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Wednesday, 28 April 2004

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SFOR

Oslobodjenje

Balijagic writes to SFOR that the election of OSA leadership is illegal

Tuzla lawyer, Faruk Balijagic, has sent a letter to COMSFOR Maj. Gen. Virgil Packett saying that the Chair of the BiH Council of Ministers, Adnan Terzic, was selecting candidates for the leading positions in the State Intelligence Security Agency (OSA) in a tendentious way. Balijagic stated in this letter that he had learned from the media that Almir Dzuvo, Risto Zaric, and Mladen Alpeza were candidates for senior positions in OSA, and that Terzic confirmed their candidacies and forwarded them to the OHR for check. Referring to the statement made by Terzic that Dzuvo was his, Zaric Ivanic's and Alpeza Colak's favorite, Balijagic said that Terzic had thus compromised the process of the election and appointment of senior officials to OSA. He added that neither Terzic nor anybody else had the right to favor any of the candidates because law prescribes selection of eligible candidates. According to Balijagic, Almir Dzuvo is the co-owner of the Crobox company in Milan, Italy, founded with the capital of Alija Delimustafic and Senad Sahinpasic-Saja. Tarik Music from Travnik, a senior officer of the printing house in Travnik and Adnan Terzic's nephew, is also one of the owners of this company. On Tuesday, Terzic denied any family relations to Music from the Crobox company. Terzic said that Dzuvo would have to resign from the three posts that he was currently holding if he were to be appointed Head of OSA because he simply would not have time for all this. (Photo on page 8)

SFOR

Dnevni avaz

BiH Defense Minister, Nikola Radovanovic: To propose new generals as soon as possible (Front page story)

The BiH Defense Minister, Nikola Radovanovic, has not received any enclosed documentation from COMSFOR apart from a letter with the results of the vetting process for 18 generals. He announced yesterday that he would ask for an explanation why the four officers were to be discharged from military service without the right to pension and for evidence on the basis of which SFOR concluded that only eight candidates met the criteria. "The continuation of the process of appointment of approved generals means that the Standing Committee on Military Matters will have to hold a meeting on 5 May and to propose positions for these candidates to the BiH Presidency. We did not give a deadline for the submission of their names, but it is in our interest to do this as soon as possible," said Radovanovic. The following generals were approved by SFOR: Brigadiers Sakib Foric, Rizvo Pleh, Dzevad Radjo, Colonels Miladin Milojcic, Dragos Milankovic, Mirko Tepsic, Dragan Stupar and Major General Stamenko Novakovic. Radovanovic stated at a press conference yesterday that six candidates were said to have committed acts that made them ineligible for general posts. They are accused of foul financial dealings, lack of loyalty, dishonest political activities, dubious ethical values, lack of integrity and possible involvement in war crimes. This characteristics disqualifies them from further promotion and calls for further investigation in order to establish the reasons for their discharge. "Four officers will have to be discharged because they are under investigation for involvement in war crimes," said Radovanovic conveying the contents of the letter. The first group of six officers who were not approved include: Brigadiers Slavko Puljic, Vlado Dzojic, Ivica Pavic, Safet Podzic, Senad Masovic and Serif Spago. Four brigadiers who will have to be discharged without the right to retire under more favorable conditions or to other allowances include: Selmo Cikotic, Jasmin Saric, Goran Medic and Haris Saric. A report on their discharge will have to be submitted to HQ SFOR by 15 May this year. When asked whether it was true that SFOR expected to see Atif Dudakovic and Ivica Zeko on the next list of candidates, Radovanovic said that he did not know. (Photo on page 1, 2) /The same in Oslobodjenje (p. 4), Jutarnje Novine (p. 4), Dnevni List (p. 3), Glas Srpske (p. 3), Nezavisne Novine (p. 2), Vecernji List (p. 2), Blic (p. 13), Slobodna Dalmacija (p. 17)/

