used without permission, for "fair use" only
Alliance for Ashtray
by Fatmir ALISPAHIC
Oslobodjenje, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, B-H, January 15, 2001
The deficient installation of the Alliance for Changes in power will produce consequences for the future of BH that will be difficult to correct. Two smaller parties with representation in the Parliament proposed new elections, under condition that electoral rules are adjusted to the Decision about constituent character of nations everywhere in Bosnia-Hercegovina (BH), without which nothing can be considered for a democratic change. The OSCE did not want to take into account numerous warnings that the existing, nationalist, election system, will bring about regressive results. After that turned out to be the case, distinguished BH intellectuals, as never before, were united in the assessment that the OSCE is responsible for the democratic knock down. The International Forum Bosnia, from its Mostar meeting, sent a very sharp assessment of a democratic bankruptcy of the OSCE, and legal experts of the Sarajevo University all agreed that "the international community before the elections acted counterproductively, homogenizing the nationalist electorate in the Republic of Srpska, and contributed to the literal triumph of the HDZ in BH". The press was united in resignation with respect to expectations that BH would follow democratic changes in its neighborhood. The voice of scientific and general public did not oblige in any way claimants on the Bosnian throne to oppose the implementation of senseless electoral achievements. The Alliance for Changes was envisaged under pressure by the OHR and OSCE. This coalition is an import from head to toe. The platform that served as a formal anchor for ten parties can be dismissed in all of its segments. Namely, if someone advocates "efficient implementation of the Decision about constituent character" that person cannot at the same time support the establishment of authorities that ignore that decision; if someone supports "efficient suppression of the usurpation and abuse of power, and especially corruption", then he would first have to clean up in front of his own door, etc. The intent of the OHR and the OSCE is to achieve a change of government in any way possible, and then inform their governments that they hadn't spent money in vain. Alliance members will also rather ignore the essential BH needs than a chance to take a seat on the shaky throne. The Party for BH managed to realize some of its honorable ultimatums, but Petritsch's "constitutional commissions" are not even nearly a suitable response to legal and electoral activities that need to be taken in order to implement the decision about the constituent character of nations. There were opinions that the "front of democratic and patriotic parties" should leave the OSCE in the mire of its mistakes, temporarily give up the enthronement of the Alliance, even at the cost of leaving in power the same criminals. Such pressure on the OHR and the OSCE would have resulted in the adoption of a permanent election law corresponding to the decision about constituent character, holding of new elections, so that this country will have finally obtained the authorities corresponding to its constitution. Why hasn't that been done? The first reason is the haste of leaders, and orderlies of the Alternative to achieve their simplistic dreams about power, luxurious limousines, and bodyguards, even if that makes official the barbed wire of ethnic and national divisions. Secondly the servile link with the OHR and the OSCE is so strong that there is no possibility of critical consciousness and attitude with respect to the faulty and slow policies of the central committee [of the Communist Party - referring to the OHR and the OSCE]. Naturally, it should be taken into account that the SDP, after the Serb and Croat homogenization, would have a hard time repeating its success among Bosniaks. In that sense, the Party for BH has many more reasons to look forward to the next election. The blasphemy of patriotism has blunted both among the politicians and in the public the consciousness that the BH interests should be the leading light for all goals and yearnings. That is why it was not expected that the Alliance would sacrifice its earthly ambitions for BH interests. Sovereign rule of the alliance on these 24 percent of BH territory will only confirm the non-Bosnian authorities on the left and right side of our remnants. Everything outside our multiethnic ashtray will remain the same and will put a stamp on another stage in the drama of the breakup of BH. The show that still goes on in spite of the HDZ testifies about the background of anti-Bosnian intentions in which the Alliance for Changes got involved. First the OSCE made sure that the HDZ would keep and strengthen its position. Then the HDZ purportedly asked for a piece of executive power. The Alliance proclaimed that "there can be no cooperation with national parties" (in that case, what are the Croatian Peasant's Party and the New Croatian Initiative?). By ignoring about 150,000 Croat voters, the Alliance will legitimize the sovereignty of the HDZ in cantons with Croat majority. The OSCE and the OHR are exactly promoting such an outcome. What is the final goal? The international community in 1992 incited the SDA and the HDZ to vote against the SDS regarding the holding of an independence referendum. The Serbs were outvoted, as most of them had voted for the SDS. It should be understood that rules of civic parliamentary democracy still do not apply in BH. Only when all BH nations, individually, and with sizable majorities opt for multiethnic parties or the election law bans monoethnic parties, decisions based on simple majority votes will become possible. Until then, it is not smart to give legitimacy to a Croat "republic of Srpska". In spite of the fact that the OHR and the OSCE are exerting pressure exactly in that direction. They know what they are doing.
