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OMRI: PURSUING BALKAN PEACE, V1,#3, Jan. 23, 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute: Pursuing Balkan Peace Directory

CONTENTS

  • [01] INTRODUCTION.

  • [02] AN EVENTFUL WEEK IN BOSNIA.

  • [03] IFOR TO HELP INVESTIGATE ATROCITIES.

  • [04] INVESTIGATION OF WAR CRIMES COULD NOW START IN EARNEST.

  • [05] DID SERBS USE POISON GAS AT SREBRENICA?

  • [06] THE QUESTIONABLE FATE OF MUSLIM REFUGES IN SERBIA.

  • [07] ANOTHER SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL ARRESTED

  • [08] LAST MUJAHIDIN LEAVING BOSNIA?

  • [09] MOVEMENT ON THE BOSNIAN POLITICAL FRONT.

  • [10] MURATOVIC "RELUCTANTLY" ACCEPTS NOMINATION FOR BOSNIAN PREMIERSHIP.

  • [11] A NEW SERBIAN POLITICAL PARTY?

  • [12] PALE CHANGES TACTICS ON SARAJEVO.

  • [13] WHAT ARE THE SERB GOALS IN SARAJEVO?

  • [14] SERBS IN ILIDZA, AROUND SARAJEVO.

  • [15] IFOR CONTROLS KEY UTILITY PLANTS IN SARAJEVO.

  • [16] BOSNIA MODIFIES LAW ON MILITARY DRAFT.

  • [17] SERBIAN-CROAT CONTACTS REESTABLISHED.

  • [18] BULGARIA WANTS TO HELP WITH RECONSTRUCTION.

  • [19] PROBLEMS AHEAD FOR HERZEGOVINA'S MARIJUANA INDUSTRY?

  • [20] BELGRADE TO OFFER CITIZENSHIP TO SERBIAN REFUGEES?

  • [21] MILOSEVIC ENDORSES AMNESTY.

  • [22] REGIONAL PEACE AND MILOSEVIC'S "WAR ON CRIME."

  • [23] MOVEMENT IN KOSOVAR POLITICS IN THE WAKE OF DAYTON AGREEMENT.

  • [24] THE DILEMMAS OF A BOSNIAN WAR CRIMES INVESTIGATOR


  • OMRI SPECIAL REPORT: PURSUING BALKAN PEACE

    Vol. 1, No. 3, 23 January 1996

    [01] INTRODUCTION.

    Welcome to "Pursuing Balkan Peace," the second in OMRI's series of special reports on developments in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Distributed as a supplement to the OMRI Daily Digest, "Pursuing Balkan Peace" will appear weekly and contain the latest news about developments in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The OMRI Daily Digest will continue to include major stories from the region that do not appear in this supplement.

    [02] AN EVENTFUL WEEK IN BOSNIA.

    The period between 16 and 23 January witnessed developments in a number of areas. First, by the 20th the respective armies had generally met the Dayton deadlines to withdraw their forces from the Zone of Separation and remove mines and barbed wire. Many mines and obstacles remained, but this seemed due more to negligence and to the magnitude of the problem than to design. Second, deadlines for releasing prisoners and for reuniting Mostar came and went. The problem stemmed from demands by the Bosnian government that the Serbs account for all missing persons, and that they also free nearly 1,000 Muslims believed to be held at a forced labor camp but who did not appear on the Serbs' official lists of prisoners. The government's concern was to make the Serbs own up for the massacres at Srebrenica, Zepa, and elsewhere, and to save the forced laborers from a similar fate. The Bosnian government was nonetheless warned on several occasions by top U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Warren Christopher and top regional envoy Richard Holbrooke to stop holding things up and to observe the letter of the treaty. Holbrooke specifically mentioned the key issue at stake for Washington, namely that no one side try unilaterally to change the provisions of the Dayton agreement lest the whole structure collapse. As to Mostar, the restoration of freedom of movement seemed to be snagged on legal technicalities, but top international officials kept up the pressure, particularly on the Croats, to try to put things back on track. -- Patrick Moore

    [03] IFOR TO HELP INVESTIGATE ATROCITIES.

