FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Performance Report Highlights: Bosnia and Herzegovina
FY 2010 Foreign Assistance Goals
U.S. Government (USG) assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) continues to help BiH solidify its future within the Euro-Atlantic community and make necessary reforms to enable EU and NATO integration. U.S. assistance seeks to ensure a tolerant multi-ethnic democracy that protects the rights of all citizens, values tolerance and diversity, and enables women and minorities to flourish. USG programs also support: effective government institutions and civil society, which encourage and enable active citizen involvement; transparent, effective and accountable law enforcement and judicial systems which uphold the rule of law equally for all citizens; a military that meets security needs and NATO membership goals; and a single economic space, which provides economic opportunity for all citizens, fosters private sector development, and attracts investment.
Total FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $42.84 million*
(*Foreign Operations funding appropriated for FY 2010, not including centrally managed, regional Foreign Operations funding that is not budgeted for specific countries.)
Highlights of FY 2010 Performance by Area of Focus
Peace and Security
-- USG assistance to the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AFBiH) supported AFBiH’s contribution of 55 members within NATO units in Afghanistan. Equipment and training prepared units and battalions for nuclear, biological, and chemical threats, combat lifesaving, advanced military police strategies, and explosive ordnance disposal. Technical assistance and related equipment donations increased AFBiH firearm capabilities to NATO standards, streamlined communication, improved productivity through faster transmission of vital information and orders, and will double available rotary-wing aviation assets once helicopter repairs using USG-procured parts are completed in FY2010.
-- The USG helped to build BiH professionals’ capacity to combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) in BiH. Their combined successes contributed to BiH’s improved Tier 1 country ranking in the Department of State’s 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report. U.S. experts trained and mentored BiH law enforcement and judicial institutions. As a result, sentences increased in severity, four suspects were convicted of trafficking and the ringleader sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment, and suspended sentences decreased from 14 in FY2008 to only two in FY2009. The USG also helped to open a legal aid center for women, obtained formal consent from all 14 Ministries of Education in the country to include trafficking prevention education in schools, developed the first protocol on victims’ assistance for social work centers, and established a state-level system to monitor implementation of BiH’s national anti-trafficking action plan.
-- Training for 294 police and prosecutors fostered cooperation and best practices in apprehending suspects, building legally sufficient cases and prosecuting suspects for war crimes, organized crime offences, corruption and terrorism. Forensic accounting techniques training resulted in enterprise investigations and the identification of two million Convertible Marks (KM )of unreported income. During a plea bargain negotiation, the subject of significant USG training for prosecutors, the suspect agreed to pay 900,000 KM in taxes. This is the second year that the state-level police Special Support Unit participated in over 200 operations – a third of those resulted in counter-terrorism, organized crime, or war crimes arrests.
-- With U.S. technical assistance, the Republika Srpska (RS) parliament drafted and adopted its first asset forfeiture law which may serve as a basis for state-level legislation; created a unit responsible for seizing assets; and opened its first cases to enforce the law.
-- With USG assistance emphasizing the importance of cross-border and entity cooperation, State and entity police worked together with police in Serbia to conduct simultaneous raids against suspected arms traffickers leading to one arrest in BiH, five arrests in Serbia, and a weapons seizure. The USG-initiated executive law enforcement working group adopted a national police code of ethical conduct integrating best practices and formed counter-terrorism and organized crime task forces. As a result, nine individuals were added to BiH’s national security threat list, seven terrorism suspects were arrested, multiple operations were conducted against organized criminal groups, and a member of a known terrorism organization -- previously granted a temporary stay – is due to be expelled.
-- Continued engagement with BiH’s Foreigners’ Affairs Service increased efficiency, protected the transmission of sensitive information through equipment to securely connect headquarters with 16 field centers, and doubled investigations, deportations, and detentions of illegal residents.
-- USG assistance in the implementation of BiH’s Integrated Border Management Strategy resulted in the following successes: border police doubled passport scanning rates at crossings; USG-donated equipment expanded BiH’s State Police Information Network (SPIN) -- established by earlier USG assistance -- to 14 additional border crossings resulting in the denial of entry to 5,000 individuals and the apprehension and deportation of a convicted terrorist with an outstanding INTERPOL warrant.
