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BosNet Digest V5 #57 / Feb 06, 1996

From: Davor <dwagner@MAILBOX.SYR.EDU>

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory


  • [01] Rift Over Detainees Delays Peace Process

  • [02] Silajdzic: Only Democratic Bosnia Can Be Plural

  • [03] Silajdzic In Liberal Party?

  • [04] Federal Justice Ministry Preparing New Laws

  • [05] SGV -- Sarajevo Should Be Union Of Municipalities With Special Status

  • [06] Partnership With US: Blessing Or Strangulation? -- Commentary

  • [07] Coalition For Int'l Criminal Court

  • [08] Kupljensko/Kladusa Refugees

  • [09] Situation in Velika Kladusa and Kupljensko Refugee Camp

  • [01] Rift Over Detainees Delays Peace Process

    February 6, 1996 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    The Bosnian peace process hit a new snag Tuesday when Bosnian Serb leaders said they were suspending contacts with Federation authorities until eight Serbs being held for war-crime probes are let go. "We have decided to stop negotiations and not to go to (Bosnian Givernement territory) until we get the . . . Serbs released," said Dragan Bozanic, spokesman for the Bosnian Serbs. He spoke by telephone from Pale, outside Sarajevo. Bozanic demanded that future peace talks be held on "neutral" ground. But he ruled out a resumption of hostilities, saying the Bosnian Serbs prefer to let IFOR, the NATO-led peace enforcers, handle the matter through negotiations.

    Two of detainees are Serb army officers, accused by the Bosnian government of killing civilians during the nearly four-year war. The others, who may have witnessed war crimes, will be freed after questioning, said Bakir Alispahic, chief of the Bosnian security service.

    IFOR spokesman Brigadier Andrew Cumming described the arrests as "provocative and inflammatory." Djukic, in his 70s, is the highest-ranking Serb detained by the Bosnian government. He was a logistics specialist and close aide to Gen. Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military commander, during the war.

    Under the Bosnian peace plan the warring parties may arrest war crime suspects, but must produce credible evidence to the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal to justify their continued detention. The Bosnian government has promised to release any prisoners the tribunal will not charge.

    Also Tuesday, the tribunal said it was unhappy with the level of cooperation it was getting from the Serb and Croatian governments in locating and arresting suspected war criminals.

    [02] Silajdzic: Only Democratic Bosnia Can Be Plural

    February 5, 1996 LJUBLJANA, Slovenia

    Bosnia's former Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic said in an interview published on Monday that a democratic Bosnia was the only framework for plurality.

    "Ghettoization and hegemony in three parts, which can already be felt, can cause new conflicts. Democracy for Bosnia is not the same as democracy for Sweden. For us it is much more. "Bosnia has defeated fascism with its resistance," Silajdzic told the Ljubljana daily Delo.

    "It is a state in which no one could be an absolute ruler. I see its current position in this way. Unfortunately, politics is a different matter. In it prevail an unprincipled war, disqualifications, incorrect things and lies. I will avoid such metho ds in future political work, for politics is not always a dirty vocation. I will try to raise it to a dignified level. Whatever I do, I will work on Bosnia's democratic development. The goal of my political actions remains a plural and Bosnian Bosnia," he said.

    [03] Silajdzic In Liberal Party?

    February 5, 1996 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    The president of the Bosnian opposition Liberal Party (LS), Rasim Kadic, said on Monday he had agreed with former Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic on certain issues connected with a possible joint political appearance.

    "We discussed ways of participating in the elections and it turned out we have similar political views. Silajdzic has everything in his hands now and he will determine his political position. We insist on an ambience in which we will be able to make political decisions freely," Kadic told a news conference.

    Earlier in January, Silajdzic refused to form a new republic government because of disputes with the leading Democratic Action Party claiming that the party had forced Bosnian Assembly deputies to vote against his proposal that the government have six ministries of which none would be without portfolio.

