Transcript of the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference

OHR, Mario Brkic

OSCE, Mersiha Causevic

EUPM, Zinaida Ilaria

EUFOR, LTC Rolf Kurth



HR inBrussels

The HR will today address members of the North Atlantic Council and the EU
Political and Security Committee. He will also meet with EU Enlargement
Commissioner, Olli Rehn.

Today’s briefings come as both NATO and the EU prepare to make assessments of
the country’s progress towards fulfilling the necessary criteria for entering
PfP and embarking on Stabilisation and Association Agreement. In late April,
NATO will review the question of BiH’s PfP application. Towards the end of May,
the EC’s Consultative Task Force will visit BiH and assess progress achieved in
fulfilling the requirements for signing an SAA.

The HR will outline progress made so far regarding co-operation with the
ICTY, noting that the RS government has reversed a nine-year policy of
obstruction and has transferred to

The Hague

six indicted war criminals in the past three
months. He will note that this is a significant step forward. He will say that
it is crucial that this process continues, and that the RS’s efforts do not
slacken. Co-operation will not be complete until both Ratko Mladic and Radovan
Karadzic are in

The Hague

. He will
say that as the tenth anniversary of Srebrenica approaches, this requirement
will become more, not less, urgent.

While addressing the PSC and in his meeting with Commissioner Rehn, the HR
will also focus on police reform. Police reform is one of the last outstanding
key reforms required by the EU for BiH to move to negotiations on a
Stabilisation and Association Agreement. The HR will note that increasingly
discussions on Police restructuring are focusing on the elements of the reform
itself; that there is a general acceptance from all sides in BiH that Police
restructuring in required and that there now needs to be a move towards formal

The High Representative will underline that the CTF’s timetable dictates that
BiH’s political parties must be ready to start formal negotiations on police
restructuring by the end of this month and before BiH moves in to this crucial
period of assessment.

We will have more details from these meeting for you later this



OSCE on restructuring process of Ombudsman Institution in

The OSCE Mission to
Bosnia and Herzegovina

considers the Ombudsman institution
to be fundamental mechanisms for promoting good governance and the
protection of human rights in this country. Therefore, this


believes it is important
that the BiH government respects this Institution as such. 

The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina also believes that it is
vital that the existing structures be consolidated into a single new national
institution with one Ombudsman and two Deputy Ombudsmen appointed
through open and transparent procedures. These appointments must be based
on professional rather then ethnic requirements or political associations. 

Additionally, it will be imperative for there to be a transitional period
that ensures a smooth merger of the three current
Institutions. These recommendations are in line with those of the
Venice Commission with regard to the reform of the current Ombudsman
institutional structures. The creation of a single, state Ombudsman
Institution for BiH is both condition of the European Commission’s
Feasibility Study and a post-accession commitment to the Council of Europe.

After the Council of Europe revises the amendments to the Law on Ombudsman,
we hope that the draft legislation will be submitted to the Parliament by the
Council of Ministers and adopted without further delays.   The
OSCE will continue to provide its support to all three current Ombudsman
Institutions throughout the restructuring process.

Alternative accommodation must not be left out

Last week, the Federation of BiH Parliament adopted the Law on Return,
Allocation and Sale of Apartments. The OSCE Mission to

Bosnia and Herzegovina

welcomes the intention of BiH
authorities to regulate the future use of unclaimed apartments, and clarify an
important area of the post-property law implementation legal framework.

However, the OSCE Mission to BiH is concerned that the Law, as adopted, fails
to address issues repeatedly raised with FBiH authorities since end of 2003.

In particular, the Law fails to take into consideration the
Federation’s continuing obligation towards legal beneficiaries of
alternative accommodation who are currently using unclaimed apartments, as
regulated by the Law on Cessation of the Application of the Law on Abandoned
Apartments currently in force in the Federation.

We take this opportunity to remind BiH authorities of their obligations under
Annex VI of the Dayton Peace Agreement to protect the human rights of its

It is acknowledged that many thousands of people in the Federation live in
circumstances that fall below adequate standards and that unclaimed apartments
represent a significant public resource available to address this problem. Under
the newly adopted law, these individuals could potentially be unable to gain
access to social housing, which is their right under European human rights
norms, making them more vulnerable to further duress and creating a greater
burden on local governments to redress their shelter needs.

OSCE Mission to BiH emphasizes that a social housing policy is needed to
ensure that (i) the re-allocation of unclaimed apartments does not adversely
affect the rights of alternative and emergency accommodation beneficiaries, and
(ii) responsible local authorities provide durable solutions to the housing
situation of other vulnerable social cases currently neglected under the
applicable law.

Given its mandate and expertise, the OSCE Mission to BiH remains committed to
these issues, and will continue to monitor these areas, advocate directly with
all competent authorities and stands ready to assist wherever possible. 



EUPM hosts first discussion with law enforcement spokespeople

Strengthening the role and capacities of the law enforcement Spokespeople in
BiH will be the main focus of a one-day workshop organized by European Union
Police Mission (EUPM) on 6 April in

More than 30 police spokespersons and their colleagues from the respective
Ministries of Interior, from all parts of the country, will hear presentations
and discuss topics such as the upcoming police restructuring, the role of the
police spokesperson vis-à-vis the spokesperson of the public prosecutor and how
it affects their work, in particular in their communication with the public.

During the last couple of months, EUPM worked with the law enforcement
spokespeople to identify the main obstacles and challenges that they, as PR
professionals face, in their day-to-day communication with the public. A series
of workshops and training seminars has been designed in partnership with the
local authorities which will be held until the end of 2005. All participants
acknowledged the need to further develop public relations culture within the law
enforcement structures.  EUPM will continue to support such initiatives in
the future.

EUPM and OHR continue talking to BiH citizens about police

The public meetings that EUPM and OHR have organized so far proved to be
successful in explaining the main purpose and benefits of the police reform to
the citizens of
Bosnia and Herzegovina

.  The citizens’ turnout has
been significant and marked with lively discussions and debates.

Today, April 5 EUPM and OHR staff will be talking to the citizens of Foca at
1800hrs. in the Cultural Centar.  Tomorrow, April 6, a team will be in
Visegrad Cultural Centre at 1800hrs. and finally for this week, on 7 April on
Pale, in Cultural Centre, starting at 1800 hrs.

One of the purposes of the meetings is to deconstruct the myths linked to
police restructuring. Police restructuring is not about abolishing the Entities,
or the Entity Ministry of Interiors – it’s solely about creating an professional
police service, accountable to the citizens and effective in fighting crime.

EUPM encourages citizens to attend these public meetings to inform themselves
of this reform process that is crucial for their future, and to take active part
in the discussion.  Each public meeting will focus on answering questions
from members of the public.



Depolyment of troops to EUFOR

550 troops and vehicles from the Italian Alpini Regiment based near


began arriving in


today.  In addition, a
unit from KFOR (the NATO Kosovo Force) will also arrive shortly. They are part
of a regular exercise to ensure that “over the horizon” reserves are able to
respond at short notice to rapidly enhance EUFOR capability if necessary.

EUFOR is a flexible and effective military force with a wide range of
operational and strategic reserves available to reinforce at short notice. The
Alpini Regiment will be fully integrated into EUFOR and will undertake a wide
range of routine operations alongside existing troops, helping to maintain a
safe and secure environment and operating in support of BiH Law Enforcement
Agencies in their fight against organised criminal networks.

EUFOR is committed to assist these local agencies in their work to strengthen
the rule of law in BiH and this is one way in which EUFOR can help.  This
temporary deployment is part of a planned programme of exercises and is not in
response to any increased threat.