Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina
Update No: 101 - (27/09/05)
Bosnian President: We want our country back from the
The 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the war in the former Yugoslavia,
split Bosnia into a Serb Republic and a Muslim-Croat Federation. It is
administered by a U.N. representative appointed by the Security Council.
The President of Bosnia and Herzegovina says the Bosnian people are committed to
taking back ownership of the country from the United Nations. Addressing the
U.N. General Assembly on September 15th, Ivo Jovic described Bosnia as a
non-functional structure left to the Bosnian people by the 1995 peace accords.
He said Bosnian Serbs, Muslims, and Croats are committed to the highest
standards of human and civil rights. President Jovic said Bosnia belongs to the
European family of nations and can be a factor of stability in the Balkans.
Bosnia's stalled police reform: no progress, no EU
The obvious way for Bosnia to realize this ambition is to join the European
Union as soon as possible. But this requires reforms, above all police reform.
"I am disappointed that the National Assembly of Republika Srpska rejected
the latest proposal for police reform which is in line with the required EU
principles," said Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn. He was speaking after
Bosnian Serb legislators voted, 56 to 10, against another attempt at unifying
police services throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
The Dayton agreement, which terminated bloody infighting in the former Yugoslav
republic in 1995, divided BiH into two mini-states, both with their own
governments, parliaments, armies and police units. The European Union, backed by
the international community, now wants the federal BiH authorities to take up
almost all state-level functions, including overseeing police. Bosnian Serbs,
however, fear that unifying police units is another step on the road to
downgrading Republika Srpska.
EU Enlargement Commissioner took a different tack in Brussels: "I regret
that this opportunity to reach agreement on this crucial issue has been
missed," he said. Rehn went on to state that Bosnia and Herzegovina will
now not be able to start negotiations on a Stabilization and Association
Agreement (SAA) with the European Union this year. "I regret that the
chance to celebrate ten years of peace by opening a new phase of European future
has now been lost," added Rehn.
Police reform is the last important stumbling block for the European Commission
to commence SAA negotiations. BiH has, however, implemented many of the
conditions laid down by the European Commission on the way to a Stabilization
and Association Agreement (SAA) - a sort of waiting room before making an EU
membership application. "There are two things standing in the way of BiH in
terms of launching the SAA negotiations: police reforms and the Law on Public
Broadcasting Service," said BiH Prime Minister Adnan Terzic, speaking
before the summer break.
International Crisis Group Europe Report 164 September 2005
In its latest Europe Report, the ICG makes strong recommendations on how to
resolve the issue of police reform in B-H, and to prevent RS obstruction from
blocking the country's progress towards European integration. An executive
summary of it and its recommendations are as follows:-
The international strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina risks derailment. It
consists entirely of preparing the country for eventual European Union (EU)
membership in the hope that integration processes will overcome ethno-political
divides and their intertwined economic and criminal interests. However, the
police reform needed to begin negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association
Agreement (SAA) with the EU appears hopelessly blocked. With integration
stalled, the international community will have to maintain its High
Representative in Sarajevo for at least two to three years, if not longer, to
head off dangers of new conflict unless it acts decisively in the next several
weeks to confront the chief obstacles to reform: the main Bosnian Serb political
party and the Belgrade government of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica.
Bosnia has long needed substantive police reform. During the 1992-1995 war, the
police were a key instrument of ethnic cleansing -- particularly in Republika
Srpska (RS) and the Croatian areas of the Federation. The war left Bosnia with
three police forces: Bosniak, Croat and Serb, each with its own jurisdictions.
The first two have since merged, at least nominally, but the RS has refused all
efforts to reform structures or integrate them with those of other ethnic
groups. Police throughout the country have remained highly politicised, acting
at the behest of politicians to obstruct implementation of the Dayton Peace
Accords, in particular refugee return, and heavily involved in organised crime.
