Transcript of the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference

OHR, Oleg Milisic

EUFOR, Karen Halsey



High Representative: Lessons Must Be Learned from

High Representative Christian Schwarz-Schilling expressed his hope that
today’s ceremony, on the 11th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre,
will provide a measure of comfort for friends and family of those being buried
and that lessons will be learned from what happened at Srebrenica.

“The grief will not diminish and the victims will never be forgotten – but it
is our duty to those who were murdered to ensure that lessons are learned from
this tragedy,” Mr Schwarz-Schilling said in a statement.

The High Representative expressed satisfaction that the
Council of Ministers has designated 11 July a day of mourning throughout Bosnia and

and said that he would like to see
Bosnia and

’s institutions build on this

“This is important,” Mr Schwarz-Schilling said. “I very much hope that this
country’s institutions will decide one day soon to set aside a day every year to
honour the memory of both the victims of Srebrenica and all citizens of
Bosnia and Herzegovina who lost their lives.”

In his statement, the High Representative explained how even 11 years on it
is still almost impossible to comprehend fully what happened at Srebrenica.

“Every time I think of Srebrenica,” Mr Schwarz-Schilling said. “I have to ask
myself what more we could and should have done, and what more I could and should
have done, to prevent the slaughter in what was, after all, a UN-declared safe

“We failed the victims of this genocide in life and we will fail them in
death unless we ensure that the remains of each and every one of them are buried
with dignity, and that the perpetrators – each and every one of them – are
brought to justice.”


High Representative Explains Thinking Behind OHR

I would draw your attention to an article by the High
Representative which was published by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network
on 7 July. The article, in which the High Representative explains in detail the
thinking behind the Peace Implementation Council’s decision to close the OHR at
the end of June next year and discusses some of the issues connected to this
decision, can be found on the
BIRN website.

In this piece the High Representative stresses, among other things, that

  • it is time for Bosnia and
    to move beyond peace
    implementation towards Euro-Atlantic integration;
  • this new phase represents a progression, not a change of direction;
  • the closure of the OHR does not mean the International Community is
    withdrawing from Bosnia and
    . It will remain fully involved,
    with a reinforced engagement by the EU, through the Stabilisation and
    Association process, through the work of an expanded EU Special
    Representative’s Office, and through the continued presence of EUFOR, the EU
    Police Mission, NATO and other international actors;
  • now there is a clear timeframe within which the
    leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina must take decisive steps to rationalise and
    consolidate the country’s institutions, ensure its economic viability and take
    it further along the path of Euro-Atlantic integration;
  • the option of waiting for the OHR to close before sabotaging the peace
    process does not exist.



In the last week EUFOR has worked to uncover large quantities of ammunition
and weaponry that is still held in homes and hidden in the countryside. 
All taskforces continue to carry out OP HARVESTS in the local communities. 
These operations give the population an opportunity to hand in ammunition and
small arms to EUFOR for safe disposal.  These operations continue to prove
fruitful and in one house last week MNTF(NW) uncovered:

1 x M53 Medium Machine Gun

1 x M80 64mm Rocket Launcher

2 x AK47 magazines (loaded)

2 x M52 Hand Grenades

2 x M75 Grenades

1 x PMA3 Mine

2 x M60 Rifle Launched Grenades

200g TNT

Approx. 250 Rounds of Ammunition

EUFOR conducts these operations closely with the local authorities and the
EUPM and the growing role of the local authorities in these operations is
another indication of their willingness to take responsibility for the safety of
all people in BiH.

Last week EUFOR also uncovered a large cache of ammunition in the MNTF(SE)
area in Misevina.  The ammunition was found in a hole in the woods after a
tip off from a local resident.  The ammunition consisted of numerous mortar
shells and a big amount of antipersonnel and anti-tank mines, enough to fill a
truck.  The ammunition was removed and will be safely destroyed in the near

These finds demonstrate that weapons and ammunition are still being hidden
and stored in this country.  As part of the EUFOR mandate to provide a safe
and secure environment for BiH citizens to live in EUFOR will continue to carry
out its HARVEST OPERSTIONS and also to act on any intelligence that may lead to
the recovery of hidden weapon caches



Fedzad Forto, FENA

Is HR going to Srebrenica today?


As we said earlier, unfortunately the HR is not in the country.

Fedzad Forto, FENA

During previous events in Srebrenica the security risk assessment was high.
Is there a similar assessment for today? Are you engaged in security operations
around Srebrenica today?


We are engaged. We have got local people there from EUFOR and also EUFOR
commander Chiarini is there today as well. Security is there from EUFOR. We are
trying not to make it high visibility but we are involved along with the local

Fedzad Forto, FENA

Is security situation in Srebrenica today regular or?


It’s slightly higher today, obviously, but not significantly.