bosnia report
New Series No: 39-40 April - July 2004
Chronology of events: February - June 2004

2 February 2004

Serbian premier-elect Vojislav Koštunica and RS assembly president Dragan Kalinić meet in Bijeljina, oppose any changes to Dayton

B-H foreign minister Mladen Ivanić opposes ESI proposal to abolish Federation (see editorial in BR 37-8), saying this would lead to abolition also of RS

4 February 2004

Momčilo Krajišnik trial begins at The Hague

10 February 2004

US government, in consultation with OHR, adds SDS vice-president Mirko Š arović and 9 other RS officials to list of people to have their assets frozen and be barred from US entry for supporting war criminals

11 February 2004

Hague chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte complains that ‘Belgrade is now a safe haven for our refugees’

12 February 2004

SDS leaders Kalinić, Dragan avić and 6 others resign from party positions over decision by High Representative Paddy Ashdown to dismiss Š arović from his SDS party post and bar him from public life (resignations rejected by SDS national committee on 2 March)

Russia expresses anger at lack of consultation over HR’s decision regarding Š arović

15 February 2004

Declaration at Trebinje by 50 intellectual figures from RS that the entity is under threat

19 February 2004

Minority government finally formed in Serbia by Koštunica (DSS, G17 Plus, SPO/NS ) with external support from Milošević’s SPS

20 February 2004

Fresh abortive attempt at arresting Radovan Karadžić

27 February 2004

Two-day investors’ conference begins in Mostar, overshadowed by plane crash killing Macedonian president Boris Trajkovski and his delegation

29 February 2004

Richard Holbrooke gives interview in which he calls for changes to Dayton, including specifically eliminating name of RS

4 March 2004

HR addresses UN Security Council on slow pace of reform in B-H and obstruction by nationalists

11 March 2004

Nikola Radovanović from RS appointed first B-H defence minister, after months of wrangling over the appointment and the rejection of several candidates by SFOR. The common defence ministry will be B-H’s tenth (despite Dayton)

13 March 2004

Purported attempt by RS authorities to arrest Karadžić in Bratunac

HDZ severs relations at federation and cantonal levels with SDA

18 March 2004

Violent disturbances in Kosova, sparked off by drowning incident in Mitrovica and spreading in following days not merely throughout Kosova itself (where 11 Kosovar Albanians and 7 Kosova Serbs are killed and many Orthodox churches are damaged or destroyed), but also to Belgrade and Niš in Serbia, where mosques are burned and Muslim graves destroyed.

26 March 2004

Premises of Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia raided in Belgrade, books seized and Sonja Biserko charged before military court

27 March 2004

B-H Constitutional Court rules that wartime renaming of towns to give them a ‘Serb’ identity (e.g. Srpski Brod, Srbinje) is illegal and must be eliminated

31 March 2004

HR freezes state funding for HDZ, pending its acceptance of school integration

1 April 2004

Hague tribunal issues indictment against former ‘Herzeg-Bosna’ leaders Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak and others, citing a ‘joint criminal enterprise’ with Croatian leaders Franjo Tuđman (deceased) and Gojko Š ušak (deceased), and Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban (deceased), to join parts of B-H to Croatia

2 April 2004

Raid on Pale in search of Karadžić wounds Orthodox priest and his son

14 April 2004

Srebrenica Commission issues draft report minimizing scale of massacre and falsifying its character, provoking furious reaction from HR Ashdown and other international officials

16 April 2004

HR dismisses RS army chief of staff Cvjetko Savić and government liaison officer with Hague tribunal Dejan Miletić, because of ‘systematic obstruction’ by RS authorities of Srebrenica Commission’s investigations; makes RS president avić and premier Mikerević personally accountable for work of Commission

19 April 2004

Abortive attempt by RS authorities in Višegrad to arrest Hague indictees Milan and Sredoje Lukić leaves non-indicted brother Novica dead. Speculation in B-H media that Novica was the real target, because he was cooperating with Tribunal

21 April 2004

European Commission gives green light for Croatia to become a candidate for EU membership (decision ratified in June by EU summit)

29 April 2004

Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in B-H president Srđan Dizdarević criticizes SFOR procedure for vetting future B-H army generals as non-transparent and a violation of candidates’ human rights

4 May 2004

Milorad Luković ‘Legija’, chief suspect in assassination of former premier Zoran Đinđić, surrenders to authorities in Belgrade

7 May 2004

Justice Meron reports to Council of Europe on non-cooperation of Serbian and RS authorities with Hague tribunal

Milan Trivić appointed as director of B-H TV 1 public broadcasting channel

12 May 2004

World Bank withdraws loan of $12 million for higher education, following rejection of new law by B-H parliament (due to HDZ opposition in upper house, and RS opposition to central state funding for education as being contrary to Dayton)

15 May 2004

Arrest of Milovan Čičko Bjelica, allegedly key member of group supporting Karadžić

31 May 2004

Del Ponte begins five-day visit to B-H

2 June 2004

New B-H state intelligence body OSA takes over from entity bodies

8 June 2004

HR Ashdown says in interview for Večernje novosti: ‘RS must understand it is an entity and not an independent state. The Dayton Agreement is a two-way street. One part of the Dayton Agreement protects the entities, the other part deals with development of a joint state. RS does only what is suitable for strengthening the entity and avoids things relating to the joint state. I have clearly said to RS I shall not change the Dayton Agreement, only the people of B-H can change it. Nevertheless, should RS or anyone else in B-H make the state non-functional in relation to Dayton, then it too must be changed.’

9 June 2004

Justice Meron reports to UN Security Council on regional compliance with the Tribunal

Amor Masović, head of the federation missing persons bureau, reports that the RS Srebrenica Commission has confirmed the existence of 33 unexplored mass grave sites, 11 previously unknown.

10 June 2004

After an immensely drawn-out procedure, B-H presidency approves list of military appointments to top positions in new common defence institutions

11 June 2004

RS government accepts revised report by its Srebrenica Commission, which confirms the massacre of several thousand Bosniaks, and the subsequent cover-up; also reveals the existence of 32 previously unidentified mass grave sites.

Following report by B-H auditors on financial irregularities and gross over-spending on the part of all three members of B-H presidency, HR Ashdown says that resignations would be appropriate in a normal functioning democracy, but stops short of calling formally on presidency members to resign.

13 June 2004

After first round of Serbian presidential elections, Radical candidate Tomislav Nikolić leads with 30%, followed by DS candidate Boris Tadić with 28%, independent candidate Bogoljub Karić with 18% and government (DSS) candidate Dragan Marsičanin with 13%.

22 June 2004

Televised address by RS president Čavić in which he speaks of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre as ‘a black page in the history of the Serb people’.

27 June 2004

Second round of Serbian presidential elections: turnout 48%, of which Tadić wins 54%, Nikolić 46%. Tadić is elected president of Serbia for four-year term.

27-28 June 2004

Istanbul NATO summit fails to admit B-H to the Partnership for Peace, in view of its (RS’s) non-cooperation with the Hague tribunal. Decides to replace NATO peacekeeping mission SFOR by European mission (EUFOR) end 2004.

30 June 2004

Following B-H failure to fulfil conditions for Partnership for Peace membership, HR Ashdown removes from their positions, bars from political life and imposes financial sanctions upon RS assembly president Dragan Kalinić, RS interior minister Zoran Đerić, and a number of other SDS-backed senior RS officials suspected of blocking attempts to apprehend Radovan Karadžić and other Hague fugitives, but does not act against RS premier Dragan Mikerević, B-H foreign minister Mladen Ivanić, or B-H presidency member Borislav Paravac.


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