International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Bosnia records lowest daily number of new coronavirus cases in 2 months

May 24, 2020

Health authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina reported 10 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and the total number of people who caught the virus since it came to the country until this Sunday is 2,401, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

A total of 144 people have passed away due to Covid-19 in the country so far, while 1,680 have recovered.

The Serb-majority semi-autonomous entity of Republika Srpska (RS) has 1,359 confirmed coronavirus cases, while the other region, the Federation (FBiH), has 1022.

Brcko District, which is not part of the two regions, has 20 cases.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602791/Bosnia-records-lowest-daily-number-of-new-coronavirus-cases-in-2-months.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: 67 new cases, no deaths in Serbia

May 24, 2020

Nobody died in Serbia due to Covid-19 in the past 24 hours while another 67 people of the 3,644 tested positive for the coronavirus since Saturday, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

A total of 11,159 coronavirus cases were confirmed in Serbia since the virus came to the country and the Covid-19 death rate is now 2,13 percent, while 5,857 recovered.

The number of people hospitalized in Serbia is 658 and 12 of them are on ventilators.

Serbia has tested a total of 217,856 of its citizens so far.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602811/Coronavirus-UPDATE-67-new-cases-no-deaths-in-Serbia.html

Bosnia's int. administrator: Institutions must ensure funding for elections

May 23, 2020

The Office of Bosnia’s international administrator said on Saturday that the country’s institutions are legally obliged to ensure adequate financing of elections and that it is “of crucial importance” that they fully cooperate with the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC) which postponed the 2020 local elections to November 15.

Elections were scheduled for October 4 but were moved to November 15 “to allow time for overcoming the challenges related to the financing of the organization of elections as well as challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic,” the Office of the High Representative (OHR) said.

“The OHR wishes to remind all relevant bodies, including the Council of Ministers, the Presidency, and the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina of their legal obligation to ensure adequate financing of the elections,” it said, adding that this would “enable the CEC to carry out all necessary preparations for the conduct and holding of local elections in a smooth and timely fashion with the aim to enable citizens” to exercise their guaranteed rights under the Constitution.

“It is of crucial importance that institutions on all levels fully cooperate with the CEC as is legally required to carry out this core democratic function in BiH,” it said.

The institution also pointed out that “any challenges concerning the appointment process of members to the CEC is solely the purview of the court, and thus all CEC members operate in full standing pending the court’s findings.”

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a435897/Bosnia-s-int.-administrator-Institutions-must-ensure-funding-for-elections.html

Prosecutors investigate allegations regarding fake visas for Pakistanis

May 23, 2020

Bosnian prosecutors have started investigating allegations that fake visas could have been issued to persons “of high migration risk,” the head of the Prosecutor’s Office, Gordana Tadic, told Bosnia’s public broadcaster, BHRT, on Saturday.

“The Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina is conducting an investigation into the issue of issuing fake visas to persons of high migration risk from Pakistan and Iraq,” Tadic confirmed in written form.

The Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, Milorad Dodik, has recently accused Bosnia’s Ambassador in Pakistan, Sakib Foric, of organising 3,000 fake Bosnian visas from Pakistani citizens.

Bosnia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry reacted to the statement, saying it did not come across any information that would confirm this but asking judicial and police agencies to urgently check the allegations.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a435929/Prosecutors-investigate-allegations-regarding-fake-visas-for-Pakistanis.html

Who is permitted to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina at the moment

May 23, 2020

Bosnia and Herzegovina is allowing only certain categories of foreigners to enter the country, such as business people who can prove they were invited to a business meeting and have tested negative on COVID-19 in the past 48 hours, Bosnia’s auto-moto club, BIHAMK, said on Saturday.

Among them are health workers entering to perform their professional duties, persons requiring urgent medical treatment, cross-border workers, Civil Protection staff, members of military forces of the North Atlantic Treaty countries and other countries participating in the Partnership for Peace Program, as well as staff members of NATO and EUFOR headquarters in Bosnia and Herzegovina, foreigners with permanent or temporary residence in the country, drivers and escorts of mortal remains and crews of freight trains and ships in international traffic.

