bosnia report
New Series No: 27-28 January - May 2002
Chronology of events October 2001 - April 2002


6 October 2001

HDZ-BiH Congress in Mostar re-elects Ante Jelavic as party president, even though he has been banned by the High Representative; announces its readiness to return to parliamentary and other institutions; and calls for B-H to be reorganized according to a single principle, in line with the Constitutional Court decision on constituent peoples: either three entities, or no entities but a country-wide cantonal system.

9 October 2001

UNHCR announces that 778,651 persons have returned to B-H (though not, of course, necessarily to their former homes) since 1996.

Hague tribunal (ICTY) sentences two Bosniaks and a Croat to 18, 15 and 9 years in prison respectively for crimes against Bosnian Serbs committed in the Celebici camp during the war.

11 October 2001

Alija Izetbegovic resigns as SDA leader, citing age and health, the day before the party congress.

13 October 2001

SDA congress elects Sulejman Tihic as party president to replace Izetbegovic. A new statute defines the SDA as ‘a national party of the political centre’. Izetbegovic is elected honorary party president and is expected to chair a new advisory political council.

21 October 2001

FRY general Pavle Strugar, accused of war crimes committed in Dubrovnik in 1991, surrenders to ICTY.

23 October 2001

Three Bosnian Croats, convicted by ICTY for ethnic cleansing in central Bosnia - crimes related to the 16 April 1993 massacre of more than 100 Bosniak civilians in the village of Ahmici - have their sentences quashed on appeal.

1 November 2001

The appointment of new heads for the Bosniak and Croat intelligence services, AID and SNS, comes under attack in the Sarajevo media and from a number of leading politicians in the ruling Alliance, but is confirmed by the B-H Presidency as a purported step towards integration of the existing agencies into a single Federation intelligence service.

13 November 2001

Three Bosnian Serb commandants involved in running the notorious Keraterm prison camp, where many Bosniaks and Croats were tortured during the war, are sentenced to 15, 5 and 3 years in prison respectively by the ICTY.

15 November 2001

Two days after 70 Bosniak returnee children begin attending classes at the high school in Stolac, a group of 220 Croat students gathers in front of the school and shouts insults.

23 November 2001

ICTY Judge Richard May confirms an indictment against Slobodan Milosevic, submitted ten days earlier by Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, charging him on 29 counts for crimes committed between 1992 and 1995 in B-H, including genocide and conspiracy to commit genocide.

27 November 2001

Stanimir Vukicevic becomes first FRY ambassador to B-H, after nearly ten years in effect without diplomatic ties between the two countries.

11 December 2001

Slobodan Milosevic refuses to plead to charges of orchestrating genocide by Serb forces in the 1992-95 war in B-H; Judge Richard May enters a ‘not guilty’ plea on his behalf.

13 December 2001

ICTY releases provisionally four senior Bosniak wartime army officers awaiting trial: Sefer Halilovic, Mehmed Alagic, Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.

17 December 2001

Jerker Torngren, chief executive of the Communications Regulatory Agency (CRA), who has headed the body since its establishment on 2 March 2001, indicates he will not seek renewal of his contract.

21 December2001

Decision by Stolac mayor Zeljko Obradovic to suspend reconstruction of the Emperor’s (Careva) Mosque is considered a provocation by 3,700 Bosniak returnees; in a letter of protest the Stolac Islamic Community states that all constitutional and legal foundations for reconstruction of the mosque are in place.

24 December 2001

Serb Democratic Party (SDS) congress in Banja Luka amends party statute to ban from membership persons indicted for war crimes by the ICTY, including party founders Radovan Karadzic and Momcilo Krajisnik.

13 January 2002

OHR confirms that High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch will leave his post in May or early June, to be replaced by former British Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown.

16 January 2002

Croatian foreign minister Tonino Picula informs Croatian parliament that Croatia will not be indifferent to constitutional reforms in B-H, since it has obligation under Dayton to ‘care for the interests’ of B-H Croats, and describes the ongoing constitutional debate in B-H as a good opportunity to advance democratic processes and establish a symmetry of institutions in the country’s two entities.

17 January 2002

B-H Federation supreme court, citing insufficient evidence, orders the release from detention of six Arabs - five Algerians and one Yemeni/Algerian - detained since October 2001 on suspicion of planning attacks against US targets across B-H and of being linked with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network. B-H human rights chamber issues a decision ordering state and Federation authorities to prevent forcible extradition of four of the six Algerians.

18 January 2002

Despite protests by Islamic organizations and outcry from some human-rights bodies (including Amnesty International, the B-H Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, the UNHCHR in B-H and the B-H human rights ombudsman), B-H authorities hand over the six suspected al-Qaeda members to the United States, saying they have to ‘meet international obligations pertaining to the global fight against terrorism’. Critics claim the move violates European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and B-H criminal code; most international and B-H officials and organizations eventually conclude, however, that the handover was inevitable, but could have been conducted in a more transparent fashion and in full compliance with the law.

