Main News Summary
Friday, 25 July 2003

SFOR
Jutarnje Novine
Operation Active Harvest in Zvornik, Osmaci, Kalesija and Tuzla
Operation Active Harvest, arranged by Danish members of the MNB (N), has been successfully completed in the area of Zvornik, Osmaci, Kalesija and Tuzla. The operation lasted for 21days during which 83 rifles, 1 machine gun, 18 pistols, 14 small weapons, 63 rifle grenades, 112,381 ammunition of various calibre, 13 anti-personnel mines, 1 mortar and 41 artillery rounds, 8 loaded and 244 empty rifle magazines, 200 black powder charges and 6,700 grams of explosive were collected. SFOR HQ made a short statement that SFOR had had very good co-operation from the local police and civil defence officials during the conduct of the operation. (p. 57).
SFOR
Dnevni avaz
US President Bush: US troops remain in SFOR
Two days ago, US President Bush forwarded a letter to the US Congress in which he informed Congress that the priorities of the USA Administration in BiH would be the arrest of war crimes indictees and the fight against terrorism. He also stated in the letter that US troops would remain as an SFOR contingent in BiH. Currently, there are 1,500 US soldiers in SFOR. (p. 2) /The same in Oslobodjenje (p. 3)/
SFOR
Dnevni avaz
Unnecessary violence against a war veteran Dnevni avaz
Disabled war veteran Bajro Sabanovic, who was beaten up by four SFOR soldiers in Kalesija for filming the street where these soldiers where passing by from his apartment balcony, is in the hospital at the University-Clinical Centre in Tuzla. He said that he felt pain in his chest and back. He also said that as soon as he left the hospital, he would file a lawsuit against these four soldiers who had beaten him up. Sabanovic's doctor Mirsad Fazlic stated that Sabanovic had sustained severe injuries in the area of his chest, heart, lungs and spine. Doctor Fazlic also said that he could not believe that SFOR soldiers could do something like that to a disabled war veteran. "He is completely harmless, being without an arm and a leg. It was an act of violence against a disabled man," said Dr. Fazlic. The War Veterans Organisation from Kalesija and Tuzla have already sent letters to the OHR and SFOR HQ, condemning this act of violence. They stated in the letters that SFOR should train soldiers to arrest war crimes indictees and not harm innocent and helpless people such as Mr. Sabanovic. (p. 30)
SFOR
Dnevni avaz
Joint investigation of SFOR, local police and EUPM into the incident in Kalesija
The SFOR MNB (N), the local police and the EUPM will jointly work on establishing the facts related to the incident which happened two days ago in Kalesija when a group of SFOR soldiers detained for a short period a resident of the town of Kalesija, who was suspected of filming an SFOR patrol in that town, reports FENA. Also, as stated in an SFOR report, the resident of Kalesija was handed over to the local police right after their arrival. The report also reads that SFOR takes such incidents very seriously, and that SFOR shall always carry out an investigation into such incidents to ensure that appropriate measures were taken by SFOR soldiers, and to prevent such incidents from happening again in future. (p. 30) /The same in Oslobodjenje (p. 9), Dnevni List (p. 6), Nezavisne Novine (p. 15), Slobodna Dalmacija (p. 18)/
SFOR
Jutarnje Novine
Military storage sites full of weapons
SFOR members are currently involved with members of the VF and VRS on resolving a number of issues related to security and reduction of the number of weapons storage sites. SFOR's spokesperson Dale MacEachern stated at a press conference that the concern regarding the safety of the weapons storage sites comes from the fact that those sites usually contain an excessive number of weapons and ammunition, as well as the fact that the bulk of the material stored is very unstable. (p. 2) /The same in Slobodna Dalmacija (p. 64)/
SFOR
Jutarnje Novine
MNB (N) spokesperson comments on incident in Kalesija Jutarnje Novine
The MNB (N) spokesperson, Jeff Coverdale, commented on the incident in Kalesija only by saying that the citizen in question had been apprehended for a short period under suspicion of filming an SFOR patrol. "SFOR expects its soldiers to behave in a professional manner and to make appropriate decisions in order to avoid such incidents from happening again. An investigation into the incident has bee opened and involves, apart from SFOR members, members of the EUPM. At the moment, we do not want to discuss possible disciplinary measures that may be taken against these four SFOR soldiers," stated Major Coverdale.
