Sunday, November 16, 2008

#491 Dodik and Silajdzic in a hurry to adopt a police reform against European principles

National Congress of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina


No. 491

September 27, 2007


1. Dodik and Silajdzic in a hurry to adopt a police reform against European principles

2. House of Representatives regarding the continuing effects of the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina (H. Res. 679)

1. Dodik and Silajdzic in a hurry to adopt a police reform against European principles

We are sending this special edition of our newsletter because we may be about to witness a final blow to any meaningful police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have some very interesting news about the process that may help you decide who is sabotaging the three principles of police reform.

First, we remind that the three principles are conditions of effective police reform that the Council of Europe has set for Bosnia and Herzegovina before the country can join the EU: 1. the police must have a budget at the state level, 2. the organization of police regions must be set according to functional (and not ethnic) criteria and 3. the police must be outside of political influence. The entity "Republic of the Serbs" (RS) is opposed to the principles because they effectively weaken RS in favor of the state Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has used all its faculties to delay and subvert any past steps of the reform, including refusing to honor the binding decisions of a panel of experts formed by a past agreement to which the RS was party to. Yet that stance by the RS is not a surprise to anyone. What may be surprising to some is who has actually been most instrumental in helping RS to avoid having to give in to the pressure from Europe to reform the police -- the Bosniak member of the Presidency, Mr. Haris Silajdzic.

In the past we have written about how Mr. Silajdzic, despite his public vows to fight for the dismantling of the genocidal RS police, actually negated the previous agreement and the binding decision by the commission of experts mentioned above, and returned the process to the phase of negotiations, restoring the power of veto that RS has. We also commented on the subsequent proposal by the High Representative to BiH, Mr. Miroslav Lajcak, which already presented large concessions to RS at the expense of the three principles, but apparently not large enough. Therefore, we do not discuss those developments in detail.

Instead we focus on newer developments. First, we have found out that a negotiator on the Bosniak side, and member of Silajdzic's Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina (SBiH), Mr. Damir Arnaut, played a key role in the police reform negotiations of last week with arguments in defense against further subversion of Europe's three principles for police reform. Subsequently, Mr. Arnaut, who is a lawyer, was interviewed on Bosnian television, where he shed some light on the negotiations, and made a convincing and publicly well received case as to why any agreement reached must respect the three principles. The stance that Mr. Arnaut held both in negotiations and in the public promptly provoked a response by Mr. Milorad Dodik, Premier of RS, that the only two people who matter in the negotiations are himself and Mr. Haris Silajdzic, the Bosniak member of the Presidency (also from SBiH), and if the two of them reach an agreement, even Mr. Lajcak has to respect it.

Why does Dodik want to push everyone else out of the negotiations, including Lajcak, and have only Silajdzic as his partner? Clearly, although Lajcak is bending to the demands by the RS, his proposals at least offer some progress on the three principles. Therefore, Dodik would rather leave him out of the talks completely, because he knows that only Silajdzic will deliver whatever he wants, despite Silajdzic's hard line public stance.

Lajcak's response to Dodik's statement is that any agreement is acceptable as long as it is respects the principles set by the European Commission.

Now, Mr. Arnaut has been taken out of the negotiations and sent off to the UN, to participate in the global warming discussions, until October 5. Mr.Arnaut does not hold any official government post in Bosnia and Herzegovina, other than negotiator for his party and advisor to Mr. Silajdzic, nor does he have any expertise on environmental policy. Hi is effectively in exile, so that he does not blow the whistle on the coming agreement between Silajdzic and Dodik. And the only person who has the authority to send him there is his boss -- Silajdzic.

"Coincidentally", another person that is under fire, is Mr. Safet Halilovic, Minister of BiH for Human Rights and Refugees, a VP of Silajdzic's party (SBiH) and someone who has been critical of the treatment of non-Serb returnees into RS by the RS police, and a proponent of police reform that would take the police out of the hands of the RS. Namely, Mr. Lajcak has stated, on the weekly TV program in Bosnia named "60 Minutes" that he has spoken to Mr. Halilovic's party boss (Silajdzic) about his VP not fulfilling his duties as Minister. Yet, the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees of BiH, a country with about one million refugees and displaced persons, does not have a budget. Mr. Halilovic only has his empty title at his disposal to help the refugees, and his office -- four walls and a desk. His involvement in the process of police reform and his desire to ensure a police structure that will not harass and instead will protect those refugees is about the best he can do for them.