    At the same press conference Bosnian liberals denied speculations about forming coalition with SDA. LS President Rasim Kadic said on Monday that "those speculations started unjustified after a statement by Alija Izetbegovic, according to which we have a role in destroying communism. We are not this kind of a party.... We have chosen to be a p arty of political center and we will select our partners from one of the two political groups - the left or the right."

    [04] Federal Justice Ministry Preparing New Laws

    February 5, 1996 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Bosnian Federation Justice Minister Mato Tadic said his ministry is preparing a book of regulations on the federal Government's work and several laws necessary for the implementation of the federal constitution. In an interview with the Sarajevo daily Dnevni Avaz, Tadic said the issue of passing an amnesty law has remained open.

    "Further talks will probably resolve whether this law will be adopted on the level of the federation, in view that it entered parliamentary procedure from the level of the Republic of Bosnia- Herzegovina."

    When asked whether he will cooperate with the justice ministry in the Bosnian Serb entity, Tadic said this will be necessary and in the interest of Bosnia's reintegration. " I believe it will be a necessity and that we will have to app roach such talks very soon in the interest of an integral Bosnia and the protection of citizens in both entities."

    [05] SGV -- Sarajevo Should Be Union Of Municipalities With Special Status

    February 5, 1996 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    A group of Serbs loyal to the Bosnian government, the Serb Civic Council (SGV) said Sarajevo should have a special constitutional status as a city union of municipalities.

    "The Bosnian capital should be constitutionally organized as an integral and undivided city -- a district, in which citizens and peoples, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, would have full equality," the SGV said in a letter sent to the highest international civilian official in Bosnia charged with overseeing the implementation of the Dayton peace agreement, Carl Bildt, the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Sarajevo city assembly, all parties in the assembly, the Croat National Council (HNV) and the Council of Bosniak Intellectuals (VKBI).

    The SGV maintains the federal constitution cannot prevent such a status for Sarajevo since the two Bosnian entities' constitutions must be adapted to the republic constitution established by the Dayton agreement. "The organization of authorities in Sarajevo should be based on democratic principles. Equality of citizens and peoples, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, must be ensured in all bodies of aut horities in Sarajevo," the letter read.

    [06] Partnership With US Can Be Bosnia's Blessing Or Strangulation -- Commentary

    February 5, 1996 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Bosnia is lucky that the United States considers it a partner, but only if this small country is not strangled by the great power's strong hug, said a commentary in the Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje on Monday.

    "(U.S. Secretary of State Warren) Christopher's visit to Bosnia coincided with the first U.S. victim on the ground," Zoran Pirolic wrote. "This large country is extremely sensitive to loss of lives of its people and the death of Donald Du gan, after an unsuccessful attempt to clear a mine, will certainly represent an additional argument for those who maintain the Americans should not stay in Bosnia a day longer than the envisioned 12 months. Admiral Leighton Smith, the commander of IFOR, has indicated in Washington that first foreign troops, including the Americans, could leave Bosnia already this summer. However, some British and French officers in Bosnia believe one year is too little to carry out the most importan t tasks from the Dayton agreement. These opinions will get new arguments if the current national forces win the forthcoming elections in Bosnia.

    "It is highly improbable that the Americans could extend their troops' stay in this country. What could be realistic is that the West's leading power could turn over this role in Bosnia to its closest allies, the British and the French. The Amer icans have entered the Bosnian war in a politically tough way and intend to stay there. It is not the leas bit accidental that they have completely separated their task of arming and training the Bosnian Army from IFOR's mission in this country. As it turned out in the past days, when the Americans displayed open dissatisfaction with some Bosnian government actions, this can be a very powerful element of pressure, but also of carrying out its own influence in Bosnia.

    "Christopher did not accidentally use in Sarajevo the syntagm about close U.S.-Bosnia partnership. Such partnership is often a real blessing, but the hug of great powers is sometimes so strong that it resembles a gradual strangulation," Pirolic wrote.

    - ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Opinions expressed/published on BosNews/BosNet-B do NOT necessarily always reflect the views of (all of the members of) Editorial Board, and/or moderators, nor any of their host institutions.

    Murat Erkocevic <>

    Dzevat Omeragic <>

    Davor Wagner <>

    Nermin Zukic <>

    [07] Coalition For Int'l Criminal Court

    NGO Coalition for an International Criminal Court

    c/o WFM-IGP * 777 UN Plaza, 12th Floor

    New York, New York 10017 USA

    +1-212-599-1320 * F: +1-212-599-1332

    email: or

    To: T-Watch subscribers

    IGC peace and justice community

    other interested parties

    Fr: William R. Pace, WFM-IGP

    Date: February 2, 1996

    Re: 1. Status of ICC negotiations

    2. Change to the Draft Programme of prepcom

    3. CICC Meeting February 8, 1996 4 pm at UN Church Center

    4. Provisional Timetable

    1. The first preparatory committee meetings for a plenipotentiary conference to draft a statute for a permanent international criminal court will take place March 25 to April 12, 1996 at UN Headquarters, New York City, USA.

    On Wednesday, January 31, 1996 there was an informal pre- session consultation among delegations to the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court. The meeting was closed and NGO members of the Coalition who went into the conference room were asked to leave.

    As indicated in our notice to CICC members last week, the informal committee confirmed the plan to appoint the Bureau of last year's Ad Hoc Committee to be the Bureau for the Preparatory Committee. However, Japan has decided not to be reelected as the Asian Vice-Chair/Rapporteur of the Bureau, reportedly due to Japan's primary interest in being elected to the Security Council. However, the other members of the Bureau were approved (Netherlands as Chair, Poland, Egypt, and Argentina as regional Vice Chairs.)

    2. Also, the Draft Programme of Work was handed out with a "Provisional timetable for the March-April 1996 session of the Preparatory Committee" (copied below) and also a generic "Provisional Agenda." These documents have been uploaded to the APC "un.icc" computer conference network and emailed to those of you on our listserver. [Email us if you would like to receive another copy of these documents.]

    The only change to the workplan handed out last November (and included as part of the CICC update on 11/17/95) is the addition of the following paragraph:

    "At the same time, it is useful to try to work on the basis of an indicative schedule of work. This schedule may accommodate delegations in determining their composition but is of course subject to modifications that might appear useful during the sessions of the preparatory committee. In an annex to the draft programme of work, a provisional timetable is offered for the first session of the Preparatory Committee from 25 March to 12 April 1996."

    3. The next meeting of the CICC will be Thursday, February 8, 1996 at 4 p.m. at the Church Center of the UN, 777 UN Plaza, New York City. Room location will be on the notice board in the lobby. The agenda will include proposals for NGO preparations and strategies for the ICC PrepCom including a proposal to hold a CICC - - Government meeting with progressive governments in mid-March, reports by and action on working groups, and possibly meeting with one of the ICC PrepCom Vice-Chairs.

    4. Provisional Timetable

    week 1

    25 March - 27 March Item I: jurisdiction and definition of

    crimes 28 March - 29 March Item IV: general rules of criminal law

    week 2

    1 April - 2 April Item III: complementarity 3 April - 4 April Item II: trigger mechanism 5 April Good Friday

    week 3

    8 April - 9 April Item V: cooperation between the court

    and national jurisdictions

    10 April - 12 April rounding up of outstanding issues

    pertaining to the above mentioned items,

    including adoption of the report of the

    Preparatory Committee

    Special Note: Our thoughts are with Professor Bassiouni who is scheduled for heart surgery on Friday, Febr. 2.

    Opinions expressed/published on BosNews/BosNet-B do NOT necessarily always reflect the views of (all of the members of) Editorial Board, and/or moderators, nor any of their host institutions.

