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BosNet Digest V5 #49 / JAn. 31, 1996

From: Nermin Zukic <n6zukic@SMS.BUSINESS.UWO.CA>

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory

CONTENTS

  • [01] BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: "Milosevic: Butcher Or Peacekeeper?"

  • [02] "IFOR Passed The Test"

  • [03] "IFOR's 'Pirate' Media Activity"

  • [04] "The Use Of Bosnia"

  • [05] SPAIN: "Europe Must Admit Its Sins"

  • [06] CROATIA: "CIA In Bosnia"

  • [07] SLOVENIA: "War Crimes: Pressure Point Against Serbia"

  • [08] BRITAIN: "Evidence Is Looking Very, Very Depressing"

  • [09] FRANCE: "Thanks To U.S. Pressure"

  • [10] GERMANY: "Are Serbs Covering Their Tracks?"

  • [11] "IFOR And The Curse Of A Good Deed"

  • [12] "Exception To Good IFOR Start: Lagging On War Crimes Extraditions"

  • [13] BELGIUM: "Those Responsible Must Be Put On Trial"

  • [14] "Uncertain Future"

  • [15] EGYPT: "Shattuck's Call For Justice Against War Criminals"

  • [16] HONG KONG: "Perpetrators Must Pay For Atrocities In Bosnia"


  • [01] BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: "Milosevic: Butcher Or Peacekeeper?"

    Fuad Cibukcic noted in independent Vecernje Novine (1/25) that Western officials, after avoiding the issue of mass graves for some time, now "are constantly poking around the territories that are 'suspected' to hide mass graves.... American intelligence services are now dealing with the 'hot' issue of Milosevic's personal involvement in war atrocities committed in Bosnia. However, we have known the answer for a long time.

    "Having in mind his role in the peace process, Washington is considering whether to accuse Milosevic directly.... Admiral Smith is pretending to be naive by stating that it is better to avoid discussions about mass graves, only illustrating that this is a sensitive issue for IFOR.... There is no coincidence in Judge Goldstone's surprising visit to Sarajevo, where he talked to Admiral Smith behind closed doors. Soon we will learn the actual synonym for Milosevic: butcher or peacekeeper."

    [02] "IFOR Passed The Test"

    Vecernje Novine (1/24) concluded under the headline above, "IFOR accomplished more in 30 days since it arrived in these territories than UNPROFOR in almost three whole years. This clearly shows that the crucial element of the Dayton agreement, the military aspect, is well-organized and carried out. In 30 days, the IFOR troops brought peace to Bosnia-Herzegovina. There is no shooting nor victims. Imagining that someone would dare to confront Admiral Smith's troops is hard.

    "Although the Dayton agreement has so far been implemented on time, all parties are trying different strategies to achieve changes and adjustments, this being very normal for the Balkans. We should not be concerned as long as this does not affect the overall time schedule of the events in Bosnia."

    [03] "IFOR's 'Pirate' Media Activity"

    Sarajevo Televizija Bosne I Hercegovine commented (1/20), "In a typically American manner, IFOR Commander Admiral Leighton Smith has launched a media campaign aimed at securing support for his soldiers in the field and making their task easier. The Voice Of Peace newspaper is being distributed throughout Bosnia. The newspaper is published at NATO's base in Naples and consists of identical texts in Cyrillic and Roman script. In addition to the newspaper, IFOR has launched a radio station.... It is run by American Marines who are very helpful. Its programming is currently very simple--18 hours of mainly rock music with occasional newscasts. According to Randy Simmons, head of the operation, their goal is to promptly disseminate news important for the peace process and to build new bridges among ordinary people who were at war until recently. That is why they plan to establish a network of transmitters in other towns such as Tuzla, Zenica and Banja Luka. This is a project that should be supported, above all because the freedom of press is already being exercised by the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    "However, IFOR did not feel it was necessary to seek any kind of permission, i.e., it did not feel the need to respect the basic procedure envisaged by international regulations in the sphere of telecommunications.... Therefore, the state committee for cooperation with the UN has lodged an energetic protest with Admiral Smith.... The key provision of the Dayton agreement provides for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This somewhat pirate manner in which IFOR begain its media activity in our country could not be described as very firm support for its sovereignty."

    [04] "The Use Of Bosnia"

    Independent Oslobodjenje commented (1/18), "The Croats were delighted with Clinton's visit to Zagreb.... The Sarajevans did not have the chance to wave flags and greet the American president. It is hard to tell if they would have done so even if they had the chance.... Clinton had claimed he would love to visit Sarajevo, but he could not make it to the capital of the country to which he has sent 20,000 troops.... The explanation was very strange. It even provoked doubts about the genuine interest of America to fully support the side that is the major victim of this war.... The tactic is to use the American peace initiative to cover up crucial elements for understanding this war, like who are the victims and the aggressors.... America knows that the Croats, Muslims and Serbs are not satisfied with their peace plan. Nevertheless, it does not care much about these facts. However, America should realize that the reasons for discontent are not the same with different parties. The Muslims paid the highest price in this war.... For them this peace is unreliable and unjust.... In Zagreb, Clinton talked to Croatian President Tudjman. In his plane he talked over the phone to the Serbian President Milosevic. We do not know what the American president told them. Clinton's interest in Bosnia is great, but we still do not know the most important thing: Is this also the American interest?"

