Issue No. 269 - April 23, 2002

            By Goran Vezic

2. Bosnia and Herzegovina: DYING OUT OF DINOSAURS
            By Zoran Udovicic

            By Brankica Vujnovic

         By Goran Vezic

         The new-old successor of Franjo Tudjman for the post of the
president of Croatian Democratic Union is Ivo Sanader, the former
cabinet chief of "Croatian father" and deputy of Tudjman's
foreign minister Mate Granic. Sanader won a tight victory at the
party congress last Sunday against Ivic Pasalic, former powerful
advisor to Tudjman, who is allegedly involved in all the major
scandals from Tudjman's era, but who has never been proven
          Sanader represented a somewhat moderate face of the
party that has been ruling Croatia for a whole decade - from 1990
to 2000. Pasalic, on the other hand, represented circle of war
and post-war smugglers, the new rich who enriched themselves
thanks to the system of "political capitalism", violent
anti-Europeans and nationalists. Among the 2000 delegates,
Sanader got only 90 votes more than Pasalic. Those results can
only illustrate the division in the party.
          However, more indicative than these results alone is the fact
that the HDZ party was already divided during the fierce election
campaign. At many gatherings on lower levels only the presence of
numerous bodyguards prevented open physical violence. Since 1990,
HDZ has practiced special democratic techniques with election thefts
and now they have adopted methods previously used against the
opposition at parliamentary elections. Both currents knew it very well
and their clashes weren't only regarding ideological disputes but also
who and how will control the voting process. "If they do this to
themselves who knows what they have been doing to us",  many
outside observers asked themselves. In the process of most brutal
Balkan political struggle, HDZ was sharply divided into Sanader and
Pasalic groups.
          The anti-Pasalic group thinks that Pasalic and his bad
reputation would only burden the party, while the anti-Sanader group
thinks that Pasalic is a better choice for an expedient return to
power because of Pasalic's aggression and Machiavellian methods.
Return to power is - of course - joint goal for everyone, and
that is why HDZ won't break apart, despite fierce divisions within
the party. It was the idea of return to power which has motivated
party activists to side either by Sanader's or Pasalic's side. It
was a kind of party lottery because lower-ranking members
expected that, after parliamentary election, they would be
rewarded with adequate positions should their ideology win.
         Fierce verbal attacks on president Stipe Mesic and prime
minister Ivica Racan were the strongest glue between the two
fractions at the HDZ congress. Vehemence of HDZ elections was
also caused by the expectation that it was the time for
right-wing politicians to return to power, as was already the
case with other transitional countries. And HDZ remained pretty
unshaken after triumphant victory of the left center in 2000.
Tudjman's death, election defeat, turmoil within the party - all
these things failed to destroy HDZ. The crises were successfully
overcome also thanks to unreadiness of ruling politicians led by
social democrats and liberals to tackle the criminal history of HDZ
rule. The current ruling coalition won the election thanks also to
the promise of returning money that was looted in Croatia during
crime-laden process of privatization and of putting to trial
the persons involved.
         They also promised a radical stop to Tudjman's
nationalistic politics, especially regarding damaging relations
with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Not many came true, and at the same
time conditions of living deteriorated - different from Tudjman's,
new government wasn't ready to secure social peace with
government aid and even raised the number of unemployed which has
climbed to over 400,000 people, more than 23 per cent. More than
two years after elections, hopes that political changes would
bring a better life have failed to come true. All of this is, for the
time being, making most disappointed Croatian voters abstain from
voting. It is hard to expect that the previous 76 percent voter
turnout could be repeated at some future -early or regular -
elections. That percentage will be much smaller, which increases
the chances of parties with disciplined voters, and HDZ has such
support. Lately, at early local elections, HDZ has been defeating
left parties in some towns where the left had its traditional
base. On one hand, HDZ is manipulating sentiments of Croatian
citizens - like organizing resistance to extradition of Croatian
generals to the ICTY.
          On the other hand, they are laughing at the government
- "if we were guilty of anything in the past", they say, "why
weren't we put to trial for something?". Still, at the party
congress, Ivo Sanader apologized to all citizens hurt and damaged
by HDZ during its 10 year rule. And that is maybe the most
important progress that one could note in that party. Whether the
voters will accept that apology depends upon the ruling coalition.
If the coalition soon doesn't claw back from its own incapability and
limitations, voters will have to accept HDZ's apology.
Unfortunately, there is nothing new offered to Croatia. The
choice is only between what we have now and what we had

