Information act unveiled
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) announced on Wednesday its proposal to create freedom of information (FOI) legislation that will contribute to the establishment of the legal foundations of a more open society in Bosnia-Hercegovina.
The legislation, which closely resembles the US Freedom of Information Act, will allow all citizens of BiH to access information held by the government and other public bodies.
According to the OSCE report, the FOI legislation is a key aspect in the development of democratic institutions.
Furthermore, the report stated that "freedom of information is vital for the greater transparency and accountability of public authorities, an essential democratic right which has real, every day applications - from enhancing the media's ability to gain accurate information on government activities to accelerating economic reform by creating more transparent financial and budgetary practices in government and public businesses in BiH."
This legislation was created under the guidance of the Office of the Higher Representative (OHR), OSCE and the Independent Media Commission. (OSCE Press)
Joint defence systems talks
General Enes Bećirbašić, Military Affairs Advisor to Presidency Chairman Alija Izetbegović, said on Thursday that the Standing Military Commission (SMC) would meet on 6 July.
At the meeting of the SMC, which is composed of key BiH military commanders and SFOR advisors, both parties are expected to present and analyze proposals for the creation of joint Bosnian defense systems.
Gen Bećirbašić also said that the Federal Ministry of Defense has "finalized preparations for the signing of an agreement with MPRI [Military Professional Resources Incorporated], the group of American military consultants, on the re-commencement of the 'Train and Equip' program that will start on 5 September of this year."
The program had been temporarily suspended by the US due to lack of cooperation between the different elements of the FBiH Army. (BiHPress)
Omarska exhumations continue
Exhumation of the remains of 56 corpses found in a pit in Bosanska Krupa has recently been completed. The corpses are believed to be those of Muslims held in the notorious Serbian detention camp at Omarska, held by many to have been a concentration camp.
The remains have been transported to Sanski Most for examination.
Jasmin Odobašić, deputy president of the State Commission for Missing Persons (SCMP), said that the mass grave was discovered on 16 June, and an investigation at the site began five days later.
Experts from the Bihać office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, investigators from the Hague Tribunal, medical experts and SCMP representatives were involved in the exhumations. According to Odobašić, the autopsy and identification process will be carried out throughout the next week. (RFE/RL)
Izetbegović and Pataki hold talks
Presidency Chairman Alija Izetbegović held talks on Wednesday with former New York State Governor George Pataki, now chairman of the New Atlantic Initiative.
Izetbegović and Pataki discussed issues concerning the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accord and the development of economic institutions in the region.
After the meeting, Izetbegović emphasized the importance of improvements to the country's economic sector, privatization of the banking system and the need for foreign capital investments that will contribute to the development of BiH. (Oslobodjenje)
Loosening of Croatian-BiH border?
The Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that Bosnian and Croatian citizens may soon be able to cross their common frontier using only state-issued personal identification cards.
The deal to loosen border control will be implemented provided the Council of Ministers accepts a proposal on the provisional implementation of regulations in a draft agreement between the two nations concerning extradition and the interception of illegal aliens.
Under the proposal, citizens would be able to cross the border using only personal identification cards during a 1 July through 30 September 2000 trial period.
The Croatian embassy in BiH has urged the Council of Ministers to discuss the issue and report on its acceptability as soon as possible so the draft may be implemented immediately. (BiHPress)
A multinational de-mining unit under the leadership of SFOR has recently uncovered and destroyed 171 mines on an area covering roughly 416 square meters in the thirteenth week of de-mining operations in Multinational Division North.
During the 1992 to 1995 war, it is estimated that some six million mines were laid throughout the country. Most of these mines have not yet been recovered and pose grave dangers to civilian populations in the region. (BiHPress)
Annual concert for Sarajevo
At press time, the annual Baščaršijske Noći was slated to open in Sarajevo on 1 July with the Vienna Concerto performed by the Sarajevo Philharmonic under the direction of Austrian conductor Johannes Wildner.
The annual musical spectacle, which has become well-loved by Sarajevans, has been conducted by Wildner every year and is held in front of the Vijećnica, or city council building.
As always, admission is free. (Oslobodjenje)
Ibrahim Sejfović, 30 June 2000
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