    [05] SPAIN: "Europe Must Admit Its Sins"

    Hermann Tertsch opined in leading liberal-left El Pais (1/24), "The Dayton peace is far from being real peace in the Balkans but has brought a calm that allows some people and organizations to engage in one of the most decisive tasks for Europe's recovery of its own dignity, self-respect and ability to protect itself against racist crime and tribal madness: to dig. Let us go on digging even though we already know the macabre outcome of our effort. To bring back to light the dead and protect the proof of the massacres so that what some still deny may never be forgotten is, for Europe, an act of profound symbolism and defense of ethical values. The mass graves in Bosnia will be forever the mass graves where our European history must admit its sins, its sorrows and its greatness too."

    [06] CROATIA: "CIA In Bosnia"

    New York correspondent Oarko Ribnikar reported on the CIA's activity in Bosnia in major, pro-government Politika (1/15), "Reliable sources inform us that the CIA has established a significant presence in Bosnia in order to follow the activities of the Dayton peace agreement's political and military opponents. According to this source, the CIA 'will take care of the bad guys and cooperate with the good guys.' For the CIA the good guys are the pro-government Muslim police and intelligence service. The list of the bad guys is somewhat longer and less precise--among them are the members of the Serbian private militias led by ultra-nationalist and criminal elements, as well as the Serbian dissidents who oppose the peace agreement; Croatian war and other criminals, as well as the Croatian ultra-nationalists from Mostar; the foreign and local Muslim extremists and other religious fanatics.

    "The CIA experts will be working in cooperation with the Pentagon intelligence agents. This joint operation should both 'improve and reconfirm the experiences' from Somalia and Haiti, where the U.S. Army had both successes and failures..... Some former and current U.S. administration high officials ahve been warning that this new CIA-Pentagon operation might have unwanted consequences. 'The main problem lies in the fact that the intelligence operations may draw you into Bosnian internal affairs more deeply than you would like,' a former State Department official says."

    [07] SLOVENIA: "War Crimes: Pressure Point Against Serbia"

    Left-of-center, independent Dnevnik's Maroje Mihovilovic said (1/24), "Leighton Smith assured Richard Goldstone that he will closely cooperate with him. "This has resulted in entirely different political circumstances which may significantly alter the political situation in Bosnia.

    "Some Western military-political specialists...fear that IFOR cannot remain as impartial as it is and that it will begin to disturb the Bosnian Serbs, which may endanger the peace process. The Americans have not shown much understanding with the (above thesis); they pay particular attention to war crimes.... Nor should one neglect the ethical dimensions of the matter, which give such moral importance to American policy that President Clinton cannot neglect them during an election year. It is evident that the war crimes are that point of political pressure on...Serbia, which is very welcome by the Americans in the period after Dayton."

    [08] BRITAIN: "Evidence Is Looking Very, Very Depressing"

    The statement by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Shattuck that there was 'overwhelming evidence' of Serb war atrocities following his visit to a suspected mass grave site near Srebrenica, was featured in the headlines of all broadcast media monitored. On BBC TV's Breakfast News (1/22), foreign affairs correspondent Bob Simpson commented live from Sarajevo that "the evidence is looking very, very depressing."

    Asked about IFOR's involvement in overseeing investigations on war atrocities, he added, "They are trying not to get involved in civilian policing, that is what it boils down to. The Americans are terrified of what they call 'mission creep,' which is what happened to UNPROFOR--its mandate got bigger and bigger.... What they are willing to do is to provide aerial reconnaissance, to keep an eye on these sites, and then do what they are actually instructed to do, provide security."

    Asked if there would be further such discoveries, Simpson replied, "I think we can expect them.... It would not surprise me at all if people came across sites that had never been recognized before. I think we are in for a lot of rather unpleasant shocks over the next few months."

    [09] FRANCE: "Thanks To U.S. Pressure"

    Helene Despic-Popovic wrote in influential Liberation (1/23), "Thanks to U.S. pressure, the mass graves in Bosnia, starting with those near Srebrenica...have started to reveal their terrible secret."

    "Surprising Indifference By International Community"

    Jean-Rene Laplayne judged in regional Le Provencal (1/23), "Shattuck must act very quickly to prevent the Serbs from destroying evidence. What is surprising is the quasi-indifference of the international community vis-a-vis this genocide."

    [10] GERMANY: "Are Serbs Covering Their Tracks?"

    Jens Schneider held in an editorial in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (1/23), "(Shattuck's) judgment is clear: (He said) that there is clear evidence of mass executions of Muslims which were committed by the Bosnian Serbs during the capture of Srebrenica. Serb politicians, however, dispute that such evidence was visible during Shattuck's visit.

