Sunday, November 23, 2008

#497 INTL - Negotiations of Bosnian Politicians on Police Reform Failed -- It is Europe's turn

National Congress of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina


No. 497

October 12, 2007


1. Negotiations of Bosnian Politicians on Police Reform Failed -- It is Europe's turn

If you do not want to receive this Online Newsletter just reply with "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject line. Then your e-mail address will be promptly deleted.

1. Negotiations of Bosnian Politicians on Police Reform Failed -- It is Europe's turn

By Muhamed Borogovac, Ph.D.

Bosnian media are reporting that today's (October 11, 2007) police reform negotiations between Bosnian politicians have concluded without an agreement.

These final negotiations were based on the proposal of two Croat leaders, Covic and Ljubic. It is unclear why High Representative Lajcak sent that proposal to the European Commission for a review; probably it was in the interest of fairness -- to treat this "Croat" proposal the same as the earlier "Bosniak-Serb" (actually Silajdzic-Dodik) proposal. Recall that this earlier one was rejected by the European Commission on the grounds that it did not satisfy the three principles for police reform mandated by the EU.

The Covic-Ljubic proposal also panders to the demands of the leaders of the entity Republic of the Serbs (RS), and therefore it also violates the three principles in the same points that the Silajdzic-Dodik proposal violated the principles. This new document has also suffered the same fate as the Silajdzic-Dodik one -- it has been dismissed, prior to the EC review, by nearly all the relevant parties, except those who drafted it.

However, there is another document still on the table that does fully respect the three principles -- the report given by the expert committee for police reform. Namely, more than a year ago, Europe reached an agreement with the Bosnian politicians on police reform, which was actually ratified by both entity parliaments. The idea was the following -- since the entities could not agree on details of police reform, they instead agreed to form the committee of police experts which would make a plan that would be binding when it came back. The entities had representatives in this committee, but those representatives did not have the power to veto a majority decision in the committee. The committee did its job and created a plan for police reform that respects the three principles. The RS politicians did not like this plan, and wanted to scrap it, and so they requested a return to the negotiating table, where they could block any meaningful police reform indefinitely. The High representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Miroslav Lajcak did not hold the RS to the agreement, and allowed a return to such negotiations.

Nothing functions in post-Dayton Bosnia because everything depends on the consensus of corrupt politicians, who have ethnic and entity vetoes at their disposal. These new negotiations were not an exception, as they predictably failed. Lajcak finally threw in the towel today and announced that there is "no hope" for an agreement, and that there is "no chance" for Bosnia to continue on a path to EU integration.

Yet, instead of giving up, it may be more constructive for Mr. Lajcak to simply put into law and implement the conclusions of the expert commission. According to the Dayton Agreement, he has the power to do that. More importantly, the plan has already been agreed to by the entity parliaments, as described above. The entities, including the Republic of the Serbs, must respect agreements that they make with Europe and with each other, even if elections bring new politicians to power, as was the case here.

The choice for Europe and Mr. Lajcak is the following: either to implement the plan of the expert committee for police reform, and in that way take leadership away from corrupt politicians Silajdzic, Tihic, Lagumdzija, Dodik, and others who work to sabotage reform, or to fail and leave Bosnia and Herzegovina to be controlled by those irresponsible people and organized crime.

The EU will never allow BiH to join as long as it has the ineffective and corrupt cantonal and entity police forces, one of which committed genocide in the past -- a fact that was confirmed by the International Court of Justice at the Hague. Such an integration would be analogous to mixing five kg of fresh meat with 1 kg of rotting meat. Therefore, failure in police reform is not an option for Europe, and all negotiations where some politicians can veto any proposal in the name of their entity or ethnic group are destined to fail. It is clear what Europe must do.

No comments: