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Serbia Today 96-04-04

Serbia Today Directory

From: ddc@nyquist.bellcore.com (D.D. Chukurov)

4 April 1996

In This Edition

WALKER SAID THE TRUTH ABOUT MARKALE

EVEN PURE CROATS HAVE BEEN CLEANSED

BULLETIN SUPPLEMENT: CROATIA IS OBSTINATELY PREVENTING THE RETURN


CONTENTS

[01] FRY AND US CONTINUE THE COOPERATION IN THE INTEREST OF PEACE

[02] GERMANY OPPOSES THE INDEPENDENCE OF KOSOVO

[03] WALKER SAID THE TRUTH ABOUT MARKALE

[04] GERMAN PESSIMISM FOR THE PEACE PROCESS IN BOSNIA

[05] EVEN PURE CROATS HAVE BEEN CLEANSED

[06] NEW ATTACKS ON THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

[07] CROATIA IS OBSTINATELY PREVENTING THE RETURN OF SERBIAN REFUGEES


[01] FRY AND US CONTINUE THE COOPERATION IN THE INTEREST OF PEACE

Federal Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic met with a US Senate delegation headed by Pennsylvania Republican - Sen. Arlen Specter. The delegation was interested in the position of our country about the most important issues concerning the political situation in the region, especially the implementation of the peace agreement for Bosnia. It has been stressed that the international forces have been accepted with understanding and cooperation by the Bosnian sides, which is made evident by the present course of the implementation of the agreement, especially of its military part. The talks accented the need for FRY and the US to continue their active cooperation to strengthen peace and stability in the region, and evidenced the fact that that a continuous political dialogue between the two countries constitutes a good basis for intensifying bilateral relations and developing cooperation between Yugoslav and American partners. (Politika, April 4, 1996)

[02] GERMANY OPPOSES THE INDEPENDENCE OF KOSOVO

Stating that "Germany is not in favor of the independence of Kosovo" but rather "endorses its autonomy within the existing Serbian state", Mr. Wolfgang Ischinger - Director General for Foreign Affairs of the German Foreign Ministry - sent a new awakening signal to the Albanian community in an interview for "Zeri" - a newspaper published in Albanian. Addressing the Albanian public, the German official warned that his country - within the EU framework - firmly endorses the principle of inviolability of borders. The interview also indicates that the European partners are interested in "preventing the deterioration of the situation in Kosovo", with the firm stand that only the quality of the autonomy and the minority rights can be negotiated with Belgrade, in particular only from the aspect of coherent implementation of human rights. (Politika, April 4, 1996)

[03] WALKER SAID THE TRUTH ABOUT MARKALE

Two years after the Markale bazaar massacre, Bernard Walker - a journalist of "Tele France 1" who reported that "Moslem army opened fire against its own people to induce an intervention of the West" won the law-suit in Paris. The Court decided that the "Yellow TV Card" Association, which accused Walker of broadcasting unverified news, "unjustly questioned his reputation and professional competence, causing him moral damages". The national television station TF1 broadcast Mr. Walker's report about 48 hours before the expiration of the NATO ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs. Quoting a UNPROFOR report, Mr. Walker reported that Moslems "opened fire against their own people" and added that the same report has been submitted to UN Secretary General Ghali who failed to make it public for "higher political interests". All this is corroborated by various chapters of the recently published book authored by late French President Francois Miterrand. At the time, the French press expressed major doubts and suspicion about Walker's report, the campaign being headed by "Le Mond". Two days ago - with an enormous delay - the same newspaper ("Le Mond") published Bernard Walker's reaction to the accusations, although all other media reported about the court verdict back in December. In his letter to the editor (published 4 months after the conclusion of the law- suit), Walker denies all that "Le Mond" published at the time - namely that his source was the Yugoslav news agency TANJUG - and stresses that he gathered the information himself. The question who fired the grenade on the Markale market place has not the same weight as it did two years ago, when it was the cause of air strikes and bombing against the Bosnian Serbs, but it constitutes a lasting example and testimony of the decay of ethics and professionalism in numerous western media. (Politika, April 4, 1996)

[04] GERMAN PESSIMISM FOR THE PEACE PROCESS IN BOSNIA

German pessimism concerning the implementation of the peace process in Bosnia, i.e. of the civil part of the Dayton Agreement, is becoming increasingly evident. "Will Bosnia become another Cyprus?" asks the "Die Welt" commentator in an article published yesterday. He backs his remarks with the conclusions drawn by the experts of the Science and Politics Foundation in Eberhausen. The study on Bosnia, prepared by the Foundation experts, indicates that the principal obstacle for the implementation of the civil reconstruction program - is the objection of the Moslems and Croats to the federation imposed upon them by others. Lately, the merit for creation of the Bosnian Federation is ascribed to the Americans only, whilst the role played by Bonn is being minimized. (Borba, April 4, 1996)

