Post by TsarSamuil on Dec 29, 2011 14:15:35 GMT -5
Bosnia government formed after 14 months.
Independent.co.uk Wednesday 28 December 2011
After more than a year of negotiations, political parties in Bosnia have agreed on the formation of a government.
For 14 months, election winners had quarrelled over who would run which ministry, but agreement was reached because the lack of a budget could have brought state institutions to a halt in 2012.
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik told reporters "it's good that this has come to an end".
The deal clears the way for the formation of a government as soon as January.
Bosnia's three ethnic groups share power and distribute leading posts fairly, but after last year's October elections Croat and Serb nationalists insisted positions reserved for Serbs and Croats should go only to nationalist parties, not to a multi-ethnic party that won most of the votes.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jan 26, 2012 14:17:17 GMT -5
Bosnian police arrest Wahhabi leader.
Tanjug, Dnevni avaz Region | Wednesday 25.01.2012 | 14:03
GORNJA MAOČA -- Strong police forces arrested Nusret Imamović, his brother Eldin and one more person in the village of Gornja Maoča on Wednesday.
Police officers are seen during the operation in Gornja Maoča (Dnevni Avaz)
The strong police forces have been searching several locations in the Wahhabi community in the the village of Gornja Maoča since Wednesday morning.
“The goal of the SIPA officers’ operation is to collect evidence that could be tied to the mentioned attack on the U.S. Embassy and all the evidence that will possibly be found will be handed over to the Bosnia-Herzegovina Prosecution after forensic processing,” SIPA has reported.
The Bosnia-Herzegovina Prosecution and State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) have announced that more details about the operation will be released later during the day.
According to unofficial information, around 150 SIPA members and police officers are taking part in the operation.
It was determined earlier that Melvid Jašarević, who fired at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo in late October, had spent time in Gornja Maoča before the attack.
Post by TsarSamuil on Apr 27, 2012 15:56:28 GMT -5
Dodik: We're preparing for Bosnia's disintegration.
Beta Region | April 27, 2012 | 14:14
BELGRADE -- President of the Serb Republic (RS) Milorad Dodik said in Belgrade on Friday that Bosnia-Herzegovina was not sustainable as a state.
However, its breakup "is not a matter of immediate future", he noted.
The post-war Bosnia is made up of two entities: the RS, and the Muslim-Croat Federation (FBiH).
"We are preparing for the disintegration of Bosnia-Herzegovina," Dodik told a conference dubbed "Position and Perspectives of the Serb People in the Region".
"Only the RS is self-sustainable in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Nothing in Bosnia-Herzegovina is self-sustainable expect the RS, and because it is capable of surviving, it is (seen as) a problem," he stressed.
Beta news agency is reporting that Dodik's speech received applause from Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković and Diaspora Minter Srđan Srećković, who were among the participants.
The conference, organized by the Ministry for the Diaspora, brought together representatives of Serb communities in Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, Croatia and Montenegro.
Serbia's New President Denies Srebrenica Massacre Was Genocide.
Novinite.com World | June 1, 2012, Friday| 228 views
The notorious 1995 massacre of 8 000 Bosnian Muslims in the town of Srebrenica was not genocide but the killings amounted to "grave war crimes," Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic declared on Friday.
"There was no genocide in Srebrenica," Nikolic said in an interview with Montenegrin state television published on its website Friday.
"In Srebrenica, grave war crimes were committed by some Serbs, who should be found, prosecuted and punished," said Nikolic, as cited by BGNES, just days after he was sworn into office after defeating Serbia's ex pro-EU President Boris Tadic.
About 8 000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered in a matter of days after Bosnian Serb troops overran the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica in Bosnia in July 1995 in what was the gravest atrocity in Europe since World War II.
The UN Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the UN's highest court, the International Court of Justice, have both ruled that the Srebrenica massacre constitutes genocide.
"It is very difficult to indict someone and to prove before a court that an event qualifies as a genocide", the new Serbian President declared without commenting on the rulings of the ICTY and the ICJ.
Former Bosnian Serb political and military leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are currently on trial before the ICTY on genocide charges notably for their role in the massacre.
Nikolic also made it clear that he does not intend to go to Srebrenica, which has a yearly commemoration on July 11.
"Do not ask all the time of the Serbian president when he is going to Srebrenica. My predecessor was there and paid tribute... why should every president do the same?" he said, lashing out at the interviewer.
Former president Boris Tadic apologized to Srebrenica victims when he attended the 2005 commemoration of the massacre. He was also present at the ceremony in 2010.
BANJA LUKA -- Republic of Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik said on Saturday that Bosniaks were committing “self-genocide” by constantly claiming they were victims.
“Nobody is threatening them. The RS and Serbs did not commit genocide in the past. Genocide was committed against us in Jasenovac and in other places, which was supported wholeheartedly by (Bosnian chief mufti) Mustafa Cerić’s predecessors,“ he told reporters.
Dodik reacted to Cerić’s statement that Bosnian Muslims were facing new genocide.
The RS president noted that a “huge crime” happened in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and that individuals who had committed it needed to be put on trial.
Dodik stressed that the elections in the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Herzegovina were underway.
“The fact that Mustafa Cerić is dealing with politics shows that the role of the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Herzegovina is completely negative in this society,” he said, adding that the religious community should stay outside politics and the government.
According to him, the Islamic Community has enabled extreme Muslim groups, such as Wahhabis, Salafists and others, to operate freely in the country.
“All terrorist attacks that happened here were done by members of the radical Wahhabi movement,” Dodik said.
