Thirty-fifth report of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 November 2008-30 April 2009 Summary This report covers the period from 1 November 2008 to 30 April 2009. During the past six months Bosnia and Herzegovina has made limited progress on its reform agenda. Nationalist, anti-Dayton rhetoric challenging the sovereignty, territorial integrity and constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina has played the dominant role, despite an effort by three political leaders to open a process of dialogue and compromise. Challenges to the authority of the High Representative and the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council have continued to occur. Of particular note are the ongoing attacks by the Government of the Republika Srpska against State institutions, competencies and laws. Some progress has been made towards meeting the requirements set by the Steering Board for transition from Office of the High Representative to the European Union Special Representative, most notably the adoption of a constitutional amendment incorporating the Brcko District into the Bosnia and Herzegovina constitution and ensuring its access to the constitutional court. Bosnia and Herzegovina also adopted a War Crimes Strategy and endorsed the implementation action plans of the National Justice Sector Reform Strategy. The European Union military mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR) continues to contribute to a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. EUFOR is a key reassurance factor in Bosnia and Herzegovina at a time when the political situation remains fragile. S/2009/246 09-33510
Thirty-fifth report of the High Representative for Bosnia
1 November 2008-30 April 2009
This report covers the period from 1 November 2008 to 30 April 2009. During
the past six months Bosnia and Herzegovina has made limited progress on its reform
agenda. Nationalist, anti-Dayton rhetoric challenging the sovereignty, territorial
integrity and constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina has played the
dominant role, despite an effort by three political leaders to open a process of
dialogue and compromise. Challenges to the authority of the High Representative
and the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council have continued to
occur. Of particular note are the ongoing attacks by the Government of the Republika
Srpska against State institutions, competencies and laws.
Some progress has been made towards meeting the requirements set by the
Steering Board for transition from Office of the High Representative to the European
Union Special Representative, most notably the adoption of a constitutional
amendment incorporating the Brcko District into the Bosnia and Herzegovina
constitution and ensuring its access to the constitutional court. Bosnia and
Herzegovina also adopted a War Crimes Strategy and endorsed the implementation
action plans of the National Justice Sector Reform Strategy.
The European Union military mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR)
continues to contribute to a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
EUFOR is a key reassurance factor in Bosnia and Herzegovina at a time when the
political situation remains fragile.
1. This is my first report to the Secretary-General since assuming the post of
High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina (as well as that of European Union
Special Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina) on 26 March. In keeping with
past practice, the present report assesses progress made towards attaining the goals
outlined in previous reports, reviews developments during the reporting period, and
provides my assessment of mandate implementation in the most important areas.
Considering the decision of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council
in February 2008 specifying five objectives and two conditions that must be met by
the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina before transition from the Office of the
High Representative to the European Union Special Representative can be
concluded, I have focused my efforts on facilitating progress in these areas.
Nevertheless, my time has also been dedicated to addressing negative developments,
in particular anti-Dayton rhetoric challenging the sovereignty, territorial integrity,
and constitutional order of the country, as well as related attacks on the State
institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
II. Political update
General political environment
2. In the lead-up to the November meeting of the Peace Implementation Council
Steering Board, the leader of SNSD, Milorad Dodik, the leader of SDA, Sulejman
Tihic, and the leader of HDZ, Dragan Covic, signed the so-called Prud Agreement,
addressing constitutional reform, resolution of the State property objective for
transition from the Office of the High Representative to the European Union Special
Representative, implementation of annex 7 in connection with the organizing of a
census, a constitutional solution for Brcko’s access to the Bosnia and Herzegovina
Constitutional Court, and Bosnia and Herzegovina Fiscal Council and budget issues.
The agreement, as well as subsequent meetings of the three leaders over the
following months, reflected their apparent willingness to compromise on and make
progress towards important political issues, including the remaining objectives and
condition for transition from the Office of the High Representative to the European
Union Special Representative.
3. On the positive side, those discussions contributed to ensuring the passage of
the 2009 State budget in January and agreement among the political leaders on an
amendment to the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina ensuring the Brcko
District access to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitutional Court. On 26 March,
the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliamentary Assembly adopted the Brcko
amendment, the first change to the Constitution since the Dayton Agreement was
signed, with the support of the vast majority of the parties in parliament.
4. Despite these positive achievements, divisive and nationalist rhetoric
challenging the sovereignty and constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina
continued during the reporting period, along with actions and statements by Bosnia
and Herzegovina actors challenging the authority of the High Representative and the
Peace Implementation Council Steering Board. Ill-advised discussions on the future
territorial organization of the country as part of initial constitutional reform
consultations led to all sides falling back to their maximalist positions and in some
cases going beyond what they had previously called for. This further limited the
room for compromise. In a number of areas, attempts to roll back previous reforms
and undermine existing State-level institutions continued.
5. During the reporting period, Republika Srpska officials and institutions took
steps and issued statements furthering the idea of eventual secession of the
Republika Srpska from Bosnia and Herzegovina. These steps included an official
Republika Srpska platform for constitutional change, foreseeing Bosnia and
Herzegovina as a “union of independent States” and alluding to the possibility of
citizens of the entity being consulted on the “State structure” or “constitutional
status” of the Republika Srpska. In February, the SNSD party of Milorad Dodik
adopted conclusions calling for discussions on the possibility for the citizens to
“express their will” on whether they “are for the existence of the Republika Srpska
within the Dayton territorial and political framework”. In the same month, the
President of SNSD presented his party’s proposal for constitutional reform in the
media. The platform was based on a number of “ultimatums”, which included the
right to hold a referendum on the independence of the Republika Srpska within three
years. In April, Dodik expressed the opinion to Radio Free Europe that someday the
conditions would be right for the Republika Srpska to follow Kosovo’s lead and
secede from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
6. The political situation was further complicated by authorities of the Republika
Srpska and ruling Republika Srpska parties challenging the legality and validity of
decisions of the High Representative. These moves included a letter sent by the
Government of the Republika Srpska in February 2009, bypassing State institutions,
to the Security Council, stating that “… there is no legal basis for the continued
exercise of these peremptory powers; moreover their use has violated the Bosnia
and Herzegovina Constitution, the Dayton Accords, other international treaties, and
general principles of international law”. At a session of the Republika Srpska
National Assembly in April, in yet another attempt to divert attention from concrete
political issues and reforms, Prime Minister Dodik claimed that “the stability of
Bosnia and Herzegovina is most endangered by the long-term and illegal activity of
the Office of the High Representative” and repeated the assertion that decisions, acts
and removals by the Office of the High Representative had no basis in the Dayton
Peace Agreement or under international law. These steps were taken despite a clear
reminder of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board in November and
then again in March to the parties to meet their obligations and ensure full
cooperation with the High Representative.
