NATO plans to reduce its troops in Bosnia from 19,000 peacekeepers to about 12,000 by the end of this year, the alliance said in a statement posted at http://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2002/p02-064e.htm The cutbacks are due to "a great improvement in the security situation in the Balkans," the statement said. The Bush administration has long sought a pull-out of American troops from Bosnia, but U.S. officials have agreed they would not leave before America's European allies. "In January the international community's high representative in Bosnia, Wolfgang Petritsch, told NATO it should maintain its military presence," BBC recalled. "We have not yet reached the point of no return where Bosnia-Hercegovina would truly be a viable state that could stand alone," he said then.
In Cooperation with the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), the International Journalism Center (IJZ) at the Danube-University Krems (Vienna) announces the start of the 9th Master-Program in Print, Radio, TV and Online Journalism. In the three semester course students are taught an integrated approach towards the media. The program begins in October 2002 is fulltime and students earn a Master of Adanced Studies. Language of Instruction is German. Students applying need to have a University degree, a working command of the German language and pass the entrance exam. Deadline for applications is August 15. Stipends cover student fees and living expenses. With students from 21 nations and instructors from 15 nations, the program has become a platform for international journalism and communications throughout Europe. Other Master-Programs at the IJZ starting in the fall include PR and Integrated Communications and Communications and Management Development. For more information please contact: Stefanie Bundt International Journalism Center Danube-Unibversity Krems Dr. Karl Dorrekstr 30 3500 Krems Austria Tel. 43/2732/893 2702 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. www.donau-uni.ac.at/journalismus
Refugees have been trickling into the United States ever since the September 11 attacks led to a slowdown in resettlement. Some of the immigrants are starting their new lives in the northern Great Plains, in Fargo, North Dakota, where they join the thousands of refugees who are already there. The largest refugee group in Fargo is finding both successes and challenges settling into its new community. "It's the best day of my life," Bosko Curic said. Bosko Curic said today is the best day of his life. The Bosnian Serb has waited four years to be reunited with his two sons in the United States, and to see for the first time, his youngest grandchild. "Just waiting and hope someday they'll allow you to come to US and see rest of closest family," Radimir Curic said. Translating for his father, Radimir Curic said the trip was delayed twice -first because of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, then because of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The nationwide slowdown in refugee resettlement that followed delayed Mr. Curic's arrival for more than eight months. "So finally that's happened so we are all happy and thankful for the government and for people in North Dakota," Mr. Curic said.

The bodies of 19 people, believed to be Muslim civilians killed during the Bosnian war, have been exhumed from a mass grave in the Cajnice district near the border with Montenegro, a local missing persons' commission said on Sunday. The 19 are believed to have been part of a group of 65 people killed by Bosnian Serbs on May 16, 1992, as they attempted to flee to Montenegro soon after the outbreak of the three-year Bosnian war. Head of the missing persons' commission for the Gorazde region, Sefik Delhamet, said tins of food and blankets were found near the bodies, several of which were missing their skulls, around 80 kilometres southwest of the capital Sarajevo. Mr Delhamet said the dead probably came from the regions of Cajnice, Gorazde and nearby Foca. Several hundred Bosnian Muslims were killed when Bosnian Serb troops seized control of the Foca area in 1992. Foca is today part of the Serb-run Republika Srpska, which along with the Muslim-Croat Federation makes up post-war Bosnia. The International Committee of the Red Cross said more than 17,000 Bosnians are still unaccounted for, seven years after the end of the war that pitted Bosnian Serbs against Muslims and Croats, killing over 200,000.
