Issue No. 237. - September 1,  2001

1.Bosnia and Hercegovina :IZETBEGOVIC UNDER SUSPICION ?
            By Radenko Udovicic

            By Farhad Mammadov

            By Zoltan Mik

 4. Special addition : NEW AT TOL

    By Radenko Udovicic

    For days now numerous political and military participants in
the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina feel uncomfortable in
expectations of further indictments of the ICTY. Fear is
especially present on the Bosnian side that has so far been
excluded from the international processing of war crimes. It was one
of the reasons behind the often mentioned Bosnian attitudes that
Bosnians had clean hands when war ended and that there were no war
crimes on their side. Although there is no measure to a human
disaster, such claims are not far-fetched. Statistics of
casualties as well as many other facts from previous wars show that
Bosnian civilians were the greatest victims and that the B-H army forces,
comprising mostly of Bosnian soldiers, for the most part respected the customs
of traditional warfare. However, since no war is only black and white, nobody
can be said to be completely innocent in the bloody Bosnian turmoil.
Although the Croatian and Serbian side has been asking for punishment of
war crimes committed by Bosnians for years, it was only at the beginning of
August that the Hague Tribunal first indicted three war
commanders (two of them generals) for war crimes against Croatian civilians
in central Bosnia. Bosnian authorities then promptly
arrested the indicted and extradited them to the Hague, once again illustrating
Sarajevo's willingness to cooperate with the Hague Tribunal.
    Generals are indicted on the basis of their objective
responsibility as leaders. They therefore did not commit crimes
themselves, some of them did not even know they were taking place,
but on the basis of their function they were obliged to have known of
them. Indictments are simply following the general conclusion of
the modern world that function brings huge responsibility with it,
not only privileges. Many people in Sarajevo feel that accused
commanders are in fact victims because of the fact that the Bosnian
side did not muster enough force to investigate and process war
crimes on its own. Were it done, one could then really say who
were the direct order-givers and perpetrators of war crimes. It
wouldn't have completely removed responsibility from generals but
would certainly have intercepted Hague indictments.
    However, only several days after extradition of military
commanders to the court, the Tribunal sent another request to Sarajevo
which caused numerous arguments and seeded panic among Bosnian
politicians. It requested transcripts of all sessions of the Bosnian
president from the first stage of war. Although it was not
explicitly mentioned, it is clear that the Hague wanted to make clear the
objective responsibility of the then political leaders because the President
was formally the main commander of B-H Army. If we take into account
that the basic power of the president and thepart of the country with a
Moslem majority was wielded by Alija Izetbegovic, it becomes clear
then that the Hague is homing in on him. Although not much can be proven
on the basis of transcripts only, especially regarding war crimes (the key
decisions were made  at informal meetings between Izetbegovic and
persons most loyal to him),  it is clear that the Bosnian leader will become
a target of Tribunal investigation. For the time being, the spotlight is on
the Presidency but will soon probably focus on many other things.
    If we take into account that Slobodan Milosevic is in the Hague,
that the chief ICTY prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, said that Franjo
Tudjman would also be there were he alive, and that Izetbegovic is
becoming increasingly the focus of the Tribunal's attention, it might
be that the international community wants to clearly satanize the war trio
of Balkan politicians. Although the guilt is not equal on all three sides,
it should be a message to people in the region but also to whole
international public that war cannot be fought without crimes. And
what is more important is that sooner or later perpetrators will
have to pay for their crimes.
    During the war, the Bosnian presidency was composed of seven
members who got their positions according to the national key -
two Bosnians, Croats and Serbs and one of the "other" nations.
However, the "other" was also a Bosnian who didn't formally
declare himself as such in order to be accepted among this
institution. However, it was special because the Serbs who were part of it,
later also Croats, did not represent the will of the majority in the two
nations. It is completely logical because later war turned into a civil
national conflict and most Serbian and Croatian politicians were
on sides which fought the Bosnians. Alija Izetbegovic was the
president, formally only "first among the equals". However, Izetbegovic
was in truth an undisputed leader who enjoyed great trust among Bosnians.
Because of it,  he became a true chief of state with the Bosniak majority.
Croatian and Serbian members of Presidency were only episode actors
that should justify multiethnic Bosnia to international and also local public
and the fact that surrounded Sarajevo was the only internationally
recognized representative of the divided country.
    When demand for transcripts came from Hague, members of the
war Presidency of B-H started cleaning their hands of responsibility
saying that they played no important part in it and that they were
without any power. Although this was general knowledge, current
official acknowledgements have exceptionally shown all
controversies of war in Bosnia and complicity of political
situation during the war. Especially sad are statements of some