                                    * * *
Bosnia and Herzegovina: DYING OUT OF DINOSAURS
     By Radenko Udovicic

      High representative for Bosnia Wolfgang Petritsch decided
on 19th April to impose constitutional amendments in order to
harmonize both entities' constitutions with Bosnian  constitution,
thus establishing equality (and representation) for all three nations
throughout Bosnian territory. With these amendments, Bosnia finally
came closer to a more normal constitutional framework. Consequences
of war are, at least on the paper, cancelled.
          It is a long-term process which officially began two years ago
when the Bosnian constitutional court decided to ask
for change for entities' constitutions, because their articles
about equality of Bosnian nations were discordant with the state
constitution. The constitution of the Serb Republic stated that the
republic was an entity of Serbian nations, while the Federation
constitution declared that it was an entity of Bosniak and
Croatian nations. In order to better understand this situation,
one must take into account that division of Bosnia into entities
was a consequence of war and that Bosnia had never been modelled
according to that constitutional framework before. In former
Yugoslavia, it was a republic where all three nations, Bosniaks,
Serbs and Croats, were equally represented. However, consequences
of war reflected in mass exiles according to nation or voluntary
removals have caused creation of three nationally homogeneous
territories. Eventually, the peace accord said that one part was
made out of Serbs, another of Bosniaks and Croats. Bosnian
constitution said that all three nations in Bosnia were
constituent, but entities' constitutions degraded it. Where in
fact was the problem? For over two years, the international
community has been trying to persuade local politicians to implement
the decision of the constitutional court about constituency, but
especially due to resistance in the Serb Republic, there were no
results. When two months ago Bosnia was accepted to the Council
of Europe, one of the terms to be fulfilled was harmonization of
entities' constitutions. High representative Wolfgang Petritsch, who
was in charge of implementing the civil part of the peace accord for
Bosnia and who is practically a supreme ruler in Bosnia, has organized
long-term negotiations of parliamentary parties in order to find a solution.
One had to work out a general and loose decision of the constitutional
court so that no nation would be unequal, at least on paper, in any
entity. There was a collision of two opposed attitudes. Serbians insisted
in minimal constitutional changes and Bosniaks Croatians, who asked for
full symmetry in functioning of Serb Republic and Federation B-H.
Eventually, 90 per cent was agreed upon, thus creating the so-called
Sarajevo Accord with significant constitutional changes in both entities.
Besides the fact that now nations in all three entities have been entered
into constitutions, there are many other decisions which
underline this fact. In the government of the Serb Republic, out of
16 ministers' seats, 8 will be Serbian, 5 will be reserved for
Bosniak representatives and 3 from Croatian side. Similar is the
situation with Federation government - 8 seats for Bosniaks, 5
for Croats and 3 for Serbs. The main positions in both entities will
be held by people of various nationalities in order to disable
domination of a single nation. An especially important cause of much
disturbance was the introduction of a Council of Nations in the Serb
Republic, which will decide on the vital national interests by
national consensus. However, there was a problem because Bosniaks
were insisting on identical solution, as in a Federation - House of
Nations. The difference between the Council of Nations and the House of
Nations is that the latter, already existing in Federation, must
confirm every decision of the parliament. On the other hand, the
Council of Nations in Serb Republic doesn't decide on everything,
but only on vital national interests. In the end, the Sarajevo Accord
was completely accepted only by the ruling coalition in
Federation - Alliance for Change. Opposition national parties -
Bosniak SDA and Croatian  HDZ - left negotiations saying that
agreement wasn't good enough. On the other hand, Serb Republic
