Yugo Digest: 1996-06-22

yugo_digest_logoThis Week: Joint Endeavor reaches halfway point; eyewitnesses finger Tadic.

17 June 96, Mon

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Republika Srpska President Radovan Karadzic can be sued in the United States by women raped and tortured in Bosnia. The Court rejected Karadzic’s argument that he was immune in U.S. courts because the crimes took place in Bosnia. The case is based on a 200-year-old law allowing foreign citizens to sue foreign officials and citizens for violating the law of nations. A federal judge had ruled for Karadzic in 1994, but was overruled by the Court of Appeals. Karadzic’s lawyer, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, then appealed to the Supreme Court.

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Muslims stoned a Catholic monastery in Mostar, two weeks before elections to help reunify the ethnically polarized Bosnian city.

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The main body of the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion returned to Green Bay last week.


18 June 96, Tue

A mob of Bosnian Serb women are blocking access to the OSCE office in Banja Luka. Two senior OSCE officials are trapped inside the building by the unarmed women. The women are demanding information about their men who are being held by Muslim and Croat authorities. The smooth organization of the protest — including neatly lettered signs in English — lend credence to the suspicion that it was organized by Republika Srpska President Radovan Karadzic to demonstrate his ability to disrupt the September elections.

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The ICTY released a Goran Lajic in a case of mistaken identity. Lajic claimed that another person with the same name committed the war crimes in question, at Keraterm prison camp in 1992. Lajic is returning to Germany, where he was arrested on March 18, rather than to Republika Srpska where he is wanted for deserting the Bosnian Serb army. The prosecution said the mistake was caused by biographic coincidences. Both the arrested Lajic and the wanted man with the same name lived in the town of Banja Luka, went to the same school and both served as military policemen at the beginning of the war.

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Dusan Tadic was fingered at the ICTY war crimes trial in The Hague by a Muslim survivor of the Omarska prison camp. The witness had casually known Tadic for years prior to seeing him twice at the camp in 1992. The witness saw Tadic, armed and in uniform, remove several men from the garage in which they were kept, soon followed by threats, moaning and screaming. The prisoners were not returned. When he briefly left the building a day later he saw blood on the walls where the screams had come from. Tadic is also claiming to be a victim of mistaken identity.


19 June 96, Wed

Today marks the supposed mid-way point of NATO’s deployment in the Balkans. The military aspects of the mission, including the separation of forces, disarmament of the factions, and the transfer of territory have gone well. But reconciliation, resettlement and reconstruction have not. However, U.S. officials believe the election process can succeed and that a peaceful, multi-ethnic society will be restored in Bosnia.

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At a press conference marking the end of his tour in Bosnia, Major General Michael Jackson stronly rejected criticism that IFOR has been too timid in enforcing the Dayton Accord: “What you have to do is to make very careful judgments. I mean, Actions have reactions, and reactions to that. And you have to make some very careful judgments about where you want to be in the long term before you start reacting to day-to-day events. It’s not easy … If people wish to vote or to act in an ethnic manner — as opposed to a multi-ethnic manner — at the end of the day, that is what they are going to do. And I’m not going to change it by coming with a big stick.”


20 June 96, Thu

The demilitarization of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium was completed. The U.N. Transitional Authority for Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) supervised the withdrawal of heavy weapons. Neither the Croats nor the withdrawing Serbs caused trouble. UNTAES will continue to monitor the region.

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Dusan Tadic was fingered by another Muslim survivor of the Omarska prison camp at the ICTY war crimes trials at The Hague. He said he saw Tadic at the camp at least twice. The witness knew Tadic because he was a frequent visitor to the witness’s restaurant before the war. None of the prosecution witnesses has yet been able to testify that they saw Tadic committing war crimes, either against themselves or others. (Probably because the ones who saw it are unable to testify.) The prosecution strategy is to prove that what Tadic is alleged to have done is part of a pattern. The real connection between him and the crimes is yet to be made. Unless the prosecution can establish that, certain charges may have to be dropped.


21 June 96, Fri

Republika Srpska President Radovan Karadzic was nominated by the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) to be its candidate for the Bosnian presidency in the September elections. EU representative Carl Bildt said Karadzic “would not be accepted on the lists.” The Dayton Accords prevent indicted war criminals, such as Karadzic, from running for office. The nomination is a direct challenge to the international community which has repeatedly failed to enforce the principles it itself enshrined in the Dayton agreement.

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Bosnian authorities arrested the man suspected of crowning former prime minister Haris Silajdzic at a political rally last week. The suspect confessed to assaulting the popular opposition leader.


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