Post by TsarSamuil on Aug 17, 2012 12:42:18 GMT -5
stealing this from chornyvolk^^
Balkans Bristles Under Turkeys Gaze July 25, 2012 5:16 am Analysis by Vesna Peric Zimonjic
BELGRADE, Jul 24 2012 (IPS) In the decade following the break-up of Yugoslavia, it was rare for a statement made by a foreign politician to stir heated debate in the Eastern European bloc. Since 2001, the independent nations of former Yugoslavia have been focused on rebuilding their economies from the rubble of simultaneous and protracted conflicts throughout the region and geopolitics have largely been confined to the slow process of reconciliation among neighbouring states.
But the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogans proclamation last week that Bosnia-Herzegovina is now in the care of his country generated much public controversy in the Balkan states of Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is entrusted to us, Erdogan told a meeting of the provincial heads of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara last week.
He recalled a statement made by the former Alija Izetbegovic, Bosnia and Herzegovinas first president, when Erdogan visited him on his deathbed in 2003. He (Izetbegovic) whispered in my ear these phrases: Bosnia (and Herzegovina) is entrusted to you (Turkey). These places are what remain of the Ottoman Empire, he said.
Izetbegovic, who led Bosnia into the war of independence in 1992 and subsequently became the countrys first president, died of a heart disease in 2003.
The thought of being passed off as a trust to any country is enough to spark intense opposition but the statement is made worse by the fact that Bosnia is home to a highly diverse population comprising various ethno-religious communities including Bosniak Muslims, Catholic Bosnian Croats and Orthodox Serbs as well.
The latter two groups make up more than half of Bosnias population of four million. For them, the 500 years of Turkish-Ottoman rule that ended only with the collapse of the empire at the end of World War I are remembered almost exclusively as a period of severe oppression.
Bosnian Serb politicians were quick to voice their anger over the statement.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is not a land to be inherited, Igor Radojicic, a spokesman for the Bosnian Serb Parliament stressed, while Bosnian Croat leader Dragan Covic told local media he doubted that Izetbegovic could be so powerful as to believe he has a country to give (away) as a trust.
The controversy quickly went viral online, with websites in the region becoming the battlegrounds for a war of words between various ethnic groups.
United against Muslims, non-Muslims expressed outrage against the statement and open fear about the influence of Islam in the region. People who are not of Islamic faith tend to be surprised when they see many women in Sarajevo dressed in traditional Islamic ways, with scarves or even in abayas, as Bosnia was a secular country before the wars of the 90s, Zijad Jusufovic (47), a tour guide in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, told IPS.
But there are also others signs that are not yet visible (to a majority of the population) for instance unemployed men get financial support if they become regular mosque goers, war widows get financial support as well up to 600 dollars if they and their children become devout Muslims.
That began in the 90s, as Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Malaysia (began) to support Muslims here, he added.
Pragmatic foreign policy
Belgrade historian Slavenko Terzic told the leading Serbian daily Politika that Erdogans proclamation was a dangerous statement for the Balkans.
His colleague, Cedomir Antic, described the move as an unprecedented provocation that should be officially renounced by Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.
But for analysts and experts, the statement by the Turkish Prime Minister came as no surprise.
The statement represents a political reality: that (Turkey) considers the Balkans a priority in its ambitious foreign policy, Darko Tanaskovic, an expert in oriental studies at the University of Belgrade, told IPS.
For Voja Lalic, a veteran journalist who dedicated his career to Turkey, Erdogans statement was neither accidental, nor unexpected.
The (AKP) government is trying to impose itself as a regional power in areas of the former Ottoman Empire, not only in the Balkans, but in the Middle East and former Soviet republics of Islamic background as well, Lalic told IPS.
Perhaps the statement about legacy was a little counterproductive for Turkeys long-term interests, Tanaskovic told IPS, especially since it raised fears in Bosnia about Ankaras expansionist mindset.
He added, however, that Turkeys foreign policy is distinguished by a high degree of pragmatism, referred to by historians and analysts as Neo-Osmanism. Tanaskovic described this ideology as a mix of Islamism, Turkish nationalism and Osman imperialism, a foreign policy strategy that is nostalgic for imperial times, he told IPS.
It is (this) pragmatism that dominates Turkeys foreign policy, Lalic says. Turks are excellent traders and they use that skill always and everywhere, he added.
Sarajevo columnist Borivoje Simic recently wrote, Private capital, interested in profit only, which does not differ between nations, colours or race, has yet to enter Bosnia. So far, this country has not proven to be a stable, comfortable place for investment, despite the political love that has been expressed by many, including Turkey.
But a brief look at Turkeys economic presence in the Balkans shows that this is now changing. According to Turkeys economic ministry, trade between Turkey and the countries in the Balkans grew from 2.9 billion dollars in 2000 to 18.4 billion dollars in 2011.
At the same time, direct investment into these nations grew from 30 million dollars in 2002 to 189 million in 2011.
Out of the 1.8 million dollars invested abroad in 2011, seven percent went to the Balkans, according to Turkish offocials. This money was poured into diverse industries such as communications, banking, construction, mining and retail sectors.
Culturally, too, Turkeys presence in the Balkans is increasing rapidly.
Turkish soap-operas have (become more popular than) South American shows, Tanaskovic told IPS.
It is this strategy (so-called soft power) that creates a positive image about Turkey, he said in reference to the dozens of Turkish TV series that currently rule the Balkans screens.
Millions were glued to their TV screens from February until June this year, when the first 55 episodes of a saga on Suleiman the Magnificent aired in the region. Stories of the 16th century ruler and his court immediately captured the hearts of thousands of citizens.
Such was the popularity of these shows that various sociologists began to study the phenomenon.
The Turkish oriental element presents a shared and familiar atmosphere for millions, harkening back to a collective cultural identity, and even elements of a common language, that have survived for centuries, according to Lalic.
Turkey has also opened two universities in Bosnia the International University of Sarajevo (IUS) and the International Burch University (IBU), the latter established by private individuals that include Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen.
The growing popularity of the Turkish seaside is also an indicator of closer ties, Lalic added.