    Another key issue was IFOR's mandate and the investigation of atrocities. It appeared to be finally resolved when IFOR commander U.S. Admiral Leighton Smith met Justice Richard Goldstone of the Hague war crimes tribunal on 22 January in Sarajevo. The meeting followed calls from the tribunal, from U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights John Shattuck, and others for a prompt investigation of probable mass graves and other sites of atrocities. Goldstone and Smith reached an agreement whereby NATO will help protect investigations into war crimes, the BBC said. NATO has so far refused to guard suspected mass grave sites in the fear that it will be taking on missions other than those assigned to it in the Dayton peace accords. The Washington Post on 23 January reported Smith as telling Goldstone that "If you don't push me and make me say what I'm going to do, I'll do a lot." -- Michael Mihalka

    [04] INVESTIGATION OF WAR CRIMES COULD NOW START IN EARNEST.

    The head of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia then told international media that his team might begin work in the field in as soon as two weeks. The investigators are concerned that the Serbs might try to destroy evidence of atrocities in the meantime, and Reuters said that the Serbs are keeping foreigners out of the Srebrenica area. Elsewhere, the International Herald Tribune reported on 23 January that the U.S. intelligence community has been told to help the tribunal, even if it means investigating charges that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is responsible for war crimes. Goldstone had earlier criticized the Americans for being slow to provide evidence, but Washington now seems willing to help. This apparently also means tracing atrocities to the doorstep of the man who was so central to Richard Holbrooke's diplomatic efforts last year. -- Patrick Moore

    [05] DID SERBS USE POISON GAS AT SREBRENICA?

    There have been occasionalcharges in the Wars of the Yugoslav Succession that the Serbs used poison gas, but the BBC reported on 23 January that only now has one such claim apparently been verified. A British expert said that he had seen evidence of empty BZ gas canisters and shells at Srebrenica, which fell to the Serbs after a tough fight in July. The expert also spoke to survivors, and their descriptions of the events and the exposed Bosnian soldiers' reactions afterwards strongly indicated that they had been shelled with BZ. The gas is a hallucinogen that apparently caused the previously stout defenders of Srebrenica to become disoriented and hence easy pickings for Serb gunners. The Serbs seem to have used the gas only at one point on the Bosnians' defensive line and did not use it indiscriminately against civilians. The investigator said he would pass his findings on to The Hague. -- Patrick Moore

    [06] THE QUESTIONABLE FATE OF MUSLIM REFUGES IN SERBIA.

    On 19 January Bratislava Morina, commisioner of refugees for Serbia, told Tanjug that the Muslim refugees who fled to rump Yugoslavia from Srebrenica and Zepa last summer are being well-treated and are under UNHCR care and supervision. Morina, responding to charges in international media that the refugees were ill-treated and abused, argued they never lacked food or medicine. On that same day, however, the BBC's monitoring service, citing Austria's ORF TV, said that the some 1,000 Muslims who managed to escape from the enclaves as Serb forces overran them are "being held in a Serbian police camp, completely isolated from the public." The BBC notes that ORF is the only television station that has been allowed to go into the prison camp. -- Stan Markotich

    [07] ANOTHER SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL ARRESTED.

    A federal court in Karlsruhe, Germany said on 18 January that a Serb suspected of taking part in the mass killings of Bosnian Muslims in 1992 was arrested in Munich, AFP reported the same day. The suspect, who was not identified, was linked to a 21 April 1992 incident in the village of Djedjevo, where Serb soldiers arrested 50 Muslims and shot dead 13 . The suspect was also implicated in a 22 June 1992 incident in the village of Trnovace in eastern Bosnia, where 14 Muslims were massacred. A month earlier, German police at Dusseldorf airport arrested a further Serb suspected of genocide. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [08] LAST MUJAHIDIN LEAVING BOSNIA?

    Beta on 17 January quoted a NATOspokesman as saying that the last group of 135 foreign Islamic fighters left Bosnia the previous day, just ahead of the Dayton deadline for foreign troops to leave. Reuters on 15 January said that small groups of mujahidin in Bihac were escorted by regular Bosnian army troops to the Croatian border and on to Zagreb for flights out of the region. They were unarmed and wearing civilian clothes. On the 18th, however, the British had to seal off a group of 100 foreign mujahidin following an ugly incident between the Islamic fighters and Canadian troops. The men's departure had been held up by administrative difficulties on the Croatian side. Smith had earlier talked to Bosnian military and political officials in Bihac about moving the fighters out and appeared to be satisfied with their progress. IFOR in public has generally tried to play down the idea that the mujahidin might be a lasting problem. Reuters added that the Bosnian government has allowed some foreign mujahidin to remain -- including those married to local women -- and given them passports provided they behave like other citizens. The International Herald Tribune on 17 January nonetheless reported that some foreign mujahidin had stayed behind and gone underground. A U.S. army officer there called them a "passive threat." The State Department expressed concern on 22 January that the foreign mujahidin might pose a continuing problem. Local Bosnian mujahidin are, of course, allowed to stay, but the Bosnian authorities are expected to keep them under control. -- Daria Sito Sucic and Patrick Moore

    [09] MOVEMENT ON THE BOSNIAN POLITICAL FRONT.

