Interview: Valentin Inzko, EU Special Representative and High Representative in BiH: “I have Ordered an Investigation”

Valentin Inzko on schemes produced by ‘analysts’ from the OHR 

However, it is already clear that I have not ordered any investigation against any individual or organisation outside the OHR. – My conscience is clear and I am not trying to escape my responsibility. 

By: Sead Numanovic

Although yesterday was one day before the important Catholic holiday of All Saints, High Representative Valentin Inzko found some time to personally give us views of the affair created by the “analytical team” of the Office of the High Representative.

After the texts published in Global magazine and in Dnevni avaz, fierce reactions followed among the Bosniak people against the unauthorised work of individuals within the OHR.

Official Position

In an interview for our paper, Inzko explains what he did after he read the stories in the two papers.

Dnevni avaz: How do you view the schemes of the OHR’s “analytical team”, which were published in Global and in Dnevni avaz?

Valentin Inzko: My position on the published papers and, as you say, schemes, is clear and that is the official position we have already published on our website. Some people called me after the publication of these articles and said that they had seen this a long time ago.

Dnevni avaz: Which steps did you take in OHR after the scandalous schemes were published?         

Valentin Inzko: After Global magazine accused the OHR, I ordered an internal investigation, which has only just started, is still underway and will go on for some more time, in order to find out whether there is a base for these accusations. However, it is already clear that I have not ordered any investigation against any individual or organisation outside the OHR.          

As someone who believes, deep down, that all people are innocent until they are proven otherwise, I am hurt by the very accusation that I stand behind all that. One should be cautious with words. I keep saying that arrows shoot bodies but words shoot souls. Other than that, there are judicial institutions and they should do their work. I would never dare influence their work.         

Dnevni avaz: Did you know what the “analytical team” did?    

Valentin Inzko: As the very name of the Office says, the Office of the High Representative is my office and all employees work for me and my Deputies. Since I came, I keep hearing different insinuations about various structures; I said clearly to all my employees at the very start that they worked for the High Representative and if they had any dilemmas or questions – my door was always wide open for my colleagues.           

It is my experience that within the Office we have very dynamic and open discussions on all political and economic issues, but eventually we reach conclusions that represent the official position, and that is the position that I as the High Representative support.

OHR Closure

Dnevni avaz: Who is that body responsible to, and when was it formed? What is its mandate?

Valentin Inzko: The internal structure of the OHR is such that in the end all employees are responsible to me. I, as the High Representative, have the mandate according to the Dayton Agreement, and as the EU Special Representative, I have a mandate that all 27 member countries entrusted me with.    

As for the “analytical team” itself, it was formed during the mandate of my predecessor, Minister Miroslav Lajèak. The team has the same mandate as it did when it was formed, and that is to analyse a variety of information that we receive from different people, as well as media reports, and forward them to the competent persons and institutions. It is my priority to strengthen local institutions and their capacities.

Dnevni avaz: Will the ‘analytical team’ be abolished?         

Valentin Inzko: At this moment I believe that the more important question is the closure of the OHR and transition, and not the future of any department. All in the OHR is a question of resources and priorities. People can also move to other departments. Some have been closed in the past. And in some other cases, running departments was taken over by local professionals, because they were simply the best.

Dnevni avaz: The Avaz company has announced that it will file charges due to business damage inflicted. How do you view that?

Valentin Inzko: If someone thinks that they have grounds for suing me, they should do so. However, they should sue me, and not Mr. Gregorian or other persons, my deputies. I am the High Representative in that case too.

My conscience is clear and I am not shunning any responsibility. In the position of the High Representative I cannot please everybody, and some will be disappointed to see that I am not doing something that would suit them more. It is my philosophy to do only what is fair and just, what benefits the institutions of the country, and is in the interest of all citizens.

I believe that it is more useful that we all focus on how to work as well as possible for the benefit of all citizens, instead of always watching and commenting on what someone else is doing.

Dnevni avaz: Will the whole scandal that the “analytical team” has produced damage the credibility of the OHR?

Valentin Inzko: I don’t think that my team has produced any scandal.

Sincere regrets

Dnevni avaz: You have already contacted some persons that were mentioned on the disgraceful schemes of the “analytical team”. What did you tell them?

Valentin Inzko: I have contacted some, those that I know better, and I told them the same as I am telling you now. If I have offended anybody, I am sincerely sorry for any such pain that was inflicted upon anyone. That is how I am, that is one of the principles in my life. I regret deeply and sincerely any inconvenience or trouble that was caused by the publication of these articles.