Issue No. 208 - January 23 , 2001
1. Croatia: CARLA REMEMBERS
By Goran Vezic
2. Bosnia and Herzegovina: NO PEACE FOR WAR CRIMINALS
By Radenko Udovicic
3. FRY/ Serbia: END OF HONEYMOON
By Zoran Mamula
4. Special addition: NEW AT TOL
Croatia: CARLA REMEMBERS
By Goran Vezic
This year will mark the tenth anniversary of the
war in the former Yugoslavia. It began when the former Yugoslav People's
Army attacked Slovenia. Then it spread to Croatia and culminated
in Bosnia and Herzegovina before coming to an end (hopefully) in Kosovo.
The fighting was fueled by centuries-old myths
that were a source of inspiration for the attackers and defenders alike.
Serbs in Bosnia "avenged themselves" for 500 years of Turkish domination,
and Catholic Croats "defended" their religion against Orthodox Serbs and
These nations have long memories. In
their minds, the Serbs have been battling with the Turks over Kosovo for
more than 600 years. Croats have been dreaming of their own country
for 900. But now these people are starting to forget what has happened
in their countries over the last decade.
Crime can be forgiven, but to forget about
the crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia is not recommended.
In particular, we must not forget about the criminals who were responsible
for these crimes. If we do not learn our lesson, we will be doomed
to repeat it. Croatia's defense against recent Serbian aggression
was marked by a resurgence of the types of crimes committed against Serbians
by Croatian ustashe during WWII. The atrocities committed by Croatians
have made Croatia's Serbian population feel justified in pardoning and
even avenging their own war criminals.
All sides, in fact, looked to WWII for inspiration.
Croats and Bosnians set up concentration camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Serbs used the same methods for massacre that chetniks used 60 years ago.
No one was afraid of being held responsible
for crimes committed against civilians. Criminals who had confessed
to the murder of a 12-year-old girl in Zagreb were set free thanks to legal
It was very rare for people to accuse their
own sides of war crimes. In fact, public approval of atrocities was
high - after all, the crimes were committed in the name of "our cause."
And it could easily have remained that way.
The crimes could have been remembered only by the victims, and everyone
would have remembered only the crimes committed by "the other side."
But in response to a war where everyone lost and there was no victorious
side to judge the defeated, the United Nations formed the International
Tribunal for War Crimes Committed in the Former Yugoslavia. So now
there is someone who will remember.
Which brings us to the strange but momentous
occurrence in Zagreb on January 15th. The catalyst was the arrival
of Hague prosecutor Carla Del Ponte on the very day that marked the ninth
anniversary of international recognition of Croatia. Milo Djukanovic,
the president of Montenegro, has some responsibility for this holiday:
if Montenegro had not attacked the city of Dubrovnik in 1991, Croatia would
have faced a longer struggle to become an internationally recognized country.
The January 15th date was chosen for the meeting with Del Ponte by former
Croatian prime minister Franjo Greguric and members of his multi-party
government specifically to invoke memories of the year (August 1991 to
August 1992) when Croatia was under Tudjman's shadow. All of Croatia's
former prime ministers were invited, but Stipe Mesic, the first Croatian
prime minister, and the current president did not attend.
Memories were not the only things present
at this meeting of former prime ministers and current political figures.
There were also attempts to prove that the government was not responsible
for war crimes committed by the Croatian side. The Hague is conducting
an ongoing investigation of members of the so-called Gospic group who have
been indicted for the mass murder of Serbs in Gospic, in central Croatia.
But many, including the attorney representing the victims, Slobodan Budak,
claim that the government were aware that the murders were planned and
did nothing to prevent them. These claims were reason enough to worry.
The Croatian media wondered if Del Ponte was arriving with indictments
for war crimes which named former government officials.
Del Ponte's talks with prime minister Ivica
Racan only partly allayed the government's fears. The prosecutor
nonchalantly stated that she had not come with indictments since, as is
known, the international does not make indictments publicly available until
after making the arrest.
