bosnia report
New Series No: 23/24/25 June - October 2001
Chronology of an eventful year

5 October 2000

Following popular mobilization in Serbia to ensure respect for election results, Slobodan Milosevic finally concedes and Vojislav Kostunica takes office as new President of FRY.

14 October 2000

Zivko Radisic, by rotation, becomes president of the B-H Presidency in place of Alija Izetbegovic, who withdraws as Bosniak member of Presidency in favour of Halid Genjac.

20 October 2000

Serb nationalists organize fourth day of demonstrations in Brcko against attempts by international supervisor to integrate schools on a non-ethnic basis ( Note: in August 2001 the local authorities had still not accepted the supervisor’s proposals; the latter nevertheless announced that - unintegrated - classes for the new school year would be permitted to begin on time)

22-3 October 2000

By-passing B-H state authorities, Kostunica arranges to visit Trebinje in RS for re-burial of Serb nationalist poet Jovan Ducic. After international pressure he makes brief visit to Sarajevo airport, where he meets B-H Presidency members.

October 2000

HDZBiH starts pre-electoral agitation against new rules for electing delegates to Federation upper house that are designed to weaken ethnic homogenization of political representation within the Federation structures (though leaving RS unaffected). Party announces it will hold ‘referendum’ on Croat rights on election day. B-H foreign minister Jadranko Prlic leaves party and establishes new grouping.

11 November 2000

General elections for B-H House of Representatives; RS Presidency and National Assembly; Federation House of Representatives and Cantonal Assemblies; municipality of Srebrenica. SDP and SBiH gain votes in Federation at expense of SDA; SDS easily strongest party in RS (for detailed results, see Bosnia Report 19-20).

15 December 2000

B-H and FRY establish diplomatic relations.

16 December 2000

‘Croat National Assembly’ convened in Tuzla on HDZ initiative; claims its decisions bind all Croat representatives in governmental bodies.

28 December 2000

Radisic holds talks in Belgrade with Kostunica on establishing special bilateral relations between RS and FRY.

11 January 2001

High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch establishes Constitutional Commissions in both RS and Federation, designed to protect the interests of the three constituent peoples and others throughout the territory of B-H, but falling far short of harmonizing the country’s institutions in such a way as to implement adequately the decision of the Constitutional Court in relation to ‘equal status everywhere’, which would have entailed confronting the mono-ethnic set-up in RS.

13 January 2001

Representatives of ten Federation parties (SDP, SBiH, NHI and seven smaller partners) establish Democratic Alliance for Change. In RS, with backing of OHR and permission of dominant SDS which provides RS president and vice-president, Mladen Ivanic (whose PDP, associated with the Alliance at B-H level, got just 13% of the vote) nominates government of ministers without formal party allegiance, to avoid embarrassment for international officials of overt SDS presence.

19 January 2001

Kostunica pays first official visit to B-H.

22 February 2001

Bozidar Matic nominated by Alliance as Federation premier.

Hague Tribunal hands down historic sentences for mass rape by Serb officials in Foca: these for the first time punish sexual assault as a crime against humanity.

23 February 2001

OHR removes former Federation premier Edhem Bicakcic from post of general manager of BiH Elektroprivreda, for abuse of public office.

26 February 2001

Hague Tribunal sentences two senior Croat officials, Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez, to 25 and 15 years respectively for crimes against humanity committed in central Bosnia.

27 February 2001

Federation House of Representatives endorses Karlo Filipovic (SDP) and Safet Halilovic (SBiH) as Federation president and vice-president.

3 March 2001

At session in Mostar, ‘Croat National Assembly’ declares interim ‘Croat self-rule’ in B-H.

5 March 2001

Kostunica signs agreement with RS president Mirko Sarovic on ‘special and parallel relations’ between FRY and RS.

7 March 2001

High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch removes B-H presidency member Ante Jelavic and three senior HDZ colleagues from all elected and party functions.

12 March 2001

Nearly four months after the elections the Federation gets a government, led by Alija Behmen (SDP).

15 March 2001

Croatian Foreign Ministry sends official note to its B-H counterpart, stressing that the Republic of Croatia fully supports the legal state and entity institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina (thus repudiating the ‘Croat National Assembly’).

30 March 2001

B-H House of Peoples confirms new Croat and Bosniak members of B-H Presidency, Jozo Krizanovic (SDP) and Beriz Belkic (SBiH).

1 April 2001

Milosevic arrested by Serbian police on charges of corruption and abuse of power.

6 April 2001

Attempt by OHR and SFOR to take over the Hercegovacka Banka, suspected of underpinning illegal Croat extremism, in Mostar and other towns in Herzegovina, met with well-organised violence. Result: 22 injuries among international officials, and significant damage to property belonging to international organisations.