parties accepted the agreement 90 per cent. Only few days later,
parliament of the Serb Republic accepted constitution amendments
which treated differently than Sarajevo Accord issues of
language, authorities of entity president and national
composition of the government. Alliance for Change, followed by
the international community, said that was unacceptable and that
the Sarajevo Accord had to be implemented 100 per cent. However, the
real problem happened in the Federation B-H. Alliance for Change,
lacking two-third majority in the parliament, failed to pass
amendments because SDA was sustained, and HDZ representatives
have left the session.
         High representative, which has the authority to impose
decisions if he thinks functioning of the country is in danger,
proclaimed amendments to both entities' constitutions. Following
that, they became legal and their implementation began.
Therefore, starting from April 19th, no nation will have 51 per cent
majority in entities' governments. In Federation there is a House
of Nations, Council of Nations in Serb Republic, both dealing
with vital national interests. In both entities Latin and
Cyrillic alphabet are equal. It is also interesting to note the
solution to the language problem. Three languages - Bosnian,
Croatian and Serbian are equal in Federation. Serbs insisted for
the language of Bosniaks to be called Bosniak, not Bosnian, so
there are three equal languages in Serb Republic - "languages of
Serbian, Croatian and Bosniak nations". Petritsch made a
pragmatic move here which means - it is not the appearance that
matters, but the core. National parties SDA, HDZ and SDS are
again on the same side
          Three hard-line national parties: Bosniak SDA, Croatian
HDZ and Serbian SDS, although spurred by different motives,
showed a transparent opposition to constitutional changes. These
three parties won at the pre-war elections and formed a kind of
coalition. Their rule was based on emphasizing nationalistic
attitudes and led to the war in Bosnia. However, they often find
themselves on same political positions, which is coming from
their nationalistic concept.
          The main reason for SDA opposition to constitutional
changes is that they are not enough since they do not offer
symmetric solutions in both entities. SDA deems that these
constitutional changes are only cosmetic because they allow Serbs
to continue their domination in Serb Republic. Alliance for
Change responded that SDA had no feeling for reality and that it
practically wanted to deconstruct Serb Republic, which is
impossible at the moment. HDZ says that changes create
Bosniak-Serbian state where Croats will be in a subordinate
position. HDZ asks for full parity of the government and
consensus on almost all issues without possibilities of one party
being voted out by the others. HDT also has a reserve solution to
problems of Bosnian Croats - third entity with Croatian majority.
However, international community has already rejected that
          On the other hand, all parties in Serb Republic were
unanimous - Serbs shouldn't accept the solution of Serb Republic
government made out according to 1991 census, but according to
last election results. The difference is huge - according to the 1991
census, the government should be composed of 50 per cent Serbs and 50
per cent others, which is now imposed. According to current
election results, Serbs would have gotten 80 per cent seats.
However, Petritsch imposed the census solution in order to neutralize
results of ethnic cleansing. Ringleader of the opposition to
Petritsch solution was SDS, once led by indicted warlord Radovan
Karadzic. SDS is a party which kept its nationalistic concept,
but decided to fight for its goals through system institutions.
          Proclaiming amendments to the constitution, the High
Commissioner reflected on the behaviour of SDA and HDZ, calling them
          "As all know, dinosaurs are destined to extinction, and
that will happen to these two parties", said Petritsch. He didn't
want to elaborate on further steps international community might
take against parties which didn't support the Sarajevo Accord.
          "I will not allow SDA and HDZ to keep the Bosnian people
hostage. As a guarantee of Sarajevo Accord, I cannot allow
constant obstruction from these nationalistic dinosaurs, their
