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BiH State Border Service inaugurated

By Maj. Juan A. Pina
First published in
SFOR Informer #90, June 21, 2000

Sarajevo - The inauguration of the Bosnia and Hercegovina State Border Service on 6 June at the Sarajevo International Airport was another landmark step in Bosnia and Hercegovina's road to normalisation. The ceremony was chaired by the Tri - Presidency and the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Co-ordinator of United Nations Operations in BiH Amb. Jacques Paul Klein. More than 100 VIPs, including Gen. De Monchy (former-DCOMSFOR) attended this highly important event.

This is the first border unit, and has been set up in Sarajevo International Airport. This unit consists on 84 members has a budget of 23.5 million DM. During the present year it is supposed to cover another 8 boundary checkpoints, and is expected to grow to a total of 879 employees. This State Border Service is due to be established definitely by year 2002. By that time it will employ a total of 3,000 employees, a fifth of which will be policemen.

The State Border Service is a truly multi-ethnic institution, based on professional competence under the direction of the recently appointed Chief of the State Border Service. The major thing about the border service is that it is the first common institution with any significant power that has been established for the benefit of the state as a whole. The purpose is to establish effective control over internationally recognised borders in the common fight against crime and corruption. They are there purely for border control and border related matters. Any other normal crimes are still the responsibility of the police. It is also a crucial step in the fight against trafficking in women and cross-border trade in illegal goods. "Without an effective border service, BiH would also continue to be a major point for illegal immigration to Europe"… " The absence of a State Border Service has been one of the factors holding Bosnia and Hercegovina back from European integration," stated Amb. Klein.

According to Michael Chandler UNMIBIH project Co-ordinator. "We've broken completely new ground by selecting and having appointed by the commission IPTF, the first Chief border service, which was conducted through an open public advertisement run by IPTF. This enabled them to see that we did it with complete impartiality. We had 120 applicants for the four top jobs in the border Service… And they went through quite a thorough interview with a board of senior police officers with the IPTF and their director. It was a very thorough process. And out of that we recommended to the commissioner the best people for those four posts. It had been stressed throughout that ethnicity plays no part in this process at all".