Main News Summary
Friday, 30 January 2004
Did Dusan Bato Tesic give away Zeljko Jankovic Luna?
According to information obtained by Dnevni avaz, Zeljko Jankovic Luna was arrested in an SFOR operation in Bijeljina thanks to Dusan Bato Tesic who gave away information about Jankovic during questioning. Tesic was arrested in an SFOR search operation in Pale, which was conducted approximately 20 days ago. Both Tesic and Jankovic are suspected of being involved in providing security for war crime indictees. (p. 4)
SFOR comments on arrest of Zeljko Jankovic: Disrupting network supporting war criminals
Yesterday, SFOR spokesperson Dave Sullivan stated at a press conference that the arrest of Zeljko Jankovic had come as a result of information on the network supporting war criminals collected during the recent operation in Pale. He added that the operation in Bijeljina had been carried out without incident, and that Jankovic had been transferred to a safe SFOR facility. He also said that the RS MUP had provided its support to SFOR during a search of Jankovic's house. He added that in both those operations SFOR had collected documentation which might be helpful in further identification of people involved in the network supporting war crime indictees. (p. 3)/The same in Jutarnje Novine (p. 3), Nezavisne Novine (p. 3), Dnevni List (p. 2)/
MNB (SE): Operation Harvest intensified
MNB (SE) has issued a report saying that Operation Harvest has recently been stepped up in the area of Capljina, Mostar, Gacko, Hadzici, Kiseljak and Sarajevo. According to the report, approximately 200 tonnes of weapons and ammunition have been handed in by the local population to police stations. The report also says that the good results of the operation show that BiH citizens are very interested in the future of their country. (p. 64)
Operation Harvest in the village of Odzak near Bugojno
SFOR members conducted Operation Harvest in the village of Odzak near Bugojno on Wednesday. After having received a tip-off, SFOR soldiers with the assistance of local police searched a house owned by R.R. from Odzak and found 30 rifle grenades, two anti-personnel mines, two RPG grenades, three hand grenades, 200 meters of detonating cord, one Walter pistol and a large quantity of ammunition. The weapons and military equipment seized during the search were transported to SFOR's base in Bugojno. (p. 58)
French officials reveals NATO secrets to Serbs and thus help Mladic?
The London Times has published an article which reads that, most likely, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic will never be arrested. According to British assessments, the efforts of NATO and western countries' intelligence services are insufficient, and, if the two of them are not arrested this year, there is a strong possibility that they will never be brought to justice. According to the article, only the American and British forces in BiH have seriously been participating in the search for these two war crime indictees, whereas other SFOR member countries are not completely involved in these operations. The article also says that serious reservations exist about French officials, as they are suspected of revealing NATO plans to Bosnian Serbs, and of hiding any intelligence collected. British officials who wanted to remain anonymous stated for the Times that the NATO mission in BiH will be over by the end of 2004, that only 7,000 soldiers will remain from western countries, and that the Americans will leave BiH completely. (p. 8)
SFOR to announce decision on BiH Armed Forces on Tuesday
The next meeting of the Joint Military Committee (JMC) is scheduled for Tuesday 3 February 2004. SFOR spokesperson Dave Sullivan stated at a press conference yesterday that the JMC meeting might be a good opportunity to achieve an agreement on the final structure of the BiH Armed Forces. He added that COMSFOR, Major General Virgil Packett, SCMM Secretary General, Enes Becirbasic, VF Commander, Lt. General Atif Dudakovic and VRS Chief of Staff, Lt. General Cvjetko Savic, would attend the meeting at HQ SFOR at Camp Butmir. (p. 8)
SFOR and Entity Armed Forces: Plans for joint exercises
A working meeting between MNB (SE) and Entity Armed Forces representatives has been held at the MNB (SE) HQ. The meeting was attended by representatives of the 1st VF Corps, the VRS Corps, the VF Rapid Reaction Forces and SFOR MNB (SE). The MNB (SE) Commander, Brigadier General Marin Bello Crespo, initiated the meeting with the aim of co-ordinating the joint military exercises to be conducted in 2004, as well as achieving a single military doctrine for the BiH Armed Forces. "This meeting is another proof of the huge step that the Entity Armed Forces have taken in order to join the Partnership for Peace and become an equal member of NATO in the future," reads the statement issued after the meeting. (p. 3)/The same in Dnevni List (p. 9)/
Bosnian Serb official says police nearly clashed with NATO force during arrest
(Factiva) Head of the public security centre in Bijeljina Mile Pejcic said today that, after the arrest of Zeljko Jankovic Luna, the [Bosnian] Serb Republic police and SFOR could have clashed with tragic consequences, because the police, who did not know about the operation, gave chase to civilian vehicles used by SFOR. "Immediately after Jankovic's arrest the police gave chase to the civilian vehicles SFOR used in the operation and stopped them somewhere near Ugljevik. When individuals in the vehicles showed Sfor ID cards, they were allowed to go," Pejcic said at a news conference.
