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New Series no.11/12 August - November 1999
Memorandum of Bosnian Organisations to the Western Community on the Occasion of the Balkans Conference at Sarajevo on 29/30 July 1999

The memorandum was organized by the Society for Threatened Peoples, based in Göttingen, Germany.

Contact details:

Web site: http://www.gfbv.de
e-mail: bosnien@gfbv.de (Jasna Causevic)
politik@gfbv.de (Tilman Zülch)

The Western community has put an end to war and genocide in Kosovo and enabled the return of up to 1.5 million Kosovar refugees and displaced persons. It now plans to facilitate democratisation in Kosovo, to introduce such basic liberties as freedom of movement, opinion and religion, and above all to ensure the protection of threatened minorities. KFOR troops guard the mass graves and have the dead exhumed and identified in the presence of surviving relatives. Together with the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, the Western community has initiated the largest evidence-gathering operation in military history to bring war criminals to justice as quickly as possible. At the same time the Tribunal in The Hague has been able to indict Slobodan Milosevic, who in 1995 was the West's peacemaking partner in the Dayton treaty.

The International Tribunal also stated on 15 July 1999 that Bosnia-Herzegovina was the victim of an international war. Political leaders of the Western community have likewise admitted that intervention should have occurred sooner in Bosnia, in order to halt war and genocide. One of their reasons for their intervention in Kosovo was to prevent a repetition of the events in Bosnia.

Thus it is inconsistent and immoral to accept the fact that to date 1.5 million Bosnians of all nationalities and religious communities þ representing 40% of the total population of Bosnia þ have been unable to return to their homes. Despite the Dayton peace treaty, those responsible for the annihilation of some 200,000 Bosnian civilians were rewarded. Today, Bosnia is divided into three ethnic regions. SFOR and IPTF guarantee neither the return of displaced persons and refugees, nor freedom of movement over large parts of the country, nor the effective protection of those returning. Tens of thousands of Bosnian refugees had to emigrate to North America and Australia, because they could neither return to their home villages nor stay in the European countries that had first admitted them. Large parts of Bosnia are ruled by politicians who participated in war crimes or are partly responsible for them. The Western community has taken no action to arrest the war criminals most responsible. It has accepted large parts of Bosnia being integrated into the political system of Croatia or subjected to Serbian influence.

In a situation without parallel in the political world of Europe and the West, there exist in Bosnia de jure two and de facto three opposing armies. Administration, judiciary and the police, too, are organised along mono-ethnic lines in most regions of the country. In spite of many constructive efforts by Western institutions, the de facto division of Bosnia prevents the economies from growing together and discourages larger investments from abroad, thus contributing to mass unemployment and corruption. More and more members of the technological and academic elites are leaving the country.

The undersigned Bosnian organisations, among them many associations of war victims, refugees and displaced persons, rape victims and invalids, bombardment victims, ex-prisoners, and former inmates of concentration or internment camps, appeal to the Western community of nations to make it clear to the global public that, after their intervention in Kosovo and the indictment of those responsible, they are not going to tolerate an apartheid system reminiscent of South Africa within a free Europe. The worst crimes committed in Europe after the fall of the Third Reich must not be rewarded.

The undersigned request the Western community of nations to put the Dayton treaty into practice, and to modify those aspects of it that prevent the functioning of a democratic state.

The undersigned appeal to the Western community not to reduce the SFOR troops in Bosnia at this moment, and to supply both SFOR and the IPTF with mandates obliging them, following the example of Kosovo, to ensure the return of Bosnian refugees and displaced persons of all ethnic and religious communities and their effective protection from extremist attacks, as well as the arrest of war criminals.

The undersigned warn against use of the term `minority return'. Before the `ethnic cleansing', the different ethnic groups constituted local majorities within regions that have now been made mono-ethnic by force (e.g. Bosnian Serbs in Drvar, Glamocand Bosansko Grahovo; Bosniaks (Muslims) in the Drina valley; Bosnian Croats in parts of Bosanska Posavina).