by Zija DIZDAREVIC
Oslobodjenje, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, B-H, March 3, 2001
The lightness with which the member of BH Presidency, Ante Jelavic, and the HDZ play with the state of Bosnia-Hercegovina, its people, constitutions and laws is really unbearable. The HDZ conjurers are radicalizing the situation by drawing parallels between war criminals and the whole Croat nation, Croat nation and the HDZ, the survival of BH Croats and the survival of the HDZ leadership in BH in power. Touting the erroneous claim about alleged endangerment of Croats the HDZ is supposedly working on a project of the ideal constitutional order in BH (naturally, outside of proper procedure for a change of constitution). The HDZ first came up with the illegal Croatian People's Assembly, and then transformed it into a constitutional assembly. They are doing all this to try to protect their territory from democratic changes, and respect for the Constitution and laws. Thus, the protection of HDZ's criminal heritage has become the primary national interest and a universal national holy goal. On that basis they have reactivated pro-Ustashe emotions and rigid religious nationalism. Bosniaks are accused of being enemies of Croats only because they are more numerous. At the same time heretical apotheoses such as "Dario [Kordic], we love you like God!" can be heard. Not only Catholic religious chauvinists, but even the leadership of the Catholic Church, which has been all this time supporting the extreme right in the HDZ, are accomplices in that heresy arranged by the HDZ. Fr. Ivo Markovic has repeatedly been pointing out the way the HDZ has corrupted the clergy, thereby defending the ethical sense of faith and Church. It is not important anymore whether Vrhbosna Cardinal Vinko Puljic does or does not attend "constitutional" gatherings organized by the HDZ. Defending himself from criticism regarding his attendance of the gathering in Novi Travnik, the Cardinal says that he prevented formation of the third entity. And what did the Cardinal Puljic prevent, and what did he support? The current authorities in Zagreb are also continuing to toy with BH's separate identity. Purportedly Croatia did not send officials to Mostar, but instead dispatched Zdravko Tomac, Tudman's imitator among the Social Democrats, as a representative of the ruling coalition of six. Of course, all representatives of the "diaspora" [BH Croats] in the Croatian Parliament were also there, by which the new authorities persist in greater Croatian interpretation of BH. Ivica Racan says that he supports Bosnian independence, while at the same time he asserts that "some things in BH must be changed" as far as the position of BH Croats is concerned. The HDZ is doing what the SDS did ten years ago by establishing the "Independent Parliament of the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina". The new appointments of directors with wartime "pedigree" by Prime Minister's Mladen Ivanic's government testify the strength of the links between expansionist nationalism, wartime and post war crime in the SDS and its influence on the new authorities in RS. Instead of finally taking hold of his responsibility from Dayton with respect to the Hague Tribunal, Ivanic's government is rehabilitating individuals from the evil times. The cheapening of the BH state is also proven by the signing of the special parallel links between FRY and RS. In this process, central state institutions with jurisdiction in this matter, according to the Constitution, were ignored. The embassies of BH and FRY still haven't been established, key inter-state treaties haven't been signed, and there are attempts to make the special line FRY-RS operative. High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch made a mistake this time. Trying to make sure the agreement FRY-RS does not violate the Dayton Peace Agreement, he himself ignored state institutions. In return BH made a claim on FRY territory thanks to the Riyaset of the Islamic Community in BH. Namely, the central celebration of Kurban-Bayram in organization of the Islamic Community from BH will be in Sandzak [Serbia]. The maintenance of spiritual links between all Bosniaks is not questionable. The problem is that the Islamic Community if not a Bosniak Islamic Community but an Islamic Community from BH, and it proclaimed itself in charge of Bosniaks who are citizens of other states. In this manner Riyaset only supports the practice according to which [Serb] patriarch Pavle considers at least a half of BH for the exclusive property of the Serb Orthodox Church, which has in RS in violation of the Constitution obtained privileged status on the line of Eastern Orthodox Christian fundamentalism. The SDA is questioning the constitutional character of Petritsch's decisions but it did not request that measures against the unconstitutional behavior of Jelavic and the HDZ be taken. Just as Alija Izetbegovic was not bothered by Momcilo Krajisnik, regardless of what he did. The SDA from the start tolerated unconstitutional behavior of the SDS and the HDZ, practicing itself extra-institutional decision making and reign which, among other, turned it into a hostage of a corrupt mafia. For years BH has been living under a sort of a continuous coup and powerlessness to enforce the Constitution. Political banditry has been at work all this time. Foreigners are chief defenders of our constitutional order. Constitutions do not regulate (self)protection. Democratic forces will support Petritsch in the measures for the protection of the constitutional order. However, the High Representative and the Democratic Alliance must take measures for the systemic protection of the authority of the Constitution and laws.