    Key developments centered not only on the implementation -- or lack of it -- of the Dayton agreement, but also with changes that potentially could deeply affect the political landscape. Such a major development would be the breakup of the three ethnically based parties under the weight of their own internal contradictions due to opposing philosophies, personalities, and regional interests. New coalitions and alignments might then emerge. Conflicts in the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) to date have centered on the clashes of interest between the Croats of Bosnia, who seek to work with the Muslims, and those of Herzegovina, who prefer to treat their region as part of Croatia proper. Disputes among the Muslims' Party of Democratic Action (SDA) have been chiefly along the fault-line of secularism and a multiethnic society on the one side vs. a strong Islamic orientation on the other. Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic has impeccable Islamic credentials as a scholar and an official of the former Yugoslav Islamic organization, but he favored the multiethnic course. He also had a long-standing feud with the hard-liners in the SDA. Oslobodjenje reported on 22 January, however, that the previous day he threw in the towel, saying that he would not be a candidate for prime minister in the new Bosnian government, which he feels will not be sufficiently strong. There is currently a game of political musical chairs going on in Sarajevo for power and influence in the future government, and Silajdzic's move should also be seen against this background. -- Patrick Moore

    [10] MURATOVIC "RELUCTANTLY" ACCEPTS NOMINATION FOR BOSNIAN PREMIERSHIP.

    Minister for Relations with IFOR Hasan Muratovic has said he will accepting the job, albeit reluctantly. "Silajdzic is the man we need, but unfortunately he has refused to be prime minister," AFP quoted him as saying. Muratovic was nominated for the premiership at an emergency session of the executive board of the SDA after Silajdzic's statement. The next day, the collective Presidency endorsed the SDA's decision, Oslobodjenje reported on the 22nd. Muratovic, who is not a member of the SDA , was considered a close Silajdzic ally. AFP quoted President Alija Izetbegovic as telling state television on 21 January that Silajdzic's exit was based on "caprice." -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] A NEW SERBIAN POLITICAL PARTY?

    There has been movement not only inMuslim ranks but in Serbian ones as well. Oslobodjenje on 22 January reported that the anti-nationalist Serbian Civic Council (SGV) issued a declaration that could imply that the group may consider becoming a political party. The statement indicated that the SGV is testing the waters by talking not only to key individuals and groups in areas controlled by the Sarajevo government but also with democratic opposition parties in Banja Luka and in Belgrade. It was manipulation of the "Serbian question" that enabled Slobodan Milosevic to rise to power to begin with; and the future of democracy and stability in the former Yugoslavia will most likely depend on the future political course of the Serbs. Groups like the SGV have been trying to steer Serbian political life in the direction of democracy and a multiethnic society and away from the nationalist assertion that living together has become impossible. -- Patrick Moore

    [12] PALE CHANGES TACTICS ON SARAJEVO.

    Meanwhile, the leaders in Pale were busy, too. A top-level meeting of the Bosnian Serb leadership held on 15 and 16 January decided to try a new approach to force a change in the Dayton agreement's provision that certain Serb suburbs will pass to government control. This has been a key issue because the Serbs have in effect been calling for the revision of the treaty, which the international community has firmly refused to do. But now, instead of talking of a "possible" mass exodus and torchings if the Serbs do not get their way, Radovan Karadzic and parliament speaker Momcilo Krajisnik told SRNA that they would work with the international community's civilian affairs chief Carl Bildt. They want him or international arbitrators to agree to maintain the status quo until elections are held between mid-June and mid-September. In the meantime, they will tell their people to stay put. -- Patrick Moore

    [13] WHAT ARE THE SERB GOALS IN SARAJEVO?

