Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||31 July 2012|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Bosnia and Herzegovina, 31 July 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/501fbcc01e.html [accessed 23 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Overview: Bosnia and Herzegovina increased its counterterrorism capacity in 2011 and was a cooperative counterterrorism partner with the United States. Bosnian law enforcement agencies regularly interact with their U.S. and European counterparts on counterterrorism investigations. Bosnian law enforcement and security bodies conducted searches and interrogations against suspected terrorist actors and supporters in the aftermath of a car bombing in April and the shooting attack against the U.S. embassy in October. The Joint Terrorism Task Force worked towards improving coordination between the country's many security and police agencies to better counter potential terrorist threats and acts of terrorism, and Bosnia and Herzegovina continued to participate in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program. The efforts have had mixed results due to the fragmented nature of Bosnia and Herzegovina's security and police sectors. Potential threats of violent extremism included religious extremist ideological influences from Europe and the Middle East, and regional nationalist extremist groups found in the former Yugoslavia.
2011 Terrorist Incidents: There were two incidents of note:
On April 11, a bomb was detonated under the parked car of political representatives of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina party in Zenica in the parking lot of the Zenica-Doboj Cantonal government building. No one was injured. The car was damaged and the explosion was treated by investigators as a politically-motivated terrorist attack. One individual was charged with financing the attack and two others were charged with carrying out the bombing. Their trial began on September 29.
On October 28, Mevlid Jasarevic, a Serbian citizen, opened fire on the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, wounding one local police officer. Local police returned fire, wounding Jasarevic, and ending the stand-off in front of the embassy compound. Jasarevic was arrested, as were three other individuals who were being investigated for providing support. The investigations continued, and at year's end, indictments had not been filed against Jasarevic or possible accomplices. Jasarevic remained in custody.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Following the October 28 attack at the embassy, the Bosnian Ministry of Security established a working group to evaluate methods to improve the coordination of police and security agencies charged with responding to terrorist incidents. The challenge of coordination stemmed primarily from overlapping jurisdictions, particularly in Sarajevo, where at least three distinct police forces have a role in responding to terrorist incidents: the State Investigative and Protective Agency (SIPA), the national-level police authority; Sarajevo cantonal police; and Federation entity police. State-level laws give SIPA a lead role in responding to attacks and the Bosnian Prosecutor's Office the lead in investigating and prosecuting acts of terrorism. The Ministry of Security consulted with relevant police and security agencies to determine whether a revised legal framework could be created to facilitate better coordination in countering terrorist threats and responding to attacks. The Joint Terrorism Task Force, led by Bosnia's Chief Prosecutor, began operations in April and included members of Bosnia and Herzegovina's state and entity law enforcement agencies and the Brcko District Police.
The Ministry of Security worked toward implementing its 2010-2013 strategy on preventing and combating terrorism, which was adopted in 2010.
To help improve the tracking of people entering Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnian Border Police (BP) worked to install a new computerized database and software system to support immigration and passenger information collection. The new system will link all 50 border crossings and all four airports (Sarajevo, Tuzla, Mostar, and Banja Luka) via the State Police Information Network, a network developed and donated by the U.S. Department of Justice's International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP). The new system will provide the BP with immediate access to other supporting databases, such as the Bosnian Ministry of Security, Bosnian Foreigner Affairs Service, and INTERPOL, to run appropriate checks.
The Bosnian Foreigner Affairs Service (FAS) continued to build upon its capacity to maintain long-term custody in the Immigration Center in Sarajevo of aliens who raise terrorism concerns and have been deemed a threat to Bosnian national security. With support from ICITAP, FAS has also been successful in conducting in-depth interviews of aliens in the custody of the Immigration Center, and developing intelligence with this information that is made available to other state law enforcement agencies, including the Border Police, Bosnian Ministry of Security, and SIPA. This has strengthened the capabilities of Bosnian agencies with direct immigration and border management enforcement responsibilities.
Bosnia and Herzegovina saw its first major conviction in a case related to terrorist planning on November 11, when the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina found Rijad Rustempasic and two other defendants guilty on charges of planning a terrorist act. The indictment alleged that the suspects were violent extremists who obtained weapons and military equipment with the intent of carrying out a terrorist attack in the country. The conviction was being appealed at year's end.
On March 22, the trial began of Haris Causevic and five other persons accused of carrying out the June 27, 2010 bombing of the Bugojno police station, which killed one police officer and injured six others.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Bosnia and Herzegovina is a member of the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. The Bosnian Parliament passed no new counterterrorist finance laws in 2011. However, on November 9, the Bosnian Council of Ministers passed a decision authorizing the freezing of economic resources and funds of individuals and entities listed under relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions. This decision authorizes the freezing of economic resources and funds, publishing a web-based list of those identified as falling under the resolution, restrictions against those known to associate with persons and entities under sanction, and exchanging information with INTERPOL.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Regional cooperation with Croatia and Serbia improved. In international organizations, Bosnia and Herzegovina supported several United Nations General Assembly resolutions related to terrorism.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The main religious communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Islamic, Orthodox, Catholic, and Jewish) worked together through the Inter-Religious Council to promote tolerance and confront extremism. As part of their efforts, they are conducting exchange programs of young theologians from three major theological educational institutions (Catholic, Islamic, and Orthodox) and offering workshops for high school students to promote inter-religious dialogue and tolerance. Additionally, in the wake of the October 28 embassy attack, the head of the Islamic Community, Reis-ul-ulema Mustafa Ceric, openly and strongly criticized extremist thought in his public sermons.