He added that it would have been better if Sfor had informed the police about the operation, even though it is not obliged to do so.
AF IN BIH
Procurement of goods for military without public tender
The Federation BiH Government has supported the initiative of the Federation Ministry of Defense (FMoD) to amend the law as regards procedures for the procurement of goods and the provision of services for the FMoD. This will enable the FMoD to be excluded from the obligation to announce a public tender whenever it wants to use the services of a utility company. This is a very important exclusion for the FMoD because it will enable the Ministry to sign an agreement with a utility company without announcing a public tender, or without receiving approval from the FBiH Government for the service in question. (p. 4)
AF IN BIH
Bosnian party leaders discuss allocation of military posts
Top officials of political parties with a parliamentary majority at the level of Bosnia-Hercegovina held a meeting in Lukavica last night. The meeting was attended by Sulejman Tihic, Adnan Terzic, Dragan Covic, Barisa Colak, Niko Lozancic, Dragan Kalinic, Borislav Paravac and Mladen Ivanic.
Sulejman Tihic, member of the Bosnia-Hercegovina Presidency and SDA [Party of Democratic Action] chairman, told FENA today that they discussed some personnel issues, above all the national division of posts in the future defence structure of Bosnia-Hercegovina, and especially the posts of defence minister, joint army commander, operational commander and their deputies.
"We have come closer to a solution, but we have not reached a full agreement. We have made certain offers and I put forward certain compromise proposals," Tihic said, without wanting to say what these proposals were.
According to him, both the Serb and the Croat sides had their proposals and various ways of resolving this issue were discussed. "I think that the most important thing is to start with reforms as soon as possible. I believe that this post (defence minister) should belong to a candidate from the Bosniak people, because we were most vocal in arguing in favour of reforms, and we are advocating a single army. Likewise, I do not think that it would pose a problem or an obstacle if someone from the Serb nation were to get this post, since they were least interested in this defence system. But I am willing to compromise, since politics is the art of the possible and it presupposes compromises. The most important thing for me is that the defence system is established and that it starts to operate," Tihic said. We expect replies to certain proposals by the end of the week, he added.
AF IN BIH
HDZ gives up the race for the post of BiH Defense Minister
Leaders of the SDA, HDZ, SDS and other ruling parties in BiH met on Wednesday to discuss and resolve the issue of the first BiH Defense Minister. However, according to information obtained, the leaders did not manage to find a solution for the issue. The SDA Vice President, Mirsad Kebo, confirmed that the leaders had not agreed on the candidate for the post. It was also revealed after the meeting that the HDZ had withdrawn from the political race for the post. (p. 2)
BIH - PARTIES
SDP deputies of the Tuzla Cantonal Assembly request the resignation of the BiH Presidency
The initiative by SDP deputies of the Tuzla Cantonal Assembly for the BiH Presidency to tender a collective resignation did not receive majority support, but it did lead to a stormy discussion. Some 13 deputies voted for and another 13 deputies voted against this initiative, while another three deputies abstained. In the opinion of the first 13 deputies, Covic, who has five criminal charges raised against him, has the absolute record in Europe among top officials. Paravac was the President of the Doboj Municipal Executive Board when crimes were committed against Bosniacs, while Tihic is entertaining the people with his story about a planned "putsch". (Photo on page 5)
Croatian citizen arrested on suspicion of planting a car bomb
The Sarajevo Cantonal Police has arrested one Croatian citizen on suspicion that he planted an explosive device in Taib Torlakovic's vehicle. The police found some "pocket-change" with this person in the amount of EUR 6,700. This mercenary from Croatia was supposed to be paid the rest of the money upon completion of his job, but was arrested instead. "The police and the Sarajevo Cantonal Prosecutor's Office have resolved the car bomb case, which resulted in the assassination of Taib Torlakovic. There is irrefutable evidence of Zijad Turkovic and one Croatian citizen participating in this criminal act. I can only say that the last two bombing incidents, the recent one and the explosion from August last year, were not politically motivated. They were only about money," a source close to the Federation MUP told Oslobodjenje. (Photo on page 9)
Rajo Krsmanovic, suspected of producing heroin, arrested
Rajo Krsmanovic, the co-owner of the RBS company from Bijeljina, was arrested at about 7:00 a.m. yesterday and handed over to the State Prosecutor for questioning. The request to detain Rajo Krsmanovic was filed with the Bijeljina Public Security Center on Wednesday by the State Prosecutor, Jasmina Gafic. Gafic confirmed that Krsmanovic was sentenced to one month in prison yesterday because the court believes that he might influence the witnesses and obstruct the investigation of him. (Photo on page 3)
Acetic acid was used for the production of heroin to finance the hiding of Radovan Karadzic!
