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OMRI Pursuing Balkan Peace, No. 22, 96-06-04

Open Media Research Institute: Pursuing Balkan Peace Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Open Media Research Institute <http://www.omri.cz>

Pursuing Balkan Peace
No. 22, 4 June 1996


CONTENTS

  • [01] HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON BOSNIA OPENS IN GENEVA.
  • [02] A NEW ROLE FOR IFOR?
  • [03] HOW CERTAIN ARE THE BOSNIAN ELECTIONS?
  • [04] BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS VISIT SERBIAN PRESIDENT . . .
  • [05] . . . WHILE UN "DEPLORES" MILOSEVIC.
  • [06] MONTENEGRINS IN DEFENSE OF ACCUSED BOSNIAN SERB WAR CRIMINALS.
  • [07] BOSNIAN SERB SOCIALISTS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL.
  • [08] BOSNIAN SERB VICE PRESIDENT PROFILED.
  • [09] MAYOR OF BANJA LUKA THWARTS ATTEMPT TO SACK HIM.
  • [10] MILOSEVIC MAKES PRESENCE FELT AT BANJA LUKA GATHERING.
  • [11] BRIDGE EXPLODES IN NORTHEASTERN BOSNIA.
  • [12] DID CHIRAC PLAY THE KEY ROLE IN SREBRENICA'S FALL?
  • [13] DUTCH TO QUERY FRENCH, UN OVER SREBRENICA ALLEGATIONS.
  • [14] MASS GRAVES AND WAR CRIMES.
  • [15] BIG PLANS FOR THE BOSNIAN AIRFORCE . . .
  • [16] . . . AND THE MILITARY IN GENERAL.
  • [17] BLEAK PICTURE FOR FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT.
  • [18] BUS LINE STILL BLOCKED.
  • [19] MUSLIM REFUGEES PREVENTED FROM VISITING STOLAC.
  • [20] GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF RESETTLING MUSLIM REFUGEES IN SARAJEVO . . .
  • [21] . . . BUT THE RULING MUSLIM PARTY SAYS RESETTLEMENT A TEMPORARY SOLUTION.
  • [22] MOSTAR ELECTIONS SCHEDULED FOR 30 JUNE.
  • [23] TOPIC SAYS MOSTAR WILL REMAIN DIVIDED CITY.
  • [24] SUICIDE IN THE REPUBLIKA SRPSKA.

  • [01] HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON BOSNIA OPENS IN GENEVA.

    The presidents of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina held meetings on 2 June with U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, the international community's High Representative Carl Bildt, and top officials of the Contact Group countries. This was the latest in a series of summits designed to prop up the Dayton agreement, but which to date have largely led only to a repetition of unkept promises. High on the Americans' agenda is the political future of Bosnian Serb leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. The BBC suggested that the U.S. delegation nonetheless accepted the view of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic that Belgrade is unable to force Karadzic to resign -- let alone deliver him to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague -- and that the best one could hope for would be to "neutralize" him politically, Nasa Borba added on 3 June. That same paper the next day, however, said that the Americans are growing impatient with Milosevic and are demanding action. -- Patrick Moore

    [02] A NEW ROLE FOR IFOR?

    NATO may offer some activity of its own. Secretary General Javier Solana said that the alliance's troops in Bosnia are going to spread out across the republic: "It's going to be difficult for the war criminals because we're going to deploy troops over the whole territory to ensure freedom of movement except for war criminals," AFP quoted him as saying on 3 June. U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher stated that the move would put war criminals "at greater risk of apprehension," but a State Department spokesman added that this does not mean that IFOR will organize "posses" to hunt them down, German media added. Nasa Borba noted on 4 June that IFOR could now move into Pale. Critics have charged that IFOR is letting war criminals like Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic pass through its checkpoints. They add that IFOR does nothing to ensure freedom of movement, which is a key provision of the Dayton treaty, and that its only interest is not causing political problems for Western governments back home. -- Patrick Moore

    [03] HOW CERTAIN ARE THE BOSNIAN ELECTIONS?

