The European Union has replaced the United Nations overseeing Bosnia's civilian police forces. The changeover occurred Dec. 31. "For many here, the United Nations flag that has flown over Bosnia for a decade will forever be stained with the blood of 8,000 Muslims killed in Europe's worst massacre since World War II," AP notes. Many also are angered by other UN activities during the war, such as counting the shells fired at civilians during the siege of Sarajevo instead of offering protection, and allowing Serb nationalists to cut off food, medicine, heat, running water, electricity and natural gas to the city's suffering population. `"Let them go, and show them the door,'' Sabra Kulenovic, a 53-year old survivor of the July 1995 Srebrenica slaughter, told AP. "Timid U.N. functionaries overseeing the peacekeepers caved instead of trying to secure respect for the international contingent through force," AP recalls. "Soon, U.N. commanders were begging local warlords to let their shipments of food pass through. The UN airlift operation carrying supplies for Serb-besieged Sarajevo was so unreliable that it was branded `Maybe Airlines.' Hands tied by lack of resolve at the top, the peacekeepers were reduced to 'monitoring'' how civilian targets were attacked." Others, though, have "kinder memories" of the UN's efforts after the war to restructure police and customs in the country, according to AP. A NATO-led peacekeeping force took over military duties in Bosnia after the Dayton peace treaty was signed, and still continues that role. "A statement issued by the United Nations described it as the most extensive police reform and restructuring mission ever undertaken by the United Nations," the NY Times reports. "Among the accomplishments of the mission was the reduction of local forces from 44,000 to about 16,000; the retraining of hundreds of police officers, and a thorough reform of the border guards." The EU will have about 500 officers in Bosnia, under a mandate that runs through 2005, the Times notes. That force is about one-third smaller than the UN force it replaces. "The reduction in manpower and spending has been a matter of some concern in Bosnia," the Times says. "The United Nations employed about 1,500 local staff, many of whom are likely to be laid off. Some Bosnians have also expressed concern that the smaller European force will be capable of fully policing human trafficking and corruption, which had been major projects under the United Nations." Amnesty International urged the EU to make investigation of human- rights abuses a top priority, Reuters reports. "Today, over seven years after the end of the war, thousands of outstanding human rights violations remain to be properly investigated, and perpetrators still enjoy impunity," Dick Oosting, director of Amnesty's European Union office, said in a statement, according to Reuters.
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