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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 64, 29 March 1996

From: OMRI-L <omri-l@ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu>

Open Media Research Institute: Daily Digest Directory

CONTENTS

  • [01] WASHINGTON MAY BE "HIDING EVIDENCE" OF SERBIAN WAR CRIMES.

  • [02] UN FINDS MASS GRAVES IN SARAJEVO SUBURB.

  • [03] "WAR AGAINST CROATIA PLANNED IN BELGRADE."

  • [04] CROATIA'S SERBS ORGANIZE.

  • [05] FORMER CROATIAN MINISTER KILLED.

  • [06] WAR CRIMES PROSECUTOR CALLS BELGRADE A CRIMINAL REGIME.

  • [07] SERBIAN PRESIDENT HONORED ON "NATIONAL DAY."

  • [08] MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAW, BLOCKS PETITION DRIVE FOR EARLY ELECTIONS.

  • [09] ROMANIAN ARMS INDUSTRY WORKERS PROTEST DEFENSE BUDGET.

  • [10] ROMANIANS, ITALIANS DISCUSS ORGANIZED CRIME.

  • [11] MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT TO FIGHT CRIME, CORRUPTION.

  • [12] BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES WATER, BORDER TREATIES WITH GREECE.

  • [13] BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.

  • [14] ALBANIAN ILLEGAL EMIGRANTS PERISH IN ADRIATIC.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 64, Part II, 29 March 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [01] WASHINGTON MAY BE "HIDING EVIDENCE" OF SERBIAN WAR CRIMES.

    Bosnia's UN Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey said that the US is concealing evidence linking Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic -- a signatory to the U.S.-sponsored Dayton agreement -- to indicted war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic, known as "Arkan." Sacirbey claimed that former U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke gave Milosevic a whole file of evidence on Arkan, Nasa Borba reported on 29 March. Sacirbey added that the U.S. has not made the evidence public or brought charges against Milosevic for his ties to the man widely believed responsible for some of the most grisly war crimes. -- Patrick Moore

    [02] UN FINDS MASS GRAVES IN SARAJEVO SUBURB.

    International police confirmed on 29 March that five graves in Hadzici contain at least 20 bodies, AFP reported. The return of the area to Bosnian government control and the arrival of spring weather has enabled investigators to look for evidence of atrocities by Serbs against their Muslim and Croat neighbors at the start of the war four years ago. Police spokesman Alexander Ivanko said that this was not the first, but certainly the largest of such finds. The biggest single grave held at least ten corpses. -- Patrick Moore

    [03] "WAR AGAINST CROATIA PLANNED IN BELGRADE."

    Testimony continues before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague regarding three officers of the rump Yugoslav army. They are charged in connection with the massacre of Croats, including hospital patients, after Vukovar fell to the Serbs in November 1991. The hearings clearly indicate that that war was planned and directed from Belgrade, Novi list reported on 29 March. In Washington, the State Department said it would protest plans by President Franjo Tudjman to re-bury Croatian soldiers from World War II at the site of the Jasenovac concentration camp, news agencies noted on 28 March. A spokesman likened this to honoring murderers along with their victims. -- Patrick Moore

    [04] CROATIA'S SERBS ORGANIZE.

    The mass exodus of Serbs from formerly Serb-held Croatian territories in 1995 reduced the republic's Serbian minority from about 12% of the population to only perhaps 2-3%. Those remaining Serbs insist nonetheless that the government guarantee their rights. The Supreme Council of the Community of Serbs of Croatia (ZSH) met and called upon the government to guarantee funds to ensure the Serbs' "civil, cultural, and national rights," including cultural autonomy, Slobodna Dalmacija said on 29 March. In Zagreb, representatives of the Serbian Democratic Forum, the Prosveta cultural society, and some regional Serbian groups founded the League of Serbian Organizations (SSO). Spokesmen said that no political parties have been included at this stage to underscore the SSO's non-party character. Its chairman is nonetheless likely to be the prominent Serbian political figure Milorad Pupovac, Novi list reported on 29 March. The SSO stresses the traditional Austro-Hungarian concept of "personal ethnic autonomy" as opposed to group territorial autonomy, which is realistic given that the remaining Croatian Serbs live widely dispersed. -- Patrick Moore

    [05] FORMER CROATIAN MINISTER KILLED.

    Anton Marcelo Popovic was shot dead outside his home in Vrsar, Istria, on the night of 27 March, Hina reported the next day. He had been minister of tourism in 1991-1992 and most recently was director of the Anita-Vrsar hotel chain. Interior Minister Ivan Jarnjak said that the killing had been planned and that "there are indications that it was the work of a professional killer." An investigation has been launched, but persons close to Popovic ruled out any political motive for the killing, Vjesnik noted on 29 March. Popovic belonged to the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) and was active in sports as well as in politics and business, Vecernji list said. -- Patrick Moore

    [06] WAR CRIMES PROSECUTOR CALLS BELGRADE A CRIMINAL REGIME.

    Prosecutor Clint Williamson concluded before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia that the rump Yugoslav authorities are a "criminal" government, AFP reported on 28 March. Prompting the justice's remark was the fact that Belgrade has refused to extradite the three officers of the Yugoslav army (JNA) involved in the Vukovar massacre (see above). "When a government gives refuge and support to criminals in the eyes of the world that government then too becomes criminal.... And that is exactly what the Belgrade government has done in this case, "Williamson said. Not only has Belgrade failed to extradite the accused war criminals, but the independent Radio B92 on 21 March reported that one of the suspects, Veselin Sljivancanin, was even promoted recently from major to colonel. -- Stan Markotich

    [07] SERBIAN PRESIDENT HONORED ON "NATIONAL DAY."

