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Bosnia-Herzegovina: Police Reform Adopted

(May 2, 2008) On April 10, 2008, the Parliament of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted two laws on police reform, which regulate the independence and supervision of the Bosnian police force and provide for coordination between local police bodies and federal police support agencies. Adoption of the laws is a requirement established by the European Union for the commencement of negotiations on the signing of a Stabilization and Association Agreement, a document that begins the EU admission process for Bosnia. According to the new laws, which were debated for four years, the future police force is to reflect the country's constitutional structure and ethnic division. The laws do not foresee the unification of regional police forces; the supervision law states that state/ethnic bodies will control the work of various agencies performing some of the policing activities at the local level. Federal agencies will be eligible to coordinate police work but not interfere with the work of regional police forces. Federal control may be introduced later, after new state structures are organized according to the changes in the country's constitutional system. (Bosnian Parliament Adopted Reform Laws, BETA NEWS AGENCY, Apr. 14, 2008, Emerging Markets Database.)