    Christopher, in any event, seems anxious to secure Milosevic's cooperation in meeting a key U.S. objective, namely the holding of elections by mid-September as specified in the Dayton agreement, the BBC noted on 3 June. To that end Washington is apparently willing to believe that the Serbian leader is unable to control the Bosnian Serbs, on whose behalf he signed the treaty. That document also specifies that indicted war criminals have no political future in Bosnia and must be sent to The Hague. A European diplomat noted that the Bosnian elections will go ahead nonetheless because the Clinton administration is determined to have them over before Americans vote in November. Nasa Borba, however, quoted Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic as saying that there cannot be fair elections unless Karadzic is in The Hague. Bosnia's UN ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey said that the international community and the U.S. in particular are pressuring his government to hold elections "at any price." - - Patrick Moore

    [04] BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS VISIT SERBIAN PRESIDENT . . .

    Milosevic tells the Americans that he does not control Pale, but Karadzic and Mladic were in Serbia on 28 May for secret talks with him. The BBC reported that while no details of the discussions are known, topping the agenda was the issue of the two Bosnian Serb leaders' continuing political influence in the Republika Srpska (RS) despite intensifying demands from the international community for the two to stand trial for war crimes. Meanwhile, Nasa Borba on 29 May reported that RS acting President Biljana Plavsic and RS parliamentary Speaker Momcilo Krajisnik were also in Belgrade for talks with Milosevic, but declined to comment to reporters about the substance of their meetings. -- Stan Markotich

    [05] . . . WHILE UN "DEPLORES" MILOSEVIC.

    In a related development, Reuters on 28 May reported that the UN Security Council that same day "deplored" Belgrade's "continued failure" to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Most recently, Belgrade authorities did not execute long-standing international arrest warrants against Mladic, who attended the 21 May Belgrade funeral of his colleague and fellow accused war criminal, Gen. Djordje Djukic (see OMRI Special Report, 28 May 1996). Some unconfirmed reports now say Karadzic himself may also have been present at Djukic's funeral. -- Stan Markotich

    [06] MONTENEGRINS IN DEFENSE OF ACCUSED BOSNIAN SERB WAR CRIMINALS.

    Mladic and Karadzic have, moreover, unabashedly open supporters in Montenegro. Recently, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party in Montenegro (SRS CG), Acim Visnjic, underscored his identification with a greater Serbia and with the two men. SRNA on 21 May reported that at a recent gathering of Serbian Radicals in Rogatica, in eastern Bosnia, Visnjic went on record saying: "all Serbs must protect the interests of Serbs, no matter where. Attacking the Republika Srpska is just like attacking the Serb flag, the Serb state, and Serb honor itself." He also added that an attack against Karadzic amounts to "an attack against the Serbian nation itself... Karadzic has proved repeatedly that he is a Serb patriot by fighting for the Serbian nation, and that's why the mafia of the West does not want him in charge of the Republika Srpska." -- Stan Markotich

    [07] BOSNIAN SERB SOCIALISTS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL.

    But Milosevic's own creatures in the RS would also like to see Karadzic and his followers replaced -- by themselves that is. On 31 May the Belgrade weekly NIN featured an extensive interview with Dragutin Ilic, head of the Socialist Party of the Republika Srpska (SPRS), who appears to have used the interview as a platform to launch his election campaign. Ilic goes to pains to suggest his party is independent, claiming no direct ties with Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia (see below). "The SPS was created out of the former League of Communists... but the SPRS was formed as a party... which has no continuity with [any other]." Ilic also stressed his commitment to Dayton, saying: "We uphold the Dayton agreement to the fullest. That means we will strengthen the statehood of the Serbian entity to its fullest, and we will work with the other entity insofar as it is in our interests." Meanwhile, AFP on 30 May quoted Zivko Radisic, SPRS vice president, as saying that Karadzic should be allowed to run in the September elections as the best way to end his political career. -- Stan Markotich

    [08] BOSNIAN SERB VICE PRESIDENT PROFILED.

