Mayor Damjanovic was dismissed officially "especially because of his efforts to block the work of the housing commission".
"He hired only one employee, who is not qualified for the job and who does not have a phone, fax machine or a copier. When the international community representatives demanded from that employee to carry out certain evictions, he refused, with the excuse that he had to consult the mayor. Besides, mayor Damjanovic has been accused of corruption," are some of the stated reasons for Damajanovic's dismissal, including the conclusion that he has failed to ensure secure atmosphere for the return of refugees and displaced persons to the Glamoc Municipality.
After the decision about dismissal, mayor Damjanovic addressed in an open letter the High Representative for BH Wolfgang Petritsch and Robert Barry. In the letter, referring to concrete indicators of the implementation of the property laws and return of refugees to the Glamoc Municipality, Damjanovic denied claims put forward in the decision about his dismissal. We publish this interesting letter in full:
"Respected Gentlemen, first I would like to thank you for the Decision with which you fired me and even banned me from doing almost everything. The Decision has been very carefully and for a long time prepared and you were only waiting for an appropriate moment to publish it. Chronologically speaking, this is only the last act of your activities during the last year so that I am not in the least surprised. I am, however, surprised to learn that you fell for the fake reports of your third-rate field workers who thereby justify their incompetence.
"I am not requesting a withdrawal of the Decision, because I am aware that you will not do so since you'd devalue hard work and efforts of your field workers, who have themselves admitted to me that they were mere pawns and that they were fighting for their salaries.
"I would like to tell you on this occasion that your decision is baseless and totally absurd, even a farce.
"I hope that you will not deny me the right to breathe fresh Glamoc air, if it hasn't already been polluted by various harmful substances from abroad, released in daily bombardment and rocket salvoes fired at the military training grounds Illegal Barbara, which is under your executive auspices.
"Do you know what I am talking about?
"If you don't. I can tell you that you gentlemen have legalized looting of private and municipal property without compensation (you may have paid something, but we still wonder to whom?) and thereby violated basic human rights, the right to return, the right to private property, in order to give yourself the right to dismiss me, as you say, for blocking return.
"With what right? The justification in the Decision about my dismissal would have been ridiculous if it weren't tragic since by a baseless decision your violated my fundamental right, the right to life. Now, I'll list only a few facts that make your Decision absurd and illogical.
"First: At a recently held session of the Glamoc local council we discussed the application of the European Convention about Fundamental Human Rights in the presence of your representatives. After your Decision I wonder: did your representatives sleep through the meetings, did they have bad translators, or did they have bad intentions? The multiethnic local council, made up of 4 Croats, 4 Bosniaks and 7 Serbs, unanimously supported and adopted my six conclusions and gave me their full support in implementation of the project of the founding of a multiethnic municipality and declaring the Glamoc Municipality formally for an open town as in practice it has already been for a while, the fact that I am proud of. I do know, if you don't, how the return to municipalities that have officially been proclaimed for open towns by UNHCR has been going, the municipalities such as Mrkonic Grad, Sipovo, Zenica, Travnik etc. I can tell that out of several hundreds of Croat families from Mrkonjic Grad that currently live in Glamoc, only one (Stipe Demirovic's family) has returned. I know that your representatives did not have an easy time to listen and accept figures and facts I presented about the return and especially the implementation of property laws, since that obviously was not their task.
"So far more than 900 Bosniaks and more than 500 Serbs have returned to Glamoc. Bosniaks had almost exclusive right to their property even without submitting official requests for the return of property, and in that way 255 Bosniak families have returned to their property. Another 130 Serb and Bosniak families should be added to that number. These families have reoccupied their property through the reconstruction program, again without submitting requests for the return of property.
"Out of 360 regularly submitted requests for the return of property, the property service has made decisions in 79 cases. Out of 458 regularly submitted requests for the return of 'socially owned' apartments, the property service has resolved 83.
"Out of 65 received requests for the CPRC Decisions, the property service has resolved 95% of requests. The Municipality has returned 13 commercial spaces to their owners. While some municipalities are only now forming property services and spectacularly announcing first evictions, the Glamoc Municipality has carried out 18 evictions so far and more will take place these days.
"For comparison, let me point out that the military training grounds 'Illegal Barbara' has blocked the return of about 1,000 people, mostly Serbs and Bosniaks, and that during 1998 SFOR caused a big fire which destroyed 143 objects and caused huge material damages. The military training grounds of the FBH Army encompasses many villages but unfortunately, only 27 persons have received compensation for the confiscated property (out of 421 submitted requests for compensation). You know all of that very well and support such conduct. I have to remind you that the map of the military training grounds, which states that its headquarters are in Livno, while they are actually in Glamoc, was signed by a representative of the OHR.
"Secondly: the Glamoc Municipality has formed a property commission. Representatives of the OHR, OSCE, and UNHCR participate in its work. Because of a small backlog in the implementation of property laws, I made a decision and opened a public competition for a new manager of the property service. I obtained an agreement of field offices of the OSCE and the UNHCR for this. This week we were supposed to pick one candidate from ten received applications.
