bosnia report
No. 19 June - August 1997
Who is Partitioning B.-H.?
by Senad Pecanin

The true role of Robert Frowick

If one is to personalize the international tendency to make the ethnic partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina definitive, then the name it bears at this point of time is that of Robert Frowick! What really opened my eyes to this fact was, I am sorry to say, none of the numerous political parties paying lip service to a single multi-national B-H, but instead a paid advertisement.

The advertisement in question, placed by the OSCE and filling a whole page of the Split satirical weekly Feral Tribune, contained instructions on voter registration for the coming municipal elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Never until now has the manipulation of Dayton provisions for the right of citizens to vote, exceptionally, in municipalities where they had not lived before the war been shown in so naked a form to the B-H public. Frowick's decision is not just injurious to fragile hopes for the unity and renewal of Bosnia-Herzegovina, it is also brazenly offensive in its manner.

In order to legalize the genocide in, and deportations from, Srebrenica, Prijedor, Foca, Banja Luka and Visegrad, Frowick's Provisional Electoral Commission offers the following procedure to the new inhabitants of Bosniak (but also Serb and Croat) homes. It is enough (according to the advertisement) to present the registration commissions with documentary evidence of just one of these :

  1. houseownership, or tenancy rights in a socially owned property;

  2. business ownership (an official document confirming at least 2% real ownership in a firm, or proof of significant participation in companies or business enterprises in the chosen municipality);

  3. a family invitation (invitation frÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌTom a close family member to live in his or her home);

  4. employment (an official letter confirming legal employment in the chosen municipality);

  5. other documents considered sufficient by the local authorities in the chosen municipality.

In other words, to any fool incapable of (a) acquiring a residence document from the municipality; (b) producing an agreement showing he owns at least one quarter of some cafe; (c) obtaining an invitation from some cousin, inviting him to move not into the house of a deported neighbour but into the cousin's own; (d) producing a document saying that he works in the corner grocery shop, the liberal Frowick has offered the chance of simply inventing some piece of paper that 'the local authorities in the chosen municipality consider sufficient'. This is why I recommend you to read carefully what Mr Kasim Begic has to say. I fully understand why he has resigned from the Provisional Electoral Commission, as well as his dismay that no one seems to heed his warnings. It makes you want to scream, when you see how much energy our party leaders put into arguing about percentages of coalition lists, oblivious to the fact that under Frowick's electoral rules Bosnia-Herzegovina is melting like snow in the August sun.

Senad Pecanin is editor of the Sarajevo monthly Dani, in whose May 1997 issue this article and the following statement by Kasim Begic first appeared. Bosnia-Herzegovina representative on the Provisional Electoral Commission, had just resigned from the latter for reasons which he spells out overleaf.


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