Intelligence and Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina With Students

{gallery}newsletters/11/4{/gallery}Postgraduates at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo, whom took the course in Terrorism in Modern World taught by Doc. Dr. Vlado Azinović, have recently had an opportunity to participate in an interesting presentation by the Intelligence and Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (OSA/OBA) officials, who have focused on presenting the approach and attitude of this Agency towards prevention of terrorist activities.

The global dimension and massive consequences of terrorism are characteristics of the present. The Intelligence and Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina has had to adapt to new unconventional security challenges, risks and threats, in order to successfully prevent consequences of terrorism, which lies at the very core of any intelligence service.

“Intelligence services deal with consequences of terrorism more than its causes, whose elements are noticed by security agencies, but are mostly kept aside,” OSA officials say. They believe that Bosnia and Herzegovina has recognized potential threats of terrorist activities, but they emphasize that no country can fight international terrorism alone and without cooperation.

The Agency’s Role

Bosnia and Herzegovina has recognized the need for setting up a mechanism for gathering information on breaches of international law and threats to the sustainability and constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2004, pursuant to Article IV.4a) of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Parliamentary Assembly of BiH passed at a session of the BiH House of Representatives and House of Commons the Law on the Intelligence and Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (OSA/OBA BiH). The Law on OSA/OBA BiH enabled establishing the Intelligence and Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina which is responsible for gathering, analyzing and distributing intelligence for the purpose of protecting security, including sovereignty, territorial integrity and the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As stated on OSA’s website: “Pursuant to the Law, the Agency is a civil intelligence and security institution which has the status of an independent administrative organization of BiH. The Agency is a legal entity. Civil intelligence and security institutions that had previously worked at entity levels – the Federation of BiH and Republika Srpska – became part of this Agency. It is determined by the Law that no other civil intelligence and security structures shall be established in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

OSA is responsible for gathering intelligence on threats to BiH security, both inside and outside the country. The Agency is responsible for analyzing acquired data and presenting them to competent officials and bodies (the highest government bodies and their representatives), as well as for gathering, analyzing and presenting intelligence with the purpose of providing help to competent officials, as defined by laws on criminal procedure in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other competent bodies in BiH, as required for combating security threats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Intelligence and Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the mentioned law, does not have police competences, is under direct auspices of the Council of Ministers of BiH, and is not to be involved in gathering evidence and eliminating threats, but merely offers notifications and data (but not evidence) to the Prosecutor’s Office, which consequently concludes if there are any elements of felony and whether a judicial investigation is to be initialized by police forces, such as the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), Federal Police Administration (FUP), etc. The Intelligence and Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina represents support for other services and mechanisms that combat terrorism.

A Step Forward – Amendments to the Criminal Law of BiH

Bosnia and Herzegovina has adapted its norms to all international recommendations. In line with this, it has, pursuant to the Law on Amendments of the Criminal Law of BiH, „Official Gazette BiH, no. 8/10, Article 202, added new articles, which define some issues related to terrorism and its financing: Article 202a (Public abetment to commit terrorist acts), 202b (Recruiting for terrorist activities), 202c (Training in terrorist activities), 202d (Organizing a terrorist group), which OSA is very proud of, because this is exactly what was needed for the Criminal Law of BiH to be comprehensive in the field of terrorism, but to adapt to international recommendations and standards as well.

In late 2005, the US Government awarded the Intelligence and Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a medal for its contribution in combating terrorism.

As stated on the OSA website: “This recognition is the result of responsible and professional work of the Agency’s employees and management, who have managed to create a modern service, in both organizational and functional sense, in only a year and a half, a service which is able to respond to the most complex tasks in antiterrorist and anti-organized crime activities in BiH and the region.”


Photo: OSA/OBA BiH