7. Developments in an ongoing investigation by the Bosnia and Herzegovina
State Prosecutor and State Investigation and Protection Agency into alleged criminal
offences of the Republika Srpska Prime Minister, Milorad Dodik, and others
prompted a visceral political response from Republika Srpska officials and
representatives from the Republika Srpska within State institutions, including
threats of unilateral withdrawal from Bosnia and Herzegovina State institutions.
These unacceptable reactions were prompted by the submission of an investigation
report from the State Investigation and Protection Agency to the prosecutor and no
formal charges have been raised.
8. These developments reduced the space for significant progress on the
legislative agenda, including reforms required for further progress towards the
European Union, visa liberalization, and agreed reforms stemming from the Prud
Agreement. The Prud process highlighted divisions within Bosniak politics both
between SDA and the Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as divisions within
SDA. In December, the President of SDA, Sulejman Tihic, delivered a speech
calling for a shift in Bosniak politics, away from a philosophy of victimhood and
towards practical engagement with representatives of the other two constituent
peoples, in order to facilitate the compromises needed to move the country forward.
Through his ongoing support for the Prud process, Tihic exposed himself to attacks
from within and outside his party. In March and April, Bakir Izetbegovic, son of
SDA founder Alija Izetbegovic, and Adnan Terzic, former Chair of the Council of
Ministers, announced that they would challenge Tihic in the race for the post of
SDA President, which will be decided at the party congress late in May.
9. Beyond the ongoing political tension, the global economic crisis accelerated
the already difficult economic situation in the country. The Federation has been
hardest hit, because of its bloated administrative apparatus and unrealistic social
benefit commitments, especially towards the veteran population, bringing it close to
economic collapse. In March, the Government was forced to take several million
KM in commercial loans from a number of private banks. Media speculation about
the imminent financial collapse of the Federation was accompanied by repeated
reports of an impending vote of no confidence in the Government. In April, the
Prime Minister of the Federation, Nedzad Brankovic, of SDA, was indicted for
abuse of office by the Sarajevo Cantonal Court, leading for calls for his resignation,
including from his own party president. The President of HDZ, Dragan Covic, was
also indicted in April.
10. Political engagement between Tihic and Covic at the national level did not
translate into agreement between the two largest Bosniak and Croat parties on the
election of a new mayor in Mostar. At the end of the reporting period, six months
after the 2008 municipal elections, Mostar still had no mayor. With ongoing
constitutional reform discussions and media speculations about possible future
changes to the organization of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federation, the
continuing failure of the parties in Mostar to reach agreement is having a negative
impact on the situation in the city.
11. In April, an initial breakthrough was achieved in attempts at finding an
acceptable and sustainable resolution of the State property apportionment issue,
whereby each level of government would receive the property needed to carry out
its competencies. An acceptable and sustainable resolution of State property is the
second of the five objectives set by the Peace Implementation Council Steering
Board for transition from the Office of the High Representative to the European
Union Special Representative. The breakthrough came when the Council of
Ministers finally took steps to initiate an inventory of State property, following
months of pressure from the international community.
12. As previously noted, the Prud Agreement of November and subsequent
meetings addressed the issues of constitutional reform. Discussions in November
and December initiated a process of discussing such reform through the Bosnia and
Herzegovina Parliamentary Assembly, with the three party presidents signing and
forwarding to the parliament an Initiative for Changes of the Constitution of Bosnia
and Herzegovina which proposed, inter alia, that their parties’ caucuses, together
with other delegates, should prepare a draft decision on the commencement of
reform talks for each house to endorse.
13. Despite these initial positive first steps, the third meeting of the Prud leaders
in Banja Luka in January exposed deep divisions between the leaders in their
visions of the future organization of the country. The leaders agreed to reorganize
Bosnia and Herzegovina on the basis of four territorial units forming the “middle
level” of government, but soon revealed in the media wholly contradictory
understandings of what this formulation would mean in practice. The Banja Luka
agreement provoked a heated public debate and raised political tensions, setting
back discussions on constitutional reform. When the Prud leaders reconvened in the
middle of February in Mostar to exchange their respective platforms on
constitutional reform, the SNSD President served his colleagues with a series of
ultimatums and the talks broke down. In addition, conclusions adopted by the
Republika Srpska National Assembly in mid-February demonstrated a lack of
readiness to accept constitutional changes that would boost the authority and
effectiveness of State institutions and enhance the capacity of Bosnia and
Herzegovina to take part in Euro-Atlantic integration.
14. Actions by Republika Srpska parties and institutions on constitutional reform
should also be viewed in the light of disingenuous claims in the media that the State
of Bosnia and Herzegovina has usurped responsibilities belonging to the entities.
After repeated official requests by the Office of the High Representative since
August for the Republika Srpska authorities to provide a list of competencies
alleged by Republika Srpska representatives in the media to have been illegitimately
transferred to the Bosnia and Herzegovina State, the Office of the High
Representative received a list of 64 items in February. This list was expanded to
68 alleged items and adopted as an “information” by the Republika Srpska
Government and sent to the Republika Srpska National Assembly, which is still
debating the document.
15. The Republika Srpska list includes a number of responsibilities that are
expressly listed in the Constitution as belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina
(including matters related to immigration and asylum, import and export of arms,
and international and inter-entity criminal law enforcement). Certain matters listed
have already been subject to challenges before the Constitutional Court of Bosnia
and Herzegovina, which has decided that Bosnia and Herzegovina-level legislation
covering those matters is in line with the distribution of competencies provided for
in the Constitution. The list is also misleading in that it alleges that there have been
transfers of competency in areas where Bosnia and Herzegovina-level legislation is
being discussed but has not been adopted owing to various types of blockades by
delegates elected from the Republika Srpska. A number of these are matters that
must be adopted at the Bosnia and Herzegovina level in order to implement the
Stabilization and Association Agreement or comply with the European Partnership
16. In fact, the entities have agreed to transfer certain constitutional
responsibilities to the State on only four occasions, and have done so as provided for
in the Constitution. SNSD and the Republika Srpska authorities in general appear
determined to limit significant constitutional reform while, at the same time, seeking
to expand Republika Srpska competencies through false claims that the State has
illegitimately usurped entity prerogatives.
