bosnia report
New Series No: 19/20 October - December 2000
 
Question mark over the existence of six state institutions
by Oslobodjenje

Question mark over the existence of six state institutions:

 

The B-H Institute for Public Health, the B-H Geodetic board, the Institute for International Scientific, Technological, Educational, Cultural and Sporting Cooperation, the Meteorological Institute, the Office for the Succession of the Former SFRY, and the B-H Archives are seeking a decision from the state bodies, first and foremost from the Council of Ministers, regarding the status of these institutions, which have received practically no financial support from the state since 1998.

Move to other firms

In June 1998, with the introduction of a Law on the Council of Ministers and the Ministries of B-H, institutions comprising the institutional heritage of the former Republic of B-H were removed from the state budget. The Presidency and the Council of Ministers were supposed to decide on their status, something that has still not occurred. The recently passed law on the archives and archival material of B-H only partly resolves the problem of the B-H archives. The fate of the other five institutions, which have at their request been granted a hearing in the Legal Department of the Office of the High Representative, cannot be firmly predicted by any of their directors. In the majority of these, the staff go off to work for other firms or move to newly-formed entity-level institutions, because of this unresolved status and because of irregular pay (with delays of up to six months) due to the difficulty in obtaining money for their salaries. The largest number of such staff, numbering around one hundred, works at the Meteorological Institute of the Federation of B-H and the Meteorological Institute of B-H. Even though it is financed solely by the Federation Government, this Institute has retained both titles, according to Director Enes Sarac because of the need to maintain continuous membership for B-H meteorology in the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). In addition to funds for salaries, the Federal Government also finances the Meteorological Institute’s material costs to the tune of KM 15,000 per month. In fairness, the Council of Ministers has also financed this year’s membership (15,000 Swiss Francs) of the WMO.

In relation to this, Husein Panjeta, Director of the Institute for International Scientific, Technological, Educational, Cultural and Sporting Cooperation told us that the three staff who remain in this institution have not been paid for six months. This Institute previously had ten employed staff, but they all left in order to earn enough to live on. Until 1998 they came under the jurisdiction of the B-H Ministry for Foreign Affairs, for whom they performed tasks related to international cooperation and contacts in this field; this kind of work has decreased in recent times, but there has been no change in the tasks they fulfil, adds Panjeta. According to the Director, they have received only verbal support from the Council of Ministers.

Even though the Geodetic Board of B-H is involved in important projects such as assisting the State commission for marking the borders of B-H, and satellite measurement of the global positioning system (GPS) that will include B-H within the unified mathematical cartographic system of Europe, nobody at the state level has shown even the slightest interest in financing these. The Geodetic Board has had its offices on the ground floor of the B-H Presidency building in Sarajevo since 1887, has existed since 1880, and is one of the oldest extant institutions of the state of B-H. According to the Director, Mustafa Begic, there are documents in their rich archive which relate to the measurement and marking of B-H’s borders from the time of the Austro-Hungarian empire, document which the latter’s rulers did not remove from the archive at the end of that era since they belonged to Bosnia-Herzegovina. A Federal archive has been founded which will not have its own materials for another ten to fifteen years, explained Begic, and which uses only materials from the state archive. The Geodetic Board is in a similar position, with its archive being used by the Federal Geodetic Board, a situation which in Begic’s opinion is more reasonable, because they do have their own specific competencies, within the framework of which they have to use the archival material of the Geodetic Board of B-H. However, the Council of Ministers should decide its fate as soon as possible, because without financial resources the institution will not only be unable to carry out its geodetic research, but it will also be unable to preserve its archive material.

Main signpost

‘I have seen many European maps used in this field of work on which our country has been coloured black, which means that it has not been included in the unified European measurement system’, says Begic. The State cannot function without a budget, but nor can it function without its own institutions, if for no other reason than the need for membership of international organisations and for international cooperation, which is the main signpost for inclusion in world events. Without that, as Begic says, it will continue to remain merely a black spot on the world map.

Translated from Oslobodjenje (Sarajevo), 8 October 2000

 

 

*****

B-H Archives - ‘the heart of a state’

Jacques Klein, representative of the UN General Secretary, visited the archives of Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday. The reason for the visit to this important cultural institution is Klein’s interest in the fate of the archives since they lost their status twenty-eight months ago. The B-H Archives are one of eight state institutions organised in the former Socialist Republic of B-H, meaning that the question of whose jurisdiction it falls under is currently a contested one. During his meeting with archive director Matko Kovacevic, Klein emphasised the significance of this institution to our country.

Each country needs an archive like this, because it is the heart of a state, it preserves its soul, its history and the history of its people, and history deserves to be documented and looked after. It is a matter of urgency that ways are found to create a safeguard which will preserve this material for future generations, said Klein.

Director Kovacevic hopes that the status of the institution will soon be resolved. On the recommendation of the OHR, the governments of the Federation and RS agreed in a meeting that this institution is of great importance to the whole state of B-H and that it should come under state jurisdiction. A draft proposal has also been prepared outlining possible solutions to the current situation; this has been sent to the B-H Council of Ministers for approval.

During his visit to the archive, Klein was impressed by the fact that ancient materials dating from the origins of B-H are kept here, including maps and plans from the time when Bosnia-Herzegovina was at the height of its development. He was particularly interested to know about the interest of the trained staff in the rich and valuable material that is preserved here.

Translated from Oslobodjenje (Sarajevo), 17 October 2000

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