Croatia and the Hague have been in a standoff
recently over the possibility of indictments against some former high-ranking
government officials and generals. "The possibility of cooperation
will increase starting tomorrow," stated Del Ponte after a day-long meeting
and without further explanation.
Even Montenegrin President Djukanovic - who
was briefly hospitalized in Zagreb for back injuries after a car accident
- commented that the time had come for Serbia to prove its democratic intentions
and start cooperating with the Hague. He did not mention Montenegro.
Djukanovic, who has made the transition from
avid supporter of Slobodan Milosevic to pro-Western democrat in record
time, is demonstrating clear symptoms of political amnesia.
I unfortunately, have not experienced the
relief of amnesia. I remember a voyage to Dubrovnik in late October
of 1991. The city was besieged by military and paramilitary "liberators"
from eastern Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. Greguric, then president
of the Democratic Unity movement that governed Croatia, was tired and worried,
but somehow at ease. He took his shoes off and rested in the cold
sun before it was certain whether or not the Yugoslav Navy would let us
enter the Dubrovnik port. Greguric was as barefoot as the Croatian
army at the time. Negotiations with Stame Broyet, admiral of the
Yugoslav Navy were conducted over the radio by Sipe Mesic, officially president
of Yugoslavia and head of the fourth-largest military force in Europe,
but in fact as powerless as Greguric himself. During the strained
dialogue, Mesic asked Broyet, formally his inferior, for permission for
his convoy of unarmed ships to enter Drubrovnik from the west.
Also on his way to Dubrovnik, but from the
east, was Djukanovic, then prime minister of Montenegro. A year earlier,
he had issued an apology in the name of his people to the citizens of Dubrovnik.
Some of those people, volunteers and reserve army members, had encircled
the city and taken control of it. Spurred on by their government,
the had already looted and burned Konavle, a group of villages near Dubrovnik.
They had done this to line their own pockets, but also for the good of
the state - navigation equipment from the Dubrovnik airport ended up at
the airport in Tivat, Montenegro.
We entered Dubrovnik and Greguric, surrounded
by personal security guards carrying Kalashnikovs, stood in front of the
church of St. Vlaho and called for an end to the "brother-killing" war.
He sounded like a fool, but no one heard him from the surrounding hills.
Mesic was more direct; he called the artillery divisions "werewolves and
hyenas." Luckily, with their ears damaged from the frequent explosions,
they had not heard him either.
Not even a full ten years have passed since
that day. If someone from that Dubrovnik convoy had said that Milo
Djukanovic would feel at home in Zagreb on January 15, 2001 and that on
the same day Greguric would uneasily explain to himself, to members of
his own multi-party government, to Hague prosecutors and to the Croatian
public that he had gone through ten years of war innocent of any crimes,
that person would probably have been thrown into the sea as a "traitor"
predicting Croatia's defeat. Imagine, a worried Greguric in constant
danger of arrest, and Djukanovic in the Croatian capital, in excellent
spirits and enjoying lunch with the current Croatian prime minister and
president of parliament! Or if that someone had said that in ten
years time one Monday a Croatian president would refuse to visit Greguric
on a national holiday, but would receive Djukanovic the next day?
But politics is unpredictable, and this is what has happened. And
Carla Del Ponte is in charge of history for
the former Yugoslavia. No one understands that better than Biljana
Plavsic. She went from chief associate of Bosnian overlord Radovan
Karadzic and warmonger in Bosnia and Herzegovina to pro-Western president
of Bosnia-Herzegovina's Serb Republic. Politics might have absolved
her of her sins, but history did not. Plavsic is today at the Hague
awaiting trial. The last decade of history in the countries of the
former Yugoslavia must not be forgotten.
Bosnia and Herzegovina : NO PEACE FOR WAR CRIMINALS
By Radenko Udovicic
The international court for war crimes committed
in the former Yugoslavia has become a legal and political force that the
authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina must reckon with. Although
the government of this country has remained unapologetically nationalistic,
democratization around the region, especially in Serbia and Croatia, has
influenced Bosnia to see cooperation with the international community and
adherence to Western laws as a necessity.