17. Despite these setbacks, the SDA President and Deputy Speaker of the Bosnia
and Herzegovina House of Peoples, Sulejman Tihic, succeeded in getting a
conclusion adopted in that house to initiate parliamentary discussions on
constitutional reform. Although the delegates of SNSD voted in favour, that party’s
leaders in the House of Representatives repudiated the decision of their colleagues
in the upper house as inimical to Republika Srpska interests. Overall, SDA and HDZ
remain determined to stick to what was agreed (or supposedly agreed) during the
Prud process, while SNSD is inclined to backtrack and to shelter behind the demand
that the Republika Srpska National Assembly must have primacy in any discussions
of constitutional reform.
18. One lesson of the failed “April Package” in 2006 is that negotiations on
constitutional reform should not extend into an election year, when nationalistic
rhetoric is likely to increase, room for compromise is reduced, and the risk of
failure — and collateral damage to the political situation — is great. Since 2010 is
another election year, time in 2009 to deliver meaningful constitutional changes,
which the country will undoubtedly need, would be limited. In addition, any
eventual constitutional amendments would almost certainly affect election rules and
require subsequent changes to the election law.
III. European partnership requirements and visa liberalization
19. Despite a proclaimed commitment to the European Union agenda, the State
institutions made inadequate progress in relation to European Union reforms during
the reporting period. The Bosnia and Herzegovina Council of Ministers adopted
only six European Union reform laws,1 and made limited progress in
implementation of other European Union requirements,2 while five of those laws
adopted by the Council of Ministers were fully adopted by the Parliamentary
Assembly3 and one failed because of opposition by delegates elected from the
1The Council of Ministers adopted the Law on Framework for Foreign Exchange Policy in
Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Law on Financial leasing, the Law on Execution of Criminal
Sanctions, Detentions and Other Measures, the Law on Amendments to the Law on Police
Officials, the Law on Amendments to the Law on Establishment of the Export-credit Agency of
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Law on Competition, the Law on Amendments to the Public
Procurement Law, the Law on Excise and the Anti-Discrimination Law.
2The Council of Ministers adopted a Decision appointing the Directors and Deputy Directors of
three of the police agencies envisaged in the police reform laws; the Plan and Programme of
education in European Union matters for staff of the Directorate for European Integration and
other state institutions; Analysis of the degree of implementation of the Bosnia and Herzegovina
strategy for fight against organized crime and corruption for the period 2006-2009; Decision on
appointment of members for the Bosnia and Herzegovina Standardization Institute; Decision on
appointment of the Director and Deputy Director of the Agency for pharmaceuticals and medical
devices and members of the Expert Council of the Agency; Decision to start official
preparations for a census; Strategy in the field of immigration and asylum and action plan for
the period 2008-2011; State strategy for supervision over narcotics, prevention and combating of
narcotics abuse in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2009-2013; Strategy for Small and
Medium-sized Enterprise Development; Decision on establishing the central harmonization unit
of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury; and Decision establishing the Advisory Council for
agriculture, nourishment and rural development of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3Law on Protection and Welfare of Animals, Law on Genetically Modified Organisms, Law on
Execution of Criminal Sanctions, Detention and Other Measures, Law on Amendments to the
Law on Police Officials and Law on Air Navigation.
4Law on Agency for Development of Information Society.
20. The State and the entities continued to adopt legislation in an uncoordinated
manner. Of particular concern was the lack of coordination on the part of the
Republika Srpska in regard to the European integration process with the State-level
and other authorities in the country. Republika Srpska obstruction of European
Union requirements included the adoption of a draft Republika Srpska Law on State
Aid in January in the first reading by the Republika Srpska National Assembly,
although the Interim Agreement clearly provides that State aid shall be regulated
only at the Bosnia and Herzegovina level.
21. As part of an overall programme for Western Balkan countries, the European
Commission has provided Bosnia and Herzegovina with a road map for visa
liberalization. The objective of the road map is to identify the requirements that
Bosnia and Herzegovina must meet in order to allow the European Commission to
make a proposal to the Council for the lifting of the visa obligation for Bosnia and
Herzegovina. The road map for further liberalization beyond the existing visa
facilitation and readmission agreement contains requirements in the fields of
document security, illegal migration, public order and security and external
22. During the reporting period, the European Commission in its Assessment
report on the implementation of the road map for visa liberalization of November
2008 identified specific measures for Bosnia and Herzegovina to fulfil. In March,
the European Commission provided for expert missions to carry out further
assessments of Bosnia and Herzegovina activities in meeting the requirements of the
23. Blockages in the adoption of State-level legislation also had a negative effect
on the fulfilment of conditions set forth in the visa liberalization road map. In April,
the European Commission addressed the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliamentary
Assembly, noting a number of outstanding issues and referring to six outstanding
Bosnia and Herzegovina laws, as well as the implementation of police reform laws.
Five of those laws have been blocked in parliament because of opposition from
Republika Srpska parties, including the Laws on Border Control, Weapons,
Transportation of Dangerous Materials, International Legal Aid, and Control of
Movement of Weapons and Military Equipment.5
24. During the reporting period, Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities took steps to
establish the new State-level police bodies provided for in the 2008 police reform
25. In February, the Council of Ministers appointed the Directors and Deputy
Directors of the Agency for Forensic Examinations and Expertise and the Agency
for Police Support and the Deputy Director of the Agency for Education and
Advanced Training of Personnel. The Council of Ministers also decided on the seats
of the aforementioned agencies. The selection of the Director of the Agency for
Education and Advanced Training will have to be repeated.
26. The establishment of the Independent Board and the Public Complaints Board
failed late in March, owing to opposition from SNSD and SDS members in the
Bosnia and Herzegovina House of Peoples, thus necessitating the repetition of the
5With the exception of the last of these laws, which is still pending in the Bosnia and
Herzegovina House of Peoples, these laws all failed in the Parliamentary Assembly.
appointment procedure for the members of those boards. The formation of the
Independent Board is necessary for proceeding with the outstanding appointment of
the Director and Deputy Directors of the Directorate for the Coordination of Police
27. The legal deadline for the appointments to the new State-level police bodies
mentioned above was August 2008.
