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International Community and HDZ
Moves Whose goal is to Eliminate HDZ Could Ultimately Backfire
by Kreso PETRIC
Hrvatska Rijec, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, B-H, September 23,
Arrests of Croats from Bosnia-Hercegovina (BH) and charges of their alleged
involvement in the murder of the late deputy minister of the Federation BH, Jozo
Leutar, have been received with incredulity in Croatia. Furthermore after
Klein's decided assertion that the arrest of HVO General Ivan Andabak was also
related to the Leutar's murder, the whole construction almost provokes scorn.
Although there have so far been no official comments form the government's
circles, Racan's decided assertion that Andabak was arrested because of
suspicions regarding his involvement in cocaine smuggling clearly indicates what
is going on. Knowledgeable sources claim that the Croatian leadership is aware
of the situation and that the whole indictment against Croats from BH is so
shoddy that it is not only a judicial but also a political disgrace.
Namely, to accuse the driver Cosic (who drove the car when Leutar was wounded)
of participation in that terrorist act, roughly parallels earlier Serbian
accusations that Bosniaks bombed themselves at the Sarajevo market Merkale, or
that the inhabitants of Dubrovnik were setting tires on fire in Stradun to
accuse the Serbians of the bombardment of Dubrovnik, which they (Serbians) would
never do, of course. The Croatian political circles usually state that the goal
of this judicial disgrace is to criminalize the HDZ BH before the forthcoming
general elections in BH. General Klein's assertions that some high Croat
political officials in BH allegedly obstructed the investigation in connection
with Leutar's murder have the same goal. However, the aforementioned political
circles are doubtful regarding the success of that plan. Namely, such a
baseless indictment could simply backfire. Instead of criminalization of the
HDZ, it could provoke the homogenization of the Croat voters around the HDZ.
The HDZ would thereby possibly end up with more votes that it could hope for
without this rather dishonorable manipulation with the indictment fabricated by
General Klein and Wolfgang Petritsch.
Having in mind the whole context, the Croatian authorities clearly distanced
themselves from the case. For example, deputy Prime Minister Goran Granic
clearly stated that Andabak cannot be extradited to Bosnia-Hercegovina, as did
deputy Minister of Justice, Ranko Marijan, but in much clearer terms (according
to the Constitution, Croatian citizens cannot be extradited to other states).
Furthermore, one can discern irony in the statements of Croatian officials. For
example, Goran Granic stated that he would like to see the evidence that
allegedly incriminates Andabak and proves his involvement in the terrorist
murder of Jozo Leutar. The answer from Sarajevo still hasn't arrived, and it
probably never will. Namely, the whole trial is obviously meant for the next
general elections in BH.
It should be kept in mind that representatives of the international community
have a long time ago set for themselves a goal to eliminate national[ist]
parties representing all three nations in BH. In the Republic of Srpska they
achieved that thanks to the Hague Tribunal and Milorad Dodik, among Bosniaks
that operation achieved results by putting Lagumdzija's SDP in place of the SDA,
while it has only failed among BH Croats. In spite of all attempts so far, the
HDZ is still the dominant party among Croats in BH. Zubak's NHI and some other
Croat parties in BH simply haven't succeeded. One of the reasons is definitely
the fact that certain moves of the international community whose goal is to
eliminate the HDZ simply backfire. Judging by the reactions of the Croat voters
in BH, that will be the case this time as well.
Klein's Amateurish Methods
A high Croat official, who wanted to remain anonymous, stated that the current
indictment actually harms mostly the reputation of the international community.
Who will in the future trust Klein or Petritsch if they back such pamphlets with
their authority, he said. The indictment is probably a consequence of
intelligence information that this is the best mode of attack on the HDZ BH, and
the whole case is rather sad. The mentioned high official reminded that even
the Communists refrained from such staged trials. Even in Communism the
authorities made sure to have some witnesses or at least attempted to brake the
suspects and force them to sign a confession admitting all the charges. The
official especially emphasized that the Croatian authorities do not want to
participate in something like that in order to avoid a loss of credibility. The
official also emphasized that the official Zagreb, as far as the indictment and
a possible trial are concerned, is actually unpleasantly surprised with
amateurish methods and lack of principles of the international community in
Chances of Other Croat Parties are Minimal
It is not a secret that the ruling coalition in Croatia would prefer if the BH
Croats voted in the forthcoming general elections for a party other than the HDZ
BH. However, after recent arrests and Klein's indictment, members of the
Croatian Parliament off the record predict that the chances of other Croatian
parties are minimal. Zubak's NHI, Simic's HSS, Brkic's HNZ, have been destroyed
by this shoddy indictment. The same applies to the possibility that the SDP BH
would win the trust of some Croats. It is especially striking that the
international community, contrary to its publicly proclaimed goals, has abused
Bosniak political forces and Bosniak courts for its attempt to destroy the HDZ.
Thus, instead of strengthening the rule of law, the whole case has got the
outline of interethnic revenge. Finally, everything boiled down to the well
known saying - divide et impera - divide and rule.
Translated on October 20, 2000