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Meeting with Minister of Regional Planning and the Environment Ramiz Mehmedagić


The meeting at the Federal Ministry of Regional Planning and the Environment was held on 08.03.2004. at 09:30. The meeting was attended by Commission members (Ljiljana Ševo, Dubravko Lovrenović and Zeynep Ahunbay) and staff (Damir Bačvić) and by Ramiz Mehmedagić, Minister of Regional Planning and the Environment.


Dubravko Lovrenović informed the Minister that when visiting the Ćejvan Ćehaja hamam, the Commission noted irregularities that occured in the course of rehabilitation. Zeynep Ahunbay informed the public about that at the last press conference.


Zeynep Ahunbay explained that she had been engaged in the research work in Mostar since 1997 and that she was very familiar with the developments pertinent to Ćejvan Ćehaja hamam. Following the visit to Mostar at the end of January, inspection of property and informing the public at the press conference, the French Ambassador contacted the Turkish Ambassador to get a more detailed information about the restoration of the property. A meeting was held on 07.03.2004. with the Secretary General of UNESCO, French Ambassador and a French architect, who supervised the project. The Secretary General of UNESCO informed those present the project did not foresee any funds for archaeological research, since it aimed at instantaneous restoration and making the property operational as soon as possible. This approach taken by UNESCO was found surprising, but they gave a firm guarantee that necessary modifications would be carried out. Given that the Federal Ministry of Regional Planning and the Environment issued an approval of project documents, it would be most appropriate that the Ministry request a revision of the project documents. No information pertaining to possible deviations from the project documents in the course of restoration can be provided, since no archaeological research have been conducted and there is no possibility to do it now. Main weakness of the restoration work is a change of arch on the ground floor (halvat).


Ljiljana Ševo explained that archaeological research was conducted without archaeologist and that no report was made. Entire hypocaust was destroyed and a cement base was made. It is very likely that deviations from the project started as early as that.


Ramiz Mehmedagić stated that the approval of restoration had been  issued in July 2003. The Employer is the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to which the approval was issued, but there is no information and needs to be found out who was a contractor and who was in charge of supervision. Architects Ališić, Ninković, Ferhad Mulabegović and Lamija Avdijević drafted project documents that were approved by Džihad Pašić. Works need to be stopped immediately for 10-15 days, to prevent further damage and to determine if there have been deviations from the project, or the project has not foreseen archaeological research. If problems be identified in the project documents, corrections and amendments need to be done, but if the project documents are correct, than it is a matter of improper execution of work (contractor or supervisor are to be blamed), which asks for a better quality of supervision.


It was resolved that the Federal Minister immediately issue an order to the inspector to investigate the condition in the field and make a decision to cease the work until all information is provided, which will result in taking necessary measures.


Those present at the meeting reminded on the conclusions of the meeting held on 23.09.2003. on the premises of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport, that prior to embarking on rehabilitation, an approval of rehabilitation of the Ministry of Regional Planning and the Environment needs to be obtained, on the grounds of reviewed project documents, and as prescribed by legislation in force. Information pertinent to contractors and supervisors also have to be provided.


At the proposal made by Dubravko Lovrenović, it was resolved that a meeting be held in March between members of the Commission and the Federal Minister of Regional Planning and the Environment, Minister of Regional Planning, Civil Engineering and the Environment of Republika Srpska and Minister of Education and Culture of Republika Srpska to agree upon the approach to be taken at rehabilitation of properties and engagement of most prominent experts in the rehabilitation, no matter if a project is implemented in the Federation of BiH or Republika Srpska.


Ramiz Mehmedagić stressed that best possible mode would be to engage all relevant parties in their respective fields. Supervision seems to be the biggest issue, since due to conflict of interests, same company cannot draft project documents and supervise the implementation of work. Supervision ought to be conducted by a third party, which gives the opportunity to engage experts from the Federation or Republika Srpska.


Ljiljana Ševo explained that Milijana Okilj of the Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural-Historical and Natural Heritage of Republika Srpska is engaged to supervise the project on the rehabilitation of the Žitomislić Monastery located in the Federation of BiH and that it would be very useful to engage experts of the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport in the project of rehabilitation of Mehmed-paša Kukavica mosque in Foča/Srbinje.


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