Furthermore, the undersigned request the following:

  • to create viable institutions of central government in Bosnia-Herzegovina, while in the process further developing the Dayton peace agreement;

  • to guarantee equal rights for all Bosnian nationalities and religious communities in the constitutions of both entities;

  • to ensure that the administration, judiciary and police are multi-ethnic in all regions;

  • to guarantee in all parts of Bosnia such basic liberties as freedom of movement, opinion, press, religion, assembly and association;

  • to enforce the reconstruction of all religious sites destroyed during the war, throughout Bosnia;

  • to reduce the existing armies and move step by step towards the creation of one multi-ethnic Bosnian army;

  • to take steps to dissolve the authoritarian regimes in the two neighbouring states of Serbia and Croatia, and to encourage the democratic governments that replace them to respect and support the sovereignty of Bosnia-Hercegovina;

  • to force Croatia to re-admit the displaced Serbs from Krajina, and Serbia to re-admit Muslim refugees from the Sandjak;

  • to initiate effective investigations into the fate of all disappeared Bosnians (according to International Red Cross data, 20,000 Bosniak, 2,000 Serb and 600 Croat Bosnians);

  • to make available funds for the identification of exhumed victims;

  • to integrate Bosnia-Herzegovina, which more than any other republic of former Yugoslavia has been the victim of terrible crimes, into European institutions as fast as possible, as soon as the Western community has carried through the return of refugees and the arrest of war criminals and democratic processes are under way.
The undersigned warn the Western community of nations, but also a number of Western parties, media and NGOs, against painting too idyllic a picture of the Bosnian problem as essentially solved. Whoever wishes to maintain the current situation of division and apartheid will have to reckon with further crises and conflicts in Bosnia, hence throughout the Balkans.

The undersigned:

  1. Society for Threatened Peoples – Bosnia and Hercegovina –Sarajevo
  2. Association of Camp Inmates – Bosnia and Hercegovina – Sarajevo
  3. Mothers' Movement of the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa
  4. Club `Brcko to the People of Brcko'
  5. Association of Citizens of Bratunac
  6. Association of Citizens of Zvornik Serb Civic Council þ Sarajevo
  7. Citizens' Association `Visegrad 92'
  8. Homeland Community of Ãepa
  9. Congress of Bosniak Intellectuals
  10. Victimological Society þ Bosnia-Hercegovina
  11. Institution for the Registration of War Crimes
  12. Association of Displaced Persons from the Podrinje Area
  13. Women's Association of Bosnia and Hercegovina, Mostar
  14. Women's Association `The way to peace leads through the heart'
  15. Association of Displaced Persons from Prijedor
  16. Jewish Community þ Sarajevo
  17. Association of Camp Inmates from Hercegovina
  18. Centre for Civilian Victims of War
  19. Citizens' Association of Foca
  20. Club of Displaced Persons from Bijeljina
  21. Union of the Roma of Bosnia and Hercegovina
  22. Roma Brothers, Sarajevo
  23. Good Roma, Tuzla
  24. Sai Roma, Tuzla
  25. Trebinje Club
  26. Gacko Club
  27. Association of Displaced Citizens of Nevesinje
  28. Citizens' Forum of Zenica
  29. Women's Union þ Bosnia-Hercegovina
  30. Women for Women
  31. Bosfam
  32. Association of Camp Inmates of the Bosnian Krajina
  33. Association of Displaced Persons from Modrica
  34. Association of Displaced Persons from Teslic
  35. Association of Citizen's of Doboj
  36. Serb Civic Council þ Mostar
  37. Association of Displaced Persons from Kotor Varos
  38. Association of Prisoners' and Disappeared Persons' Families from Zvornik, Bratunac and Vlasenica
  39. Association of Prisoners' and Disappeared Persons' Families from the Neretva-Hercegovina Canton
  40. Association of the Families of Missing Persons from Kljuc
  41. Association of the Families of Missing Persons from Prozor
  42. Association of the Families of Missing Croats from Bugojno
  43. Citizens' Association `Women from Srebrenica'
  44. Association of Displaced Persons from Rudo Community
  45. Association of Women from Omarska Concentration Camp
  46. Association of Displaced Persons þ Jajce 92
  47. Association of Displaced Persons from Banjaluka
  48. Cajnice Club
  49. Mak - Bosnian
  50. Citizens' Forum Konjic
  51. Education for the Future
  52. Association of Displaced Persons from Stari Majdan
  53. Patriot's League
  54. International / Interreligious Cultural Centre
  55. Independent Intellectuals
  56. Women's Forum SKP
  57. Independent
  58. Serb Civic Council - Tuzla
  59. Women's Association of Zepce
  60. Citizens' Association of Women from Bosanska Krupa
  61. Women's Association - Kresevo
  62. Bosnian Law Centre - Mostar
  63. Coalition for Return to Drvar
  64. Coalition for Return to Glamoc
  65. Coalition for Return to Bosansko Grahovo
  66. Association of Serbs from the Croatian Krajina
  67. Women's Association - Banjaluka
  68. Serb Civic Council - Bihac
  69. Women's Forum – Doboj
  70. Voice of Serb Citizens – Doboj
  71. `A New Beginning'
  72. `Alternativa' – Independent Magazine
  73. Klas – Association of Displaced Women from Drvar
  74. `Stope Nade' – Steps toward Hope
  75. Initiative of Displaced Persons from Glamoc
  76. Women's Organisation `Anima'
  77. Helsinki Committee – Bijeljina
  78. Voice of Serb Citizens
  79. Association of Displaced Persons – Republika Srpska
  80. Agency for Refugee Aid (ARA)
  81. Association of Traumatised Persons – Nada (Hope)
  82. Citizens' Association – Modrica
  83. Women's Organisation – Prijedor
  84. Women's Organisation `Stope Nade' (Steps toward Hope) – West Mostar
  85. Committee for Re-Settled Croats in Bosnia and Hercegovina
  86. Women's Organisation `Stope Nade' (Steps toward Hope) – Posusje
  87. Citizens' Association for Democracy – Prijedor
  88. Association of Displaced Serbs from Sanski Most
  89. Human Rights Commission of the Serb Civic Council
  90. Coalition for Return: Bosanski Brod, Bosanski Novi, Brcko, Capljina, Stolac, Jajce, Derventa, Drvar, Glamoc, Gradacac, Modrica, Jajce, Prijedor, Bosanski Samac, Mostar, Banjaluka, Bijeljina, Foca (300 organisations in total)
  91. Serb Civic Council - Travnik
European Forum for Bosnia and Hercegovina: Confederation of exile Bosnian organisations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands
Association of Camp Inmates from Bosnia-Hercegovina, Munich, Germany
Association of Camp Inmates from Bosnia-Hercegovina in Berlin
Association of Camp Inmates from Bosnia-Hercegovina in Cologne
Association of Camp Inmates from Bosnia-Hercegovina in Hanau
Association of Traumatised Women from Bosnia, Berlin
Cultural Community Behar, Berlin

Members of the Society for Threatened Peoples' Committee for Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Prof. Dr. Atif Purivatra, Spokesperson – Bosnian Academics
  • Prof. Dr. Ljubomir Berberovic, Serb Civic Council
  • Prof. Dr. Smail Cekic, Institute for the Documentation of War Crimes
  • Irfan Ajanovic, Association of Former Camp Inmates
  • Dragica Levi, Jewish Community
  • Krstan Bijeljac, Serb-Orthodox Community
  • Fatima Huseinovic, Spokesperson – Women of Srebrenica
  • Seban Mujic, Rom Spokesperson
  • Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Busatlija, President of the Association of Refugees of Bosnia and Hercegovina
  • Luka Markesic, Catholic Priest
  • Fadila Memisevic, Head of the Sarajevo Office of the Society for Threatened Peoples

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