"Third: Among first municipalities in BH, the Glamoc Municipality has implemented the local election results, but it was the last one to receive a verification of the implementation and as a reward for its work, the dismissal of its mayor. One has to agree that you have a very strange reward system. Mr. Dodik has no trust of his members of the Parliament and has yours and he stays in his office, while I have full trust of my councilors, but lack your trust and I end up being dismissed. Strange criteria.
"Fourth: The Municipal council has made the most legal decision in BH about the allocation of land for individual construction in order to speed up the implementation of property laws. The council requested OHR's approval for its decision and I believe that we are one of rare, if not the only one, municipalities that have requested OHR's approval before the distribution of land. You can check this with your legal advisers.
"Fifth: Ombudsman's office in Livno has stated that that it has received best grades for its work and been proclaimed for the best office in BH. Do you see any logic in that, the best office in the worst canton? How did they deserve such a distinction? That is strange, knowing that almost all mayors in the canton have been replaced, or banned from running for election, apart from, of course, Mile Marceta [former mayor of Drvar, a Serb] who enjoys your full trust in spite of a formal dismissal and a copious reward for his work a few years ago.
"Sixth: The insufficient reconstruction of houses in the Glamoc Municipality by the international humanitarian organizations has become a frustrating fact of life not only for us but also for the organizations themselves. They keep seeking new excuses for not investing in Glamoc and for not reconstructing the houses.
"The most recent 'pearl of wisdom' is that recently representatives of the IRC and ARC received a strict order from the UNHCR and the OHR not to talk to the legal multiethnic authorities of the Glamoc Municipality about the future reconstruction of the housing, but to talk to schemers from the organization named Kolo, under direct patronage of Mile Marceta, who in Glamoc has the role of a destroyer of legally elected local authorities in order to create the atmosphere already seen in Drvar, and with the assistance from the well-known sources.
"I wonder who supports and promotes parallel authorities if it is known that four months ago legal democratic elections were held?
"Seventh: How much has the international community invested in the economy in Glamoc and thereby assisted the return, if one knows that without a stable economy there can be no return. That could have clearly been seen in Glamoc during the last few years. It is worrisome that young people are not returning and even the elderly cannot survive in such conditions since they need social assistance. It is very strange that the Dutch government is investing $5 million in the construction of a potato processing plant in Vozuca-Zavidovici-Maglaj region, while no one is trying to repair the already existing plant in Glamoc, which can also rely on abundant locally grown potatoes.
"Eighth: Brutal violence of the IPTF has been going on for full seven months, ordered by someone from above in order to discredit the local authorities. Those who have been promoted in advance in order to achieve in advance agreed goals have, loosing their nerves, even physically attacked me and are now forced to leave because of their failure. However, to make sure everyone is happy, I have to leave as well. Perhaps that is just as I was the cause of a seven-months-long headache for some. An expected and planned defeat of the HDZ at the most recent elections has unfortunately become a nightmare for some, so that I now fully understand why the Glamoc Municipality, although it was the first one to implement the elections results, was the last one to have them verified.
"Ninth: Please, do not claim that this is not the end of an in advance prepared scenario. I simply wanted to present to you only some of the facts that will hopefully wake up your conscience. Trust me that I have much more information that all of us will have to face one day. If you are a just and ethical person, as you think you are, then you'll have to dismiss above all yourself, many government officials, and all mayors in BH, exactly because of what you refer to as my sins. I believe that you know that God is one and omniscient. I hope that you know that a condemnation of someone without a proof is a violation of fundamental human rights, the right to life, let alone principles of democracy that you promote. Perhaps I have a wild imagination, as Alun Roberts said, but I definitely do not have a wicked and sick imagination.
"A few days ago, the OHR spokesperson in Mostar stated that apartheid is in force in Glamoc. I would be grateful if your legal experts could explain to me the meaning of that term since my knowledge does not reach that level. I seem to recall that that term is used in Africa where blacks systematically persecute and humiliate whites who originally hail from former colonial powers.
"I hope that you will not take this letter too personally just as I did not take your Decision personally, since I know that all of that is the matter of business and I know that the Decision was not aimed at me personally but at the HDZ and the Croat people in the Glamoc Municipality.
"Finally, I want to emphasize that this is not a complaint but my open stand which has so far cost me a lot, since obviously your representatives do not like to hear the truth. I plead with you to spare my family from further persecution and violence, as I distrust those who harbor terrorists.
"I have realized to what extent I as a mayor of a municipality such as Glamoc would have a hard time fulfilling imposed demands, especially since this town is totally isolated from the international community, and the Federation and the canton. Expelled persons and returnees are poor, both materially and spiritually. I did not offer empty promises, because I was fully aware that I will clash with the criteria of the international community that I had to observe and which are harmful for the citizens of Glamoc.
"It is the fact that representatives of all three nations accept the mayor in Glamoc and that that acceptance provoked the opposition of the fourth player (the most important one), the international community, which is with desperation seeking justification for its inefficiency. The election campaign has started based on conflict situations, and the electoral process has been imposed on the voters. The voters are consciously organized by manipulation of the international community, which in advance knows the results of the election. It knows the end and makes mistakes knowingly. Such mistakes cannot be forgiven."