Further exceptions include heads of states and members of their delegations whose arrival and departure were announced to the border staff through diplomatic channels or through the protocol of the competent state institution, transit of foreigners returning to their countries without stopping on Bosnian territory and foreigners with a special permit to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina, stay or transit through, approved by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Entry is permitted also to citizens of neighbouring countries who own agricultural land in Bosnia and Herzegovina and are working on it. Such persons are obliged to prove their ownership of the land or present a statement of the owner of the land that he is performing agricultural work on that land.Such persons are obliged to adhere to and respect all instructions and orders of the competent bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina (epidemiological and health services).

Croatia and Montenegro are allowing only their own citizens, foreigners with permanent residence and truck drivers enter their countries.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a435871/Who-is-permitted-to-enter-Bosnia-and-Herzegovina-at-the-moment.html

Serbian Radical Party wants government to stop funding "anti-Serb" NGOs

May 23, 2020

The Serbian Radical Party (SRS) will propose a law that would ban any government funding for NGOs which, according to the party, costs the state more than ten billion Serbian Dinars yearly.

According to SRS deputy leader, Aleksandar Seselj, citizens should not pay “NGOs which openly engage in anti-Serb policy and subversive activities.”

“We propose that NGOs which promote an independent Kosovo, those which declare that Serbs are genocidal people, those which desecrate the monument to Patriarch Pavle, which insult Serbian culture, Serbian history and Serbian tradition, are not being funded (by the government)," Seselj said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602597/Serbian-Radical-Party-wants-government-to-stop-funding-anti-Serb-NGOs.html

Alliance for Serbia: We support SANU President's calls for dialogue

May 23, 2020

The opposition Alliance for Serbia (SzS) reacted to a recently published article by a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU), Vladimir Kostic, agreeing that it is important to start a proper dialogue between the government and the opposition.

“We understood the article as a public appeal and we respect the fact this is the first time that someone from a state institution sent such a sobering message. We agree with the statement of academic Kostic that 'there are no innocents' but also that' responsibility is primarily in the hands of those in power' ", the SzS said, adding that it was always ready for serious talks on all topics, especially those that would lead to free elections and free media.

Such talks have not taken place so far, even regarding ways to respond to the constitutional, political and economic crisis following the coronavirus pandemic, SzS said.

"We also agree with the statement that the number of votes 'must not be an alibi for all the actions we are witnessing, and especially not for violence' and that this must apply to everyone. We agree that the institutions are devastated and that the government has been personalized, but that it does not release us from the responsibility to talk to political opponents, because the alternative to talks is a civil war, which we are, just as academic Kostic, afraid of,” SzS said.

The political group also agreed with Kostic’s statement that Serbia’s citizens “are left without democratic conditions and trust in institutions, the multi-party political life and their participation in it” and that they expect that “someone come from somewhere and brings an “outcome or a solution," stating that this is why an urgent dialogue between the government and the opposition is necessary.

However, it said that such a dialogue should not only be "pro forma" in order to satisfy someone outside but in order to avoid the scenario which academic Kostic described. "We are not running away from responsibility, but it’s the government’s move now,” it said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602543/Alliance-for-Serbia-We-support-SANU-President-s-calls-for-dialogue.html

Democratic Party: Killers of Zoran Djindjic are not heroes

May 23, 2020

The killers of Serbia’s former Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic, are not heroes, the Democratic Party (DS) said in response to an article published by the local newspaper Alo.

In the article, Dragan Vasiljkovic, known as ‘Captain Dragan’, asks for the early release of Milorad Ulemek Legija and Zvezdan Jovanovic who were sentenced to 40 years in prison for the assassination.

Vasiljkovic was recently released from prison early after he served a sentence for war crimes which was handed down against him by Croatia’s judiciary and he announced that he will run in Serbia’s elections.

The DS said that publishing such an article would be impossible without agreement from Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vucic, “who has according to his own admission celebrated Djindjic’s assassination the third time he got drunk in his life, while the second time he was drunk was after the journalist Slavko Curuvija was killed.”

“It is very important that Serbia’s citizens at this moment recognise the true policies of Vucic his hypocritical attempt to present those behind that crime as those who continue the policy over which the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Serbia Zoran Djindjic was killed,” the party said.