    But the wily chief in Pale appears to be stepping out of the limelight for awhile as a prelude to one of his many comebacks. On 15 May he delegated some of his duties to Biljana Plavsic, his vice president. Meanwhile, she was profiled in the 24 May issue of NIN under the headline "Biljana Crossed the Drina." The same issue also featured an unflattering interview, beginning with the editorial observation that Plavsic, "a symbol of the hardline in the Pale leadership... was at one time in the second rank of politicians, but now seemingly out of nowhere finds herself thrust into the first row...." What emerged clearly was Plavsic's unwillingness to step back from her defense of either Karadzic or his alleged war crimes. When asked about whether or not Karadzic would be extradited, her reply came back: "Who should do that? I can not think of even one Serb who could do such a thing, and not just when it comes to Karadzic. That goes with respect to everybody who shared in this, our struggle." In summing up her own political views, she observed that "ever since the war began, that is right up until today, I have not changed my way of thinking. I have not changed it even as [the dynamics] of daily politics have changed, and that's because I have one view with respect to the Serbian nation, and that also has not changed." -- Stan Markotich

    [09] MAYOR OF BANJA LUKA THWARTS ATTEMPT TO SACK HIM.

    Moving across the RS political spectrum, Predrag Radic, who is widely regarded as a moderate and a rival to the crowd in Pale, has dodged an attempt by his own governing Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) to remove him. Radic successfully argued that the proposal before the city council was invalid because it had not been included on the legislative agenda, Nasa Borba reported on 31 May. The mayor has frequently been at odds with the SDS, which took virtually all of the Bosnian Serb vote in the 1990 elections. Banja Luka was known for some of the most vicious ethnic cleansing during the war but has increasingly presented itself as a rival to Karadzic and his group. Opposition parties in general are counting on a large share of the vote in Banja Luka in the elections slated for this fall. -- Patrick Moore

    [10] MILOSEVIC MAKES PRESENCE FELT AT BANJA LUKA GATHERING.

    On 31 May the first congress of the SPRS opened in Banja Luka, with perhaps the highlight being the public reading of a message sent by Milosevic. According to 1 June Radio Serbia coverage, Milosevic wished the SPRS success in upcoming elections by calling for "a unity of all progressive leftist and democratic forces [in the RS]." Milosevic also indirectly referred to his preference for having Karadzic and his supporters removed from power through the electoral process by calling on the SPRS to "oppose... violence, hate, and all form of national and religious intolerance." -- Stan Markotich

    [11] BRIDGE EXPLODES IN NORTHEASTERN BOSNIA.

    While politics has dominated the Bosnian scene recently, violence has not been far from the surface. Unknown persons blew up a bridge connecting the Republika Srpska with federal territory in an area where Russian IFOR troops are located. The bridge links the settlement of Teocak with the Bijeljina- Tuzla road and was the site of numerous prisoner exchanges during the war. IFOR and the international police are investigating, Nasa Borba reported on 30 May. Meanwhile, hardline Serbs have expelled at least 100 Muslims from Teslic in central Bosnia in what UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski called "the worst wave of attacks on Muslims since the Dayton agreement was signed." Bombings, other acts of violence, and threats have been used to drive Muslims out of an area where they made up 21% of the prewar population, Reuters said on 29 May. Oslobodjenje wrote two days later that the number of Muslims expelled had reached 500. -- Patrick Moore

    [12] DID CHIRAC PLAY THE KEY ROLE IN SREBRENICA'S FALL?

    Turning to the history of the Bosnian war, a British television documentary has produced new evidence suggesting that French President Jacques Chirac kept back air strikes against Bosnian Serbs attacking Srebrenica last July. The raids had been requested by British commander Gen. Rupert Smith and had the backing of UN officials in New York in order to protect the "safe area," but Chirac reportedly told French Gen. Bernard Janvier to hold off. The documentary indicated that the French had done a deal with Mladic to end air strikes in return for freeing UN hostages held by the Serbs. The UN's chief official for Bosnia, Yasushi Akashi, supported Janvier against Smith, AFP reported on 29 May. The fall of Srebrenica led to the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II, in which up to 7,000 mainly Muslim males are presumed to have been murdered. Until now the blame has been laid chiefly at the door of the Dutch UNPROFOR troops stationed in Srebrenica or of British elite SAS units operating nearby. -- Patrick Moore

    [13] DUTCH TO QUERY FRENCH, UN OVER SREBRENICA ALLEGATIONS.

