Thursday, November 6, 2008


VATICAN CITY, Vatican (November 6,2008) - The Grand Mufti of Bosnia Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa Ef. Ceric met today with former soldier of Adolf Hitler - Pope Benedict XVI, at historic talks held in the Vatican City aimed at defusing tensions between Muslims and Catholics.

He thanked the pope for his "warm hospitality," and reminded the pontiff that his predecessor, John Paul II, had prayed for him during the three-year siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia in the 1990s.

Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa Ef. Ceric, who headed the Muslim representatives in the forum, said the talks represented a "great step," both for Muslim-Christian relations and for "the whole of humanity."

The forum was to wrap up three days of talks at the Vatican with a public session later today.

"I was pleased to learn that you were able at this meeting to adopt a common position on the need to worship God totally and to love our fellow men and women disinterestedly, especially those in distress and need," Pope Benedict told attendees of the Muslim-Catholic Forum.

The forum stems from an October 2007 open letter sent by 138 Muslim representatives to the pope and to the heads of other Christian churches, inviting them to engage in dialogue.

The letter proposed working together to avoid a repetition of incidents such as the violent protests in the Islamic world triggered by the 2005 publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons depicting the Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammed.

Under the theme "Love of God, Love of Neighbour," the talks also represent the latest move in rapprochement between the Vatican and Muslims since Pope Benedict XVI (who was a soldier of Adolf Hitler during the World War here and here to find out more about this historical fact) offended Islam in his controversial speech in 2006. The pontiff's speech sparked outrage in the Muslim world..

Benedict on Thursday, stressed "fundamental human rights," which he said, Christians and Muslims shared.

"Political and religious leaders have the duty of ensuring the free exercise of these rights in full respect for each individual's freedom of conscience and freedom of religion," the pontiff told forum members, including representatives from Europe, Asia and Africa.

Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI was born Joseph Alois Ratzinger on 16 April 1927).

When he was 14,Pope Benedict XVI became a Hitler Youth member.

When he was 16, Pope Benedict XVI became a soldier of Adolf Hitler's genocidal fascist German army......he was a helper in an anti-aircraft briagde.In 1945, he was put through basic training and stationed near his hometown in Bavaria.

In 1945 Pope Benedict XVI was captured by American soldiers and spent the remainder of the war in a POW camp.

(click here and here to find out more about these historical facts)


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) - Concerned over the seemingly perpetual political crisis, the European Union has launched a flurry of activities aimed at bringing troubled Bosnia back onto the European path.

The EU has presented Bosnian leaders with its progress report and sent a separate letter expressing “extreme concern” with the developments in the country. Senior EU officials have also prepared a draft new strategy for Bosnia.

“What we have been witnessing in the last few months in Bosnia is not compatible with the EU values,” the head of the EU mission to Bosnia, Dimitris Kourkoulas told reporters yesterday, after he presented the EU progress report to the Bosnian government.

“All these actions, this situation, risk unfortunately not only to delay but even to jeopardise your EU perspective,” he said.

The progress report has found little or no progress achieved in the country since the June 16 signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU, which was hailed as the first concrete step on Bosnia’s path to EU.

So far Bosnia's officials offered little public comment on the report. Bosnia’s Prime Minister, Nikola Spiric said he will first “read the report in detail.”

In addition to the report, the EU has sent a letter to Bosnia's leaders, demanding them to unblock key political and economic reforms, thus showing that they are interested and ready for EU membership, media reported on November 6.

“We are extremely concerned over the political climate which is being created by your officials at all levels: boosting fears and divisions instead of associations is contrary to your European project,” said a letter sent from the French presidency of the EU, on behalf of Olli Rehn, the bloc’s enlargement commissioner, and Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief.

In addition to the letter, Rehn and Solana have also prepared a new EU strategy for Bosnia, which aims to end two years of political impasse and bring the country back to the EU path. EU foreign ministers will consider and most likely endorse the strategy on November 11.

“A lack of political census on key reforms, inflammatory rhetoric and clashing visions of the state, have once again slowed down reforms,” says the seven-point report, which argues that the “status quo is unviable and likely to remain so until and unless the international community is prepared to change the parameters of its presence and approach.”


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) - The Bosnian State Court, earlier today,found guilty Serbian war crimianl Mladen Blagojević of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 7 years in prison.

