Main News Summary
Thursday, 9 October 2003
Readers' letters: "Cowboy" behaviour of SFOR members
There are several problems that we cannot solve without the direct assistance from HQ SFOR or our politicians. The first problem, gentlemen, is that SFOR units are going around cities with long-barrelled weapons, like some kind of security, even seven years after the war. I am not saying that SFOR units should not be armed, but why are they carrying long-barrelled weapons during children performances in theatres, other events and at fairs. Let us say, for example, that another problem is the cowboy-like behaviour of SFOR units (for it seems that their long-barrelled weapons allow them to behave like that) in traffic. They, distinguished gentlemen, often violate basic traffic regulations. I do not know if they are allowed to behave like that in their own countries (I know that they are not in Belfast, for example). Gentlemen politicians, if you are afraid to tell some international that he should respect the laws of this country, then you are cowards and I do not know how you can look yourselves in the mirror (perhaps you can do this, but I do not know who and what you see). Gentlemen SFOR Commanders, I know that none of your operations to discover and collect weapons was carried out on an ad hoc basis and your men should definitely be very well prepared, equipped and armed in such cases. Therefore, I ask you that you not to carry long-barrelled weapons in cities without a good reason. (By Darije S. Celebic from Jajce) (p. 23)
SFOR seizes 120 tonnes of weapons
SFOR reported on Wednesday that former members of the JNA and VRS were involved in hiding a large quantity of weapons that was recently seized in BiH. "According to available information, those who were hiding these weapons were members of the former JNA and VRS," said General Stuart Beare, Commander of MNB (NW). He said that former military officers posed a threat and pointed out that he had reported this information to the police. According to General Beare, this group of former officers "regularly maintained the hidden weapons." Since the beginning of September, SFOR has discovered 36 weapons caches and seized 120 tonnes of various weapons and ammunition in northwestern BiH, which is mainly populated by Serbs. "This quantity of weapons could be sufficient for waging a war for several months," said General Beare. At the same time, he expressed his astonishment by the RS authorities and the military structures in the RS had not known anything about these hidden weapons. (Last page) /The same in Jutarnje Novine (p. 3), Blic (p. 13)/
SFOR searches Directorate of BH Telekom
On Wednesday, SFOR Carabinieri carried out checks of the premises of the Sarajevo-based Directorate of BH Telekom at Dolac-Malta in Sarajevo. "This is a routine inspection of the type that is being periodically carried out throughout BiH, at places and times of our choosing. The purpose of this activity is to identify and stop any sort of activities against the progress of BiH and the DPA," said Col. Jeremy Tod. He refused to comment on whether SFOR had evidence that such activities were being carried out in BH Telekom and did not want to disclose any details about the course, findings and possible continuation of the check. "I will not comment on this, or any other of our past or future operations because SFOR has to protect its forces," said Tod. Sead Babic, Director of the Directorate of BH Telekom in Sarajevo, did not want to discuss this topic at all. Instead, he sent a message through his employees at the reception of BH Telekom that we should "seek all information about this from HQ SFOR in Butmir." The Public Relations Office of BH Telekom replied to our questions about SFOR's operation yesterday with a short press release saying that this company did not know when this inspection would be completed because "it had not been announced to them." "We gathered that this was a routine inspection of the type that has already been carried out by SFOR in BH Telekom," reads the press release. Neither SFOR nor BH Telekom wanted to confirm or deny unofficial information that no documentation or equipment was seized. (Photo on page 4)
Balijagic calls upon Major General Packett
Tuzla lawyer Faruk Balijagic has asked COMSFOR Major General Virgil Packett to attend court proceedings in his case against the Federation of BiH that is being heard before the Tuzla Cantonal Court. Balijagic said that he had been brutally attacked by the FBiH Government, and that neither the Federation Prosecutor nor the municipal Prosecutors in Sarajevo wanted to apply the rule of law against Niko Lozancic and Ahmet Hadzipasic, the Federation President and Premier. He underlined that he had filed a lawsuit with the Tuzla Cantonal Court for the harm that was done to him, and that he had sued the FBiH, which, according to Balijagic, is responsible for his being terrorised by the "secret political police of the Federation Security Intelligence Service (FOSS)". To recall, Balijagic sued the FBiH and FOSS because he was being illegally wiretapped by this security intelligence service while in his apartment in Rijeka, Croatia. Balijagic is seeking one million KM in compensation for damage inflicted on him by the FBiH. (Photo on page 7)
