Main News Summary
Thursday, 12 August 2004

SFOR
Glas Srpske
Operation Harvest begins in Novi Grad
SFOR soldiers and the RS police started Operation Harvest in the area of Novi Grad yesterday. The operation is aimed at collecting weapons, mines and explosive devices and military equipment held by citizens, and will last until 28 August. By means of the local radio station, Head of the Municipality Drago Maric called on citizens who are in possession of illegal weapons to hand them in to SFOR or the police. SFOR soldiers, with all their equipment and APCs, have stationed themselves in the compound of a former VRS barracks. (p.3)
SFOR
Dnevni List
Operation Summer Harvest in western RS
On Monday, the local population of the village of Lamovita voluntarily handed in a certain quantity of grenades and explosives to SFOR soldiers. Residents collected four hand grenades and two rifle grenades, some ammunition and ten sticks of dynamite, knowing that Operation Harvest led by the RS Ministry of Internal Affairs was coming. Since dynamite is unstable, a Canadian team destroyed it immediately. "This was a great start to Operation Harvest," said Captain Wain Barton, Commander of the Prijedor Liaison and Observation Team, and added: "We are very pleased that the population handed in this explosive, as such material is often unstable and may pose a threat to anyone near it." (Photo on p.17)
SFOR
Vecernje Novosti
SFOR "occupies" Prijedor
SFOR soldiers who are carrying out Operation Summer Harvest "occupied" downtown Prijedor yesterday, while searching for weapons and explosive devices that citizens might have in their possession. Since Operation Harvest had been announced at a joint press conference of SFOR and the Municipality Administration the day before, the citizens were not surprised at seeing a large number of foreign soldiers in front of their apartment buildings. SFOR spokesperson Phil Stanford said that "those who claim that they do not hold weapons, and the weapons happen to be found in their apartments later, will be processed by the local police and courts". Nada Sevo, Head of the Municipality, warned that SFOR's operation would last "until safety in the town had been improved". This time, several explosive-detecting dogs have been engaged too. (p.21)
SFOR
Dnevni avaz
Weapons and explosives found underneath haystack near Prijedor
Having received a tip-off, the Prijedor police searched two locations in the village of Donja Dragotinja near Prijedor and uncovered large quantities of hidden weapons. In the vicinity of the village road, dozens of hand grenades, a mortar, seven rifles, two rifle grenades and a lot of ammunition were hidden underneath a haystack. Maj. Philip Staneport of the SFOR MNTF stationed in the Ramici Base near Banja Luka told Dnevni avaz that some of the uncovered weapons and explosives were obsolete, that they had been kept there for years, but also that some of them were brand new. "I can only conclude that someone has recently hidden new weapons in the already built storage," said Maj. Staneport, and added that the weapons hidden next to the road posed a real threat to passers-by and children. (Photo on p.9)
AF IN BIH
Nezavisne Novine
Novak Djukic, Chief of the VRS General Staff: VRS has met all its obligations
Yesterday, Chief of the VRS General Staff Novak Djukic said that the VRS had met all its obligations regarding BiH's accession to Partnership for Peace. At a function organized on the occasion of his assuming the duties of the Chief of the VRS General Staff, Djukic said that the VRS was firmly committed to Euro-Atlantic integration. He explained that on 1 June the VRS started working in accordance with a new organizational structure ensuing from the reform of the overall defence and security systems of the RS and BiH. "Through the process of transformation, the RS Army has become stronger and more modern. Its ties with the environment and the armies of countries well-disposed to BiH have become firmer," said General Djukic. He announced that with the General Staff having moved to Kozara Barracks in Banja Luka, the Location 2003 operation would be completed. (p.5)/The same in Glas Srpske (Photo on p.3), Dnevni avaz (p.4), Dnevni List (p.17), Blic (p.RS2)/
AF IN BIH
Nezavisne Novine
BiH soldiers will not leave for Iraq in the next three months
"BiH soldiers will certainly not depart for the peace-keeping mission in Iraq in the next three months," said Enes Becirbasic, Deputy BiH Minister of Defence, yesterday. "It has been planned for BiH soldiers to travel in September, but this same plan envisages that the preparations for this mission last for at least three months. And the preparations, which include a BiH Liaison Officer going to the US where he is supposed to gather all the necessary information, have not begun yet. The de-mining team will not leave for Iraq in the next three months," said Becirbasic. He also said that the aggravated security situation in that country would be taken into account as regards the decision on the exact date of BiH soldiers leaving for the mission in Iraq. (Photo on p.2)
BIH - JUDICIARY
Dnevni avaz
Attorney Grzic: This resembles the former communist regime
