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BOSNEWS digest 474 - 21/11/95

From: Davor <dwagner@mailbox.syr.edu>

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory


CONTENTS

  • [01] Peace Agreement Signed

  • [02] Peace Talks -- Last Two Days

  • [03] Today In History -- Nuremberg Trial Anniversary

  • [04] PEACE AGREEMENT ANNOUNCED IN DAYTON


  • [01] Peace Agreement Signed

    Tue, 21 Nov 1995 WASHINGTON, United States

    Parties at the Bosnia peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, agreed on an overall peace accord on Tuesday ending the 3 1/2 year conflict, President Clinton announced.

    Announcing the breakthrough in the White House Rose Garden, Clinton said that US Secretary of State Warren Christopher had phoned him from the talks about an hour earlier. "He informed me that the presidents of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia have reached a peace agrement to end the war in Bosnia," he said.

    "The presidents of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia have made a historic and heroic choice. They have heeded the will of their people," Clinton said in confirming that mediators had coaxed the quarreling parties into a last-minute agreement just when it appeared the three-week-old talks were about to collapse.

    "The peace plan agreed to would preserve Bosnia as a single state, within its present borders and with international recognition," he said. The state will be comprised of two parts, a Bosnian-Croat federation and a Bosnian Serb component, with "a fair distribution of land between the two," he said.

    "On another key point of contention, he added: "Those individuals charged with war crimes will be excluded from political life (in Bosnia)." That would effectively exclude nationalist Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and others indicted by an international war crimes tribunal for crimes involving genocide of Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serbs.

    Clinton also restated his determination to include US troops -- a contingent of about 20,000 is planned -- in a NATO force that will oversee implementation of the peace accord. He said he planned to consult the U.S. Congress, where there is heavy opposition to US military involvement, and seek a statement of approval.

    [02] Peace Talks -- Last Two Days

    Mon -- Tue, 20-21 Nov 1995 DAYTON, Ohio

    After 22 and a half hours of negotiations,Secretary Of State Warren Christopher ignored his Monday morning deadline and kept negotiations going on a hour-by-hour basis, hoping for a last-minute breakthrough.

    State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns insists reports that the talks have broken down over the issue are not true: "I continue to deny these stories because they are not true, simply not true, these talks are-on-going."

    Officials said that after a 22 1/2-hour marathon negotiating session there was no guarantee of a deal that has previously eluded some of the most respected negotiators on the international scene.

    One sign of a possible conclusion was that technicians could be seen loading supplies on Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's aircraft as Bosnian Serb sources complained bitterly about new demands by Croatia that they said could scuttle the talks.

    President Clinton intervened Monday with a vital phone call to keep the faltering Bosnian talks going even as planes were being readied to take the rival Balkan leaders home without peace. Clinton telephoned Croatian President Franjo Tudjman who was accused by nationalist Bosnian Serbs of trying to destroy the talks by making unrealistic and unreasonable demands about the return of the so-called Brcko corridor.

    A U.S. official close to the talks said the outline of an agreement was in place and Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia were seriously trying to reach an accord. The official did not rule out a partial peace agreement if the Bosnian, Serbs and Croats -- cannot achieve the comprehensive plan the United States is seeking. But a Western diplomat said a partial agreement is not what Serbia wants. "They are here to get crippling U.N. sanctions lifted. They need a comprehensive pact," the diplomat said.

    Bosnian Foreign Minister Mohamed Sacirbey said early Tuesday that the US told his delegation the Dayton peace talks had ended without an agreement, putting the international effort to end Europe's bloody war back to square one. His comments were denied by senior Croatian and Bosnian Serb negotiators. A U.S. spokesman said, "I simply cannot match that report."

    Sacirbey said that he was visited just after midnight by two senior U.S. negotiators. "We were told the talks were finished and not fully successful. There is no document to be initialled," he said.

    He said this means that the peace process has gone back to its "foundations" -- square one. If nothing else, Sacirbey's comments lent an air of mystery to the secret talks in its last hours.

    He blamed the talks' failure on the Serbs, saying the Serb delegation kept saying they could not make decisions that would not be accepted by the two Bosnian Serb leaders not at the talks, Radovan Karadzic and army commander Ratko Mladic, both charged with war crimes.

    Other sources close to the talks said the holdup was due to an agreement was Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, who was refusing to sign an agreement, and to a dispute over the width of a narrow land corridor that would link Bosnian Serb territory in the east to its territory in the west.

    According to some sources close to the talks, the parties were able to reach agreement on major issues such as a new constitution for Bosnia, elections and human rights, but not on territory because they feared they would have given up too much in the event of another war.

    [03] Today In History -- Nuremberg Trial Anniversary

    Mon, 20 Nov 1995

    It has been one-half century since the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal introduced the words genocide and crimes against humanity to the world's vocabulary. The trial -- which opened November 20th, 1945 -- marked the first major attempt to use the rule of law to punish serious human rights crimes.

