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OMRI Pursuing Balkan Peace, No. 23, 96-06-11

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. 23, 11 June 1996


CONTENTS

  • [01] THINGS FALL APART
  • [02] SERB MOB FOILS IFOR ATTEMPT TO ARREST WARLORD.
  • [03] BOSNIAN SERB POLITICAL UPDATE.
  • [04] "THERE IS NO PEACE WITHOUT THE LEADERS OF ALL SERBS."
  • [05] SERBIAN PRESIDENT CALLS INTO QUESTION IMPARTIALITY OF WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL...
  • [06] ..AND ASSESSES BOSNIA'S POLITICAL SCENE.
  • [07] NATO VEHICLES SURROUND KARADZIC'S HOUSE.
  • [08] IFOR GETS A NEW COMMANDER.
  • [09] ARMS CONTROL PACT SNAGGED.
  • [10] ROW OVER DEFENSE BILL IN BOSNIAN FEDERAL ASSEMBLY.
  • [11] NEW MASS GRAVE OF CROATIAN AND MUSLIM WOMEN FOUND NEAR JAJCE...
  • [12] ...AS IS ONE OF MEN NEAR SREBRENICA.
  • [13] HAGUE COURT WANTS SANCTIONS AGAINST PALE AND BELGRADE.
  • [14] CROAT WAR CRIMES SUSPECT ARRESTED.
  • [15] SERBS CONTINUE TO HARASS CROSS-BORDER BUS LINE.
  • [16] SERBS STAGE "ANTI-MUSLIM ORGY."
  • [17] AGREEMENT ON INDEPENDENT TV NETWORK SIGNED.
  • [18] GREEK TELECOM DENIES BREACH OF DAYTON ACCORD.
  • [19] OSCE CHAIRMAN SAYS BOSNIAN ELECTIONS NOT TO BE AUTOMATICALLY APPROVED.
  • [20] NEW INCIDENTS IN MOSTAR.
  • [21] SERBS TO RETURN TO MOSTAR?
  • [22] IZETBEGOVIC LINKS RETURN OF SERBS, MUSLIMS.
  • [23] SARAJEVO WANTS IFOR TO PAY FOR PILLAGING SPORTS CENTER.

  • [01] THINGS FALL APART

    It was clear from the outset that the Dayton agreement was a Swiss cheese full of openings for anyone who was determined to use them and undermine the entire structure. The assumption of its sponsors, however, was that there are sufficient political and economic incentives for the signatories to keep their word and more or less carry out its provisions.

    The main objection to this argument was that it seemed to ignore the track records of Presidents Franjo Tudjman, Alija Izetbegovic, and especially Slobodan Milosevic regarding keeping agreements. In the course of the wars of the Yugoslav succession, the three men and their subordinates have signed or verbally agreed to numerous proposals, only to walk away from them almost immediately afterward. One need only recall how many cease-fire agreements alone proved still-born. And in the case of Milosevic, many critics of Dayton have pointed out the fundamental flaw of sitting down and signing an agreement with the one man most responsible for the conflict and all its resulting horrors, and then expecting him to enforce that treaty.

    The balance sheet of Dayton's first five months, moreover, suggests that skepticism was indeed justified regarding the signatories' willingness or ability to carry out their promises. Several summits have been held in the meantime to try to bring the three presidents around to living up to their commitments, but gathering each has ended with only more promises -- and few results on the ground.

    To be fair, one should note that the military provisions of the treaty have by and large been carried out to the satisfaction of all concerned. Exceptions, such as the failure to clear mines, have generally been regarded as the result of the magnitude of the task rather than of duplicity. The potential for terrorism and low-intensity conflict remains, but IFOR has taken its key military responsibilities seriously, and the three local armies have understood that the peacekeepers mean business.

    Such determination has not been forthcoming, however, in enforcing Dayton's civilian provisions. IFOR says that to do so is not in its mandate, and the international community has been unwilling to tell the peacekeepers otherwise. The political will to rigorously enforce the civilian side of Dayton in fact seems to be lacking somewhere in this year of U.S. presidential elections. The foreign sponsors of Dayton appear to hope instead to muddle through somehow, and their most demonstrative action has been to send diplomats to and fro between the regional capitals.