Presidency members who are saying that they had to bribe waiters
to find out with whom Izetbegovic informally met so that they
could have some insight into the mechanism of the institution they
were members of. One might pose the question as to why some members
accepted such a degrading position? Some reasons certainly have
political background. Probably there was a true wish to contribute
to the normal functioning of government institutions in Bosnia with
their presence among the President.
    The international community certainly would not have recognized the
state presidency which would be only Bosnian and partisan. One
might conclude that this motive yielded fruit because the
multi-ethnicity and plurality of the state elite kept the legality
of the official Sarajevo in the eyes of international community.
Another reason for accepting unbalanced membership in the
Presidency was the fact that being a member of the collective
chief of state carried enormous privileges. Some of the Presidency
members spent much of the war abroad with their families, using
special wages and all other benefic...
    What is interesting the Hague Tribunal the most is who was
commanding the army. From the facts we have stated so far, it is
clear that Presidency B-H didn't play its constitutional role to
be commander of Army B-H. For army, the only supreme military
commander was Izetbegovic and, to some extent, Ejup Ganic as
Izetbegovic's most loyal colleague. However, that is only logical.
It would even be unnatural for Army B-H, dominantly Bosnia, to
accept a Serbian member of the Presidency coming to congratulate
it after fighting with Serbian army.
    So, it probably won't be difficult to prove who was the true
army commander. But, will it be enough for the court in Hague?
    Regarding Army B-H, Hague Tribunal is interested in several
cases. Most infamous are actions of units commanded by Musan
Topalovic Caco. This notorious commander and his subservient have
murdered, according to Hague information, about 200 people in
Sarajevo during first two years of war, mostly Serbs. Some bodies
were found in the mass grave Kazani and at the Lav cemetery in
Sarajevo. It is interesting that at the end of 1993 authorities in
Sarajevo put an end to these formations. Caco was killed and some
of his fighters were condemned to prison sentences. That was the
first and unique case that one of the sides brought down onto war
criminals in its own ranks. However, what is Hague interested in
is who has been tolerating year and a half of Caca's rampage and
whether somebody had control over them, after all. According to
Bosnian press drawing upon anonymous sources, at one session of
Bosnian Presidency Izetbegovic answered when someone insisted for
something to be done with Caco: "He is my problem". Also, Hague has
been asking for some time who had ordered at the beginning of war to
intercept the convoy of Yugoslav army that signed agreement about
withdrawal from Sarajevo and murder 18 soldiers and officers.
    Lately, Hague has been re-opening the case of prison Celebic
where several hundred Serbs were kept imprisoned. Two Bosniaks who
were commanders of this prison with inhuman attitude toward their
prisoners have already ended in ICTY. But now comes the question
of who ordered or tolerated existence of prison camp where people
were imprisoned for no other crime but for being Serbs.
    International court in Hague is also investigating several
crimes over Croats. The most notorious is the case of Grabovica
village in Herzegovina where forces of Army B-H killed 30
civilians. The question is are three war commanders enough to
finish investigation about crimes against Croats in middle Bosnia.
According to Hague indictment, three Bosniak commanders are
responsible for murder of 200 Croatian civilians and burning of
Croatian villages and religious buildings. Will the trial point at
someone else who is responsible? In this case, especially
sensitive are actions of 7th Moslem brigade which mostly comprised
volunteers from Moslem countries - fanatics who are suspected of
exceptional cruelty during the war. Their commander Amir Kubura is
one of the three arrested Bosniak commanders. However, what is
even now clear, is that two generals that together with him
arrived to Hague will use arguments that they didn't have the
authority to command this unit. Who had it then? On ain, the
finger is pointed at Alija Izetbegovic who was even a member of
    Still, were these crimes to be compared with constant exodus
of Bosniaks and Croats incited by Karadzic's government which
eventually led to notorious crime in Srebrenica when whole
population was forced to flee and 8000 Bosniaks were murdered,
then mentioned Bosniak crimes look only minor. However, that
minority is relevant only when one looks at the war events in
Bosnia from a global perspective. Those who have lost their
families or were imprisoned in camps certainly want the guilty to
be punished. That is why the Hague is right in insisting on the
blame also on Bosniak side. But whether the chain of
responsibility will reach Izetbegovic is difficult to say. Bosniak
leader propagated values of national co-existence and always asked
Bosniaks to be tolerant. He had a sense of reality in foreign
politics and adapted to world currents and interests. Simply, he
was politically more mature than Serbian or Croatian leaders in
Bosnia. Such his attitudes likely aren't product of Izetbe 's
open-mindedness but the fact that Izetbegovic was the leader of
the nation which was the biggest victim of war. But politics
counts actions, not motives. Therefore, there will be many
arguments put into Izetbegovic's defense. But what is now certain
is that Izetbegovic is expecting a difficult period during which
international investigators will look into many of his war