Bosnia's Serbian and Croatian populations,
especially, have expressed their contempt for the international court,
located in the Hague, since its inception five years ago. Authorities
in Bosnia's Serb Republic have categorically refused to cooperate with
the Hague Tribunal, calling it a biased, anti-Serbian institution of Western
revenge. Serb attitudes towards the court have improved since Milorad
Dodik became governor of the region three years ago, but there has still
been no practical progress in the relations between the Serb Republic and
the Tribunal beyond the fact that international investigators were allowed
to collect some limited evidence on the crimes committed in that region.
There has been no institutional opposition to the
cooperation with the Hague Tribunal from the Croatian side because there
is no separate Croatian republic, and Croatians are generally dominated
by Bosnian Muslims in the national government. However, based on
statements from individual Croatian politicians as well as on the platform
of the dominant Croat political party, one can conclude that most Croats
view the Tribunal in the same terms as do the Serbs. Croats claim
that the largest number of indictments are of Croatians, with Serbs second
and Bosnians third.
The Bosnian community, on the other hand,
has a more positive attitude towards the war crimes Tribunal. This
attitude is not surprising, given the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina
suffered the most devastation during the war. Approximately 140,000
Bosnian Muslims died during the war, about half of them civilians who were
killed during bombardments of besieged cities, or worse, murdered because
of their religious beliefs. It has already been proven that Muslims
were murdered in prison camps at the beginning of the war, not to mention
the massacre in Srebrenica.
This is why the indictments of high-ranking
Serbian military and political leaders were welcomed by Bosnians.
No one can bring back the dead, but the charges made at the Hague mean
a lot to Bosnians on moral grounds.
As mentioned earlier, the attitude towards
the war crimes Tribunal in the Serb Republic has been changing, slowly
but surely, over the past five years. The greatest change occurred
when the new regional governor, Mladen Ivanic, announced that the republic
would cooperate fully with the Hague Tribunal. "We can no longer
ignore its existence. It is necessary for us to cooperate with this
institution in order to put an end to unpleasant situations that result
in sudden arrests of our citizens," Ivanic announced in a press conference
just before Yugoslavian president Vojislav Kostunica visited Sarajevo.
Ivanic has announced that the National Assembly
of the Serb Republic will soon enact new laws which will enable legitimate
cooperation between courts in the courts in the Serb Republic and the international
court at the Hague. The previous governor, Milorad Dodik, had made
similar promises in the past without any significant results. Ivanic,
however, is helped by the democratic change going on in Belgrade which
has led the Serbian government to begin cooperation with the Hague Tribunal.
And, for good or for ill, Belgrade has always been a model to Bosnia's
Over 70 percent of those who have already
been indicted for war crimes have been Serbs. Most of Serbia's war-time
leadership is either at the Hague or hiding from justice in the forests
of Bosnia. The two most wanted people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are
Radovan Karadzic, commander-in-chief of the Serbian forces, and Ratko Mladic,
general of the Serbian army. Momcilo Krajisnik, a close associate
of Karadzic who was president of the Serbian parliament during the war
and the speaker of Bosnia's parliament for three years thereafter, was
arrested last year. Biljana Plavsic, former governor of the Serb
Republic, was indicted and surrendered this January. The Hague Tribunal
is also prosecuting fifteen officers and a number of ordinary Serbian soldiers
and local government officials who are considered to be responsible for
war crimes. However, these are only the "small fish." The real
results of the Tribunal will not be felt until those people on the top
of the list are brought to justice.
But the Tribunal as well as the Bosnian public
have great hopes for the trials against Momcilo Krajisnik and Biljana Plavsic
because it is epected that they may present concrete evidence linking Slobodan
Milosevic with the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Hague's current
indictment accuses Milosevic of perpetuating the war in Kosovo, but there
is not yet enough evidence to prove his responsibility for the war in Bosnia.