    This is likely to go on until the Bosnian elections take place in September and NATO can safely pull out a few months afterward. What would happen then is anybody's guess, and more than a few observers seem to think that French President Jacques Chirac is correct when he says that a good 20 years of occupation would be necessary to ensure lasting peace. There is, of course, no political will in any major capital to do this, and the best that the administration in Washington and its counterparts elsewhere seem to be hoping for is to extract their troops with as few casualties as possible by or at the end of 1996, or at the latest soon thereafter.

    In the meantime, U.S. President Bill Clinton claims success because the fighting has stopped. But a review of Dayton's civilian provisions shows that such terms have been violated across the board and across Bosnia-Herzegovina -- and this bodes ill for the entire Dayton system. In fact, the really essential points of the treaty have been violated more than they have been respected. These include the principles of: a multi-ethnic society; freedom of movement; the right of refugees to return home; a politically neutral environment including free media; freedom of association; and the need to bring war criminals to justice.

    What one sees instead is the consolidation of three more or less ethnically pure states. Freedom of movement has been sacrificed to the reintroduction of checkpoints and the ability of nationalists to cut inter-entity bus lines or other traffic across borders. Few -- if any -- refugees have gone back home to places controlled by the armed forces of another nationality. Anti-nationalist parties seem unable to break the grip that the nationalists have on the Serbian, Croatian, and Muslim electorates, while the fledgling independent media do not yet have the influence of those of the nationalists. Blatant or subtle forms of intimidation limit possibilities for renewing bonds across the ethnic boundaries, particularly outside Sarajevo. And war criminals continue not only to run free, but, in the case of the Bosnian Serbs at least, to call the shots politically among their own people.

    The Dayton system thus seems to have collapsed, to the extent that it ever existed anywhere but on paper. A clear show of determination by the international community to enforce its own peace might still be able to save it, but time seems to be running out for the Dayton agreement. -- Patrick Moore

    [02] SERB MOB FOILS IFOR ATTEMPT TO ARREST WARLORD.

    This is not to say, however, that IFOR has been napping. U.S. and Italian peacekeepers on 4 June spotted the former kingpin of Grbavica, Slavko Aleksic, in Lukavica near Sarajevo. He was carrying a pistol and a hand grenade in violation of the Dayton agreements. When the soldiers tried to arrest him, up to 300 Serb civilians formed a hostile crowd and surrounded the troops. Some 30 French rapid reaction soldiers then arrived on the scene, helped disarm Aleksic, and turned him over to waiting Serb police, who had begun to disperse the crowd as soon as the French appeared. Dayton requires that civilians carrying illegal weapons be handed over to the local police, who in Lukavica are Serbs, Nasa Borba pointed out. Pale TV added that U.S. helicopters were present the entire time, while an IFOR spokesman told reporters that the Serb police had things under control from the start. Other observers suggested that the entire crowd scene had been orchestrated. Bosnian Serb parliament speaker Momcilo Krajisnik told AFP that there could have been much violence. Serbian propaganda has recently been stressing that pandemonium could result if anyone provokes the Serbs. -- Patrick Moore

    [03] BOSNIAN SERB POLITICAL UPDATE.

    Confusion continues among NATO officials, in fact, as to whether or not they have a new mandate to catch war criminals (see ), but peacekeepers acted decisively to disband a regular press briefing in Pale to protest a picture of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic hanging in the room, Onasa reported on 4 June. Meanwhile in Foca, some 5,000 Serbs demonstrated in favor of Karadzic and fellow indicted war criminal Gen. Ratko Mladic, AFP noted. "The attacks on President Karadzic... and General Mladic are attacks against the Serb people," said Bozidar Vucurovic, the mayor of the old chetnik stronghold of Trebinje in eastern Herzegovina. The crowd chanted: "Ratko, we're with you!" and "Radovan, we won't abandon you!". Onasa on 4 June quoted Krajisnik as saying that the Bosnian Serbs have so far completed all the preparations for the elections. In Banja Luka, journalists at the government-backed paper Glas srpski announced a strike unless the state authorities change a planned new media budget. The journalists say that the program favors Pale at the expense of Banja Luka, Nasa Borba reported on 5 June. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, representatives of Serbs loyal to the Bosnian government and to a multi-ethnic Bosnia strongly protested discrimination against Serbs on federal territory, particularly in the Sarajevo suburbs, Nasa Borba and Oslobodjenje noted on 7 June. -- Patrick Moore