    The Netherlands' Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo said that he intends to press Paris on the revelations in the British television reports . "The French have already denied it... but I will certainly approach the French government for more information on the matter," Reuters quoted the minister as saying on 30 May. Mierlo's own D66 party called for an international investigation into the events leading up to the fall of the "safe area," while the opposition Christian Democrats said that the Netherlands had been bypassed in the decision-making process. -- Patrick Moore

    [14] MASS GRAVES AND WAR CRIMES.

    Still on the subject of Srebrenica, the UN has resumed efforts at exploring sites of possible mass graves in eastern Bosnia, where many of the victims of the massacre are believed to be buried. On 31 May in The Hague, Drazen Erdemovic -- a Croatian veteran of the Bosnian Serb forces -- pleaded guilty to war crimes, the first of the indicted men to do so. He originally admitted last year to having been involved in the Srebrenica massacres, saying that the Serbs would have killed him if he had not taken part. Serbian authorities then dodged handing him over to the court for many weeks. -- Patrick Moore

    [15] BIG PLANS FOR THE BOSNIAN AIRFORCE . . .

    Moving to military affairs, Brigadier Salko Begic, who is commander of the BH Airforce and the republic's air defense, told Radio Tuzla on 24 May about his ideas: "Transformation means expansion. We want [now] to be responsible for the sovereignty of our skies... to develop a multipurpose aircraft to suit our doctrinal commitments... to develop assault helicopters to suit the geography of the Bosnian war theater... to develop pilotless aircraft, missile systems and units to protect certain zones such as Tuzla, Zenica and Sarajevo. We need to develop our radar units... to cover all of Bosnia-Herzegovina... We have enough people for this, some of whom we shall have to train on our own, some with the help of friends... Very soon we shall have the technical capacity to meet these tasks fully." -- Yvonne Badal in Sarajevo

    [16] . . . AND THE MILITARY IN GENERAL.

    In Sarajevo, federal President Kresimir Zubak announced on 29 May that the U.S. firm Military Professional Resources will train and help equip federal troops. The organization is based near Washington and is staffed by retired U.S. military personnel. The program outlined in the Dayton agreement is estimated to cost $800 million, but only the U.S., Turkey and the U.A.E. have made any firm pledges of money so far. -- Patrick Moore

    [17] BLEAK PICTURE FOR FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT.

    A key principle of the Dayton agreement is freedom of movement, but it is little respected in practice. No serious effort is made by the international community to enforce it rigorously. The fixed checkpoints have simply been replaced by mobile ones, and each of the three sides is reluctant to honor travel documents issued by the others. On the road from Bihac to Sarajevo, federal police frequently take away people's identity papers, thereby forcing them to return home. There has nonetheless been an increase in private and commercial traffic between the two cities. East of the capital, travel continues to be hazardous through the narrow land corridor to Gorazde. The UNHCR considers the road unsafe without IFOR protection, and the peacekeepers guard six convoys per week. The UNHCR would still prefer that IFOR permanently patrol and guard certain strategic points along the route to "switch the psychology and support a more daring attitude towards freedom of movement." In the Republika Srpska, persons frequently crossing the border are warned that their movements are being carefully watched. Crossing points are manned by police and decommissioned officers, who ask for "pass papers" and charge those allowed to cross a fee of DM 10 for "administrative costs." -- Yvonne Badal in Sarajevo and Patrick Moore

    [18] BUS LINE STILL BLOCKED.

    The international community has nonetheless tried to do something to promote freedom of movement by setting up inter-entity bus lines, but these have been opposed by nationalists (see OMRI Special Report, 28 May 1996). In a second attempt to launch a bus line between Banja Luka and Zenica, a UNHCR white bus was stopped and turned back in Mrkonjic Grad by the Bosnian Serb authorities. A man claiming to be from the RS transportation ministry called the bus trip "another Muslim aggression exploiting freedom of movement." UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski told OMRI that "if the UNHCR doesn't break their [RS] backbones now, they'll break the UNHCR's backbones." But when the UNHCR tried to start the project for a third time, the Banja Luka bus company said it would not rent the organization another bus. The firm claimed it had gotten "an irresistible offer," which one observer said was probably "a pistol pointed at their heads." -- Yvonne Badal in Sarajevo

    [19] MUSLIM REFUGEES PREVENTED FROM VISITING STOLAC.