The cases of Krajisnik and Plavsic are especially
significant because both were in high government offices after the war
and were enjoying the support of the international community. Krajisnik
was essentially a political successor of Radovan Karadzic. He was
known as a hard-line nationalist, but his image had never been tarnished
by any specific crime. Immediately after the war, he was elected
to the Bosnian parliament by a large majority. He often obstructed
the implementation of the Dayton Accords, but nevertheless maintained relationships
with international authorities. Having been defeated by Zivko Radisic
in the last elections, Krajisnik left the political scene and resumed the
trade business he had run before the war. However, his name appeared
in the headlines once again last year, but for a different reason.
The NATO Stabilization Forces (SFOR) found him asleep at home, arrested
him, and sent him to the Hague. It is logical that top officials
in the wartime Serbian government should be indicted even if they themselves
committed no crimes because their positions alone make them responsible.
However, the pragmatism of the international community remains controversial;
they had been cooperating with Krajisnik for three years, and chose to
bring him to justice only once he was no longer useful to them.
The situation with Biljana Plavsic is even
more picturesque. She has been indicted for crimes committed during
the first year of the war (the only year she was among the leaders of the
Serb Republic). Plavsic has been a major contributor to the democratization
of the Serb Republic in that she helped to silence Karadzic's Serbian Democratic
Party. In early 1997, Plavsic staged a coup d'etat in Banja Luka
and took control of the western part of the Serb Republic. In the
early elections she was elected president of the Republic, and the parties
which had supported her won the majority of seats in parliament.
Plavsic played an important role in the beginnings of the Republic's cooperation
with the international community. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright called Plavsic a "brave woman whose contributon to democratization
is immeasurable." Albright then said that their relationship wasn't
only "a political one, but also a friendly one between two women."
Taking this literally, it comes out that Madeleine Albright was a close
friend of a person who has been accused of the worst crimes committed in
Europe since WWII. Clearly an example of political pragmatism.
When Plavsic was extremely important to the international community, they
were ready to ignore all indications that she was responsible for war crimes.
Several years later, with Plavsic not so important, the time has come to
pay for old sins. Wanting to avoid the unpleasantness of arrest,
Plavsic surrendered to Hague investigators. Besides, as a major proponent
of good relations with the West, she had no other choice. Some speculate,
however, that someone in the international community suggested that she
voluntarily go to the Hague and try to prove her innocence. It seems
that if she comes out with evidence against Milosevic, her innocence will
be assured. Bringing Milosevic to justice is a much higher priority
than punishing her.
Arrests of indicted war criminals in Bosnia
and Hezegovina are carried out in two ways. The first is public or
secret indictments made by Hague prosecutors. People indicted in
this way are usually arrested by SFOR because both the Serbian and the
Croatian sides do not fulfill their obligations to deliver accused war
criminals. Arrests can also be made within the bounds of local jurisdiction.
If authorities in Bosnia have a list of people who can be proven to have
committed war crimes, they must send the list to the Hague Tribunal, which
can either take over the case or assign it to local courts for processing.
Problems tend to arise in this latter case. Since most of the suspects
are located in their "home" territories, they feel safe and are even protected
by the police. The move about freely, work and live normal lives.
In the middle of 2000 federal police from Sarajevo put an end to this practice
by arresting several Croats who had been indicted for war crimes on Croatian
territory. This action caused tension between Bosnians and Croats
in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Generally, the Bosnian public thinks that
the hunt for war criminals is being done poorly. SFOR are not actively
searching for criminals, but rather reacting when they happen to come upon
one. Local authorities either protect criminals or claim, as was
done in the Serb Republic, that they "do not have enough manpower to carry
out such tasks." There is speculation that the European allies are
divided on questions of war crimes. Local newspapers often write
that the French divisions of SFOR, which cover the area where Radovan Karadzic
is supposedly hiding out, do not have the will to do anything serious.
The arrival of new, democratic forces in Zagreb and Belgrade has opened
a new chapter in the relations between the former Yugoslavia and the Hague.
Croatia has already filled many of the obligations given to it by the Tribunal.
Despite President Vojislav Kostunica's claims
that it is still too early for full cooperation with the Tribunal, the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in general is ready to cooperate wit the
court. New politicians have come to power in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
and they will have to intensify their cooperation with the Hague.
