The Provincial Fund for Refugees, Displaced Persons and Cooperation with Serbs in the Region organized in Novi Sad a conference on the protection of property rights of Serbs in the Federation of BiH /FBiH/.
The Director of the Fund, Duško Ćutilo, noted exceptional importance of the topic of protecting Serb property in FBiH.
‘The purpose of today’s conference is discussion with the associations of Serbs in the territory of Serbia gathering membership from the Republic of Srpska and FBiH, aimed at introducing them to the process of property registration and to all other issues pertaining to its protection,’ Ćutilo told the media before the beginning of the conference held in the Great Hall of the Assembly of AP Vojvodina.
He stated that today’s gathering was attended by a large number of representatives of institutions from Srpska and Serbia, who had helped to bring the topic of protection of Serb property in FBiH into the public spotlight.
Ćutilo stated that prompt action was required on the procedures to protect Serb property, because failure to react on time may easily lead to forfeiting it.
The Acting Director of the Directorate for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Arnaud Gouillon, said that the process of land register and cadaster data harmonization was currently underway in FBiH.
‘There is a risk during that process of right holders forfeiting their property, without ever being informed about it. This is happening because information about the course of the process is not being delivered directly to interested persons, but rather published in a daily newspaper or official gazette,’ Gouillon pointed out.
That is why, according to him, a campaign was launched two months ago to inform Serbs about these processes.
‘The goal is that when Serbs find out what is happening with their property, they contact the competent institutions in order to stop its confiscation. During the campaign, we have identified many Serbs from the diaspora whose property remained in the FBiH. More than 3,200 people from the diaspora, whose property remained in that entity, have contacted us in two months,’ Gouillon said.
The head of the Republic of Srpska Representative Office in Serbia, Mlađen Cicović, said that property rights were inviolable everywhere in the world, except in the FBiH.
‘It seems that the fact that every individual has an inviolable right to property has never penetrated the FBiH. In the process of harmonizing land register and cadaster data, the FBiH opted for a model that is simply unbelievable regarding property right holders,’ said Cicović.
He explained that the process of land register and cadaster data harmonization in FBiH was unfolding in a completely non-transparent manner.
‘They do not send out invitations for inspection of the land to persons, but through the Official Gazette of FBiH and local media, which are not available to refugees and displaced persons from FBiH. That is why the Government of the Republic of Srpska instructed the Republic Administration for Geodetic and Property Affairs to provide free professional and legal assistance to refugees and displaced persons from FBiH in connection with their property,’ said Cicović.
He reminded that legal aid offices existed in Banja Luka, Bijeljina, Mrkonjić Grad, Nevesinje, Istočno Sarajevo and Zvornik, that citizens could contact any regional unit of RAGPA, leave their contact information, and that lawyers would contact them.
Vladimir Cucić, Commissioner for Refugees and Migration of Serbia, Milimir Vujadinović, Chairman of the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region Committee of the National Assembly of Serbia, and Đorđe Radanović, coordinator of operation of offices for professional legal assistance to refugees, displaced persons and other persons from FBiH, also addressed the media.
The joint campaign of the Republic of Srpska and Serbia to preserve the property of Serbs in the Federation of BiH aims to inform as many of them as possible in Serbia, Srpska, and throughout the world about the procedure of cadaster and land register real estate data harmonization.
According to estimates, 400,000 Serbs own property in the Federation of BiH.
Photo: Directorate for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region