SFOR

Dnevni avaz

Tihic: I will not interfere in the nomination process anymore

The Chair of the BiH Presidency, Sulejman Tihic, stated yesterday that he expected COSMFOR to review his decision to reject candidates for general posts in the BiH AFs. He said that he had received a letter from the Hague Tribunal confirming that no investigation was being conducted against Brigadier Selmo Cikotic. He said that he expected to receive confirmations for the remaining two Bosniac candidates, brigadiers Jasmin and Haris Saric. Tihic expressed his concern that SFOR's decision could slow down the appointment process because there would be no candidates would agree to be nominated when anybody could simply call them criminals or war criminals. Asked whether new candidates would be proposed, Tihic said that he would not interfere into this anymore because he did not want to put honorable officers in such a position. (Photo on page 2) /The same in Oslobodjenje (p. 4), Blic (p. 13)/

SFOR

Dnevni avaz

SDA: SFOR's decision on Bosniac candidates - dangerous precedent

The SDA has supported the position of the Chair of the BiH Presidency, Sulejman Tihic, on COMSFOR's decision to reject the nominations of a certain number of Bosniac candidates for general posts in the BiH AFs. "This decision, which is not based on relevant evidence but on arbitrary evaluations, compromises the basic human rights of BiH war veterans and is a dangerous precedent for all BiH citizens," the SDA stated in its press release yesterday. (Photo on page 2) /The same in Blic (p. 13), Slobodna Dalmacija (p. 17)/

SFOR

Dnevni avaz

Association "Mothers of Enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa": Dragan Stupar and Dragos Milankovic established first concentration camps

The members of Association Mothers of Enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa have protested against SFOR's decision to reject the nominations of Bosniac and Croat officers for general posts in the BiH AFs. "This is another proof that SFOR is siding with the faction that committed genocide and most crimes in BiH. SFOR should have arrested war criminals Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and others wanted by the ICTY by now. We know that Serb generals Dragan Stupar and Dragos Milankovic were among those who established the first prison camps in eastern Bosnia such as Susica in the Vlasenica municipality, where old men, women and children, whose bodies lie in mass graves across eastern Bosnia, were kept," it was stated in a press release issued by this association yesterday. (Photo on page 2) /The same in Oslobodjenje (p. 5)/

SFOR

Dnevni avaz

Dave Sullivan, SFOR spokesperson: We expect to receive names in order to start with the second vetting process

"SFOR will not compromise when it comes to standards for the appointment of commanders to the BiH AFs," said Dave Sullivan, SFOR spokesperson, at a press conference yesterday. He said that the vetting decisions were taken under the provision of the General Framework Agreement for Peace. "This is not about guilt or innocence or about entities. It is about selecting officers who are credible and have the trust and confidence of all parties and the international community and most importantly the military personnel they will lead," said Sullivan. He said that these officers would be the benchmark by which the future of the AFBiH would be measured, and that they would determine whether Bosnia-Herzegovina was ready to move forward into the future and eventually Partnership for Peace or whether the country would be bound by the past. (Photo on page 2) /The same in Dnevni List (p. 3), Slobodna Dalmacija (p. 17)/

SFOR

Oslobodjenje

Editorial by Antonio Prlenda: General mistake

I think that before he could even hope, Sulejman Tihic, Chair of the BiH Presidency, realized what mistake he had made when he agreed that wartime generals were not eligible for positions in the joint bodies of the BiH AFs. Tihic could not hide tears on TV on Monday after his unsuccessful meting with COMSFOR. But it was all his fault. He forfeited the trust of Bosniac wartime generals without scoring any political points. On the contrary. At this point, it would not be bad if SFOR showed a little bit more flexibility in explaining its decision because BiH's accession to the Partnership for Peace programme is a joint project of BiH citizens and the IC. However, I do not think it will come to any good if they are living under the threat of being considered ineligible. (Photo on page 2)

SFOR

Oslobodjenje

Dragan Mikerevic on approval of Serb candidates

Dragan Mikerevic, RS Premier, considers that it is encouraging that Serb candidates were approved for general posts in the BiH AFs. (Photo on page 5)

