bosnia report
New Series No. 13/14 December - February 2000
From an Interview with Kurt Bassuener
by interviewed by Slobodna Bosna (Sarajevo)

"The essence of our proposal is that all peoples must be constituent throughout the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, something that is already being discussed by the Constitutional Court. A second important proposal is that citizens should be allowed to vote only in the municipality where they voted in 1991, unless they have moved in a legal manner. Establishing links between voting rights and property rights would encourage the restitution of property and the return home of citizens. The current rules simply legitimize ethnic cleansing."

"If they [the international community] accepted any change [in the electoral law] that would mean they would have to open up the debate again . . . They don't want that, they don't want to open up the issue again, because they have already reached a compromise. And their invocation of constitutional constraints on the laws they can frame is merely an excuse, since the international community has double standards when the constitution of BüH is in question. They invoke constitutional constraints only when they don't want any change. The problem lies in the fact that the international community very often follows the line of least resistance in questions that are of crucial importance for the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina."

"At Dayton last November there was a discussion on the electoral law. One exchange that I had with Francois Froment Menrice, an OHR legal expert who took part in the drafting of the Provisional Electoral Law, has remained fixed in my mind. I told him that this electoral law does not change anything essentially, and that the same non-functioning system will still be there after the elections. `Of course,' he said. `We're quite aware of that. Bosnia-Herzegovina is not a real country. Republika Srpska will one day become part of Serbia, and that will be what we French call the right to self-determination. Yes, I mean right to self-determination!' he repeated. And we were not alone when he said that, so there are other witnesses. What interests me is how Menrice will explain this statement to the Bosnian public."

Kurt Bassuener, director of the Balkan Action Council, interviewed by Slobodna Bosna (Sarajevo) No.165, 13 January, 2000


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