Attorney Senka Nozica: "I refuse to accept criticism that I am not knowledgeable about the new criminal legislation, when it does not envisage the protection of the rights of either defendants or the injured party. There are a lot of inconsistencies. Violation of citizens' rights is impermissible. Consequently, we clearly have huge problems in the BiH judiciary, and especially the problem of 'domestic intelligence or brains' giving in to foreigners." Attorney Nozica is particularly suspicious of extensive indictments containing thousands of pages of supporting evidence that international judges verify in just one day. The attorney of Ante Jelavic, Josip Muselimovic, states "with full responsibility that my client suffered the gravest violation of human rights and liberties from the moment of his arrest onwards. It is because of such things that one feels helpless." To attorney Nikica Grzic the whole situation is reminiscent of the former communist regime: "It is unthinkable that an indictment can state that the investigation is underway, and that another indictment states that the defendant is linked to 'the criminal organization of Hasan Cengic', which is simply insane. This man is a member of the BiH Parliament, and there are no criminal proceedings against him, and there can be no 'criminal organization' because it has not been proven by any court. I ask, why do we have High Prosecutorial and Judicial Councils? Who are they accountable to? How much do they get paid? They enjoy diplomatic immunity, but let us just remember Jacques Paul Klein and his statements regarding the 'Leutar' case. He left BiH, but this country will have to pay compensation." Attorney Zeljko Bulic points out that, in addition to the 'faulty' indictments which international prosecutors and judges are filing, their biographies have not been made public since they were appointed by the High Representative. Attorney Zijad Hadzimurovic entirely agrees with his colleagues commenting that "if some could have their way there would be no attorneys at all, just like in the time of Stalin." (p.9)
BIH - JUDICIARY
Dnevni avaz
We work according to instructions and in cooperation with Chief Prosecutor
Following the hearing in which the accused in the Jelavic and Fazlic cases pleaded guilty and not guilty respectively, a number of BiH lawyers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the manner in which international prosecutors and judges are conducting their work before the BiH Court. In particular, the lawyers object to the fact that these international judicial officers are not adhering to the local laws in filing charges or reviewing objections and appeals by defense attorneys. Especially striking is the statement of lawyer Senka Nozica who recently told the press: "This could happen to any of you and you would not be able to exercise your rights." Lawyers Nikica Grzic, Josip Muselimovic, Zijad Hadzimuratovic, Zarko Bulic and Senad Kreho share the same view and claim that the BiH judiciary is in a serious crisis. On the other hand, the Special Prosecutor to the BiH Prosecutor's Office, John McNair, clarifies that criminal laws adopted in March last year are significantly different from the ones that had been in force until then, and especially from those in the former Yugoslavia. "The BiH Prosecutor's Office, including the international prosecutors, act in accordance with the new legal regulations. The International prosecutors within the Special department are working in cooperation and according to the instructions of the Chief Prosecutor, and are not a separate and independent group. As concerns defense attorneys, if they disagree with our interpretation of the law, it would be fair to say that their arguments are in the hands of the Court where they have every right to file an appeal." The Judge of the BiH Court and the Presiding Judge of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, Branko Peric, says that objections of the attorneys are "not well-intended", and that, in his view, the attorneys are hostages of traditional forms that are the result of completely different laws. "The international judges and prosecutors are experienced lawyers. It is irresponsible and unfair to say that they do not observe our laws and violate the human rights of the defendants. The difference in the form of certain decisions produced by prosecutors or judges does not mean that there has been a violation of law. I have seen some of the decisions of the international prosecutors and judges, I can say that their decisions have more substance, are more literate and better than those signed by local prosecutors and judges." (front page, p.9)
BIH - SCG
Oslobodjenje
Pressure on BiH and Croatia is inevitable
In an interview for the RTV Serbia on Tuesday, SCG Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic stated that it was normal to expect that the international community would exert pressure on Croatia and BiH to drop their suits for aggression against FRY: "just as the international community asked us just how we intended to join PfP if we did not withdraw the suit against NATO, it will also ask Croatia and BiH how they plan to be part of Europe with Serbia if they are suing Serbia for genocide," said Draskovic. He welcomed the initiative of the BiH Prime Minister, Adnan Terzic, on the formation of a joint BiH and SCG police team tasked with hunting down and arresting PIFWICs. Draskovic even said that he had been thinking about abolishing "the vital border" with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that this country should, together with SCG, go into police and military integration processes. (p.4)
BIH - USA
Dnevni avaz
Powell did not give ultimatum to BiH to arrest PIFWICs