28. In December, the Council of Ministers forwarded amendments to the Law on
Ministries and Other Bodies of Administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the
Law on Police Officials of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Bosnia and Herzegovina
Parliamentary Assembly, and in March forwarded amendments to the Law on the
State Investigation and Protection Agency and the Law on Border Police for
parliamentary procedure, as required by the police reform laws. The legal deadline
for the harmonization of the above-mentioned legislation with the police reform
laws was November.
IV. Entrenching the rule of law
29. Further progress has been achieved during the reporting period towards
entrenchment of the rule of law, which is the fifth of the five objectives set by the
Peace Implementation Council Steering Board for transition from the Office of the
High Representative to the European Union Special Representative. The Bosnia and
Herzegovina Council of Ministers adopted the Bosnia and Herzegovina National
War Crimes Strategy on 29 December and the implementation action plans of the
National Justice Sector Reform Strategy were unanimously endorsed at a ministerial
conference held in December.
30. Progress was finally made to adopt a war crimes prosecution strategy when the
Council of Ministers adopted the Bosnia and Herzegovina National War Crimes
Strategy on 29 December. The adoption of the strategy was a benchmark in the rule
of law objective for transition from the Office of the High Representative to the
European Union Special Representative, and with the adoption this benchmark was
met. A strategy on war crimes was long overdue, particularly in view of the large
number of domestic cases as well as the impending closure of International Tribunal
for the former Yugoslavia. The Strategy sets criteria for the distribution of cases
between the Bosnia and Herzegovina and entity judiciaries, reflects work done on
cataloguing crime events, recognizes the need for resources and legislative
amendments, stresses the importance of regional cooperation in war crimes
investigations, and calls upon the authorities to urgently improve that cooperation.
More recently, the implementation has experienced some delays. However, the
necessary amendments to State legislation were adopted by the Council of
Ministers, having now entered the parliamentary procedure, and the Supervisory
Board to supervise the implementation of the Strategy has been established.
31. At a ministerial conference in December, action plans for the implementation
of the Justice Sector Reform Strategy (2009-2013) were endorsed and a common
declaration adopted. Implementation working groups were established in January. A
second set of meetings of all working groups, at which the Office of the High
Representative participates in the capacity of observer and adviser, is currently
ongoing in order to prepare the next Ministerial Conference, when the Strategy will
be revised and possibly updated. Regrettably, the implementation of the Strategy is
hampered by the more than limited participation of the Republika Srpska Ministry
of Justice and by the weak contribution of the Federation Ministry of Justice. While
the Bosnia and Herzegovina Ministry of Justice ensures that all sides are kept
informed, the results achieved so far given the present level of cooperation remain
low. The next ministerial conference, scheduled for the end of May in Banja Luka,
should address these concerns.
32. All was not positive in the realm of the rule of law during the reporting period,
which was characterized by attacks by political authorities to undermine the
achievements of past reforms in the justice sector. Most notably in this respect the
Republika Srpska authorities ignored a request from the State Investigation and
Protection Agency to submit documentation concerning governmental building
projects in relation to a pre-investigative action in alleged crimes involving the
Republika Srpska Prime Minister. The Republika Srpska Prime Minister even
publicly suggested the use of armed resistance in case of a forcible action to collect
the requested documentation. In February, the attacks and challenges increased upon
the submission of the Agency’s report to the State Prosecutor’s office alleging
criminal activities in relation to the above-mentioned events in the Republika
Srpska. An internal disciplinary process conducted in April has thus far determined
that Agency personnel conducted the investigation in accordance to the relevant
33. Also of concern was a case submitted by a delegate of SNSD before the
Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitutional Court challenging the Law on the Court of
Bosnia and Herzegovina, the main purpose of which was to terminate the
jurisdiction of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina for criminal offences prescribed
by the entity criminal codes when such offences endanger the sovereignty of Bosnia
and Herzegovina or have serious consequences beyond the territory of one entity.
The Office of the High Representative submitted an amicus curiae brief to the
Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitutional Court, and in March the Court issued a
ruling confirming the constitutionality of the provision of the Law on the Court of
Bosnia and Herzegovina that had been challenged. Regardless of the ruling, the
number of political rhetorical attacks on State justice institutions remained high in
the reporting period.
34. In the Federation, the authority of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council
was challenged by a decision of the Federation President to appoint a judge to the
Federation Constitutional Court in violation of the Federation Constitution and State
law. The final authority for the appointment of judges to the Constitutional Court
belongs to the House of Peoples of the Federation Parliament, and the President’s
choice for nomination of candidates is restricted by the role of the High Judicial and
Prosecutorial Council in selecting and proposing the suitable candidates, as required
by the Federation Constitution. The constitutional provision thus establishes balance
between the request for independence of judges and their professionalism, and the
power of the President to choose between the proposed candidates. The Federation
President nominated a person who was excluded as a candidate by the High Judicial
and Prosecutorial Council and stayed by her decision even after being prompted by
the Council and the Committee of the Parliament about the breach of constitutional
procedure. In the ensuing stalemate, the High Representative issued the legal
opinion on the relevant constitutional provisions, as the High Representative
initially enacted them in 2002. Even after the Constitutional Committee of the
Federation House of Peoples had endorsed the legal opinion of the High
Representative, the President insisted on her politically affiliated nominee.
Following the failure of vote in the House of Peoples in favour of the President’s
nominee, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council decided to republish the
vacancy and reinitiate the procedure.
35. The State prison construction project has continued to experience delays,
thereby running the risk that some bilateral donations could be lost. The Bosnia and
Herzegovina Ministry of Justice continues to oversee the project, including the
ongoing technical review needed by the Council of Europe Development Bank
before confirming its final approval for the loan.
V. Cooperation with the International Tribunal
36. According to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina authorities have continued to grant access to Government archives and
to provide requested documents. Moreover, authorities have also provided adequate
responses to requests for assistance as well as facilitating the appearance of
witnesses before the Tribunal.
