Füle laments Bosnia's lack of progress Euractive 28 November 2012
Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle told the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo yesterday (27 November) that they have not been able to honour their main commitments for the country’s progress towards EU integration.
Background The European Commission presented on 10 October the “progress reports” on the nine countries on their way toward EU accession - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Iceland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.
Croatia, Turkey, Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland and Serbia are candidate countries, whereas Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Kosovo are considered potential candidates. Croatia is due to joint the EU in 2013. (read more)
Envoy Says Bosnia Faces Growing Threat Reuters 14 November 2012
The international peace envoy to Bosnia says the territorial integrity of the fragile Balkan state is under threat. Valentin Inzko pointed to a rise in anti-state, secessionist rhetoric by Bosnia Serb officials. Inzko highlighted Bosnian Serb efforts to dissolve Bosnia's armed forces. Inzko made the comments to the UN Security Council on November 13.
In his 27-page report, Inzko singled out the president of the autonomous Serb Republic, Milorad Dodik, as "the most frequent, although certainly no the sole, proponent of (Bosnian) state dissolution."
Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Inzko's report was written in "alarmist tones." Churkin blamed Bosnia's Muslims for a rise in tensions.
Churkin also called for abolishing the Office of the High Representative and handing over authority to the Bosnians. Bosnia has been ruled by a weak central government since the 1990s war that killed an estimated 100,000. A 2010 election ended with political stalemate as leaders from the different ethnic groups failed to form a national government. The impasse was broken in 2011 although divisions remained.
Based on AP, Reuters and Itar-tass reporting
Karadzic begins defence, denies Bosnia war crimes The Guardian 17 October 2012
RADOVAN Karadzic, former Bosnian Serb leader, on trial accused of some of the worst atrocities in Europe since World War Two, yesterday said he should be praised for promoting peace rather than charged with war crimes, an assertion hotly denied by some victims.
Karadzic is one of three Serb leaders brought to trial in The Hague for war crimes during the violent break-up of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1999, in which more than 100,000 people were killed and millions were displaced.
Now 67 and still recognisable by his shock of white hair, he began his own defence yesterday against charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and cross-examined witnesses himself. (read more)
Bosnia dialogue impeded Catholic Sentinel 03 October 2012
Catholic News Service photo A Bosnian Muslim man cries near the coffin of a relative before a burial in Potocari, Bosnia-Herzegovina, July 11. The bodies of 520 recently identified victims of the Srebrenica massacre were buried on the 17th anniversary of the massacre. During the Bosnian War, Serb forces slaughtered 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Europe's worst massacre since World War II.
A Bosnian Muslim man cries near the coffin of a relative before a burial in Potocari, Bosnia-Herzegovina, July 11. The bodies of 520 recently identified victims of the Srebrenica massacre were buried on the 17th anniversary of the massacre. During the Bosnian War, Serb forces slaughtered 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Europe's worst massacre since World War II.
Catholic leaders in Bosnia-Herzegovina say real ethnic and religious dialogue is not occurring and not all religions have equal rights. (read more)
Mass grave found in Bosnia United Press International 20 September 2012
SJEMEC, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- SJEMEC, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- A mass grave was discovered in Bosnia, which officials said may contain the remains of Bosniak civilians.
The grave was found Wednesday in Sjemec near Rogatica by investigators from the Bosnia-Herzegovina Missing Persons Institute, as well as the Federal Police Administration, Tanjug news agency reported.
Lejla Cengic, spokeswoman for the institute, said investigators are not yet sure how many people are buried in the grave, but said the supposed Bosnians were killed during the Bosnian War in the Rogatica and Visegrad areas. Cengic said the grave was found under "an artificially created body of water."
Bosnia Herzegovina: Country Profile By Genocide Watch 4 April 2012
Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, Bosnia Herzegovina was confronted with an ethnic civil war from April 1992 to December 1995. The three main ethnic groups in Bosnia Herzegovina, the Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), Serbs and Croats did not agree whether or not Bosnia Herzegovina would become independent. On February 29, the Bosniaks and Croats voted for independence in a referendum, which was boycotted by the Serbs. After independence was declared, a civil war broke out when Bosnian Serbs, supported by the Serbian government of Milosevic, attacked the Republic of Bosnia- Herzegovina. The Serb goal was “ethnic cleansing”, an euphemism for forced displacement invented by Milosevic, accompanied by genocidal terror to drive Bosniaks and Croats out of Serb areas, which became a separate Serb Republic, governed from Pale. The war was characterized by cruel killings and mass rapes of Bosniaks and Croats and caused an enormous numbers of displaced persons.
In July 1995, the worst massacre occurred in Srebrenica, which was in 1993 declared a ‘safe area’ under UN protection. However, under the command of General Ratko Mladic, the army of Republika Srpska killed 8000 Bosniaks in Srebrenica, mainly men and boys. The Srebrenica massacre became the worst massacre in Europe since the Nazi area.
Late 1995 peace negations in Dayton, Ohio led to the so-called Dayton Agreement, which finally ended the Bosnian war and set up two separate entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska. In addition, there is the district of Brcko which is a self-governing unit and is both part of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska.
Although the UN failed to prevent genocidal massacres in Bosnia, it did establish a new era of international justice for those who were responsible for the genocide. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague was created by the United Nations in 1993 and became the first international tribunal to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes since Nuremberg. Years passed with only low-level officials in custody, but finally Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic were captured in May and July 2011. All top war criminals have now been arrested and will be brought to trial for genocide and other crimes against humanity.
Today, Bosnia Herzegovina is still a divided country, with two effective governments, and divided by ethnicity down the heart of the country. Milosevic’s “ethnic cleansing” succeeded. The elections in 2010 in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina resulted in a political crisis, since ethnic political leaders could not reach agreement on the formation of a new government. In February 2012, the parliament finally approved a new central government, ending 16 months of deadlock (article The Guardian). With this new government, hope is growing that Bosnia-Herzegovina may progress towards EU accession.
Because ethnic tensions remain high in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Genocide Watch considers the country at stage 5: polarization.
Genocide Watch strongly encourages the work of the ICTY to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the Bosnian Genocide. The capture of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzić last year in Serbia were of great importance for achieving justice.
Genocide Watch urges the European Union to support efforts by Bosnia-Herzegovina to build political and economic institutions that will overcome ethnic differences, bring stability in the country and promote accession to membership in the European Union.
The European Union should seek ways to build bridges between Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republika Srpska, and Serbia, and to keep a watchful eye on the situation in Bosnia Herzegovina, lest violent conflict recur.