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Vol 2, No 22
5 June 2000
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News from Bosnia
All the important news
since 27 May 2000

Ibrahim Sejfović

OIC seeks improved ties with BiH

At a meeting in Saudi Arabia this week, representatives of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) are expected to pass a resolution supporting the development of Bosnia-Hercegovina. According to a BiHPress report, the OIC hopes the measure will help uphold the integrity and sovereignty of BiH, strengthen political and cultural ties, improve the economic system, increase international investment and support the right of return of the refugees to their homes throughout the country.

Foreign Minister Mustafa Bijedić and Senahid Bristić, Bosnia's ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will represent BiH at the summit.

UNHCR asks for German halt to deportations

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has issued an appeal to the German government asking that it halt its policy of unquestioningly repatriating Bosnian refugees. Instead of automatically returning the refugees, UNHCR has asked that the German government grant at least some of the most vulnerable individuals permanent resident status.

The UN body's request came following the completion of a report on the status of Bosnian refugees living in Germany, which reached the alarming conclusion that of 37,000 individuals surveyed, nearly half are suffering from extreme psychological traumas from the 1992 to 1995 war in Bosnia. Included in this group are individuals who were detained in concentration camps, where they were subjected to extreme physical and mental abuse.

Kris Janowski, a UNHCR spokesman, said, "If these people went back to Bosnia, they would be helpless."

Germany's interior minister responded that "the most vulnerable should be allowed to stay," but a final decision on the returns policy is still pending.

Currently in a post-war recovery phase, BiH lacks the medical and social support facilities to assist those most traumatized by the effects of war, and UNHCR experts feel that some returnees would be helpless if deported to Bosnia for lack of infrastructure and local relatives to care for them. Housing shortages and rising unemployment compound the problem.

Did SFOR try to snatch Plavsic?

Controversy was brewing in Banja Luka Friday after sources at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republika Srpska claimed that NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) troops had attempted to enter the apartment building of Biljana Plavsić, leader of the Serb National Union (SNS) party.

Plavsić has lately been rumoured to be wanted on a sealed International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) warrant, although she has been cooperative with international officials since 1993.

The internal affairs ministry source said that two SFOR soldiers got out of a parked "green vehicle" and tried to gain entry to the building, but were stopped by Republika Srpska (RS) police. Soon after, two more vehicles carrying four more individuals said to be SFOR troops arrived on the scene and were also denied entry.

A BiHPress report said that one of the troops told RS police that "we were going to visit a citizen" in the building.

Plavsic was later whisked out of her residence by a number of RS police.

SFOR attempts to arrest prominent war criminals raise tensions in the RS, where wanted war criminals including Radovan Karadžic and Gen Ratko Mladić are allegedly still at large.

Slain reporters to get honorary BiH citizenship?

The Independent Union of Professional Journalists (NUPN) of BiH has started an initiative to grant honorary Bosnian citizenship to two combat correspondents killed last week in Sierra Leone, Oslobodjenje reported.

The NUPN made the announcement at a memorial ceremony held in memory of fellow journalists Kurt Schork and Miguel Gil Moreno.

Mehmed Husić, NUPN president, said that Kurt and Miguel had a distinct ability to separate good from evil, noting that, "Kurt Schork came to Sarajevo in 1992, and he reported courageously throughout the four years of the war. His reports greatly contributed to the world's understanding of the depth of the Bosnian tragedy."

After the war in Bosnia, Schork went on to report from other world hotspots including Chechnya, Kosovo, East Timor and, fatally, Sierra Leone.

Just as the citizens of Sarajevo remember Schork, the city of Mostar will always remember Miguel Gil Moreno, who braved the worst of the east bank of the Neretva to courageously provide the world with footage - footage that recorded the survival of a city and its people.

Voter registration deadline looms

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is reminding all BiH citizens that they have less than six weeks left visit local voter registration centres and be added to the rolls of eligible voters for the upcoming 11 November 2000 general elections.

The deadline for registration is 10 July 2000.

Kare Vollan, deputy chief of the OSCE elections mission, said that it is necessary for people to register and check their personal data if they
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have not yet done so, "especially if you encountered problems in the 8 April municipal elections, you need to visit a voter registration centre or your municipal elections commission to take immediate steps to rectify your registration information."

The OSCE is presently running an information campaign throughout the country, distributing brochures with additional information on registration procedures and deadlines.

Memorial ceremony for 1993 soccer victims

Mourners gathered 1 June in the Dobrinja suburb of Sarajevo to mark the seventh anniversary of the death of 15 people at a soccer tournament during the city's siege. On 1 June 1993, two mortar shells fired from fortified Serbian positions a few miles from the suburb struck the field where play was underway. Among the dead were Atif Bajraktarević, Mirza Deljković, Alija Godinjak, Alija Gojak, Adnan Mirvić, Kemal Mulahmetović, Dragan Osadcij, Refik Ramić, Jusuf Razić, Adel Selmanović, Munir Sabanić, Danijel Solaja, Damir Trebo, Asim Zagorica and Marko Zizić.

Ibrahim Sejfović, 3 June 2000

Author's Note:

I would like to take this opportunity to dedicate my first weekly news review for CER to the memory of my friend Kemal Mulahmetović, one of the individuals commemorated in this week's ceremony for Sarajevo soccer victims. Kemal was only 17 years old.

Kemo, your time with us was too short, but you live in our hearts forever.

Tvoj jaran,



BiHPress - the news agency of Bosnia-Hercegovina
Oslobodjenje - Sarajevo-based independent magazine
OSCE Press
UNHCR press service

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