    Murat Erkocevic <>

    Dzevat Omeragic <>

    Davor Wagner <>

    Nermin Zukic <>

    [08] Kupljensko/Kladusa Refugees

    Monday, 5. February 1996 - Zagreb

    Otvorene Oci would like to apologize for the misrepresentation of the Bosnian Assistant Ombudsman. In our report entitled Arrests in Refugee Camp of the 3 February, we quoted the said ombudsman as saying that he denied that any intimidation of returning refugees was taking place. This is not the case, he actually upheld the allegations of harassment and intimidation as reported by UNCivPol the Tripartite Force and other International Organizations working in the Velika Kladusa area.

    [09] Situation in Velika Kladusa and Kupljensko Refugee Camp

    Saturday, 3. February 1996 - Zagreb

    On 1 February the Croatian Special Police, accompanied by some members of the Croatian media, entered the Kupljensko refugee camp and arrested 69 people. The people were arrested as part of a pre-planned operation, and the police had a list of those they wanted to arrest. The Special Police were there as protection for the Croatian Financial Police who were there to enforce the Croatian "Law on the Regulation and Taxation of Businesses." The road-side trade stands, video cinemas, cafes, hairdressers and mobitel booths set up by the refugees were all closed and many goods and equipment were confiscated. In the eyes of the Croatian Financial Police the refugees were breaking the law. However, the refugees were never given any recourse to remedy this situation. The Croatian Financial Police has never made any attempt to regulate, register or otherwise normalise the traders in the camp. For some months now the refugees, along with the international organisations in the camp, have been trying to persuade the Croatian authorities to allow the establishment of legal businesses and kiosks in the camp. The Croatian authorities have never taken any steps towards this end before their operation on 1 February. Twenty of the refugees arrested have been forcibly repatriated back to Velika Kladusa, twenty others returned to the camp, and the further twenty-nine are expected to be returned to Kladusa. No attempt has been made by the Croatian authorities to bring to trial those arrested.

    Apart from the tension created by this recent action on the part of the Croatian authorities, the situation in the camp remains relatively stable with the international organisations working towards improvements for the seven to eight thousand people who remain. A kindergarten has been established, as well as a mother and child medical unit, and Handicap International will establish a prosthetics programme in the camp. UNHCR hopes to provide "improvement in the quality of life," as it terms it, which will include education and social activity programmes. However, much depends on the Croatian authorities and whether they will allow such improvements to take place. As a UNHCR representative stated, "You know what we're facing, so we are not promising anything."

    The main concern for both the refugees and the international organisations working in the camp is security. At the regular meeting between the international organisations from the camp and the refugee representatives on 1 February, the UNHCR representative stressed the need for refugees to be aware of the fact that there is restriction of movement for them. In January there were arrests of refugees who were found outside of the camp boundary by the Croatian Special Police. The UNHCR representative stated that although these arrests might eventually lead to refoulemant, back to Velika Kladusa, refoulement was a better conclusion for the refugees than being shot, which has been the case in the past. ECMM reports (ECMM Report no 3/96 ) that a refugee was shot dead on the 4 January while trying to escape the camp, according to the District Chief of Police in Vojnic. The Croatian Special Police opened fire on the man after he allegedly threw a grenade at the Special Forces. Other sources we have spoken to within the camp claim that the man was shot dead trying to smuggle black market goods into the camp and that there was no provocation on his part. The incident has been processed in the court in Karlovac and the matter is now closed for the Croatian authorities. The refugee representative Hrkic stated that the refugees were aware of the need for security in the camp and that they actively encouraged it. However, they would like to protest strongly against the Croatian Special Police and their handling of security, which they believe should be done humanely, not brutally as they feel the has been the case.