As pronounced in the Verdict, Serbian war criminal Mladen Blagojević is guilty for participating in the widespread and systematic attack by the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor against the Bosnian civilian population of the UN safe area - Srebrenica Enclave, between 11 and 18 July 1995.

During the attack,Serbian war criminal Mladen Blagojević persecuted Bosnian civilians on political, national, ethnic, cultural and religious grounds, with a view to inflicting serious bodily injuries.

As read in the pronouncement, Serbian war criminal Mladen Blagojević thereby committed the criminal offence of Crimes against Humanity and the Bosnian State Court sentenced him to 7 years imprisonment.

The time Serbian war criminal spent in custody under the decisions of this Court from 17 November 2006 onwards shall be credited against the prison sentence,the Bosnian State Court said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) - The Bosnian State Parliament's House of Representatives concluded yesterday a discussion on the draft law on the witness protection program in Bosnia.

The goal of this law is to ensure efficient witness protection during and after the conclusion of criminal proceeding and enable a witness a free testimony before Bosnian courts.

The proposed law prescribed that the witness protection program is used during the criminal procedure with possible prison sentence of three years or more, or in cases of more severe criminal acts, crimes against humanity and values protected by the international law and in cases of organized crime as well.

Delegates also discussed the proposal of delegates Niko Lozancic, Beriz Belkic and Milorad Zivkovic regarding the draft law on amendments to the law on service in the Bosnian state institutions in urgent procedure.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) – The EU Police Mission in Bosnia (EUPM) has organized a “Course on Legal Drafting” November 3-5 in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, aiming to further enhance the knowledge of lawyers and legal experts from the Bosnian state and regional institutions on drafting legal acts.

The course covered topic such as the types and content of legal acts, terminology, grammar and acronyms used, as well as methods of implementing changes to existing pieces of legislation.

A total of 31 representatives from the Bosnian state and regional institutions attended the course along with 10 representatives of EUPM.

“The participants and lecturers considered the initiative very beneficiary for legal drafting process in general,” said Tamer Kilic, EUPM Coordinator of the Legal and Regulatory Unit of the Police Reform Department.

“EUPM expects that this course would contribute to the quality of legislation drafted by their institutions and facilitate future drafting projects related with police matters.”

Depending on the need in the future, as well as expectations from the counterparts, EUPM would consider organizing a similar course in the area of legal matters while focusing on more specific areas.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) – A ceremony held o Tuesday in Zupanja (Croatia) marked the commencement of joint patrols of Bosnian and Croatian police at the part of the border under the jurisdiction of Croatian Vukovar-Srijem Police Administration on one side and Bosnian Border Police, Field Office Bijeljina on the other.

“The border should no longer be an obstacle for the police work in this region,” said Vukovar-Srijem PA police officer Tomo Iljic.

“Joint patrols with our colleagues from Bosnia should demonstrate our commitment in preventing crime in the area along the border. Until now, it was the border itself which prevented us from fighting crime since we ourselves were not able to cross it in order to prevent illegal border crossings. We also had no protocols nor agreements signed. Now, we are able to cross the border in case we notice illegal border activity, and our colleagues from Bosnia can do the same.“

The agreement on joint police patrols has been signed between the Bosnian and Croatian governments. Chief of the Bosnian Border Police Field Office Bijeljina, Novo Blagojevic, sees this decision as an approach to solve the problems of police forces on both sides of Sava River.

“This is surely a way to jointly fight against smugglers and other criminals, “ stated Blagojevic.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) - Head of the World Bank Office in Bosnia Marco Mantovanelli expects the impact of the global crisis to be felt in the country through several transmission mechanisms.

First of all, loans will be harder to get, and their price will increase, both for the corporate and the retail sector. Secondly, the capital inflow from other private sources (FDI, for example) will be reduced for a while. Thirdly, demand for the products exported by the Bosnian companies is likely to decrease, and, finally, the trend of growing remittances will slow down, or even take the opposite direction,he said.

According to Mantovanelli, the Bosnian economy is not likely to go into recession, but GDP, employment and tax revenue growths from the previous years are almost certain not to continue in 2009.

Bosnia's political leaders and regulators in the financial sector need to develop measures for strengthening regulatory control, Mantovanelli recommends.