Transcript of the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference

OHR, Oleg Milisic

OSCE, Zinaida Delic

EUPM, Killian Wahl

EUFOR, Lt Cdr Chris Percival

NATO HQ, Derek Chappell

 


OHR


The High Representative meets RSNA Caucuses


The High Representative, Paddy Ashdown, is in
Banja Luka

today where he will be
holding meetings with the RSNA party caucuses.


The High Representative will be making it clear to RS politicians that Police
Reform is not about abolishing the Entities, or the Entity Ministries of
Interior – it’s about creating an efficient police service, accountable to the
community.


Police reform will offer service that is modern, efficient and more effective
in fighting organized crime. Those who say police restructuring is a guise to
abolish the Entities are simply scare mongering.


Numerous polls have shown that organised crime and corruption is the number
one concern of the BiH public – this reform offers politicians in BiH a concrete
way to support law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime.


After his meetings the High Representative will hold a press conference at
16.00 today at the International Press Centre in
Banja Luka

– you will find copies of the Media Advisory at the
back of the room.


High Representative to attend BiH War Crimes
Chamber Ceremony


The High Representative will tomorrow attend the inauguration ceremony of the
War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Special War
Crimes Department of the BiH Prosecutors Office.


The High Representative, together with BiH Justice Minister Slobodan Kovac,
ICTY President Theodor Meron, ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte, BiH Court
President Meddžida Kreso and BiH Prosecutor Marinko Jurčević will address guests
and media present at the inaugural ceremony.


The setting up of the war crimes chamber has required a substantial and
sustained logistical and financial effort. ICTY President, Judge Theodor Meron,
has played a leading role in setting up the Chamber, providing invaluable
technical knowledge and expert advice in establishing its legal framework and
related facilities such as its detention unit. BiH Court President Medzida Kreso
and BiH Chief Prosecutor Marinko Jurcevic have also made invaluable
contributions.


The High Representative will hold separate meetings with Judge Meron and
Chief ICTY Prosecutor del Ponte.


The High Representative will note that while the work of the Hague Tribunal
will continue, the Tribunal’s work is necessarily finite. The inauguration of
the War Crimes Chamber in the Court of BiH means that as many cases will be
heard as are necessary – there will be no cut off point. The

BiH Court

’s War Crimes
chamber is a permanent institution. It will be here long after the International
Community has left BiH.


It is worth underlining that while this week the Court of BiH – BiH’s
flagship judicial institution – will open its specialised War Crimes Chamber,
this is but one element of the Rule of Law reforms that BiH has put in place
during the last two years. BiH’s Courts, criminal codes, judges and prosecutors
have undergone a process of reform which will enable them to handle more cases,
including war crimes cases, more professionally and more efficiently.


There is not statute of limitations on war crimes, and the Rule of Law
reforms will ensure that those who committed crimes are brought before the
courts.


International Women’s day


…a final note, the High Representative extends his very best wishes to all
the women of Bosnia
and Herzegovina

on the occasion of International
Women’s Day.


 


OSCE



Belgium


Ambassador to OSCE visits BiH


Ambassador Bertrand de Crombrugghe,

Belgium


Ambassador to the OSCE, will head the

Belgium

delegation
on an official visit to BiH tomorrow, 9
March 2005


Belgium

will
take over as the OSCE Chair-in-Office next year and the purpose of the visit is
for the delegation to familiarize themselves with the OSCE Mission to
Bosnia
and Herzegovina

’s work and the pace of reforms in
the country.


During his visit to BiH, Ambassadorde Crombrugghe, accompanied by Ambassador
Douglas Davidson, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH, will meet with Ms. Lidija
Topić, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, BiH Parliamentarians, Election
Commission members, dignitaries from political, cultural and religious
structures of BiH, as well as with the representatives of International
Community.


 


EUPM


No formal statement.


 


EUFOR


EUFOR Reserve Forces Deploy to Kosovo


In a demonstration of the European Union’s ability to contribute to the
maintenance of peace and stability throughout the Balkans region, approximately
70 Italian troops from EUFOR have been deployed to Kosovo.


This deployment is part of a NATO Operational Rehearsal of reserve forces
called ‘determined effort 05’. EUFOR maintains flexible reserve forces in BiH at
the tactical level, available to deploy rapidly throughout the Balkans region.
Deployments are frequently rehearsed, as in this OPREH. There is a reciprocal
arrangements for NATO to support EUFOR which will be practiced in the coming
months.


The EUFOR troops will integrate and operate with a robust and capable NATO
force already stationed in Kosovo. The deployment of EUFOR troops to a NATO
operation strengthens the strong relationship and excellent operational
cooperation between the European Union and NATO.