    [04] "THERE IS NO PEACE WITHOUT THE LEADERS OF ALL SERBS."

    is how on 10 June Nasa Borba headlined its report on a drive by some members of the Serbian intellectual community on Karadzic's behalf. The daily also published a copy of the declaration signed by 20 Serbian intellectuals and ultranationalists, which amounts to a defense of Karadzic and his policies, and tacitly calls on the international community to accept that the Bosnian Serb leader is no war criminal. Among other points, the declaration includes the plank that "the stabilization of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina is utterly impossible without including the interests of the people in Republika Srpska and without the inclusion of the real leader of all Serbs, the President of Republika Srpska, Dr. Radovan Karadzic." The document asserts that the "President of the Republika Srpska, Dr. Radovan Karadzic, did not during the course of the civil war on... the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina issue a single decree... [calling] for the genocide or ethnic cleansing of Muslim and Croat enemies." The intellectuals also allege that Karadzic is the real Serbian leader of peace, insisting it was through his initiative "...that on 17.12.1992 the assembly of the Republika Srpska issued a statement calling for an end to war which contained the genuine aspirations of the Serbian people for an end to hostilities and for cooperation with the international community." The declaration's signatories include internationally known Serbian intellectuals and ultranationalists such as the Bosnian Serb historian Milorad Ekmecic and Mihailo Markovic, the one-time chief ideolgue of Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia. Following the Second Congress of Serbian Intellectuals convened in Belgrade on 22 April 1994 -- which most if not all of the signatories of the latest declaration attended -- the ultranationalist "academics" began to fall out with Milosevic. Their latest defense of Karadzic appears to reflect their defiance of both the Belgrade authorities and the demands of the Dayton agreement. -- Stan Markotich

    [05] SERBIAN PRESIDENT CALLS INTO QUESTION IMPARTIALITY OF WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL...

    And there have been other voices from Serbia on the question of war crimes, too. Milosevic, in an interview with Hamburg's Der Spiegel published on 10 June, responded to mounting international calls for his help in apprehending accused war criminals by questioning the impartiality of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. While refusing to say whether or not he would assist in bringing Karadzic and Mladic to justice, he was quoted by Reuters on 8 June as saying: "I do not believe that this tribunal is an institute for defamation, but it is completely clear from its public conduct until now that it is a political and not a legal institution.... Justice can only be done when the same standards apply for all. Unfortunately, the work of the tribunal in The Hague has until now offered no basis for such an impression." -- Stan Markotich

    [06] ..AND ASSESSES BOSNIA'S POLITICAL SCENE.

    Milosevic also offered his evaluation of the circumstances and the results of the region's conflicts, not deviating from his age-old fiction that the war in Bosnia was "a civil war" and "is the responsibility of all three peoples." Nasa Borba on 10 June also reported that Milosevic emphasized to Der Spiegel his alleged commitment to peace, saying, "I am doing everything to bring about peace. And if the Americans and Europeans now see me as an important partner, they must have good reasons for it." Speaking on upcoming elections in Bosnia, Milosevic hinted at least at a reduced role for the current Bosnian Serb leadership, predicting "radical changes and positive results. The majority of people are for peace." On the prospects of Dayton succeeding, Milosevic said: "I believe Dayton will be fulfilled, and new [foreign peacekeeping] troops [after year's end] will be unnecessary." -- Stan Markotich

    [07] NATO VEHICLES SURROUND KARADZIC'S HOUSE.

    NATO troops now in place have meanwhile stepped up their psychological campaign against the Bosnian Serb leadership. This time three armored personnel carriers deployed around Karadzic's home in Pale and pointed their barrels at it. The vehicles left the scene after a group of civilians gathered between the house and the APC's. IFOR has also stepped up Belfast-style patrols in the Bosnian Serb capital and elsewhere. -- Patrick Moore

    [08] IFOR GETS A NEW COMMANDER.

    Meanwhile in Washington, the Pentagon announced on 6 June that Vice Admiral T. Joseph Lopez will replace Adm. Leighton Smith as NATO commander in Southern Europe and in Bosnia this summer. Spokesmen stressed that the move reflects normal rotations of personnel and has nothing to do with policy, AFP noted. The Sarajevo rumor mill, however, suggests that Smith had become too close to Krajisnik. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] ARMS CONTROL PACT SNAGGED.