Since Bosnia and Herzegovina has already been cooperating with the Tribunal,
it is important to note that the regional government of the Serb Republic
also sees that it is impossible to avoid cooperation with the international
community. The new prime minister, Mladen Ivanic, is a practical
politician who is attempting to strike a balance between hard-line nationalists
in the Serb Republic and the demands of the international community.
He has announced full cooperation with the Tribunal. This cooperation
will be very important because it will include the cooperation of the Serbian
Democratic Party, the strongest party in the Serb Republic and a participant
in Ivanic's government, which in the past has been strongly opposed to
cooperation with the Tribunal.
However, in order to be on good terms with
the Tribunal, authorities in the Serb Republic insist that the Tribunal
publicize its so-called "secret indictments." The international community
introduced secret indictments in order to make use of the element of surprise,
to more easily make arrests of people who do not even know that they are
wanted. Secret indictments, however, can lead to any number of political
misuses, and legal experts throughout the world insist on avoiding them
because they create a legal insecurity that can be far more dangerous than
the possibility of a suspect hiding from justice.
If the Tribunal wants to cooperate honestly
with the Bosnian authorities, especially with those in the Serb Republic,
it will probably have to disclose all indictments. If the Tribunal
can secure guarantees from the governments that they will arrest anyone
indicted, secret indictments will no longer be necessary.
In addition to its legal importance, the Hague court also has
a strong psychological effect. Whoever has committed war crimes in
Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot sleep peacefully. Even if the names
of some individuals never appear on the list of suspects, they will still
live out the rest of their lives in the fear that it someday they could
be indicted. Many think that even if Radovan Karadzic is never caught,
he is already serving his punishment by hiding in the hills and caves of
Bosnia, excommunicated from the political forces he once led.
FRY/ Serbia : END OF HONEYMOON
By Zoran Mamula
When Vojislav Kostunica was elected president
of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, he was greeted with almost universal
acceptance by the international community, which praised him for destroying
the regime of Slobodan Milosevic. But the honeymoon between Kostunica
and the West is likely to end this Sunday. Carla Del Ponte, chief
prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal for war crimes committed in the former
Yugoslavia, is coming to Belgrade to ask Kostunica for total cooperation
with the Tribunal, which would include the extradition of Milosevic and
others indicted for war crimes. It will be a very unpleasant meeting
for Kostunica. Even while he was an opposition leader, he harshly
criticized the Tribunal, calling it a "political court" and "the shame
of the international community." He did not change his attitude when
he came to power and even tried to evade meeting with Del Ponte on the
rather weak excuse of being "too busy with state duties." This statement
resulted in a true avalanche of negative response from Kostunica's coalition
partners who were rather shocked by the fact that the "busy" president
had found the time to meet with his predecessor Milosevic, claiming that
it was completely normal to talk to the head of the strongest opposition
Reactions ranged from the cautious Zoran Djindjic,
future prime minister of Serbia, who expressed hope that Kostunica's statement
was wrongly interpreted and that he would still meet with Del Ponte, to
the fierce words utter by the leader of the Social Democratic Union, Zarko
Korac. Korac accused the President of destroying the hard-won improvements
in Yugoslavia's international reputation by refusing to meet with the prosecutor
but instead meeting with "the man who belongs in jail."
Pressure from his coalition partners combined
with signals from the international community that sympathy and support
for the new Yugoslav leadership could easily be lost and forced Kostunica
to change his opinion and agree to meet with Del Ponte. He said at
a press conference that he would ask the Hague prosecutor why she did not
investigate NATO for using ammunition containing depleted uranium and faking
a massacre in the Kosovar village of Racak just before issuing commands
to attack the FRY. But whatever Kostunica says to Del Ponte, her
questions will be far more unpleasant.
According to announcements made earlier, Del
Ponte will ask not only for the extradition of Slobodan Milosevic and his
associates who were indicted for war crimes in Kosovo, but also for the
extradition of every individual currently located in Yugoslavia who has
been indicted by the Hague. Among those facing indictment are General
Ratko Mladic, former commander of the Bosnian Serb army, as well as Veselin
Sljivancanin, Milan Mrksic and Miroslav Radic, officers in the Yugoslav
army who have been indicted for crimes committed during the war with Croatia
in 1991. At a recent press conference, Kostunica said once again
that the constitution of Yugoslavia does not allow Yugoslavian citizens
to be extradited; it mandates that they be tried in their own country.
