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1998 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
United States Department of State
February 26, 1999


I. Summary

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has a small drug problem compared to other European countries but it is growing. This is due to its recent war and poor economic conditions. However, Bosnia's two entities (Federation and the Republika Srpska) have entered into a cooperative agreement to face the threat of future drug problems as the economy strengthens. BiH is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. However, drug legislation needs reform. The current laws are old Yugoslavian drug laws which are antiquated and poorly written. The Office of the High Representative (OHR) is drafting new drug laws for the Federation. The entities laws have not yet been integrated for consistency.

II. Status of Country

As the economic conditions in BiH improve, there is potential for increased criminal activity in drug production (synthetic drugs and marijuana), transit, money laundering and possibly precursor chemicals. BiH's close proximity to the Adriatic sea and surrounding European countries make it a viable hub for criminal activity. Historically, BiH was on the Balkan drug route (heroin).

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1998

Policy Initiatives. In June 1998, the Federation and the Republika Srpska entered into a cooperative agreement to work closely together on national and international criminal issues. Each entity's police forces receive drug training by various international programs including the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP), the international police task force and DEA. The USG will offer advanced narcotics and task force training courses in 1999. Both entities are cooperating in this regard. However, the implementation of a counternarcotics master plan is several years away. Recently, the Federation passed new money laundering legislation. The current drug laws are not in line with the 1988 UN Drug Convention. However, the international community is assisting the two entities in drafting new laws.

Accomplishments. UNDCP began working with both entities to set up a record keeping system for narcotics arrests and seizures in mid-December 1998. In August 1998, a task force comprising police officers from the Federation, Croatia and Slovenia seized 38 kilograms of heroin in northern Bosnia. UNDCP has assisted the Federation in opening three drug identification laboratories. They are helping the Republika Srpska (RS) establish similar laboratories. Since June 1998, inter-entity cooperation has increased dramatically.

Law Enforcement Efforts. An inter-entity task force and local law enforcement efforts in counternarcotics are just beginning. However, in May 1998, 600 grams of heroin was seized in the RS. In July, 4.5 kilograms of heroin was seized in the Federation. In the latter case, 1 man was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in jail. The presiding judge decided it was a misdemeanor because it was for "personal use." This inappropriate sentence highlights the need for judicial reform. Law enforcement authorities will remain at a disadvantage until appropriate drug laws are passed.

Corruption. The police and judicial systems of BiH are in transition. Currently there is no legislation specifically addressing corruption. OHR has an anti-corruption working group which is addressing corruption issues.

Agreements and Treaties. BiH has no counternarcotics agreements with the USG. Bilateral agreements regarding police training do exist. Both entities in BiH have honored a cooperative agreement by working closely together on illegal narcotics issues.

Drug Flow and Transit. There are no reported incidents of major drug transiting cases for 1998.

Domestic Programs. Community policing programs and police resource programs in the schools contain anti-drug segments. There are no drug treatment programs to date.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. goals and objectives are to provide the necessary counternarcotics training and support to move BiH police forces from operational dependence on the IC to independence in the fight against drugs. The USG also gives funds to UNDCP.

Other Efforts. The USG donated 1.6 million dollars to the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) for counternarcotics training with Federation and RS police forces. UNDCP established three Federation drug identification laboratories and is establishing the same for the RS. UNDCP will bring regional drug commanders together from Macedonia, Croatia and BiH, to offer a practical exercise in international narcotics smuggling.

The Road Ahead

Task force training, organized crime courses, narcotics identification courses and money laundering courses are just a few of many courses that BiH police officers will receive throughout 1999. The USG and UNDCP are working to provide a central standardized information management system throughout BiH. This will enhance the ability to receive and disseminate vital investigative information through inter-entity and international channels.

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