This deployment clearly illustrate EUFOR’s capacity to rapidly deploy reserve
forces within the region, while at the same time maintaining an effective
military capability in

Bosnia and Herzegovina

. EUFOR’s priority remains the
preservation of the safe and secure environment in this country. EUFOR will
therefore continue its full range of operations, in close coordination with the
BiH authorities and the International Community.


 


NATO HQ


NATO Headquarters Sarajevo warmly welcomes the recent statement by the Joint
Presidency of Bosnia and

Herzegovina


expressing the intention of BiH to join NATO as a full member of the
Allience.


NHQSa is here to support BiH’s efforts to join NATO and all that it implies,
including development of a single military force in line with NATO standards and
requirements, and the solemn obligation of Allies to treat an attack on one as
an attack on all.


As defence and foreign policy are the exclusive competencies of the BiH
Presidency, the way ahead on defence reform is clear. NHQSa therefore expects
all elements of BiH state and entity authorities to fully and quickly implement
NATO’s requirements for defence reform and to carry out the mandate of the
Defence Reform Commission, including meeting the legislative deadline of 1
July.


—-


On the morning of 7 March a NATO led search team conducted an operation at
the home of Mr Avram Milic in the town of
Vojkovici.


The property was searched under the NATO controlled mandate to gather
information concerning persons indicted for war crimes (PIFWCs).


This was a NATO operation with support from the International Police Unit
(IPU) of EUFOR and the Republika Srpska Police.


Support for persons indicted for war crimes threatens the progress in

Bosnia
and Herzegovina

. It is both illegal and immoral and
is a direct challenge to the Rule of Law. NATO will use all of its resources to
locate PIFWCs.


Anyone with information on activity relating to such persons or their support
can telephone anonymously to 061 222 305.


 


Q&A   


Darija Sito-Sučić – Reuters News Agency:


Darija Sito-Sučić, Reuters News Agency.  I wanted actually comment from
EUFOR, but also now maybe from NATO as well.  Carla del Ponte yesterday
said that she didn’t know whether EUFOR was doing anything to locate Radovan
Karadžić, and she said that she didn’t know whether he was in

Bosnia

,

Croatia

or

Montenegro

, and
it was in an interview for Reuters, but she said explicitly that she didn’t know
whether EUFOR was doing anything to locate Karadžić.  So I would like your
comment on this.  Can you say whether EUFOR is doing anything to locate
him, and the same question, actually, for NATO? Thanks.


EUFOR:


Yes of course, I’ll be glad to answer that question.  Firstly, both
EUFOR and NATO, I hand over to Derek in a moment, but both EUFOR and NATO are
constantly looking for PIFWICs.  Much of the operations we do are
intelligence driven and involve intelligence assets, there’s no secret about
that.  But what is classified is the information we receive and the nature
of our operations, and that’s why we don’t talk about them.  Just because
these operations aren’t visible to the public it doesn’t mean that they are not
happening.  So in answer to any criticism I would say that EUFOR and NATO
are actively hunting for PIFWICs all the time.  The second point is that if
we have actionable intelligence on the whereabouts of a PIFWIC, EUFOR will act
in order to apprehend that person, and that will most probably be in
coordination with NATO and of course the Bosnian authorities, if that is
appropriate.  But we will not hesitate to act alone if that’s
required.  And I think the final point with regard to any criticism of the
international military forces in this country is NATO 29 – Republika Srpska 0,
with regard to the apprehension of PIFWICs since the end of the war.  And
that’s all I have, I’ll just hand you over to Derek.  Thank you.


Derek Chappell, NATO:


I would just reiterate those comments and say that we are aggressively
seeking to assist the local authorities in the apprehension of PIFWICs we fully
recognize that it is one of the outstanding issues that challenges

Bosnia and Herzegovina

.  We have an excellent
relationship with the ICTY and details of this operation that I gave you this
morning is an excellent example, a very recent example of the sort of day to day
work we are doing to try and disrupt the activities of their supporters and to
actually locate the people on the ground.


EUFOR:


Sorry, and obviously the other point for you to bear in mind of course is
that the onus for capturing the war criminals lies with the Bosnian and

Herzegovina


authorities, in particular the RS.  You know, we’re here in a supportive
role, we will take active efforts, but the actual onus and the

Dayton

is on the parties that signed

Dayton

, and I think that’s very
important to remember.  Thank you.


OHR:


One more.


Journalist:


Can you say is there any progress?  I mean are you just a bit closer to
Karadžić then it was some eight years ago?


EUFOR:


Like I said to you, a lot of our operations are intelligence driven, I’m not
going to talk about intelligence and I’m not going to speculate whether we are
closer, further, where he is, where he isn’t or anything like that, because it
does no use to speculate like that.  It’s damaging to the overall effort in
EUFOR’s view.


Journalist:


But I didn’t ask you do you know where he is, just….


EUFOR:


I’m not going to comment whether we’re closer or further away.


OHR:


Okay, if there is nothing further.  Thank you very
much.