    By Farhad Mammadov

    There are some talks in the opposition of Azerbaijan that
before the next presidential elections, the president Heidar Aliev
is planning to hand over his administration to his son Ilham
Aliev, because of the problems with his health.Even in the
opinions of several opposition representatives, Heidar Aliev was
going to realize "the heir plan" since this autumn, by appointing
his son to one of the highest posts in the government.
    But on August 19, while speaking before his team on the
occasion of the day of frontier troops, Heidar Aliev stated that
he did not think of leaving his post. Heidar Aliev became angry
because of the agitations of the opposition about unexpected
government change and he began to offend and threaten the
opposition as usual. He thinks the opposition holding propaganda
for coming to power is "criminal". He stressed: "The force
structures of Azerbaijan like the police, the army, the Ministry of
National Security are protecting the government, and criminal
efforts of 'some forces' will be immediately prevented".
    So Aliev confirmed that the main guarantor of his power was
force and if it were necessary he would be ready to use it against
the opposition. Aliev denied the talks on his son Ilham Aliev's
being the main candidate of the ruling elite on the next
elections: "The people who are going to come to power should know
that they will face me in 2003". It should be noted that
Aliev came to power in 1993 following military coup and is in his second
term of office. The presidential elections
in 1998 were recognized anti democratic by the international
    According to the Constitution of Azerbaijan that was accepted
in 1995 the same person may not be elected a president more than
twice. And it seems Aliev is planning to be elected for a third term
by violating the law. He offended and threatened the
opposition in his speech and noted that the opposition in
Azerbaijan was "the most immoral" opposition in comparison with
that of other former Soviet republics. It has become normal for
Aliev and his family members to threaten the opposition and the
journalists who criticize the government. Lately most of the
speeches of the president are dedicated directly to the leader of
the main oppositional party "Musavat" Isa Gambar.
    The statement of the president about nominating his candidate
for the next elections made the observers come to the opinion
that he doesn't consider himself ready for ruling the
country. During the last two years the government was propagating
for Ilham Aliev trying to make people think that he was ready to
rule over the country. But it seems, the increasing
dissatisfaction of the people made H. Aliev not take any chances.
Hence it didn't seem real for I. Aliev to rule over the
country and not to lose ground before the oppositional parties in
this condition. And Aliev's family and the forces close to them
don't make a secret of the fact that they are planning to rule
over the country for long time. And the president H. Aliev ruling
over the country by anti democratic ways despite of his age
realizes their plans.
                               * * *
    By Zoltan Mikes