Constitutional Commission of the FBH Parliament Lower House
Decisions Only When All Members Are Present
by S. SEHERCEHAJIC
Oslobodjenje, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, B-H, April 4, 2001
The High Representative would have to as soon as possible name the two remaining members of the Constitutional Commission of the Lower House of the Federation BH Parliament, so that this body could finally start working on the changes of the FBH Constitution in accordance with the decision of the BH Constitutional Court about the constituent character of nations. "After completing the membership of the commission, the commission will within 30 days make all the necessary changes and amendments to the FBH Constitution in accordance with the Constitutional Court decision about the constituent character of nations," the president of the commission, Jakob Finci, concluded yesterday, at the end of a short meeting of the commission. At the start of the meeting, Senka Nozica, a member of the commission, opposed any discussion of concrete changes of the Constitution or amendments to the Constitution. She was also against the holding of meetings until the High Representative in BH names another two members of this body from the ranks of Croats. She also demanded a meeting of the Constitutional Commission from the Federation with the Commission for Constitutional Matters from the Republic of Srpska. "I aim to protect members of all nations in both entities and want to keep the right to leave this commission unless the RS commission makes appropriate solutions in accordance with the decision of the BH Constitutional Court, and if the decisions regarding the rights of nations in BH are not identical in both entities," Nozica stated. Seada Palavric, another member of the commission, shared Nozica's opinion. She also announced that she would resign unless the High Representative makes sure that "the decision of the BH Constitutional Court is implemented in the same manner in both entities". They were joined by Sahbaz Dzihanovic, as well as a few other members of the Constitutional Commission, so that the discussion, instead of dealing with concrete issues related to the changes in the FBH Constitution, switched towards the relations with the Commission for Constitutional Matters of RS, and the solutions offered by the RS Government. According to some members these solutions do not agree with the decision of the BH Constitutional Court. Ivan Brigic added that the members of the Constitutional Commission never agreed about the principles of their work and suggested that three approaches are included in these principles. First, the commission will work on the implementation of the BH Constitutional Court decision; second the commission advocates the establishment of identical standards in the work of commissions in the Federation and RS; third, the commission will not make any decisions until all of its members can participate in its work. Slavisa Sucur and Jakob Finci tried to calm down the situation. Sucur stressed that he did not intend to work as a member of a Constitutional Commission that would base its work on the changes that should happen in the neighboring entity, while Finci said that he was convinced that the four meetings of the commission held so far were not "a waste of time". "During these meetings and in the time between the meetings we obtained material, your proposals for the changes of the FBH Constitution, which will allow us to immediately start with efficient work when the remaining members are appointed," Finci said and added that his work "did not depend on the solutions that will be found in RS". According to him it was much more important to name two Croats in the Constitutional Commission of FBH, as the current political moment does not allow the commission to make any decisions without equal participation of four representatives of all three constituent nations and the equal number of representatives of others.
Battle for Power in Una-Sana Canton
DNZ Strategy: Achieve Return of Fikret Abdic Through Participation in Alliance
by Dika BEJDIC
Oslobodjenje, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, B-H, February 12, 2001
Even though for months before the elections, and especially after the elections in the preparations for the implementation of the election results, the SDP and the Party for Bosnia-Hercegovina (SzBiH) denied that they were talking to the DNZ or negotiating regarding the setting up of cantonal authorities (and it is widely known that Fikret Abdic directs all activities of the DNZ via mobile phone and through his deputy Rifet Dolic and collaborators), on Friday at the session of the Una-Sana canton Assembly everything became public. No one can deny that the DNZ has taken the chief role as an important factor in the Alliance, which has never been set up in the Una-Sana canton, as they set conditions for the election of the governor, after which the session was adjourned. The DNZ has its own candidate, Muhamed Skrgic, and this party has five representatives in the assembly. The previous governor Muhamed Beganovic was elected with their assistance, after promising to appoint DNZ members to the cantonal government. However, he never fulfilled his promise. However, he was again the most important player in all the negotiations with the DNZ. He visited Velika Kladusa to agree details about the division of power. Beganovic made the decision to pull out of running for governor and instead run for the president of the assembly after these talks. During these talks the parties made other decisions regarding the moves that would bring the DNZ to power in the process of the implementation of the election results.
