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GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Sept 1, 2015)-- (Left to Right) Bosnia and Herzegovina parliamentarians Hazim Rančić, Mario Karamatić , and Bariša Čolak discuss ways and best practices to strengthen the accountability of the defense and security sector within their nation.  Parliamentarians from Bosnia and Herzegovina met at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies for a two-day tailored seminar on the parliament’s role in the management and oversight of the security sector, Sept. 1-2. (Marshall Center photo by KarlHeinz Wedhorn /RELEASED)

By James E. Brooks,
Marshall Center Public Affairs

Parliamentarians from Bosnia and Herzegovina met at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies for a two-day tailored seminar on the parliament’s role in the management and oversight of the security sector, Sept. 1. 

“The purpose of this seminar was to facilitate the sharing of experience and best practices concerning parliamentary involvement in security sector governance and an exchange of perspectives on key topical issues of particular relevance for Bosnia-Herzegovina and its neighbors,” said Dr. Matthew Rhodes, Director of Programs in Central and Southeast Europe at the Marshall Center.

The parliamentarians who attended the seminar were members of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Joint Committee on Defense and Security.  This committee is tasked to oversee the nation’s Ministries of Defense and Security, as well as the agencies under them, to make sure they are fulfilling their constitutional and legal responsibilities.  These parliamentarians also review the annual budget of the nation’s security sector institutions.  Additional participants came from the Republika Srpska entity parliament.

“On the first day, we had a very interactive dialogue between the Committee and the Marshall Center faculty who were experts about the role of the parliament in strengthening the accountability of the defense and security sector.  We had some very good discussions on transparency in the security sector, regional security environment, international migrations, cross-border cooperation, and the challenge of the Salafi--a radical movement in the western Balkans and south eastern Europe,” said Committee advisor Zeljko Grubesic. 

Parliamentarians discussed  EU challenges and issues in the western Balkans and the region during the second day. 

“There has been some good things and challenges that have arisen since the Bosnia and Herzegovina of the integration process.  It was all on the table during this seminar,” said Grubesic.

Among the parliamentarians were Sifet Podžić, the Chair of the Joint Committee,  Borislav Bojić- First Deputy, Borjana Krišto-Second Deputy, and Bariša Čolak, Hanka Vajzović, Mario Karamatić, Hazim Rančić, Darko Babalj, and Boško Šiljegović – the BiH Parliamentary Commissionaire. 

The Marshall Center hosts several executive seminars such as this one as part of their outreach and non-resident program.  The mission of these seminars as well as the resident courses is to create a more stable security environment by advancing democratic institutions and relationships; promoting active, peaceful, whole-of-government approaches to address transnational and regional security challenges; and creating and enhancing enduring partnerships worldwide.  The German government is a strong partner in achieving this vision.