time is up. I hope they will not be elected to important
positions anymore", said Petritsch.
          However, it is difficult to believe SDA and HDZ will
die off all by themselves. Most Croats in Bosnia support HDZ. The
fact that this party is not participating in power is the result
of some minor Croatian parties entering Alliance for Change
coalition, and not because of Croatian voters' supporting that
alliance. HDZ will certainly base its further actions on the
thesis that international community wants to marginalize Bosnian
Croats, which is bound to have an effect, especially in ethnically
Croatian western Herzegovina, an HDZ stronghold which is leaning
onto Croatia.
          Different from HDZ, which dropped out of power by
"election math", the SDA lost power in a classic manner -voters
turned their backs on them at the last elections. However, polls
say that the party is regaining its lost popularity, especially
because of the so-called flexibility of the Alliance for Change.
Some Bosniaks are unhappy because the ruling coalition normalized
the country's relations with Serbia, accepted Croatian demands for
changes in signed agreements about disputed issues and fought
Islamic elements in the countries, upon the U.S. demands. Yet,
SDA gained especially high popularity by refusing to support
constitutional changes. One poll of the Federal TV showed that as
much as 85 per cent of the Federation citizens do not support
these kind of constitutional changes.
          So, Petritsch doesn't have an easy task of making these
parties into true dinosaurs. The harshest option available to
international community is excluding all parties that don't
support constitutional changes, including SDA and HDZ, from
elections. Still, it is hard to believe in it because exclusion
of two so influential parties from politics would evidently go
against the will of the people, which could cause deep divisions,
even terrorist actions of militant party members. It is more
probable to expect that international community will address the
voters before elections saying that it would deny all
international aid to Bosnia if nationalistic parties regain
power. In some areas, this is bound to have some effect. For
example, only in Sarajevo 10,000 people is living of the work in
international organizations and they are not indifferent to
whether they will stay or not. Arrest of Karadzic and Mladic is a
condition for true implementation of constitutional changes
The nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina are now equal at least on
paper, but change of situation in the field is bound to be
difficult .There is still much hatred against other people dominant in many
communities, especially rural. Such a situation is generated by
traditional national animosity, amplified by recent war events,
but also by the indifferent attitudes of the authorities towards
attacks on minority human rights. It is not likely that problems
that are in people's heads will be solved by constitutional
changes, but it will at least oblige the government to pay more care
to their citizens who now have support in law, so that national
intolerance cannot be ignored. Especially if we take into account
that authorities themselves won't be so nationally monolithic as
          But what is especially important, what is the basis for
any internal progress in Bosnia, is the arrest of war criminals.
It seems that process is also coming to an end. After FR
Yugoslavia adopted a law on cooperation with ICTY, it seems that
Serbian war commander Ratko Mladic, now living in Belgrade, will
be arrested. Regarding Radovan Karadzic, the war leader of the Bosnian
Serbs, international forces tried to arrest him on two occasions.
The circle is closing in every day. NATO general secretary George
Robertson said during the day of declaration of constitutional
changes: "They need to be lucky every day they live in freedom,
while we need only one lucky day to arrest them". Since indicted
war criminals have no political support in Serbia, and it seems
that support in Serb Republic is diminishing, it is very probable
that their hiding will come to an end, in any way. It will give
great push to "extinction of dinosaurs", not only in sense of
SDA, HDZ and SDS, but in the sense of the whole nationalistic
idea. Only then will constitutional changes get their true sense.