The recent arrest of Bogdan Vasic, SDS businessman, on suspicion that he was importing acetic acid to produce heroin, and the hysterical reaction by Zoran Djeric, RS Minister of Internal Affairs, several days ago in the RS National Assembly to the reporting of Nezavisne Novine about this case suggest that this heroin case is one of the biggest scandals in the RS in the past several months. Slobodna Bosna has discovered a series of new sensational details of this scandal that suggest that this is a state crime on a large scale. Slobodna Bosna has also reported that the main protagonists of the acetic acid scandal are related to or friends with Mirko Sarovic, Zoran Djeric and the Director of the RS Police Administration, Radomir Njegus. During the first days of an investigation of Vasic, Zoran Djeric intervened with the Visegrad police to release Vasic from custody because Mirko Sarovic, SDS Vice President, had asked him for this favor. This is perhaps exactly the reason why this case was transferred to the BiH Court several days later. Among those responsible is the Director of the Terpentin factory, Dragana Djeric-Cerovic, who is a close relative of the RS Police Minister, Zoran Djeric. She denied that heroin was produced in this factory. To recall, Bogdan Vasic was close to the SDS for years, and especially to its Vice President, Mirko Sarovic, and his main member, Milovan Cicko Bjelica. During the pre-election campaign in 2000, Vasic was raising donated funds for the SDS, and managed to collect about KM 300,000 in eastern RS, while donors received promises from Mirko Sarovic, former candidate for the RS President, that they would be appointed to the positions they deserved in Termoelektrana in Gacko. (Photo on page 22)
FBIH - PARLIAMENT
SDA sends initiative for dissolution of FBiH Government to Federation President and Vice Presidents
On Thursday, the SDA sent an official initiative for the dissolution of the FBiH Government to Federation President Niko Lozancic and Vice Presidents Sahbaz Dzihanovic and Desnica Radivojevic. The HDZ and the Party for BiH will make their stance on this initiative known shortly. Federation president and vice presidents will discuss the initiative with representatives of the ruling parties. If they fail to agree on the initiative, it would be then sent to the Federation parliament. The SDA explained that the Federation Government led by Ahmet Hadzipasic had failed to achieve the expected results. Sulejman Tihic, the President of the SDA, said that he expected Hadzipasic to step down, but Hadzipasic had earlier made it clear that he would not step down despite the SDA initiative. (Photo on page 3) /The same in Jutarnje Novine (p.4), Nezavisne Novine (p.3)/
FBIH - PARLIAMENT
FBiH Government finalises amendments to Federation Constitution to enable the formation of a single High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council at state level
Yesterday, the FBiH Government finalised draft amendments to the Federation Constitution to enable the formation of a single High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council at state level. (Photo on page 2) /The same in Dnevni List (p.3)/
Key documents sent by US experts
Key documents, which have enabled investigators to complete an investigation into the Hercegovacka Banka case, were sent from the US, learns Dnevni avaz from a reliable source. "Apparently, during the operation to seize the documentation from Hercegovacka Banka in 2001, a number of computers containing crucial information were deliberately destroyed in order to make the transactions untraceable. However, experts from the US have successfully recovered all the information from the destroyed hard discs, thus allowing investigators to obtain it in a timely manner, and enabling them to collect other necessary information too," stated the source who wanted to remain anonymous. (p. 2)
The Mujahedin were commanded by parallel center outside the Army of BiH!
