The Balkans Today: 11th - 15th July 2016
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The Balkans Today

Up to the minute news and updates from the Balkan region

The Balkans Today: 11th - 15th July 2016

Our team brings you live updates of the most important events and developments in the Balkans as they happen.

    Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement on Facebook late Monday on the 21st anniversary of the Srebrenica massacres that “the collective failure that led to the genocide should haunt us all”.

    “Over two decades later, victims’ bodies are still being found; 127 more husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers were buried today, a chilling testament to the scale of the Srebrenica genocide,” said Power, who covered the Bosnian war while working as a journalist in the 1990s.

    Citing this year’s genocide conviction of former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic, Power said that brutal political leaders should understand that “their crimes will not be forgotten and one day they too will be held accountable for the horrors inflicted on innocent people”.
    The communication and transport commission of the Bosnian parliament’s House of Representatives on Tuesday approved measures to reform the financing system for the public television system in Bosnia and Herzegovina – a move intended to save the country’s ailing public broadcaster BHRT.

    According to the draft legislation, the tax levied for the public television system will be included in electricity bills, a measure which should increase the revenues of all three major Bosnian public television stations.

    At the end of May, BHRT’s board announced that it would stop broadcasting if a stable financial system was not approved, although its initial deadline of June 30 was cancelled.

    The building of BHRT in Sarajevo. Photo: BiHVolim/Wikicommons

    Bosnia's State Investigation and Protection Agency arrested three people on Tuesday for suspected involvement in terrorism, Bosnian media reported.

    The agency, which did not say where the arrests were made, also searched several buildings that were used by the three suspects.

    SIPA policemen. Photo: SIPA

    Former Croatian foreign minister Vesna Pusic, a candidate for the post of UN Secretary-General, received huge applause when she told the candidates’ debate on Tuesday evening in New York that women’s role in public institutions, including the UN, should be strengthened.

    "I am not only a woman, I am a feminist. The UN's 70 years dominated by the male view of the world, it is only 50 per cent of the experience of life, and now it's time for the other 50 per cent," Pusic said.

    Vesna Pusic. Photo: Flickr 

    Top stories from the Balkans this Friday:
    • As Albania prepares to vote next week on a crucial reform of the judiciary aimed at curbing corruption, EU and US diplomats have stepped up pressure in a bid to ensure the legislation is adopted. Read more
    • Prison protests spread across Romania this week as inmates expressed their dissatisfaction with poor conditions, despite efforts to reduce overcrowding over the past decade. Read more.
    • A Croatian transplant to Belgrade, Tatjana Zadravec found her feet in the city by working with refugees hoping to reach EU states. Read more.
    The US ambassador to Tirana, Donald Lu on Friday asked the two main political leaders in Albania, Prime Minister Edi Rama and opposition Democratic Party (PD) chief Lulzim Basha to meet next week to try to reach a consensus over the country’s stalled judicial reform. 

    "We all agree on one point: we are tired of debates. I challenge the leader of the PD and Rama to have a meeting on Monday and not go out of it without a solution. There's still time for compromise," Lu said. 

    On Wednesday, the PD refused to accept a compromise proposal from the US and the EU to back the reform, which is aimed at reducing corruption. 

    The PD doesn't agree on the role that international experts should have in the process of screening the candidates for senior positions in the justice system.

    Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland accompained by U.S. ambassador to Tirana, Donald Lu. Photo: LSA
    The presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday approved an update to the country’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement, which is one of the main conditions required by the European Union to grant membership candidate status. 

    The adoption of the update of the SAA had been opposed by representatives from Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska, who argued that farmers would suffer under the terms of the updated SAA. 

    But eventually, Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik and his government accepted the updated agreement after the German authorities said they will help cover any losses that farmers might face.

    The Bosnian Presidency. Photo: Anadolu. 

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