The Turkish seaside ranks third among Serbs, whose favourite holiday destinations have hitherto been Montenegro or Greece. Now the Turkish Mediterranean coast is attracting thousands: 140,000 Serbs flew there in the first half of the year, with more tourists expected in the coming months.
It is such fun to be in Turkey, said Ivana Djuraskovic (40), who plans to re-visit the Turkish resort of Bodrum this year.
When I hear Turkish words, which are Serbian as well, such as sanduk (box), kapija (gate), hajde (come on), taman (enough), carsav (linen), secer (sugar), kackavalj (cheese) or kralj (king), I feel at home, she added.
Post by TsarSamuil on Aug 17, 2012 12:46:33 GMT -5
Blowback in Bosnia - What Has Interventionism Wrought?
Antiwar.com by Nebojsa Malic, August 17, 2012
There ought to be no doubt by now that the Empire is using sheet music composed for interventions in the Balkans to score its march to war on Syria, just as it had in Libya. It is the age of the sequel, and not just in Hollywood.
How ironic, then, that the Syrian crisis is causing blowback in Bosnia, of all places.
Bosnia has long been the political equivalent of a damaged nuclear reactor, ever on the brink of catastrophic meltdown while the leaders of its three ethno-religious communities and their foreign overlords bicker about the levers and buttons in the control room.
The latest crisis took place on August 3, when the UN General Assembly adopted a Saudi-sponsored resolution aimed at undermining the government in Damascus. Twelve countries openly opposed the resolution, while 31 abstained. Bosnia’s envoy should have been among them; instead, he voted in favor. This outraged the Bosnian Serbs, who demanded the resignation of the country’s Foreign Minister for acting outside his constitutional authority.
A Reuters report spun the row as "Serbs blocking [Bosnia's] progress towards EU membership." This is a red herring. Though the EU prefers omnipotent managerial states, they don’t have to be centralized; Germany is a federation after all, and Belgium – where the EU capital is located – has shown it could be just as dysfunctional as Bosnia, if not as violent. The Bosnian row is really about the perennial questions of trust and power.
Bosnia’s Constitution - annex IV of the Dayton Accords that ended the fighting in 1995 – invests the country’s tripartite Presidency, with authority over foreign policy issues. The Presidency is currently chaired by Bakir Izetbegovic, son of the wartime Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic, whose party was until recently a junior partner in the governing coalition of the Muslim-Croat Federation. Leading that coalition is Zlatko Lagumdzija, head of the Social Democrats (SDP), who is also the country’s Foreign Minister.
Normally, the Presidency would have meet to discuss the resolution and pass the instructions on to the Foreign Ministry. The meeting did not happen, though, so "Izetbegovic, a Muslim, said he had advised Lagumdzija to take his cue from the presidency’s earlier decisions that were in favor of previous U.N. resolutions on Syria." (Reuters)
The Forgotten Conflict
Recall that the Bosnian War broke out in 1992 when Izetbegovic the elder reneged on a power-sharing agreement mediated by the EU, and unilaterally declared Bosnia’s independence. While the misconception of "Serbian aggression" took root in the Western and Islamic public, Bosnia’s problem all along has been a lack of trust between its three ethnic communities.
This is not endemic to Serb-Muslim relations, either. While Muslims and Croats had joined forces to separate Bosnia from Yugoslavia in 1992, they had mutually opposing agendas as to what Bosnia ought to look like, which spilled over into open warfare during 1993-94. Their bitter, brutal conflict only ended when the Empire forced them into an anti-Serb alliance in late 1994, thus creating the Federation.
The Dayton order quickly began to be undermined by the very powers charged with its implementation: over the years, a succession of "High Representatives" imposed a series of decisions ostensibly aimed at making Bosnia "more functional", but in fact favoring centralization as envisioned by Muslim parties. Calls for centralization became even more desperate as foreign donations intended to help Bosnia rebuild dried up, and the bloated bureaucratic apparatus of the Federation found itself at a distinct disadvantage compared to the much leaner administration in the Serb Republic. But while the Croats’ 2001 political revolt against Muslim domination was crushed, the Serbs held firm and eventually stared down the Empire. Ironically, the most ambitious plan to "reform" Dayton failed in 2006 due to Muslim opposition.
Likewise, Bosnia’s government crisis in 2011 was not a product of "Serb obstruction," but rather of unresolved relations between Muslims and Croats. Following the 2010 general elections, the Social Democrats joined forces with the Izetbegovic’s SDA and several smaller parties. Cut out of the deal, the major Croat party (HDZ) blocked attempts to appoint the Council of Ministers for almost a year. In this, they had the backing of the Bosnian Serbs, who saw the opportunity to weaken the Muslim centralizers. In the end, the Muslim-dominated coalition gave in and a deal was reached in December 2011. This is when Lagumdzija became Foreign Minister.
Meanwhile, Lagumdzija’s partnership with the SDA had been steadily souring. Having insinuated its members into every nook and cranny of public administration, the SDA was not eager to reform the bloated bureaucracy, and obstructed SDP’s reform policies. In June, Lagumdzija finally dissolved the coalition and made a deal with a rival Muslim party (SBB) and the HDZ instead.
It has become de rigeur to blame the Serbs for everything that goes wrong in Bosnia, whether it is actually their fault or not. Thus even a seasoned Bosnia observer like Matthew Parish sees Serb manipulation behind the ongoing crisis in the Federation. But is it really so, or is Bosnian Serb president Milorad Dodik merely exploiting the opportunity presented to him by Federation’s chaotic politics?
Lagumdzija had nothing to lose by instructing his ambassador to abstain from voting. Backing the resolution got him no tangible benefits either from the Saudis or from the Empire, and abstaining wouldn’t have worsened Bosnia’s relations with either. But by taking advice from a leading member of the party he had just kicked out of the ruling coalition, he waltzed right into a political trap, which Dodik was more than happy to snap shut. The sight of an Izetbegovic running his own foreign policy, without regard for others, would naturally be anathema to the Bosnian Serbs – or Croats, for that matter.