37. The Office of the Prosecutor did however stress the necessity that Bosnia and
Herzegovina law enforcement and judicial authorities take necessary measures
against those who are engaged in helping the remaining fugitives evade justice or
otherwise obstructing the effective implementation of the Tribunal’s mandate.
38. Closely linked to cooperation with the Tribunal, the adoption by the Bosnia
and Herzegovina Council of Ministers of the Bosnia and Herzegovina National War
Crimes Strategy on 29 December is a positive outcome. The adoption of the Strategy
was a benchmark in the rule of law objective for transition from the Office of the
High Representative to the European Union Special Representative. A strong
strategy on war crimes was long overdue, particularly in view of the huge Bosnia
and Herzegovina domestic caseload as well as the impending closure of the
Tribunal. The Strategy sets criteria for the distribution of cases between the Bosnia
and Herzegovina and lower levels, reflects work done on cataloguing crime events,
recognizes the need for resources and legislative amendments, stresses the
importance of regional cooperation in war crimes investigations, and calls upon the
authorities to urgently improve that cooperation.
39. During March, the (previous) High Representative used his executive powers
to impose several amendments to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Federation laws,
which prevented the early release of sentenced war criminals. The Tribunal had
asked him to act upon this issue, and extended its gratitude for his timely action.
40. The arrest of Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic, the two remaining fugitive
indictees, remains the Tribunal’s priority. The Office of the High Representative will
continue to support the activities of and cooperate with the Tribunal, NATO,
EUFOR, the European Union, the Republika Srpska police, the Bosnia and
Herzegovina Intelligence and Security Agency and other agencies involved in
establishing their whereabouts and their arrest.
41. Two combined international-Bosnia and Herzegovina operations seeking
information were conducted during the first quarter of 2009, both of them against
members of the Mladic support network. One operation was against close relatives
of Mladic located in the Republika Srpska municipality of eastern Sarajevo, and the
other against a former bodyguard and retired military associate who recently
relocated to Banja Luka and is affiliated with a private security company.
42. The fact that convicted war criminal Radovan Stankovic remains at large, most
likely in Serbia, is a continuing embarrassment to the region. Relevant Republika
Srpska authorities have failed to hold a single person accountable for his escape,
and have taken no action to encourage Serbian authorities to apprehend him, despite
his having mailed threats from Serbia to Bosnia and Herzegovina prosecutors and
judges. Stankovic escaped from the Republika Srpska prison in Foca in May 2007.
Stankovic was the first case transferred by the Tribunal to the Court of Bosnia and
Herzegovina, which convicted him of running a rape camp, among other crimes.
VI. Reforming the economy
43. Economic trends in the reporting period forecast serious challenges in 2009.
While real GDP growth was 5.5 per cent in 2008,6 the impact of the global
economic crisis on Bosnia and Herzegovina is likely to cause a sharp decrease in
2009. Driven by the rise in commodity prices and utilities, headline inflation
reached 7.5 per cent6 at the end of 2008. This was slightly lower than in the summer
when it was at its highest rate in the past 10 years. The trade deficit in 2008
amounted to KM 9.574 billion; exports increased by 13.1 per cent on an annual
basis, thereby totalling KM 6.711 billion, and imports increased by 17.2 per cent
and amounted to KM 16.286 billion.7 Mostly as a result of salary increases in the
public sector, the average net wage in Bosnia and Herzegovina increased and
amounted to around KM 800 at the end of 2008.7 The registered unemployment rate
at the end of 2008 was 40.8 per cent7 and appeared to be rising. New employment
has been in decline since November. A decline is visible in foreign direct
investments too, which dropped from 11 per cent of GDP in 2007 to less than 6 per
cent of GDP in 2008 and continues to have a downward tendency.8
44. As to the economic reform agenda, the reporting period has been characterized
by a number of developments and challenges. The Governing Board of the Indirect
Taxation Authority completed a few tasks from its portfolio, such as the preparation
of the draft Law on Excise and the adoption of bylaws needed for the restructuring
of the secretariat of the Authority’s Governing Board and the set-up of a Final
Consumption Unit. The allocation of indirect tax revenue between the entities
remains a subject of dispute, however. Consequently, the Governing Board has been
unable to agree on new revenue allocation coefficients since June 2008. This has
been used by the Republika Srpska as a justification to question the overall indirect
tax reform and the single account concept. The revenue allocation dispute has also
undermined efforts to reappoint or replace the current Director of the Authority,
whose mandate expired on 8 December.
45. Since its inauguration on 11 September 2008, the Bosnia and Herzegovina
Fiscal Council has been meeting relatively regularly. While its decision of
6 November 2008 to set the upper limit for the budgets of the State, the entities and
6Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
7Statistics Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
the Brcko District9 contributed to the relatively early adoption of the 2009 budgets
at all levels,10 the Fiscal Council has so far contributed little to policy coordination
among its members. Regardless of the challenges facing the country as a result of
the global economic crisis the members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Fiscal
Council plan, adopt and implement measures independently of each other. Of
particular concern is that this mechanism is being used by both entities to reach
agreements that benefit the entities only. On 6 March, the Fiscal Council accepted a
Protocol on Temporary Allocation of the Succession Funds, foreseeing that 65 per
cent of the total of KM 180 million of the succession funds be given to the
Federation and 35 per cent to the Republika Srpska. Although this allocation is
considered to be of temporary nature and thus subject to modifications and
consequent rebalancing once a new law on management of funds from succession is
enacted at the State level, it is disturbing that the interests of the State and the Brcko
District were completely neglected.
46. Similar decisions are likely to continue until the financial crisis in the
Federation, now also accompanied and accelerated by the effects of the global
economic crisis, is properly addressed. The Federation Government has launched
some initiatives to cover last year’s deficit of KM 260 million and to financially
cover all obligations in 2009, but it has so far lacked the capacity to take difficult
decisions. The parties are already positioning themselves for the general elections of
2010 and do not seem to understand the full urgency of the situation. If action is not
taken rapidly, there is a risk of eventual financial collapse and attendant social
unrest and political instability. These risks are further exacerbated by the
underperformance of revenues as a result of the global crisis, continued lack of
agreement on revenue allocation coefficients, continued challenges to the State
institutions by the Republika Srpska, expired mandates and delayed appointments.
