Press conference following the 9th session
The press conference was held in the press conference room in the BiH Presidency building in Sarajevo, at 11.00.
Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Chair of the Commission, told journalists of the Commission's decisions
Twentyfive decisions were adopted to designate the following properties as national monuments:
· The archaeological site of Crkvina in Zavala, Ravno municipality, FBiH
· The archaeological site of Mile, the coronation and sepulchral church of the Bosnian kings, in Arnautovići, Visoko municipality, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of the Old Town of Tešanj in Tešanj, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of the Old Town of Bužim in Bužim, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of the Old Town of Jezerski in Jezersko, Bosanska Krupa municipality, FBiH
· The historic building of the Municipality Building (Beledija or the Small Town Hall) in Odžak, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of turbe of Shaykh Gaibija and harem of Tekke mosque in (Bosanska) Gradiška, RS
· The architectural ensemble of the of the Old Wooden Mosque in Bužim, FBiH
· Harem of the Town Mosque in Kozarska (Bosanska) Dubica, RS
· The site of the Husein-beg mosque with harem in Srpski (Bosanski) Brod, RS
· Harem of the Town Mosque in Prnjavor, RS
· The remains of the Old Stone Bridge in Konjic, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of the Franciscan monastery in Kreševo together with its movable property, FBiH
· The historic urban area of Kreševo, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of the Musalla in Kamengrad with burial ground, Sanski Most municipality, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of the Fethija mosque with harem, nine tombstones and epitaphs in Bihać, FBiH
· The historic building of the Synagogue in Mostar, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of the Šušnjar Memorial Complex, Sanski Most, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of the Trzan stećak necropolis and turbes in Večići, Kotor-Varoš municipality, RS
· The architectural ensemble of the Omerbeg house in Jajce, FBiH
· The site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Hadži Zulfikar or Tulekova mosque in Banja Luka, RS
· The site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Hadži Osmanija or Talina mosque in Banja Luka, RS
· The architectural ensemble of the Behram-beg or Behram-efendi mosque in Banja Luka, RS
· The site and remains of the architectural ensemble or the Hadži Omer or Dolačka mosque in Banja Luka, RS
· The site and remains of the architectural ensemble or the Arnaudija mosque in Banja Luka, RS
She noted that the work had been going on to draft the rules for the implementation of donor funds since May 2003 in association with international experts. With these rules, the Commission was seeking to provide the framework for a transparent, complete and safe method of implementing funds raised through the campaign to protect the endangered heritage in a manner consistent with international standards.
The Chair told journalists that Dr Ljiljana Ševo would represent Bosnia and Herzegovina at the conference of states parties to the World Heritage Convention and the conference of states parties to the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
Media representatives were told that the Commission had discussed the strategic approach by Bosnia and Herzegovina to the implementation of the Regional Programme for the protection of the architectural and natural heritage in South-Eastern Europe. Bosnia and Herzegovina had joined this programme, which had three components: (1) strengthening the institutional and legislative framework; (2) integrating the heritage into development plans with the first stage of assessing the heritage and drafting prioritized intervention lists. These are jointly financed by the Council of Europe, the European Union and Bosnia and Herzegovina; (3) local projects, which entails drawing up feasibility studies and projects for specific instances of integration of the heritage into development plans. The Commission had recognized Bosnia and Herzegovina's interest in this and had appointed Amra Hadžimuhamedović as programme coordinator. The project coordinator for the first component is Dubravko Lovrenović, for the second Mirela Mulalić Handan, and for the third Dr. Ljiljana Ševo.
Four properties are on the list of endangered monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina: the Town Hall in Brčko, the Orthodox Church in Vozuća, the Old Ljubuški fort and the historic ensemble of Rataja near Miljevina. The threat to the historic ensemble of Blagaj was also highlighted. For each of these properties, the Commission will submit a comprehensive study to the governments of the entities and Brčko District and require them to take the protection measures provided for by law.
She noted that Sarajevo Canton was one of the few cantons in the Federation of BiH that had taken a systematic approach to cultural heritage protection, with well organized institutions and the will on the part of decision-makers to set aside budget funds for heritage protection. The Commission had insisted that the municipal budgets and strategic plans recognize the importance of the reconstruction, protection and preservation of the heritage by earmarking funds for these purposes.
She referred to the encouraging example of Brčko District, where the budget projections for 2004 including the sum of almost 1,000,000 KM for the implementation of Annex 8. Brčko District government representatives had expressed their willingness to work closely with the Commission, particularly in the light of their special status within Bosnia and Herzegovina.
She told journalists that the Commission's qualified staff members had visited the whole of BiH over the previous two years in the course of drafting decisions. Representatives of every municipality in BiH had been contacted and preliminary documentation drawn up for the majority of the properties on the Provisional List. Commission members had visited 24 municipalities throughout BiH, and this type of direct collaboration would continue in the coming year, as would be confirmed at the Commission's 11th session.
She informed journalists that Ljiljana Ševo would take over the duty of Chair for the next six months.
As part of the Council of Europe's Regional Programme for the protection of the cultural and natural heritage, the Commission had decided to propose Jajce for drawing up a comprehensive plan for sustainable heritage protection in Jajce municipality, and that priorities for designation as national monuments at the next session would be the historical centres of Mostar, Blagaj, Jajce, Stolac and Sarajevo.
Dubravko Lovrenović drew attention to the excellent collaboration between the Commission and numerous institutions, particularly the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was monitoring the work of the Commission closely. Continued cooperation was planned, along with visits to municipalities with the Federal Minister of Regional Planning and the Environment and the Federal Minister of Culture and Sport.
Commission representatives responded to journalists' questions on the liability of persons who had put individual monuments in jeopardy by inexpert reconstruction (all kinds of threat to properties, including reconstruction that does not comply with required standards or that has been carried out without or in contravention of permits issued by the Federal Ministry of Regional Planning and the Environment, constitute criminal offences). In addition to filing criminal charges, the Commission insists on the involvement of the town planning and buildings inspectorate, which is responsible under the law for supervision. The town planning and buildings inspector is required to draw up a report and issue a ruling.
Journalists were also told of the conclusions reached at the meeting held by the Commission with the Federal Ministers responsible for regional planning and culture.
The Commission is in close contact with the Council of Europe, the European Union, the World Bank and UNESCO, although it is the Governments of the Federation of BiH, Republika Srpska and Brčko District that have jurisdiction over and are responsible for the protection of national monuments. The Commission will insist that they allocate budget funds for the protection of these properties from further deterioration.