SFOR

Oslobodjenje

Association for Protection of Legacy of Struggle for BiH: Uncivilized rejection of Bosniacs

"COMSFOR did not only brutally eliminate six of the nine nominated Bosnaic candidates from the list of future generals of the BiH AFs but also from political life," it was stated in the press release issued by the Association for Protection of Legacy of Struggle for BiH. This association stated that COMSFOR had treated Selmo Cikotic, Jasmin Saric and Haris Saric in an uncivilized manner and, without stating any reasons or explanations, deprived them of their right to employment and to earn a living. (p. 5)

SFOR

Dnevni avaz

EUFOR tasked with arresting PIFWCs

EU troops, EUFOR, will be tasked with arresting war crimes suspects, among other things. EUFOR will share this duty with NATO Mission in BiH, which is contrary to the previous plans, reads yesterday's issue of Financial Times. A reporter of this respected Brussels daily relays a statement by a European diplomat who claims that the relationship between the EU and NATO has improved. The daily announces that in Istanbul this June NATO will declare that the Mission in BiH has been successfully completed and open the door for 7,000 EUFOR soldiers. Germany will send 1,200 soldiers, which is the largest number, while France and Great Britain, whose general will command the troops, will follow. This has been the biggest peace support mission to include Europeans, after the one in Macedonia, which involved 300 soldiers, and the one in the Democratic Republic of Congo where 1,300 soldiers were deployed. However, the Mission in BiH will be the most important in the EU defence plans. SFOR will start leaving BiH at the end of the year. (p.3)

SFOR

Slobodna Dalmacija

Head of Siroki Brijeg Municipality meets SFOR French members

Recently, SFOR French members visited Miljenko Jelic, Head of the Siroki Brijeg Municipality, and discussed with him the opening of the Office for Civil and Military Affairs. It is almost certain that this Office will be situated in the area of Trn. The goal of the French troops is to establish better communications with citizens, which will improve the relationship between the two sides. (back page)

SFOR

Vecernje Novosti

SFOR dismantles bridge in Foca/Srbinje

It was a shock to citizens of Foca/Srbinje when they recently saw only the bare stone pillars where the iron bridge over the Drina river had been before. "On 23 March, members of the SFOR German Engineer Unit informed us that they would dismantle the iron construction of the bridge which was set up in 1997," says Municipality Head Nedeljko Pavlovic with obvious disappointment. He also says that the Municipality's numerous appeals to the SFOR HQ in Mostar to delay for a while the removal of the bridge, which is really important to citizens of Foca/Srbinje, did not help. It has also appealed to the RS Government and the VRS to try and persuade SFOR to meet this wish, but has received no reply to date. Members of HQ SFOR say that they informed the Foca/Srbinja Municipality two years ago that they would dismantle the bridge's iron construction, justifying this with security reasons and the completion of their mission. People living in the area will now have to travel several kilometers longer in order to pass over the only bridge over the Drina in downtown Foca/Srbinje. (p.19)

SFOR

Vecerni List

Brigadier Goran Medic: I'm surprised at the silence of Croatian authorities

In addition to being rejected in SFOR's vetting process, according to the decision by HQ SFOR, Brigadier Goran Medic will now have to be dismissed from professional service with no right to retirement or other benefits. HQ SFOR made this decision after receiving information that his urgent dismissal was required because he has been suspected of involvement in war crimes. Asked to comment on SFOR's decision, Brigadier Medic, who was a liaison officer between the Federation Army and HQ SFOR for three years, said that the decision was a sheer nonsense. "I'll ask to talk with someone from HQ SFOR in order to clear my name which is now tarnished," said Medic and added that he was particularly sorry that Croatian authorities had not reacted to the decision by HQ SFOR. (p.2)