47. In the business sphere, the reporting period was characterized by the continued
opposition of the Republika Srpska to any reform requiring a transfer of
competence, including the European partnership requirements such as the adoption
of a State-level law on obligations and the set-up of a State-level banking
48. Problems also continued in the energy sector, primarily with regard to the
Bosnia and Herzegovina Electricity Transmission Company (Transco). Despite the
entity Prime Ministers’ Agreement on Energy Policy Principles of 6 November 2008
and the Transco Shareholders Assembly Agreement of 3 December 2008, whereby
the parties agreed to urgent measures and activities required for the smooth
operation of Transco, there were no improvements during the reporting period.
Transco still does not function in full capacity and in accordance with the legislation
in force due to the continuing boycott by the Republika Srpska of Management
9The 6 November 2008 decision of the Fiscal Council allowed a 12 per cent increase of the State
and a 6 per cent increase of the entity and Brcko District 2009 budgets compared to their 2008
10The State budget was adopted on 29 January 2009 in the amount of KM 1.41 billion, which is an
increase of 19 per cent compared to the 2008 adopted budget; the Federation budget was
adopted on 29/30 December 2008 in the amount of KM 1.6 billion, which is a decrease by
KM 233 million or 13 per cent compared to the 2008 rebalanced budget; and the Republika
Srpska budget was adopted on 22/23 December 2008 in the amount of KM 1.67 billion, which is
a 6 per cent increase compared to the 2008 rebalanced budget or an 11 per cent increase
compared to the 2008 adopted budget.
Board meetings and the General Manager’s continued obstruction of the Board’s
earlier decisions. This also affects the reappointment or replacement of the key
Executive Directors of Transco, whose mandates expired on 1 March. The Prime
Minister and the Energy Minister of the Republika Srpska opposed all attempts to
change this situation and also rejected the international community’s offer of
assistance in overcoming the problems and improving the company’s performance.
The situation rapidly becomes detrimental for the only electricity transmission
company in Bosnia and Herzegovina and may lead to its dissolution. This would
represent a rollback on the reform that was one of the preconditions for negotiating
the signing of a Stabilization and Association Agreement, which is required under
the Athens Energy Community Treaty and was implemented with significant
international financial support.
VII. Public administration reform
49. During this reporting period, the High Representative was forced to express
his concerns about amendments to the State law on the civil service on several
occasions because of their potential to reverse longstanding efforts to put in place a
merit-based, politically independent civil service, as well as to undermine the Statelevel
Civil Service Agency. Although adopted by the Council of Ministers, a further
intervention in February by the Principal Deputy High Representative/Acting High
Representative had the desired effect and the parliamentary committee discussing
the amendments made the changes necessary to safeguard the core principles
underlying the existing civil service system. The amendments were adopted by the
Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliamentary Assembly at the end of April in a
VIII. Defence reform
50. During the reporting period Bosnia and Herzegovina instituted capacitybuilding
of its defence planning process, although, within the defence budget,
allocation of funds to personnel costs remained high, at the expense of capital costs.
There was no evidence of ethnic tension hampering reforms or operational
capability within the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
51. NATO conducted assessments to determine defence reform progress in Bosnia
and Herzegovina within the Individual Partnership Action Plan and the Planning and
Review Process, two activities within the Partnership for Peace Programme.
Concerning the Individual Partnership Action Plan, NATO held discussions with
officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina ministries in February, revealing a
reasonable degree of progress on many issues. This was especially the case at the
technical level where ministries and their staff were empowered to engage on
particular issues. However, there appeared to be some delays in the implementation
of issues that were either sensitive or politicized by Bosnia and Herzegovina
institutions or entities. An official report on progress was discussed by the NATO
North Atlantic Council, together with the Bosnia and Herzegovina Minister for
Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence on 11 March.
52. With regard to the Planning and Review Process, NATO held discussions with
the Bosnia and Herzegovina Ministry of Defence and the armed forces of Bosnia
and Herzegovina during February. Discussions showed that some progress had been
made within the implementation of the Planning and Review Process Partnership
goals. However, the failure to resolve the issues of movable and immovable
property (the second of the five objectives and two conditions for the transition from
the Office of the High Representative to the European Union Special
Representative) and the lack of financial resources remained significant obstacles to
progress. The NATO Political-Military Steering Committee, together with a team
from Bosnia and Herzegovina, discussed the final draft of the Planning and Review
Process assessment on 2 March.
IX. Intelligence reform
53. Amid ongoing political tension in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Intelligence
and Security Agency continued its ongoing efforts to consolidate its work and
functioning. Training in operational techniques and methods were stepped up with
support from the Agency’s international partners. Likewise, work on the internal
standardization and regulation of the lawful intercept system progressed.
54. The Bosnia and Herzegovina parliamentary committee that oversees the
Intelligence and Security Agency continued its practice of inspections of regional
centres. On 10 February, amendments to the Law on the Intelligence and Security
Agency and amendments to the Law on Protection of Secret Data came into force.
The former enhanced planning and reporting obligations between the Agency and
the State’s executive and parliamentary bodies. The amendments to the Law on
Protection of Secret Data broadened the scope of data protection in Bosnia and
Herzegovina with regulations on industrial security, which are also in line with
X. European Union military mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina
55. After its United Nations mandate was extended on 20 November 2008 for
another 12 months, the European Union continued to provide a military presence in
Bosnia and Herzegovina with a force of approximately 2,200 troops. EUFOR was
based in Sarajevo with a headquarters, a multinational battalion and the integrated
police unit together with other assets. EUFOR continued to have liaison and
observation teams based in the local communities throughout the country.
56. In a politically fragile and brittle environment, EUFOR continued to play an
important role in contributing to the safe and secure environment, which was not
threatened during the reporting period. Local law enforcement agencies proved able
to deal with all public unrest issues during the period.
57. EUFOR continued to monitor and advise on Joint Military Affairs tasks that
have been handed over to the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities. This will remain
a requirement for some time. The handover of the only Joint Military Affairs task
that remained with EUFOR — civilian movement control — was stuck in the
process of parliamentary adoption: the requisite legislation was again rejected in
April owing to a lack of support from delegates elected from the Republika Srpska.
58. EUFOR, within its means and capabilities, continued to provide essential
support to the International Tribunal, especially through its operations against
support networks of persons indicted for war crimes.