Consider that right around that time Lagumdzija was dealt another blow, with the resignation of Zeljko Komsic from the SDP. The SDP had invested heavily into Komsic to prove that ethnic parties did not have monopoly on Bosnian politics. His election to the Presidency in 2006 and again in 2010 was seen as a victory for the SDP. But the victory has been Pyrhhic, as most Croats see him as nothing more than a Muslim stooge: he’s a centralizer, married to a Muslim, and a decorated war veteran of Izetbegovic’s Muslim-dominated army. Note also that Komsic threw a public tantrum and threatened to leave the party in March this year, right as the relations between the SDP and SDA were beginning to sour…
Whatever his loyalties, Komsic also had a personal stake in the ongoing drama concerning the Presidency. In 2009, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Bosnia’s electoral laws discriminated against citizens who were neither Muslim ("Bosniak"), Serb or Croat. This was intended by Muslim leader Haris Silajdzic to force a change to the Constitution that would favor centralization.
Silajdzic’s "lawfare" backfired, however, when the Serbs sidestepped the issue by amending their own Constitution, while in the Federation the "Sejdic-Finci" verdict exposed the Bosnian politics’ fundamental bone of contention. Croats, less than 15% of Bosnia’s total population by most estimates, are always going to be outvoted by Muslims unless there is an ethnic quota in place, and even then it is possible to get someone like Komsic, a "Croat in name only" (Parish).
Lagumdzija has previously objected to the Serb and Croat proposal to have the Federation members of the Presidency appointed by the parliament, rejecting any "asymmetric solutions." Now that he no longer has any obligation to protect Komsic, he may well change his mind.
Things are about to get worse, too. Next year, Croatia will be officially annexed by the Brussels Leviathan. At that point, the EU’s bureaucracy – which makes the Federation appear amateurish in comparison – will put achokehold on Bosnia, effectively blocking all exports along 2/3 of the country’s border. On top of the economic hardship that will create, the fact that Bosnia’s Croats overwhelmingly hold Croatian citizenships is bound to further strain their relations with Muslims. The overheating Bosnian reactor will be perfectly primed – by its supposed "benefactors" no less! – to go critical. To quote Parish:
"Amongst diplomats and commentators, a consensus has emerged that the Bosnian state is now close to irretrievable collapse. The question remains whether this breakdown will entail a return to violence."
Expect Washington, Brussels and Sarajevo to blame the Serbs for this, rather than their own fetishes and fantasies. Again.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is “unable to exist as country”
Tanjug Region | September 1, 2012 | 11:57
BANJA LUKA -- Bosnia-Herzegovina shows on a daily basis a chronic inability to exist and survive as a country, Republic of Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik has said.
He added that “it is no longer a question whether Bosnia-Herzegovina exists and the question is how to enable us to go our separate ways peacefully”.
“This is the only and essential issue if somebody wants to be rational. Otherwise, we can torture ourselves like this for years and decades,” Dodik explained.
He noted that the Office of the High Representative (OHR) should have been closed a long time ago, adding that European countries agreed that the OHR should leave the country.
“This is torture. The fact is that we are victims of some centers of powers that are trying to prove something that cannot be proven – that Bosnia-Herzegovina can be sustained, which is impossible. Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Council of Ministers hardly functions, parliament is incapable of making decisions, the Dayton Accords is not being respected, there is no will to accept the reality and the international agreement has been violated for the past 15 years on a principle of the alleged strengthening of Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Dodik explained.
He said that Bosnia-Herzegovina was not a functional state and that it could never be one.
The RS president once more said that Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdžija needed to step down “because he violated the Constitution“.
Post by TsarSamuil on Nov 16, 2012 15:09:58 GMT -5
Serbia Freezes Ties with Hague Tribunal after Gotovina's Acquittal.
Novinite.com World | November 16, 2012, Friday| 60 views
The Serbian government met on Friday in Belgrade and decided to reduce its cooperation with the Hague-based UN War Crimes Tribunal to a technical level.
The decision came as the tribunal acquitted two former Croatian army generals in an appeals process, overturning the verdict that found them guilty of committing war crimes against ethnic Serbs in Croatia, B92 reported.
Serbian Minister Rasim Ljajic, who also serves as head of the National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal (ICTY), made the announcement in a news conference after the government session Friday.
He explained that at Serbian PM Ivica Dacic's initiative, his cabinet considered political and legal implications of the acquittal as the first item on its agenda.
The Serbian government concluded that the tribunal, instead of serving justice, once again caused the pain to the victims of the so-called Operation Storm - the 1995 Croatian army and police onslaught against that country's Serb areas.
"This ruling is a slap in the face of international justice and the process of reconciliation in the region, and will not contribute to an overall normalization of relations between the states and the peoples in the region of the former Yugoslavia," said Ljajic.
The government today also removed all items from its agenda that were meant to allow for documentation to be submitted to the Hague Tribunal. However, the minister noted - "this does not mean that Serbia is ending its cooperation" with the court. Rather, it will now be conducted "on a technical level".
The Hague Tribunal was due to organize a conference in Belgrade on November 22, 2012, but in the wake of today's acquittal, none of Serbia's state officials would attend, Ljajic also revealed. Serbia also decided not to offer "any sort of logistical support" in order to organize the conference.
Meanwhile, the tribunal said that it "regretted to inform" that the conference in Belgrade had been canceled, while "a new date would be announced as soon as possible".
Ljajic explained that Hague Judge Fausto Pocar, who was against the acquittal of Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, had canceled his participation in the conference as well.
Serbs are seen fleeing Croatia during the Operation Storm (Tanjug, file)
PM, president: Hague makes political decisions.
