Čaršija Mosque in Prijedor
During its eighth session, the Commission to Preserve National Monuments conducted an inspection of the condition of the heritage in Prijedor, Novi Grad (Bosanski Novi) and Bihać municipalities. The architectural heritage, particularly in Prijedor and Bosanski Novi municipalities, was subjected to systematic destruction during the war, with the majority of properties totally destroyed, including their remains, which were removed to various dumps the sites of which are not known.
When visiting the site of the Čaršija mosque in Prijedor, Commission members met representatives of the Islamic Community (the Bihać mufti, the chairman of the Majlis (Council) of the Islamic community in Prijedor, the chief imam, and a representative of the SDA in Prijedor). Representatives of the Islamic Community put pressure on the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina to alter its decision to designate the Čaršija mosque in Prijedor as a national monument, to enable them to erect an entirely new building according to a design concept presented to the Commission during the procedure of adoption of its decision. The discussion was also attended by Ambassador Vadim Kuznetsov, deputy High Representative in BiH. In this regard, the Commission is bound to repeat:
1. The Decision to designate the Čaršija mosque in Prijedor was adopted at the Commission's eighth session (4-11 March 2003) in compliance with the Criteria applied by the Commission; it is final and binding, and there is no provision for appeal against it.
2. The Commission's decisions are drafted in detail and are preceded by investigations lasting several months, during which all available facts of relevance to the adoption of a decision are reviewed. All the findings ascertained during the process of adoption of a decision are presented in the elucidation that accompanies the decision, which is public and is posted on the website of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3. The Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, stipulates that the rehabilitation of destroyed national monuments (their reconstruction in their original form, with their original dimensions, on their original site) is mandatory. The construction of buildings of entirely different proportions and form on the site of destroyed national heritage properties is not permitted.
4. The Commission to Preserve National Monuments is bound in its operations by the provisions of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, the Law, and the Criteria to designate properties as national monuments, in which it is made plain that in no case shall political or property considerations influence the Commission's decision-making process.
In regard to the substance of the meeting in Prijedor, the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina emphasizes that in no case will it bow to any kind of pressure to depart from its professional and lawful approach to its work. In every case when it is possible to prevent the erosion of the cultural memory in Bosnia and Herzegovina by preventing the construction of new, inappropriate buildings of architectural form that is foreign to the cultural landscape of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the sites of destroyed monuments, the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina will take all possible steps to do so.