Chronology of events October 2002 - June 2003
28 October 2002.
Newly elected members of B-H Presidency Dragan Čović, Mirko Š arovic and Sulejman Tihić inaugurated. According to rotation system, Š arovic will preside over the Presidency for the first eight months.
Under pressure, RS Supreme Defence Council accepts resignation of defence minister Slobodan Bilić and dismisses army chief of staff General Novica Simić, for involvement in illegal arms exports (Orao affair).
4 November 2002
Deliberations start before ICJ on FRY challenge to Court’s jurisdiction, in case brought by B-H against Serbia / Montenegro, on grounds that Yugoslavia was not a UN member at the time when the suit accusing FRY of genocide was filed.
11 November 2002
Dutch parliament finally launches public investigation into 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
12 November 2002
Cantonal Court in Sarajevo acquits Ivan Andabak, Dominik Ilijašević Como, Zoran Bašić Cola, Željko Ćosić, Jedinko Bajkuša and Mario Miličević Baja, charged with assassination of Jozo Leutar, deputy minister of internal affairs of B-H Federation..
16 November 2002
27 prominent Sarajevo intellectuals and public figures - including Gojko Berić, Zdravko Grebo, Ivan Lovrenovic, Haris Pašović, Senad Pećanin - issue strongly worded public protest at IPTF commissar Seven Frederiksen’s refusal to certify (thereby not just dismissing, but barring from future security jobs) 21 members of the Sarajevo Canton special police. Some had been accused of using excessive force during a raid on an underworld haunt, but this charge was dismissed by the B-H courts.
22 November 2002
Former ‘Krajina Serb Republic’ leader Milan Babić testifies at Milošević trial that he met the latter together with Radovan Karadžić in summer of 1991, to discuss where JNA should be deployed in coming war in Croatia and B-H; verifies voices on telephone intercepts between Karadžić and Milošević.
Dismissal of respected Brčko District police chief Duško Kokanović widely criticized, amid rumours of a vendetta by international police officers seen as overly sympathetic to SDS and RS authorities and unhappy at Kokanović’s crackdown on ‘Arizona’ market. Media storm blocks, however, his replacement by a war crimes suspect from Doboj.
24 November 2002
After disastrous election results, SDP holds extraordinary congress. Rumoured rebellion barely materializes, Lagumdžija re-elected president. However, prominent party members - including Sead Avdić, Ivo Komšić, Miro Lazović, Sejfudin Tokić - leave to form a new party. SDP founder Nijaz Duraković is expelled for his electoral collaboration with SBiH.
25 November 2002
B-H National Day ignored by Croat and Serb Presidency members, and respected only in certain areas of B-H Federation.
3 December 2002
High Representative Paddy Ashdown imposes new Law on B-H Council of Ministers (government), abolishing system of rotating chair and increasing number of ministies.
9 December 2002
Young Bosnian director Ahmed Imamović wins prestigious European Film Academy award for his short film ‘10 Minutes’.
15 December 2002
Ten years after replacing Serbian occupation forces on Prevlaka peninsula in southern Croatia, UN mission winds up mandate and returns area to Croatian control.
16 December 2002
Former RS president Biljana Plavšić’s sentencing hearing begins before ICTY, with Madeleine Albright, Carl Bildt, Mirsad Tokača and Milorad Dodik testifying. Prosecutor calls for a 15-25 year sentence for persecution and crimes against humanity.
OHR orders sale of Hercegovačka banka, despite report from provisional administrator Toby Robinson that at least KM 216 million (EUR 108 million) have been misused, claiming decision is in best interests of account holders and local economy. No criminal charges filed.
17 December 2002
FRY ratifies Dayton Accord.
20 December 2002
After protracted negotiations between HDZ, SDA and SDS, B-H Presidency nominates Adnan Terzić (SDA) president designate of the council of ministers - i.e. future B-H premier
26 December 2002
Special units of Federal interior ministry arrest Muamer Topalović, who on Christmas Eve in an ethnically motivated crime killed three members of Anđelić family recently returned to village of Kostajnica near Konjić.
30 December 2002
High Representative Paddy Ashdown imposes amendments to B-H Law on Citizenship, extending deadline for concluding dual citizenship agreements with other countries - needed by B-H if it is to avoid having to revoke B-H citizenship of hundreds of thousands of its citizens.
31 December 2002
Mandate of UN Mission to B-H terminated.
1 January 2003
EU officially begins police mission in B-H, replacing UN’s International Police Task Force (IPTF).
Brčko District follows B-H Federation and RS in implementing agreement signed by B-H on 7 November 2002, under international pressure, to harmonize oil prices across country. Measure aims to cut smuggling and corruption, and weaken local and often illegal power centres.
