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bosnet-digest V5 #66 / Tuesday, 13 February 1996

From: Dzevat Omeragic <dzevat@EE.MCGILL.CA>

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory


CONTENTS

  • [01] Feb. 13, 96 (Lt-Col. Raynar Says "NO"; Promised release...)

  • [02] HOLBROOKE MEDIATES BETWEEN BOSNIANS AND SERBS

  • [03] JAVIER SOLANA AND GEN.GEORGE JOULWAN VISITED MOSTAR


  • [01] Feb. 13, 96 (Lt-Col. Raynar Says "NO"; Promised release...)

    "We were disturbed by those reports. We are now looking into those reports to see if they are indeed accurate," State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said. "If they are accurate, we'll certainly want to continue to have a close discussion with IFOR about the rules-of-the-road that we understand..."

    The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Karadzic, one of 52 people indicted by an international war crimes tribunal in the Hague, had passed unimpeded through four NATO checkpoints last week.

    "We want to see those people brought to justice ... We want to see them prosecuted. And we want to see them incarcerated if they're found to be guilty of those crimes," Burns said.

    NATO has worked out a complicated agreement that, while it will not hunt down war crimes suspects, it will arrest any who fall into its hands and hand them over to the Hague tribunal.


    "We don't have a mandate to hunt indicted war criminals... If (NATO) comes across them in the natural course of their duty they may detain them if practicable -- if they see them, if they recognise them. If they don't, they can't," explained Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Rayner, a NATO spokesman in Sarajevo.

    NATO troops had not been ordered to be vigilant in their watch for war criminals.

    "That would be the first step down the road of hunting for them and the answer is 'no'... If you start to instruct soldiers to look for specific people then that is the first step down the road to starting to hunt them, surely."

    Asked if NATO troops had been given the names or photos of indicted war criminals Rayner replied: "That would send a confusing message to a soldier, wouldn't it?... If you tell a soldier on one hand that you are not here to hunt down indicted war criminals and on the other hand you give him a photograph which helps him do just that, that would send a confusing message. You're right, they don't. They won't necessarily recognise a war criminal or know that they've bumped into one and they can't be expected to."

    NATO commanders argue that their troops are ill-equipped to apprehend war criminals and are trying to avoid having to do anything more than be on a passive look-out.

    Richard Holbrooke, an assistant secretary of state, emerged optimistic from talks with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. "It was a very good meeting," Holbrooke said.

    Holbrooke said U.S. Adm. Leighton Smith, commander of the NATO-led peace force in Bosnia, had called the dispute with the Serbs "a bump on the road." Holbrooke added: "We agree with him." But even so, Holbrooke said the breakdown in contacts was the "most serious challenge to the (peace) agreement."

    Ejup Ganic, vice-president of the Muslim-Croat federation, said Holbrooke applied no pressure to secure the release of the two Serb officers. "My understanding is that the American government is pleased that we are holding two persons that are accused war criminals... They support us."

    "Those are both parts of the Dayton agreement... All three parties are still saying they will comply... But they argue over what compliance means, and we are here to straighten it out." Holbrooke said he planned to return to Sarajevo on Monday.


    This also raises questions about IFOR's other assurances to the Tribunal. This contradicts many assurances expressed by Admiral Smith and others that IFOR would detain indicted war criminals if they encountered them. At present, NATO has no intention of making this anything more than a paper promise. NATO already has the names of all indicted war criminals and photographs of a number of them. The question is whether NATO will change its practice to reflect what its policy is supposed to be. Letters urging a change in policy should be addressed to:

    Dr. Anthony Lake The Honorable William Perry

    Assistant to the President Secretary of Defense

    The White House, 1/WW The Pentagon

    Washington, D.C. 20504 Washington, D.C.

    Tom Warrick Coalition for International Justice


    [02] HOLBROOKE MEDIATES BETWEEN BOSNIANS AND SERBS

    Sarajevo, Feb 12, 1996

    (Press TWRA) - US under-secretary of state Holbrooke returned from Belgrade to Sarajevo informing on Serb president Milosevic's promise to release all Bosniaks being political prisoners to FR Yugoslavia, most of them from Sanjak. Milosvic guaranteed safety for 729 Bosniaks from north-eastern Bosnia who, in Serbs attack on Srebrenica and Zepa fled to Serbia and have been detained in its camps ever since. Those people will be taken care by a special team of the US Embassy to Belgrade with the consent of the Belgrade government.

    With Holbrooke's mediation, B-H government and Serbs have signed a special protocol on cooperation with ICTY in accord to which there should not be any restrictions in freedom of movement in B-H but the suspect of crimes against humanity can be arrested and extradited at any time and any place. Muhamed Sacirbey said four Serb officers would be released at once if ICTY demanded. Holbrooke said it was important that the B-H government let ICTY name the persons guilty of crimes not being specified in the Dayton accord. Stating that conduct of all parties is specified, Holbrooke says presidents Izetbegovic and Milosevic showed their readiness for the Dayton agreement full implementation. /end/A.S.


    [03] JAVIER SOLANA AND GEN.GEORGE JOULWAN VISITED MOSTAR

    Mostar, Feb 12, 1996

    (Press TWRA) - NATO secretary general and commander Solana and Joulwan respectively, visited Mostar and met Zubak, Ganic and Orucevic and then Brajkovic who refused to come to the eastern bank of the river Neretva. "We will not tolerate the way Mr Koschnick is treated and I want to be clearly understood. Koschnick has done a good job and is supported by EU and international community. Mostar was a beautiful town where people lived a comfortable life. It should be restored and reconciliation and unification are necessary. Mostar is the base of Federation being the key to a stable peace on the whole region," said Solana. Ejup Ganic said compliance with Koschnick's arbitration was agreed but Kresimir Zubak denied the issue had been discussed but the restoration of cooperation of local Croat authorities and EU administration. Asked what NATO would do if the incidents to Mostar were repeated, Joulwan says: "NATO does not function as a police there, but threats and jeopardizing EUAM and Hans Koschnick would not be tolerated. /end/ A.S.


    Two nationalist Bosnian Serb officers suspected of war crimes arrived at the Scheveningen prison near The Hague on Monday after being released from Bosnian government custody in Sarajevo. The NATO peacekeeping force said earlier it had ordered the NATO implementation force (IFOR) to make a plane available for their tranport.

    NATO officials had expected the release of Hidajet Delic, a news photographer accredited to the government's BH Press who is being held by the nationalist Serbs, and four Serb soldiers held by the government, but none were freed.

    Serb civilian leaders had said they would restore links with NATO, but ties with the Bosnian Federation that is to govern half of Bosnia were still suspended. It also remained unclear whether the Bosnian Serb military led by Mladic would resume contacts with NATO.

    NATO officials complained that the confidential files given to them by the war crimes tribunal were so incomplete that they were nearly useless in helping soldiers identify indicted war crimes suspects in the field.


    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 <ErkocevicM@aol.com>

    Dzevat Omeragic <Dzevat@ee.mcgill.ca>

    Davor Wagner <DWagner@mailbox.syr.edu>

    Nermin Zukic <N6Zukic@sms.business.uwo.ca>


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