The RS force is filled with war criminals and actively supports persons indicted
by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
The Office of the High Representative (OHR) is attempting to gain agreement on
sweeping police reform for the entire country to satisfy criteria established by
the European Commission as preconditions for SAA negotiations. It has failed,
due to obstruction from the Serbian side. The leading RS party - the Serbian
Democratic Party (SDS) - openly blocks all efforts at reform and receives active
encouragement from the Serbian government, the Serbian Orthodox Church and
Serbia's security structures, which desire to annex RS as part of a Kosovo final
The OHR and Bosnia's other parties have made significant concessions to the RS,
watering down the reform proposal to the extent that it may not satisfy two of
the three European Commission criteria, but in vain. The most recent idea
floated by the Bosnian prime minister would merely delay the important decisions
for at least a year or two and would not constitute serious reform.
If a 15 September deadline is not met, the European Commission will formally
reject Bosnia's bid to negotiate an SAA, and the reform window will close at
least for two years, because the country will be preoccupied with elections in
2006. The only chance to get police reform and European integration back on
track is for the international community to decide now to put meaningful
pressure on the obstructionists in Banja Luka and Belgrade, beginning with a
decision to shake up RS politics by banning the SDS if its failure to compromise
on police reform causes Bosnia to miss the deadline for EU negotiations. It
should also reassess the disappointing performance of the EU Police Mission (EUPM)
and use the expiration of its mandate at year's end to replace it with a more
effective institution with a broader mandate.
To the High Representative and Members of the Peace Implementation Council:
1. Insist that the current watered-down proposal be strengthened to meet the
three criteria established by the European Commission.
2. Place serious pressure on the Republika Srpska to accept police reform,
beginning by banning the SDS as a political party and seizing its assets if its
failure to compromise on police reform causes Bosnia to miss the deadline for
negotiations with the EU on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
3. Seek a public declaration from Belgrade that it has no territorial
aspirations towards Bosnia and Herzegovina and will respect Bosnia's borders in
the event of a Kosovo final status determination.
4. Return to the original police reform plan developed by the EUPM, including:
(a) five police regions rather than ten;
(b) community oversight councils, with participation of local civil society
groups, particularly women; and
(c) without entity representatives as deputies to the director of local police,
the community oversight councils, and the police board.
To the European Union:
5. Place serious pressure on Belgrade to support international community policy
on Bosnia, beginning with a warning that the Stabilisation and Association
process with Serbia and Montenegro will be suspended unless the Kostunica
government uses its influence with the RS to achieve early agreement on police
6. Shut down the EUPM at the end of its mandate and establish in its place a new
police mission with a mandate at least as strong as that of the EUPM's
predecessor organisation, the International Police Task Force (IPTF), with the
expectation that its powers will be used to remove recalcitrant police
Bosnia exports 870m Euro in H1
In the first six months of 2005 Bosnia exported goods amounting to about 870m
Euro and imported goods for 2.51bn Euro, Ansamed reported recently.
According to ICE (Italian Trade Commission) in Sarajevo, the trade deficit
amounted to 1.6bn Euro, 26 per cent of which was represented by the food sector.
According to Jago Lasic, deputy president of the Chamber of Commerce of
Bosnia-Herzegovina, it is necessary to introduce quotas for imports and to fix a
quota for imports from foreign markets in order to protect the national
BiH justice minister visits FYROM
Bosnia and Herzegovina's Justice Minister, Slobodan Kovac, arrived in Skopje on
September 13th for a one-day visit, Makfax reported.
Kovac held talks with Macedonia's Justice Minister, Meri Mladenovska -
Gjorgjievska. They signed a bilateral agreement on legal assistance in civic and
criminal law proceedings. Kovac and Finance Minister, Nikola Popovski, signed an
agreement aimed at regulation of assets-related relations between the two
countries. Kovac later met with the Head of Republican Judicial Council, Lence
Sofronievska, and with the President of the Constitutional Court, Mirjana
MINERALS & METALS
Mittal Steel Zenica H1 output up
Bosnian steel maker, Mittal Steel Zenica, produced 142,000 tonnes of steel worth
57m Euro in the fist six months of the year, increased by 30,000 tonnes compared
to the same period last year, seeurope.net reported on August 4th.
A total of 102,000 tonnes of steel worth 41m Euro was exported, of which 40,000
tonnes worth 16m Euro was exported to Serbia and Montenegro. The remaining
40,000 tonnes of steel worth 16.5m Euro was delivered to domestic companies.