5 May 2001

Serb extremists in Trebinje prevent symbolic laying of corner-stone for reconstruction of the Osman-pasha mosque.

7 May 2001

During second such outbreak of violence within two days, mob of several thousand Serbs in Banja Luka, carrying Chetnik flags and banners, throw missiles at those attending the ceremony of laying a corner-stone for reconstruction of the Ferhat-pasha mosque. During riots lasting over eight hours, more than 30 civilians and police are wounded and one civilian is killed. Senior international officials and diplomats trapped in building of the Islamic Centre, along with several hundred Muslim visitors. The angry protesters burn the Islamic flag and torch five buses that brought the latter, most of whom were expelled from Banja Luka during the war, to the ceremony.

20 May 2001

First film by young Bosnian director Danis Tanovic wins Golden Palm award for best screenplay at Cannes Film Festival.

21 May 2001

Official B-H state delegation, comprising three Presidency members as well as foreign minister Zlatko Lagumdzija, makes first official visit to Belgrade since end of the war in B-H. Agreement signed establishing an Inter-State Council between B-H and FRY.


18 June 2001

With assistance of senior RS officials and with security provided by over 2,000 police, Islamic Community succeeds in holding re-scheduled ceremony in Banja Luka of laying corner-stone for reconstruction of the Ferhadija mosque, despite fresh demonstrations attempting to prevent the event from taking place.

21 June 2001

After lengthy discussion B-H House of Representatives fails to adopt Election Law drafted under international supervision. Although adoption of this law has been made main precondition for B-H's accession to Council of Europe, Alliance and SDA both object to the draft, saying it fails to enshrine Constitutional Court decision on ‘equal status everywhere’ and violates key principles of European Convention on Human Rights. Matic resigns B-H premiership.

28 June 2001

Milosevic extradited by Serbian authorities to ICTY in The Hague.

29 June 2001

Foreign Ministers of B-H, Croatia, FRY, Macedonia and Slovenia sign in Vienna framework agreement on succession to the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).

5 July 2001

Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown gets EU backing to succeed Petritsch as High Representative in B-H

11 July 2001

Thousands of Bosniaks commemorate sixth anniversary of massacre at Srebrenica at ceremony of laying corner-stone for memorial at Potocari, under massive police protection - for which RS authorities presented Srebrenica survivors’ organizations with a bill for many thousands of Deutschmarks!

19 July 2001

B-H parliament appoints foreign minister Lagumdzija as new premier, with HDZ and SDS voting against.

Fikret Abdic put on trial in Croatia, on a B-H indictment for involvement in the deaths of over 100 people in the breakaway para-state he set up in western Bosnia at the height of the war

31 July 2001

B-H premier Lagumdzija demanded that High Representative Petritsch open new tendering process for third mobile phone network (earlier one had been non-transparent and effectively rigged against B-H interests).

2 August 2001

Hague Tribunal finds Bosnian Serb general Krstic guilty of genocide, for his role in the massacre of over 7,000 Bosniaks at Srebrenica in 1995, and sentences him to 46 years.

3 August 2001

Three high-ranking Bosnian officers (retired Generals Alagic and Hadzihasanovic, and Colonel Kubura) detained in Bosnia and transferred to Hague Tribunal, under indictment for command responsibility for alleged crimes committed in central Bosnia 1993-94.

17 August 2001

Sarajevo film festival opens.

23 August 2001

B-H parliament’s House of Peoples, by unanimously accepting the electoral law drafted under international supervision and initially rejected by all parties, completed the constitutional process of its ratification.

30 August 2001

Hague Tribunal grants Biljana Plavsic, indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity, provisional freedom under guarantees from FRY pending her trial next year.

1 September 2001

HDZBiH expels Neven Tomic, mayor of Mostar, because of his opposition to the party’s separatism.

14 September 2001

FRY withdraws its counter-suit against B-H before the International Court of Justice.

19 September 2001

In a welcome challenge to the OHR, the Federal Agency for Privatization requests that ownership structure of ‘Aluminij’ Mostar be revised. This major state-owned company, located on territory controlled by the HVO, during and after the war had dismissed almost all Bosniak and Serb workers (the majority), while rewarding Croat employees with shares. In one of the most flagrant examples of politically motivated fraud in postwar B-H, the firm had then changed its capital structure in such a way as to reduce the value of the state-owned part, handing effective control to a dramatically increased private component dominated by local political structures in Western Herzegovina. A report by OHR experts nevertheless concluded that any radical revision risked jeopardizing the firm’s operations: hence, the fraud at the expense of the state and the majority of the work force should in effect be accepted!

25 September 2001

Former commander-in-chief of Bosnian Army Sefer Halilovic surrenders voluntarily to the Hague Tribunal, to answer charge of command responsibility for two massacres in the Neretva valley (Grabavica and Uzdol) that left sixty Croat civilians dead.


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