In reaction to allegations of the Vienna-based newspaper Die Presse, BiH Prime Minister Adnan Terzic rejected the speculation that Colin Powell had set a deadline for the arrest of Karadzic and Mladic, or any other PIFWICs. "Powell did mention the need to have PIFWICs placed behind bars in the shortest time possible, but he did not specify any deadlines, nor did he give an ultimatum," said Terzic. To recall, Dnevni Avaz quotes Powell as saying at a press conference in Sarajevo that there are no deadlines by which Mladic and Karadzic should be detained, and that their arrest should have happened years ago. "I want to see them in the Hague as soon as possible. I hope that those who are hiding them will realize what damage they are causing to themselves, their families and their country. Mladic and Karadzic should be held accountable before the BiH people and the ICTY for the crimes they committed. Criminals must not and will not escape justice". Die Presse states that the Belgrade media have already reported that the new SCG President, Boris Tadic, agreed in Washington to extradite Mladic by mid-September, because cooperation with the ICTY is a condition for the governments both in Sarajevo and Belgrade to join NATO and the EU. As the ICTY Chief Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, admitted last month, a special team of ICTY investigators arrived in BiH at the beginning of this year and has since been collecting information on the whereabouts of Mladic and Karadzic, which they should forward to the OHR and SFOR so that the latter might arrest them. Since at the end of this year the US general will hand over command of the international peace-keeping troops to his EU counterpart, one could assume that the US Administration will show an increased interest in the arrest of the two fugitives, reports Die Presse. (p.2)
CORRUPTION
Nezavisne Novine
Three police officers and a customs employee arrested in Operation Forgery
On the order of the District Prosecutor's Office, the Banja Luka police arrested three police officers of the RS Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP) and one customs employee yesterday morning. They also searched the property of Dragan Kremenovic suspected of leading a group that forged customs papers that enabled high-class vehicles to be illegally registered at the Public Security Center in Banja Luka. Around 06.00 hours, the police arrested three workers of the RS MUP Branka Susnjar (54), Velimir Glavic (42) and Stana Milinic (52), all employed in the CJB Department of Legal and Administrative Matters, and customs worker Sasa Pjanic (39), employed in the RS Customs Administration. They are suspected of abuse of position and forging documents. In addition, they are charged with unlawful registration of vehicles together with Kremenovic, who was not found at home yesterday. According to unofficial information, Kremenovic is not an RS MUP employee, but the owner of the Kamel Motel in Banja Luka. The police started the investigation into illegally registered vehicles in the territory of the Banja Luka CJB several months ago. They have established so far that 150 vehicles, worth between KM 50,000 and 60,000, have been registered on the basis of forged customs documents. Most often, the customs documents were issued for cooking oil and similar produce, so only low import duties were paid. (Photo on p.3)/The same in Oslobodjenje (p.6), Dnevni avaz (p.30), Blic (p.RS2)/
EXHUMATIONS
Nezavisne Novine
Mass grave near Bratunac: 132 victims exhumed
"The Federation Commission for Missing Persons exhumed 132 bodies from the Krecava mass grave near Bratunac," said Amor Masovic, President of the Commission. "We have completed the exhumation here, and we found 132 bodies and 99 mortal remains, which means that this is a secondary grave," Masovic said. It is assumed that the bodies of the Bosniacs from villages near Bratunac who went missing in 1992 were buried here. The exhumation of the mass grave in Miljevina near Foca/Srbinje is underway. So far, 26 bodies have been exhumed from the dumpsite of the Miljevina coalmine. Masovic is expecting to find around 600 bodies at this location. (Photo on p.4)/The same in Oslobodjenje (p.4), Dnevni avaz (p.3)/
EXHUMATIONS
Nezavisne Novine
Exhumation of mass grave at Sijekovac completed, 59 bodies found
"The exhumation of bodies from the mass grave at Sijekovac near Serb/Bosanski Brod in which 59 bodies were found was completed yesterday," said District Prosecutor in Zenica Enisa Adrovic, and added that the bodies had been transported to the Visoko Cemetery. The exhumation of the mass grave, which was located at the old Moslem cemetery, lasted more than two weeks, and the Federation Commission for Missing Persons supervised the procedure all the time. Savo Strbac, Director of the Veritas Information Center, rejected the suspicions that the 18 bodies of children found at Sijekovac were Serb children from Vukovar, as only a few children missing from Vukovar had been registered with the Veritas Center. (p.4)/The same in Oslobodjenje (p.9)/
HERZEGOVACKA BANKA
Jutarnje Novine
Trial of Jelavic, Prce and Rupcic set for 23 September
After months of waiting and detention in the Kula prison in the Serb Sarajevo, the date for the trial of Ante Jelavic, Miroslav Prce and Miroslav Rucpcic for conducting unlawful business operations in Hercegovacka Bank, has finally been set. The International Judge at the BiH Court, Malcolm Simons, who replaced judge Bernard Boland, has scheduled 23 September as the beginning of the trial or the first available date thereafter. (p.3) Similar in Nezavisne Novine (p.5), Oslobodjenje (cover page, p.3)