8 January 2002
Following OHR order to sell assets of Hercegovačka banka, administrator Toby Robinson accepts offer from Municipality of Grude to acquire 4.48% of stock of telecommunications company Eronet, previously owned by Hercegovačka banka. Deal opens door for Eronet to gain third mobile phone licence for whole of B-H without having to bid for it, and allows Croatian Telecom and its principal owner Deutsche Telecom to enter potentially lucrative B-H market without any commercial benefit to B-H state. Decision provokes vigorous reactions from both B-H Federation government and trade unions.
Serbian prime minister Zoran Đinđić states in interviews with Der Spiegel and The Wall Street Journal that Belgrade will request a new Dayton conference to draw new borders in the Balkans, if Kosovo Albanians continue to insist on independence, since ‘status of Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina has still not been determined.’
12 January 2003
International conference in Sarajevo discusses how local courts might take over certain cases from ICTY.
13 January 2003
B-H parliament approves new Council of Ministers (government) for the country, headed by Adnan Terzić (SDA) as prime minister, with Mladen Ivanić (PDP) as foreign minister, Bariša Čolak (HDZ) interior, Mila Gadžić foreign trade and economic relations, Ljerka Marić (HDZ) finance and treasury, Branko Dokić (SDS) transport and communications, Safet Halilović (SBiH) civil affairs, Mirsad Kebo (SDA) human rights and refugees. No justice minister appointed, since SDS candidate was rejected by OHR.
16 January 2003
High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of B-H (HJPC) appoints eight new judges to the B-H Court, forms a B-H Prosecutor's Office and appoints four new prosecutors.
20 January 2003
RS appoints a formally multi-ethnic government, with 8 Serb, 5 Bosniak and 3 Croat ministers. Dragan Mikerević is appointed prime minister. Milan Bogićević (SDS) economy, Simeun Vilendečič (PDP) finance, Gojko Savanović (SDS) education and culture, Suad Filipović (SDA) justice, Milovan Stanković (SDS) defence, Zoran Đerić (PDP) interior, Slaven Pekić (a Croat) administration and local self-government, Marin Kvaternik (PDP) health and social welfare, Rodoljub Trkulja (PDP) forestry and water resources, Dragan Solaja (PDP) traffic and communications, Boris Gaspar (a Croat) trade and tourism, Mensur Sehagić (SDA) urban planning, construction and environment, Mico Mičić (SDS) labour and veterans, Omer Branković (SDA) economic relations and co-ordination, Jasmin Samardžić (a Bosniak) refugees and DPs, and Džemal Kolonić (a Bosniak) science and technology.
Milan Milutinović, former FRY president, surrenders to ICTY.
High Representative Paddy Ashdown, receiving a ‘personality of the year’ award from B-H daily newspaper Dnevni avaz, provokes scandal by lavishly praising the latter as a journalistic model.
27 January 2003
Despite constitutional uncertainty about establishment of Serb caucus in Federal House of Peoples, Niko Lozanić becomes new president of B-H Federation, Š ahbaz Džihanović and Desnica Radivojević vice-presidents.
30 January 2003
After more than three months, and only after official protest from B-H Presidency, SFOR troops release Sabahudin Fiuljanin, held on suspicion of espionage against international forces, but in contravention of domestic legislation and internationally recognized standards.
3 February 2003
International Court of Justice rejects FRY arguments that it has no jurisdiction (on grounds that Yugoslavia was not a UN member at the time when action was initiated) in case brought by B-H charging FRY with genocide.
4 February 2003
With approval by FRY parliament of constitutional charter, new state of Serbia and Montenegro is proclaimed and FRY ceases to exist.
7 February 2003
After controversial appointment of Amir Jaganjac as president of supreme court of B-H Federation - which according to Federation Constitution could automatically have precluded another Bosniak becoming Federation prime minister - a compromise is found via resignation of speaker of house of representatives, thereby altering ethnic balance in parliament and re-opening door for a Bosniak to become premier.
10 February 2003
Deputy mayor of Mostar Neven Tomić resigns, citing impossibility of forming viable city administration and criticizing OHR for inaction.
14 February 2003
Serbian Radical leader Vojislav Š ešelj, indicted for crimes against humanity and crimes against laws and customs of war committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Vojvodina, surrenders to ICTY.
14 February 2003
New multi-ethnic B-H Federation government approved by house of representatives: Ahmet Hadžipašić (SDA) prime minister, Dragan Vrankić (HDZ) deputy premier and minister of finance, Gavrilo Grahovac (SBiH)deputy premier and culture and sport, Miroslav Nikolić (HDZ) defence, Mevludin Halilović (SBiH) interior, Borjana Kristo (HDZ) justice, Izet Žigić (SDA) energy, mining and industry, Nedžad Branković (SDA) transport and communications, Radovan Vignjević (SBiH) labour and social policy, Edin Mušić (SDA) refugees and DPs, Ibrahim Nadarević (SDA) veterans and war disabled, Tomo Lučić (HDZ) health, Zijad Pašić (SDA) education and science, Maid Ljubović (SBiH) trade, Ramiz Mehmedagić (SBiH) physical planning and environment, Marinko Božić (HDZ) water management and forestry, Mladen Ćabrilo (HDZ) entrepreneurship and crafts
25 February 2003
OHR publishes damning audit report accusing state-run energy company Elektropriveda RS (important in financing SDS) of depriving B-H economy of millions of marks; next day sacks its general director Svetozar Ačimović; one day later RS government dismisses entire board.