There is no doubt that he will repeat these claims to Del Ponte, and there
is also no doubt that she will not accept them. Del Ponte's well
known opinion is that all member states of the United Nations must respect
the Hague court because it was founded by the UN Security Council, and
that member states must adjust their legal system to accommodate the court's
statutes. Furthermore, local legal experts are not confident that
the Yugoslav constitution prevents the extradition of citizens to the Hague.
The constitution states that "Yugoslav citizens cannot be extradited to
foreign countries," and the Hague court is not a foreign country but in
fact an international institution. Legal arguments in support of
extradition can be made, the question is whether or not Kostunica is willing
to make them. According to most analysts, Kostunica's campaign promise
that no one would be extradited to the Hague got him the votes of the many
people who were disillusioned with Milosevic for failing to create a "Greater
Serbia." Kostunica does not want to lose the support of this segment
of the population by cooperating with the Hague Tribunal, regardless of
the opinions of some of his coalition partners. For example, Zarko
Korac and Nenad Canak, the president of the Voivodina assembly, want to
see Milosevic tried. The Yugoslav president is lucky that one of
the parties in his coalition is the Montenegrin Socialist People's Party,
once an ally of Milosevic, which opposes his extradition. The citizens
of Yugoslavia also support Kostunica's position.
In a recent poll conducted by the "Argument"
agency, only 23 percent of respondents said that Milosevic and his associates
should be unconditionally extradited to the Hague, 53 percent thought that
Milosevic should be tried in Serbia, 12 percent thought the constitution
would need to be changed to allow extradition, and another 12 percent thought
that Milosevic should not be tried at all. The attitude of the Hague
court is that trying Milosevic in Serbia is out of the question.
It is interesting to note that most citizens and many politicians think
that the former Yugoslav president should be tried only for crimes he committed
in Serbia. The public is not ready to fact the crimes committed in
Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia in the name of Serbia.
Ivan Jankovic, an attorney and the director
of the Belgrade Center for Anti-war Action told "Danas" magazine that Milosevic
could be tried in Belgrade under the supervision of the international Tribunal,
both for war crimes and for other criminal acts, all in one court proceeding.
However, this would cause technical problems. According to Jankovic,
"there is legitimate doubt that Milosevic committed many economic crimes."
Jankovic continued, "We know that many firms were
blackmailed to give significant amounts of money to the then-ruling Socialist
Party of Serbia, especially during election campaigns. We also know
that in many firms directors misused their authority in complying with
the orders of Milosevic's ruling party. These elements arouse suspician.
Another group of crimes are from the sphere of organized crime - smuggling
cigarettes and gasoline, and buying and selling foreign currency.
There are many indications that Milosevic and his son Marko may have been
involved in major organized criminal operations. Finally, a third
group is comprised of crimes related to the elections manipulations and
accusations that have already been raised."
Undoubtedly, this kind of process will not satisfy many of the citizens
of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo, especially those who have
lost loved ones in the war, and those who have been injured or lost their
homes. This is why the Hague Tribunal is unlikely to allow Milosevic
to be brought to trial in Belgrade.
And as speculation on Milosevic's future continues, the patience of
the international community, especially of the most powerful countries,
is at an end. Yugoslav Vice-President Miroljub Labus said several
days ago that representatives of the most prominent international financial
institutions told him that Belgrade has until March 31st to decide whether
or not it will cooperate with the Hague Tribunal. On that day, the
US Congress will make a decision as to whether or not to lift the so-called
outer wall of sanctions imposed by former US President Bill Clinton.