ICTY
Dnevni List
Six BiH Croats remain in Hague detention
yesterday, the Hague Tribunal suspended the provisional release of six BiH Croats, Jadranko Prlic, Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petkovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic, who have been indicted for crimes against the non-Croat population in BiH. The three-member Appeals Chamber decided to suspend the decision on their provisional release which the Trial Chamber had adopted on 30 July. The ICTY Office of the Prosecutor had immediately filed an appeal against the decision requesting that it be put on hold. The suspension will remain in force until the Appeals Chamber has assessed the justification for the prosecution's appeal. According to a source, the attorneys of the defendants have requested that the Tribunal clarify the situation and the status of their defendants. (p.3) Similar in Dnevni avaz (p.2) , Vecernji List (p.11) and Nezavisne Novine (p.6) and Oslobodjenje (p.3)
INCIDENTS
Dnevni avaz
False tip-offs about bombs being planted in the FBiH Ministry of Defence and VF HQ
Yesterday around 12.30 hours, the Federation Ministry of Defence reported to the Sarajevo Canton Ministry of Internal Affairs that it had received a tip-off that an explosive device had been planted near the Ministry's building. According to Magbul Skoro, spokesperson for the Sarajevo Canton MUP, the scene of the event was then secured and Prosecutor Suada Skoro led an on-site investigation. Members of the Sarajevo Canton MUP Counter-sabotage unit searched the building and the area around it. While the on-site investigation was being conducted in the Federation Defence Ministry, the Federation Army Joint Command in Rajlovac received the same tip-off around 14.05 hours. Prosecutor Advija Balta and members of the Sarajevo Canton MUP came to the scene. The search of the building was completed at 15.35 hours. Since nothing suspicious was found in both these cases, it was concluded that the tip-offs were false. (p.29)/The same in Oslobodjenje (p.4), Nezavisne Novine (p.5), Vecernji List (p.5)/
OHR
Dnevni avaz
HR Ashdown: Elections must not be threatened
"HR Paddy Ashdown will support every action launched by BiH Prime Minister Adnan Terzic that will make it possible for BiH to finance the upcoming local elections alone," states a press statement issued by the OHR yesterday. The High Representative expressed his concern because as many as 73 municipalities failed to participate in the financing of the local elections. Of 142 BiH municipalities, 67 have completely met their financial obligations towards the BiH Election Commission, 30 have paid only a part of the amount required, and 43 stated that they have no resources to pay the necessary money. Ashdown stressed that the entities and cantons are now expected to do what they can so that "the election process is not seriously threatened" because of financial difficulties. (Photo on p.2)
TERRORISM
Oslobodjenje
No evidence that Mohammed Sheikh Khalid was in BiH
BiH Deputy Minister of Security, Dragan Mektic, commented for Oslobodjenje on the allegations of US intelligence circles which link Mohhamed Shaikh Khalid, one of the al-Qaida leaders arrested in March last year in Pakistan, with BiH: "We have no evidence that either Khalid or any other person named in international arrest warrants for terrorists, have ever been in BiH". According to reports by the US media, BiH has in the past months become the hub of the foreign intelligence services searching for evidence on the possible presence of international terrorists in BiH during the past war. Foreign citizens who acquired BiH passports in the war, have for years now been under the scrutiny of BiH investigators, who hope to get some answers on the possible link between international terrorist and BiH by reviewing all BiH citizenship papers issued to foreigners. Mektic says that BiH passports were issued to foreigners who fought as members of the Army of BiH: "We have discovered a lot of flaws and even irregularities in the issuance of BiH citizenships. Even individuals whose identities had not been checked, received citizenship. Today we are not able to track them down and question them to see whether they submitted a false or a true photograph of themselves. We cannot tell who is behind those persons, maybe they have changed their identities a number of times." Mektic says that the BiH authorities have not received from foreign intelligence sources the name of a single person suspected of terrorism, that they should try to find in the country. As long as BiH does not unravel the mystery of foreigners who in the past war became BiH citizens, the speculation about links with al-Qaida and other organizations will keep recurring. The FBiH Police Commissioner recently announced the filing of criminal reports against police and state officials who were involved in the unlawful issuance of BiH passports, but Deputy Minister Mektic does not believe that the investigation will come to an end soon: "We have many problems, there are delays... the whole thing will become easier once we have made our security system more efficient. We have only recently established a single intelligence service at the state level, SIPA, that still has to take over the work.. Until now, everyone has worked for himself." (front page, p. 4-5)