SFOR

Glas Srpske

SFOR replies to Sulejman Tihic

Yesterday, SFOR issued a press release reading that the vetting process and the resulting approvals of candidates for general posts in the BiH Armed Forces were performed in line with the Dayton Agreement. Two days ago, Chair of the BiH Presidency Sulejman Tihic said that "the decision made by COMSFOR General Packett that six Bosniac candidates for general posts in the BiH Armed Forces do not meet the criteria is scandalous." In its reaction to this statement, SFOR says that "those officers who enjoy the credibility and confidence of all three parties and the international community, and, most importantly, of military personnel that they would command, are to be appointed to general posts." "We have no intention of compromising these standards. The selected officers will serve as the level for assessment of the future BiH Armed Forces. Their appointments will show NATO and the international community how committed BiH is to international standards of leadership," reads the press release. SFOR also stresses that these officers will show if BiH is ready to move towards a better future and possibly towards the Partnership For Peace, or if it will remain confined in its past. (p.3)

SFOR

Glas Srpske

Dave Sullivan: Father and son Starovlah were not beaten up

SFOR spokesperson Dave Sullivan was not in a position to answer the question of whether Moslems, Croats and Slovenians had been among the soldiers who had carried out the operation in Pale, as Metropolitan Amfilohije claims. "This is the most ridiculous question which I was asked in the past three weeks," said Sullivan at a press conference in Sarajevo. Sullivan also said that Archpriest Starovlah and his son Aleksandar had not been beaten in this operation and that SFOR never speaks about participants in its operations. (p.3)/The same in Nezavisne Novine (p.6), Blic (p.12)/

SFOR

Glas Srpske

Mladen Ivanic comments on Tihic's reaction

Yesterday, BiH Minister of Foreign Affairs Mladen Ivanic said that the Bosniac party should propose new candidates for senior military posts as soon as possible, so that BiH did not lose an opportunity to join the Partnership for Peace programme. Speaking about the statement by Chair of the BiH Presidency Sulejman Tihic that COMSFOR General Packett's decision to reject six Bosniac candidates is scandalous, Ivanic stressed that the Bosniac party should not be angry, but instead propose new candidates very soon. (p.3)

SFOR

Nezavisne Novine

EUROFOR advance contingent to arrive by 1 May

An advance contingent of the European Forces should arrive in Sarajevo by 1 May. This contingent is supposed to make preparations for the arrival of 7,000 members of the European contingent. In July, the UN Security Council will issue a new resolution on BiH that will provide a legal basis for the entire process. Yesterday's issue of German Frankfurter Rundschau published that Germany would have 1,800 soldiers and police officers. (p.8)/The same in Blic (p.13)/

SFOR

Blic

Dragan Covic on SFOR's decision

Dragan Covic, the Croatian member of the BiH Presidency, says that "it is very strange that none of the four Croat candidates for general posts in the BiH Armed Forces have not met the criteria set" and adds that everything should be done to protect them from a "public lynching". "Nowadays, each officer in the rank of brigadier is entitled to protection provided by institutions of these authorities," Covic says in Modrica. (p.13)

SFOR

Jutarnje Novine

Operation Harvest in Novo Sarajevo

On 24 and 25 April, within Operation Harvest 2004, the checkpoints were set up in the Local Communities of Hrasno and Velesici for handing in illegally held weapons. The Head of the Novo Sarajevo Municipality, the Police Department II, the Health Center, the Federation Army and the SFOR German -Italian Battle Group organized this operation in which the following weapons were collected: 33 hand grenades, 292 bullets, one M-53 submachine-gun, two M-70 automatic rifles, one machine-gun, three smoke grenades, one M-79 anti-tank shell, and one projectile of 40mm caliber. (p.17)