[05] EVEN PURE CROATS HAVE BEEN CLEANSED

The Polish newspaper "Gazetta Wyborcha" published the article "The Culture of Lies" authored by the Croatian writer Ms. Dubravka Ugresic - which stresses that nationalism has infiltrated all pores of social life in Croatia, all state institutions, the Police, the media, and especially the Ministry of Culture which radically "cleanses" all that is not "purely Croatian". In accordance with this policy, the educational programs have been modified, and the mother tongue (Croatian) can now be taught only by "pure Croats". All books printed in Cyrillic have been eliminated from public libraries, as well as those "imbued with pro-Yugoslav spirit" - the article says. The same author reveals the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Zagreb and other Croatian cities, and quotes examples of harassment of Serbs, of their children in the schools, forcible evictions from apartments and demolition (with explosives) of their homes. Ms. Ugresic also indicates that sometimes Serbs in Croatia simply "disappear in the night". "Disloyal" Croats are also harassed - those that disagree with the nationalist policy of the Zagreb regime - affirms Ms. Ugresic who had to emigrate from the country for the same reason. (Borba, April 4, 1996)

[06] NEW ATTACKS ON THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

A group of "experts" took part in a panel show broadcast Tuesday evening by the Croatian state television and was asked whether the war in Bosnia was a religious one. They all agreed that the war had no religious connotations, except for those imposed by the Serbian Orthodox Church which acted as the amalgamating element in the Greater Serbia ideology. This stand was particularly stressed by the Dean of the Theology College in Zagreb - Dr. Adalberto Redic, who spoke about the "aggressiveness of the Serbian Orthodox Church". He therefore endorsed the creation of the Croatian Orthodox Church, redrawing the concept of the Ustashi leader Ante Pavelic. The debate did not include a single representative of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the host made great efforts to accuse the Serbs of being the sole culprits for the war. He even affirmed that the "Serbian aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina led to the Moslem-Croatian conflict." (Vecernje Novosti, April 4, 1996)

[07] CROATIA IS OBSTINATELY PREVENTING THE RETURN OF SERBIAN REFUGEES

expatriates, and the recent modifications of the obligation legislature eliminated any liability for the destruction of the property of the Serbs, which is a direct infringement of the international obligation laws. Thus, the Croatian administration decided to "bend" the laws and evade the responsibility for the devastation of the property of the Krajina Serbs, in spite of international regulations and the Dayton Agreement which specifies that all refugees are entitled to an indemnity for their property that has been destroyed.

According to the date collected by the UNHCR Belgrade Office, some 600 persons stated that they want to return to the Republic of the Serbian Krajina, and only 200 actually returned there since January 31, 1995 - with the help of the UNHCR. The Helsinki Committee in Serbia has registered about 30.000 such applications, whilst other similar organizations revealed that they have date on 50.000 people that want to go back to Croatia. Since 1991, when Croatia initiated its armed secession from ex-Yugoslavia, more than 500.000 Serbs were forced to leave this former Yugoslav republic.

In the past several months, the international community has repeatedly reproached Croatia for breaching human rights and continuing the destruction of the Serbs that fled from Krajina. In fact, at the end of last year, this international pressure forced Croatia to abolish the deadline for applications concerning property abandoned by the Serbian refugees. On the other hand the authorities accelerated the procedure for issuing permits to displaced Croats to seize empty houses and apartments owned by Serbs. According to Croatian laws, these new "owners" have the right to legally become possessors if the original owner does not submit an application for the restitution of property within a period of three years.

As the time of the return of refugees to Bosnia draws closer, the exiled persons from Croatia are becoming increasingly interested in the possibility of getting their homes back. According to refugees from Pakrac, that recently visited their homesteads of their own initiative, the rights granted by the Croatian Constitution to the Serbs, are practically inapplicable. For example, in the Pakrac County, ever since the "Operation Flash" carried out by the Croatian Army in May '95, not a single Serb has been given employment. It is a fact that even Croats have difficulties finding work, but every time there is a job opening, a less experienced Croat is taken on rather than an experienced and expert Serb.

The reconstruction projects have been initiated in this region, but not a single Serb has been granted a loan for the reconstruction of his home. According to the refugees, the Croatian Police in Pakrac told them that one Serb returned, but they did not tell them that 59 Serbs left the town in the past several weeks. The remaining Serbian families are looking for a buyer to sell their farms and move out.

The Croatian Law on Temporary Seizure and Use of the property of persons that left Croatia, has been formulated in such a way that property can be permanently or temporarily seized at any time, and appeals to higher courts are useless. Using a tested recipe, Croatia pulls out its "democratic" papers every time it faces foreign pressure, but in practice it is coherently implementing a policy designed to create an ethnically pure state. Furthermore, the Croatian Parliament did not yet discuss let alone enact two basic laws - one on abolition and another on amnesty - representing the precondition for the return of all refugees, even though this is one of the commitments it assumed with the Dayton Agreement. (TANJUG, April 4, 1996) .

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