Monday, September 29, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 29,2008) - Bosnia has fulfilled 13 out of total 30 short-term conditions on the basis of which the European Commission will assess progress the country has made on its path towards the EU membership.

This is stated in a report that the Bosnian Council of Ministers adopted last week. Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric said then there is time until October 5 to take care of a few more things.The 30 short-term priorities were set in the summer of 2008, and they are only a portion of a more extensive package with 100-odd conditions.

The ones that have been met concern the formation of the Fiscal Council and legislation regulating agriculture, food, rural development, drugs, professional secondary education and FBiH entity public broadcasting system.

On top of that, several strategies have been adopted, agency heads appointed and the public administration reform fund became operational.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 29,2008) - The Bosnian State Court has announced today a first instance verdict against three Serbian war criminals for crimes against Bosnian civilians committed in the eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The Bosnian State Court announced a first instance verdict, sentencing Serbian war criminals Sreten Lazarevic, Dragan Stanojevic, Mile Markovic and Slobodan Ostojic to a total of 22 years' imprisonment.

The most severe sentence was the one pronounced against Serbian war criminal Sreten Lazarevic. The deputy commander of a concentration camp established by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in Zvornik ,is sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. Serbian war criminal Dragan Stanojevic was sentenced to 7 years, while Serbian war criminals Mile Markovic and Slobodan Ostojic were sentenced to five years each.

"The indictees are guilty of war crimes against civilians. They deliberately violated the international humanitarian law, by mistreating detained civilians in the prisons and causing them severe physical and mental suffering," Trial Chamber Chairwoman Mira Smajlovic said.

Explaining the verdict, the Trial Chamber said that "the indictees undoubtedly committed the crimes charged upon them", adding that "it has been proved that the detained Bosnian civilians, who were held in the concentration camp, were unarmed and non-uniformed persons or civilians at the moment when they were detained".

"The Court considers the facts that the indictees are family men, that they behaved in a correct manner during the course of the main trial and that there were numerous paramilitary groups in Zvornik in the period when the crimes were committed, as mitigating circumstances," the justification of the verdict states.

The four convicted Serbian war criminals do not have to cover the trial costs, because the Trial Chamber has concluded that "they do not have sufficient financial resources to pay for the costs".

The Bosnian State Court has referred the injured parties to this proceeding to file civil suits in order to settle their property and legal claims.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 29,2008) - Accepting the guilt admission agreement, the Bosnian State Court pronounced a verdict today, sentencing Croatian war criminal Slavko Sakic, former member of the Croatian fascist aggressor's formations, to eight and a half years' imprisonment.

Croatian war criminal Slavko Sakic was arrested in the southwestern Bosnian town of Livno by members of the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) on May 19 this year. He has been held under custody since then. The time he has spent in custody will be calculated towards his sentence.

Although Croatian fascist originally pleaded not guilty, he reached an agreement with the Bosnian State Prosecution on September 5, admitting guilt for crimes described in the four counts of the indictment.

The indictment states that, in July 1993 he committed war crimes against Bosnian civilians in the Bosnian town Bugojno,during the Ceoatian aggression against Bosnia.

Croatian war criminal Slavko Sakic participated in detention and abuse of Bosnian civilians in "Akvarijum" hotel in Vrbanja settlement. It is further stated that, acting in cooperation with other Croatian fascist aggressor's soldiers, he caused numerous bodily injuries to detained Bosnian civilians, performing particularly severe torture of a group of Bosnian civilians, consisting, among others, of some old men, by carving a cross on their palms, after having injured them.

The indictment states that Croatian war criminal slavko Sakic participated in abuse and murder of one Bosnian civilian and took the detainees to the front lines to perform forced labour. Some Bosnian civilians were wounded on those occasions.

Trial Chamber Chairwoman Jasminka Kosovic explained that the law foresees ten or more years' imprisonment for perpetrators of such crimes, adding that the Chamber has taken into consideration the fact that "the indictee has admitted the crimes, he has no previous criminal record, he is a father of three minors and he was adult, but still very young, when the crimes were committed".

It was also said that Croatian war criminal Slavko Sakichad signed an agreement, in which he expressed his regret for the crimes he had committed. The mentioned agreement has still not been made available to the public.

The guilt admission agreement states that the Bosnian State Court can sentence him to between seven and ten years' imprisonment.Despite the fact that Croatian war criminal Slavko Sakic agreed, in the guilt admission agreement between him and the Prosecution, to pay for the costs of this trial, the Chamber determined that, due to his poor financial situation, he would not have to cover the trial costs, which would be paid from the budget.


BRUSSELS, Belgium (September 29,2008) - The European Union's executive arm agreed today how to spend 4.5 billion Euros ($6.5 billion) in aid to the bloc's candidate countries in 2008-10, giving priority to improving governance and the rule of law.

The EU Commission has approved a grant of 269.9 million Euros to be presented to Bosnia between 2008-2010.

The EU would also give a grant of 1.758 billion Euros to Turkey,584.4 million Euros to the genocidal Serbia, 451.4 million Euros to Croatia, 359.1 million Euros to Kosovo, 245.1 million Euros to Albania, 244.3 million Euros to Macedonia and 99.9 million Euros to Montenegro as either candidate or potential candidate countries in the next three years

'The road towards the EU is paved with reforms to improve the everyday lives of citizens and to comply with the strict EU accession criteria,' EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said in a statement.


STRASBOURG, France (September 29,2008) - The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) will convene tomorrow and discuss a report about Bosnia, along with a resolution calling for stronger state-level institutions and constitutional reform, so that Bosnia would be able to meet all conditions ahead of her on the path to the EU membership.

The report written by Finn Kimmo Sassi and Turk Mevlut Cavusoglu has already been adopted unanimously by the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe earlier this month.

Political representatives of the Serbians living in Bosnia have announced their motion to amend the resolutions, and a plan to lobby for support from Russia, the genocidal Serbia and the "Eastern block".

The Council of Europe is the oldest international organisation working towards European integration, being founded in 1949. It has a particular emphasis on legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation. It has 47 member states with some 800 million citizens.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 29,2008) - The President of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bosnia , Edhem Biber, has called for changes to privatisation legislation, claiming that current regulations cannot provide a swift and transparent process.

Biber stated that the government should retain a controlling stake in state-owned telcos HT Mostar and BH Telecom. The calls have been backed by the Employers’ Association of the FBIH entitya, which also believes that a new privatisation framework is needed, and that in the current economic climate the sale of national telcos should be postponed.

In response to the claims, a statement from the Sarajevo Stock Exchange (SASE) argues that should the sale of the telcos not take place it would deny the market its mechanisms for determining the value of a business, as well as the small investors their right to take part in the process. The SASE has also reiterated that the government has stated a portion of the privatisation proceeds would be injected into the stock market, and the financial body believes this could stimulate the market.

The government itself has identified the need to speed up the privatisation process, claiming that BH Telecom has lost approximately 10% of its value due to inflation, and according to the prime minister of the FBIH entity, Nedzad Brankovic, the process for the preparing paperwork for an international tender would take approximately three months; it is expected that tenders will be invited before the end of 2009.