The trials of two former officers of the Army of BiH, General Enver Hadzihasanovic and Brigadier Amir Kubura, started before the ICTY several weeks ago. They are accused of committing crimes against Serbs and Croats in central Bosnia in 1993. The last issue of Slobodna Bosna published a document of the ICTY Office of the Prosecutor with a list of crimes of which Kubura and Hadzihasanovic are accused, while in this issue we reported on what the Defense of the Bosnian officers will be based. The Defense of Hadzihasanovic and Kubura claims that the Third Corps of the Army of BiH had no control of the mujahedin, but did not say precisely who commanded these Islamic volunteers. The British Government refuses to submit to the Defense the documentation from the British SFOR, which was deployed in central Bosnia at that time. (Photo on page 27)
Ivica Rajic pleads not guilty
Ivica Rajic, former HVO Commander, who was indicted by the ICTY for crimes committed against Bosniacs in the area of Vares pleaded not guilty to all ten counts of an amended indictment against him. (Photo on page 2)
Posters with the image of Radovan Karadzic
The Brcko District police reported on Thursday that it had noticed posters with the image of the former Bosnian Serb leader and most wanted person, Radovan Karadzic, in Brcko a night earlier. The posters said: "Brcko is with you, Raso (Radovan's nickname)". All the posters were removed and one suspect was identified in this case. The Brcko police did not report the name of this person, but said that this person already had a criminal record, and that it was prone to criminal acts. The police will continue to investigate this case. The Brcko SDP asks that the perpetrator(s) of this act of fascism be punished. (Photo on page 7) /The same in Dnevni avaz (p. 4), Dnevni List (p. 11), Nezavisne Novine (p. 6)/
Karadzic's posters on Bosniac houses in Divic near Zvornik
Frequent verbal incidents occurring at the time of a mass return of Bosniacs to the Divic local community near Zvornik and Radovan Karadzic's posters appearing on Bosniac houses and religious facilities were the main reason for the panic among returning Bosniacs in this place. The Zvornik police have identified four persons responsible for putting up these posters two days ago. Misdemeanor charges have been raised against these four persons with the Zvornik Municipal Misdemeanor Court. (p. 7)
Is Karadzic to be arrested this year?
"The ICTY Chief Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, is convinced that the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, will be arrested this year," said Florence Hartmann, ICTY spokesperson, yesterday. (Photo on page 11)
Faik Lusija candidate for SIPA Director, Hamza Visic for BiH Defence Minister
The SDA has agreed on candidates for top positions in the BiH Defence Ministry and the State Protection and Information Agency. According to reliable sources, the SDA will nominate Brigadier Hazim Visic for the BiH Defence Minister, should this post be given to the Bosniacs. Visic enjoys the support of Fikret Muslimovic, former commander of the military intelligence service, and Zijad Ljevakovic, the Director of the Islamic Religious Secondary School. The SDA intends to remove Emir Bijedic, a Deputy SIPA Director, and nominate Faik Lusija in his stead. Lusija was an Assistant Federation Minister of Internal Affairs and the mastermind of the indictment of six Croats for the assassination of Jozo Leutar, who were in the end acquitted. (Photo on page 14)
Seada Palavric: Cengic and Bicakcic are the greatest democrats
Seada Palavric, an SDA Vice President, said that Annex 7 of the DPA should be fully implemented, which would ensure that municipalities in Mostar be multiethnic. She also said that the six municipalities in Mostar should have at least minimum authority. She emphasised that the Croats enjoyed the principle of parity at state level, but that they deny the same right to Bosniacs and Serbs in Mostar. As for the initiative for dissolving the Federation Government, Palavric said that Ahmet Hadzipasic and his government had failed to fulfill promises given during the election campaign. "The process of privatisation has not been completed yet, the pension system has not been reformed, the unemployment rate has not been reduced and so on," she said. Commenting on allegations that she was in fact a spokesperson for Hasan Cengic and Edhem Bicakcic, Palavric said that, apart from the late Alija Izetbegovic, the two of them were the greatest democrats she had worked with. "They are honorable people who fight for human rights. However, both of them lost power," she said, emphasising that they were not her mentors. (Photo on page 12)
OHR proposal: Mostar to be the capital of the Federation BiH
According to reliable sources, Paddy Ashdown promised SDA and HDZ senior officials in Mostar that this city would become the capital of the Federation BiH if his solution was successfully implemented. This idea has existed for years, but given the fact that Mostar was a divided city, it could not be implemented. However, Ashdown's solution will unite the city and there will no longer be this obstacle to Mostar becoming the capital of the Federation. (Photo on page 8)