    There are still problems in Herzegovina as well. Croat police on 28 May prevented some 200 Muslim refugees from visiting their homes in Stolac, AFP and Onasa reported. Radoslav Lavric, an official of the self-styled Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, said the Croatian authorities have already allowed some 600 Muslim refugees to visit the town, which was more than had been agreed. Later, the Croatian authorities in Stolac said the visits were "officially completed," and rejected any more because "it is not clear how long they will take," Onasa reported on 28 May. The Croats added that the Muslims wanted to turn such trips into a daily event, Oslobodjenje reported on 29 May. Lavric nonetheless said the Bosnian side had not requested additional visits, but if it had, more would have been approved. That same day, the Bosnian parties held a meeting chaired by the office of the High Representative Carl Bildt to discuss freedom of movement throughout the country, Onasa reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [20] GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF RESETTLING MUSLIM REFUGEES IN SARAJEVO . . .

    Dayton guarantees freedom of movement, the right of refugees to go home, and the multiethnic character of the republic, but none of these principles seems to be much respected. At a time when some Bosnian Serbs who fled the Sarajevo suburb of Vogosca are applying to return, the Bosnian government has decided to resettle there about 8,000 Muslims from the Serb-held town of Doboj,

    Oslobodjenje reported on 29 and 30 May. The decision was allegedly taken at a secret meeting at the Ministry for Refugees in the first half of May. Refugees from Doboj living abroad have been contacted and invited to come and live in Sarajevo, Oslobodjenje quoted Doboj's former municipal authorities as saying. Ekrem Ajanovic, an PM from Tesanj, south of Doboj, criticized the government in the legislature on 28 May. He pointed out that the latest moves run counter to official policy and to the right of refugees to return to their homes. In another development, Refugee Minister Nudzeim Recica said that more than 40,000 people have been registered to come back to Bosnia-Herzegovina over the past six months, Onasa reported on 28 May. Recica said some 15,000 Bihac pocket refugees returned from the Kuplensko refugee camp in Croatia, while the remaining 2,000 there are also expected to return soon. The ministry also registered a number of refugees coming back from Malaysia, Turkey, Slovakia and Hungary. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [21] . . . BUT THE RULING MUSLIM PARTY SAYS RESETTLEMENT A TEMPORARY SOLUTION.

    The secretary general of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), Mirsad Ceman, said that resettling Muslims from the RS in Sarajevo is only a temporary solution, Oslobodjenje reported on 31 May. Ceman denied that the government and SDA are in fact carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing, and claimed that his party "is not only for multiethnic Sarajevo but for multiethnic Bosnia as well." Ceman added that resettling Muslim refugees in Serb houses in Sarajevo "might be immoral, but it is humane," noting that these people otherwise live in very bad conditions in the refugee centers at a time when a number of houses and apartments in Sarajevo are vacant. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [22] MOSTAR ELECTIONS SCHEDULED FOR 30 JUNE.

    Mostar remains in the news as well. The new EU Administrator, Ricardo Peres Casado, announced that municipal elections will be held on 30 June, Oslobodjenje reported on 31 May. Casado met with Croatian and Muslim officials on 30 May to discuss the details of the elections and to agree on the new date, AFP reported. Refugees from Mostar who left the town involuntarily will be allowed to vote in four European countries if they are unable to return to Mostar on election day. But, at the insistence of the Croats, Mostar's Serbian citizens will be able to vote only in that city. Serbian representatives in Mostar protested the decision and asked that local Serbs be allowed to vote in the Republika Srpska and rump Yugoslavia as well. - - Daria Sito Sucic

    [23] TOPIC SAYS MOSTAR WILL REMAIN DIVIDED CITY.

    Jadranko Topic, the president of the Mostar branch of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) -- the strongest Croat party both in Croatia and Bosnia -- said the elections will confirm the existence of three Croat and three Muslim municipalities in Mostar, Oslobodjenje reported on 3 June. According to Topic, the forthcoming elections are just an opportunity for people to have fun, while affirming "the struggle of the Croat people in these areas.... Eventually, the Bosnian Federation will have to be organized like Mostar, ...it will have to comprise Croat and Muslim municipalities, cantons and regions," Onasa on 31 May quoted him as saying. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [24] SUICIDE IN THE REPUBLIKA SRPSKA.