Beta Politics | November 16, 2012 | 13:31
BELGRADE -- Serbia's President Tomislav Nikolić and PM Ivica Dačić have assessed after the acquittal of two Croat generals that the Hague Tribunal is "not a court".
They added that and that the decision was political, rather than legal.
“This confirms claims of those who say that the Hague Tribunal is not a court and that it completes political tasks that were set in advance,” Dačić said at the beginning of his meeting with EULEX Head Xavier Bout de Marnhac, Radio Free Europe has reported.
The Serbian president assessed that it was clear that the Tribunal’s decision to acquit Croat Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač of all charges for expulsion of the Serbian population from Knin Krajina in 1995 is political and not legal.
“Today’s decision of the Hague Tribunal will not contribute to stabilization of the situation in the region, it will open up old wounds and it will put Serbs in Croatia, the small number who continued to live there, in a position of culprits that everybody can continue to enforce their ‘justice’ upon, without any punishment,” Nikolić pointed out.
He stressed that more than 220,000 Serbs had been expelled during the Operation Storm and that thousands of unarmed men, women and children had been killed.
“Who is responsible for that? With the Hague Tribunal’s decision Croatia can legitimately celebrate the biggest pogrom in the world since WWII. This is a state that does not allow the families of the missing Serbs to determine where bodies of their loved ones are,” the president said.
“If there have been reasons so far to believe those who claim that the Hague Tribunal is neutral, just and something more than a court for Serbia and the Serbian people, the latest decision to acquit the war criminals denied them,” Nikolić noted.
The president pointed out that the Serbian people had been a victim of genocide, the cruelest crimes, expulsion and torture in their recent history and that the Serbs had been branded as criminals who should keep quiet and be ashamed of themselves.
“This is a paradox that must not happen ever again,” he added.
Gotovina and Markač were on Friday acquitted of almost all charges for crimes against Serb civilians during and after the Operation Storm in 1995. Gotovina was initially sentenced to 24 and Markač to 18 years in prison.
Generals acquitted "for sake of Croatia’s EU accession”
Beta, Tanjug Region | November 16, 2012 | 14:35
BANJA LUKA -- Republic of Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik believes that acquittal of Croat Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač humiliates all victims.
He noted that the Hague Tribunal had made the decision under political influence due to Croatia’s EU pathway.
“Politics played the decisive role and Croatia, that should become an EU member, certainly would not have good references with a verdict on a joint criminal enterprise,” Dodik stressed.
According to him, the verdict shows that the international justice is selective.
“This is a humiliating decision for all the victims, for all Serbs… Everybody who believed that there was international justice can now rest assured that it is selective and political and that it is the only way it is practiced,” the RS president added.
Dodik said that the Tribunal’s decision was “shameful and practically unbelievable”.
“It is unbelievable that after the initial verdict for the Croat generals, the court now delivered the not guilty verdict. A reduced sentence could have been expected maybe, but not this,” he told reporters in Banja Luka.
Serb Democratic Party leader Mladen Bosić believes that the acquittal of Gotovina and Markač was expected but that it was humiliating for the Serbian people.
“Those who founded the court have in a way ‘washed off’ Croatia’s responsibility in the war bearing in mind that this is a country that will soon join the EU. The verdict is devastating for the Serbian people. The court has switched the responsibility for the war to Serbs with the verdict, just like it has before,” he explained.
Socialist Party of the RS leader and Labor Minister Petar Đokić says that the Hague Tribunal has confirmed that it is a political court.
“This is a shameful ruling and it is obvious that the court was formed only to try Serbs. There is no reason now not to request that Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić be released from prison, as well as all Serb generals,” he assessed.
Bosnia-Herzegovina media on Gotovina, Markač’s acquittal
The acquittal of Gotovina and Markač is the top news in all the media in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Electronic media in the Muslim-Croat Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina point out that the Hague Tribunal rejected the joint criminal enterprise charge while media in the RS say that the verdict is “shocking”.
Representatives of Croat political parties and association in Bosnia-Herzegovina have expressed their happiness with the Tribuna’s ruling.
“We are overwhelmed. I was in Zagreb last night. This is a fair decision,” said Association of Homeland War Volunteers and Veterans President Nikica Tomić.
According to him, the verdict represents a big encouragement to members of the Croat Defense Council and Croats from Bosnia-Herzegovina who will mark the establishment of the Croat Herzeg-Bosnia along with the fall of Vukovar.
Croatian flags and pictures of the two generals have been put up around Croat towns in Bosnia-Herzegovina and media aired the delivery of the not guilty verdict live.
Croatia celebrates acquittal of Hague pair.
Tanjug Region | November 16, 2012 | 19:08
ZAGREB -- Croatia was thrilled by the ruling of the Hague Tribunal which acquitted Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač of their original guilty verdicts in a war crimes case.
The two former Croatian generals were sentenced to 24 and 18 years for a joint criminal enterprise and crimes against ethnic Serbs committed in Operation Storm in August 1995.
President of the Serb National Council Milorad Pupovac, however, stated that although this is good for the generals, it is bad for the victims and continuation of reconciliation in the region.
“After this verdict, the question remains - who is responsible for murders, expulsion, destruction and burning of houses given that so far no one was sentenced,” Pupovac said.
President of the Croatian Helsinki Committee Ivan Zvonimir Čičak said on the occasion of the acquittal that crimes were committed during Operation Storm, but that there are no proves that the generals are responsible for them.
At the Zagreb central square on Friday morning, people chanted “Ante, Ante”, and welcomed the acquittal with applauses.
“We knew that Operation Storm was not a joint criminal enterprise. Crimes were committed, but the generals are not guilty,” Croatian President Ivo Josipović stated on the occasion.
He said that he was certain about the generals' innocence, and that he sees the Hague verdict as a confirmation that Croatia did not commit ethnic cleansing, while the fight of the Croat defenders was honorable and righteous fight.