An apparent bid by federal president Vojislav Kostunica to curry favour with Serbian nationalists has rocked relations between Yugoslavia and Bosnia. While Kostunica was visiting the border town of Mali Zvornik on September 14 as part of campaigning for Serbia's presidential elections, the Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, leader described neighbouring Republika Srpska, RS, as "part of the family, temporarily separated from the Serbian motherland". Haris Silajdzic, a Bosniak candidate for the Bosnian presidency, described the remarks as "one step away from declaration of war", claiming that "everything achieved in the process of normalisation" between the two neighbouring states had been destroyed as a result. Kostunica - who later described his comments as having been "maliciously misinterpreted" - maintained he has no plan to reunite the RS with Serbia, saying that he had only been calling for the eventual reunion of all of the former Yugoslavia's Serbs within the framework of the European Union.

"UN prosecutors have opened their genocide case against Slobodan Milosevic, vowing to prove that he played a leading role in the worst crimes against humanity in Europe since World War II," CNN Europe reports, in a story posted at http://europe.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/09/26/hague.milosevic/index.html The trial for crimes in Kosovo finished earlier this month. In the Bosnia trial, Milosevic faces the most severe charge of genocide. "Murder, torture and deportation are among the [other] serious charges Milosevic, 61, now faces," CNN notes. After the prosecution outlined the case against the former Yugoslav leader, including large-scale murder, torture and expulsion of Muslims from large regions of Bosnia, Milosevic answered by showing a video that portrayed Serbs as the war's victims. "Milosevic, who has refused a lawyer and is conducting his own defence, looked rested after a two-week break in court hearings and listened closely to the prosecution, sometimes smirking or frowning," CNN Europe reported. "The former Yugoslav president has been charged for the mass execution of Muslims in the city of Srebrenica, and the three-year siege of Sarajevo, Bosnia's capital, when Serb snipers shot children, women and the elderly on the streets and in their homes. . . . "Outside, . . . , a dozen Bosnian protesters called for the arrest of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his wartime general, Ratko Mladic, who remain at large despite also being indicted for genocide in Bosnia." Prosecutors are expected to call 106 witnesses against Milosevic in the Bosnia portion of the trial, and another 71 for the Croatia indictment. So far, the trial has increased Milosevic's popularity in Serbia, reports Time magazine's European edition, in an article posted at http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/article/0,13005,901020930-353524,00.html (A rally for radical Serb ultra-nationalist Vojislav Seselj -- endorsed by Milosevic in the race for Serbia's presidency -- drew an estimated 20,000 people in Novi Sad. "Seselj is the only man capable of protecting Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic," his aides told the cheering crowd, AFP reported. However, opinion polls show Seselj in third place among the electorate).
"Saboteurs blew up a mosque in the Serbian part of Bosnia just three months after it was reopened following its destruction during the 1992-1995 war," the New York Times reported earlier this month. "Muslims expelled by Serbian forces at that time have only recently begun to return to the area, near the southeastern town of Gacko." The mosque, in Kljuc, suffered damage to the minaret, according to AP.
Bosnian Serb fans of Yugoslavia's national basketball team rioted against Muslims throughout Republika Srpska, after the team won a world championship in Indianapolis. There were pogroms "in nearly all towns and villages in the RS where a significant number of [Muslim refugees returning to their homes are] residing," according to a media roundup from the High Representative's office. Attacks took place Kozarac, Brcko, Zvornik and Bijeljina, among other sites. The Yugoslav team was congratulated by Bosnian Serb wartime leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, who is accused of masterminding the murder and torture of tens of thousands of people. "The players are expected to accept the ex-leader's well-wishes," Ananova reported at http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_668649.html?menu=news.quirkies .
Italian investigators have called on former British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd to testify about charges of bribery and embezzlement. The inquiry involves NatWest Markets, "when the bank advised on a controversial deal involving Telecom Italia and the Serbian telephone network in 1997." Some charge that money paid by Telecom Italia for a stake in Telekom Serbia actually ended up in the hands of "bank accounts and front companies controlled by Slobodan Milosevic and his associates," the Observer reports. Hurd was a staunch opponent of Western intervention in Bosnia to stop Serb atrocities there and "was perceived to have been sympathetic to the Serbs during the Balkans conflict," the Observer notes. He later served as deputy chairman of NatWest during the time of the Telekom Serbia deal.