AF IN BIH
Dnevni avaz
Atif Dudakovic: The pressure imposed on the VF is not fair!
In an interview with Dnevni avaz, the Commander of the VF Joint Command, Lt. General Atif Dudakovic, stated that he considered that the cutting off of the water and power supply only to the VF could only be understood as the state-owned companies and services exercising their power on the VF, especially if one bears in mind that the VF was definitely not the only one in debt to those companies, but was the only one being "punished" by them. However, he believes that there is no conspiracy against the VF by the local companies and services, and that it is due to a state of of total confusion, and the professional incompetence of officials working for those companies. As for the pressure from the international community being imposed on the VF, General Dudakovic is of the opinion that such pressure was absolutely unnecessary and unjust, especially because the VF has never presented obstacles to reforms of the Armed Forces in BiH. (p. 5)
BIH - ECONOMY
Slobodna Bosna
Sabanovic Brothers and Bosmal
The Sabanovic brothers, Nijaz and Edin, left BiH during the war, went to Malaysia where they obtained their degrees and are now the co-owners of Bosmal, the joint Bosnian-Malaysian company which expressed its interest in building the BiH highway, also known as the 5C corridor. The older brother, Nijaz Sabanovic, was one of the signatories of the Decision to Found the SDA, in Visegrad in 1990. When Alija Izetbegovic sent Mustafa efendi Ceric to Malaysia as his Special Envoy, Ceric took Edin Sabanovic with him. Nijaz Sabanovic arrived in Malaysia in 1993. Before they returned to Bosnia, the brothers were granted a 2-million dollar worth loan from the Bank Islam Labuan Malaysia, which they used to start Bosmal.. When the bank director, Nassir Yussoff, came to see them in Sarajevo they drove him all the way to Dubrovnik and he, according to Edin Sabanovic, said, "Edin, you need a highway. You have my support. I will give you the money but you have to sort out the papers with the BiH Government." Edin Sabanovic's approach to the government was, "You can have the highway without having to invest one mark." Bosmal maintains that it needs 300 million dollars to prepare a feasibility study, ecological analysis and other documents included in the final project design. However, the, director of the Traffic and Communication Institute in Sarajevo claims that parts of the project already exist, for thirty years now, and that these parts could be used. Sources close to the Sabanovic brothers maintain that the brothers will get the money from the Bank fairly easily. They also claim that the 300 million is actually money that the Islamic countries donated with the aim of helping the BiH people during the war and which ended up as fixed-term deposits in an account at the Malaysia Bank. Alija Izetbegovic, reis Mustafa Ceric and Hasan Cengic had the exclusive control over the money. Our sources close to the American Embassy claim that last year the Embassy requested the BiH Government investigate the origin of Bsmaol's capital. Interestingly, Tarik Dzodzic, Economic Advisor to the Council of Ministers Chair, Adnan Terzic, is the person in charge of the negotiations with Bosmal. Before his job in Terzic's officet, Dzodzic was one of the closest associates of Hasan Cengic in his businesses under the umbrella of the Foundation for the Help to the BiH Muslims. Dzodzic, who is a layer, was the key man for the legal or rather illegal privatisation arrangements involving Cengic's companies Visoko Airport, Bio Air, Bio Tours, and Bosnian Transport Service for which the TWRA, Arab Humanitarian Agency, provided the vehicles. During the war, Sudan's Fatim Al Hasanein and Hasan Cengic handled the TWRA money, without any outside control. When two months ago Cengic's name appeared on the list of 200 people from the region whom the American administration banned from the USA, Dzodzic requested a meeting at the American Embassy in Sarajevo. Terzic's advisor tried to persuade his American counterpart that Cengic's companies operate in accordance with the law but it seems he failed.
