Ambassador to UN arrested in New Orleans
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this week that it is waiting for a report from Muhamed Saćirbegović, its ambassador to the UN, regarding his arrest in New Orleans on 19 April.
According to Dani, the independent magazine that first broke the story, Saćirbegović was arrested in a New Orleans police department raid targeting underground crime. The Dani story claimed the ambassador was arrested on charges of illegal gambling activities and had to spend a night in jail before a bail hearing in front of a local judge the next morning.
Bail conditions were apparently strict, as Saćirbegović resorted to his right of diplomatic immunity in order to regain his freedom.
The House of the Representatives has requested a full investigation of the incident.
Parliament seeks Council membership
A parliamentary delegation led by Edhem Bičakćić was in Rome this week meeting with Council of Europe member states to discuss BiH's possible integration with the organization.
"Bosnia and Hercegovina's acceptance into the Council of Europe would be the best alternative promoting development and stability in our country, based on democratic principles that uphold human rights and justice for all," Bičakćić said.
Bičakćić stressed that BiH is fulfilling the requirements for Council of Europe admission, noting the recent passage of resolutions establishing a Ministerial Council at the Federal level and the inauguration of permanent laws governing the electoral system.
He also stressed the recent establishment of the Federal Customs Agency as another factor pointing to the nation's readiness to join the body.
Bičakćić concluded his presentation before his international counterparts by stating that "any further delay in Bosnia and Hercegovina's admission will have a negative impact on the democratic and pro-European integration view held by the people of BiH. This prolongation will only serve the interests of extremist political parties in the region." (BiHPress)
Attempt on RS leader?
In an apparent attack on a leader of the Republika Srpska, an explosion rocked a Banja Luka suburb at approximately 2200 Friday evening.
An explosive device was placed underneath a jeep used by Nenad Suzić, Vice President of Republika Srpska. Five other vehicles were also destroyed, although no one was injured in the attack.
In cooperation with the International Police Task Force (IPTF), Republika Srpska police blocked off the area and were investigating the incident.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. (Oslobodjenje)
Duke of York visits Sarajevo
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, began an official visit at the Sarajevo airport, where he was met by a delegation consisting of Deputy Foreign Minister Husein Zivalj, Sarajevo mayor Rasim Gaćanović and Graham Hand, British ambassador to BiH.
Hand said the visit should be seen as a message underscoring the "good relationship" between England and Bosnia, adding that the two countries would continue cooperation on economic, cultural, educational and other levels.
During his visit, Prince Andrew was slated to meet with members of the Presidency to discuss future development plans for the region.(BiHPress)
Judicial election committees to begin work
Federal and cantonal committees charged with electing and appointing judges to the Federal Supreme Court are to hold their inaugural organizational session this coming week. The session's primary focus will be on setting a process through which to elect a committee chair.
The committees are also slated to work on devising a draft regulation workbook that will be used as a tool to guide the decision-making process.
The committees to elect and appoint judges were created by the Office of the High Representative in a decree that also provides for the review of judicial staff, among other provisions aiming to establish an independent and functional judicial system. (BiHPress)
Dayton progress report tendered
Robert L. Barry, US ambassador to Bosnia and Hercegovina and head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in BiH was in Washington, DC, this week to present his report on the future of Bosnia and the implementation of the Dayton Accords to the US Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE).
The CSCE hearing focused on the current political situation in BiH, the status of refugee returns, election results, economic reform and development of the country's infrastructure.
In his report, Barry criticized the current economic situation in BiH, saying that economic development had been crippled by corruption at all levels of the government.
"There will be no new investment as long as those who, for the past ten years, have been in power continue to treat the federal government as their own private venture. New elections will clear the pathway toward justice and will produce a generation of leaders that are more committed to resolving the economic crisis themselves and are less focused on waiting for donations from the international community," Barry said. (OSCE)
Ibrahim Sejfović, 17 June 2000
BiHPress - the news agency of Bosnia-Hercegovina
Oslobodjenje - Sarajevo-based independent magazine