BIH - ELECTIONS
Some 42 officials to tender their resignations
The BiH Electoral Commission established at its session on Tuesday that 42 officials had violated the Law on Conflicts of Interest. These officials were ordered to tender their resignations within five days or they would be removed. The names of these officials have been published. (Photo on page 4)
BIH - SCG
Ivanic sides with Serbia and Montenegro
The SDA Presidency is concerned about the inherited and extremely difficult situation in the Federation Ministry of Defence and the unilateral management of this ministry, and has requested the BiH Presidency and the Federation Premier to take appropriate steps in this regard within their competences without delay. The SDA Presidency condemned the statement made by Mladen Ivanic, BiH Minister of Foreign Affairs, concerning BiH's lawsuit against Serbia and Montenegro because it is at variance with the official stance of the BiH Presidency. "Unfortunately, Ivanic sided with a foreign country and the political followers of Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic, who are responsible for the existence of this lawsuit," reads a press release by the SDA Presidency. (Photo on page 5)
BIH - SCG
Ivanic's statement is at variance with the official stance of BiH institutions
"Mladen Ivanic, BiH Minister of Foreign Affairs, cannot claim from the position that he is holding that only Bosniacs are behind BiH's lawsuit against Serbia and Montenegro for aggression and genocide," said Sulejman Tihic, member of the BiH Presidency. "His statement contradicts the official stance of the BiH institutions. The official stance of the BiH institutions, which was last confirmed at a session of the BiH Presidency on 8 September 1999, was for BiH to continue its lawsuit. This is an official stance and there has been no other stance in the meantime. I am surprised that the BiH Minister of Foreign Affairs made the kind of statement that is usually made by supporters of the politics of Karadzic and Mladic," said Tihic, adding that Ivanic could make such a statement as the PDP President, but not as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is at the helm of the institution in charge of foreign policy that is determined by the BiH Presidency. (Photo on page 2)
Muhamed Sacirbegovic wants to testify in Sarajevo?
Former BiH Ambassador in OUN Muhamed Sacirbegovic might appear on a voluntary basis before the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo in order to testify in the indictment related to the embazzelment of 2.4 million dollars from the BiH mission account in New York, Oslobodjenje learnes from circles close to his family. According to the same sources, Sacirbegovic has been trying to get approval from he US Supreme Court to be put on provisional release, and that former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was trying to help him get the provisional release. Madeleine Albright notifieded about this initiative the Chair of the BiH Council of Ministers, Adnan Terzic, and BiH Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mladen Ivanic, during their official visit to the US in summer. The Bosniac member of the BiH Presidency, Sulejman Tihic, gave his support to the initiative for the provisional release of Sacirbegovic from a prison in New York. (Front page story)/The same in Dnevni avaz (p. 2)/
Cesic pleads guilty for murder of ten Bosniacs at Luka Internment Camp in Brcko
Yesterday, Bosnian Serb Ranko Cesic pleaded guilty before the Hague Tribunal on all 12 counts of the indictment accusing him of murders and sexual harassment of internees at the Luka Internment Camp in Brcko. At a special hearing arranged with the Prosecutor's Office, Cesic changed his last year's statement in which he had pleaded not guilty and accepted responsibility for crimes against humanity and violation of the laws and customs of war. He pleaded guilty that he had either alone or with the help of others shot to death ten Bosniacs at the Luka Internment Camp and Partizan Sports Centre in Brcko. He also admitted responsibility for forcing two brothers of Bosniac nationality to fight against each other and then commit sexual acts in front of other internees of the Luka Camp on 11 May 1992. The prosecutor's Office requested that Cesic be sentenced to between 13 and 18 years, and he obliged himself to testify in other trials before the Hague Tribunal. (2)/The same in Jutarnje Novine (p. 5), Glas Srpske (p. 3), Oslobodjenje (p. 3), Nezavisne Novine (p. 6)
ICTY President Meron:"The Hague will cease to work after Karadzic, Mladic and Gotovina are arrested"
On Tuesday, the ICTY President, Judge Theodor Meron, stated that The Hague would not complete its work before Karadzic, Mladic and Gotovina were tried before the Court. He added that The Hague was also focusing on the establishment of a special war crimes court in Sarajevo, and that he would talk about that issue with the HR in BiH, Paddy Ashdown, and that they would jointly notify the UN Security Council about their intents. He added that a donors' conference for collecting the 40 million dollars necessary for establishment of the Court would be held in Hague on 30 October.