                                * * *
          By Brankica Vujnovic

          Extradition of indicted war criminals, which has been the
most important issue for over a month in Serbia, will finally be
settled. The Yugoslav government has appealed to 23 persons accused
of war crimes to voluntarily turn themselves over to police by Monday
noon. In exchange, the state would guarantee bail. If they refused this
call addressed last week, then there will be arrests, and it is
emphasized that the police are ready for them.
         The Hague Court is not asking for exclusively Yugoslav
citizens - on the list there are also former leaders of Bosnian
Serbs Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic as well as the leader of
Serbian rebellion in Croatia Milan Martic - all persons who are
considered to be located in Yugoslav territory. Until now, only
the former Yugoslav Army commander Dragoljub Ojdanic announced he
would surrender. In his statement to Frankfurt News, Ojdanic said
that he was slowly packing his things, and will probably leave
for The Hague only after several days due to a complicated legal
procedure. Assistant to the Yugoslav justice minister Nebojsa
Sarkic promised him that government will give him guarantees
enabling him to wait for the start of trial at his home.
Dragoljub Ojdanic is accused for war crimes committed in Kosovo
in 1999, during NATO air strikes, when he was head of Yugoslav
Army, together with former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic
and three other high state officials.
          The Hague list has been recently shortened by one name -
former Serbian police minister Valjko Stojiljkovic shot himself
in the head before the building of federal parliament only
several hours after adoption of Law on Cooperation with the Hague
court, which legalized extradition of Yugoslav citizens. In his
final letter, Stojiljkovic blamed Serbian prime minister Zoran
Djinjdic and Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica for his death,
accusing state officials which "betrayed the country to NATO
aggressors". After months of struggle among the ruling coalition,
Yugoslav government finally adopted a law which settled
discussions about extradition of indicted war criminals. Crucial
was the coalition partner of the ruling DOS - Socialist People's
Party of Montenegro (SNP) which was at first very reluctant to
approve of the law which made possible extradition of Yugoslav
citizens. However, SNP didn't have much choice because it
couldn't accept responsibility for another international
sanctions at the eve of local elections in Montenegro. They only
managed to put article 39 in the law. According to it, all
extraditions only relate to indictments that were confirmed
before law came in force. All newly accused war criminals will be
tried in the country. Whether there will be new indictees depends
on cooperation of former Milosevic's associates who will be put
before a rather unpleasant choice - either to witness against
their former chief or be accused themselves. Everybody has
profited from the new law - ruling DOS can now finally extradite
accused war criminals legally, opposition parties (Milosevic's
SPS and Seselj's radicals) got ammo for further political fights
with authorities, trying to score even with Stojiljkovic's
suicide, while Carla del Ponte was pleased for the first time
during her recent visit to Belgrade.
          If we are to believe media, Ojdanic's example will be
also followed by Nikola Sainovic, former vice-president of the
federal government and closest Milosevic associate. His lawyers
have already had negotiations with justice minister. Majority of
indicted war criminals will probably decide to surrender. Yet, it
is certain that they will all be extradited to Hague, voluntarily
or not. Prime minister Zoran Djindjic has been announcing for
days now that Serbia will get rid of this weight by short notice.
Prime minister still expressed his reserve towards the most
notorious criminals - Karadzic and Mladic, saying they won't be
hunted by Serbian police. "Serbia has 20,000 poorly armed
policemen. If international forces in Bosnia with their 50,000
soldiers were unable to do it for the last 5 years, why would
Serbia accept the risk of great unrest?", said Djindjic. Other
government representatives are stubbornly repeating that Mladic
is not in the country and that there is no reason for Serbia to
deal with him. The only exception in this story of ICTY is the
case of Serbian president Milan Milutinovic, also accused by
ICTY, who will for the time being remain safe in his presidential
office, at least until the end of his term.
          The Hague crisis has completely unearthed all insincerity
of relations in the ruling coalition where one side is turning
over a hot potato to the other, fearing that voters will punish
them for indictments at the next elections. That their fears are
justified was illustrated by recent event - in the center of
Belgrade, Novi Sad and Kikinda appeared billboards of Radovan
Karadzic with words "Every Serb is Radovan". According to the
latest polls, one third of Serbian citizens support
extraditions, one third is resolutely against them, and the
crucial element is a group which is pro-western and does support
integration processes, but is not ready to accept all moves
dictated by such politics, primarily cooperation with the Hague
court and extradition of Yugoslav citizens. Political discussion
about cooperation with Hague, which has been going on for two
years, has very little in common with war crimes and
responsibility. Even most eager supporters of extraditions say
that they have nothing but bad opinion of the court, adding that
cooperation is inevitable because of the opinion of
international community, money and integration into Europe. The story
about Hague is not about crimes, but it opened up the issue of
responsibility and maturity of the Belgrade government which is
playing with crucial issues in order to diminish the popularity
of the opposition side.