Political happenings in August 1998:

Stormy August in RS

The most interesting news from the beginning of this month comes from RS, for sure. Inner conflicts of Pale authorities with Banja Luka authorities of RS, as well as inner conflicts of Pale authorities among themselves, have reached culmination.
Chronologically, it started on August 5 when one of the closest Momcilo Krajisnik’s associates had been arrested for his criminal past. And than, Mr. Momo announced that those who arrested him could loose their heads because of it. He also used the opportunity to insult the police and RS government, calling them traitorous. Accidentally, the one who arrested Momo’s partner, had gone to meet God a couple of days later. Krajisnik lost his security guards and escort, facing a possibility of spending a long holiday in prison and the situation surrounding SDS is becoming more and more tensed.
The result of all this is withdrawal of SDS candidature for this years elections. According to SDS presidency they think there are no elementary security conditions for functioning of their political party. Many people agree that recent conflicts suggest the definite ending of SDS and its long year policy. Just to remind you, it started during last year, when SDS separated to radical, Pale SDS and “liberal” Banja Luka SDS, lead by Biljana Plavsic, which is now being supported by the West. But, it also seems the West has decided to break SDS and bury it. Now it looks they’ve succeeded, definitely. SDS won’t be in the elections, the party is in state of breaking and it is only a matter of days before it stops working definitely.

PS Few days after writing this text, I feel slightly confused. On a press conference, a few days back, one of SDS officials said the party will not participate in the following elections. Yesterday on Pale TV, I heard that SDS is going to be in the elections. Things are beginning to be less clear.

Replacements of media editors in RS

As a part of preparing media for the September elections, the government of RS has made a decision to replace several editors in RS media, whose actions were not very “democratic” lately. And it is all in order to get rid of them because of personal interest as well as interest or an ultimatum of the International Community.
Because of breaking the law on public informing, those people will no longer have an opportunity to make stupidities where they used to. Their replacement is essential for “fair and democratic” media treatment during the elections.
But it does not mean that representatives of SDS and Serb Radical Party will agree with this, because they call the current government fascistic, anti-Serb and so on. It probably has something to do with the fact that most of the replaced people were members of these two parties. Who knows? “Democracy” is doing its work.

Few days to elections

We have no intention of boring everyone with bureaucracy associated with the upcoming elections - in the promo brochure given by OSCE to the curious Bosnian people there is a list of over 100 parties- coalitions - alliances taking part in the elections. Reason enough to avoid that matter. Number of registered candidates is easy to understand. OSCE gave 10 000 DM financial support to each registered party / candidate last year, so many of them expected to make money the easy way, but OSCE is not naive so it is not giving material support to anyone this year. And this, of course, was announced after the registration was finished. Still, some names must be mentioned, for example, those who could get a title for the best name in the elections: Bosnian Party of Islamic Christian understanding of justice /truth/ freedom/ peace/ survival with an extremely interesting abbreviations BP IKR PISMO - or Muhamed Kadric - Hamo of Bosnia... It could be interesting if someone would give awards for this sort of thing.
And other anecdotes. Few days back the manager of Europosters, the firm which has planted hundreds of jumbo posters all over the country, said that parties interested in advertising the jumbo way, should have made reservations 30 days back or there will be no advertising at all. Only a couple of days after this statement, SDA, or more precise, Coalition for United and Democratic BiH, put about a hundred posters in Sarajevo. Or over a hundred... so much that it is much more than perversion alone, it is becoming incredibly irritating. As a saying - fuck up people’s mind. In our country, our religion and with our jumbo posters.

Speaking of posters, we should mention interesting ones or which were made such. It is interesting to see Edehm Bicakcic or president Alija Izetbegovic with mustache, alcoholic eyes or hippie hair from 1969.
Why should elections be fun for politicians only? Jokers with paint have been more than active these past days, just look around you. Stjepan Kljuic, president of Republican party, looks like someone pointed a gun to his face. Mirnes Ajanovic, big nationalist from the last elections, swears to working class,
Che Gevara and Josip Broz?! No one has still remembered to write “two backwards” on the poster of New Croatian Initiative, whose slogan is “one step forward”. And so on...

* Travnik - explosions as usual

The things going on in Travnik have become boring and unimaginative, as well as writing about them, but... Bomb explosion in the center of city killed another MAN, a policeman again. Croat policemen left work as a symbol of protest again. Legendary tactics of BH police is repeating itself. Instead of solving crime / finding criminals/ protecting civilians whose number is decreasing daily, they again offer a large amount of money for information about the criminals. Maybe it would be better to give the money to policemen who would then be more stimulated to do their low paid job. But, it all becomes irrelevant because of the fact that the MAN IS GONE. I am curious to see for how long will retard nationalists and mentally disturbed people full of hate, entertain themselves by killing people around ?

