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Session of the Government of the Federation BiH. Source: Government of the Federation of BiH
According to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s state-level Strategy for Prevention and Combatting Terrorism, the entity was supposed to do this five years ago.
The document, which BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina has seen, mentions 33 activities, only three of which will be financed from the entity’s budget, while donor resources will be used for the remaining ones.
The Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Terrorism was adopted half a year after the establishment of an Interdepartmental Working Group for Preparation and Implementation of an Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Terrorism in the Federation.
The plan is aimed at combatting all forms of extremist and terrorist activities while respecting the values of democracy, the rule of law and human rights and freedoms, the document says.
Various administrative levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina were supposed to prepare and adopt action plans following the adoption of the Strategy for Preventing and Countering Terrorism at the state level in 2015, but the Federation did not do it until now.
The action plan states that “it has been completely standardised, synchronised and harmonised with the existing Strategy for Preventing and Countering Terrorism (2015–2020)”.
The president of the Interdepartmental Working Group, Sead Lisak, said that, the problem for the Federation was that the Federal Police Administration adopted its own action plan, but it “did not propose it to the government for adoption”, so it remained the Police Administration’s plan, not that of the government.
“All the events associated with the repatriation of returnees from foreign battlefronts, the Syrian one in particular, pointed to the problem that we do not have a document which would enable us to coordinate activities related to the reception of returnees from foreign battlefronts,” Lisak said. He added that the action plan is valid until 2025.
Regardless of the fact that the Federation only adopted its action plan in the last months of the state-level strategy, Lisak pointed out that the plan is “proactive, even with regard to a new national strategy which has yet to be adopted”.
“We went further, we adopted or proposed some activities which will act preventatively on rehabilitation and resocialisation of the people who have been brought back from battlefronts,” Lisak told BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The action plan foresees the implementation of 15 prevention activities, three in the field of mapping risks and resources, ten in the field of investigations and criminal programmes and five in the field of social response.
Two of these activities will be implemented using budgetary resources only, one will be financed with money from the budget and donor resources, and the remaining activities will be funded from donor resources exclusively.
According to a previous investigation by BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina, institutions have almost exclusively used donor resources for the implementation of the state strategy.
Under the Federation’s action plan of the Federation, the prevention part will include a survey of socio-economic and other factors which favour the emergence and spread of radicalism and extremism, the development of a programme entitled ‘Be Great on the Internet’, the engagement of civil society organisations with the aim of boosting civic activism and promoting the value of tolerance, as well as 12 other activities.
As foreseen under the action plan, by the end of this year, using budgetary resources, legal conditions will be established to determine the time and place of birth and identity of people born in a territory which at that moment did not exist in law, and a Law on Revisions and Amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Proceeding will be adopted enabling children of returnees from foreign battlefronts to be entered in the registry of births.
The Law on Changes and Amendments was adopted by the Federation government at the end of last month and, as it told BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time, changes and amendments would be referred to parliament.
It is planned to use the budget to finance the strengthening of the capacities of police officers to more efficiently combat cyber terrorism, while resources from the budget and donor funds will be used for training police officers and prosecutors in discovering, clarifying and proving criminal acts of terrorism.
Combatting cyber terrorism is included in the Security Ministry’s action plan too, but so far no mechanism has been found for countering hate speech and calls for violence on the internet. It was planned that these activities would be undertaken by the Communications Regulatory Authority, CRA, which told BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina that it cannot implement the strategy or remove content from the internet.
The implementation of the Federation’s action plan should take five years. The action plan is expected to be harmonised with the new state-level strategy after it is adopted.