    "There is little reason to assume that a U.S. under secretary of state tends to rush to conclusions in this situation. But, nevertheless, one could easily react to Serbian denials with a simple demand: The Serbs should allow the UN War Crimes Tribunal access. Those who, following a brief visit of foreigners, say that they would jump to conclusions must allow the possibility of a longer lasting probe. As long as one denies this possibility, one is exposing oneself to the suspicion of covering one's tracks."

    [11] "IFOR And The Curse Of A Good Deed"

    Jens Schneider wrote in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (1/22), "What UNPROFOR was unable to achieve has now been achieved by IFOR in a few weeks. The peace forces are respected and neither Serbs, Muslims nor Croats want to be suspected of disrespecting the IFOR leadership. It is certainly true that the real litmus test is still to come when the Serbs must hand over suburbs of Sarajevo--but, for the time being, the brilliant deployment has made an impression.

    "But now IFOR is hit by the curse of the good deed, since it is expected that the peace forces take over tasks which are not covered by its mandate.... But irrespective of whether or not it is covered by the mandate: IFOR should not only guarantee the security of investigators who are to examine reports on mass graves, but it should also see to it that these investigators have a chance of entering the country. So far, the Bosnian Serbs have refused to cooperate with the (War Crimes) Tribunal but now they want at least to allow human rights activist Elisabeth Rehn access to Srebrenica and Prijedor."

    [12] "Exception To Good IFOR Start: Lagging On War Crimes Extraditions"

    Thomas Wittke of centrist General-Anzeiger of Bonn wrote (1/22), "It is still disconcerting that the conflicting parties in Bosnia are not sticking to the timetable laid down in the Dayton agreement. But the existing deficiencies should not be overdramatized. The former war opponents have no interest in sabotaging the implementation of the agreement. There are delays but there is no prevention.... The Dayton agreement should now not be damaged since the coming months will be decisive for this ambitious enterprise: to create a stable peace within 12 months....

    "The Western decision to deploy the IFOR forces only for one year certainly aims at exerting time pressure on the parties involved, but in reality this decision will not last if the West does not want to jeopardize the stability it has accomplished so far.

    "Since it is already clear that the U.S. forces will withdraw in the year of the presidential elections, the Europeans cannot give up their responsibility for guaranteeing peace in the Balkans that goes beyond the year 1996.... The Dayton agreement has embarked on a favorable path--with one regrettable exception: The extradition of war criminals to the Yugoslav tribunal has made no progress. No reasonable person can accept this."

    [13] BELGIUM: "Those Responsible Must Be Put On Trial"

    Considerable attention in the Belgian press to the Shattuck discovery a included commentary in conservative Catholic La Libre Belgique (1/23) by Christophe Lamfalussy, who called the finding "evidence of the fact that General Ratko Mladic's troops conducted a systematic extermination campaign of Muslims in the category of the greatest war crimes committed since the end of World War II. People responsible for it must go on trial, not only because there won't be any peace in Bosnia if the latter are not bothered and may possibly retain leading positions thanks to the upcoming elections, but also because the former Yugoslavia will never find the road to democracy if it does not settle its accounts with its past, its demons and its dead."

    [14] "Uncertain Future"

    Edouard Van Velthem commented in independent Le Soir (1/22), "For the time being, one fact, above all, is unquestionable: the IFOR's deployment has taken place in time, without any setback and the renewing of the international military mandate has calmed the ardor of the former belligerents. It is a precious asset, which augurs well for the near future, but which does not seem to be sufficient for the longer term. Precisely, the impression continues to prevail that only the presence of a more severe teacher has tamed the more restless pupils. And that his departure, already scheduled for the end of the year, will offer an opportunity for the most unruly ones to be back in the first rows of the classroom.

    "The United States, in a hurry to impose its 'Pax Americana,' is undoubtedly the first one to be aware of it. It is once again the (United States) that had to involve itself directly, by dispatching its mediator Richard Holbrooke on the spot to unblock the sensitive issues. The Serbs, Croats and Muslims honor the commitments which they have subscribed to, but they only do it so far under the direct pressure and the threat of sanctions from the world's power."

    [15] EGYPT: "Shattuck's Call For Justice Against War Criminals"

    According to pro-government Al Akhbar (1/24), "After discovering a mass grave...(Shattuck) believed these were the most horrible and inhuman crimes against Bosnian Muslims.... This is not the first time a mass grave has been discovered.... Thus, Shattuck announced that there is no hope for ending the horrible conflict in Bosnia except by making all facts public and justice being enforced against the war criminals."

    [16] HONG KONG: "Perpetrators Must Pay For Atrocities In Bosnia"

    The independent, English-language Hongkong Standard editorialized (1/24), "What happened in Bosnia were crimes against humanity. Such acts cannot be allowed to pass without the full force of the law being brought to bear on those responsible. To let the perpetrators go free would encourage other butchers and dictators to do the same with their own people or their neighbors. Crimes against humanity are crimes against everybody. Wherever it happens, the international community must demand justice, at least for the sake of the victims."
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