BIH - ECONOMY
Dani
BiH on the road
All the public discussions about the 5C corridor
seem to forget the political implications of the project. Agitation and panic which the SDA and Dnevni avaz have been showing since the Croatian Government expressed its intention to support the group of Croatian companies in their efforts to win the contract for the construction of the 5C corridor confirm the fear of certain structures that they will loose calculated political profit. Representatives of the international community and relevant embassies in Sarajevo are still confused by statemetn of Adnan Terzic, Council of Ministers Chair, that he has already accepted Bosmal's preliminary offer for the construction of the highway, allegedly in compliance with the BiH Law on Concessions, although the Law does not preclude other interested companies from submitting their offers after a company has expressed its willingness to execute the project It is believed that he made this statement under pressure from the SDA. Interestingly, it is impossible to establish the identity of the Malaysian silent partner of the Sabanovic brothers, owners of the Bosmal Company, as company court registers do not display his name. Naturally, this also puts in question the alleged 50% Bosnian ownership of the company. Because of all the above, foreign intelligence services in Sarajevo have been gathering information on Bosmal and its connections with the controversial Hasan Cengic, a key SDA player. In September 2002, at a campaign rally, Cengic said, "This week was and will be decisive for the construction of the Sava - Adriatic coast highway. With God's help, we will build the Sava - Neum, that is to say the Sava - Adriatic coast highway, not with the money from the budget but with foreing investments. There are investors talking about this project and, with God's help, you will have the official information by the end of this year. I cannot talk about it because I am involved in the negotiations myself…in the last three months I have talked three times with tourist agencies in Malysia and the possibility of their bringing tourists to Bosnia." If it turns out that Cengic is behind Bosmal, Western countries and the United States in particular might have serious reservations about the whole project and the behavior of the BiH Government - President Bush did after all forbid Cengic from entering the states because of Cengic's financial support to violence and obstruction in the region
BIH - USA
Dnevni avaz
Christopher Hoch: RS Government is the only one in the world that does not co-operate with The Hague
The Charge d' Afffaires of the US Embassy in BiH, Christopher Hoch, stated that the RS Government was the only one in the world not co-operating with the Hague Tribunal. "During my three-year stay in BiH, I have seen on a number of occasions that people indicted by The Hague from all three ethnic groups had voluntarily turned themselves in, and that some of them were found guilty and sentenced to prison and others were set free. I believe that everybody can see, by now, that the Hague Tribunal is a fair court, and therefore, I can find no justification whatsoever for the RS Government which is still failing to meet its obligations towards the Court," stated Mr. Hoch. (p. 2) /The same in Dnevni List (p. 7), Oslobodjenje (p. 4), Jutarnje Novine (p. 4), Nezavisne Novine (p. 4)
BIH - USA
Dnevni avaz
US Government helps judiciary in BiH
"The Supreme Court of the Federation BiH is to get a donation from the US Government in the next several days. This is just a first step in the realisation of a project worth USD 10 million, and on this occasion the Supreme Court will receive computers and other equipment, including software that will be used in all courts in the territory of the Federation BiH," the Chair of the FBiH Supreme Court, Amir Jaganjac, told Dnevni avaz. (p. 8)
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
Dnevni avaz
BiH foreign debt exceeds four billion KM
At its meeting held yesterday, the Council of Ministers presented a report on the BiH foreign debt as of 31 December 2002. The total BiH debt amounts to four billion and 45,862,013 KM and it places Bosnia and Herzegovina among the moderately indebted countries. The Federation's debt is two billion and 613 million KM, and the Republika Srpska's debt is a billion and 432 million. Barisa Colak, BiH Minister of Security, says that the debt to foreign creditors is being paid regularly and that Bosnia and Herzegovina has met all of its payments, without exception. The Council estimated that it would be justified to incur additional debts only in the event of strategic investments with the aim of revitalising the economy and structural reforms. The Council also considered the Draft