    AFP reported on 16 January thatPale has apparently decided that an exodus would deprive it of any say in the future running of Sarajevo. Earlier reports had suggested that Pale wanted to send the Sarajevo Serbs to Brcko to firm up Serbian claims to the disputed strategic corridor there. Subsequent talks between Bildt's deputy Michael Steiner and the Serbs indicated that the latter want a strong local administration. Steiner said that he and the Serbs concluded that the agreement would be implemented without any changes but that Serbian concerns would be taken into account. The Sarajevo Dnevni Avaz noted on 17 January that anti-nationalist Serbs around the SGV are seeking IFOR's help to prevent an exodus and want to reassure the population through a formal amnesty for ordinary Bosnian Serb soldiers. -- Patrick Moore

    [14] SERBS IN ILIDZA, AROUND SARAJEVO.

    The Belgrade weekly Vreme on 20 January features a series of portraits of life in the Sarajevo suburb of Ilidza as well as other territories occupied by Serbs which according to Dayton come under Bosnian government control. The portraits are dominated by images of a Serb population with mixed feelings about political circumstances, and with wide-spread public fears about retribution and life under Bosnian government administration. Some Serbs do not want to leave, despite having made preparations to do so. Among the most radical reactions has been that by members of the community who have opted to exhume and move the remains of dead relatives. One sentiment expressed by some individuals is that of abandonment, or an underlying fear of living as displaced persons. In the words of one individual, even refuge in Serbia or the rump Yugoslavia, holds no or little promise of a normal life: "It seems to me now that my children have to lie, that they have to say their father died in something like a traffic accident. . . . We watch televsion from Serbia and I am terrified about how, say people in Belgrade, would react if my sons were to say--Our father died for the Republika Srpska. Wouldn't somebody scorn them?" -- Stan Markotich

    [15] IFOR CONTROLS KEY UTILITY PLANTS IN SARAJEVO.

    On 16 January French NATO troops, fearing sabotage by elements in the Serb community, moved in to guard key utilities for the maintenance of the Bosnian capital-- among them gas, water and electricity installations-- Nasa Borba reported next day. The operation had been planned in secret, after the Bosnian government accused Serb leaders of ordering the destruction of vital utilities. During the fighting, Serb forces had used control over them as a means of blackmailing the government side. The French troops moved in the Serb-held suburb of Butila to protect a gas regulation station, in Bacevo to guard a water pump, and in Reljevo and Blazuj, where electrical stations are located. A NATO spokesman said that this action was taken as a precaution, while a French commander said that the troops met no opposition by Serb forces, Reuters reported on 17 January. Serb authorities and others in the city were informed of the deployment only after it was completed. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [16] BOSNIA MODIFIES LAW ON MILITARY DRAFT.

    In accordance with its November decree on the demobilization of males over 45 and of experts and specialists needed to rebuild the economy, the Presidency of Bosnia- Herzegovina on 18 January modified a 1992 law on the mobilization of all men from 16 to 60, AFP reported the same day. The move follows a December decision to downgrade the state of war and replace it with a state of immediate threat of war. This stems from the Dayton treaty and is linked to the forthcoming elections, which cannot be held if the country is still officially at war. Meanwhile, Oslobodjenje on 22 January reports that the SGV continues to press for a law on amnesty, arguing that the current declaration of amnesty does not guarantee protection for either the people on the Serbian side or for the returnees, including draft evaders and army deserters. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [17] SERBIAN-CROAT CONTACTS REESTABLISHED.

    The second official meeting between representatives of Zagreb INA and Belgrade Jugopetrol oil companies, focusing on an December agreement on oil trade and delivery, was held on 19 January in Zagreb, Vecernji list reported next day. They concluded a trade agreement; agreed that oil would be delivered by rail once the network is fixed; and will hold further negotiations. At the same time, a Croatian delegation visited Banja Luka where the two sides agreed on the need for free movement of people and renewed economic cooperation, Nasa Borba reported on 22 January. The head of Bosnian Serb delegation, Prime Minister Rajko Kasagic, and Slobodan Lang, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's chancellor for humanitarian issues, also agreed on points involving freedom of religion, free movement for the clergy, and shipment of humanitarian convoys. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [18] BULGARIA WANTS TO HELP WITH RECONSTRUCTION.