A campaign to return the Olympics to Sarajevo -- site of the 1984 winter Olympics -- has failed. The International Olympic Committee picked four finalists for the 21st winter games in 2010, but the Bosnian capital did not make the list. The official IOC announcement is at http://www.olympic.org/uk/news/publications/press_uk.asp?release=306
An official Bosnian Serb report claims that there was no massacre of Muslims in Srebrenica, the "UN safe haven" overrun by Serb forces in 1995 where thousands were slaughtered. "Alternative TV" in Banja Luka disclosed the report's findings. Forensic investigators have found the remains of about 6,000 victims of the slaughter, including some with hands bound behind their backs. A number of Serbs were indicted for genocide in the wake of the atrocity, and one, Radislav Krstic, has already been convicted by a UN war crimes tribunal. A Voice of America story on the report is posted at http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=9A4C1080-655C-4E60-B356553763AE8F4E
How nation building fares in Bosnia after September 11 "Even before September 11, Bosnia began to lose cachet," writes Natasha Hunter. "And as soon as the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the nation-building project in Bosnia abruptly slid to the remote reaches of international (and especially U.S.) attention. ... "... [I]f we do not allow Bosnia to be complex, to have multiple allegiances, we not only betray our own values but risk encouraging an extremism that Bosniaks once eschewed. The United States would do well, in its new role as nation builder, here and elsewhere, to take a hard look at Sarajevo."
Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica caused an uproar after claiming that Republika Srpska is only "temporarily detached" from Serbia. At a campaign rally, Kostunica said Srpska was "part of our family we hold very dear, very close to us and only temporarily detached from us but always ours and always in our heart," according to media reports. "We consider this to be the worst form of cheap and irresponsible electioneering," a spokesman for Bosnia's high representative told AP. The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and the Fund for Humanitarian Law also criticized the statement sas "a throwback to the Milosevic era." And Bosnian officials said the comment proved Serb nationalists are still clinging to their dream of creating a Greater Serbia -- a goal that led to ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and the deaths of several hundred thousand people. Kostunica complained his statement was "wrongfully and maliciously misinterpreted" by Bosnian officials. And Bosnian Serb Republic Prime Minister Mladen Ivanic said Kostunica "has no reason to apologize," according to SRNA, a Serb news agency. MORE ON THE WEB: Serbia: Kostunica Remarks Frighten Bosnia By Milanka Saponja-Hadzic in Belgrade, Institute of War and Peace Reporting http://www.iwpr.net/index.pl?archive/bcr2/bcr2_20020918_1_eng.txt
The Yugoslav and Bosnian national soccer teams recently played a match in Sarajevo, the city besieged by Yugoslav-backed Serb forces during the war. "Though the match -- won by Yugoslavia, 2-0 -- was relatively peaceful, the experience of the war permeated the event," the Los Angeles Times reported. "Fans shouted the names of wartime leaders, waved the wartime flags and shouted religious slogans. Still, the deadly potency of such language seemed truly diminished. 'This is finally just football now; the war is over,' said Vahidin Hodzic, 29, a Bosnian Muslim veteran of the war." However, "eight people were arrested and 25 were hurt in clashes between Bosnian fans and police after the match," Associated Press reported. Supporters of the Yugoslav team chanted Karadzic's name, inflaming anger among the Bosnian crowd. Police protected Serb fans as they left the stadium, but some Bosnian fans then attacked the officers, Sarajevo police told AP.
A young Muslim was accused of murdering three Catholics celebrating Christmas in their homes. The suspect's father "told local media that his son deserved to be punished. 'Of course I judge him for what he has done and I want him to be severely punished for that," the father told the Sarajevo daily Dnevni Avaz on 28 December," Transitions Online reports. " 'But I also want the police to find and punish those people who made him what he has become. After he met one mujahedeen in Konjic three years ago, he changed completely and turned his back on our real faith,' Topalovic's father said."