XI. Return of refugees and displaced persons
59. The Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted the strategy for
implementation of annex 7 on 29 January. The document focuses on the return of
displaced persons and refugees to their homes of origin, primarily through
reconstruction of dwellings. It also addresses the integration of displaced persons
who cannot return as well as the issue of compensation for property that cannot be
restored to the owners. The strategy further discusses a range of topics related to the
sustainability of return, and proposes measures to address obstacles in those areas.
However, the parliament has failed to adopt the Strategy thus far. The Serb
representatives insist that the strategy be amended to provide greater emphasis on
assisting people who wish to remain in the current place of residence. Yet the
Bosniak representatives wish to ensure that State financing for annex 7 will be
reserved to support returns almost exclusively. The draft strategy does provide for
access to all rights stipulated in annex 7, and can be further elaborated on once the
document has been adopted. We have repeatedly called upon parliament to adopt the
strategy. The current political stalemate over this issue results only in an
unnecessary delay in helping the more than 100,000 displaced people in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, thousands of them still in collective centres, to find a durable solution.
60. The Mostar City Council has so far failed to elect a new mayor in accordance
with the requirements of the statute of the City of Mostar, because of a power
struggle between the Bosniak-dominated SDA and the Croat-dominated HDZ, each
of whom covet the mayor’s position, with the numerically significant Narodna
Stranka — Radom za Boljitak (People’s Party — Work for Prosperity) in the middle.
There have been no serious political negotiations despite repeated efforts by the
Office of the High Representative urging the parties to do so. As a result, numerous
rounds of mayoral voting have repeatedly yielded the same negative results.
61. The Croat prefix parties, particularly HDZ, have used the situation to attack
the Mostar statute, which calls into question their commitment to the unification
62. The failure to elect a mayor means that the city risks financial collapse, since
there is no annual budget, and the city’s temporary financing decision expired on
31 March. It is the mayor’s responsibility to propose the draft budget, but there is no
new mayor to do so. While the former mayor still occupies the position until a new
mayor is elected, and could propose a budget, the City Council would reject any
such proposal under the current circumstances.
63. The impasse not only delays the key goal of adoption of the Mostar statute by
the City Council, but also raises questions about the sustainability of a unified
Mostar in the absence of the persistent engagement of the international community.
64. Meanwhile, the government of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, based in Mostar,
has been hit by the global economic crisis. A shortfall in revenues has forced the
government to propose a 15 per cent salary cut for all budgetary beneficiaries,
which include police, medical workers, teachers and civil servants. In response, the
trade unions have threatened general strikes, which could bring normal life in the
canton to a standstill.
XIII. Brcko District
65. Brcko District has seen two welcome albeit long overdue developments during
the reporting period: first the adoption by the Bosnia and Herzegovina
Parliamentary Assembly, by an overwhelming majority, of an amendment to the
Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitution giving the District access to the Bosnia and
Herzegovina Constitutional Court, and secondly the formation of a new
concentration government, representing all political parties and constituent peoples.
As a result of these positive developments the Brcko District is nearing the point
where closure of the supervisory regime is possible.
66. Intensive talks and consultations were undertaken after the Prud leaders
meeting and the November meeting of the Peace Implementation Council Steering
Board to secure an agreement on a constitutional amendment giving the Brcko
District access to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitutional Court; the Supervisor,
the Office of the High Representative and the United States played a key role in
bringing the parties together. On 25 February, the Republika Srpska National
Assembly adopted a conclusion on supporting the constitutional amendments in a
significant departure from its decision of March 1999, by which it rejected the Final
Award. The Council of Ministers adopted the amendment early in February and the
Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliamentary Assembly followed suit on 26 March. The
amendment came into effect on 5 April.
67. The Brcko District Supervisor had made clear before the elections of October
2008 that it would be essential for all members of the newly elected Government to
expressly commit themselves to the Dayton Peace Agreement, to continue to
recognize the Awards of the Arbitral Tribunal and the status of the District as a
democratic, multi-ethnic unit of self-governance under the sovereignty of the State,
and to clearly commit themselves to continue to protect the status of the District
after the supervisory regime ends. The political constellation after the election
results was such that no party came close to securing a majority and so a
“concentration government”, including all parties in the Assembly, emerged as the
only realistic option. It was only on 11 February that the Assembly elected the
Speaker (Bosniak), the Deputy Speaker (Croat) and the Serb Mayor. Members of the
Government were sworn in on 26 March.
XIV. Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region
68. Despite the occasional spat and niggling border issues, regional relations have
been relatively quiet during the reporting period, although the Serbian Foreign
Minister’s comments at the end of April suggesting Bosnia and Herzegovina was a
“protectorate” elicited a strongly worded response from a member of the Bosnia and
Herzegovina Presidency, Haris Silajdzic. Federation-based politicians raised their
voice against arrest warrants supposedly issued in March by a court in Belgrade
against 13 (or more) past and present Bosnia and Herzegovina officials allegedly
implicated in an attack on a Yugoslav People’s Army column withdrawing from
Sarajevo in May 1992. At the time of writing, however, no such warrants had
actually appeared. Given both the former rule of the Tribunal that war crimes cases
should be tried in the successor republic in which the putative offence was
committed and the fact that a former city official in Tuzla is currently being tried in
Belgrade in an analogous case, Bosnia and Herzegovina judges and prosecutors are
very sensitive about losing what they regard as their rightful jurisdiction.
69. There was one potentially significant development in a long-running but lowlevel
dispute with Croatia over that country’s construction of a bridge from the
Dalmatian mainland to the Peljesac peninsula. The Bosnia and Herzegovina view is
that such a bridge might block access to the open sea for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s
potential port of Neum, would allow road traffic to bypass the country’s short
stretch of coast, and possibly jeopardize its claim on two tiny islands in the
adjoining bay. The Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency wrote officially to the
Government of Croatia in mid-April proposing talks on the issue, failing which
Bosnia and Herzegovina would seek redress in international courts.
70. The upper house of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliamentary Assembly
voted late in April for a bill that would reintroduce Customs tariffs on agricultural
produce from Croatia and Serbia contrary to obligations under the Central European
Free Trade Agreement. On the other hand, some positive excitement was generated
during the period by talks with Montenegro on a joint project to link the two
countries’ railway networks. This would involve the construction of a 150-km line
from Capljina to Niksic.
