Bosnia and Herzegovina. The republic of the Republic of Srpska got a new government in February, led by Prime Minister Pero Bukejlović. The representative had resigned in December in protest of the dismissal of a number of high-ranking Bosnian Serb politicians and officials by the representative of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were dismissed mainly because they were considered to thwart attempts to bring suspected war criminals to justice. The new head of government, Bukejlović, as well as his predecessor, belonged to the dominant Serbian nationalist party SDS. He soon took steps to improve relations with the War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Among other things, he added an investigation to find out if any suspect for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre held public service.
According to countryaah, Sarajevo is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. International envoy Paddy Ashdown continued to purge people he considered to stand in the way of the democratization process. In March, Dragan Čović, who was the Croatian representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s three-headed presidency, was fired. The reason was that Čović would face trial, accused of corruption and abuse of power during a previous period as finance minister in the Bosnian-Croatian republic. Čović was brought to trial with five other men, including the chief judge of the Bosnian Constitutional Court. In May, Parliament appointed Ivo Miro Jović as the new Croatian representative in the presidency.
At the beginning of the year, a court in Sarajevo was inaugurated which would eventually take over war criminal cases from the Hague Tribunal. It was the first court in the Balkans to be given the confidence of the outside world to hold its own trials. A first suspected war criminal was handed over in September from The Hague to Sarajevo.
The Bosnian Serbian leadership sought to improve its cooperation with the international community in the area of justice after the Civil War. In January, for the first time, a suspected war criminal was handed over from the Republika Srpska to the Hague Tribunal. In October, a commission presented a list of over 17,000 Bosnian Serbs names that participated in the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995. According to the Commission, nearly 20,000 Bosnian Serbs participated in various ways in the massacre, the majority of which were identified. The list would be handed over to prosecutors and to international envoy Ashdown.
In December, the EU gave the go ahead for negotiations on a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina, a first step towards a future membership of the Union.