bosnia report
New Series No: 51-52 April - July 2006
Chronology of events February - June 2006

1 February 2006

Christian Schwarz-Schilling takes over as High Representative, replacing Paddy Ashdown

5 February 2006

Milorad Dodik is given a mandate by RS assembly president (and SDS leader) Dragan Čavić to form a new RS government within forty days

8 February 2006

Several hundred demonstrators protest outside Western embassies in Sarajevo over the publication in Denmark of cartoons portraying the Prophet Mohammed - Croatian, Danish, French and Norwegian flags are burned.

18 February

B-H director Jasmila Žbanić wins the Golden Bear award of the Berlin Film Festival for her film Grbavica

19 February 2006

Leaders of five B-H parties - the PDP, SDS and SNSD from RS, and the SDA and SDP from the Federation - meet in secret at a US facility to discuss changes to the Dayton constitution

22 February 2006

Widespread reports that Mladić has been arrested in Serbia and is being transferred to The Hague via EUFOR’s airbase at Tuzla turn out to be groundless; the source and purpose of the reports remains a matter for speculation

27 February 2006

The lawsuit charging genocide brought by B-H against FRY (and its successor state of Serbia) opens before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague

1 March 2006

Sulejman Tihić takes over as chair of the B-H presidency

2 March 2006

Defendants are convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences in a retrial for war crimes committed against Serb prisoners at Lora naval base in Split, Croatia

3 March 2006

RS prime minister designate Milorad Dodik claims that B-H’s lawsuit before the ICJ is illegitimate

5 March 2006

Milan Babić is found dead in his cell at The Hague, apparently having committed suicide

8 March 2006

The appeal chamber of ICTY reduces from 27 to 20 years the sentence on Momir Nikolić, who pleaded guilty to war crimes at Srebrenica in July 1995 and testified in a number of related trials

11 March 2006

Slobodan Milošević, former president of FRY, is found dead in his cell at The Hague, apparently having died of natural causes. His death sparks intense controversy about its nature and cause - the official investigation concludes that he died of a heart attack. While his family accuse the Tribunal authorities of criminal neglect or even poisoning, a more persuasive theory suggests that his death may have been provoked by a deliberate attempt on the part of the prisoner to exacerbate his chronic heart problems by manipulating his medication, in the hope of being allowed to seek treatment in Russia. The death also provokes a fierce debate in Serbia over the funeral: eventually Milošević receives no state honours, but a public lying-in-state of the coffin is nevertheless permitted in central Belgrade, before the burial takes place in his home town of Požarevac.

15 March 2006

The Hague tribunal sentences B-H army officers Enver Hadžihasanović and Amir Kubura to 5 and 2.5 years in prison respectively for not preventing or punishing crimes committed against civilians in central Bosnia by Muhajadeen units formally under their command

18 March 2006

HR Schwarz-Schilling says in an address to the Council of Europe that the issue of police officers de-certified on the recommendation of an international police official in 2002 should be resolved as a matter of urgency

19 March 2006

Leaders of seven B-H political parties - HDZ, HNZ, PDP, SNSD, SDA, SDP, SDS - announce that they have reached consensus on a packet of changes to the country’s Dayton constitution

20 March 2006

Leaders of the Patriotic Bloc - BOSS, SBiH, SDU - and the Association of Veterans announce their strong opposition to the proposed changes to the Dayton constitution

23 March 2006

The B-H presidency declares its support for the proposed constitutional changes. On the other hand, the bishops’ conference of the Catholic Church in B-H opposes the changes as destructive of the country’s integrity and calls on Croat deputies to vote against them in the B-H parliament

2 April 2006

The B-H Constitutional Court orders the Federation and RS assemblies to harmonize the RS coat of arms, flag and anthem and the Federation coat of arms and flag with the B-H constitution within sixty days

8 April 2006

RS police chief Dragomir Andan resigns under pressure, reportedly for poor cooperation with ICTY

Expelled HDZ deputies Božo Ljubić and Martin Raguz form HDZ - 1990, opposed to proposed constitutional changes

11 April 2006

A demonstration is held in Sarajevo by RS war veterans and their families, demanding establishment of a commission to investigate war crimes against Serbs in Sarajevo

18 April 2006

RS prime minister Dodik claims that Kosova independence could destabilize B-H

26 April 2006

The B-H house of representatives fails to muster the necessary two-thirds majority to approve the proposed constitutional changes

1 May 2006

Chief B-H negotiator with the EU Igor Davidović reports that talks on an Stabilization and Association (SAA) agreement will continue, despite the fact that the proposed constitutional amendments have not been passed by the B-H parliament, but that concrete steps towards integration are for the moment blocked. Progress towards the EU is also hampered by the stalling of police reform, with RS authorities still opposing abolition of entity police forces and the creation of police regions crossing the inter-entity boundary

A large May Day demonstration by workers, farmers and unemployed outside the presidency building in Sarajevo shows anger at the country’s economic situation, and the extent of corruption and the black market

3 May 2006

EU suspends talks with Serbia on a future SAA agreement, following Belgrade’s failure to deliver Ratko Mladić to The Hague

5 May 2006

B-H elections announced for 1 October 2006

9 May 2006

Hague tribunal sentences former HVO commander Ivica Rajić to twelve years in prison for charges relating to the deaths of 250 Bosniak civilians in the village of Stupni Do and other lesser charges; the modest sentence has seemingly been motivated by the defendant’s guilty plea, expression of remorse, and agreement to testify in other trials

21 May 2006

Montenegro votes 55.3% to 44.7% in favour of independence, passing the threshold set by the EU for international recognition

Haris Silajdžić returns to the B-H political scene, is elected unopposed as leader of the SBiH, and announces that he intends to run for the B-H presidency

26 May 2006

B-H council of ministers approves the establishment of a commission of enquiry into the sufferings of all Sarajevo citizens during the 1992-5 period

27 May 2006

RS premier Dodik says that Montenegro’s road to independence via a referendum could be a model for RS. In an interview with Oslobođenje he suggests that continued SNSD support for the proposed constitutional changes will be conditional upon a federal reorganization of B-H recognizing the right of self-determination including secession (although this will later be denied by a party spokesman)

30 May 2006

OHR emphasizes that, as a B-H entity, RS has no legal right to organize a referendum.  HR Schwarz-Schilling states clearly on a visit to Belgrade that the issues of Kosova, Montenegro and Republika Srpska are wholly unconnected

3 June 2006

Montenegro’s parliament formally proclaims the country independent

5 June 2006

Serbia’s parliament formally proclaims the country independent

10 June 2006

War-crimes suspect Dragan Zelenović becomes the first indictee to be extradited from RS to The Hague

15 June 2006

B-H recognizes independent Montenegro

Riots break out in Mostar, provoked by Croat football hooligans following Croatia’s defeat by Brazil in the football World Cup

26 June 2006

OHR announces that it will close down in June 2007

27 June 2006

B-H presidency chair Tihić expresses the hope that B-H will join the Organization of the Islamic Conference

29 June 2006

The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passes a resolution calling for a new B-H constitution to be prepared by 2010 (with entity voting to be dropped immediately, and the concept of ‘vital national interest’ to be defined clearly to prevent blockage of government by sectional political interests)

30 June 2006

Naser Orić is sentenced to two years imprisonment for failing to prevent abuse of Serb prisoners at Srebrenica, but is cleared of more serious charges - meaning his immediate release, since he has already spent three years in custody


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