    The Hungarian coalition party  /SMK/ with its decision to stay in
the governmental coalition has shown that it is interested in the political
stability in Slovakia.
    The decision is not without conditions. SMK announced that it
will demand from other parties of the governmental coalition to
realize the reform of public governance with a deadline of September 30.
This announcement is just a legitimate demand from
SMK to fulfill the  governmental program. There were mixed reactions
to SMK's decision by the other parties of governmental coalition.
    The leftist parties like The The Party of Civic Understanding
/SOP/ and the Party of Democratic Left /SDL/announced that they
will not respect any ultimatums from SMK. Both parties were clearly
disappointed by SMK's decision to stay in the government.
They hoped that the departure of SMK would allow them to
change to the opposition too, and maybe at least by this way they
would be able to improve their catastrophic political perspectives.
    Prime minister Dzurinda commended SMK's decision-in his
opinion, the decision of SMK  gives a real opportunity for the
government  to realize the reform of public governance (the program of
public governance as one of the basic promises of Dzurindas government
was not realized until now, because SOP and SDL opossed it. The argument
was that the reform is not about the creating of one Hungarian district,
like the SMK hoped for, but the "essence of reform" lies in the relocation
of competences from the state to the district.
    They were certain that SMK would not remain for long in the coalition, if
there were only 8 districts, like presently, and not 12 with one,
where the Hungarian minority is in the majority. Now, after SMK is prepared
to really compromise and is prepared to stay in the
coalition although there is no Hungarian district, SOP and SDL
will hardly be able to oppose the relocation of
competences and the realization of "the essence" of the
    What is particularly interesting in this affair is the announcement of
Slovak president Schuster that (following SMK's decision to remain in the
coalition) SMK is the most positive party in the
governmental coalition and that now was no place for playing
a game not to fulfill the reform of public governance by
September 30. It should not be forgotten that Mr Schuster is a
former member of SOP.
    In sum, the SMK not only surprised the leftist parties of the governemental
coalition but also provided one remaining opportunity for the slovak government
to fullfil its program, which promised a reform of public governance to give
more democracy to Slovakia's citizens and less power to the state. It is not
an exaggeration to say that the SMK now has the role not only of a stabilizer
of the political situation in Slovakia, but also - by its
ability to comopromize- is seen as the catalyzer of the
democratization process in the country.
 Special addition : NEW AT TOL August 27 2001

    Macedonia: The Harvest Begins
    The NATO mission of collecting the weapons held by Macedonia’s ethnic
    Albanian rebels gets underway amid continued violence on the ground.
    by Robert Alagjozovski

