bosnia report
New Series No: 42 October - December 2004
Chronology of events: September-November 2004

1 September 2004

SFOR re-arrests Milovan Cicko Bjelica and Veljko Borovina in Sokolac, for alleged involvement in financial support for Radovan Karadžić

High Representative Paddy Ashdown says that B-H is dysfunctional and needs a new constitution

Ramiz Delalić Ćelo, under investigation for murder of a guest at an Orthodox wedding in Sarajevo on 1 March 1992, is held after arrest in Ilidža two days earlier

2 September 2004

Radoslav Brđanin is sentenced to 32 years in prison, but cleared of genocide charges, provoking strong reaction in B-H media and public opinion

Outgoing EU Commissioner Chris Patten says that the state union of Serbia and Montenegro is an impediment to the progress of both towards the EU

3 September 2004

Serbian government demands alteration to the Drina frontier with B-H, claiming forty latter’s territory

6 September 2004

Sulejman Tihić, current chairman of the B-H presidency, rejects any possibility that B-H may withdraw its lawsuit against Serbia and Montenegro before the International Court of Justice

9 September 2004

Draft model constitution for B-H, prepared by a team of eminent jurists and sponsored by the Open Society, is published simultaneously as a paid supplement in all B-H weeklies

15 September 2004

SDP files a proposal in B-H parliament for radical changes to the constitution, whereby entities and cantons would no longer figure specifically: B-H would be a decentralized republic with a high level of regional and local self-government, a social, secular state with sovereignty wielded by its citizens, and its peoples being constituent throughout its territory

22 September 2004

UNHCR says that of 2.2 million wartime B-H refugees and displaced persons, 1 million have now returned to their prewar homes, 75% of them to the Federation, 25% to RS (where the proportion of returnees is 1 in 4)

23 September 2004

Tihić addresses UN general assembly and meets President Bush

24 September 2004

Contract for project documentation for the 5c Corridor motorway is awarded to a consortium of Bosnian and Croatian firms

25 September 2004

Constitutional Court, considering RS has failed to comply with its ruling concerning wartime changes to names of B-H towns and municipalities, imposes provisional names avoiding the ‘Serb’ prefix or e.g. in the case of Foča returning the former name

1 October 2004

Former Federation defence minister Miroslav Prce receives five-year prison sentence (after plea bargain) in connection with payments made from the defence ministry budget in 1999-2001 to companies under control of Hercegovačka Banka

Nationalist crowd forcibly prevents the placing of a memorial plaque commemorating rape victims on the notorious Partizan building in Foča (see article below)

2 October 2004

Local elections held in B-H, with direct election of mayors for the first time. Turn-out 47%. Nationalist parties by and large maintain their positions; Dodik’s SNSD (albeit with nationalist rather than social-democratic rhetoric) does well in larger RS towns, notably Banja Luka and Trebinje, winning slightly more votes overall than SDS, though latter wins more mayoral posts. Main losers are SBiH, NHI and PDP. SDP recovers somewhat since last elections, winning mayoral posts in Brčko, Tuzla and some Sarajevo municipalities.

7 October 2004

Trial of Naser Orić, wartime commander of besieged Srebrenica, begins at The Hague

8 October 2004

Srđan Dizdarević, president of B-H Helsinki Committee for human rights, gives statement to Nezavisne Novine (Banja Luka) stressing the importance for B-H of organizing a population census; this demand is generally supported by parties in RS, but opposed by those in Federation, which argue that a census should be carried out only when all refugees and displaced persons have been able to return to their homes.

9 October 2004

Addressing Venice Commission (Council of Europe’s commission on constitutional issues), High Representative Paddy Ashdown describes Dayton and the current B-H constitution as a platform rather than a ceiling, speaks of the need for constitutional revision if B-H is to enter and prosper in the EU, and makes clear that the future status of Kosovo will have no bearing on B-H.

EU High Representative for foreign affairs and security issues Javier Solana makes simultaneous contrasting statement saying there should be no change to the Dayton constitution, a sentiment echoed by numerous RS politicians and media commentators.

10 October 2004

Conference organized in Foča by RS Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and ICTY Outreach Programme on the work of the ICTY related to war crimes committed in that city (see article below)

11 October 2004

Former intelligence chief of Karadžić’s forces Ljubiša Beara surrenders and is transferred to Hague tribunal (see article below)

14 October 2004

National Museum (Zemaljski muzej) announces it will have to close its doors to the public for the first time, because of lack of funds (e.g. for heating)

15 October 2004

RS government receives final report of commission on Srebrenica

18 October 2004

Reconstructed Orthodox church reopens in Mostar

21 October 2004

B-H Presidency (by 2 votes to 1) nominates Karadžić’s former information minister Dragan Božanić as B-H ambassador to Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Nominee subsequently withdraws after storm of protest, and reported unwillingness of CoE to accept him.

25 October 2004

EU proposes future integrated police force for B-H

29 October 2004

RS government accepts final report of Srebrenica commission, and forwards it to human rights chamber of B-H constitutional court

9 November 2004

OHR welcomes the largely positive assessment by the human rights commission of the B-H Constitutional Court of the final report of the Srebrenica Commission as accepted by the RS authorities. Included in the report is a provisional figure of 7,800 for those missing presumed dead during the month of July 1995, when the massacre by Serb nationalist forces took place.

11 November 2004

RS government issues formal apology for the Srebrenica massacre

15 November 2004

Demonstrations by pensioners in larger towns throughout RS (see article below)

16 November 2004

RS authorities arrest 8 minor war-crime suspects indicted by B-H courts with approval of ICTY and hand them over to Sarajevo police for local trial

18 November 2004

B-H government appoints a number of new ambassadors, including Dr Tanja Milašinović, former deputy RS minister of finance, to London

25 November 2004

Borislav Paravac, current chair of B-H Presidency, refused to attend ceremony marking country’s national day (dan državnosti)

27 November 2004

HR Paddy Ashdown repeals Law on Pardons, describing it as a great hole in the judicial system through which corrupt politicians and others escape

30 November 2004

Ratko Mladić’s personnel file shows he was on RS armed forces payroll until 2002


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