    When the trial was over 19 high ranking Nazi officials were convicted. Twelve of them were sentenced to death for their roles in planning or helping to carry out the Holocaust.

    The Nuremberg International Military Tribunal was hailed as a legal milestone when it got under way 50 years ago. Today, experts says the successful prosecution of Nazi war criminals serves as a model for the idea of holding individuals responsible for committing atrocities.

    Although Adolf Hitler escaped the judgment of Nuremberg by killing himself in the closing days of the war, most of his top aides were captured and brought before the court. The International panel was composed of judges and prosecutors from the four largest victorious WWII allies, the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union.

    After 218 days of hearings, and testimony from hundreds of witnesses, all but three of the defendants were convicted in the initial 10-month trial.

    Twelve men, including Hermann Goering, Hitler's hand-picked successor, and Joachim Von Ribbentrop, the Nazi government's Foreign Minister, were sentenced to death. Executions were carried out on three gallows in an adjoining prison gym and the bodies cremated. Those sentenced to jail terms were sent to Spandau prison in Berlin.

    Although a few critics view the trials as an act of revenge by the victorious allies, most experts say it was imperative to bring the leading Nazi figures to justice.

    In ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials, Chief Justice Jutta Limbach said the city would be the ideal place for the International Criminal Court that has been discussed at the United Nations.

    Experts say the efforts by the UN to punish ethnic slaughter in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia show that the principles highlighted a half century ago have not lost any of their meaning.

    [04] PEACE AGREEMENT ANNOUNCED IN DAYTON

    President Clinton has announced what he called a comprehensive settlement to end the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Associated Press reported today (Tuesday). "The people of Bosnia finally have a chance to turn from the horror of war to the promise of peace," Clinton said from Washington.

    Details of the final settlement were not immediately available.

    Officials told AP that the last issue to be settled was the Posavina corridor, linking Serb-occupied territories in east and west Bosnia. The narrow corridor is the main way Serb nationalists can supply their holdings in western Bosnia, and their sole land link from western Bosnia to Serbia proper. It is also the place where Serbs were most vulnerable to Bosnian military pressure.

    The status of Sarajevo, and a corridor linking besieged Gorazde to the rest of government-held territory, were also major problems. Early reports say that indicted war criminals -- which would include Bosnian Serb nationalist political leader Radovan Karadzic and commanding Gen. Ratko Mladic -- would be barred from holding political office. However, there was no word on any requirement that they be turned over to the international war-crimes tribunal in the Hague.

    The agreement was reached after 21 days of negotiations at Wright- Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Optimistic reports over the weekend that a deal was at hand gave way to pessimism this morning, when Western media reported the negotiations were about to break up without a settlement.

    Critics of the deal say it effectively carves up Bosnia between Croatia and Serbia in all but name, creating the fiction of a unified nation comprised of two parts -- one controlled by Serbs, the other by a Muslim-Croat federation. "Each would have its own army and police force," notes a Wall Street Journal (NY) editorial today. "Bosnia's would be a weak central government, dealing mostly with foreign affairs. In other words, a country custom-made for dissection....Without American weapons, training and support, Bosnia-Herzegovina will be sheered in two and devoured by Croatia and Serbia."

    The Journal said news about any accord should "focus on whether the details underwrite ethnic division, wink at war criminals and fail to give the Bosnian government the means to defend itself."

    Skepticism rose following a New York Times report that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic -- widely blamed for starting the savage wars in former Yugoslavia but now viewed in the West as a "peacemaker" -- was continuing to send weapons, materials, and money to Serb nationalists despite his pledge to cut off such assistance. In fact, the Yugoslav Army repaired Bosnian Serb military communications facilities damaged in NATO bombing this summer.

    Proponents of the Dayton accord say it was the only chance to try to end the 43-month old war in Bosnia and prevent more death and suffering in the republic. Bosnia's people, especially in Serb-besieged enclaves such as Sarajevo and Gorazde, are exhausted by their struggle to survive amidst shelling and sniping; and shortages of food, water, heat, and electricity. Many could not face another winter of war and siege.

    Bosnian Foreign Minister Sacirbey -- who offered his resignation to make way for a Croat in a top government post -- said of the negotiations: "A bad peace is better than more war."

    President Clinton now must turn to the difficult task of convincing a reluctant U.S. Congress to support sending more than 20,000 U.S. troops to Bosnia as part of a NATO peace-implementation force.

    The UN Security Council was expected to vote quickly to suspend economic sanctions on Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). Press reports early this week said the council was also likely to take up lifting the arms embargo on the Bosnian government; but the lifting would be done in stages, with the ban on heavy weapons -- what the Bosnian Army desperately needs most -- to stay for another six months.

    Meanwhile, the UN announced Tuesday that a 44-year-old American civilian working for the UN in Tuzla was murdered, and his body discovered in woods near the town of Banovici 10 miles northwest. The man's vehicle and other belongings were missing and considered stolen, the UN said. His identity was not released.

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