AF IN BIH

Dnevni avaz

FBiH House of Representatives postpones vote on War-Veterans law

Contrary to the insistence of Ibrahim Nadarevic, the FBiH Minister for War-Veterans and Invalids, the Draft Law on Veterans was not included in the agenda for the session of the FBIH House of Representatives, because President of the HDZ Caucus, Ivan Madunic, said the delegates did not receive the Draft on time. Consequently, the discussion on the Draft law was postponed for an emergency session scheduled for 4th May. The House of Representatives did adopt the Program for discharge of surplus members of the FBiH Ministry of Defense and the VF. The FBiH Minister of Defense, Miroslav Nikolic, commented that the program should be implemented by the end of May, and that it envisaged three ways in which the discharged VF and MoD members will be taken care of: retirement, severance pay and retraining. Nikolic explained that those entitled to a severance pay should receive around 6,000 KM. However, Minister Nikolic could not tell what the exact number of those pending dismissal was, nor whether delays in the implementation of the program could jeopardize BiH's accession to the PfP which is to take place at the Istanbul conference in June. The House of Representatives also adopted a decision to cancel the execution of all CRPC decisions which refer to military apartments. In addition, all administrative and court proceedings for repossession of military apartments will be suspended until the Amended Law on Sale of Apartments with tenancy rights is passed. (p.4.)

BIH - EUROPE

Oslobodjenje

Adnan Terzic on conditions for BiH's accession to Europe: Cooperation with ICTY

The Chair of the BiH Council of Ministers, Adnan Terzic, stated Tuesday that he didn't share the pessimist predictions of international and BiH officials who believed that the country will not meet by August this year 16 priorities set by the European Commission for the country's stabilization and accession to Europe. Terzic explained that the BiH authorities specified "45 tasks which should be implemented by the end of May, while the European Commission insists on our fulfillment of 16 priorities by August." Terzic noted that since December last year, as many as 28 new laws have been adopted or are being prepared, and that each of the 16 priorities has at least partially been fulfilled. In this context, Terzic cited a list of adopted laws, various European conventions and documents, among which he pointed out to the most important one: the Statement on the Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal signed recently by the highest BiH state officials. When asked whether he thought that the mere signing of the Statement was enough for the BiH to satisfy the EC requirements, Terzic replied that it was up to the European Commission to assess this in August, but he believed that "the measure in itself was enough." Terzic reminded the journalists on a large number of adopted police and crime provisions which will enable SIPA (State Intelligence and Protection Agency) to turn into a state police. According to Terzic, the new state intelligence agency will allow BiH authorities to assume responsibility for the arrest of war criminals. Other laws deemed important for Terzic was the Convention on Confiscation of Illegally Acquired Property adopted by the BiH Presidency, which will serve as a legal footing for the new law. Terzic also stressed that a Daft law on High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council was in preparation whereby the entities have transferred part of their responsibilities to the state. (p.7.)

BIH - JUDICIARY

Dnevni avaz

Vlado Adamovic to become the President of the BiH Court?

After Michael O'Malley, Vice-President of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH, recently dispersed all suspicions with regard to the election of the President of the BiH Court, the speculations at this state judicial instance as to who could become the new President are riding high. Under the condition of anonymity, one of the judges of the BiH Court revealed to the newspapers that the new President of the Court of BiH will most likely become "one of the judges of the Court of BiH who had 'a regular career', that is, the judge who has tried at all levels of judicial authority starting from the municipal to canton or district courts, up to the Supreme Court. This condition significantly narrows down the choice of candidates to 4 persons: Jasminka Orucevic-Cohadzic, Venceslav Ilic, Mehmed Sator and Vlado Adamovic. The source further reveals that the attitude both at the Court and among the bodies involved in the selection is that the helm of the Court of BiH should be entrusted to a judge of younger generation. This leaves only two candidates 'in the game': Jasminka Orucevic-Cohadzic and Vlado Adamovic, and according to the source this makes Vlado Adamovic almost certainly a winner. (p.3)

