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

The OHR welcomes the transfer of Vinko Pandurevic to The
ICTY


The OHR welcomes the transfer of Vinko Pandurevic to The ICTY today. Mr
Pandurevic stands accused of the gravest crimes against humanity, including
genocide, complicity to commit genocide and extermination.


His transfer to The Hague, in which the RS authorities played an important
role, is a significant breakthrough. He is the fifth indicted war criminal to be
transferred to the ICTY this year by the Republika Srpska, after nine years of
inactivity and obstruction in relation to the ICTY.


Mr Pandurevic is one of the last remaining members of the VRS Military
Command charged before the ICTY with crimes committed in Srebrenica to be
transferred to The Hague. He is also one of the last indicted members at large
of the VRS Military Command who served directly under Ratko Mladic.


Mr Mladic should reflect on the fact that it is a curious military code in
which a general lets his subordinate officers take responsibility for actions
they carried out in his name.


The international community will continue to watch closely to see whether the
RS authorities follow through with further transfers. All the remaining
indictees – including Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic – must be transferred to
The Hague without delay. Only then will the obstacle that is hindering BiH’s
progress towards NATO and the EU be fully removed.


 


The High Representative to hold talks with senior State department
officials


The High Representative has returned from New York to Washington, where he
will hold talks today with senior State Department officials.


Briefing the United Nations Security Council in New York yesterday, the High
Representative pointed to the emerging evidence that the RS authorities have
begun to respond to the political imperatives of Euro-Atlantic integration. He
cited the handover of indictees to the Hague Tribunal in the last two months,
but pointed out that while Vinko Pandurevic and other generals have handed
themselves in, their commander, Ratko Mladic, remains on the run.


The High Representative noted that the events of the last few weeks do not
yet constitute the full co-operation that the Tribunal requires.


“This process will not end until Karadzic and Mladic and every other
indictee is in custody,” he said. “The sooner that day comes, the sooner BiH
will start to discard the chains of history.”



The High Representative commended the RS authorities for the progress of the
last few months, and urged them to maintain this course.


After cooperation with the ICTY, which, the High Representative pointed out,
the EU and NATO have made clear is “non-negotiable” the High Representative
noted that on Monday, after talks with BiH Prime Minister Adnan Terzic in
Brussels, European Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn made clear once again that
the other cardinal issue on which the EC expects to see significant progress
before mid May is police restructuring, in line with the principles the
Commission has repeatedly espoused.


The High Representative said that while most BiH citizens believe there is
too much political influence in policing, that they get a poor service from
their police, and that criminals get away too often “there is great if unfounded
anxiety in the RS that an end to poor policing arrangements are really a clever
ploy to abolish the RS itself.” He reiterated that this is emphatically not the
case. Police Restructuring is about making BiH safer. It is a basic requirement
of further integration in Europe.



The High Representative also briefed the Security Council on progress being
made to amalgamate the functions of the Entity defence ministries into the BiH
Ministry of Defence by the end of this year, to establish a single defence
budget, and to create single personnel, logistics, and training commands. “BiH
needs to make progress on schedule on these objectives, if it is to satisfy the
requirements of PfP and if it is to rectify, as it must, the systemic weaknesses
which NATO, Carla del Ponte and I have highlighted,” he said.