    The flow of refugees from Kupljensko to Velika Kladusa has reduced substantially in January, and the small number of returns has lead UNHCR to cut their bus service to Velika Kladusa from the camp. At the same time, the situation in Velika Kladusa has deteriorated with returnees facing intimidation, threats and beatings by Bosnian soldiers, police and local residents. This has been confirmed by representatives of the Tripartite Police Force, UNCivPol and ICRC but denied by the Bosnian assistant ombudsman.

    The Tripartite Force deployed to provide security for the returning refugees concede that abuses of returnees has occurred. The mandate of the Tripartite Force does not extend to investigating the activities of the military in the area, and they have no powers of arrest over the police. Many believe that the perpetrators of the harassment belong to the military. Therefore the extremely limited mandate of Tripartite Force virtually eliminates its ability to provide effective security for the returnees. Concern is also raised when it is reported by an ICRC representative in Kladusa that the Tripartite Commander did not know about the Vojnic Agreement, which guarantees amnesty for returnees, and that he has no concerns about the mobilisation of returnees, for as he puts it, "Of course they should be mobilised, they are Bosnian citizens".

    UNCivPol are currently monitoring 56 cases in which abuse of returning refugees is being investigated.(UN SitRep 30 January). The commander of the UNCivPol in Kladusa believes that the harassment is reducing but concludes along with other international organisation in the area that there is a deliberate pattern to the abuses. The pattern follows that once a person has been targeted and beaten, they are left alone. Rumors abound that a list exists, and that once crossed off this list their "punishment " is finished. There is evidence also that there is one particular group which is carrying out these "punishment beatings".

    Discrimination against the returnees is also occurring, according to an ICRC representative in Kladusa. It takes many forms, from the returnees having a different humanitarian aid card, to the head of housing in Kladusa stating that returnees "should not be entitled to state owned apartments because they fled as traitors". The situation in Velika Kladusa is bad, but there are many differing opinions as to how bad it actually is, even among the international organisations working there. One thing agreed upon by all, including the local authorities, is that the situation is not nearly as bad as was expected, considering the history of the conflict in this area.

    Through the rumor mill and information brought into the camp by people who travel back from Kladusa, the refugees in Kupljensko hear what is happening in Velika Kladusa. They know that the areas where abuse of returnees is highest are the same areas where a large majority of them have there homes. This plays heavily in their decision whether or not to return home. Though accurate information on the situation at home has always been hard for the refugees to find in the Kupljensko camp, it will now be even more difficult for them, as the Croatian authorities have shut down the mobitel booths. Refugees can no longer contact their families directly.

    Elizabeth Rehn, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, visited the Kupljensko and Velika Kladusa on Friday 2 February and pledged to help the people in the camp. What form this help will take remains to be seen.

    *Otvorene Oci* is a team of long-term international volunteers working for human rights and supporting nonviolent civil society in Croatia.

    Zagreb: Male Putine 2, V Kat, 41000 Zagreb, Croatia

    Tel/Fax: +385 - 1 - 156 349


    Split: Jerina 2, 21000 Split, Croatia

    Tel/Fax: +385 - 21 - 47 493


    *Otvorene Oci is the Croatian Branch of the Balkan Peace Team, which is* *organized by the following NGO's:* Brethren Service, Geneva/ Bund fuer Soziale Verteidigung, Minden/ Collectif du jumelage des societes civiles de Geneve et Pristine, Geneve/ Dutch Mennonites' working group ex- Yugoslavia/ Eirene International/ Helsinki Citizen's Assembly, Geneva/ International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Alkmaar/ Mouvement pour uneAlternative Nonviolente, Paris/ Peace Brigades International, London/ War Resisters' International, London/ WorldPeace and Relief Team, Vienna.

    Opinions expressed/published on BosNews/BosNet-B do NOT necessarily always reflect the views of (all of the members of) Editorial Board, and/or moderators, nor any of their host institutions.

    Murat Erkocevic <>

    Dzevat Omeragic <>

    Davor Wagner <>

    Nermin Zukic <>

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