19 January 2002

First municipal court in Belgrade announces that former B-H interior minister Alija Delimustafic has been apprehended on charges of criminal forgery. B-H authorities had earlier issued an INTERPOL warrant for the arrest of Delimustafic on charges of embezzlement.

22 January 2002

A large majority - 105 in favour, one against and six abstentions - of the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly votes in favour of B-H’s accession to the Council of Europe.

25 January 2002

Leaders of eight major political parties from Federation and RS meet at Mrakovica near Prijedor, to discuss constitutional reform in the two entities, in the first of a series of planned meetings. While most Federation parties advocate symmetric solutions in both entities, with the introduction of a House of Peoples in RS and an ethnic composition for the RS government in line with the 1991 census, RS leaders unanimously argue that the entity government should be created solely on the basis of election results and claim that the national interests of all peoples in the RS can be adequately protected through Constitutional Commissions.

2 February 2002

Oslobodjenje reports that Stranka za BiH founder and former B-H foreign minister and prime minister Haris Silajdzic will soon return to political life after a three-month absence, and that he will be SBiH candidate for the post of Bosniak member of the B-H Presidency at upcoming general elections scheduled for October; report confirmed by current party leader Safet Halilovic, who stresses, however, that no final decision has been made since consultations with Silajdzic are ongoing.

6 February 2002

UN special representative in B-H Jacques Paul Klein raises storm with interview in which he claims that Bosnia-Herzegovina has never been a state, and that Alija Izetbegovic discussed territorial deals with former Croatian president Franjo Tudjman. B-H ministry of foreign affairs expresses its concern to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Izetbegovic denies he ever seriously offered Herzegovina to Tudjman, claiming he was ‘simply testing his real intentions’.

12 February 2002

HDZ-BiH agrees to appoint its delegates to the Federation House of Peoples before the adoption of amendments to the entity constitutions.

A power-mad Slobodan Milosevic brought ‘mediaeval savagery’ to the Balkans in the 1990s, prosecutors claim as they begin the biggest war-crimes trial since Hitler's henchmen were tried at Nuremberg. The former FRY leader cynically harnessed Serb nationalism to catapult himself to power, spearheading a campaign to create a ‘Greater Serbia’ from the wreckage of the collapsing communist federation, the Hague war-crimes tribunal is told.

16 February 2002

Representatives of Croat parties in B-H visit Zagreb for talks with Croatian prime minister Ivica Racan on the issue of constitutional change in B-H. Croatia expresses support for symmetrical solutions, i.e. for all B-H citizens to be guaranteed equal rights in terms of the Constitutional Court’s ruling on constituent peoples, meaning the introduction of a ‘house of peoples’ in the RS national assembly and equal representation of all peoples in the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

28 February 2002

NATO announces failure to find former Bosnian Serb leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic during a raid on a village near Celebici.

1 March 2002

NATO announces failure of a second attempt to capture Karadzic.

11 March 2002

SDS congress in Banja Luka elects Dragan Kalinic party president.

12 March 2002

Reconstructed bridge opened over the Neretva river at Capljina, named ‘Dr Franjo Tudjman Bridge’ by HDZ-dominated municipal council.

14 March 2002

FRY president Vojislav Kostunica, Serbian president Zoran Djindjic, Montenegrin president Milo Djukanovic and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana sign what an official called an ‘agreement in principle’ to replace FRY by a new union called ‘Serbia and Montenegro’ - under intense EU pressure designed to head off Montenegrin independence with its possible implications for Kosova.

24 March 2002

Danis Tanovic from Sarajevo awarded Oscar as director and screenwriter of No Man’s Land [Nicija zemlja], named best foreign-language film.

27 March 2002

Alliance parties sign compromise document (‘Sarajevo Agreement’) on constitutional changes, brokered by OHR, designed to bring entity constitutions into line with B-H Constitutional Court ‘constituent peoples’ ruling of July 2000; HDZ and SDA reject agreement; RS parties accept the agreement ‘with certain reservations’ and refer it to RS assembly.

Book-length report on Srebrenica Genocide not prevented by Mient Jan Faber published by Interchurch Peace Council (IKV) in Amsterdam.

4 April 2002

RS assembly votes amendments to ‘Sarajevo Agreement’ contrary to its spirit, by a procedure flouting it to an even greater extent (as analysed at length in the ICG report ‘Implementing Equality’, published on 16 April 2002).

10 April 2002

Official report on Srebrenica commissioned by Dutch government, six years in the making, published in The Hague.

16 April 2002

Dutch government resigns in symbolic act of contrition, in wake of publication of official report into the Srebrenica massacre.

19 April 2002

Following rejection of ‘Sarajevo Agreement’ by Federation house of representatives (though house of peoples had approved it), and after prolonged haggling with RS politicians over the RS assembly amendments, Wolfgang Petritsch imposes new entity constitutions falling short of full implementation of the Constitutional Court ruling.

Way now open for announcement of general elections to be held on 5 October 2002.



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