The Party for Freedom and Justice (SSP) also reacted to the Alo article. It condemned “attempts to present killers as heroes” and added that it “will not allow a revision of historical facts and legal rehabilitation of criminals.”

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602593/Democratic-Party-Killers-of-Zoran-Djindjic-are-not-heroes.html

Head of Serbia's Islamic Community congratulates Eid to Muslims

May 23, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has made people across the world learn and feel “all the bitterness of loneliness,” the head of Serbia’s Islamic Community, Sead Nasufovic, said in his message for the Islamic holiday of Eid on Saturday, stressing the importance of respecting every human being and helping the needy.

The three-day holiday, locally called Bayram, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, which Muslims spend fasting daily until the evening.

“Let us not forget that human civilization began at the moment when one human came to the aid of another,” Nasufovic said at his press conference in Belgrade.

“Only through fasting do people get a special power of humility with which they reach the highest heights. With this, a person gets the strength to lower their gaze away from everything and direct it toward the heart,” he said.

“By looking into one's heart one gets to know themself, contrary to everything that modern man is occupied with,” he added.

Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vucic, Parliament Speaker, Maja Gojkovic, and other government officials have also congratulated Bayram to Nasufovic and all Muslims.

The Bajram prayer will take place on Sunday morning at 7 am, Nasufovic said, adding that the prayer at the Bajrakli Mosque in Belgrade will take place in the yard of the mosque as well to ensure proper social distancing.

Protective masks and gloves will also be handed out.             

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602633/Head-of-Serbia-s-Islamic-Community-congratulates-Eid-to-Muslims.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: 68 new cases, one death in Serbia

May 23, 2020

Another person has passed away due to Covid-19 in Serbia, bringing the death toll in the country to 238, while 11,092 people are infected with the coronavirus in the country. The death rate is 2,14 percent.

Serbia tested 4,415 people were tested for the virus in the past 24 hours and 68 samples were positive. 

A total of 665 Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalised while 12 of them are on ventilators.

Serbia has tested a total of 214,212 of people for the virus so far.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602559/Coronavirus-UPDATE-68-new-cases-one-death.html

A total of 2,391 people are now infected with the coronavirus in Bosnia

May 23, 2020

Both of Bosnia’s two semi-autonomous regions have reported new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and the total number of people infected in the country is on Saturday 2,391, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

Health authorities in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) region reported that they tested 524 samples for the coronavirus and that 13 of them came back positive. There are now 1,351 people infected with the virus in the RS.  

Meanwhile, the Sarajevo University Clinical Centre in the Federation (FBiH) region said that, of the 548 people tested, eight new coronavirus cases were confirmed. FBiH currently has 1020 coronavirus cases.

The Brcko District, which belongs to neither of the two entities, has 20 cases.  

A total of 141 people have passed away due to the virus in Bosnia so far, while 1,662 have recovered.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602567/A-total-of-2-391-people-are-now-infected-with-the-coronavirus-in-Bosnia.html

No new coronavirus cases in Croatia

May 23, 2020

There have been no new COVID-19 cases in Croatia throughout the past 24 hours, the state civil protection authority said on Saturday.

It has been 89 days since the novel coronavirus was detected in Croatia, 2,243 people have been infected and 2,023 have recovered, Health Minister Vili Beros tweeted.

"Today we are glad about the number which we have remained responsible and disciplined for. There are zero new infections."

The death toll is 99, six patients are on ventilators, 121 are in treatment and 60,864 people have been tested, including 953 in the last 24 hours.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a602565/No-new-coronavirus-cases-in-Croatia.html           

Bosnia postpones local elections for November 15

May 22, 2020

Bosnia's local elections initially called for October 4 will be postponed for November 15, N1 has learned in the Central Election Commission.

The postponement is a consequence of the lack of the state budget and inability to plan the essential procurement procedures for the electoral process, according to sources.

According to the Election Law, local elections are financed from the state budget and the budgets of local communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was estimated that this year's vote would cost some 4.5 million Euro.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) decided earlier this month to call the local election across the country, except in Mostar, the southern ethnically divided town that has not seen elections since 2008 due to law provisions that were marked as unconstitutional and have not been changed to date because of political disagreements.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a435727/Bosnia-postpones-local-elections-for-November-15.html

Illegal migration raises concerns in Bosnia's northwest, causes spat with EU

May 22, 2020

Una-Sana Canton (USK) will not serve as a courtyard for solving the issue of migrations in this part of Europe, mayors of Bosnia's northwestern region said on Friday, stressing that they would be taking care of the interests and safety of the canton's citizens.