CRIME

Oslobodjenje

Smuggling rate between the FBiH and RS increases

The Chair of the BiH Council of Minister, Adnan Terzic, warned on Tuesday that intra-entity contraband activities have risen in the past year and that the only remedy to the problem is unification of the national business space. Chair Terzic further noted that the FBiH had a three times better trade exchange-rate with the Republic of Croatia than with the Republika Srpska, which itself shares similar trade indicators with the SCG. Much like the entity premiers, Dragan Mikerevic and Ahmet Hadzipasic, who agreed on Monday in Mrakovica that a higher trade-rate with the neighboring countries than that between the entities was illogical, Terzic also concludes that goods exchanged between the entities are mostly being smuggled, not sold. As part of the state efforts to fight smuggling, the three officials signed this Monday a new agreement under which excise duties for high-tariff goods shall be paid to the state and not entity accounts, and this is supposed to provide better control of trade in high-tariff goods. Worried over the rising rate of goods smuggled between the entities, the two premiers requested from the inspection authorities, especially the customs and market inspectors, to step up their activities. The major break-through in the recent agreements was a decision to establish a shared data-base on all registered firms in BiH, which until a while ago was bone of contention among entity politicians. A single data-base should do away with phantom firms who were used as a front for money laundering. In a similar article, Dnevni Avaz carries that the Executive Board of the Indirect Taxation Administration was tasked with drafting Amendments and Supplements to the Law on indirect taxation and a set of laws that will enable the Indirect taxation Administration to generate its prime revenues on excise duties for imported and domestic high-tariff goods. (p.5.) /Dnevni Avaz (p.4.)/

ICTY

Dnevni avaz

Five ICTY-indicted BiH Croats on provisional release at the beginning of June?

The five BiH Croats indicted by the ICTY, Jadranko Prlic, Slobodan Praljak, Bruno Stojic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic, could be put on provisional release in one month, most probably at the beginning of June, according to Zeljko Par, the Defense attorney of Jadranko Prlic. Par explained that defense attorneys of the other four indicted BiH Croats will also submit to the Hague Tribunal an official request for provisional release of their defendants in the next seven to ten days after they have received official guarantees of the FBiH and the Republic of Croatia. The expectation of the majority of the defense attorneys is that the Hague Tribunal will affirmatively respond to their request since the cooperation of Croatia and BiH with the ICTY has been lifted to the highest level ever. Allegedly, the Tribunal has trust in the said states and is therefore more inclined to favor the interests of these countries. Prlic, according to his lawyer, has well adapted to the prison conditions and most frequently socializes with two other inmates - Naser Orlic and Frenki Simatovic. (p.4)

OHR

Nezavisne Novine

HDZ: Impossible to unify schools in Central-Bosnia Canton

Commenting on the OHR's ultimatum demanding the unification of single-nation schools in the Central Bosnia Canton set for Friday this week, or the High Representative in BiH, Paddy Ashdown, will punish the HDZ with financial sanctions, Ivo Miro Jovic, a HDZ delegate in the BiH Parliament stated that it was " impossible to effect administrative and legal unification of the two schools under one roof in the Central-Bosnia Canton". In his view, such unification would contravene the standards prescribed by the Law on Elementary and Secondary Education in the Central Bosnia Canton and the current Framework Law at the state level. The said laws allow for two schools to exist as separate legal subjects even if they are located in the same building. Jovic concluded that this was "a matter of practicality since two elementary schools in the town of Vitez, which are under one roof, would, if unified, have a total of 1,500 students. "The number of students would simply be too big." Jovic qualified the OHR ultimatum as "yet another step by which the International community has shown that it does not support the right of Croat children to their mother tongue." In this particular case, the OHR insists on the unification of a Bosniac and a Croat school, even though there are also two separate Croat schools at the same building." The Central Bosnia Education Minister, Nikola Lovrinovic, said that even though the Canton Government proposed the Amendments to the Canton Law on Primary and Secondary Education that would provide for joint administration of two schools in the same building but with separate curricula and the School Board reflecting the ethnic structure of students, the Central Bosnia Canton Assembly nevertheless failed to adopt this legislation. However, Minister Lozancic was of the opinion that the Assembly delegates and officials were on the track of the demands posed by the OHR. (p.4.)

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