Secretary-General Kofi Annan intends to appoint a senior police official from Denmark as the next head of the law enforcement component of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina?s (UNMIBH), a UN spokesman announced today in New York. Police Commander Sven Christian Frederiksen will succeed the current Commissioner of UNMIBH?s International Police Task Force (IPTF), Vincent Coeurderoy of France, upon the expiration of the latter?s tour of duty at the end of the month. As the UN Mission is scheduled to complete its mandate by the end of this year, Mr. Frederiksen will also continue on as the first head of the EU Police Mission (EUPM) that is slated to take over from UNMIBH the responsibility for building up the local police force. To ensure a smooth transition and continuity between the two Missions, Mr. Frederiksen?s primary task will be to bring UNMIBH to a successful conclusion, the spokesman said, noting that the EU will appoint a senior officer to undertake the planning for the EUPM under Mr. Frederiksen?s general supervision.
An estimated 1,500 workers protested in Banja Luka last month, complaining they are severely underpaid -- and many haven't even been paid the meager salaries they're owed. "Some workers face years of back pay," AFP noted. Unemployment in the Serb-controlled sector of Bosnia is estimated at 39 percent, AFP said.
A human rights investigator who claims she was sacked for exposing the sexual abuse of Bosnian women by her United Nations colleagues, told a tribunal that girls as young as 15 were offered for sex," the Daily Telegraph of London reports. "Kathryn Bolkovac, 41, said women were forced to dance naked in Bosnian bars frequented by UN police officers. . . . "The former American policewoman claims she was sacked because she sent an email to Jacques Paul Klein, the chief of UN mission in Bosnia-Hercegovina, which highlighted the sexual exploitation of women by those who had been sent to protect them from the sex trade." Bolkovac was employed by U.S.-based DynCorp, which responded that she was fired for time-card irregularities. Bolkovac denied the charge. Instead, "she said she also found that international staff were helping local police to sell women for the sex trade and she feared this was being 'covered up,'" the Telegraph said.
A U.S. federal court judge has ruled that Nikola Vuckovic must pay $140 million in restitution to four Bosnians he tortured during the war. Vuckovic, who served in the Bosnian Serb Army, came to the U.S. in 1997 as a refugee. Judge Marvin H. Shoob found that Vuckovic "repeatedly tortured" each of the plaintiffs, meriting "substantial punitive damages," according to a statement released by the Center for Justice and Accountability. Vuckovic did not appear in court for the trial. "The witnesses testified about frequent beatings, teeth pulled out with pliers and heads smashed against walls while soldiers hurled anti-Muslim abuse. All said they lost about half their body weight during detention," AP reported. Kemal Mehinovic acknowledged that it's unlikely the victims will be able to collect the money, but said justice was nevertheless served. "I brought this case because I felt an obligation towards those who were killed or tortured by Vuckovic," he told AP. "I am satisfied with the result. He will no longer be able to live peacefully in the United States." The case was brought under two U.S. laws that allows victims of human rights abuses to sue perpetrators who live in the U.S. The Center's statement on the case is posted at http://www.cja.org/BosniaPR4.29.02.htm
NATO forces report they discovered a large amount of weapons and ammunition in Mostar, including grenade launchers and up to 6,000 mortar shells. The site, in a Muslim-controlled portion of the now-divided city, was believed to have been a weapons storage area during the war, BBC said. "Sfor spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Nicolas Rambaud said that if the cache, which totalled some 75 tonnes of ordnance, were to explode it would spread devastation over a wide area, with a crater some 100 metres across," the Telegraph newspaper of London reported. Another large amount of weapons was uncovered several weeks earlier in Mostar, when a new owner moved into a textile factory.
Bosnian officials have signed a $15 million contract with Siemens of Germany to print new identification documents that will be same throughout the country, Reuters reports in a story posted at http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020430/tc _nm/tech_bosnia_siemens_dc_1 Those documents will include drivers licenses and ID cards, which are currently different in each of Bosnia's two entities.
"Forty-one suspects are held at the UN detention centre in the Netherlands and judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have agreed that dispatching some suspects to be tried at home may be the best way to ease the logjam," the London-based Independent newspaper reports. "The tribunal, which is intending to complete its task by the end of 2008, is bursting at the seams." Trials for high-level suspects such as Slobodan Milosevic would remain in The Hague, the Independent said. "In the short term, only Bosnia and Herzegovina is likely to be able to meet the UN's required standards," the Independent noted, which would rule out any such trials in Serbia.
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
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.

For the first time since their loved ones were murdered ten years ago, Bosnian refugees returned to the town of Bratunac to "mourn at the sites where their men were rounded up and killed, and where their bodies were later dumped," AP reported. About 100 women arrived by bus from refugee camps in Sarajevo and Tuzla Saturday to mark the anniversary of the massacre, visiting a soccer stadium and an elementary school where hundreds of unarmed civilians were rounded up and slaughtered. "Tears poured down the cheeks of the women and a few sobs could be heard. One woman dropped to her knees, overwhelmed by her emotions. Friends rushed to her and offered a shoulder to cry on," the European edition of Stars & Stripes reported. " 'We are standing here 10 years later and it seems to us like it happened yesterday,' Sevala Halilovic, one of the mourners, said before she laid flowers in front of the door of the gymnasium where the Muslim men had been rounded up." "Local Serbs have long denied that the massacres ever took place," AP notes in a story posted at http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020511/a p_wo_en_ge/bosnia_visiting_home_1 "But as the war grows more distant, some have begun to admit that atrocities were committed here." The Bosnians were arrested and executed although there had been no fighting in the town. On May 11, 1992, "men with megaphones ordered the Muslims to move out of the stadium through its main gate," wrote Chuck Sudetic in his book Blood and Vengeance: One Family's Story of the War in Bosnia "Outside, the Muslim men were separated from their wives and children. The air became a din of voices calling out names. . . . "Men who tried to linger with their families were beaten with clubs and metal bars. The women and children were packed aboard buses and trucks and driven over the mountains . . . "The Serbs ordered the 750 Muslim men left behind in Bratunac to line up in rows of four and march down the main street. ... The Muslims were marched to the yard of the primary school and told to kneel. Some of the men were beaten with wooden bats and electrical cables. "Then they were lined up, two-by-two, and marched into the gymnasium. ... In a garage behind the school, [one prisoner] saw stacks of corpses of Muslim men who had been abducted in Bratunac. Within three days, there would be 350 more. "The dead were eventually loaded aboard trucks and dumped into the Drina."
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.

"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).
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.
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.
"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.
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