Josipović said that the acquittal has strengthened his trust in the international law and justice, adding that it is the obligation of the state to punish all those who committed crimes during Operation Storm.
It a weight off our shoulders, Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović said in Banski Dvori, Zagreb, adding that Croatia will do justice for its wrongdoings during the war.
Croatian Minister for War Veterans Predrag Matic believes that the Hague verdict finally explained to the world that Croatia was waging a defence, liberation war.
Vesna Škare-Ožbolt, former minister of justice, who followed the delivery of the verdict in The Hague, said with tears in her eyes that all suspicions have been cleared, while liberation operations Storm and Flash got their affirmation.
“This is a magnificent day for Croatia,” former prime minister Jadranka Kosor said, adding that the incitement proved that Gotovina and Markač headed victorious Croatian army in the liberation of the country.
Stjepan Mesić, former Croatian president, sees the acquittal as "proof that the Hague is not a political court, and that it acts in line with legal norms".
Top Serbian officials described the court's decision as political mockery of justice, and decided to downgrade the country's cooperation with the tribunal to "technical".
This BBC...like time stands still..
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2012 15:42:06 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
BELGRADE -- Serbian First Deputy PM and Defense Minister Aleksandar Vučić has said that the Serbian citizens feel “consternation“ after the acquittal of two Croat generals.
However, he said that Serbia had been fulfilling and that it would continue to fulfill its international obligations.
“The international justice and international law need to apply to everyone and not only to one side,” Vučić said during his meeting with Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay in Halifax.
“Serbia is turned to the future, primarily to internal reforms, economic reforms, welfare of citizens, but it will also never allow anyone to harm its national and state interests, and do justice only to one side, rather than all participants,” the Serbian deputy PM concluded.
Croat Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač were on Friday acquitted of charges for crimes against Serb civilians during and after the Operation Storm in August of 1995.
Not for the first time, the Hague Inquisition (ICTY) has done something stupid. The quasi-court, claiming nonexistent authority from the UN Security Council to prosecute war crimes during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, last Friday released two Croatian generals, convicted last year of war crimes. Notorious for redefining the standards of evidence, logic and even language to justify convictions, the Inquisition has done so once again – only this time, to reverse convictions.
The decision came down by a majority vote, 3-2, with the American-Israeli, Jamaican and Turkish judges agreeing that their colleagues’ original judgment as to what constituted "evidence of unlawful attacks" was wrong. More importantly, presiding judge Theodor Meron wrote that the "evidence was not sufficient to establish the charge of a so-called ‘joint criminal enterprise’ aimed at ethnic cleansing". The Italian and Maltese judges disagreed, but were overruled. Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac flew back to Croatia for a heroes’ welcome.
The doctrine of "joint criminal enterprise" was developed for the Inquisition by a Croat-American law professor, as a sort of catch-all concept that enabled the prosecution of people not for what they did, but for who they were at the time. Basically, simply being in a position of authority was enough to convict someone on grounds that they "should have known" what their subordinates were doing. This has enabled the Inquisition to accuse the entire Serb political and military leadership — in today’s Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia — of being parts of a grand conspiracy to establish a "Greater Serbia."
So it was a little incongruous to see it invoked in a trial of Croatian generals – and even more so to see the ICTY demolish the whole construct in order to get them released. Meron’s claim of insufficient evidence is simply absurd, because the whole point of JCE is to make evidence unnecessary. Moreover, the evidence of intent to expel and destroy the Serbs does exist: tapes of President Tudjman’s meetings with subordinates clearly show it. No such evidence exists in any of the cases where Serbs were convicted of alleged atrocities, including the Srebrenica "genocide."
Logic would dictate that the Tribunal has just ruled itself absurd and incompetent. That now the indictments against Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic should be thrown out as well. That a Serb general convicted of deliberately shelling civilians without any judicial finessing about 200-meter near-misses, should be set free.
But logic – much like justice, indeed – has little to do with the Tribunal’s operations, or its mission. When it comes to the Balkans Wars of the 1990s, for the Empire and its agents – the ICTY being one of them – it isn’t about what was done, but who did it to whom.
The generals’ release was very important to Zagreb. Official Croatian narrative is that in 1991, their young democracy was invaded by the Communist Serbs and their Yugoslav Army, who "occupied a third" of Croatia’s territory. Only in the heroic "police action" of August 1995 was Croatia finally "liberated" – August 5 has ever since been the "Homeland Thanksgiving Day" – and could embark on the path back to Europe.
The 200,000-plus Serbs who were displaced? Must have been those invaders, going back to wherever they came from. None other than the U.S. Ambassador himself said this couldn’t have possibly been "ethnic cleansing." How dare the ICTY even suggest it could have been otherwise?
As usual, the narrative doesn’t hold up under the burden of facts. Having decided that ending the Bosnian War on its own terms would best serve its interests in post-Cold War Europe, the U.S. leadership launched a new "diplomatic" initiative (the "Contact Group"), while preparing for war. To that effect, it forced the battling Muslims and Croats into an alliance, sent a premier military contractor to train the Croatians, and eventually offered intelligence and even air support to the Croatian military.
Richard Holbrooke, the Assistant Secretary of State involved in these efforts, even recalled his colleague Robert Frasure referring to Croatia as America’s "junkyard dogs," about whose methods one oughtn’t be "squeamish."
A Victorious Crime
But the Serbs were not invaders. They had lived in those territories for centuries. When the newly elected government in Zagreb began passing discriminatory laws, they took up arms to avoid the fate of their kin, murdered en masse by the Nazi-allied Croatian state during WW2. Following the 1991 conflict, these Serb-inhabited areas were under UN protection, as laid out in the ceasefire arranged by U.S. diplomat Cyrus Vance. Arming and training of the Croatians was entirely against a UN-imposed arms embargo. To the rising Empire, none of this mattered.
