OHR’s Statement at the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference in Banja Luka

The Current Progress on Co-operation With the ICTY Must Be

“The nine year old policy of obstruction in the RS is giving
way to a constructive engagement with the ICTY”, the High Representative, Paddy
Ashdown, told Javier Solana, the EU HR for Foreign Policy and Security Affairs
when they met late last night in Brussels. But he also
underlined that “additional efforts to
bring all those indicted to justice must be made. This is a process that can not
be complete until Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic are in The Hague”. The High
Representative noted the transfer to the Hague of
six indicted war criminals during the past three
months. The High Representative welcomed this as a step forward in a process
which must be maintained, and stepped up.

Commenting reports that Ratko Mladic continues to hide in
Belgrade, the High Representative noted that
submitting himself to the Hague ought to be a
matter of military
honour for Ratko Mladic, given
that his subordinates are currently facing justice at the Tribunal for crimes
that they committed while obeying his orders.

Welcoming the progress made by BiH in a number of Feasibility
Study priorities including the Judiciary and customs and taxation, the High
Representative and Javier Solana agreed that BiH must focus on making
significant progress on all outstanding issues as identified by the European Commission’s
Feasibility Study. Tangible progress must be made by mid May when EC experts
will be in Bosnia and Herzegovina to assess achievements.


PIC meeting today

As we speak the BiH authorities, led by Prime Minister Adnan Terzic and
including the BiH Defence Minister, Nikola Radovanovic, RS President Dragan
Cavic, and RS Minister of Interior Darko Matijasevic will make their presentations to PIC on the steps they have taken in order
to move forward with key reforms, focusing on Police Restructuring, Defence
Reform, economic and institutional reforms related to the Feasibility Study
requirements, and cooperation with the ICTY.

This PIC is particularly important as it is the last ahead of a
series of crucial meetings later this month and in May at which the status of
BiH’s aspirations to join NATO’s PfP and begin Stabilisation and Association
negotiations with the EU will be discussed.

The PIC will issue its communiqué later in the day.


HR meets with NATO Secretary General

This Afternoon the High Representative will meet with NATO
Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. We hope to have more details on this
meeting later in the day.