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).
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
"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.
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
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 .
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."
"We're always in a hurry to do everything; they enjoy sitting down and talking...about everything," Sgt. Shane Pulig says in describing the difference he finds between Americans and Bosnians. "Their mealtimes are an event, not something they rush through in order to get finished. ... Most of them love us being here, especially the kids."
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."
"An important part of living on this NATO base, which is headquarters to the American component of the international peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, is learning to appreciate the country's mix of religions," the Washington Times reports from Eagle Base in Tuzla. "At the end of Ramadan in November, Brig. Gen. John T. von Trott, the top officer at Eagle Base, invited Mohammed Lugavic, an imam from the Tuzla City Mosque, to address the troops and give them a 'better understanding of Ramadan and other holidays.' Gen. von Trott said he was impressed by the imam, who has organized a multifaith organization in Tuzla called 'the bridge' to improve communication among the city's Muslims, Roman Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs."
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 ground-breaking DNA program in Bosnia has identified more than 1,320 victims [of massacres found in mass graves] in the past year or so. The software was successfully used in New York after the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center."
"When history comes to judge the siege of Sarajevo, which went on longer than the siege of Stalingrad, they'll judge us very hard indeed for simply standing by and doing nothing. We have a moral responsibility here and I feel I would like to help," the high representative tells reporter Nick Hawton.
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