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The fate of Zoran Bijelic

Zoran Bijelic

In November 2002, Zoran Bijelic from Doboj, 50, received notification from IPTF that he was "not eligible for certification" due to ongoing criminal proceedings against him. The IPTF Commissioner wrote that his certification was "pending resolution of the case. […] Following the final verdict, you are entitled to request UNMIBH/IPTF or EUPM to reconsider your case." IPTF did not insist on his dismissal until the completion of the proceedings, so Bijelic's employer only suspended him.

In March 2003, Bijelic was acquitted of the charges in first instance, and in September 2003, in second and final instance. According to IPTF's original intention, he should then have been reinstated. But IPTF was no longer in the country. And in April 2003, the head of the police of Republika Srpska had fired him with the explanation that the international community insisted on the dismissal of all officers denied certification . Even though he was found innocent in the court proceedings, he has remained out of a job.

The European Union Police Mission (EUPM), which succeeded IPTF in 2003, says his is one of "more than 150" cases that IPTF did not complete due to ongoing criminal or disciplinary proceedings against the officers. During the handover talks, IPTF asked EUPM to finalise these "pending" cases once the relevant proceedings were completed. EUPM refused. On 31 December 2002, UNMIBH departed, leaving unresolved the fate of these cases.

Bosnia's Associations of Decertified Policemen say that among their non-certified members are 34 such cases that should have been reinstated in line with IPTF's original policy. There could be more, of course.

Today, Zoran helps out with the paper work at a private security company in Doboj to pay for his two daughters at university. As new legislation on security companies bans non-certified police officers from working in such companies, he cannot receive a proper employment contract.

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