Ashdown: Mostar citizens consider my decision to be good (Front-page story)
Paddy Ashdown said that his solution for Mostar was not perfect but it was closest to the best solution for Mostar. "Even though politicians are opposing some decisions because of their own interests, the citizens of Mostar seem to be supporting his project," he said. "There is no perfect solution for Mostar and a compromise is inevitable," he added. He emphasised that certain individuals and some political parties would be responsible for implementing his decision. "There are plenty of opportunities for obstructions and the real battle is ahead of us," he said, adding that multiethnic parties supported his solution while the other parties "took a deep breath." He added that the OHR had formed the Department for Implementation led by Richard Williams. The department will help the local authorities implement the decision. (Photo on the front page and page 4) /The same in Dnevni List (p.7), Jutarnje Novine (p.7)/
Unlike Brussels, Washington sees BiH as a NATO member shortly
Although Washington has announced the downsizing of its troops in SFOR and the closing of its bases in BiH, military experts claim that BiH will remain an extremely important strategic area for the US in the decades to come. This conclusion is explained in several points. Firstly, the State Department does not want southeastern Europe to become a war zone and a slaughter-place again for economic and security reasons. Secondly, NATO wants to establish close co-operation with Arabic countries, Syria, Iran, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, and NATO leaders are aware that their favoring of Bosnian Muslims could help them achieve this goal. Thirdly, The White House planned for oil and gas pipelines to pass from the East towards the West via the Balkans. Fourthly, BiH will be a "stepping-stone" as part of the expansion of NATO towards Asia. Fifthly, the continuation of political control in the Balkans is used by Americans as a shield from independent and arrogant Europeans. Italian experts claim that BiH has become the subject of trade between the EU in its negotiations with the US and that the French, who would like to see European soldiers in the field in BiH as soon as possible, have a special role in this dishonest deal. However, the French plan has failed for now, primarily thanks to the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a powerful ally of George Bush's Administration, who insisted that NATO remain a guarantee of security in Europe. This means that when the EU Army definitely takes over control of BiH at the beginning of 2005, its every move will depend on decisions by generals in the Pentagon. Of course, a logical question is posed about why the White House cares so much about monitoring the events in BiH, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and in Kosovo and influencing these events. The goal of Washington is for NATO to spread its influence in former Soviet Republic countries. After Jarrod Krull, MNB (N) spokesperson, announced the reduction of US troops to 800 in 2004, Italian journalists commented that this was something to be expected and that it was a decision by US generals that did not cause concern, and underlined the fact that the Bosnian half-protectorate could not yet survive without the presence of foreign troops under NATO control. (Photo on page 46)
Sejfudin Tokic, SDU Vice President: SDU against the withdrawal of NATO
Sejfudin Tokic, SDU Vice President, said that this party was against the withdrawal of NATO from BiH especially because war crimes suspects, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, are still at large. "We express doubt that about any other military forces will guarantee stability and peace in the region and in BiH, given our experiences with the UN military forces and different European countries," said Tokic. He said that the SDU Youth would launch a campaign for signing a petition for speeding up the activities to arrest war criminals. (Photo on page 9)
RS Police Director's friends smuggling weapons in Serbia
Rajo Krsmanovic, who was arrested yesterday under suspicion of being involved in drug smuggling, is also known as a close friend of Radomir Njegus, the RS Police Director. Thanks to his close ties in the police department, Krsmanovic can acquire false IDs in a very short period of time. Njegus is considered to be a close friend of Zoran Djeric, the RS Minister of Internal Affairs. Njegus also used to be close to Dusan Bato Tesic who was recently arrested by SFOR troops. Njegus's close friend Milan Obradovic was recently arrested in Serbia under suspicion of being involved in smuggling arms into Serbia. Obradovic was also a close friend of Branko Micic, Bijeljina Police Chief. (Photo on page 10)