27 February 2003
Former RS president Biljana Plavšić sentenced to 11 years in prison.
1 March 2003
Bosnian Independence Day - commemorating 1992 referendum in which majority of country’s population voted for independence - is celebrated only in certain parts of B-H Federation.
5 March 2003
OHR publishes damning audit report accusing state-run energy company Elektropriveda HB (important in financing HDZ) of depriving B-H economy of millions of marks; general director Matan Zarić resigns next day.
7 March 2003
SFOR raids on army bases in RS uncovers evidence of espionage by RS military intelligence against international organizations, federal officials and ordinary citizens, notably including potential and actual ICTY prosecution witnesses.
Mehmed Alagić, retired general and wartime commander of 3rd and 7th Corps of Bosnian Army, indicted by Hague tribunal but given provisional release pending trial, dies of heart attack age 54. Tens of thousands of people attend his funeral in village of Fajtovci.
12 March 2003
Serbian prime minister Zoran Đinđić assassinated. First reports suggest he was killed by the so-called Zemun group of organized criminals linked to the Milošević regime. Ensuing crackdown under state of emergency leads to temporary detention of many thousands; arrest and charging of over three thousand, including former secret police chief Jovica Stanišić and Red Beret commander Franko Simatović; dissolution of Red Berets, involved in the assassination and also in many atrocities in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosova.
13 March 2003
Cantonal Court in Mostar finds Muamer Topalović guilty of killing three members of Anđelić family on Christmas Eve 2002 and sentences him to 35 years in prison.
15 March 2003
Miro Lazović elected president of newly established Social-Democratic Union, formed by ex-members of SDP.
28 March 2003
Former Serbian president Ivan Stambolić’s remains are found in a lime-filled grave, as a result of police crackdown following Đinđić assassination. Serbian authorities charge Slobodan Milošević and eight members of security services, including Radomir Marković and Milorad Luković ‘Legija’, with involvement in Stambolić murder; Mira Marković flees to Russia.
31 March 2003
Former FRY army commander Nebojša Pavković is arrested by Serbian authorities.
2 April 2003
Mirko Š arović resigns as Serb member of B-H presidency, taking responsibility for RS involvement in Orao affair and espionage scandal. High Representative Paddy Ashdown announces he is removing all references to statehood from RS constitution, and abolishing RS supreme defence council.
5 April 2003
Ivica Rajić, indicted by ICTY in 1995 for October 1993 massacre of Bosniaks at Stupni Do, is arrested by new Croatian special police unit at Split.
10 April 2003
Following Š arović resignation, Borislav Paravac nominated by RS authorities as Serb member of B-H presidency. Choice is highly controversial, because of Paravac’s wartime role heading the Crisis Staff in Doboj, site of many atrocities.
Naser Orić, wartime commander of Bosnian defence forces in Srebrenica, arrested and extradited to ICTY, which indicts him for crimes against humanity.
13 April 2003
Detention by Serbian police in wake of Đinđić assassination of Momčilo Mandić, former RS justice minister (responsible for concentration camps) in early years of war, allegedly main financial backer of Radovan Karadžić in recent years. Serbian police accuse him of murdering his bodyguard, ICTY wants to question him on possible involvement in war crimes in B-H.
16 April 2003
B-H government approves new education law (see article in this issue).
29 April 2003
Former Croatian army commander and Hague indictee Janko Bobetko dies in hospital.
6 May 2003
Momir Nikolić pleads guilty to crimes against humanity at Srebrenica.
9 May 2003
Trial of Stanislav Galić, Bosnian Serb general formerly commanding the Sarajevo-Romanija corps, accused of crimes against humanity in the bombardment of Sarajevo, closes at ICTY; verdict to follow later.
19 May 2003
Following approval by BH presidency and government, B-H justice minister signs deal for immunity from ICC for US personnel and associated employees in B-H. Parliamentary ratification will follow in June.
20 May 2003
ICTY judges grant prosecution in Milošević trial additional 100 days to make their case, compensating for time lost as a result of defendant’s repeated absences due to illness.
30 May 2003
Franko Simatović extradited by Serbia-Montenegro authorites to ICTY.
11 June 2003
Jovica Stanišić extradited by Serbia-Montenegro authorities to ICTY.
13 June 2003
Veselin Š ljivančanin arrested in Belgrade, for subsequent extradition to The Hague.