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Thursday, 29 April 2004

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SFOR

Glas Srpske

Darko Trifunovic: Islamic terrorists to attack SFOR

Darko Trifunovic, an expert in international law and terrorism and a former first secretary of the BiH Mission to the UN, claims that recently a new Islamic terrorist group, led by Emir Hajji, came from Kosovo to Raska (Sandzak). Parts of this group then entered BiH, and are now in the areas of Sarajevo and Tesanj. Trifunovic told Srna Agency that the goal of this group was to supply itself with explosive and shoulder-fired rockets in order to attack SFOR units in BiH. This group plans to attack certain targets in Great Britain, which "will be only a matter of time, once Spanish troops withdraw from Iraq". He is surprised at the fact that HR Ashdown is "solely concerned about war crimes, and not about terrorism, which threatens Europe". "Expert circles object to Ashdown's oversights in the fight against terrorism in BiH, which the UN Security Council and the US Congress will be discussing soon," says Trifunovic. (p.3)

SFOR

Oslobodjenje

An SFOR member reports an illegal woodcutter

On 23 April, illegal woodcutters were caught in the areas of Gornji Vakuf and Uskoplje with the help of members of the MNB NW. Tony Keene, MNB NW spokesperson, says that, while doing a recce of the area, an officer of this Brigade met a truck loaded with logs, with no license plates. The officer then found the place where the wood had been cut. (p.7)

SFOR

Vecerni List

Pakistani UNPROFOR soldiers ruined a school near Vares

Before the war, the elementary school in the village of Vijaka near Vares was several times declared the most beautiful school in BiH. The school functioned until 1993, when the Croat population was forced to leave the area. During the war, the UNPROFOR Pakistani Battalion was accommodated in it from August 1994 until the end of 1995. Now, the Arabic alphabet is visible on most inside doors, various things are scattered in the classrooms, as well as remains of tea leaves and food. The gym is in the worst condition - the walls and the ceiling are completely black, and on the floor there is a pile of almost one cubic meter of flooring material, which was used as firewood. A resident of the village says: "Now, you can witness to something that you surely have never seen before. We will call TV to come and make a footage on the behaviour of the international military force." (p.7)

SFOR

Dnevni avaz

Vetting of candidates could be stopped if not approved by BiH Presidency

"If Sulejman Tihic, Chair of the BiH Presidency, and Dragan Covic, member of the Presidency, do not approve further checking of new candidates for general posts in the BiH Armed Forces, the whole process could be stopped," says Rasim Delic, Tihic's Military Advisor. "What can be assumed is that new candidates should be proposed by 5 May, when a meeting of the Standing Committee on Military Matters is scheduled to take place. I myself would never again propose anyone, because I don't want to push anyone in a position to be expelled from service instead of being promoted," says Delic. According to him, SFOR has not yet submitted any evidence to support its accusations that some candidates were involved in war crimes, and he does not think SFOR is going to do that. (p.4)

SFOR

Dnevni avaz

Cikotic is not accused of committing war crimes by the ICTY

Dnevni avaz has got hold of a document that was presented to General Packett when Brigadier Selmo Cikotic's past was being checked. It is the certificate, dated 2 April and signed by the Head of the ICTY Investigation Department, reading that the Hague Tribunal conducted no investigation against Cikotic, and that documentation related to him was forwarded to the Travnik Cantonal Court on 5 April 2002. (p.4)

SFOR

Dnevni avaz

Srdjan Dizdarevic: Human rights of rejected candidates are violated

The President of the Helsinki Human Rights Committee, Srdjan Dizdarevic, thinks that fundamental human rights were violated in the case of the disqualified candidates for general posts in the BiH Armed Forces. "We object to SFOR performing the vetting procedure in a non-transparent manner and not giving reasons for such a decision," said Dizdarevic at a press conference in Sarajevo yesterday. He emphasized that none of the disqualified persons had been in a position to present his arguments, nor given the fundamental right to appeal against the decision, to which every citizen is entitled according to the Geneva Convention. "I think that SFOR has gone beyond its mandate, and the fact that insinuations have been made about these people's involvement in war crimes has now raised the question of who is competent to judge this issue," said Dizdarevic. (p.4)/The same in Nezavisne Novine (p.3)/

