Wednesday, October 15, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 15,2008) - The European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana said in an interview for the Bosnian daily Dnevni List yesterday that the European Union will step up its engagement in Bosnia.

DNEVNI LIST: The EU Ministers of Defence aggree that EUFOR military mission is to be transformed into civilian mission.What that "civilian" mission means and when we could expect it?

SOLANA: We are permanently assessing the situation on the ground and we are looking at possible options for our future presence.At this moment,no decision has been taken.Deauville was an informal meeting,where we had a very good discussion with the EU Defence Ministers on the issue.This process will continue in the coming weeks.We will adapt our engagement to the requirements.

DNEVNI LIST: By Mr Solana opinion,is Bosnia stable,sustainable country because the transformation (leaving) of military mission could mean something like that?

SOLANA: Despite the challenging political environment in Bosnia,the security situation remains calm and stable.Any decision on EUFOR will be taken on the basis of real needs,the security situation and in the context of wider political developments.

DNEVNI LIST: After EUFOR (military mission),civilian mission will also leave soon or after.Does EU have "exit strategy" and what are the main points that EU has to initiate and that Bosnia has to do itself?

SOLANA: The EU remains fully committed to Bosnia and we will continue to be engaged in Bosnia.The EU is currently looking for ways of stepping up our engagement for Bosnia's EU perspective.The signature of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement is a clear manifestation of this.Transition of the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) to a reinforced EU Special Representative will also underline this EU engagement.No decisions have been taken on the future of our two operations/missions.The ministers will continue to discuss how best the EU can continue to be engaged in Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 15,2008) - The Bosnian President Haris Silajdžić met yesterday with Bjorn Lyrvall, Director-General for Political Affairs of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Bosnian President Silajdžić expressed his gratitude to Sweden as the EU member country for the support it was giving Bosnia on its path to the EU integration.

President Silajdžić has repeated that Bosnia would like to implement reforms and join the European Union, and that he believed that Bosnia was not lagging behind, even with all its current drawbacks, in comparison with other countries of the region which also aim at joining EU.

Director-General for Political Affairs of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bjorn Lyrvall said that the EU should involve in the political situation in B-H more intensively, and that Bosnia would be one of the the priorities of Swedish presidency over the European Union in the second half of the following year, in order to fulfil the conditions to gain the candidacy status by 2010 and become full member of the European Union.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 15,2008) - The retrial of Serbian war criminal Marko Samardzija for war crimes against Bosnian civilians committed in the western Bosnian town of Kljuc,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, has been completed.

Presentation of evidence before the Appellate Chamber of the Bosnian State Court has been completed with the additional examination of the indictee.The presentation of closing arguments is due today.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Serbian war criminal Marko Samardzija, as former member of the genocidal paramilitary fascist formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS), with having participated in the deportation and murder of a large number of Bosnian civilians from Brkici and Balagica Brdo hamlets, in Kljuc Municipality.

The Bosnian State Court pronounced a first instance verdict against Serbian war criminal Marko Samardzija, sentencing him to 26 years in prison for these crimes. However, in May 2007 the verdict was revoked and a retrial was ordered.

During the course of the retrial audio recordings of the hearings held before the first instance Chamber were heard. Some new pieces of evidence were presented and the indictee was additionally examined. He began his testimony at the last hearing, held on September 29.

During his testimony Serbian war criminal said that he would have "stopped the murders committed in front of the school building in the Bosnian village of Biljani, had I known about them".

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges that Samardzija ordered all Bosnian civilians to leave their houses in Biljani on July 10, 1992. After that they were taken to the local school building, in which they were detained and mass murdered by the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor.

"I did not know that those murders were going to happen. I found out about them the following day. When I took the civilians to the school in Biljani, I though that they were going to be examined about weapons and given movement permits," Samardzija said, adding that about 40 Bosnian civilians were killed in the vicinity of the school building.

Serbian war criminal said he thought that the Bosnian civilians, who were transferred to the Manjaca concentration camp, "would not be killed".

Serbian war criminal Marko Samardzija also said that he "was apprised of the incidents, which had happened in the Biljani area prior to July 10, 1992," but he could not assume that "something bad was going to happen on that date".


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 15,2008) - On behalf of the European Commission Delegation to Bosnia,Head of Operation Section III Constantino Longares and the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic, addressed the participants of the conference “Protection of war victims”, held in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo yesterday.

The conference was organised by the German Organisation Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) and the Bosnian Association “Žena žrtva rata” ("Woman - Victim of War"), with aim to raise awareness of the governing structures, civil society and general public on the issues that civil victims of war have been facing in Bosnia today. Participants, legal experts, human rights activists, representatives of the relevant ministries and civil society discussed the ways of improving the status of war victims in Bosnia.

ASB is one of Germany’s largest and oldest humanitarian organisations. ASB has been providing humanitarian assistance, often in direct response to natural disasters and conflict, abroad since 1922.

At the opening ceremony, Longares expressed his hope that the project implemented by ASB along with its Bosnian partners would contribute to social inclusion of civil victims of war by raising public awareness of issues they face in Bosnia, and by providing recommendations for improvement of legislation in this sector at all government levels.

“You have asked for our continuous support and you will have our continuous support. But, I assure you, the most effective support will be that that will force your public institutions to take care of the victims themselves. What is going to be important for this country to become a member of the EU is whether it is functioning as a proper state, whether it takes care of its people, and that is part of the EU’s accession agenda.” – Longares said, urging participants of the conference to use this and similar future opportunities to analyse what is still missing in the legal and administrative environment of Bosnia and to work jointly to achieve that.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic spoke about relations towards victims of war in Bosnia, emphasizing importance to establish the truth about the war crimes committed in the past war, as well as importance of punishing those who committed war crimes.

President of the Association “Woman - Victim of War” Bakira Hasečić thanked both ASB for implementing and the European Commission for financing the project aimed at socio-economic empowerment of civil victims of war. She underlined that, through the project, they had a huge success in the past two years in creating a data base with information on war crimes and war crime victims in Bosnia.

ASB Director for the southeastern Europe Elmir Bojadzic, explained that the project was implemented through four components – strengthening capacities of the local organisations, education of war victims in preparing and developing business plans, solving housing issues of the most endangered victims, and the final component was raising public awareness on the issue.

“The goal of this conference is to raise awareness of the continuous need for discussing sensitive topics such as this one, and to find institutional and international assistance in order to overcome the situation in which we are right now.” – said Bojadžić.

The Head of the Special Department for War Crimes within the Bosnian State Prosecutor’s Office, David Schwendiman stated on this occasion that witness protection was one of the prosecution’s greatest concerns.

Representatives of the associations of the civil victims of war that participated in the conference also used this opportunity to call on representatives of the international community and the Bosnian authorities to continue to support their activities.

Organisation Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) implements project Socio-economic empowerment of particularly vulnerable groups including women victims of war and landmine victims in Bosnia, financed by European Union within programme of support to improvement of conditions and development perspectives of the marginalised groups in development countries.

Total project value is 1 million Euros of which 750,000 Euros is granted by the European Union, 100,000 Euros by Sarajevo Canton and 150,000 Euros by the ASB.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 15,2008) - A bill amending the Bank Deposit Insurance Act could be finalized by the end of this week, in which case it would be immediately referred to the Bosnian State Parliament for adoption.

The bill proposes that the current limit of state-guaranteed deposits be raised to 15,000 Bosnian Marks (double the current amount). The announcement was made by the head of the Bosnian Deposit Insurance Agency – Josip Nevjestic.

The initiative for raising this limit has already been submitted to the relevant ministry, Nevjestic says.