Law on the Amendments to the BiH Law on Refugees and Displaced Persons, the BiH Aviation Law and the BiH Insurance Agency. The Council referred to its next session the Draft Protocol between BiH and Croatia on the Procedure to Change Article 9 of the Agreement on Free Transit through Croatia, the Ploce Port and Neum dating from 1998. Lastly, the Council of Ministers approved the Rules on the SIP Agency uniforms, which will be blue, says Colak. Dnevne novine reports that the Council concluded that the Ministry of Finance and Treasury should continue negotiating with the IMF in order to reach an agreement on a possible increase of the BiH budget in order to prepare a budget adjustment proposal by 1 September. In light of this conclusion, the Council reported that the whole procedure for the selection of secretaries to the ministries had been completed and the ministers only needed to appoint the selected officials. /The same as in Jutaranje novine (p. 4) and Nezavisne novine (p2)/
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
Oslobodjenje
Over a period of three months, BiH debt this year increased by 80 million

The BiH foreign debt amounts to four billion and 125 million KM. However, this is the status as of 31 March this year. Provided that all the contracted loans are approved, the debt could grow to 5 billion and 872 million KM. The Ministry of Finance and Treasury presented only the information relevant to the period until the end of last year, but simple mathematics show that our country's debt increased by 80 million KM in the first three months of this year, an amount which probably represents interests on the unpaid equities. Minister Colak, however, said that BiH was regularly paying off all its debts, without exception.
ICTY
Dnevni avaz
Del Ponte does not think that the location of the BiH Court should be changed
Martin Raguz, President of the BiH Court, has denied articles published by some BiH media alleging that ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte has consented to the request by the RS Camp Internees Association that the BiH Court be moved out of the current premises. "I've read that article in Oslobodjenje, but it simply is not true. If Del Ponte had thought what the paper published, she would have told me so during her visit to the Court. On the contrary, when she saw the offices we are working in, and how we are planning to adapt other offices, my impression was that she was very pleased with the conditions in which the BiH Court operates," Raguz told Dnevni avaz. "Therefore, it is sheer misinformation that Del Ponte thinks that the Court should be moved out of the pre-war Viktor Bubanj barracks, now Ramiz Salcin barracks. If it were true, I would have been informed first, " says Raguz. (Photo on p.3)
ICTY
Jutarnje Novine
Darko Mrdja pleads guilty
On Thursday, Darko Mrdja, a Bosnian Serb from Prijedora and a former police officer, pleaded guilty to crimes against humanity and to war crimes committed by massacring more than 200 people on Mount Vlasic in 1992. Because he pleaded guilty, the ICTY Prosecutor's Office withdrew the count of persecution and requested that he be sentenced to imprisonment of between 15 and 20 years. (4)/The same in Nezavisne Novine (p.3), Dnevni avaz (p.4), Oslobodjenje (p.3)/
ICTY
Dnevni avaz
US Senate stipulates assistance to Serbia
The US Senate Board for Funds Allocation has published a report on assistance to Serbia in 2004, on the basis of which the Senate suggested that Congress earmark USD 98 million in assistance only if Serbia meets certain conditions by 1 March. The report highlights that the Board will be ready to review the need for an annual certification if "essential progress is made in co-operation with the Hague Tribunal". By essential progress, the US Senate means primarily the arrest and transfer of Ratko Mladic to The Hague. "Some progress has been made in co-operation with the ICTY, but more needs to be done in that regard," reads the report by the Senate Board and specifies that the other indictees should also be arrested and transferred to the Hague Tribunal. (p.21)/The same in Nezavisne Novine (p.17), Politika (front page)/
NATO
Oslobodjenje
BiH Presidency to have supreme command
"BiH must have a single Ministry of Defence and General Staff, so that the BiH Presidency can function as the supreme command of all BiH armed forces," reads a press statement issued by the NATO-Russia Committee on Thursday. "In order to strengthen defence on state level, the state of BiH must ensure that its Presidency - as the supreme command of all BiH armed forces and the only authority that can deploy them - has available the mechanisms and resources necessary to perform its duties. This includes a Ministry of Defence at state level and a single General Staff," it was said after the meeting of the Committee held in Madrid. Another requirement is that the BiH Presidency be able to guarantee the creation of security mechanisms that will prevent one entity from using force against the other one. (p.4)/The same in Dnevni avaz (Photo on p.11), Dnevni List (p.2), Blic (p.7)/