“We won't engage in some correspondence but will be acting in line with constitutional competencies and take care of the interest and safety of our citizens,” USK prime minister Mustafa Ruznic said, noting that migrant camps Miral and Bira, located in urban zones in privately owned facilities, will have to close down.

Suhret Fazlic, the mayor of Bihac, the canton's administrative center, said the importance of the European Union and international organizations was important but that everyone must act professionally and resume the cooperation.

“Also, I must warn all actors in the process that I won't hesitate to open 'new Vucjak camps' if Bihac gets again exposed to unbearable pressure of migrants and is left to deal with it alone,” said Fazlic, referring to the infamous Vucjak camp that was closed down last year mostly under the pressure of international organizations who found it inadequate for migrants.

But, the correspondence with the European Union got heated after a letter that EU ambassador in Bosnia Johann Sattler addressed to the country's Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic and USK premier Ruznic, expressing concern over the transport of migrants to the new camp outside Bihac. 

Sattler asked the ministers to stop the transport of migrants from the Bira center to the new camp Lipa, particularly the unaccompanied minors, noting that this camp was set up for adult men only. He expressed worries over respect for the rule of law and human rights in the migration management by local authorities, calling the recent actions “unacceptable.”

“Temporary centre 'Lipa' was set up as a response to the needs stemming from an extraordinary situation caused by COVID-19 crisis, and its capacities have been filled. However, the USK police keep bringing migrants to the site without any coordination with our implementing partners. Everything said was contrary to the agreements between the USK authorities and implementing partners and the EU at the moment of formation of the Lipa centre,” said the letter published by local media.

The note sparked the USK prime minister's reaction who said he was saddened by “Sattler's false and malicious accusations.”

Neither the USK Government nor any other authority has banned the transport of minors to adequate centers, moreover, the USK did everything to protect them as a particularly sensitive category, said Ruznic.

“The comment of His Excellency about the lack of coordinated activities within the migrant crisis management with partners from EU is completely vague since we know that the formation of the task force for coordination of the activities and control of the migrant crisis in the USK is continuously convening at least once a week and that the representatives of the IOM and the UNHCR are regularly invited and attend those meetings,” he said.

“We did not hear about the concern of His Excellency over so drastic threat to the lives, health and property of the USK citizens. Does His Excellency think that the USK citizens should not enjoy fundamental human rights and freedoms in their own land and expect adequate protection of the state,?”, the USK prime minister asked in response to Sattler's letter.

In addition, he asked if this was an attempt to “displace the local population using the migration of these distressed and unhappy people.”

“The authorities and citizens of the USK are particularly interested in what did His Excellency do about the implementation of the European Commission's conclusion regarding the migrant crisis, which refers to the obligation of a balanced accommodation of illegal migrants on the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina and not only in the USK, as it used to be, as well as conclusion that all migrant centers set up in the privately-owned facilities must be closed and organized at locations owned by the state,” said Ruznic.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a435761/Illegal-migration-raises-concerns-in-Bosnia-s-northwest-causes-spat-with-EU.html

Croatia reports six new Covid-19 cases, two more fatalities

May 22, 2020

In the last 24 hours six new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Croatia and two more people have died, the national civil protection authority said on Friday.

"There have been six new cases in the last 24 hours, which puts the total number of infections at 2,243," a member of the authority, Maja Grba-Bujevic, told reporters.

The two latest casualties are a man born in 1963, who died in the Split Hospital, and a man born in 1977, who died in the Zagreb Hospital for Infectious Diseases.

The Covid-19 death toll now stands at 99.

So far 59,911 people have been tested, including 1,820 in the last 24 hours.

A total of 102 patients are being treated in hospitals, 15 fewer than on Thursday, and five are on ventilators.

The total number of recoveries stands at 2,011 and there are currently 132 active infections. A total of 471 people are in self-isolation.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a435741/Croatia-reports-six-new-Covid-19-cases-two-more-fatalities.html

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