    It is not just the major or wealthiest countries that seek to help put Bosnia back on its feet. Bulgaria's President Zhelyu Zhelev visited Sarajevo on 19 January, where he met Izetbegovic and expressed Bulgaria's willingness to participate in the post-war reconstruction, Reuters reported the same day. Zhelev told reporters that in this way his country shows the desire to help the Bosnian people and expresses solidarity with Bosnia-Herzegovina. Izetbegovic recalled that Bulgaria was the first country to recognize Bosnia-Herzegovina's independence in 1992. During this visit Zhelev also discussed Bosnian reconstruction with Carl Bildt. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [19] PROBLEMS AHEAD FOR HERZEGOVINA'S MARIJUANA INDUSTRY?

    There seems to be arelationship between drugs and war, and the current conflict in the former Yugoslavia has proven no exception. The role of alcohol has been particularly pronounced, but other drugs have turned up in abundance as well. The smoking of marijuana and hashish is, furthermore, no stranger to the urban culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina; and rural Herzegovina was a traditional center for the trade. Add these factors together, and revelations like those in Dnevni Avaz of 22 January come as no surprise. The article said that in some areas about "every square meter" is given over to marijuana cultivation, and that it has become "big business." The most money comes from shipping the product out to Croatia, where it can fetch good prices in Split and Zagreb. The local mafia (see OMRI Special Report, 16 January 1996) does well by the trade and deals with all parties regardless of politics. The article suggests that the problem -- and the power of the Mostar-area mafia -- has become such that IFOR may be tempted to try defoliation. -- Patrick Moore

    [20] BELGRADE TO OFFER CITIZENSHIP TO SERBIAN REFUGEES?

    Tanjug on 16 Januaryreported comments made the previous day by Branislav Ivkovic, the Serbian government's chief liaison official for refugees from Krajina, in which he remarked that Belgrade may be prepared in 1996 to offer citizenship to some 30,000-40,000 Krajina refugees. Ivkovic said that Belgrade prefers an option which would see all refugees resettled to areas from where they came, but hinted that political circumstances may make this an unrealistic assumption. The issue is touchy because the refugees could turn into an anti-Milosevic bloc of voters, since they blame him for their loss of Krajina. -- Stan Markotich

    [21] MILOSEVIC ENDORSES AMNESTY.

    Nasa Borba on 18 January reported that Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic has added his voice to those calling for amnesty for individuals refusing to serve in the wars throughout the former Yugoslavia. According to the report, it was the rump Yugoslavia's Supreme Defense Council which has called for the drafting of legislation that would unconditionally pardon some 12,455 individuals indicted by military courts for refusing to serve. Milosevic, along with other high-level political officials such as Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic and federal President Zoran Lilic, sit on the Council, which is the country's highest executive military authority. Meanwhile, Vojislav Seselj's influential and ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) alleged on 18 January that the only reason Milosevic backs an amnesty is because of international pressure to do so. -- Stan Markotich

    [22] REGIONAL PEACE AND MILOSEVIC'S "WAR ON CRIME".

    The independent Belgrade weekly Vreme on 20 January ran a piece that chronicles the development of Milosevic's latest policy, the "war against criminality," an initiative featured prominently in the Serbian president's New Year's address. The weekly suggests that during the period rump Yugoslavia was under international sanctions for its role in fomenting the wars throughout the region, smuggling and black marketeering flourished, a development that was not only tolerated but condoned by the regime. Yet now with Milosevic's stated support for the peace process and his involvement with the Dayton accord in order to win the easing of sanctions, Milosevic will have to seek legitimacy and respectability. These are the realities, suggests Vreme, which have prompted Milosevic's new war on crime. Yet the weekly adds that Milosevic's commitment to stemming criminality should not suggest that the repressive regime itself has fundamentally changed, or that Milosevic has undertaken anything apart from a new tactic by which to stay in power. If the battle cry "war on crime" fails to win public enthusiasm, suggests Vreme, Milosevic may try to recast the policy in leftist ideological terms, as a struggle of the poor against the exploiting rich. -- Stan Markotich

    [23] MOVEMENT IN KOSOVAR POLITICS IN THE WAKE OF DAYTON AGREEMENT.