    Still on military issues, delegations representing rump Yugoslavia, Croatia, the Bosnian Federation, the Republika Srpska, and the Bosnian government met a midnight deadline to conclude an arms limitation agreement in Vienna on 6 June, AFP reported. The Norwegian OSCE mediator said that the 90-page basic text was concluded in keeping with the Dayton treaty. An impasse was reached, however, when the Serbs insisted on signing as a separate group, while the government demanded that they sign as part of the Bosnian delegation, AFP reported on 9 June. Dayton specifies that foreign relations are the responsibility of the national government, but the Serbs want to be treated as an independent state, which would be in clear violation of the treaty. -- Patrick Moore

    [10] ROW OVER DEFENSE BILL IN BOSNIAN FEDERAL ASSEMBLY.

    And within the Federation, parliament on 5 June adopted 21 amendments to the constitution. There was no agreement, however, on amendments dealing with defense, the customs service, diplomatic and consular missions, and the Sarajevo city organization, Onasa reported. The biggest controversy is over a defense bill intended to integrate the Croatian and Muslim armies within three years. When a deputy from the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) submitted his proposal for the defense law, the assembly rejected it and asked the federal government to draft the bill. Federal Defense Minister Vladimir Soljic said the Muslims were obstructing the adoption of the law and not accepting what authorized representatives signed earlier at a U.S.-sponsored meeting in Washington. Izetbegovic simply noted that the two parties still have separate armies and "unfortunately they cannot be eliminated by the stroke of a pen," Reuters reported on 6 June. On 10 June, news agencies reported that Washington is trying to end the dispute, which is holding up implementation of U.S. plans to equip and train the Bosnian military. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] NEW MASS GRAVE OF CROATIAN AND MUSLIM WOMEN FOUND NEAR JAJCE...

    Turning to the issue of atrocities, Bosnian Croat authorities announced that a site has been unearthed near Jajce containing the bodies of at least 36 persons, mainly women. Spokesman Jerko Radic said that "I think we made a mistake in our [original] calculations because we thought there were 33 bodies, but there will be around 50. All of them are civilians and mostly female as you can see. The fact that these were civilians and mainly females shows the Serbs carried out genocide and that all those who were not Serbs were killed, regardless of their age," AFP quoted him as saying on 4 June. " The next day Onasa reported that the body count had reached 63, including some soldiers. Jajce fell to the Serbs early in the war but was retaken by the Croats last September. Before the war its population was 39% Muslim and 35% Croatian. The Serbs vandalized much of the town, which had symbolic importance as the place where Tito launched his program for a federal Yugoslavia on 29 November 1943. - - Patrick Moore

    [12] ...AS IS ONE OF MEN NEAR SREBRENICA.

    And in eastern Bosnia, UN investigators on 5 June dug out a small "test trench" at Nova Kasaba that revealed at least six corpses, with more certainly nearby. The entire mass grave site may contain up to 2,700 mainly Muslim males murdered by the Serbs after the fall of Srebrenica last July, Reuters reported. U.S. satellite photos, survivors' testimonies, and journalists' accounts had suggested that a huge grave was located in the peaceful valley. The Serbs maintain that any Muslims buried in the area were soldiers killed in battle, but the latest excavations reveal civilian clothing and skeletons with their hands tied behind their backs. Finally, the remains of 20 Muslims gunned down by the Serbs in June 1992 were unearthed in Jesevo, northwest of Sarajevo, AFP noted. -- Patrick Moore

    [13] HAGUE COURT WANTS SANCTIONS AGAINST PALE AND BELGRADE.

    Meanwhile, those investigating war crimes are impatient with the lack of cooperation they are receiving in some quarters. The head of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Antonio Cassese, told a news conference in Sarajevo on 6 June that the court wants the international community's High Representative Carl Bildt to trigger sanctions against the Republika Srpska. Cassese said he will formally launch the proposal at the upcoming international summit on Bosnia-Herzegovina in Florence. Cassese added that he "probably" will also ask for sanctions to be reimposed on rump Yugoslavia, Onasa and Nasa Borba noted. He stressed that neither Serb state is properly cooperating with the court as they are obliged to do by the Dayton agreement. He told Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic that the Bosnian government is the only one in the former Yugoslavia that is meeting its obligations to cooperate. -- Patrick Moore

    [14] CROAT WAR CRIMES SUSPECT ARRESTED.

