FM Hosts Diplomats for an ICJ Ruling Appeal Talk

Bosnian Foreign Minister had an informal meeting with ambassadors and heads of missions in the country on Jahorina mountain, at which they discussed the appeal to the 2007 ICJ ruling that cleared Serbia of complicity in Srebrenica genocide. Minister Igor Crnadak told the diplomats that the appeal was not backed by the institutions and that he expected them to support the principles of compromise and dialogue between Bosnia’s main ethnic groups, as well as the significance and role of the institutions.

Crnadak said that the legitimacy of the decision to appeal the ruling, as well the legitimacy of the country’s agent who lodged the appeal, was questionable and problematic and that he will inform the ICJ about that, the Foreign Ministry said.

He also informed the diplomats that the Bosniak member in the Presidency, Bakir Izetbegović, told the Bosnian ambassador in The Hague not to deliver his letter to the ICJ, thus violating the rules of the Bosnian diplomatic-consular network.

Power Company Reports Record-high Revenue

Government-controlled power utility Elektroprivreda BiH said it achieved record revenue of 1.03 billion KM in 2016, 50 million KM more than in 2015. The company’s profit for the year amounted to 12.9 million KM, it said in a statement, without specifying if the figure refers to net or gross profit.

“Despite 2016 being the first fiscal year of open market rules and poor hydrologic and weather conditions, the continuous production, regular and stable supply of customers, and the achieved financial results, which were significantly higher than planned and above the results achieved in 2015, all indicate that EPBiH operated successfully and contributed to the preservation of the power sector as a stable part of the Bosnian economy,” the company said.

In 2016, EPBiH produced 7,244.7 GWh of electricity, boosted by a significant increase in production in coal power plants Tuzla and Kakanj.

 

Mine Worker Dies from Injuries

A worker in the coal mine Kakanj in central Bosnia died from injuries sustained at work, the mine said. The accident happened in the first shift during early working hours.

According to the mine, the killed worker was the driver of a diesel engine. He was rushed to a hospital in nearby Zenica, but the doctors couldn’t save him.

Mining is notoriously dangerous line of work in Bosnia. Five miners died in an accident in the Kakanj mine in 2015, rising the death toll to 14 in the country that year. With dilapidated infrastructure and modernization of mines lagging behind, accidents are a common occurrence.

 

 

ICJ Ruling Appeal Lodged, Collective Presidency in Near “Cold War” State

Bosnia’s agent formally submitted the request for a revision of the ICJ ruling that cleared Serbia of blame for Srebrenica genocide, prompting an angry response from Bosnian Serb officials, who said the move will plunge the country in a serious crisis.

Serb member in the state Presidency met with the Bosniak and Croat members to discuss the request, but the meeting ended when the Bosniak member left. In separate press conferences after the meeting, the Serb and Bosniak members traded accusations over a looming crisis.

Nearly at the same time, the ambassadors of major powers, including Russia and the United States, issued a joint statement urging all parties in Bosnia to pursue dialogue and avoid any unilateral actions that could exacerbate inter-ethnic tensions.

The 2007 judgment by the International Court of Justice exonerated Serbia of direct responsibility for killings, rapes and “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, though it said Serbia had failed to prevent genocide. The ICJ ruling concluded that genocide had occurred only at Srebrenica, where about 8,000 Muslims were slaughtered by Bosnian Serb forces, and not in other parts of Bosnia.

The Bosniak member of Bosnia’s three-man presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, defended the decision to deliver the request at The Hague against strong opposition from his Serb and Croatian colleagues.

“The request is being submitted at this very moment,” he told a news conference after walking out of a session of the presidency where he had refused to take part in a vote on the issue.

But the Bosnian Serb chair of the presidency, Mladen Ivanic, condemned the move, saying it was now uncertain how the presidency representing Bosnia’s three main ethnic groups could continue to function in the future.

“I fear that we have entered a very serious crisis,” he told reporters after the session.

 

Sarajevo Theater Cuts Admission Prices in March

The National Theater in Sarajevo said it will cut the admission price for its top plays in March to boost the audience figures during the spring season. Tickets for six plays will be sold for 5 and 10 KM.

