An event was held today in Camp Butmir to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Signing of the MOU between EUFOR and the BiH Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs). The event, hosted by COM EUFOR Major General Helmut Habermayer, was attended by Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Police Directors and Commissioners and included representative from all 19 BiH LEAs.
COM EUFOR provided the opening address and welcomed all participants to Camp Butmir. Following this, attendees heard a number of presentations from subject matter experts. A brief on the origins and importance of the MOU was provided by the EUFOR Liaison Officer to the LEAs and the Assistant Legal Advisor in the Legal Office of Commander of EUFOR. It was highlighted that this remains the only MOU signed by all BiH LEAs and that in the ten year period and since the signing of the MOU, the exchange of information between EUFOR and LEAs has become much more fluid, simplified and efficient.
The Special Adviser to the Commander of EUFOR on Ammunition, Weapons and Explosives (SAWAD) outlined the EUFOR Weapons Registration Programme including the phases of the BiH Ammunition Weapons and Explosives plan, the marking, registration and deactivation of small arms light weapons and the concept of training conducted as part of the plan. He emphasised that this programme is open to all BiH LEAs and that a pilot project, in cooperation with Norwegian Peoples Aid, had commenced in Brcko District.
EUFOR Special Adviser on Law Enforcement Agencies (SALEA) briefed attendees of his role as SALEA which includes liaising with representatives of international institutions in charge of Rule of Law, Policing and Security BiH wide. Furthermore, SALEA proactively establishes and maintains appropriate relations with the representatives of BiH LEAs, at state, entity and cantonal and regional levels.
The EU Delegation Rule of Law Advisor, Ms. Dijana Stevanovic provided an address, stating that “the EU continuously advises and assists law enforcement agencies in BiH in fulfilling recommendations… related to improving Police multi-agency operational coordination and cooperation, as well as effective and better cooperation with prosecutor’s offices to fight corruption, serious and organized crime and other severe crimes.” The establishment of the outreach programme ‘Enhancing multi-agency police cooperation and coordination in BiH’ in 2022 and the EU-facilitated Police Chiefs Forum were highlighted.
COM EUFOR concluded proceedings by thanking attendees collectively for the support and cooperation provided to EUFOR, on an ongoing basis. COM EUFOR stated “The professionalism and hard work of your police officers is clearly evident to me as the EUFOR Commander. The citizens of this country enjoy the security and justice you ensure on a continual basis.” Noting that in its role as a secondary responder EUFOR must support LEAs, COM EUFOR stated that “for that support to be effective and timely, we need to have a strong working relationship and trust between our personnel … It takes understanding, patience and determination for this type of relationship to develop,” concluding that since the signing of the MOU, EUFOR has progressively seen the benefit of the MOU to the mission.
Attendees then visited a static equipment display of EUFOR equipment and vehicles, before being welcomed to a reception by COM EUFOR.