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What did Irfan Ajanovic say to Carla Del Ponte?
"We Do Not Trust Croatian Judiciary"
by S. HODZIC
Oslobodjenje, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, B-H, September 7, 2001
"We do not trust the Croatian judiciary and that is why we requested from the chief Hague prosecutor that the Hague Tribunal try Fikret Abdic," Irfan Ajanovic, president of the Association of Camp Inmates of Bosnia-Hercegovina, stated for Oslobodjenje. On Wednesday, Ajanovic spent an hour in conversation with the chief prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal. Ajanovic explained that the Association of Camp Inmates dos not trust the Croatian judiciary because it does not recognize the objective command responsibility of Croat officers and will therefore not accept command responsibility for Fikret Abdic. "Deputy chief prosecutor in the Hague Graham Bluitt in 1998 sent a letter to the Cantonal prosecutor in Bihac in which he said that the local court should try Abdic and that the Hague Tribunal could jump in later in the trial," Ajanovic said. He added that he had given that letter to the chief prosecutor Del Ponte. Ajanovic also said that they pointed out to the chief prosecutor Del Ponte problems with the indictment of Fikret Abdic issued by the Croatian judiciary. As Ajanovic pointed out, that indictment mentions numerous witnesses who allegedly reside in Bihac, in streets that do not exist! "That indicates that supporters of Abdic's party, the DNZ, have skillfully infiltrated the whole process," Ajanovic claims. He says that the Association of Camp Inmates has collected 150 new documents and statements that they will submit to the indictment against Abdic. "We insisted that in the trial of Fikret Abdic the legal office of attorney Ante Nobilo represent the victims in Karlovac," Ajanovic continues. "Nobilo gladly accepted our offer and he will carefully study the indictment against Abdic. We shall send him the new documents we have found". Ajanovic said that, investigating Fikret Abdic's case, they also found numerous new documents that "provide good evidence for new charges against Ibrahim Djedovic". "We have given all those documents to Del Ponte," Ajanovic emphasizes. According to Ajanovic, Del Ponte has taken the documents and "registered" the request that the Hague Tribunal take over the Abdic case. Other participants in the meeting with the Hague chief prosecutor were Malika Malesevic, secretary of the Association, and a former female camp inmate who is one of the Hague Tribunal witnesses. On behalf of 194,868 camp inmates of Bosnia-Hercegovina, they handed to Del Ponte a letter of thanks for bringing war criminals to justice.
Fate of Controversial building in Bradina
Mosque To Be Moved In October
Oslobodjenje, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, B-H, September 16, 2001
The mosque in Bradina [Serb village before the war], which was during the war built on the plot owned by late Bogdan Kures, will next month most likely be moved, according to the military Mufti Ismail ef. Smajlovic. The decision to move the mosque in Bradina was reached on May 21 of this year by the Rijaset of the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Hercegovina. The Rijaset authorized two muftis, military Mufti Ismail ef. Smajlovic and Hercegovina Mufti Seid ef. Smajkic, to "in coordination with competent bodies of the Islamic Community and military authorities find a new location to which the mosque will be moved." This decision was made by the Rijaset after attempts to reach an agreement with the family of the late Bogdan Kures failed. The mosque in Bradina was built based on the orders of the then commander of the Fourth Corps of the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina, Brigade General Ramiz Drakovic. On September 17 General Drekovic laid the corner stone for the controversial mosque, which was completed and opened to the public on August 25, 1995. As many buildings completed during the war, the mosque did not have a construction permit issued by the local authorities, or a permission of the owner of the plot on which it was built. Although the Army handed the mosque over to the Islamic Community, the community did not add it to the list of wakfs, so that it is still considered for an Army property. Given that Islamic sharia law is very strict regarding the construction of mosques and demand that the land and money used for construction must be unquestionably clean, the leadership of the Islamic Community has taken the stand that the mosque must be moved from haram [unclean] land to a different, halal [clean], spot. There was a dilemma regarding where the mosque should be moved. It was resolved last week at a meeting in Konjic. "At that meeting we decided that the Medzlis should send a request to the Konjic municipality to find a new location in the village of Bradina and issue the needed construction permits," mufti Smajlovic says. Although the family of late Bogdan Kures does not insist that the mosque be removed, the Islamic Community wants that that be done as soon as possible. "I'd be happy if the procedure of finding the new location and obtaining the necessary documentation were completed by the end of the month, and if as early as October we move the mosque to a different spot in Bradina," mufti Smajlovic says.
Scandal in Bugojno
Why Were Croats Offended
Oslobodjenje, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, B-H, September 17, 2001
The opening of the mosque and Islamic center of the Saudi princess El-Jevahira el-Ibrahim, last Friday in Bugojno, was partly disturbed by the text in the bulletin printed for that occasion. Clumsy formulation of the messages in the bulletin was experienced by the local Croats as an insult. The bulletin was printed in color, on glossy paper and inserted into a part of circulation of Dnevni Avaz sold in Bugojno, and has already provoked political reactions. The Split daily Slobodna Dalmacija has already in two issues, from Saturday and Monday, exploited this topic, justifiably criticizing the bulletin, but also using old stereotypes of the Western perception of the East and Islam, including the headline "Oriental Atmosphere in Bugojno". What provoked such reaction by the local Croats? The text of the bulletin suggests that the problem is due to a clumsy translation (numerous grammatical and stylistic errors), simplified portrayal of the past of Bosnia, insufficient knowledge of the present in Bosnia and lack of sensitivity with respect to others who live in this region. The introductory article, which gives the basic geographical, historical, cultural, and demographic facts about Bosnia, starts with the statement that Bosnia-Hercegovina is a "republic", which reminds non-Bosniaks of centralizing tendencies. Perhaps someone would say that such sensitivity is exaggerated, but Bosniaks also react very strongly when separatists use the attribute "former". The most questionable part of the bulletin is the article "briefly about Bugojno". That particle literally says: "One of the characteristics of the town of Bugojno is the pride of its residents regarding their Islamic identity, and they are true to their Bosniak roots. This is one of very few towns in Bosnia-Hercegovina in which there are very few Croats, even though it is set near the regions inhabited by them." What did the author want to say, and how can these sentences be interpreted? One should be honest and understand why these lines were insulting for Bugojno Croats. The message that Bugojno is one of "few towns in Bosnia in which there are very few Croats" has very clear political implications in the present context. Boban's followers were given ammunition for a lethal propaganda coup, so that now they can scare their fellow Croats with the "invasion of the Crescent moon". Another issue is the failure to mention Serbs at all in the bulletin, although Serbs were about 20 percent of population in this municipality before the war. In Bosnia, one must be careful with religious and ethnic sensitivities. The authors of the mentioned bulletin did not pay attention to that. There is no indication who composed and published the bulletin. The most likely source is the Saudi Committee, which only hired Avaz's infrastructure for the distribution of the bulletin on the occasion of the opening of the mosque. It is understandable that the Saudis do not have to know everything about Bosnia-Hercegovina and that they do not have a balanced view of the sensibilities of others. It would be good if the hosts, in this case the Islamic Community, in the future offered their services and edited publications published by foreigners, in order to avoid unnecessary gaffes. In this case, it should not matter that the bulletin was published by a big international donor. There are several important reasons for that. The future of Bosnia-Hercegovina lies in ethnic and religious tolerance and development of sensitivity to others, and that is a long-term Bosniak interest. Bosniaks are now under a double scrutiny, in the region as Bosniaks, and globally as Muslims. We should be aware of that.
Translated on September 26, 2002