Yet, in some way, all this is good news. It means that even in his own party Silajdzic does not have absolute authority, and that people question and resist when he tries to sabotage the three principles in favor of the RS.

That gives hope that even if he succeeds in removing the few key players like Arnaut and Halilovic from the negotiations, he might have trouble to get an agreement which does not respect the three principles passed through the parliament.

Dr. Muhamed Borogovac,
Sven Rustempasic,
Amar Delic

2. House of Representatives regarding the continuing effects of the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina (H. Res. 679)

U.S. Representative Christopher Smith of New Jersey has introduced a draft resolution H.Res.679 regarding Bosnia and Herzegovina. The resolution mentions police reform, asking BiH to abolish the police of RS, which is opposite to what Silajdzic and Dodik have been preparing. Now we know why they are in such a hurry to reach this agreement by the end of this month, after years of stalling.

The following is the draft resolution in procedure at the U.S. Congress, and we remind the readers that it affirms the ICJ Genocide verdict, which states that the police of the "Republic of the Serbs" committed genocide

H. Res. 679: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the continuing effects of the...
1st Session
H. RES. 679
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the continuing effects of the genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
September 25, 2007
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the continuing effects of the genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Whereas H. Res. 199 and S. Res. 134 (109th Congress) resolved that from April 1992 to November 1995, Serb forces committed aggression and genocide against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its population, with the direct support from authorities in Serbia and Montenegro;

Whereas the perpetrators and the supporters of the aggression and genocide, including the Yugoslav People's Army and its Ministry of Interior, the Army of Republika Srpska, the Police of Republika Srpska, and other regular and paramilitary forces under Serb control, intended to destroy, through slaughter, rape, torture, and expulsion, the unique multiethnic culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina woven through a thousand years of tolerance, respect, mutual trust, and dignified coexistence of all of Bosnia and Herzegovina's ethnically and religiously diverse citizens;

Whereas the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has found numerous Serb political and military officials guilty of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of genocide against the non-Serb population of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina;

Whereas the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its judgment of February 26, 2007, ruled that the execution of more than 7,000 civilians in and around Srebrenica in July 1995 by the institutions of the then self-styled Republika Srpska entity, and in particular its army and police, was a crime of genocide, as defined by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide;

Whereas Srebrenica and other areas of eastern Bosnia from which the victims of genocide hail continues to be under the jurisdiction of the Republika Srpska entity and its institutions, especially the Police of Republika Srpska, that committed genocide;

Whereas the ICJ also ruled that Serbia had violated the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by failing to prevent the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina and punish its perpetrators;

Whereas the ICJ's judgment declares that significant sections of the documents detailing the proceedings of the Supreme Defense Council of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (later Serbia and Montenegro) were redacted and therefore not available to the ICJ at the time of that judgment;

Whereas the findings of the RS Srebrenica Commission report unequivocally stated that Republic of Srpska's Interior Ministry (i.e. the Police of Republika Srpska) has `failed to provide specific data on several hundred individuals deployed in Srebrenica in July 1995 under the direct or indirect auspices of the RS';

Whereas the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina concluded that the Srebrenica Commission `must complete the list of names, currently standing at 892, of those implicated in the Genocide
who are currently employed in BH or Republic of Srpska institutions, and forward a completed list to the BH Prosecutor and to the ICTY.';

Whereas all countries are obliged not to recognize as lawful the situation created by the crime of aggression and the crime of genocide, as well as to cooperate in the application of measures designed to eliminate the consequences of such crimes;

Whereas the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (commonly referred to as the `Dayton Peace Accords'), that was made possible through the strong leadership of the United States, ended the aggression, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its non-Serb population, but it failed to achieve its intended goal of reversing the effects of those crimes;

Whereas due to the failure to ensure sustainable return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes of origins, as guaranteed by Annex VII of the Dayton Peace Accords, the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Annex IV of the Dayton Peace Accords) has evolved into an ethno-territorial arrangement that now institutionalizes the results of the genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina;

Whereas one of the most ominous of the ethno-territorial provisions of this Constitution is an entity voting mechanism, which allows a small number of Serb deputies from Republika Srpska in the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, constituting less than one-quarter of the Parliament, to block any proposed legislation or decision;