 

A comedy and a drama tickets will be sold for 5 KM. Elizabeta Bam (adapted and directed by Aleš Kurt) is scheduled for Friday, March 10, at 19:30 hours. Sastanak na vrhu (Top Meeting) will be staged on EN FACE small scene on Tuesday, March 28, at 19:30 pm.

An opera, a drama and two comedies tickets will be sold for 10 KM. La Traviata, directed by Ognian Draganoff, will be performed on Saturday, March 4, at 19:30 hours. The Beggar’s Opera, directed by Kokan Mladenovic, will be performed on Saturday, 11 March at 19:30. Otkrivanje žene (The Unveiling of Woman) will be performed on Saturday, March 18, at 19:30 pm. One Man, Two Bosses will be performed on the International Day of Theater, 27 March, at 19:30.

ICJ Ruling Appeal Will Be Discussed by PIC Ambassadors

Ambassadors in the Peace Implementation Council board will meet today in Sarajevo to discuss the ICJ ruling appeal, a day after the Bosnian agent traveled to The Hague, where he is supposed to lodge the appeal. The session was requested by the Russian Ambassador Petr Ivantsov, who told reporters in Sarajevo that the motion does not enjoy support from the Bosnian government institutions. The Ambassador said that decisions on the foreign policy issues need to be backed by the tripartite head of state. In the case of the ruling appeal, two members in the Presidency were against, he said.

 

The PIC board meeting comes one days after the top officials of Serbia and Republika Srpska entity met in Belgrade and described the ruling appeal as an attack on the Serbs.

The International Court of Justice’s 2007 verdict cleared Serbia of complicity in genocide during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. The Bosniak member in the Bosnian Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, said on Friday that he would  seek a review of the ruling.

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said after the meeting with the chairman of the Bosnian Presidency Mladen Ivanic, Republika Srpska president Milorad Dodik and Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic that it was not clear what kind of relations the Bosniak leaders expected with Serbia after taking such action. He said Belgrade would support the decisions made by Bosnia’s Serbs.

“Serbia will always stand by the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina because we are inextricably linked to the people. We will support RS and everything that is done in Bosnia on the basis of the constitution and the law. We will not support anyone’s unconstitutional measure,” Nikolic said.

Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik described the move as an act of hatred.

“This is an act of hatred by Bosniak Muslims from Sarajevo towards the Serbs,” Dodik told media.

Ivanic promised that Bosnia’s Serbs would retaliate for the move.

“In the coming days, you will see our concrete actions,” he said.

Serbian premier Aleksandar Vucic also promised to back Bosnia’s Serbs.

“We will never put pressure on the representatives of the Serbs. It is their sovereign right and they know what is the best for them,” he said.

But he also condemned the Bosniak leader’s attempt to revive the lawsuit.

“We have no right to let someone humiliate Serbia,” he said.

 

The window during which an appeal to the 2007 ruling can be lodged at the ICJ expires on February 26.

 

Minorities Face Widespread Discrimination, Says Rights Watchdog

Despite a progressive new anti-discrimination legislation, vulnerable minorities in Bosnia endured widespread discrimination in 2016, according to Amnesty International. The state-level and entity governments adopted amendments to laws on discrimination in 2016, but social exclusion and discrimination, in particular of Roma, gays and lesbians, remained widespread, the organization said in its annual report The State of the World’s Human Rights.

Bosnia also made no progress in implementing rulings rendered by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In 2016, ICTY issued several verdicts in relation to crimes committed during the 1992-1995 war, but at the domestic level, access to justice and reparations for civilian victims of war remained limited.

“Despite earlier commitments by the authorities, no progress has been made on the adoption of the law on protection of victims of torture and the harmonization of entity laws regulating the rights of civilian victims of war to enable their effective access to services, free legal aid and effective reparation”, Amnesty said.

Bosnia fared poorly in terms of freedom of expression, the organization reported. It found that a pattern of threats, political pressure and attacks against journalists in Bosnia continued in 2016.