    But the Croats have been active, too. Police on 8 June arrested Zlatko Aleksovski, who has been indicted by the Hague court for allegedly participating in a massacre of Muslims in the Bosnian village of Ahmici in November 1993, AFP reported. The Croatian Justice Ministry said Aleksovski would be "treated in accordance with Croatian law and with the war crimes tribunal's demand for extradition." Aleksovski is being held in Split. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [15] SERBS CONTINUE TO HARASS CROSS-BORDER BUS LINE.

    Back in Bosnia, local Serb police in Lukavica have created "certain problems" for a bus line linking that Serb-held Sarajevo suburb with the rest of the city, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski said on 5 June. Serb policemen told the bus driver: "Do not play with your lives. We will pick you off the bus tomorrow," Onasa reported. The UN is now considering bringing in foreign drivers, as is already done on the Banja Luka-Zenica line, where Danes drive busses with Danish license plates. The next day a bus on that line completed its journey after a "short dispute" with Bosnian Serb police, who had stopped it, Onasa said. Bosnian Serb authorities seem determined to block the few bus routes connecting the Republika Srpska with the Croat-Muslim Federation (see ). Freedom of movement and the unity of all Bosnia-Herzegovina are two key principles of the Dayton agreement. -- Patrick Moore

    [16] SERBS STAGE "ANTI-MUSLIM ORGY."

    This is how UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski on 10 June described the actions of about 100 angry Serb civilians the previous day, AFP reported. This "welcoming committee" confronted the UN representatives and Muslims wanting to visit Koraj near Serb-held Doboj. The Serbs chanted anti-Muslim forms of verbal abuse and chased the UN vehicles in cars. Janowski noted that only one attempt in ten by Muslims to visit their former homes since 1 June has succeeded. He added that the UNHCR's "job is linked to unification [of the separate entities into one Bosnia] and here it hasn't worked basically... We're still seeing a huge wall of hostility especially by Republika Srpska towards any moves that would bring the formerly warring ethnic groups together again." -- Patrick Moore

    [17] AGREEMENT ON INDEPENDENT TV NETWORK SIGNED.

    Moving on to media affairs, five independent television stations signed an agreement on 31 May in Mostar on establishing a television network, Onasa and Nasa Borba reported. This International Network comprises TV Zetel from Zenica, TV Tuzla, TV Mostar, TV Hayat and TV 99 from Sarajevo. According to Bildt's spokesman, the agreement is only a first step in establishing a network that will be funded by the international community. The project will be based in Sarajevo and broadcast its program via satellite during the first six months, covering the whole of Europe. Meanwhile, the Monitoring Center -- which is a joint project of the London-based Institute for War and Peace and Media-plan from Sarajevo -- presented its first report on the media in the pre- election campaign, Oslobodjenje reported on 6 June. According to the report, in the two entities there are 145 newspapers, magazines and periodicals; 91 radio stations; 24 TV stations; and six news agencies. The media landscape is still split along the borders of the areas controlled by each of the three ethnic groups. Pluralism varies according to the degree of political freedom in each place. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [18] GREEK TELECOM DENIES BREACH OF DAYTON ACCORD.

    Elsewhere, a scandal has emerged in the field of telecommunications. Greek and international media coverage of a deal between the Greek telecommunications company OTE and the Republika Srpska has prompted OTE's management to halfheartedly deny any violation of the Dayton agreement, AFP reported. State- controlled OTE struck a deal with the RS to develop a "master plan" for a modern telecommunications network for the Bosnian Serbs (see ), which reportedly would include military communication and establish links between Pale, Banja Luka, and Belgrade, but not between the RS and the Federation. Elevtherotypia and the Financial Times on 4 June reported that the deal totaling $248,000 violated the Dayton agreement and that Bildt had protested it. OTE chairman Dimitris Papoulias said his company had carried out the study for free and had not breached the Dayton agreement. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas backed OTE's decision. Nasa Borba on 5 June and BBC's Serbian Service also reported the story, which continues to unfold. -- Stefan Krause

    [19] OSCE CHAIRMAN SAYS BOSNIAN ELECTIONS NOT TO BE AUTOMATICALLY APPROVED.