Graham Blewitt:"A special plan to arrest Karadzic may be developed"
In an interview with Dnevni avaz, the Deputy Head Prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal, Graham Blewitt, stated that the Tribunal was not satisfied with the work of Croatia regarding the Gotovina case, or of Serbia regarding the Mladic case, adding that the Tribunal was especially dissatisfied with the activities of the RS, which had failed to arrest and transfer to The Hague a single indictee that the Tribunal was looking for. "As for the Federation BiH, I can say that we have good co-operation with Bosniacs, and that we have a lot of problems with Croatian institutions," said Mr. Blewitt. He also stated that the fact that Radovan Karadzic was not arrested yet was terrible. "This fact incriminates the authorities in the region of former Yugoslavia, and it also has an effect on NATO and SFOR. I am very frustrated by this fact as a human being and as an employee of this intitution. We simply cannot understand how it is possible that Karadzic is still at large. Maybe, we will need to develop a special plan of activities in order to bring Karadzic to justice," said Deputy Head Prosecutor Blewitt.
Malkic: RS Govrnment has to admit crimes commited in Srebrenica
The Mayor of the Srebrenica Municipality, Abdulrahman Malkic, called on the RS Governemnt to admit the crimes commited by the Serb Army against citizens of Srebrenica in July 1995, and submit a report on Srebrenica events, as requested in a decision issued by the BiH Human Rights Chamber. (p. 2)
RS Police Minister Djeric: "The operation in Bijeljina shows that RS Police co-operates with The Hague"
The RS Minister of Internal Affairs, Zoran Djeric, told Pierre-Richard Prosper, US Ambassador for war crimes issues, during an official visit to Banja Luka, that a number of things and activities had been carried out in accordance with the Law on Co-operation with The Hague since he had been appointed as Minister. He added that there had to be better co-operation and co-ordination between the RS Ministry of Internal Affairs, Intelligence Services and SFOR. He also said that the RS Police had demonstrated its readiness to co-operate with The Hague by carrying out an operation to search the Bishop Kacavenda's accomodations in Bijeljina. On Thursday, Minister Djeric is to meet with the US Ambassador in BiH, Clifford Bond, and discuss issues related to the co-operation between the RS and the Hague Tribunal. (p. 3)
Interview with Gregory Copley, President of ISSA
According to Gregory Copley, President of the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) in Washington, the RS Government had to sign a report on the tragedy in Srebrenica in its current form under pressure from the OHR, even though this report is not true. That is why Copley made serious accusations against the HR for BiH Paddy Ashdown and his Deputy Donald Hays. "We are familiar with the fact that Ambassador Hays presented a two-page document about conflicts in Srebrenica in 1995 to the RS Government. As a matter of fact, Hays advised the RS Government in this document to accept the opinion of Islamists, which was the stance of the US, about what happened in Srebrenica. It was 'strongly suggested' to the RS Government to sign this document. Given the fact that the OHR can easily remove officials in BiH, a threat made against the RS Government was clear: sign or face dismissals," said Copley. Commenting on the report on Srebrenica, Copley said: "In this case, the OHR sided with one political party, the SDA, and against another community, which is something that had never helped the process of reconciliation and co-existence in BiH before, but, on the contrary, only served to intensify disagreements Is it by accident that the RS Government is required to pay compensation not to Prosecutors and the families of victims but to the account of the organisation in charge of the construction of a Memorial Centre headed by Ashdown. Simply, my opinion is that this is too much of a coincidence." Asked about whether there were terrorists in BiH, and whether it was true that some of them were involved in attacks on New York and Washington, Copley said: "This is a wide and complex topic but let me be concrete. There is absolutely clear evidence, which leaves no room for doubt, that there are Islamic terrorists in BiH. What I mean is terrorists who were not born in BiH, despite the fact that many of them have BiH passports. They trained a new generation of 'European Islamists'. The link between these terrorists and the 11 September events and the attack on the US is becoming increasingly clear. We also pointed to some facts about these links in our reports." Asked if he had information that Alija Izetbegovic had met with Osama bin Laden several times, Copley said: "We have reliable information that Alija Izetbegovic met with Osama bin Laden several times. Bin Laden visited Izetbegovic in his office more than once, and they also met in other places. He has been emphasising his links to radical Islamists clearly and publicly for decades. He did not only meet with bin Laden but also engaged key officers of al-Qaida, including Muhammed al-Zawahiri, whose brother Ayman al-Zawahiri is the second man in al-Qaida. Muhammed al-Zawahiri led special operations during the war in BiH." (Photo on page 14)
NATO countries' defence ministers summit in US
