

Despite repeated IMF warnings, the Bosnian state and entity governments have failed to curb their excessive public spending, which was the main reason why the country was not able to negotiate a new Stand-By arrangement with the IMF for the past four years.

In today’s interview Governor Kozaric stressed that the IMF, as well as Bosnian experts, remain concerned over continued excessive public spending in Bosnia as well as by growing inflation caused by galloping global prices of food and fuel.