OHR’s Statement at the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference in Mostar

Security

There was an unspecified security threat yesterday and the OHR undertook
standard security procedures on the advice of the responsible authorities in
BiH. OHR is working normally today with law enforcement services present.


OHR cannot comment security issues – please contact the responsible BiH
authorities.


 


LSG adoption


BiH is approaching a crucial phase in the process of local self-governance
reform.  The Law on Local Self Governance was adopted in its furst reading
by the Federation House of Peoples yesterday.


OHR commends the Federation Parliament for pushing the reform of local
self-governance forward and urges parliamentarians to adopt legislation that
complies with the principles of the European Charter on Local
Self-Governance.   


Local self-governance reform is designed to enhance the right of every adult
citizen to have a say in municipal decisions that affect their interests,
directly or indirectly – through their freely and democratically elected
representatives. It is also designed to improve the way municipalities operate
and improve the quality of the services they deliver to citizens.


Public hearings will now be held by the Federation Parliament in order to
give everyone who wishes to comment on the Law on Local Self Governance an
opportunity to do so.


In addition, the constitutional commission of the FHoR has finalized its
report on Local Self Governance, and has drawn up a set of constitutional
amendments which in the view of the Council of Europe will comply with the
relevant European principles and standards.


The Council of Europe recently stated that

Bosnia and Herzegovina

has ratified the (Charter), but has
not adopted legislation that complies with principles of the Charter.” 
This means that BiH has not fulfilled one of the pre-accession requirements for
the Council of Europe and is in breach of its international obligations. 


OHR expects the appropriate amendments to be put on the agenda of both houses
and adopted soon.


 


Town Hall meetings on Police Restructuring


The European Union Police Mission (EUPM) and the Office of the High
Representative (OHR) will continue a series of public meetings being held
throughout BiH on police restructuring. Next weeks events will be held in
Mostar, Trebinje and Nevesinje. The purpose of these meetings is to present the
Police Restructuring Commission’s (PRC) proposal to citizens, police, civil
society representatives, and other interested stakeholders, and to open a broad
dialogue on the ongoing process of police reform.


The EUPM will begin each meeting with information about the police
restructuring process to explain the benefits of police restructuring, what it
means for public security and why it is necessary. They will point out that
police restructuring which will;



  • make it much harder for criminals to operate. Right
    now, police in BiH are at a disadvantage when compared to criminals who
    operate without hindrance across BiH.
  • allow for significant savings in police
    administration, which means it will be possible to redirect budget funds to
    urgent needs in BiH society or, for example, to increase spending on schools
    and hospitals.
  • give police officers better access to modern crime
    fighting technology
  • equalize salaries and working conditions for police officers wherever they
    work in BiH.

The meetings will deconstruct the myths linked to police restructuring, which
is not about abolishing the entities, or the Entity Ministry of Interiors – it’s
about creating an efficient police service, accountable to the community. Those
who say police restructuring is a guise to abolish the entities are simply scare
mongering.


The European Commission has made structural police reform a requirement for
BiH to proceed to the next stage of accession to the European Union.

Europe
will not lower the bar on this issue; European
taxpayers are as concerned about criminality as the BiH taxpayers are.


Each public meeting will focus on answering questions form members of the
public.


The meetings will be held in the Hrvatski Dom Herceg Stjepan Kosaca at

18:00 on 22 March, in the Conference
Room of the

Assembly

Building

in Trebinje at

18:00 on 23 March, and at the Municipal Assembly
in Nevesinje at

18:00 on 24 March.
Events are being planned in Mostar on 22 March, Trebinje on 23 March, and
Nevisinje on 24 March, as well as other locations throughout BiH. Details of
each event will be announced on local radio before each event.


 


Commendation for Mostar CC


OHR would like to use this opportunity to commend the decision taken by the
city council last week when it announced plans to take over the founding rights
for 25 public institutions and unify a range of social and welfare centers. This
is a positive step forward.