The Congress will also decide whether to allow Yugoslavia to join the World
Bank. Without this membership, Belgrade will not be able to obtain
the loans and investments necessary for the rehabilitation of a completely
It is not hard to predict that in the case of failure to cooperate
with the Hague, the United States will veto the return of Yugoslavia to
this most important international financial institution. This will
take Yugoslavia back to the beginning, that is, where it was under Milosevic's
regime. Then president Kostunica will have to explain to his voters
what has happened to the better life he promised them before the elections.
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WEEK IN REVIEW
Held in Havana: Czech deputy and another Czech national arrested
and jailed in Cuba.
by Petra Breyerova
Naughty Boys: Estonian Parliament clamps down on absentee
by Kristjan Kaljund
Somebody's Listening: Transcripts from mysteriously tapped phone
lines raise questions of privacy in Macedonia.
by Gordana Icevska
End of the Line:Russia's scandalized former Kremlin property manager
misses the party after being arrested in New York.
by Sophia Kornienko
Too Much Energy: Kuchma fires embattled energy reformer just days
after her official indictment.
by Oleg Varfolomeyev
Armenia, Azerbaijan Approved for Council of Europe
Hackers Attack Political Web Sites in Bulgaria
IMF Loan to Georgia Aims To Fight Poverty
Romania Passes Restitution Law
Cold, Dark Russian Far East Restless With Riots
FEATURE: Captain Crook's CDs
by Konstantin Vulkov
Purchasing pirate CDs is an everyday occurrence in Bulgaria. By
1996, the country was already the center of CD piracy in Europe;
last year, Bulgarian consumers bought an estimated 6 million
illegal discs. Despite the government's efforts to clamp down on
the illegal trade, record companies are now trying to beat the
pirates another way--by competing with their prices. This year
Universal Music Group has given its licensee, Sofia-based Virginia
Records, permission to produce official CDs in Bulgarian plants
with full booklets and packaging for the cut price of around $6.
Now the illicit trade is moving on.
OPINION: Overshadowed, Not Forgotten
by Hovann Simonian
One of the major issues that has led to tension in the
relations between the Armenian government and its international
diaspora has been the recognition of the Turkish genocide of
Armenians in 1915. For over a decade, it has been overshadowed by
the momentous events in Armenia surrounding the conflict with
neighboring Azerbaijan over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.
But now, as relations with the homeland improve over the genocide
issue, the Armenian diaspora gets its second wind.
BOOKS: Short Road to Fame
by Roman Didenko
When the western Ukrainian daily newspaper "Kyivskiye
Vedomosti" dared to publish a series of articles soiling the
reputation of the country's foremost 19th century poet, Taras
Shevchenko, the public was a bit taken aback by the editors'
audacity. When the same series of articles, penned by Kyiv
journalist Oles Buzyna, appeared in the more provincial ÒRivne
VechirnyeÓ newspaper in western Ukraine, the citizens there
enraged. A Kyiv journalist makes a name for himself by shaming a
OPINION: Biting The Hand That Fed Her
by Dragan Stojkovic
Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is probably
the most despised person in Serbia. And for the past few years in
Yugoslavia the competition has been intense: Serbs have actively
disliked former Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek, former Bosnia
and Herzegovina President Alija Izetbegovic, and late Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman--not to mention their own leaders
residing on Belgrade's fashionable Dedinje hill. But Albright has
always topped the list.
TAJIK EDUCATION SPECIAL: Lots of Lawyers, Little Law
by Ravshan Kasimov
If you need a lawyer in Tajikistan, the best place to go is the
illegal labor market, Padjshanba, in the center of Khodjent city.
And the best person to ask is most likely the ice-cream vendor or
the man with the large box of cut-rate cigarettes--chances are he
or she is one of the country's hundreds of out-of-work lawyers. In
Tajikistan, holders of law degrees are a dime a dozen--but law
faculties still keep pumping them out.
No More Pencils, No More Books ...
by Konstantin Parshin
Statistics show that the educational system in Tajikistan is
bad--and getting worse. In the last five years, the number of
secondary school pupils in Tajikistan has increased by
approximately 156,000. Each year, the total number of students
increases by 30,000 to 40,000 due to population increases,
according to statistics provided by the Tajik Education Ministry.
Unfortunately the system can't cope.