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Vol 2, No 14
10 April 2000
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Serbian News Review News from Serbia
All the important news
since 1 April 2000

Vana Suša

On Monday, SFOR troops arrested Bosnian Serb leader and Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) member Momčilo Krajišnik, who was wanted for genocide and other war crimes. Krajišnik was the speaker of the Bosnian Serb Parliament during the 43-month war, and afterwards he served in the Bosnian cabinet. He was also the right-hand man to another war cime indictee, the Bosnian Serbs' wartime political leader, Radovan Karadžić.

French SFOR soldiers broke into the house of Krajišnik's parents on Monday 3 April around 3:30 am. Krajišnik's sons, Miloš and Njegoš, said the troops had blown down a door, while the family slept, and then tied them up and locked their grandparents in the kitchen, before taking Krajišnik. Momčilo's father, Sretko, said, "If they had only rung the bell, I would have opened the door, but they threw a bomb." According to the charges released to journalists, Krajišnik is accused of a plethora of crimes, including genocide against Muslims and Croats in Bosnia and Hercegovina, mass expulsions and deportations, which qualify as crimes against humanity, and violating the Geneva conventions on war. The charges name places and dates when Muslims and Croats were killed in 1992, as well as the prison camps in which several thousands of Muslims and Croats were incarcerated. Krajišnik is expected to appear in court on Friday 7 April (Blic 3 April).

The Majority of the Parties in Republika Srpska condemned this arrest. President of the SDS Dragan Kalinić stated that he is angered by the "brutal arrest of Krajišnik." "This was an unsuccessful attempt to stop the election victory of the SDS party," said Kalinić. President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik said that he does not "bare any responsibility" for Krajišnik's arrest (Glas, 4 April).

Political parties in Serbia also condemned the arrest of Momćilo Krajišnik. The Democratic Serbian Party stated that it is clear that the Hague tribunal is not lawful, nor is it a valid international institution, but rather an "American means of world police." The Serbian Renewal Party condemned the arrest, which, as they see it, was based on a secret accusation, and added that secret accusations do not exist in legal systems of Western countries. President of the Democratic Alternative party Nebojša Čović sees the arrest as "one more attempt to put pressure on Serbs ... This is an attempt to draw international attention to Serbs, not as victims, but as wrong-doers and war criminals." The Social Democrats see this arrest as a logical outcome of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which was, in the name of the Serbian people, signed by Slobodan Milošević. Vladan Batić, the spokesman of the Coalition for Change, stated that this arrest is something "that has been witnessed before, and that we need to come to terms with in the future ... All war criminals need to end up in Hague, whether we like that or not" (Glas, 4 April). Similar reactions came from the Democratic Party, the Movement for a Democratic Serbia, the Vojvodina Coalition and the Serbian Democratic Party.

FoNet press agency reported that the Chief Prosecutor at the Hague Tribunal, Carla Del Ponte, who succeeded Louise Arbor, visited Ljubljana, Slovenia. This visit is most likely in order to expand the accusations against Slobodan Milošević. As Slovenian media reported, Del Ponte spoke with the Minister of International Affairs as well as with the State Prosecutor and Governor of the Slovenian National bank, in order to find if indictees are holding bank accounts in Slovenian banks. Del Ponte also visited Croatia and spoke with newly-elected President Stipe Mesić about war crimes conducted during operation "Storm."

Members of the democratic opposition announced a protest meeting that will take place on 14 April. After two hours of press conferences, the opposition parties said that the party leaders will represent their parties, but that only three of the five representatives will speak in the name of the coalition. Other speakers will come from the Independent Journalist Association (IJAS) and the student movement Otpor (Resistance). The list of speakers will be established according to alphabetical order, but the first spokesman at the meeting will be Bishop Artemije.

On Thursday 6 April, the EU's Council of Ministers decided to sharpen the financial sanctions against Yugoslavia, which means that all financial funds will be frozen and any financial investments by European governments in Yugoslavia is forbidden. This decision is applicable to all firms that are believed to be connected with the current regime in Serbia. Representatives of the EU decided to formulate a "white list," which will include firms in Serbia that are not connected with the regime that will be allowed to cooperate with EU companies. In order for the firms to be on the white list, they need to fulfill the following requirements:

  1. prove that they are not giving their earnings to the ruling government
  2. that their monthly earnings with EU firms do not exceed over EUR 100,000
  3. that they do not work in: banking, finance, the transportation sector, the oil industry, the metal industry, the energy sector or in the production and/or sale of the weapons.
These stipulations do not apply to either Kosovo or Montenegro. Those who do not make the white list, will, of course, be placed on the black list. The lists are due to be published on 15 May 2000.

On Friday 31 March, viewers tuned into TV Politika were able to see the movie Matrix, before its scheduled Serbian opening night of 13 April. When asked how it was possible for this to happen, Goran Kozić, an editor at TV Politika, said, "Call my movie editor, call my secretary and ask them." Slavenko Bojović, editor of the "Movie" program, was also unwilling to comment to the daily, Glas. He simply said, "How come Hollywood will not give us gas and food, but they will give us movies? ...So ask the official distributors where they got the movie from - well, we got it from the same place." The official Serbian distributor of Matrix, Tackwood, made public its contract that it has with the Warner Bross Company and called on TV Politika to make public their contract as well. A Tackwood representative stated that they will press charges against TV Politika, especially because this was not the first time that something like this has happened (Analyze This and The General's Daughter being two other recent examples).

Vana Suša, 7 April 2000

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