So in August 1995, men under Gotovina and Markac, on orders from Franjo Tudjman – and with the blessing of William Jefferson Clinton’s government – expelled over 200,000 people, killing about 2,000, mostly civilians. They called it "Operation Storm."
The 2001 census in Croatia showed 380,000 fewer Serbs than in 1991.
It is often forgotten that the ICTY was merely another product of Empire’s Balkans agenda. Ostensibly charged with prosecuting all war crimes in the territory of what was Yugoslavia, its mandate somehow extended only to the locals, and not the US, NATO, UN or any other external actors. And in practice, its purpose was to back up the claim that the conflicts of the 1990s were the sole fault of the Serbs and Serbs alone.
No charges were pressed against president Tudjman of Croatia, or Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic, while they were alive. Naser Oric, the Bosnian Muslim commander of Srebrenica, was acquitted after a farce of a trial. So was Ramush Haradinaj, one of the terrorist KLA commanders and later Empire’s favorite politician in "independent" Kosovo.
The original conviction of Gotovina and Markac came as a shock to the Croatian public, and a surprise to the Serbs. And that was precisely the point: the ICTY needed to create an appearance of fairness, so the quisling regime in Belgrade could hand over the last remaining official required to complete the "Greater Serbia Conspiracy" set. The verdict also cleared Croatia’s entry into the EU, approved in December 2011. Lost in the perception-managed noise about the conviction of Gotovina and Markac was an important detail: the third general on trial, Ivan Cermak, had been acquitted.
Remember, the whole point of the JCE is that it’s practically impossible to get acquitted, once charged: the defendant is guilty by the virtue of existing. Cermak obviously existed at the time of "Storm." His acquittal was a signal that "Gotovina and Markac might eventually be sentenced to time served, or even outright acquitted, following the appeals process." And so they were.
Neither the Inquisition, nor the Croatians, nor their Imperial overlords bothered with considering the Serb reaction. After all, in their minds, Serbia is so thoroughly conquered, so beneath contempt, that it doesn’t even merit an empty gesture of pretend fairness any more.
They aren’t the first to have thought so – or the first to be terribly wrong.
Post by TsarSamuil on Nov 26, 2012 16:05:01 GMT -5
Serbian president has harsh words for Croatia.
Tanjug, Kurir Politics | November 26, 2012 | 11:56
BELGRADE -- President Tomislav Nikolić has said that he had "big plans to finally draw a line under it" and establish good relations with Croatia and Bosnia.
"This thing with Croatia's not going well," Nikolić told the Belgrade-based tabloid Kurir in an interview published on Monday.
"Croatian President (Ivo Josipović) was, until this ruling (in Operation Storm case), looking for reasons why we should not reconcile. The story that he was angry because I said something about Vukovar was a lie. He was waiting for this verdict. He now wants to talk - I, as president of a people who committed crimes, and he, as president of a nation which has not been convicted of anything."
He also noted that it was "cynical" that Ante Gotovina had called on ethnic Serbs to return to Croatia after his acquittal.
Gotovina and another former Croatian general were found guilty of committing war crimes against Croatia's Serbs in 1995, but the appeals process before the Hague Tribunal earlier this month resulted in their acquittal.
"What does he want - to gather them and then expel them again, kill them, finish the job? So that they (Serbs) would no longer even ask for their property? I dare say it - that's how the two nations, Serbs and Croats, understand truth and justice and God," the president was further quoted as saying.
“When indictment was issued against Ratko Mladić in the Srebrenica case, we did not even wait for the guilty verdict, the (Serbian) parliament immediately passed a resolution condemning the Srebrenica crime. Our government arrested (Ratko) Mladić and extradited him to the Hague. I know it (Srebrenica) was a crime, and I will never say that it was not."
"Croats know that the crime committed in Operation Storm was appalling, and that will be on their conscience for as long as they exist. but now they are celebrating that no one was punished for it. That is a nation on the wrong path, a people that would perhaps now put before a firing squad their own countrymen if they were to say - wait, people, that was a crime,” Nikolić said.
Serbia must look for a way to cooperate with Croatia in economic and other areas of joint interest, he further stated, and added:
“However, it is obvious that we cannot cooperate in a sincere and open manner with a country that celebrates its crimes. It cannot be done! It doesn't go that way! In whose name? On behalf of the victims, on behalf of their children?"
When the daily's reporter noted that he would once again draw criticism for this "harsh words", the president said:
"Well, let them me blame. I will always be blamed for my harsh words, while Croats will go unpunished for their crimes."
According to Nikolić, "it was not right that the EU did not wish to burden Croatia with a (guilty) verdict ahead of its entry", and noted that had Serbia celebrated something of the kind - acquittals of accused war criminals - the way Croatia had done, "it would never deserve to become an EU member".
He also revealed that he discussed with UN General Assembly President Vuk Jeremić the public debate scheduled for April of next year, that will focus on the Hague Tribunal and other ad-hoc UN courts, and added:
"I will speak the way (Fidel) Castro spoke, until they throw me out of the hall, because it may be a unique opportunity for Serbia to say everything that's on our mind, for us to count how many Serbs Croats had killed - from the Second World War onward. It is indecent to keep Serbia away from the EU, and admit Croatia."
According to her president, Serbia is a state "as well-arranged as at least half of the new EU members", and is ready to join that organization.
“The fact that we have not started the talks is sign that we are yet to be presented with a new condition. I think that it is high time we entered the talks or be said in how many years we can expect that,” Nikolić told the newspaper.
When asked what kind of a new condition he expects, and whether it would be unacceptable and Kosovo-related, the Serbian president answered positively.
When it comes to the talks with Priština, i.e. the Kosovo Albanian authorities, Nikolić said that “it would be profitable if Kosovo stayed completely within Serbia, and for me to be president in Priština."