In all of these combinations the SDP was supposed to support DNZ ambitions, even though in the past they tried to convince the voters [that they were against the participation of the DNZ in the local government]. Having that in mind, Adem Ibrahimpasic, the president of the cantonal organization of the SDP refused to attend the talks between the DNZ and the Alliance with the representatives of international organizations regarding the division of power and the office of president. In his opinion, it is better to give up their own candidate for governor than to give in to the DNZ demands to have their people appointed to the offices of the Prime Minister, ministers of justice, education and police. He did not understand why the DNZ would not be satisfied with the offered office of deputy prime minister, and two or three less important ministries. Comments from the ranks of the SDP and the SzBiH were that the DNZ was demanding too much, while the SDA said that that was not too much, as the DNZ has earned perhaps even more with their support for the opposition parties in the past, as the president of the cantonal organization of the SDA, Fadil Islamovic, said. Now, with the announcement of the DNZ demands, earlier doubts were confirmed. These doubts were frequently interpreted as baseless attacks on the DNZ, and claimed that the DNZ wanted to implement its view regarding education, religion, culture, information and sport, through control of competent ministries.
Carefully Selected Ministries
Why else would they want the control of judiciary and police if they did not want to introduce "their order"? Why didn't they ask for the ministry of finances or industry? Besides, the DNZ prides itself on its mastery of economy, and claims that without them there can be no progress in the canton, and frequently lists its experts for economy and technology. Why didn't they fight for the ministry of social policy, refugees and displaced persons? One would have to be blind not to realize that the true intentions of the DNZ and Fikret Abdic are to take over through negotiations what they lost on the battlefield.
Bosniaks from the Drina Valley Region protest against questioning of Naser Oric
Hero, not a Criminal!
by V.Z. and B.I.
Oslobodjenje, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, B-H, April 2, 2001
About a hundred Bosniaks from the Drina Valley Region, mostly persons expelled from Srebrenica, protested on Monday in front of the UN Mission building in Sarajevo, as they say, against the demands of the International War Crime Tribunal (ICTY) to question Naser Oric. According to the claims of the protesters the Hague Tribunal was pursuing Oric because of the alleged crimes committed in eastern Bosnia early in the war. Expelled Bosniaks gathered in front of the UN Mission building early in the morning. As none of the UN officials addressed them, they broke inside the courtyard of the mission and on several occasions tried to break into the building by force. About 40 policemen from the Sarajevo Police provided assistance to the UN security guards. The peaceful protest, as the gathered Bosniaks from Srebrenica referred to this rally, at one point turned into an incident, as a handful of protesters, after a verbal skirmish with the policemen, physically attacked the journalists. One of the protesters hit the cameraperson of the TVBiH Public Service, who fortunately was not injured. Carrying placards with Oric's portrait, and signs "UN try Chetniks, not Oric", "International Community is an accomplice in genocide", and "He is not guilty", the gathered protesters told the journalists that they had come to defend a "hero who could only help the residents of Srebrenica. He did not attack anyone". "If necessary, I will lie in that grave with Serbs that were killed by Oric because I know that that is a lie. While he defended the Drina Valley he was good for the international community and now no one supports him. That is a shame!," said one of the protesters. The statement issued by the Residents of the Drina Valley Association states that "the extradition of Naser Oric to the Hague tribunal is a beginning of a trial of all those who survived July 1995, after the international community betrayed the safe zone and thus issued death sentences for more than 10,000 Bosniaks from the Drina Valley Region that were carried out by Serb executors who are still free, after six years". In the statement for Radio Free Europe, an official from the Sarajevo Canton Police stated that the gathered protesters dispersed after Oric showed up together with his lawyer, at the request of protesters, and appealed to them to leave the space in front of the UN building. Naser Oric is one of the organizers of the units of the Army of BH that were active in east Bosnia and defended the region of Srebrenica and Bratunac. Before the war he was a member of the special forces unit of the Serbian Police. In 1992 he joined the units of the Army of BH in east Bosnia and soon afterwards became their commander. At the time of the fall of Srebrenica in 1995 he was formally the commander of the 82nd division of the Army of BH, but several days before the attack of Serb forces, following orders from Sarajevo, he left the enclave and went to Tuzla. According to the media in the Republic of Srpska, Oric could be responsible for murders of several tens of Serb civilians and soldiers in the villages of Kravica and the Bratunac Municipality. Although he has never been publicly indicted for war crimes, media in Sarajevo have on several occasions claimed that Oric's wartime activities were being investigated by the Hague Tribunal, especially after the recent visit by prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who claimed that names of several Bosniaks are included in secret lists of persons indicted for war crimes in BH. After the fall of Srebrenica Oric totally withdrew from both the politics and military and is today a restaurateur and the owner of an elite restaurant on the shore of lake Modrac near Tuzla.
Translated on April 18, 2001