    Most high-ranking political and military officials in rump Yugoslavia extended Serbian President Milosevic "congratulations" on the occasion of the 28 March national day, Tanjug reported the previous day. On that date in 1989, the Serbian legislature passed amendments to the republic's constitution that revoked the political autonomy of Vojvodina and Kosovo. What characterized this year's "national day" was the somewhat toned-down, albeit far from absent, nationalistic rhetoric. Serbian Premier Mirko Marjanovic's message to Milosevic observed that "owing to a persistent policy of peace, Serbia's people have secured a place in the international community... [something] to which Serbia's unity and stability had contributed." -- Stan Markotich

    [08] MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAW, BLOCKS PETITION DRIVE FOR EARLY ELECTIONS.

    The Macedonian parliament on 28 March voted in favor of a law governing citizens' petition drives for parliamentary elections. The law carried with 53 deputies for, 15 against, and one abstention, according to Nova Makedonija. It invalidated a four-day petition drive for early parliamentary elections mounted by the largest opposition bloc, made up of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity and the Democratic Party. The bloc was able to garner a reported 162,000 signatures from voters seeking early parliamentary elections, according to Dnevnik and Nova Makedonija. A Liberal Party initiative to have the law exclude the current petition drive failed. The law seems to guarantee the continuation of the seated parliament in office through the conclusion of its term in 1998. -- Duncan Perry in Skopje

    [09] ROMANIAN ARMS INDUSTRY WORKERS PROTEST DEFENSE BUDGET.

    Five trade union organizations on 28 March staged a rally in Bucharest to protest what they described as insufficient budgetary allotments for their industry, Radio Bucharest reported. The protesters asked that their demand for increases be discussed with cabinet members in the presence of President Ion Iliescu. They threatened to stage a further rally on 3 April in case negotiations failed. Romania's arms industry has been in a deep crisis in recent years. -- Dan Ionescu

    [10] ROMANIANS, ITALIANS DISCUSS ORGANIZED CRIME.

    An Italian delegation of experts in Mafia-style organizations visited Romania between 27 and 29 March, Radio Bucharest reported. The delegation discussed ways to step up the exchange of information on organized crime with senior Romanian officials from the Interior Ministry. Romanian Interior Minister Doru Ioan Taracila said that the two countries plan joint actions in combating trans-border crime. -- Dan Ionescu

    [11] MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT TO FIGHT CRIME, CORRUPTION.

    The Moldovan government on 28 March ordered the Interior Ministry to form a department to fight crime and corruption, Moldovan agencies reported. It also announced that inspections at some 100 financial institutions revealed hard-currency revenues totaling $18 million and DM 6.3 million that have illegally been kept abroad. Foreign Affairs Minister Mihai Popov noted that almost half of the diplomatic passports issued since 1993 have gone to people not entitled to such documents. Justice Minister Vasile Sturza said that despite decentralization, many state organs and civil servants still have the authority to issue permits. The government also decided that within three months, all civil servants will have declare revenues, bank accounts, and other assets. -- Matyas Szabo

    [12] BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES WATER, BORDER TREATIES WITH GREECE.

    The Bulgarian parliament on 28 March ratified an accord with Greece on the use of water reserves, ending a long-standing dispute between Sofia and Athens, Reuters reported. Under the accord, Greece is guaranteed 29% of the average annual water flow of the River Mesta/Nestos, totaling 1.5 billion cubic meters, over the next 35 years. The opposition refused to vote on the agreement and accused the government of betraying national interest by agreeing to deprive some Bulgarian communities in the area of needed water. -- Stefan Krause

    [13] BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.

    Officials from nine Balkan countries agreed on 28 March to hold a conference on regional security and cooperation in Sofia, AFP reported. The conference is likely to take place in June and will be attended by the foreign ministers of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Turkey, and rump Yugoslavia. In other news, 24 chasa reported that the Bulgarian government called on former Tsar Simeon II to renounce all claims to the throne before visiting Bulgaria. Government spokesman Nikola Baltov said Simeon is expected to "make a clear public statement that he is a loyal citizen of the Republic of Bulgaria who obeys...the constitution and laws of the country." The government also said it will ask President Zhelyu Zhelev to recall the ambassador to Spain, Mihail Petkov, for inviting Simeon to a National Day reception at the embassy on 3 March. -- Stefan Krause

    [14] ALBANIAN ILLEGAL EMIGRANTS PERISH IN ADRIATIC.

    Some 29 illegal emigrants perished in the southern Adriatic Sea in an attempt to reach the Italian coast, international media reported on 28 March, citing Albanian state radio. The emigrants, among them women and children, had left the Albanian port of Vlora in one of several boats. Italian coast guards found the bodies of two Albanians. Illegal traffic to Italy is in the hands of the local Albanian mafia, which reportedly asks up to $600 for the passage. -- Stefan Krause

    This material was reprinted with permission of the Open Media Research Institute, a nonprofit organization with research offices in Prague, Czech Republic.
    For more information on OMRI publications please write to info@omri.cz

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