Transcript of the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference

OHR, Kevin Sullivan

OSCE, Zinaida Delic

EUPM, Alun Roberts

 

OHR


Today and for the rest of this week the High Representative will be taking
part in a series of radio discussion programmes on the subject of police reform.
The High Representative will be seeking to clarify the debate about police
reform. It’s important everyone understands what the issues are – and what whey
are not.


Police restructuring is about removing politics from policing. And it’s about
making the police more efficient.This can only be achieved by removing the
things that prevent the police from doing their jobs – such as:



  • inadequate funding,
  • irrational organization, and
  • political interference.

Successful police reform will also have a positive impact on a variety of
related areas. The European Commission has said that establishing an efficient,
and democratic police system at the state level is a pre-requisite for further
progress towards eventual EU accession.


Without police restructuring there also cannot be any change in the EU’s visa
requirements for BiH citizens.


In relation to this, we have just learned that the FBiH House of
Representatives has failed to pass the Law on Police Officials, which had been
agreed by the Federation Interior Minister, the Federation Police Director, the
EUPM and the OHR and is in line with the EC’s principles for police reform.


This law is a major component of efforts to improve policing in this country,
and the OHR urges parliamentarians to overcome current obstacles and secure its
speedy enactment.


The whole issue, with regard to this particular law and with regard to police
reform in general is very simple.


Take the politics out of policing. Make policing professional. Give Police
harmonized working relations, i.e ranks, salaries, promotions, and conditions to
improve career opportunities. Make BiH a safer place to live. Add a key element
to BiH’s EU accession process.


 


OSCE


Ambassador Davidson attends seminar on Inter-State Judicial Co-operation
in War Crimes Proceedings in
Stockholm  


Ambassador Douglas Davidson, Head of the OSCE Mission to
Bosnia and
Herzegovina
, is attending a seminar on
Inter-State Judicial Co-operation in War Crimes that is taking place today in
Stockholm .  The seminar, hosted
by The Folke Bernadotte Academy together with the Swedish Ministry for Foreign
Affairs, continues  the discussions initiated at the OSCE-facilitated
expert meeting on inter-state cooperation in war crimes proceedings in Palic,
Serbia and Montenegro, in November last year.  In addition to the OSCE,
among the invited guests are judges, prosecutors and government representatives
from Bosnia and Herzegovina ,
Croatia , and
Serbia and
Montenegro .


The discussion will focus on identifying obstacles and finding tangible
solutions to the development and implementation of effective cross–border
judicial cooperation for prosecution of war crimes. The participants will also
discuss transfer of trials to local courts, domestically initiated war crime
trials and domestic jurisdiction issues in relation to international norms for
fair trials and due process.


Ambassador Davidson will use this opportunity to remind all the participants
of the importance of the work done by the District and Cantonal Courts in BiH in
the prosecution of war crimes, and that the Entity Courts have also been
integral part of the regional cooperation. 


On-line Interview with Ambassador Davidson


The OSCE Mission to BiH will host an on-line interview with Ambassador
Douglas Davidson, Head of Mission, on 24th February between 1600 –
1700 hrs.


Ambassador Davidson will be available to answer questions from BiH citizens
on a wide range of issues that pertain to the OSCE’s work in this country. All
those interested can log on www.oscebih.org to ask about the status of
education reform; how students can get involved; how municipal administration
can function better; how citizens can influence the decision making process, or
to offer a comment or a suggestion.


Please note that in addition to this hour, for all those who will not be able
to be on-line at the specific time, we will open the site so they can submit
their questions any time between 0900 until 1700 hrs on 24th February 2005


 


EUPM


(check against delivery)


In reference to the Campaign in support of a single structure of policing,
EUPM is satisfied with the launch of its public information campaign, following
the presentation of the campaign materials by Commissioner Carty at the press
conference on 15 February.


EUPM is also satisfied with the reporting and follow up coverage of the
Commissioner’s press interview on Friday. This focussed on several key reasons
of why a single structure of policing is necessary.  The Commissioner’s
remarks on the effect of a single structure going a long way toward removing
political influence and political interference in the work of the police – which
in EUPM’s is an essential requirement for a democratic and professional police
service in BiH – were also covered widely by several other media.


Separate media reports over the weekend on comments and assessments of the
need for restructuring by other forms of opinion, served to begin widening the
process of information to the public on the issues and benefits involved.


In the coming weeks EUPM will continue to contribute to various forms of
public information messages on the need for police restructuring in BiH. 
Although the public information in support of a single structure of policing is
in its early stages, what we feel is beginging to happen is an initial awareness
of the public of the issues involved.  EUPM is of the view that as this
matter is so important for the future of BiH,  that the campaign that is
underway will stimulate debate and discussion where it really is important –
amongst the citizens and public of BiH.


 


OHR:



Are there any questions?



Fedja Forto, Fena Agency:



One. One question. OHR explicitly, at the last briefing,
declared themselves against this Law on the Privileges of Parliamentary
Representatives. Will you insist upon that issue because, as I understand, in
parliament they are only attempting to reformulate the law proposals with
regards to the previous ones?



Kevin Sullivan, OHR:



Well, the statement that was made by the OHR was very clear and I think,
relatively simple, and that is at a time when you have poverty rates as high as
they are in Bosnia and Herzegovina, any elected official has to look at the
appropriateness of raising salaries. What the OHR will do in response to the
latest changes, I won’t speculate on, but the essential matter and the essential
position of the OHR remains the same, and I think it’s the position of many
people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that is that once the economy has been put
on a full recovery path and once standards of living are across the board
beginning to rise, then is the time to start talking about raising
parliamentarian salaries, but not before then.