Whereas the entity voting mechanism has been used to block various crucial State-level legislation, including the proposed changes to the Citizenship Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina which in its current form threatens to permanently deny over 500,000 Bosnians their Bosnian citizenship, effectively continuing the project of genocide and ethnic cleansing;

Whereas 300,000 Bosnian-Americans live in the United States as fully engaged citizens with a significant potential to further strengthen the ties between the United States and Bosnia and Herzegovina;

Whereas the political leadership of the Republika Srpska entity has continuously blocked all attempts to move beyond the ethno-territorial basis of the Dayton Constitution and create a fully democratic and functioning system of government, as has been demonstrated by, among other things, the Republika Srpska entity's unwillingness to agree to the reform of the police force structures within Bosnia and Herzegovina in line with the standards demanded by the European Union;

Whereas Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina need `a stronger energetic state capable of advancing the public good' and pledged that the United States will remain a dedicated partner to Bosnia and Herzegovina as it moves toward further Euro-Atlantic integration;

Whereas Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns has unequivocally stated that the Dayton Peace Accords `cannot be the way that the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina organize themselves for the next ten years' and that `it is time for [the people of] Bosnia and Herzegovina ... to go beyond the Dayton Accords and to build a modern constitutional state';

Whereas the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have recently adopted Resolutions calling for an in-depth reform of the Dayton constitutional arrangements, and particularly for the reduction and elimination of the entity voting mechanism;

Whereas there continues to be, within Republika Srpska ethnic exclusivity, which has effectively discouraged and prevented the return of the ethnically-cleansed non-Serb population to this region of Bosnia and Herzegovina; and

Whereas the constitutional arrangements of Bosnia and Herzegovina must satisfy the interests of all of its people by guaranteeing full civil, cultural, individual, and religious rights to all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and promoting the integration of the entire region of Southeast Europe into the Euro-Atlantic political and security structures: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That--

(1) it is the sense of the House of Representatives that--

(A) Bosnia and Herzegovina should begin the process of adopting a new constitution that is based on civic representation and that fully eliminates the ethno-territorial arrangements which reflect and institutionalize the effects of the genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina;

(B) the new constitution should advance the principles of civic democracy, full equality of citizens, tolerance and protection of all ethnic groups, and should reflect the highest standards of individual human rights and liberties;

(C) the new constitution should eliminate the ethnic power-sharing principles that reflect the ethnic divisions imposed by the perpetrators of the genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes;

(D) the new constitution must restructure the ethno-territorial organization of Bosnia and Herzegovina and eliminate its division into entities, cantons, and municipalities with a view to creating a single, unified economic space and increasing efficiency and sustainability of the country and its governing apparatus;

(E) the entity voting mechanism, which has proved to be a serious obstacle to the functioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Parliament, must be eliminated;

(F) Srebrenica and other areas of eastern Bosnia should be placed under the exclusive jurisdiction of the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to ensure that the situation created by genocide is not recognized as lawful;

(G) the police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina must create a single police structure, replacing entity police forces with a single police at the state level, and in particular eliminating the Police of the Republika Srpska entity, which was identified in the ICJ judgment as one of the institutions of Republika Srpska that participated in the commission of the crime of genocide;

(H) the Republika Srpska entity cannot persist under its current name which represents the ethnically-exclusive political philosophy of its founders and which perpetuates the effects of the genocide and ethnic cleansing;

(I) Serbia must immediately honor its international legal obligations towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, stemming from the Convention on the Prevention and the Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the ICJ judgment, by immediately apprehending and transferring to the ICTY all individuals indicted for participating in the commission of the crime of genocide, particularly Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic; and

(J) it is in the national interest of the United States that all individuals who are responsible for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be held accountable for their actions, and the Republika Srpska entity, Serbia, and Montenegro must therefore fully cooperate with the ICTY;

(2) the United States reaffirms its strongest support for the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and supports the transformation of Bosnia and Herzegovina into a state with governmental institutions commensurate with EU and NATO membership, as this will ensure a lasting peace and greater prosperity for all of the people and states of the entire region; and

(3) the House of Representatives calls for an immediate, refocused, and concentrated diplomatic effort by the United States to achieve the objectives stated in this Resolution in order to achieve definitive success in reversing the effects of genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina and building a modern, functional, self-sustainable, and a fully democratic state.

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