XV. European Union Police Mission
71. In line with its “strategic objectives for 2009”, the European Union Police
Mission continued to concentrate its efforts on supporting the fight against
organized crime and assisted in coordinating the policing aspects of efforts to
combat major and organized crime. Furthermore, the Mission, in coordination with
the Office of the High Representative and the European Union Special
Representative, continued to monitor and assess the implementation of the police
reform legislation adopted on 16 April 2008. The Mission and the Office of the High
Representative/European Union Special Representative worked on efforts to
harmonize entity, cantonal and Brcko District police legislation and developed
proposals on reforming State-level legislation covering the State Investigation and
Protection Agency and the Border Police.
XVI. Non-certification of police officers
72. During the reporting period, the Republika Srpska has remained the only
jurisdiction in Bosnia and Herzegovina that has yet to implement the provisions of
the letter of April 2007 from the President of the Security Council on persons denied
certification by the International Police Task Force. In December, associations of
persons denied certification by the International Police Task Force staged a peaceful
protest in front of the Office of the High Representative/European Union Special
Representative building in Sarajevo.
XVII. Media development
73. A deterioration of media freedoms in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been
registered during the reporting period. Since January, the Free Media Helpline of the
Bosnia and Herzegovina Union of Journalists has registered 16 verbal assaults and
direct physical attacks, death threats and other violations of journalists’ rights. This
represents an increase of 20 per cent compared to 2008. It also became evident
during the period that the little cooperation that existed between local media
organizations responsible for media freedoms has diminished. On 29 April the
RTRS, the Republika Srpska public broadcaster and the Republika Srpska daily
newspaperGlas Srpski walked out of the association BH Journalists, announcing the
establishment of a separate Republika Srpska only association of journalists.
74. Almost 12 months after the (long delayed) adoption of the Federation law on
the public broadcasting system, the Federation parliament has still not appointed the
Board of Governors of Federation Radiotelevision. The main reason for this is a
lack of political consensus and an attempt by the parliament to take an excessively
large role in their appointment. Without the Federation Board, the registration of the
Bosnia and Herzegovina Public Broadcasting Corporation, responsible for
streamlining and modernizing the activities of all three public broadcasters in the
system, continues to be on hold.
75. The Council of Ministers was supposed to shortlist candidates for the new
Council of the Communications Regulatory Agency and present the list to the
Bosnia and Herzegovina parliament for it to make the necessary appointments.
Despite the fact that the mandate of the current Council expired on 25 April, and
despite having received the candidate list from the Agency on time, the Council of
Ministers has yet to put this item on its agenda. Together with the failure of the
Council of Ministers to appoint a new General Director of the Communications
Regulatory Agency, unresolved since October 2007, the Council of Ministers is
seriously undermining the independence, overall performance and ability to function
of the Agency.
XVIII. European Union Special Representative
76. In close cooperation and coordination with the European Union, the European
Union Special Representative continued his efforts to facilitate the efforts of Bosnia
and Herzegovina to meet requirements for European Union membership. Beyond
seeking to facilitate the adoption of individual requirements set forth in the
European Partnership and the Stabilization and Association Agreement, the
European Union Special Representative has also engaged in efforts to increase
public and sectoral support within Bosnia and Herzegovina for European Union
accession. With this in mind, the European Union Special Representative continued
his outreach programme after the municipal elections of October 2008, involving
parliamentarians, media, civil society and non-governmental organizations, social
partners and youth representatives.
77. The “Parliament for Europe” project of the European Union Special
Representative has brought together European Union representatives with Members
of Parliament from the State, entity and Brcko District assemblies with the objective
of informing key Bosnia and Herzegovina actors about European Union
requirements and standards, and to encourage them to work towards meeting them.
Each of the five sessions held thus far has focused on a different topic, such as the
role of parliament in European Union accession, public administration reform,
human rights and the protection of minorities, the fight against corruption, and the
European Union internal market.
78. The European Union Special Representative is cooperating closely with public
broadcasters in Bosnia and Herzegovina to increase and improve coverage of
European Union issues in the media. Through this initiative the public broadcasters
have increased news reports on the impact of the Stabilization and Association
process and eventual European Union membership on citizens of Bosnia and
Herzegovina. The reports are broadcast in the prime-time news bulletins and talk
shows. The core group of journalists engaged on this project increase their
knowledge and understanding of European Union issues, turning them into future
European Union correspondents.
79. The European Union Special Representative publishes a weekly electronic
newsletter summarizing news from the European Union and on the relations of
Bosnia and Herzegovina with the European Union, which is distributed every
Saturday to the media, government bodies, civil society actors and individual
subscribers. The newsletter fills an important gap in the media landscape in Bosnia
and Herzegovina. The European Union Special Representative’s website
www.reci.ba (“reci” means “say it”) has also developed into an important
communication tool. Through the website, the European Union Special
Representative has personally engaged in a dialogue with citizens, recording
165 answers to questions from citizens. Some of the replies have been taken up by
the media as news items. In its first year, the site has received some 65,000 visits,
with more than 7,000 comments submitted by citizens.
80. The European Union Special Representative continued to encourage a genuine
public dialogue on the European Union by helping non-governmental organizations
nurture European Union sentiment and activities, including monitoring
implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement and the European
Partnership priorities. The Special Representative has also been the patron of two
regional conferences, on non-governmental organizations and young people,
respectively, and taken part in a conference on the role of local governments and
communities in the European Union integration process. In addition, the Special
Representative has supported Mostar’s two student unions in organizing an
unprecedented joint debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European Union
perspective, with the participation of students from both universities in Mostar.
XIX. Future of the Office of the High Representative
81. The Peace Implementation Council Steering Board met twice during the
reporting period, first on 20 November 2008 and then again on 26 March 2009 to
review the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It recognized the progress that had
been made by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to deliver the objectives
and conditions for the transition from the Office of the High Representative to the
European Union Special Representative. However, it also made clear that it had
serious concerns about the prevailing political situation in the country, including the
challenges to the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and constitutional order,
as well as to its State-level institutions.
XX. Reporting schedule
82. In keeping with the proposals of my predecessor to submit regular reports for
onward transmission to the Security Council, as required by Security Council
resolution 1031 (1995), I herewith present my first regular report. Should the
Secretary-General or any Security Council member require information at any other
time, I should be pleased to provide an additional written update.