SFOR

Dnevni avaz

Dragan Covic: We will complete the job by 30 April

"We must fulfill what we are asked to do, because the roles of the current authorities and SFOR are clear," said Dragan Covic, member of the BiH Presidency, commenting on the appointments of generals in the BiH Armed Forces yesterday. "We will try to find four honourable Brigadiers that would accept to be candidates. We must be realistic; because of our experiences and possible speculation, it is possible that many people will say: I am sorry, but please do not propose me; I don't want to be humiliated by some statement without any proof. In spite of this, the Croatian party will send new names by 30 April," said Covic. He announced that the Presidency would have to talk with SFOR, because "the Presidency, as the civilian commander of the BiH Armed Forces, cannot have a stance opposed to SFOR's today, the OHR's tomorrow, etc., and always to the detriment of men who are officers of the Federation Army". (p.4)

SFOR

Dnevni avaz

Radovanovic: Vetting procedure cannot be stopped

BiH Minister of Defence Nikola Radovanovic told Dnevni avaz that he had learned from the media that Sulejman Tihic, Chair of the BiH Presidency, had decided not to interfere with proposals of new candidates. "I think that in this way Presidency Chair Tihic wants to distance himself from the situation which ensued from the first vetting procedure. I think that Tihic's position will neither have a direct effect on the appointment process, nor will stop it. In the first vetting procedure, the BiH Presidency assumed certain responsibility to speed up the whole process. However, if the Presidency is not to be involved in the proposing of new candidates, we will regularly inform it about the vetting procedure," says Radovanovic. It is unclear how the name of Major General Stamenko Novakovic appeared in the SFOR Commander's decision, since the Presidency had previously decided that no generals would be among candidates. Radovanovic explains that, in addition to candidates for posts in the BiH Armed Forces, candidates were being proposed for posts at entity level that could be in the rank of general. Therefore, Novakovic was nominated as the commander of the VRS 15st Motorized Brigade. Since Cvjetko Savic, Chief of the VRS General Staff, was dismissed by HR Ashdown' decision on 16 April, the RS Ministry of Defence proposed two new candidates for his position. (Photo on p.4)

SFOR

Oslobodjenje

SFOR looking for wiretapping devices in Sokolac (front-page story)

On Wednesday, SFOR troops carried out an unannounced inspection of the RS Telekom building in Sokolac. RS Telekom employees claimed that SFOR was looking for wiretapping devices. Dennis Thaagard, SFOR spokesperson, said that the local police had been notified just before the operation and that the operation was conducted with the support of the local police. "The operation is part of our regular operations to provide full compliance with the DPA," said Thaagard. However, Radovan Pejic, a spokesperson for the Serb Sarajevo Public Security Centre, said that the local police had not taken part in the operation. Mile Balotic, Director of the Serb Sarajevo RS Telekom Department, said that this was the fourth inspection conducted by SFOR. "They wanted to know if there was any wiretapping in our department and under whose authority it was being conducted. We do not have wiretapping devices nor are we trained to use them," said Balotic. He added that SFOR soldiers had taken pictures of all premises and everything else they found interesting. SFOR refused to comment on whether wiretapping devices were looked for in the operation. (Front page and page 7) /The same in Dnevni avaz (p.13), Jutarnje Novine (p.3), Dnevni List (p.16), Glas Srpske (p.3), Nezavisne Novine (p.3), Blic (p.13), Slobodna Dalmacija (p.19), Vecernji List (p.2)/

AF IN BIH

Nezavisne Novine

Appointment of officers will depend on Tihic's decision

The Federation Defense Minister, Miroslav Nikolic, stated yesterday that he had not yet received any instructions from the BiH Presidency concerning steps to be taken in the vetting process of candidates nominated for leading posts in the state defense institutions. "According to the FBiH Law on Defense, all nominated officers are in the authority of the BiH Presidency members, so that the further course of the vetting process will be uncertain if Sulejman Tihic sticks by his decision not to nominate new Bosnaic officers," said Nikolic. (Photo on page 3)

AF IN BIH

Oslobodjenje

Joint military exercise held yesterday

The entity AFs held a joint military exercise called "Help Casualties" in the Doboj-South municipality on Wednesday. The purpose of this exercise was to check BiH's capabilities in natural disasters and emergencies, ensure protection and rescue through coordinated system of alert, monitoring, evaluation and adoption of decisions. This exercise involved 260 members of the Civil Protection, 60 NCOs and COs from the entity AFs, members of the FMUP, the RS MUP, the Brcko District police and several international organizations headed by SFOR. The exercise was carried out under the auspices of OSCE, and was the first exercise commanded by Nikola Radovanovic, BiH Defense Minister. Major General Claudio Zappulla, an envoy of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, expressed his satisfaction with the results of this exercise, especially the co-operation between military and civilian authorities. (Photo on page 7) /The same in Dnevni avaz (p. 3), Dnevni List (p. 8), Nezavisne Novine (p. 2), Glas Srpske (p. 2)/