A regular summit of NATO countries' ministers of defence started at Colorado Springs in the US by conducting an exercise of the rapid reaction forces. It is expected that the summit will represent an opportunity for the European member countries of the Alliance to inform the US about the conlusions of the recently held conference in Rome regarding the shaping of the European identity of defence, assistance to the mission in Afghanistan and readines to take over the peacekeeping mission in BiH. In general, the NATO stance concerning the takeover of the mission in BiH is that it can start when all the technical details with the EU are agreed on, and when the strategists of the Alliance are assured that the takevoer will not jeopardise the level of security achieved in BiH so far. However, the most serious objections to the EU taking over the mission in BiH come from the Washington. Administration, which is of the opinion that the EU's ability to take over the mission in BiH is not developed enough to meet the current challenges in BiH, such as the possible presence of terrorists, increase in organised crime, ethnic tensions and war crime indictees who are still at large. (p. 6)/The same in Nezavisne Novine (p. 2)/
Ashdown:" Europeans do not have ceredibility in BiH"
In an interview with the German newspaper, Sie Deutsche Zeitung, the HR, Paddy Ashdown, stated that the withdrawal of US forces from BiH could cause problems due to the fact that Europeans did not have credibility in BiH. He added that he welcomed the idea of the EU taking over the peacekeeping mission in BiH from NATO, but that the EU still needed the US in BiH. "Europeans must not underestimate the fact that they have a lack of credibility in BiH. There are many in BiH who believe that Europeans betrayed BiH. According to those people, it was the US who stopped the war in BiH," said Ashdown. Therefore, according to him, once the EU takes over the mission in BiH, the most important thing for the EU will be to regain credibility in BiH, which means to have full comprehension of the problems in BiH, and one of them is certainly Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic still being in hiding. (p. 3)/The same in Jutarnje Novine (p. 8)/
HR Ashdown addresses UN Security Council
HR Paddy Ashdown addressed the UN Security Council on Wednesday and stated that the implementation of the peace process was about to be complete soon, but that war crimes indictees still had to be brought before justice. He added that he was also displeased with the slow implementation of reforms in BiH, but that progress had been made nevertheless. "We are slowly but surely closing a trap around people such as Radovan Karadzic, and those helping them," said Ashdown. (p. 3)/The same in Dnevni avaz (p. 3), Oslobodjenje (p. 7), Nezavisne Novine (p. 3)/
Zlatko Miletic removed for excellent performance
The Federation Government intends to remove Zlatko Miletic, Federation Police Director, without providing a single piece of reasonable evidence against him. Miletic's report on the security situation in the FBiH kept silent about things that are important in assessing the work of the chief of the Federation police. This important thing is his performance in fighting organised crime. According to claims in the report, which were supported by statistical data, the FBiH Ministry of Internal Affairs was 100% more successful in the first seven months of this year compared to the same period last year. Further, thanks to Miletic, this is the first time since the FBiH Ministry of Internal Affairs came into existence that co-operation of all special police units in the entity has been achieved, and also thanks to him that the Regulations on Sharing Information between all cantonal police departments and the Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs have been adopted. All this would not have been achieved without the financial support of the FBiH Government. Besides, the FBiH Government has not responded for the last four months to the request by the FBiH Police Administration to financially support the project of drafting official joint police ID cards and badges for all police officers in the FBiH. Minister Halilovic himself is causing obstruction. He did not want to comment on why he was obstructing the appointment of the inspectors and filling of other posts in three police detachments, even though the Cantonal Police Commissioners have approved this. Halilovic refuses to accept requests for filling posts in the Criminal Police Department and the Forensic Police Department, and he is not even considering dismissing 360 police officers for whom there are no longer any posts in the Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs and who were supposed to be transferred to the State Security Intelligence Service (SIPA). All this confirms the thesis that there is not really good co-operation between the FBiH Police Administration Director and the Federation Minister of Internal Affairs and that it is necessary to consolidate the police. This consolidation has started with Miletic's removal, after which Halilovic could finally take over operational affairs in the police. (Photo on page 5)
Extradition of Jusuf Amkad requested
Slobodan Kovac, BiH Minister of Justice, confirmed yesterday that the Egyptian Government had requested the BiH authorities to extradite Egyptian citizen Jusuf Amkad, who was caught while attempting to illegally cross the BiH border near Orasje on 30 July this year. "According to the new BiH Criminal Code, the Ministry of Justice submitted this case to the BiH Prosecutor's Office. It is up to this office and the BiH Court to decide whether there is a legal basis for his extradition, and I will announce the final decision," said Kovac. Jusuf Amer Fath Allah Ahmed Amkad is one of several dozen persons of Afro-Asian origin who were granted BiH citizenship in 1995, which was revoked later, but as this decision had never become valid, he is still a BiH citizen. (p. 5)