* Blocked roads, borders ....

Another thing becoming frequent when it comes to BiH is blockade of different roads. For different reasons. Some demand minimum human rights, some unpaid pensions and some to sell fruits and vegetables in Croatia.
But let’s go in order... Border roads to Croatia have been blocked for several days by unhappy Herzegovian farmers. The Holy Croatian government, who didn’t need those people any more, decided to make taxes for importing fruits and vegetables in Croatia, and it, basically, made these people’s survival impossible. As one of demonstrators said : “ First, because of Tudjman, we fought against Serbs and Muslims, and now that the war is over, it is as we don’t exist.” And because they fought against Serbs and Muslims, they are no longer able to sell them their products as they used to. And now even Pope Franjo won’t let them sell products to their fellow men. But, in order to keep someone from getting angry, new laws were made and people are living happily now.
Family members of dead soldiers and army war invalids blocked roads to Zenica because of their unpaid pensions dating since last year. Canton government gave promises, but will it give the money, I don’t know. The road is deblocked.
And third in the serial of blocked roads and borders are refugees from village Gacice. According to the signed agreement about return, they tried to return to their homes, but Croat people living in the area didn’t like that. Aggressive epilogue of the story and who the aggressor was, need no mentioning. Revolted by this, refugees decided to block the road between Zenica and Vitez. It had a small effect. They are not back in their homes yet. Problem is much more complex. And we are waiting for sanctions.

* The Fotofilm

Ministry of Defense has all appearances against

Rumors about misbehavior of the Dutch UN soldiers in Srebrenica keep on going around. Two wasted fotofilms and a neglected confession feed the rumors that the Ministry tries to hush up this issue.

The minister of defense Joris Voorhoeve ensured the fotofilms were wasted because of a ‘dumb mistake, optimum stupidity’ . The new minister of defense, De Grave, wants a new independent investigation to the failure in the lab of the Marine, where two fotofilms made by a lieutenant of the army made in July 1995 while Srebrenica was overtaken by the Serbs, where destroyed. De Grave asked old minister of defense De Ruijter to lead the investigation. in 1996 De Ruijter was advisor for the ministry and he signed the debriefing rapport of 30 November 1995.

Two questions had to be answered in this debriefing report. How, under which and who’s responsibility Dutchbat could come in such a situation. And secondly: What did the Dutch commanders and soldier do?

There were rumors Dutch bat assisted the Serbs with selecting Muslims. Nothing could be confirmed and with a lack of confirmation ‘everybody was beyond any doubt’ But the uncomfortable situation remained.
Uncomfortable in Dutch language is used when we speak about something we prefer not to think although decency forbids us to show this openly.

Not everything is knows about the prehistory. We remember commander Karremans speaking about good guys and bad guys while drinking slivovic with general Mladic. We know minister Voorhoeve asked for support from the air several times. This support was not given. Like it happens in a war, confusion increases when the enemy approached. Had the Dutch soldiers to defend themselves in a situation that became more unclear with the hour, going for a certain defeat? That was not the plan. So they became witness of the ethnical cleansing.

In the afternoon of July 13th Dutchbat lieutenant become angry. Near to the Dutch post in Potocari in the overtake enclave he sees how Muslims are selected to be taken by the Serbs. “Why are you leading the deportation? the screams angry to fellow officer Van Duijn. “Why do you collaborate with the Serbs?’
‘’You can help us or go back to the camp!’ Van Duijn replies, who made an agreement with the Serb troops. A part of the hundreds of Muslims, protected by Dutchbat, will be handed over to the Serbs. That’s the deal. Rutten, who just made some pictures of nine executed Muslims near to a river and got shot at by Serbs, goes to the highest Serb officer. ‘This reminds me to 50 years ago. You act like nazi’s’ Rutten, who has Jewish blood, screams at him. The serbian Captain starts to shout back. Van Duijn comes in-between and shouts angry to Rutten: ‘Ron, get out of here, go back to the camp!’

Three years later Rutten is still with the land forces, although very frustrated. What he saw on that day seems to be for nothing. His eyewitness about separation of Muslims, which he told several times to the ministry of defense and to an American journalist, were without any consequences.

Marrechausee (military police who worked on the debriefing report) though his story was so serious that they emphasized the ministry of defense to take action and start a criminal investigation. But this investigation about Dutch ‘warcrimes’ never happened. The testimony of lieutenant Rutten wasn’t even putted in the debriefing report about experiences of soldiers of Dutchbat.

One man who signed that debriefing report is now asked to lead the investigation the new minister has asked for

edited from several stories from ‘De Volkskrant’ 12 august 1998