Governing Justly and Democratically
-- Support for the 2010 general elections contributed to the increase of the participation of urban youth by 200,000 voters, development of online tools which reached over 300,000 citizens, and the announcement of preliminary election results on election night (in previous elections the announcement came as late as 10 days afterwards). Assistance focused on strengthening the Central Elections Commission to efficiently and transparently administer the elections and on supporting civil society and media to promote national cohesion, governance accountability, issue-based campaigning and Get-Out-the-Vote campaigns. With U.S. assistance a groundbreaking website was launched which recorded 600-700 hits daily and offered an analysis of politicians’ delivery on 2006 election promises, which reportedly totaled only 5 percent. U.S. support also helped establish a network of 400 NGOs that advocated for reforms needed to improve the relationship between government and civil society, produce 90 monitoring reports on 26 different levels of government and parliament in BiH, and develop a website to release results of a monitoring report of all MPs in BiH institutions, attracting 3,000 monthly hits from 52 countries.
-- As the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) winds down, BiH is expanding investigations and prosecutions of war crimes cases transferred from the ICTY. U.S. assistance created databases for war crimes cases proceeding through all levels of courts in BiH. USG specialized training improved war crimes-related investigations and prosecutions and trained the State Prosecutor’s Special Department for War Crimes’ six field teams in search and exhumation. With U.S. support, the War Crimes Department of the State Court issued indictments in 25 cases involving 39 individuals and courts adjudicated several significant war crimes cases. USG funding supported media efforts to monitor and report on trials. Two defendants were found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica and each was sentenced to 31 years’ imprisonment. Four additional suspects were indicted and charged with genocide. International judges reached verdicts in nine first instance cases.
-- With USG funding, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) continued the exhumation and identification of missing persons. ICMP cumulative lists for Srebrenica cases reached 14,602 DNA matches, representing 6,469 individuals. ICMP submitted 2,434 DNA matching reports representing 425 individuals and performed 2,855 examinations, including 740 re-associations and 1,586 primary examinations at the Podrinje and Krajina Identification Projects. ICMP assisted with the recovery of 634 cases of mortal remains from 21 sites, including the Lake Perucac project which spans 104 km and four municipalities. ICMP-run mortuary facilities in Krajina and Podrinje were transferred to local authorities.
-- USG assistance to the justice sector enabled six of 18 prosecutor’s offices to develop strategic plans and adopt EU case management standards thereby contributing to BiH’s progress toward eventual EU accession. Prosecutors trained by U.S. experts successfully prosecuted tax evasion, abuse of office, drug trafficking and murder cases. Two defendants received six years and over four years, respectively, for organized crime offences in connection with drug trafficking. A U.S. adviser, embedded with the State Prosecutor’s Special Department for Organized Crime, provided one-on-one mentoring to prosecutors on evidence review, development of charges, case strategy and trial advocacy. This resulted in a nine-year sentence for the perpetrator of a local bombing, and indictments against four defendants for terrorism and weapons trafficking. The USG supported an effort to educate the public about rights of minorities and the disabled, and helped these groups gain better access to the court system.
-- With USG support, youth representing various BiH ethnicities worked on 120 community projects. Ten municipalities agreed to match USG funds for the youth-led projects. A youth association obtained heath insurance benefits from the government for adult citizens with special needs. Youth task forces’ advocacy work resulted in the adoption of a Federation law on youth, amendments to the Republika Srpska law on youth organization, and youth policy recommendations in the draft national youth law. A USG-supported project fostered dialogue between youth and government officials and advocated for political reforms. The campaign reached 50,000 citizens in 20 cities and obtained 25,000 petition signatures and pledges for more active civic involvement. BiH alumni from USG programs joined with volunteers from Slovenia, Serbia, and Kosovo to provide over 100,000 volunteer hours to help peers and communities.
-- In an effort to reduce the division of youth attending segregated schools and the use of separate curricula across BiH, a USG-supported NGO worked in cooperation with 13 Ministries of Education to implement two new democracy and human rights curricula: one at the kindergarten level, implemented through a mobile kindergarten, reached 1,137 minority, underprivileged and returnee children in 34 schools and the second at the university level reached 500 students in teacher training programs. Approximately 50,000 students across ethnic lines attended weekly classes using the same civic education materials developed with USG assistance. All 900 elementary and high schools in BiH participated in a civic education program to foster positive change in communities. Programs resulted in a significant increase in the awareness of democratic and human rights principles among the 45,000 students from all ethnic groups who attend these schools. Three hundred students from 32 towns participated in a summer camp and devised civic action plans for their communities.