AF IN BIH

Oslobodjenje

NHI: Defense reform brought into question

Dobrica Jonjic, President of the NHI Executive Board, stated at a press conference in Sarajevo on Wednesday that the current situation regarding the appointment of leading officers in the BIH AFs had brought into question the defense reform in BIH. He said that the NHI would not support the Draft Law on the Rights of War Veterans and Their Families planned to be adopted at the next session of the FBiH Parliament. (Photo on page 3) /The same in Dnevni List (p. 6)/

AF IN BIH

Nezavisne Novine

FBiH Government illegally sold its barracks

In 2002, the FBiH Government illegally sold the VF 2nd Corps HQ to the Tuzla municipality for about seven million KM without issuing a public tender or establishing the ownership of this facility. Referring to the Agreement on Succession under which the ownership of the RBiH becomes the ownership of the state of BiH, and not the entities, the BiH Public Attorney's Office said that it was unacceptable for the entity authorities to sell state-owned property. Jasmin Imamovic, Tuzla Mayor, said that the FBiH Government, the Military Public Attorney's Office of the FMoD and the Tuzla Municipal Council had issued approval for the sale contract between the Tuzla municipality and the FBiH Government, and that the sale was legal. (Photo on page 2)

BIH - JUDICIARY

Oslobodjenje

BiH Constitutional Court: Sarovic's appeal rejected

Yesterday, a panel of judges of the BiH Constitutional Court rejected Mirko Sarovic's motion for suspending HR Paddy Ashdown's decision to remove him from the post of SDS Vice President. Sarovic has requested that the BiH Constitutional Court temporarily suspend Ashdown's decision until the Court decides whether Ashdown has violated the BiH Constitution. The Court will deal with Sarovic's appeal in detail at one of the next sessions. Paddy Ashdown has barred Sarovic from holding any public office because of his involvement in the Orao scandal. (p.7) /The same in Jutarnje Novine (p.3), Dnevni List (p.7), Nezavisne Novine (p.3), Glas Srpske (front page)/

COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

Jutarnje Novine

Terzic: It is not time to cause a crisis

Jutarnje Novine has learned that the BiH House of Representatives will discuss the removal of the BiH Council of Ministers at its next session on Tuesday. Twenty days ago, 14 deputies from seven parties, including the SDP, the SNSD, the Socialist Party, the NHI, the DNZ, the BOSS, the Radical Party, and independent deputies Nijaz Durakovic, Mladen Potocnik and Petar Kunic, signed an initiative on a vote of non-confidence in the BiH Council of Ministers, which requires a majority vote of the deputies of the Parliament. Commenting on this initiative, Adnan Terzic, Chair of the BiH Council of Ministers, said that it was not good to cause parliamentary crisis at this time. (Photo on page 6)

COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

Dnevni avaz

We want to speed up BiH's joining Europe

"We have made some revolutionary steps towards creating a single economic space by the latest agreement in Mrakovica. Naturally, when a country has had a divided market for eight years, nothing can be changed overnight. However, the agreement on the introduction of excise taxes on imported and domestic goods is a considerable progress. The measures to be applied by the entity governments will ensure a better filling of the budget and more efficient fight against the grey economy," Terzic told Dnevi avaz. To the statement by Dnevni avaz that the international community objects that the reform process is too slow, Terzic explained: "I do not think that we are slow, and I consider that the international community's attitude towards this problem is not very supportive. We have started working on each of the 45 measures, which are to be implemented. All 16 preconditions to start negotiating the processes of stabilization and joining are being met. We have already sent 28 laws to be adopted in parliamentary procedure, of which 20 laws directly concern the preconditions set by the European Commission." (Photo on p.5)