“Kosovo is what Serbia can agree to, and not what the U.S. and some other members of the UN declared (it to be). Kosovo can never be taken away from Serbia,” Nikolić underlined.
Asked to comment on two recent incidents when his motorcade was intercepted, the president said that it was "about arrogant (driving)" both times, but that the perpetrator of the first incident, who is employed by the MUP, "should be sanctioned".
Post by TsarSamuil on Nov 28, 2012 11:49:31 GMT -5
Croatia "unpleasantly surprised" by criticism.
Tanjug Region | November 27, 2012 | 13:06
ZAGREB -- The Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated it was unpleasantly surprised by a statement from Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić.
It said that "such words do not help normalize the relations in the region".
The ministry commented on Monday on Nikolić's statement concerning the relations with Croatia, which he had given to the Belgrade-based Kurir tabloid.
Disagreement with the Hague decision to acquit former Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač of charges of war crimes committed against the Serbs was "Nikolić's personal view", the Croatian ministry stated.
Croatia has completed all of its obligations regarding the Hague following international law, it continues.
The statement says the verdict "indicates clearly the two generals are not responsible for the war crimes committed in Croatia and that Operation Storm was not a joint criminal enterprise".
High ranking Croatian officials have said on a number of occasions that the verdict does not deny the crimes committed in Croatia by individuals, neither on the Serb nor Croatian side, the ministry noted.
Croatian courts have tried and continue to try war crimes suspects "and none of those cases accuse Croats or Serbs in general", said the statement.
President Nikolić on Monday stated, among other things, that Croats were "a nation on the wrong path", that "go unpunished for their crimes".
U.S. embassy attacker sentenced to 18 years in Sarajevo.
B92 Region | December 6, 2012 | 15:07
SARAJEVO -- Mevlid Jašarević has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for attacking the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo in October 2011.
Jašarević, Emrah Fojnic and Munib Ahmetspahić were charged with terrorism. Their helpers have been acquitted due to lack of evidence, Turkish Anadolu news agency has reported.
The Prosecution stressed during the proceeding that the goal of the group, which prepared for the attack in the village of Gornja Maoča known as a Wahhabi community, was a violent and terrorist attack against institutions and organs of Bosnia-Herzegovina and foreign embassies.
Jašarević’s attorney Senad Dupovac claimed that the Prosecution did not prove that this was a terrorist attack. According to him, his client did not come to the U.S. Embassy to kill anyone but to be killed, which would earn him a place in heaven as a martyr.
Jašarević tried to add a political dimension to the trial at the last hearing held on December 3.
He said that if the court convicted him of terrorism, it would not stop somebody else from doing the same thing, stressing that “there will be such attacks as long as Americans keep killing Muslims”.
Jašarević fired 105 shots from an automatic rifle at the U.S. Embassy on October 28, 2011, wounding a police officer who was stationed outside the building. He was arrested after a police sniper shot him in the leg.
Russia slams Hague court for freeing Croatian generals.
By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS | Wed Dec 5, 2012 7:43pm EST
(Reuters) - Russia sharply criticized the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on Wednesday over recent decisions to free two Croatian generals and a Kosovo Albanian former guerilla commander, describing the court as careless and ineffective.
Last month, the most senior Croatian military officer convicted of war crimes during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, General Ante Gotovina, was freed on appeal in a decision that is straining already fraught relations between Croatia and its old enemy, Serbia.
Gotovina, hailed as a hero at home but reviled in neighboring Serbia, was freed along with Croatian police commander Mladen Markac.
The majority opinion in the court's appeals chamber was that the original trial judges erred in declaring artillery attacks ordered by Gotovina and Markac unlawful. The appeals judges also found no evidence of systematic plans to forcibly deport Serb civilians from the Krajina region of Croatia.
Weeks after that decision, the Hague-based court acquitted Ramush Haradinaj, a Kosovo Albanian former guerrilla commander who served briefly as prime minister, of crimes against humanity in a retrial at the U.N. tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin made clear that Moscow, a strong ally of Serbia, was outraged by the decisions.
"Recent events around ICTY ... are of deep concern to us," he told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the Yugoslavia court and a similar tribunal for crimes in Rwanda.
"In its work, the ICTY demonstrates neither fairness nor effectiveness," Churkin said. "We are surprised at how blithely, even carelessly, a 3-to-2 vote quashed a unanimous verdict (in) a trial, one justified by many years of investigation."
"As a result, the question of who is guilty for hundreds killed and for the exile of over a quarter million of Serbs from their place of residence remains open," he said. "Justice was not done."
Gotovina was indicted for crimes against humanity, war crimes, mass killings, oppression and the deportation of the Serbian population.
Serbia has also reacted with anger, saying last month the tribunal had forfeited the right to be considered neutral.
'HIGH STANDARDS OF JUSTICE'
German Ambassador Peter Wittig praised the tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda for upholding "high standards of justice" and fairness, and called for cool heads after recent controversial decisions.
"While we recognize that some recent judgments of the ICTY have been met with strong emotions, we call upon all to deal with such emotions in a responsible manner," Wittig said.
In the case of Haradinaj, judges ruled there was no evidence to support charges against him of crimes against humanity during the 1998-99 war between guerrillas of the Kosovo Liberation Army, or KLA, and security forces under late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic. Churkin also complained about that case.
"Both referenced verdicts of the ICTY discredit the idea of international criminal justice," Churkin said.
Churkin also complained about the delay of trials related to the former Balkan wars, at least one of which was not expected to end until 2017. He said Russia would tie its willingness to consent to future budgets of the tribunal to compliance with clear timetables for concluding trials and wrapping up its work.
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Aug 3, 2018 10:18:31 GMT -5
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Oct 14, 2018 5:48:26 GMT -5
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Oct 14, 2018 18:18:38 GMT -5
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Oct 14, 2018 18:21:43 GMT -5
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Nov 11, 2018 6:56:57 GMT -5
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