    Belarus: More Skullduggery
    As the Belarussian presidential campaign rolls on, there are
    increasingly more doubts that the election can be either free or fair.
    by Alex Znatkevich
    Central Asia: Celebrate, You're Free!
    Tenth-anniversary independence celebrations in two Central
    Asian nations provide real freedom for a select few.
    by TOL
    Slovakia: The Prodigal President Returns
    The Slovak head of state comes home to more criticism after a
    controversial vacation.
    by Barbora Tancerova
    Yugoslavia: Diplomacy in Jeans
    Belgrade recalls Milan Protic, the maverick Yugoslav
    ambassador to the United States.
    by Dragan Stojkovic
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    --- OUR TAKE: Goulash Irredentism? ---
    If the charges of irredentism were really true, stability
would be the farthest thing from the minds of ethnic Hungarian
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    --- IN FOCUS: Innocence Betrayed ---
    For several years, women trafficking has been big news in
Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. While it remains a
problem in those countries, it is also starting to come out of the
shadows in Central Asia and Mongolia.
    Waking Up to a New Reality
    In the face of the first publicized case of trafficking, some
Mongolians are taking a closer look at a crime virtually
unknown--but likely widespread--in the country.
    by Nomin Lhagvasuren
    Turn the Radio On
    In Moldova, a weekly radio program that warns listeners about
woman trafficking has found an audience--and may be making a
    by Angela Brasoveanu
    In the Vice Trade’s Vise
    Do you want a cleaning job or husband in the United Arab
Emirates? Yes, say many Uzbek girls, seeing a good financial
break--but their interest is really an opportunity for con artists
and racketeers.
    by Shukhrat Khurramov
    A Typical Tale
    Slovak women learn the hard way that some offers are too good
to be true.
    by Matthew J. Reynolds
    The Changing Face of Uzbek Prostitution
    by Shukhrat Khurramov
    A Global Dilemma
    The facts and figures behind human trafficking in the
post-communist region highlight the difficulties inherent in
combating the problems.
    by Robert Earley
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
     --- FEATURES ---
    A Mark of Distinction
    The Czech paratroopers who spearheaded the NATO force in
Macedonia are justifiably proud of their accomplishments and
    by Lubos Palata
    A Leaky Vessel
    A once-thriving shipbuilder is alleged to have been torpedoed
by its private owners, sucking a town down with it.
    by Katerina Zachovalova and Roman Santur
    Incredible Hulks
    One Russian shipyard, plagued by past mismanagement, searches
for success in destruction and waste.
    by Russell Working
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    Year in year out there are fires in Croatia; year in year out
people still seem surprised.
    by Damir Pilic
    >From the Balkan Reconstruction Report
    The Deep End: Where the Sun Doesn't Shine
    Quirky news from around the region…
    by TOL
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    --- OUR TAKE: Goulash Irredentism? ---
    If the charges of irredentism were really true, stability
would be the furthest thing from the minds of ethnic Hungarian
    As one-third of the world’s ethnic Hungarians live outside
Hungary--most of them in neighboring countries--the focus of
“Hungarian politics” often falls outside the country itself. The
week starting on 20 August--on the day of St. Stephen, the
country’s founder and first monarch--was one of those occasions.
    Hungary has received a rash of criticism from its neighbors in
recent months after the country's parliament approved the
controversial Status Law that grants special rights to ethnic
Hungarians living abroad LINK. And most recently, on 24 and 25
August, Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda and then his
Romanian colleague Adrian Nastase expressed further criticisms of
the Hungarian legislation.
    Since the fall of communism, there has been a resurgence of
radical Hungarian nationalism that seeks to reverse the punitive
1920 Treaty of Trianon, which ceded areas of today's Slovakia,
Transylvania, and Croatia to the new or enlarged states of
Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia, respectively, after World
War I. In a 1991 survey reported by the magazine ***Media,
Culture, and Society,*** the majority of Hungarians still
considered the Treaty of Trianon to be the greatest trauma the
nation had ever faced. Radical politicians in Hungary's neighbors
have constantly accused Budapest of pursuing revanchist dreams. It
didn't help much that soon after the changes of 1989-90,
then-Prime Minister Jozsef Antall said that he wished to be the
prime minister "in soul" of all 15 million Hungarians, only 10
million of whom presently live inside the borders.
    But in reality, radical Hungarian nationalists are a small
fringe. The extreme right Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIEP)
has limited electoral support of around 5 percent, and even the
governing FIDESZ party--though happy to quietly cooperate with
MIEP on some matters--has refrained from an open coalition,
knowing the problems it would cost in Brussels and elsewhere. The
Hungarian sociologist Gyorgy Csepeli has also convincingly argued
that Hungarian citizens are actually reconciled to the loss of the
Trianon territories.
    Moreover, the Status Law is less a document designed to rebind
the Hungarian nation together than an extension, in part, of
Hungary's desire to join the European Union. The law was partially
intended to allow Hungarians living abroad a chance to travel to
their homeland once Hungary had joined the EU and a "Schengen
border" surrounded it. A good deal of the potentially sensitive
language concerning national identification was dropped.
    In an editorial on 22 August, London's ***Financial Times***
observed that “[Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orban knows that
redrawing borders is out of the question. He should therefore take
more care about his rhetoric and distinguish carefully between
history and today’s reality. So close to the troubled Balkans,
anything else smacks of recklessness.”
    Orban should indeed show a little restraint in his rhetoric.
He has not shown such caution in the past. In his first public
speech after becoming prime minister in 1998, Orban, a la Antall,
proclaimed himself the prime minister of the entire Hungarian
nation--almost explicitly meaning all Hungarians anywhere.
    But Orban is not the only one who needs to be cautious. Such
advice should apply to the governments of neighboring countries.
Analysts say the shift to the right in Romania's Ethnic Hungarian
Party is a reaction to the current Romanian government’s
increasingly harsh attacks on Budapest’s policies concerning
ethnic Hungarians abroad. On 25 August, for example, Romanian
Prime Minister Adrian Nastase accused Hungary of “irredentism” and
lambasted Hungarian Justice Minister Ibolya David for her
unofficial--i.e. not communicated to Bucharest--visit to
Transylvania. The worry is that careless rhetoric on both sides
will radicalize ethnic Hungarian parties abroad, meaning that
accusations of irredentism become less off the wall.
    And, in fact, ethnic Hungarian parties can be a source of much
stability in the region. On 25 August the national council of the
Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) in Slovakia decided that the
party--which relies on a stable electorate of the country’s some
600,000 ethnic Hungarians--would keep supporting Prime Minister
Mikulas Dzurinda’s multiparty government up to 30 September. The
party said that if its most urgent demands--which deal with
administrative reform on the local level--are not fulfilled in the
coming weeks, it will withdraw its support, creating a minority
government. Yet some Slovak analysts see the SMK as arguably the
country's most mature party because it has not engaged in the
petty politicking and attacks of its coalition partners. Instead,
even when other government partners have reneged on promises to
support its often reasonable agenda, the SMK has steadfastly
stayed in the cabinet, in the name of stability and Slovakia's
goals of EU and NATO accession.
    If the charges of irredentism were really true, stability
would be the furthest thing from the minds of ethnic Hungarian
    -- Transitions Online - Intelligent Eastern Europe
    Copyright: Transitions Online 2001