    The Kosovo political scene continues to be in flux in the wake of the Dayton agreement, which has provided impetus to many to argue that the time is now ripe for an end to the political deadlock in the mainly Albanian but Serbian-ruled province. The 15 January meeting of 27 Kosovar political parties and shadow-state institutions (see OMRI Special Report ,16 January 1996) concluded that outstanding differences among them are still significant. It was resolved that such round table meetings should be institutionalized if negotiations with Belgrade on a new deal for Kosovo start. Nasa Borba observed this may end the current political monopoly of the ruling shadow-state Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). Beta on 19 January quoted shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova as praising the meeting as a "positive step in the search for the solution of the problem." The weekly Koha, meanwhile, organized a similar round table, but no LDK representatives came. The group concluded that the Kosovars will get no foreign support for a change of rump-Yugoslavia's borders and that the legal basis for talks has to be the constitution of 1974, which gave Kosovo broad autonomy. Meanwhile, the head of the working group for ethnic minorities at the Geneva Conference, Gert Ahrens, met with Rugova and the governor of Kosovo Milos Nemovic. Ahrens said there is "good will" for a solution of the crisis from Neskovic's side. Rugova said that the U.S. should play a key mediating role. -- Fabian Schmidt

    Compiled by Patrick Moore

    [24] THE DILEMMAS OF A BOSNIAN WAR CRIMES INVESTIGATOR

    By Jan Urban

    As a Deputy Prosecutor General, Zlatan Terzic is one of two men in the Sarajevo Judicial District charged with prosecuting war crimes. In an interview with OMRI, he described both the importance of his task and the obstacles that have kept him from making great progress. Until last August, he said, all war crimes cases went to military courts. Since then they are being processed in Bosnia's nine higher courts under terms of both International conventions and Yugoslav criminal law. Altogether the Sarajevo region has 550 active files on war crimes. Terzic himself is responsible for some 250 cases, of which 150 involve charges of shelling and sniping at civilians. He said there were 200 witnesses and 400 victims in these cases originating between 1992 and 1995. Altogether, more than 250 people have so far been indicted by his office, among them senior officials of the Pale leadership such as Nikola Koljevic, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. Only one case, however, has gone to trial and judgment. The defendant, a soldier of the Bosnian Serb Arm (BSA), was given a 12-year sentence for crimes of murder, rape and genocide committed when he was still a juvenile. Terzic says he feels overwhelmed and complains candidly about the limited resources he has received from the government. He contrasts the impoverished conditions in which he tries to carry out his duties with the much better equipped and funded Government Commission for Investigation of War Crimes, which has links to the international tribunal in The Hague, but which has found itself under the influence of political forces and police authorities. "We are outside this game," said Terzic in his interview with OMRI. Referring to the case of Dusko Tadic, the lone defendant so far standing accused before the tribunal, Terzic declared "The Tadic case has five prosecutors working on it and they needed six months to bring it to court." The prosecutor added: "We have thousands of cases and would need ten years to work; The Hague has millions of dollars and takes care of one case." Moreover, Terzic complained that officials from the international tribunal refused to share information with his office, preferring to rely on and protect their own contacts in the police. "The police are ruling over everything," he said. "They and the government army (ABH) are hiding evidence and I have no means how to get it from them. Sometimes I see evidence on television and I cannot get it officially. What I am getting are just crumbs from a table. Legally I can order anybody to bring evidence they hold and I did that many times but they just do not bother. I remind them for six or seven months and they just do not answer. I know the ABH has many details on BSA command orders concerning shelling. We wanted a meeting with the army on an official level to discuss how to break the situation but they did not even turn up. I could try to sue the army for obstructing justice or go to a Constitutional Court, but it is helpless.'' He went on to say that in December all the prosecutors from the nine Higher Courts who were dealing with war crimes met in Zenica with Government and military officials and heard them promise to forward all necessary information and evidence. "But until now is still only a promise," he said. Terzic continued in undisguised frustration, talking of political interference in the judicial process and of figures in the Ministry of Justice he claimed were more interested in politics than in the hard work needed to build an independent and effective legal system. "We are in the first phase of building a state -- separating powers. But now both executive and legislative authority are in the hands of one group recruited from two ethnic parties and on the Serbian side there is only one party controlling everything. Everything is over-politicized." While emphasizing his problems and his worries, the prosecutor mentioned a few events he described as hopeful. He was pleased with plans for a workshop on an independent judiciary to be held in two weeks and with the work that has already begun to translate all international legislation concerning human rights. "If we do not investigate war crimes and do not run them through a judicial system, we are preparing the ground for future terrorism. Our parents generation made that mistake in 1945."

    Jan Urban is OMRI's special correspondent, currently in Sarajevo


    Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

    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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