OSCE Mission to BiHThe OSCE PA's Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina kicked off with a briefing at the OSCE BiH Mission, Sarajevo, 6 June 2018.SARAJEVO, 7 June 2018 – Members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism (CCT) today concluded a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), where they learned more about local and regional challenges in countering terrorism and violent extremism. In Sarajevo on Wednesday, members met with colleagues from the BiH Parliamentary Assembly, the OSCE Mission to BiH, civil society, government ministries, and law enforcement officers to exchange best practices and promote the role of parliamentarians in the field of counter-terrorism.

The CCT delegation visited Zenica and Travnik today, meeting with the Police Commissioner of the Central Bosnia Canton to get better acquainted with terrorism-related threats at the local level, and visited Zenica prison, where a number of convicted terrorists are incarcerated. At the prison, members met with the Director to discuss radicalization challenges and rehabilitation efforts in places of detention. Members also paid a visit to the OSCE Mission to BiH Field Office in Travnik.

The delegation was led by the Committee’s Chair, Makis Voridis (Greece) and included Vice-Chair Stéphane Crusniere (Belgium) and members Aude Bono-Vandorme (France) and Abid Raja (Norway). The CCT delegation had a briefing with the Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ambassador Bruce Berton, during which the members learned more about the mission’s counter-terrorism activities.

“The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina is doing exemplary work in the field of counter-terrorism, including by monitoring the implementation of BiH’s anti-terrorism strategy. This work is something that can be emulated throughout the OSCE region in an effort to save lives and preserve our democratic values. As parliamentarians, we should build on these efforts and contribute with our policy-making and oversight functions,” Voridis said.

OSCE Mission to BiH parliamentCCT members met in Sarajevo with representatives of NGOs and academia, stressing that civil society engagement is key to effective, human rights-compliant approaches to countering violent extremism, 6 June 2018.Noting the importance of international co-operation, Amb. Berton stressed that broader parliamentary engagement is needed to effectively counter terrorism.

“Preventing and combatting terrorism and violent extremism is a priority for the OSCE. It requires a multidisciplinary approach and broad social engagement,” Amb. Berton said. “I am particularly pleased with the Mission’s strong engagement with a broad range of actors, from the government and law enforcement agencies, to civil society and individuals in tackling this issue.”

He stressed that the OSCE Mission to BiH will continue to co-operate with all relevant actors in BiH and support their future efforts in countering violent extremism.

During the visit, CCT members met with the Speaker of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliamentary Assembly House of the Peoples, Barisa Colak, as well as with senior representatives of the Ministries of Security and Justice. The CCT has also met with the Bosnian Intelligence Agency, the Acting Chief Prosecutor and with representatives of civil society.

OSCE Mission to BiH policeCCT members paid a visit to City of Travnik where they were welcomed by OSCE BiH Field Office staff and met with Local Police Commissioner Faik Adilović; June 7 2018.Meetings have focused on the efforts of local authorities to counter and prevent terrorism, including the threats stemming from returning foreign terrorist fighters, with CCT members encouraging local officials to continue working in synergy with the OSCE Mission.

“I commend the dedication of BiH authorities to effectively counter terrorism and violent extremism despite existing financial and organizational constraints. I hope they work with their regional and international partners to further border control efforts, ensure timely information-sharing among relevant stakeholders and implement sound rehabilitation and reintegration policies to prevent terrorism,” Voridis concluded.

The next official meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism will take place in Berlin, Germany on 7 July 2018 at the margins of the OSCE PA Annual Session.

For more information on the OSCE PA's activities in the field of counter-terrorism, please click here.