FBIH - PARLIAMENT

Dnevni avaz

Nationalized apartments will wait for the restitution process

The FBiH House of Representatives adopted the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on the Sale of Apartments to which occupancy rights have been claimed. The Parliament also adopted the Draft Law on the Repossession and Allocation of Apartments for which no repossession claims have been filed. According to the Draft Law on Military Apartments, those rightful occupancy rights holders who bought their apartments in 1992 and left BiH, and settled on a permanent basis in one of the countries of the former Yugoslavia will have no right to register their ownership of these apartments, but will receive damage compensation. Other rightful occupancy rights holders who have not settled permanently in these countries will have the right to register their ownership and to receive damage compensation. According to Jutarnje Novine, there are 9,000 apartments for which no repossession claims have been filed. They are used as alternative accommodation for displaced persons and refugees. These apartments will be given back to companies, their original owners, and municipalities. (Photo on page 9) /The same in Oslobodjenje (p. 5), Jutarnje Novine (p. 3)/

FBIH - PARLIAMENT

Dnevni avaz

Hadzipasic: Federation Government will not step down (Front page story)

Federation Premier and Deputy Premier, Ahmet Hadzipasic and Dragan Vrankic, Federation Minister for Labor and Social Care, Radovan Vignjevic, rejected the demands of the BiH Trade Union Organization to postpone the enforcement of the Law on Bankruptcy saying that they were baseless and unfounded. Hadzipasic said that today's protest by the BiH Trade Union Organization would not make the FBiH Government step down because all economic indicators of its work were positive. " Tomorrow we will resume our routine activities because all our activities and results show that we are on the right way. The social program of taking care of workers whom the enforcement of the Law on Bankruptcy will put out of job is realistic and viable and it has been approved by the FBiH Parliament," said Hadzipasic. "Bankruptcy procedure does not mean winding-up but an attempt to recuperate the company. It is not true that all workers will be put out of job. Some 50 bankruptcy commissioners are undergoing training at this point, meaning that 50 small and medium-size companies at most can enter the bankruptcy procedure by the end of this year. All workers who will be put out of job will have a continuous employment record for benefit purposes," said Hadzipasic. (Photo on page 1, 2) /The same in Dnevni List (p. 4)/

PROTEST

Dnevni avaz

Protest in front of Federation Government's building

Thousands of people are expected to gather in front of the FBiH Government building in Sarajevo today, to protest against the Law on Amendments to the Law on Bankruptcy and Program for Taking Care of Redundant Workers. The BiH Trade Union Organisation has called on Ahmet Hadzipasic, Federation Premier, the OHR, the BiH Presidency, the Council of Ministers and Federation President and vice presidents and other senior officials to attend the protest. Edhem Biber, the President of the BiH Trade Union Organisation, said that some 35,000 members of the union had already signed a petition for removal of the FBiH Government. "This is only the beginning of the union's operation, which will last until all the requests of workers are met," said Biber. Hadzipasic refused to comment on whether he would address the people gathered in front of the building. (Photo on page 2) /The same in Dnevni List (p.16), Jutarnje Novine (p.5), Slobodna Dalmacija (p.11)/

RS - PARLIAMENT

Dnevni avaz

RS National Assembly withdraws its proposal for removal of Sefket Hafizovic

At its yesterday's session, the RS National Assembly refused to include the initiative by Nedjo Djuric, SPRS deputy in the RS National Assembly for the removal of the Vice President of the RS Parliament, Sefket Hafizovic, in the agenda. After Dragan Kalinic, President of the RS National Assembly, said that this issue could only be considered as part of deputies' issues, Djuric decided to withdraw his proposal. (Photo on page 8)

SREBRENICA

Oslobodjenje

Cavic: RS Commission's report on Srebrenica is devastating

Dragan Cavic, RS President, said that there were many mistakes in the work of the RS Commission investigating events surrounding the fall of Srebrenica and failures on the part of the RS Government in providing conditions for the work of the commission. "The report was compiled by a Bosniac member of the commission, whose assessments are unacceptable. The other members of the commission accepted the report, which is devastating," said Cavic. He said that the reported accused the RS Government of not co-operating with the commission. "The report is also criticising the VRS and the RS Police," said Cavic, adding that the report did not contain information about missing persons. As for Paddy Ashdown, Cavic said that the HR had the supreme authority in BiH. "He has the power to do a lot of things. The only things he has no influence on are weather and geography," said Cavic. (Photo on page 3) /The same in Dnevni List (p.16)/

SREBRENICA

Oslobodjenje

Bogdanic: Better co-operation with RS institutions

Mile Bogdanic, the Chairman of the RS Commission investigating events surrounding the fall of Srebrenica, said that co-operation with RS institutions had improved after the criticism by Paddy Ashdown. He said that a preliminary report, due to be sent to the RS Government on Friday, would also include new information about the locations of mass graves in the Srebrenica region. (Photo on page 3)

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