OHR
Dnevni List
Hays: Corridor Vc will cause "a lot of tension"
During his visit to Mostar, Principal Deputy HR Donald Hays warned that there will be "a lot of tension" in BiH regarding the road corridor Vc. Answering journalists' question of whether the BiH authorities should invite companies to tender for the construction of the corridor, Hays said: "The OHR and the European Commission will pay much attention to this issue. BiH wants to belong to Europe and currently is in negotiations with the World Trade Organisation. Whatever is done concerning corridor Vc, the public will carefully watch those involved." He also said that people involved in the corridor Vc project will have to "meet certain standards". "Otherwise, they will lead this country in the other direction," he added. Now, the question is whether by this Hays wanted to criticise the BiH authorities for their previous non-transparency, since the Council of Ministers chose the Bosnian-Malaysian company to compile a feasibility study on corridor Vc through BiH without putting this job out to tender. Hays advocates "certain standards" which most likely means that in his opinion other companies should have been invited to tender for corridor Vc. Bosmal is a company with 50 % Malaysian capital, and in Malaysia, with all due respect, democracy is not very developed. (Photo on p.3)
POLICE/SBS
Oslobodjenje
Moldovian women arrested in Doljani
The EUPM assesses that the fight against human trafficking is becoming ever more successful, with an example being an operation that the BiH State Border Service carried out at the Doljani border-crossing. On Thursday, EUPM spokesperson Kilian Wahl told journalists in Sarajevo that the SBS members had stopped a vehicle with Croatian licence plates driven by a Croatian national. In the vehicle with him were three women, one a BiH citizen and two Moldavian nationals. "The Moldavian women's passports were with the driver, which made the SBS suspicious. All four persons were immediately arrested and questioned," Wahl said. During the questioning, it was ascertained that the Moldavian women were victims of organised human trafficking, so this case was handed over to the Public Prosecutor's Office. The EUPM commends the SBS team in Doljani for the successful, fast and professional operation. (p.5)/The same in Jutarnje Novine (p.2), Slobodna Dalmacija (p.18)/
RS - PARTIES
Nezavisne Novine
ICG: SDS will accept anyything just to stay in power
"In order to stay in power, the Serb Democratic Party will agree to reforms even more radical than it admits, but only if the international community is resolute enough to put the necessary pressure on this party," reads the latest report on BiH by the International Crisis Group. It emphasises that the SDS as a whole is now more grumpy than infuriated, and is far from threatening bloodshed in the streets. The ICG, however, stresses that, despite this change of policy, the SDS continues to be the biggest obstacle to the creation of a stable BiH state. "The SDS is now prepared to make concessions that it cannot avoid if it wants to keep power and control over public property. The SDS will relent only when the alternative to concessions is far worse. When it decides to relent, then it will try to deceive. This party cannot support co-operation with the Hague Tribunal, because too many of its leading stars were deeply involved in a 'joint criminal action,'" the ICG report reads. "The SDS is now trying harder to preserve BiH in its existing form than it is trying to destroy it; this party says that it is for European integration; finally, it is prepared to discuss issues and topics that were considered to be taboos before. As could be seen in the case of the historically significant visit of Pope John Paul II to Banja Luka, the SDS is eager to show its civilised face and it is quite capable of presenting itself as such". The ICG also reports that senior SDS officials have admitted in their talks with the ICG that the Karadzic problem is now openly being discussed at party meetings, and that some SDS members often say that Karadzic would better serve the interests of the Serbs and RS if he decided to defend himself in The Hague rather than hide in the mountains. "One of the SDS leaders told the ICG that Karadzic was only humiliating himself, and perhaps the RS too, by hiding in the wilderness like 'a hunted beast,'" the ICG report reads. (Photo on p. 5)