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BosNet NEWS / March 27, 1996

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

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory

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

Subject: BosNet NEWS / March 27, 1996


  • [01] Claiming Cancer, Gen. Djukic Seeks Freedom from Tribunal

  • [02] U.S. First Lady Visits Bosnia

  • [03] NATO Blasts Bosnia on Islamic Fighters

  • [01] Claiming Cancer, Gen. Djukic Seeks Freedom from Tribunal

    March 26, 1996 THE HAGUE, Netherlands

    Defense lawyers for Djordje Djukic Monday appealed for the Bosnian Serb general to be released from pre-trial confinement at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal because of ill health. The 62-year-old general, facing crimes against humanity charges for his role in the Serb bombardment of Sarajevo that killed 10,000 civilians, is suffering from pancreatic cancer. At a Monday hearing, he pledged to appear before the U.N. court when summoned if freed.

    Presiding judge Claude Jorda of France ordered further medical examinations of Djukic, who has been receiving regular attention in his cell from prison doctors. Djukic's appeal for freedom was made during a hearing of three pre-trial defense motions to bar prosecution evidence and halt Bosnian government proceedings against Djukic. One motion requested the tribunal to rule out documents on Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his army chief Gen. Ratko Mladic.

    His lawyers indicated that they objected to Djukic being linked to the Bosnian Serb leaders who have also been indicted for crimes against humanity and genocide. Jorda said the panel would hear medical reports on Djukic on April 24 and make its rulings on all pretrial defense motions two days later, clearing the way for

    Djukic, a former senior aide to Mladic, was arrested January 30 after his car made a wrong turn into a Bosnian government-controlled Sarajevo suburb. Arrested with him was Col. Aleksa Krsmanovic, who is still being held in a tribunal cell here for questioning. Djukic was indicted March 1 after refusing to answer questions.

    Krsmanovic is refusing to cooperate with the tribunal and a hearing was scheduled for Friday to discuss his case. Krsmanovic can be held without trial until early next month by the tribunal, but must then be indicted or returned to Bosnian government custody.

    Prosecutors originally hoped Djukic and Krsmanovic they would testify against Karadzic and Mladic. Djukic is one of only two indicted suspects so far in tribunal custody, although that figure is set to rise in coming weeks as three suspects arrested in Austria and Germany are handed over for trial.

    [02] U.S. First Lady Visits Bosnia

    March 26, 1996 MARKOVICI, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    U.S. first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton visited U.S. troops manning fortified outposts in northeastern Bosnia Monday and said their peacekeeping work was "extraordinary to behold."

    Mrs. Clinton flew to Bosnia from Germany becoming the first U.S. first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to visit an area of conflict independently of her commander-in-chief husband. Her visit was much more extensive than the one President Clinton made in January. Because of poor weather and security concerns he never got any further than 500 yards from the Tuzla airstrip.

    Before meeting the troops Mrs. Clinton had a roundtable discussion at the headquarters of the U.S. peacekeeping operation in Tuzla with prominent Bosnian citizens on how to achieve reconciliation in the former Yugoslav region. "The price of peace we paid has been very high. Without the help of America, we wouldn't have that today," Katarina Mandic, a Bosnian legislator, told the U.S. visitor. Another woman gave Mrs. Clinton a woodcarved sculpture of a woman in mourning entitled "A Wounded Mother." "I will think about all of the children who have been lost in Bosnia but I will also think about the future now," the first lady said.

    During her visit Mrs. Clinton announced that the United States will provide $25 million for emergency shelter repair in Bosnia. She said this would pay for the repair of at least 2,500 homes and create an estimated 10,000 construction jobs.

    She was welcomed in Bosnia by Vice-President Ejup Ganic, acting as a stand-in for ailing President Alija Izetbegovic and a group of Bosnian school children. Looking very pleased, Ganic said "Thank you for coming." A young Bosnian schoolgirl read the first lady an emotional poem whose opening verse read in English, "The peace has come."

    [03] NATO Blasts Bosnia on Islamic Fighters

    March 26, 1996 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    The Bosnian government drew NATO criticism on Tuesday for still harboring Islamic fighters in violation of the Dayton peace accord, which requires all foreign forces to leave the country. "Despite public announcements to the contrary, it is still (NATO's) assessment that foreign forces remain in Bosnia in violation of the peace agreement," said captain Mark Van Dyke, the senior NATO spokesman in Bosnia.

    Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic acknowledged on Monday that 50 to 60 Islamic veterans of his country's 43-month war were still in residence but he said their military unit had disbanded and that they were now civilians. The government in Sarajevo previously said that many of these Islamic soldiers, known as mujahideen, have married local women and obtained Bosnian citizenship. Van Dyke said that "small groups" of foreign forces still operated in the country and that some were believed still to be engaged in military training.

    "We're also concerned about the continued appearance of illegal (police) checkpoints, Van Dyke said. "The international community as recently as the Moscow meeting has spoken very clearly. Unless this issue and other violations of the peace agreement are resolved the parties will be subjected to increasing economic and political pressure." Prime ministers from the five major power sponsors of the Dayton peace process met in Moscow over the weekend and warned Bosnian leaders they would jeopardise billions of dollars in reconstruction aid by continuing to violate the accord.

    The release of prisoners of war continued to be a problem on Tuesday, more than two months after all such detainees were to have been released under the terms of Dayton. The Bosnian government released 109 on Saturday, and the Bosnian Croats 10 on Monday. "It is very clear that since the Moscow meeting the only side not to have released anyone is the (Bosnian Serb Army) side," spokeswoman Anne-Sophie Bonefeld told reporters on Tuesday.

    The Serbs are holding at least 28 prisoners, of whom they suspect five of being involved in war crimes. The Croats hold 40 war crimes suspects and the Bosnian government 28. Dayton allows for war crimes suspects to be held by the parties until the U.N. war crimes tribunal decides whether to indict them.

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