    Returning to the elections, despite pressure from Washington and the major European powers to hold the vote on schedule, OSCE chairman Flavio Cotti said reasonably free and fair conditions must exist first, Reuters reported on 4 June. Foreign ministers from the five countries representing the Contact Group on Bosnia at their 4 June meeting in Berlin insisted that adhering to the timetable is of central importance for the implementation of the peace plan. But Cotti informed them that intimidation and discrimination have increased and that election preparations are behind schedule. He clearly stated that he will not automatically give his approval for elections unless certain minimum prerequisite conditions are fulfilled, "so that the concepts 'free, fair, and democratic' ...retain their meaning," Reuters quoted him as saying. Meanwhile, commenting on the Geneva summit decision to hold the vote in September, Izetbegovic said that the proper conditions for elections do not yet exist and possibly will not be present even by the scheduled date, Oslobodjenje reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [20] NEW INCIDENTS IN MOSTAR.

    In addition to the elections, one subject that is rarely out of the news is Mostar. Muslim-Croatian tensions flared there again in the first days of June, Oslobodjenje reported on the 6th. After Croatian police arrested three Muslims, other Muslims blocked the main Revolution Boulevard, which is the demarcation line between the city's Muslim and Croatian communities. Muslims then dragged two Croats out of their cars, taking them hostage. After the EU police intervened, the detained Muslims and Croats alike were released. The head of the WEU police, Ltd. Col. Piter Lembretsche, on 5 June denied that Muslim military police had attacked a Croatian policeman inside their own joint headquarters, Oslobodjenje reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [21] SERBS TO RETURN TO MOSTAR?

    Prewar Mostar had a Serbian community as well, but most of its members fled during the war to nearby eastern Herzegovina. Leading officials of the Serbian Orthodox Church nonetheless visited Mostar on 7 June, Onasa reported. They held a service in the ruined church building to launch its reconstruction. Bishop Atanasije Jevtic thanked the Muslim mayor of east Mostar, Safet Orucevic, that everything went smoothly. The bishop said that his visit could mark the beginning of the return of Mostar's Serbs. Jevtic added that the Church does not have much influence on the Serbs, but he hoped that "reasonable people" would prevail and the Serbs would go home to Mostar and Muslims to eastern Herzegovina. Oslobodjenje commented on 9 June, however, that the Church has long been a staunch backer of Serbian nationalism and has not sufficiently distanced itself from war crimes. -- Patrick Moore

    [22] IZETBEGOVIC LINKS RETURN OF SERBS, MUSLIMS.

    On 8 June Izetbegovic also dealt with the issue of Serbs and Muslims going home. He addressed a rally to mark the capture during the war of Zuc hill. He linked the return of Serbs to Sarajevo with that of Muslims to their homes in eastern Bosnia. "We need our expelled citizens to return to their homes so that Bosnia can be Bosnia again. In order to have [Muslims] returning to Podrinje [the Drina valley] Serbs must return to Sarajevo too. Not chetniks [Serb extremists], but Serbs. I can put this in the opposite order too. In order to have the Serbs returning to Sarajevo -- something they have been asking for -- the [Muslims] must return to Foca, Visegrad, Rogatica, Prijedor,"$ AFP quoted him as saying. To date, few, if any, refugees have returned to their homes in territories under the control of another ethnic group. -- Patrick Moore

    [23] SARAJEVO WANTS IFOR TO PAY FOR PILLAGING SPORTS CENTER.

    Still in Sarajevo, one of the more bizarre man-bites-dog stories to emerge recently from Bosnia was the one last winter about peacekeepers looting the Sarajevo sports and entertainment complex, Skenderija. They systematically stripped the entire center -- reportedly down to the showers, toilets, curtains, and dining room piano. Now Skenderija's director, Sadik Hasanbegovic, says that IFOR is responsible for $7.8 million worth of damage to the facility, out of the total of $8.36 million in damages to it during the entire war. He added that the center is not included in any of the current reconstruction plans for Sarajevo, and that his pleas have fallen on deaf ears. "We have sent more than 100 letters to various addresses -- from the responsible ministries in the federation and republic to IFOR generals and French President Jacques Chirac -- to help us repair and compensate the damage." Hasanbegovic added that he has yet to receive a single reply, Onasa reported on 29 May. -- Patrick Moore

    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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