    D.B., a 16 year-old high school student and devoted drummer from Bijeljina, left a rehearsal with his rock band telling his friends: "Ciao guys, I am going to kill myself." Nobody took it seriously. It was not the first time he had mentioned suicide. However, this time D.B. went home, took his father's pistol, and shot himself through the mouth. A farewell letter to his parents and one to his friends were found beside him, but with no word about why he decided to end his life. He did express a last wish--that 40 days after his death, when Orthodox funeral rites would be complete, all Bijeljina rock bands come together in the town's concert hall to perform a requiem. The preparations are underway and his friends will play for him in mid- June.

    A journalist who is unemployed because he was dubbed "politically unreliable" commented that "before the war, D.B.'s suicide would have kept questions and comments in the little town alive for months. Today, just 20 days after his death, only his relatives and friends ask themselves what happened." There are no statistics available, but hearsay has it that more than 100 people in Bijeljina alone committed suicide during the last four years of war. In any case, D.B. was the 11th suicide victim this year. The journalist added that "at one time, one or two [suicides] a year were normal in this region with its 100,000 inhabitants. But, since mid-1993, [suicide] became a merciless tendency that affects all generations. It is as if [suicide] were unavoidable, a syndrome of the nation's wartime and postwar disease." A Bijeljina police officer says that at least 90% of the suicide cases are directly linked to the consequences of war, that is the death or serious injury of loved ones, the traumata of refugees, the loss of property, and other drastic changes in lifestyle. The regional office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs admitted that in peaceful times many of these suicides could be prevented because there would be professional help. Today, with everyone carrying a psychological burden, hardly anyone dares to ask for help and rarely is any help even available.

    Post-conflict research shows evidence that the number of suicides decreases after a war ends, followed by another peak of desperation two to three years later. However, the immediate postwar increase in suicides in the Republika Srpska seems to indicate something else. "During the war they [Bosnian Serbs] were told that all they do is heroic. Now they are being demobilized and separated from their war buddies. I don't want to know what their memories are doing to them now!" a skinny young man who managed to escape the military service said. Guilt is a common emotion among those who actively fought in the war. A psychiatrist form Sarajevo's Kosevo hospital said: "Collectively they did what some individually could not stand to do... [now] they are left to their thoughts and without the support of their belligerent group."

    What psychology calls "post-conflict stress relief" -- an individual's postwar tendency to focus on rebuilding a life, reestablishing relationships, refurnishing a flat -- does not seem to be the cause of increased suicides among Bosnian Serbs. Most suppress their memories by submerging themselves in "stress relieving activities" and then despair the moment everything seems "normal" again. Others cannot escape their memories. "Guilt kills," Primo Levi laconically noted before killing himself. The guilt of having survived results in more suicides than the guilt of having killed others.

    Many suicide victims in the Republika Srpska seem to be people suffering from chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart problems, and cancer who cannot afford treatment since the state health-care system collapsed. And a high percentage of young people between the ages of 15-18 are suicide victims. V.M., a 17 year-old, took his father's two pistols and shot himself in the eye. He was a good pupil and popular among his friends. No one knew about the pains ruling his inner world. G.M. was a different case. This 16 year-old girl killed herself after two years of psychiatric treatment in a Belgrade clinic. Her parents claim that she never came to terms with the fact that her family had to leave their home in Orasje in 1992. Later, her family was displaced in the Posavina war zone and a grenade explosion caused her to have a nervous breakdown. At this point, she began to talk about suicide.

    Despite psychology's recognition of the link between suicide and postwar stress, many Bosnian Serbs continue to deny the association. When a 40 year- old Bijeljina doctor jumped from a sixth story window, many claimed the act was the result of "quarrels in the hospital." More shocking than the suicides themselves is that, in this time of loss and depression, there is nobody to help. A journalist said: "In Bijeljina, in the entire Republika Srpska, nobody is working on the problem of suicide ... not the Ministry of Health nor medical associations nor humanitarian agencies. There is nothing like a crisis management service to which people can turn. Neuropsychiatric stations and clinics are overflowing with patients, but there are not enough psychiatrists. In Bijeljina, there is only one psychologist and one neurologist for 100,000 people. This is how war claims its second round of victims." -- Yvonne Badal in Sarajevo

    Compiled by Patrick Moore


    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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