-- USG-funded initiatives made advances in fighting corruption. Eighteen additional municipalities opened Citizen Services Centers to provide efficient and transparent services and brought the total number of citizens served by these centers to 2.3 million. Municipal authorities agreed to provide free legal information sessions to citizens to ensure they understood their rights and where to obtain assistance. NGOs advocated successfully for establishing a public procurement monitoring process in two health clinics and three public health funds which identified multiple cases of misuse. Fifty NGO media appearances on public procurement corruption and ten corruption-related investigative stories covered by 100 media outlets reached over one million citizens.
-- USG assistance trained and mentored 265 parliamentarians; resulted in budget reductions due to negative audit reports; improved committee work in audit, budget, legislation, and oversight; increased parliament’s outreach mechanisms to include a Visitors’ Center, website, newsletters, and electronic dissemination of legislation; increased public hearings and forums; and included 200 NGOs on weekly reports of parliamentary activities.
-- Revenue-related assistance led to the filing and processing of the first annual tax declarations in the Federation, the preparation of tax refunds for issuance, and related public education programs. Technical managerial assistance increased accountability in tax administration, improved leadership skills among administrators, and fostered greater coordination and cooperation, particularly with field offices. With USG technical assistance, direct tax assessment on businesses and individuals began in 2009 and resulted in a nine percent increase in revenues with higher results expected in 2010.
-- USG support further developed BiH’s capital markets. Brcko District and the Federation issued a second tranche of bonds to compensate for stolen foreign currency deposits. The bonds were traded on the Sarajevo Stock Exchange and provided the first indications of domestic interest rates for BiH’s capital market development. The Federation issued war claim bonds to compensate individuals and companies for goods and services provided during the war. The state and entities’ Ministries of Finance harmonized debt laws for state guarantees and entity counter-guarantees to comply with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development requirements. Several project agreements have subsequently been signed.
-- USG training for 80 judges, prosecutors, police and customs officials on copyright, trademark, counterfeit medicines, and internet piracy issues resulted in the initiation of several IPR infringement cases which over time will improve BiH’s investment and business environment. The first ever hard-disk loading case is with the State Prosecutor's Office. The largest pirated software case was filed after U.S. advisers mentored the prosecutor. Judicial and prosecutorial training centers now incorporate IPR within their curriculum. USG assistance also helped BiH’s IPR Institute create by-laws for IPR legislation; develop an IT strategy; and develop educational and training programs.
-- USG assistance helped BiH meet EU agricultural requirements and better prepare producers for EU market requirements. USG projects, co-funded with the Swedish Government, worked with over 100 producer organizations and 4250 farmers to expand environmentally sustainable production, processing and sales. New berry varieties were introduced, micro-credit and financial management training was extended to farmers to start new berry production and integrate it within supply networks, and harvest periods were extended. The project improved dairy farm management, reduced feed costs, and increased sales and exports between ten and twenty-five percent.
-- A USG project helped 100 microenterprises run by women improve agricultural production of specialty products such as organic herbs and honey and thereby become a more dynamic force in BiH’s economic development. Support to a women’s business network helped women manage their small businesses. A grant to an NGO organized seminars for 300 women, formed an agricultural association and helped participants start businesses.
-- USG projects provided support targeted to small and medium enterprises and helped BiH achieve EU Copenhagen criteria for open market competition. With Swedish Government co-funding, the USG increased competitiveness and employment in the wood processing, tourism, and light manufacturing sectors by: establishing a consortium of 16 organizations to help local firms expand markets; improving market linkages through participation in trade fairs; developing web portals; and publishing an EU standards product handbook for wood and metal producers. EU export certifications for 80 companies represented exports worth $120 million. A delegation to the furniture market week in High Point, NC, resulted in a samples shipment, U.S. market friendly product modifications, and potential contracts. National Geographic featured a Western Balkans supplement to promote BiH tourism.
-- USG assistance established an internet-based communication network across 17 institutions in Srebrenica and Bratunac to improve access to business, education, health, and government information. U.S. assistance provided internships and job training for youth in Srebrenica and organized a job fair. A U.S. funded adviser provided assistance to help this vulnerable municipality develop economic opportunities.